AM I THE ONLY ONE. . . who struggled to quit smoking?

This is a poem that I wrote back in 2008.  At that time, I had been “quitting” smoking cigarettes for over 25 years, probably closer to 30.  At times, I had moderate success, one time lasting 3 years, but I had never completely “kicked” the habit.  I’d sometimes cheat with cigars or chew, but it seemed that I’d always wind up coming back to those damn cigarettes.  However, at the current time, it’s coming up on 14 years without once cheating and this time I’m committed to staying the course.  Wish me luck.


For many years that was the question for which I had no answer.
Course, that was back before they confirmed it causes cancer.
My son is now 40,  and a smoker he’s become,
but from the time he was 3 or 4, he nagged til my ears were numb.

Daddy, why do you smoke.  Dad, why don’t you quit?
Sometimes, I thought he nagged, just for the hell of it.
Years later, my wife was sick, quitting became more important.
Eventually, they even passed laws, banning smoking in restaurants.

But, once you’ve got the habit, quitting isn’t all that easy.
Some often get the shakes, while others get feeling queasy.
It took me many years, must have quit a hundred times.
I’m sure I’d have been put in jail, if lying about it was a crime.

For a time, I switched to cigars, the little ones, five to a pack.
Put myself on a one pack limit, but eventually, cigarettes were back.
As one of my many crutches, I stopped cigarettes for chew.
I used those little pouches, so people seldom knew.

As a habit it’s disgusting, especially when you have to spit,
but spitting, I just wouldn’t do, a real man simply swallows it.
It was better for my lungs,  and I was still getting my fix,
but a different kind of cancer, still was in the mix.

Back and forth it went, cigars, cigarettes, and chew.
I knew that I should quit, but it’s awfully hard to do.
I had to make a move, for several years I cut way back.
Daily I’d bum just two from my son, but I refused to buy a pack.

I’d save one for bed time, cause I couldn’t sleep if I was craving.
As long as I stopped at two, it felt like I was behaving.
Sometimes I’d go to the bar,  for a dollar I could buy a couple.
If I didn’t exceed my two a day, it wasn’t causing any trouble.

Still, it felt like I was cheating, “I can do better, I know I can.”
how could such a little thing, defeat a full-grown man?
For years, I’d been cut back to my limit of only two,
and sometimes, for several months, I’d quit that and only chew.

Friends had tried the patch; others had chewed the gum,
But no matter what the method, quitting wasn’t any fun.
And when it came right down to it, they nearly all went back.
First, they’d bum a few, then break down and buy a pack.

Most gained a little weight, some gained quite a lot,
then went back to smoking, and the weight they’ve all still got.
My sister had herself hypnotized. “Did it help?”  I asked, curious.
She said, “You can’t beat this habit, unless you’re really serious.”

Finally, I’d had enough, I needed to take a stand.
If I can’t beat this habit, I’m really not much of a man.
I put my last two cigars in a drawer, so they’d always be there to see,
to remind myself each day, how that habit had control of me.

I didn’t attend meetings; I didn’t wear a patch.
I reminded myself each day, that I was saving lots of scratch.
You have to fight the cravings, for several weeks at least,
but eventually if you’re serious, you can gain control of the beast.

Oh, I gained a little weight, but not what you might think.
I tried hard not to substitute cigarettes, for food, and drink.
It’s now been 13 years, and I haven’t cheated once.
I have no clue how much I’ve saved, but I know that it’s a bunch.

I no longer have the cravings, but now and then I’ll have a moment.
It was a filthy nasty habit, but at last, I finally feel I own it.
I feel better about myself, just knowing that I prevailed,
and I know it’s in my past, that ship has finally sailed!!!!

I’m proud and happy to report that the forty-year-old son that I mentioned above, now well into his 50’s,  has now been off from cigarettes for over ten years.  He quit “cold turkey” also

Gramps use’ta say
©R.L.King2012 #220

About: Quitting Smoking

Nothing challenges the parameters
of life’s expiration date
….quite like smoking.


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1 thought on “AM I THE ONLY ONE. . . who struggled to quit smoking?”

  1. I know the struggle. For a minute I thought you were talking about me. 2 packs a day for over 40 yrs. My last smoke was September 3, 2003. But like you, I still have fleet moments. Congratulations to you and your son.


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