The Most Stubborn Vice

I was talking to a lady in the gym locker room yesterday. She said she already broke her resolution to lose weight by eating two slices of Oreo cheesecake. Resolutions. So many, so little time. If I had a dime for every time I swore of this or that, I would be rich. Giving up something that brings you comfort is not an easy feat.

I wonder which is the hardest resolution to keep?

a) Quit smoking

b) Quit drinking

c) Quit eating fast foods/empty calories/lose weight

d) Start an exercise regime and be consistent

e) It depends on what your vice is

My mom loves tea. She can drink copious amounts of tea, both day and night. She has a cup of hot tea to start her day, and one to end the day before bedtime. No fancy schmancy herbal for her. She likes plain old Tetley English Breakfast with carnation milk and two lumps of sugar. A lot of tea is her only vice, and I think she would go crazy without her tea fix.

I love wine, as well as decadent milk chocolate. I can see myself parting with chocolate because I have gone for months on end without my beloved Hersey’s with almonds. Wine is a little trickier. I can go for a good while without a glass of Merlot, but I begin to miss the bold, fruity flavours and pairing with a good steak. If I am at a restaurant on a Friday night, it is hard for me to pass up a 6 ounce glass (9 ounce if it’s been a stressful week.) I think I have depended on these golden grapes as a stress reliever and a Friday night ritual. However, when I really focus on replacing this vice with meditation or a long walk, it does get a little easier to beat this vice, or at least cut back to meet my health goals.

Mom chooses tea over booze every time. Dad and I prefer a beverage a little bolder in nature….


From my observations, with family, acquaintances and friends, smoking looks like a very hard addiction to tackle. I have witnessed so many people try to quit smoking and fail time and time again. I have seen people lose weight, quit drinking, quit toxic relationships, but I haven’t seen many succeed on beating this toxic, carcinogenic yuck they breathe into their lungs. My friend once told me that quitting smoking is harder than quitting some lethal drugs. I believe it based on what I have seen.

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Smoking looks habitual. Many need to light up after a meal or with a cocktail. Many need to puff and take a deep breath to deal with stress. Some just like having something in their hands. It can be a part of their social circles. It is not often I see a solo smoker. Usually they travel in groups and come together over this common habit, exiting a restaurant in groups or the workplace for a smoke break. Quitting cold turkey can alter personalities for the worse.  I once worked with a woman who tried to quit cold turkey. She was in such a nasty mood during this detox phase, often short and irritable toward co-workers and she knew it. On Friday she bought the whole staff donuts and coffee from Tim Hortons with a card. In the card she wrote, “sorry I was such a b#$%&% this week. Quitting is hard! Please accept my apology.”

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Some people (like my sister) do succeed going the cold turkey road to beat their nicotine habit. When my sister found out she was pregnant with her first child, she just quit. That has been thirty plus years, and she’s never looked at a cigarette since then. When my brother-in-law (who has since passed away) found out he had lung cancer and his doctor told him to stop if he wants a fighting chance, he just stopped that very same day he was diagnosed.

I also knew a guy who went the patch route. By the end of two weeks, he was removing the patch, lighting up and then putting the patch back on. What is it about the pull of this vice?  I really don’t believe that the photos on cigarette cartons with the black, rotting teeth and the lung that looks like a raisin truly gets the message across to addicted smokers. People are still buying cigarettes, looking directly at the disturbing images on the carton and puffing away regardless.  The black teeth and desiccated lung have little affect until it is a do or die situation or so it seems. This was the case with my late brother-in-law.

If you are a smoker and want to quit, talk to your doctor for options and let others know of your struggles. Letting others know you are trying to quit is essential. You have got to be ready when Bernice Vanderlay from accounting shows up in the lobby waiting for you, with her carton and lighter in hand. She wants you to join her by the dumpster out back for your ritual of puffing away and talk all about her fantastic date on Saturday night. Let Bernice know that you are trying to quit and now will spend your break going to the coffee shop. Bernice might not have your back, and feel deserted you have abandoned the smoking club, but don’t let that stop you from trying to take care of your health. Tell Bernice you would love to talk about the weekend in the coffee shop, or another non-smoking area. Who knows? Bernice may be wanting to quit too. Now you can support each other.

I know that it is not an easy habit to let go. I feel for those who truly want to beat this habit but feel hopeless.

Did you quit smoking? Any tips to share on the method of your success.

23 thoughts on “The Most Stubborn Vice

  1. Ermmm, I did once. It’s not something I’m proud off and I don’t like to admit it. My parents never knew and to this day they still don’t know, even though I was a responsible adult in my late teens early 20’s. I think I started as P did at the time.
    Anyways, 3 years later I quit. I cut down the amount per day until it was just 1/2 a cigarette, then 1/2 a cigarette every few days then I said this is stupid, stop and I did. I did relapse a few months later, but it tasted how it should taste, disgusting and foul. It took will power. I think I stopped out of vanity, wrinkles, lack of collegean when older. P stopped cold turkey but he likes to drink so beer filled that space! Though he can stop drinking when he wants too for a few months. I did have an glass a day issue that I had to stop. And I always sound so innocent!
    As for my vice now, I don’t drink, I don’t even have coffee now, I like tea, I like sweet things and I like South Korean tv dramas. My current vice is fighting cyst spots. Read that how you want. Thanks to my invention they hang around for way longer than they should and I written too much!

    1. Thanks for sharing your story, Nat. I never would have guessed you were a smoker. A friend who I lost touch with and I connected with again just commented on my IG post that she was once a smoker too. Again I was taken aback. You’re both so into healthy living. A lot of people I know who smoke also have significant others who smoke. This can make quitting a struggle.
      Vanity is as good a reason to quit as any. Some people who have been smoking all their lives look so much older than they are. Who wants to head down that route? Thanks again for sharing and kudos to you and P for beating this vice!

      1. It’s not something I’m proud of. I genuinely forget I did until a post like this reminds me I did. In a warped way, I feel it gives me the right to tut tut on those who do, doling out judgement as I was once one. It really is a truly disgusting habit that should be banned.

        The Spanish used to smoke like chimneys until new public smoking laws were introduced which dramatically reduced the number of smokers. It wasn’t until in Greece on holiday last year I realised how much effect the bans had. The Greek smoke like coal power plant chimneys compared to the Spanish now! Taxi drivers smoked while taxing passengers. Ergh, those cabs stunk.

      2. It is a gross habit. At least you had the will to quit. I find some cultures smoke way more than others. My husband said everybody smoked when he traveled through Europe. It was almost like a part of the social life.
        Those taxi cabs in Greece must have stunk. Second hand smoke stays in so many surfaces.

      3. It does. We had to ask to switch rooms in Greece as the previous guests smoked and it was a non smoking hotel! Same in France last year. I had to ask to switch rooms as I knew it would get on my clothes even if I aired the self catering apartment hotel room. They were booked up, but fortunately both times they were understanding and were able to switch.

  2. There are so many addictions and vices out there that are so hard to quit! I struggle with sugar and know I always will. I seem to do okay when I limit my consumption; it doesn’t call my name quite as much. I’m so impressed your sister was able to quit smoking cold turkey. That’s amazing!

    Loved the picture with your parents. They are darling. 😉

  3. I like hookah and got a hookah so I could smoke more often and save on going to a venue for the habit. Luckily, the preparation proved to be too time-consuming and I threw the mini-hookah I had away. That was more than 5 years ago. When I had it, I hardly used it. It was a habit I failed to develop. A fantastic failure as the fruity tobacco is just as damaging to the lungs.

    1. What is the Hookah pipe like? I probably wouldn’t try it, but the idea looks intriguing and very exotic-looking.
      Good after all that you got rid of it since it’s equally as bad for you. I didn’t know that.

  4. Great post! You parents are amazing. I have never smoked I can’t stand the smell or to be around it. I think thats one of the main things that kept me away. I know a girl that quit while pregnant but started right back as soon as she popped that baby out. Seems like a very hard habit to kick.

    1. Thanks Ivanna! The smell is just awful if you’re not a smoker. I couldn’t stand it being in my hair and clothes before establishments banned indoor smoking.
      I know of people like that girl you write of. Fortunately my sister never did have a taste for it after becoming a mom.

  5. You’re right that smoking is a difficult habit to quit. I’ve seen family members try to go through it. My mother has lost two brothers to lung cancer and one, even when he was really sick and wanted to quit, he just couldn’t seem to overcome it.
    I pray for anyone trying to quit and I hope that I’ll be patient with anyone trying to go through the process.

  6. I never have smoked, but my dad was a very heavy smoker who rolled his own cigarettes (no filter or anything). When I was 15 he died of a massive heart attack at the age of 47. Up to that point I had accepted a smoke from a peer when offered one, mostly to be socially acceptable. (it was the early 1970’s and the majority of people smoked). After dad’s death I never accepted another smoke again. Dad’s death was an incredible deterrent.

    1. Thank-you for sharing this, Carl. 47 is too young to die and it must have been very difficult for you at such a young age to lose him.
      I remember in the 80’s when my sister smoked at her desk.
      At least out of your loss you decided this was a fatal and deadly habit to get pulled into to.

      1. We have come a long way to try to deter smoking in the 1st place. I had a teacher that chain smoked in the 1970’s. When I went to those community euchre parties as a family (there was never babysitting back then) the air was so thick with cigarette smoke you could not see the ceiling. In Canada, there is no smoking allowed inside any public buildings. For me this is a great thing.
        Yeah, it was very difficult to lose my dad. Thank you for your kind words. I am fortunate that I have wonderful memories. 🙂

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