They've always been a part of my life. From the day of conception, they had a hold over me. She smoked when she was pregnant. They smoked when they brought me home. I smoked to rebel. I smoked because I was addicted.

28 years I've been a slave to the cylinders. At first, it wasn't a problem. As the years passed, I found I avoided places because I could not stand to go without my bosom buddy. Now I'm simply a slave to thinking. Every day I long to quit.

I've had a few successes, but they only end in a slow death of my resolve. The last time, I thought I was home free. It had been six months. I was free. Until I picked up one while socializing. It was a menthol. I'd always detested them. It was like a candy cane! It couldn't possibly hurt me. It was too good!

As the weeks drew on, it grew to one a day. I found myself waiting for my husband to go to work so I could smoke. Before long, he was making accusations. I had become a closet smoker. After 2 months, I couldn't take the stress and admitted I was smoking again. Within the week, so was he.

Quitting isn't hard. Not like you might expect it to be. However, you say to yourself "Self, once we are through this, we don't want to go through the withdrawls again. This is our last quit!"

It's been eight months since I quit last. I hate the way I feel, the way I smell, the lack of energy. I hate the disappointment in my children's eyes when they see me go out back for a fix. I hate wondering if I can find the will to break the chains of slavery.

I remember when my son was ill. He was hospitalized for two weeks. I was stronger during that than I am when it comes to cigarettes. How can that be?

Perhaps one day, I'll be able to walk away. Breathe and run and play and smile without that square box in my pocket weighing me down.

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