Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How Habits Begin

I remember being very small when I swore I would never smoke. My grandfather smoked in the truck when we were going out fishing, and I remember that horrible smell. Coughing. Waving my hand in front of my mouth. "I'll never smoke." I must have been five, perhaps six.
Which meant that I kept that promise to myself for about four more years. At least as far as stealing cigarettes went, I wasn't a regular smoker until 16. Once I became a daily smoker, I was a pack a day... at least. For 23 years I smoked non-stop. I quit this April, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I was going out of town, to a strange place, with no smokers. I had an electric cigarette to use as a pacifier. It was the perfect time to quit.
It was causing health problems (duh). The inside of my mouth was always sore, it hurt to breathe, I coughed all night, I was constantly clearing my throat, and those were the ones I was used to. The flip-flops of my heart were scary though. They got worse the more I smoked, and they scared me enough to give me the push I needed to quit.
For over two months I didn't smoke. Then I gave in once, which became twice, which became a few sneaks a day. I felt so much better without them, but I missed the familiarity. The instant calm. Funny how habits can become so ingrained isn't it? So I am now quitting again. My husband has realized that he has to quit with me.
Even when we know something is not good for us, may even be hurting us... we get used to the comfort. We do it with junk food, we do it with habits, we do it in relationships. We do it as parents. We keep doing things that do not work for us just because they are habit. Because we've grown comfortable in them.
Sometimes parenting is meant to be uncomfortable. Growth is always uncomfortable.