Posted by: Dahni | March 1, 2008


Re-invent  There is a familiar line which is:

“Don’t re-invent the wheel”


“You can’t re-invent the wheel.”

Both of the above are metaphors which imply that it is waste of time, energy, all resources and that it is futile to even try to change what is already working. OK, I will go along with that; I agree with that. One can make changes, modifications and even vastly superior improvements to say a wheel perhaps, but the wheel itself? ‘Been there and done that,’ would be the correct response. I am not intent on re-inventing the wheel nor am I offering up any changes to it here.

What if you could re-invent yourself? What if I could re-invent me? I believe it is possible and I’ll make myself a test case, an example or even the poster boy if need be.

Since this is a Leap Year with an extra day in February, it is kind of like a new year or a new beginning. Today is March 1, 2008 and it is the first of the month of this New Year. Since my premise and my proposal is to re-invent myself, I will just call this date my new birth date. Please continue to send presents on 12/13 as well! 🙂

My wife Susan and I are business owners. One of the primary aspects of our business is Health & Nutrition. I can no longer in good conscious (not that I ever could), effectively communicate the importance of Health and Nutrition as a ‘smoker’ of cigarettes. The hypocrisy of this would be like a firefighter that is also an arsonist.

Having ‘stopped’ smoking several times in the past, I know what I am up against. Having a ‘habit,’ I believe I know something about habits. I know how they are formed and I know how to end one. It is quite simple actually, although not necessarily easy to implement or to follow through. But there is no other way to rid oneself of a habit than to replace it with another one, one that is healthy and beneficial to you and others as well.

Often it is not just the habit which must be dealt with, but all the associative elements which trigger the habit. In my case, the consumption of coffee is one of these elements. Not only must I not smoke, I must not drink coffee for at least a week to 10 days. I have stopped drinking coffee before and suffered from horrible headaches UNTIL I made a cup drank it and my headache went away, almost instantly. I had no idea how addictive caffeine is or how dependent I was on it. The key to my coffee addiction was to wean myself slowly off coffee.

I as well as many others smoke when I am nervous, to get a ‘pick-me-up,’ thinking, writing (between composing new thoughts etc.), socially (others doing it), and even sometimes, for no reason at all. Each of the previous and what follows are all additional elements which must be dealt with as they trigger the habit of smoking.

Actually, the only times I enjoy one is after the first cup of coffee of the day especially, any cup of coffee, after the consumption of food or alcohol or as a calming effect after something which has elevated my heart rate. You just think about that for a moment and see what you can come up with that is an enjoyable experience, but that which elevates the beats per minute of your heart. 🙂 Add those “times” together and there really is only about a handful of cigarettes one has that are truly habitual. These would be after a meal, coffee, alcohol (I rarely drink), and some exciting rigorous activity. 🙂 The rest is in my head.

Now I have long believed that if you want to (forget about need to), I mean if you really want to quit smoking, you just do it. If this describes you and it has all worked out for you, GOOD FOR YOU! For myself, just like the coffee, I must wean myself from smoking. Why, because this is all about re-iventing I, not suffering because I’m tough or to show me that I’m a ‘real man’ because I can quit anytime and I can do it by going ‘cold turkey.’ Nope, I decided that my ego is too small as is my pain threshold to do that.

I have the ‘patch,’ which is an adhesive backed patch you stick on your arm that releases nicotine into your bloodstream on a regular basis. Well isn’t that like having a bite from the dog that bit you? Sort-of, but at least I will not be inhaling the mad scientist’s chemistry set into my blood stream which are all the other potentially deadly chemicals found or formed when I light up. Those chemicals all combined are like setting off a nuclear bomb inside your body. The body is an incredibly made machine. The reason we don’t instantly destroy ourselves with the very first cigarette is because the body is like the shield protecting the Starship Enterprise from the Star Trek series.

“Cap’n Kirk, the shield is down to 20% capacity and won’t hold much longer.” -Scottie

Right, this incredible machine can take only so much. It is very efficient and it is really very smart. Had I just listened to my body when it seemed like I was going to pass out and it felt like I was going to cough up a lung the very first time I inhaled a cigarette, I would have NEVER tried it again. But somehow I thought I must have done it wrong or with practice I get could get better something like that. So what if I did do it wrong, I still nearly passed out and felt like I was going to hurl a lung. Yep the lie that there is something good about smoking got stuck in my head. I have been looking for it ever since. The ultimate and absolute truth is that THERE IS NOTHING GOOD ABOUT SMOKING!!!

There are only two things that smoking does. It raises heart rate and blood pressure which could regulate weight and in essence smoking can be viewed as a physical burst of energy. One can get the same from trying to outrun a grenade someone threw at you.

The other thing smoking does is that it has a calming effect. One can get the same from the same grenade thrown at you when it hits. Then you will be calm and perhaps, permanently.

Most smokers and former smokers know more about the adverse effects of smoking than most non-smokers ever knew or ever will.

It is not that we are bad people. Do not put us into this category. Adolph Hitler did not smoke.

We are not stupid people, we just do stupid things like nearly ever other person in the world has ever done or ever will.

Reasons to quit must be personal, not just what you should do for someone else or even that you should do it for yourself. Every smoker knows they should not smoke. I knew this the first time I tried, because my dad spanked my behind. OK, I’ll just blame my dad because he is the reason I tried it in the first place. Why? Well, I wanted to be like him, he smoked, it looked like something cool to do and I was curious. Oh my, I am setting up a ‘don’t do as I do, do as I say,’ scenario. But if your dad smokes and beats your behind, what is the real message being sent here if he smokes? It has to be either that he was hiding the smoking secret from his own child (that would make him mean), or I wasn’t old enough to kill myself. Ridiculous! My dad didn’t want me to smoke because he knew it was bad. If we really do not want our children to smoke or anyone we come into contact with, then we just should not smoke, quit smoking, or never start in the first place. How could I blame my father or anyone else? No one ever made me smoke.

What are reasons to quit? They are as different as each individual, but remember it must be personal and another habit must replace it. I met a man that for health reasons, he was told to quit by his doctor. When I met him he has not smoked in over 20 years, but he dreams of smoking almost every night. He misses smoking. I met another that is mad because he loved smoking even though he has not smoked for many years. I met another that actually would come out of his barbershop and spray the parking lot with Lysol disinfectant, when people were smoking or just after. His habit of smoking was replaced with this habit of being angry about it. I have met many miserable and mean former smokers and I did NOT want to become like them, so I just kept smoking. Great reason isn’t it? NO!!!!

I’ve met others that gained a lot of weight when they stopped smoking so they started smoking again. I did not want my new habits to become some other oral fixation (if this is what smoking is to me, an oral fixation). Actually it is not, I do not enjoy the whole setup of smoking like staging a romantic dinner or something like that. But I sure have had to make sure I had cigs’ in reserve and became uncomfortable if I ran out or was even getting close to running out.

Here’s a good one for you, obviously to buy cigarettes in quantity would be cheaper than buying them on a daily basis. I have even been to stores where they are even sold per individual cigarette. Instead of me buying ciggies’ (as a female friend called them), by the carton and at some Native American Reservation to save on taxes, I bought them by the pack, maybe two at a time. Oh, and technically at the reservations, you are only allowed to purchase a limited amount, so by the time you add in the costs of gas to get there and back, I wonder how much you save or how much more you pay? Anyway, I bought mine 1-2 packs at a time, why? Because I knew if I had more than a pack or two, I would smoke more! I’m so proud of me for figuring that out? No I am not. Neither did I want to make a cigarette my friend in calling it my ‘ciggy.’  I guess psychologically that would be like making a serial killer your best friend. 

Again, in replacing habits with other ones, I did not want them to become mints, suckers, or some kind of food, high in calories and sugar.

I’m still on reasons to quit here. Myself? I obviously am writing here and I love to write. I once stopped smoking and literally could no longer write, so I started smoking again. This was a brilliant solution to my problem? Hardly!

Another time, I made my living in the construction industry. I had stopped smoking and in a very short time, my lungs cleared and my senses of smell and taste went through the roof. Cool yes, but my livelihood was affected because I became sensitive to sawdust. Yes, I started smoking again.

I have been in cancer wards where patients that had lost parts of their face and other body parts supposedly due to smoking and were still smoking in their rooms. The scenes upset so much, I couldn’t wait to get away from them and smoke a cigarette. Did this really calm me down? Hardly!

My own grandfather smoked and he was also my motivation to stop another time. See the buildup below.

As I child I had a lot of allergies. I had bouts with bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and other upper respiratory problems. I used to joke that I was allergic to the word ‘allergy,’ just by being exposed to it and even before I could read the word or knew what it meant. I was a good healthy lung candidate to start smoking yes? NO!

Smoking greatly reduces the amount of the anti-oxidant and vitamin known as ‘C.’ In my lifetime I have had many sinus infections that left unchecked would and have led to bronchitis and pneumonia. For me, these episodes primarily occurred both in the spring and fall, annually for years. I have long since forgotten what a common cold is like. No, mine was always something more progressive and I needed to get to the doctor ASAP because without antibiotics, I would get an infection. Of course, I always waited too long in hopes of it just being a cold. Antibiotics and mostly some form penicillin always upset my stomach and weakened my immune system. It was a catch 22 thing, darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

My sinus infections were so bad, they cost me time off from work and often for days at a time. Once I remember lying on the couch; sick as a dog (whatever that means). I could hardly breathe and was doing that whole trying to cough up a lung thing. In the middle of this, I reached for a cigarette. I did after all, need to calm down from the fact I could not breathe and my lung felt like it was leaving my chest. Right before I touched my pack of smokes, this vision of my grandfather flashed through my mind. He had been to the hospital and was treated for emphysema. One could argue that his condition was caused from clay particulate dust from years of exposure at the brick yard where he worked. My grandmother also later developed this and she did not smoke. Sure you could argue that she lived with a smoker. I will only conclude that no matter what the case is smoking did not help anything or anyone.

Anyway, I was reaching for a cigarette and I saw my grandfather leaving his bedroom and pulling along his oxygen tank to the garage so he could have a cigarette. The scene scared the hell out of me and right then and there I stopped smoking. It wasn’t long though when I started back up again because, my lungs became so clean, I couldn’t work around sawdust. This was a brilliant solution to my problem? Hardly!

Reasons to quit could be out of fear and out of something like greed. My brother and I were once offered cars if we did not smoke. The offer was from a smoker by the way.

Reasons to quit may be great like not wanting to hurt someone that really loves you and wants you to stay around for a long time. Maybe it’s saving money, not just on the cigarettes, but even interest from buying them with a credit card. Yes, been there and done that too. Maybe it’s better smelling clothing or clothing that lasts longer because there are no burnt wholes from smoking. OK, maybe it’s better health and or longer life? What ever it is it should be personal. It should not be to lose, but to gain. Fear motivation has not worked for me and neither has guilt, or promise of gain.

Paying interest on a credit card for what was burnt up last month is nuts! Buying cigarettes with a credit card should be as illegal as buying any other illegal drug. I am guilty of the crime and should have been made to pay the time. Still, it is not my reason to quit, yours or someone else perhaps, but not mine.

Unless I should forget, what about not having to freeze to death in winter while you smoke in the garage or just outside because you don’t want to stink up your house or you are not allowed to smoke inside. What about smoking outside in the heat of summer because your hotel room is a non-smoking room (your choice ciz’ the smoking rooms all stink). Those are some good reasons to quit smoking, but they are not mine.

I think the lowest point of my smoking life was in smoking butts because I either had no money to buy more or could not get to the store fast enough to buy more cigarettes. Now there is a reason to quit, but it is not mine.

I you think that is pretty low, I have one lower. What if there is no money or time enough to get to the store fast enough and there are none of your used butts to smoke? How about smoking the used butts of other people? With shame I admit to doing this. I might as well have just used a heroin addict’s dirty needle! The same possibility of catching something from someone else through their DNA on their butt as the addict’s needle existed. Oh, but I got smart, (so I thought). I would cut off the filter tips or the ends of these used butts. That was like poking holes in a condom. I am not insane, but these acts certainly are! Again, by the grace of God I am still alive to write this. WOW, now these are reasons to quit, but they are not my reasons.

How about all the wasted time or the things I have missed because I was smoking? Actually, I need very little sleep and would prefer to never have to sleep. I do not want to miss anything life has to offer. So one would think this would be a reason for me to quit smoking. I know that I have wasted a lot of time and that I have missed a lot of stuff, because I was out back or somewhere else smoking. This would be a great reason to quit, but it is not my reason.

You know, personally, if one does not want to quit, they are better off not quitting unless, unless they can find something they want more!

Stopping is not quitting. Stopping would be like running out of gas, but it does not mean one will never drive again. Quitting is like selling your car because you have no intention of ever driving again. Just because I may choose not to drive anymore does not mean I will not need some type of transportation or that I have to be miserable and mean because I no longer drive.

Habits must be replaced with something else. Using the car analogy one last time, I would just choose alternative methods of travel that would be best for me.

The physical addiction only takes a very small amount of time to begin to recover from. It is the reason or reasons for quitting that must be personal and something that is desirable to do.

For me, I am tired of being a hypocrite and feeling guilty when talking to others about health and nutrition. I am constantly in the public eye. People see me, hear me and watch not always what I say, but what I do. I especially do not want to negatively impact children by being a poor example. This is as, so I say, because it has not prevented me from smoking in the past.

I do not want to be associated with a certain group of smokers that empty their ass-trays, I mean ashtrays into some parking lot (not that I ever have). I do not want to be associated with those smokers that have flipped their burning butts out of the window which have caused fires to erupt and they have no clue as being out of sight, they are also out of their minds. Not that I have ever caused a fire, but call this by the grace of God because, I have flipped these burning butts out of the window. I don’t consider myself to be a slob even though this act is sloppy, uncouth, uncivilized and me-centered.

Being in the public eyes I am constantly in conversation and it bothers me to become distracted by wanting to smoke or to make sure my breath is not offensive because I just had one. Beyond this, I look forward to the many other benefits that being smoke-free will afford me and others.

I used to believe that in order to quit, I needed to understand why I started in the first place. This in the end is a worthless effort of much time which leads to the remote sparsely populated town of Nowhere Anywhere.

What it comes down to is what I really want. It is not about what I don’t want, but what des Dahni really, really want more!

Re-inventing me is not about quitting smoking. It is the recognition of that which never did or no longer works for me. It is not about giving up anything. It is all about stuff that is in the way of want I want and need in life.

We have a business. We have goals. There are many places we want to go to, things to do and people to meet. To do this requires and demands the need for and the desire for financial and time freedom. I am so sorry Winton-Salem, but you can no longer help us acquire these ends, not that you ever could.

So yes, I will need some help to quit and to replace one habit with new ones that will help Susan and me to reach our ever evolving destination. The journey should be just as much fun as getting there success and happiness all in balance like one of my favorite quotes:

“Success is to get what you want. Happiness is to want what you get.”

—— Dale Carnegie

So today is a new day, a new month, a new beginning and like a new birthday. Today I start to quit smoking. Today I am not giving up anything. I am letting go of something that hinders me from getting what I really do want and need (a whole lot of stuff by the way). Today I am starting with the Nicotine Transdermal System. That’s just what they call it and is just a fancy way of saying a nicotine patch.

Thanks for your support!

In the next few days if we should meet, it’s OK, you can call me Patch. I’m in repair. I’m reinventing myself.

Just Imagine,


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