It's been a week and a half since I quit smoking.

I started smoking cloves in August of 2003. I was at a convention for a message board I hang out on. Someone offered me a Djarum and I fell in love. When I got back home, I bought a pack from the local tobacco shop. I was a good smoker for a while. I smoked a pack a month, stretching it out. "No more than one a day." I told myself. I would not get addicted.

I went back to school, in New York City, and kept smoking. School grew stressful, and I would occasionally smoke two. I would smoke with the other students who smoked. It was a social activity. Eventually, I realized that, yes, I was addicted. I also didn't give a shit. However, I could only stick with Djarum Specials for so long. First off, I was the only guy who smoked them that I knew. If I was out, and I needed my nicotine fix, well, I had to bum a real cigarette from someone. When I went home for a weekend, I decided to buy a hardpack of filtered Lucky Strikes from the Walgreens. I went back up to school, smoking my Luckies. When that pack ended, I bought another pack of Luckies... this one was a softpack... Unfiltered.

Smoking unfiltered was a learning experience.. I would constantly get bits of tobacco in my mouth. Icky. One day, standing out back of the dorms, in a cold drizzle for my nicotine fix, I said "fuck this." and quit. Right there. I was done with cigarettes for good. I threw out the remaining half-pack of Lucky Strikes, but kept the matches like a good Boy Scout. I was clean as a whistle. Then, I failed out of school.

Coming home, one of the first things I did to deal with the stress was blow $6.50 on a pack of Djarum Specials. (One thing I don't miss about New York City is the price of cigarettes. That pack would have cost me at least two bucks more up there.) Even still, I was actually good. I managed to stretch the pack from January to June, mostly by not going out to actually smoke. My social life was nil, as all my friends were still in college. When I smoked, it was when I got out to look for a job. The event that made me give up smoking for real? I had gone downtown to see Hella and Need New Body at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

I smoked two waiting for the show, out of the three left in my pack. Later that night, I bummed two Camels, and finished off my last Djarum. Factoring in the second-hand smoke, I had had more than enough nicotine than I was used to. I felt rather nasty when I got home. It was that night when I decided to quit. The next few days were rattled with headaches, nausea. I had a nasty day on the job, with muscles aching. I knew it was my body craving a smoke. I've persevered, and (thanks to asprin) the constant headache is but a memory. I think I'll be fine. It's all about self control.

Of course, after three months, I'm buying another pack of Djarums. I never said this was permanent.