A lot of people who know me recently have no idea that I used to smoke. And those that have known me for a long time, forget that I used to smoke. This month marks 21 years since I quit.
This was the most challenging time for me. My boys were nearly 3 years old and 15 months old. I didn’t know that shortly after, my youngest was going to be diagnosed with asthma and we weren’t able to be around him with smoke. And now, I realize they should never have been in the first place. It was the norm for me growing up.
A few weeks before, I had decided that I was ending my relationship of nearly 7 years. He was my love in High School. We dated for a short time, something happened and the relationship ended. As I looked at my budget and tried to figure out how I was going to make it in my own. I had a choice to make $200 on cigarettes or $200 for food to feed my kids. My kids were my world. And I would do anything for them.
I met my doctor and explained the situation and he started me on the nicotine patch. I was nearly a month of not smoking before anyone noticed. I was actually doing this. It was great! I continued through the course of the prescription until I was off the nicotine all together.
The morning I took my last cigarette, my oldest, came up and told me not to. And I was able to say, “Okay, just this one.” Then I put the patch on.
In mid-February is when I finally said aloud that I was ending the relationship. Things hadn’t improved during those couple of months. I was really hoping things would be different, but they weren’t.
Some days I really wanted a smoke. Some days were a breeze. Some days were harder than others. But every day, I woke up reminding myself why I was doing this. This was a life change that I needed to make for me and my boys.
The day I decided that I was ending the relationship was December 26. I will NEVER forget that day. We had a big fight. And I’m not one to back down from a fight. This fight was about the boys and how some one in his family had been mistreating one of them. He was defending this person instead of his children and I was not backing down.
I was infuriating him and that’s what I blamed. I blamed me for this. I even told the doctor that it was my fault. During this argument, he grabbed a hold of me by the throat and pinned me against the counter. I was terrified, but still not backing down. He realized what he was doing and stopped.
He had never done this before or again after with me, but I had swore that I was not going to be treated that way EVER. And he had vowed that he would NEVER do that. But here we were.
If it wasn’t for my son, I would have probably not made this decision. When I was released, I looked back and saw my oldest hiding under the table, petrified. I had to crawl under the table with him and convince him that he was safe. Remind him that both his daddy and his mommy loves him.
That was a terrifying moment for me. And one of my babies had witnessed it and was terrified. A few years before that, we had friends who died through a murder-suicide. Hindsight made all of us very vigilant to domestic violence. Their daughter was there at the time, unharmed.
Although this situation was far from that, I was not going to allow myself or my children to be put in that kind of situation. The look of fear on my son’s face was enough to make me decide that it was certainly NOT going to happen. And it was something that I decided that I would ever stay in an abusive relationship. And once was too much for me.
In mid-February, I finally decided to say that the relationship was “officially” over. We continued to live together until my birthday on April 1. We had agreed to a budget to pay things off so that we could separate more easily. Although it was my choice, the day he left, my insides felt like they were being ripped out from me.
Of course, there were many rumours around the separation. I was allegedly having an affair. I stole all of his money. It was planned for 6 months. All those assumptions that people make up to satisfy their own thoughts about it. People did not know about the event that started this decision or the fact that we were not together living in the same house.
Throughout all of this, many times all I wanted was a cigarette, but I held firm in my decision to make sure I had enough for my children as a single mom. I had a good job for 5 years at a finance company. I had benefits. The boys and I adapted to our single life until, my now husband, came into the picture.
My point in sharing this story is that making a lifestyle change is difficult, but it’s always by choice. We always have a choice to stay or to go. We always have a choice to keep going or not. We always have the choice to start or stop.
The decisions are not easy, but they are OUR DECISIONS.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rollie Allaire, Holistic Life & Wellness Coach, Spirit Flame Keeper, and Soul Healer.
My Spirit name is Geegado Megwan Kwe, which means Talking Feather Woman.
I work primarily with women who have experienced childhood trauma, sexual trauma, domestic violence, critical incident stress, mental health, addiction, compassion fatigue and grief to retrieve the lost parts of their soul and achieve wellness, joy, and success.
Since 2001, I draw on my extensive career background of clinical psychotherapy skills and in recent years combine that with Chakra work, Crystal Reiki, ThetaHealing, Akashic Record reading and clearings, meditation, Moon Medicine teachings and looking at life through the Medicine Wheel.
My goal is to create a safe and inviting place for my clients to feel heard, understood, empowered, validated and connected. And most importantly, reclaiming hope.