Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Serious Post

I cried tonight. In front of my husband. And it's all due to something that he does.
Every. Single. Day.

He smokes. A lot. And he has smoked, a pack and a half a day, since he was a teenager. He is now 45. So he's been smoking for 30 years. I've asked him many times over the years to quit. A couple of times he has quit - once he quit for 6 months (to collect on a BET, believe it or not), then started right back. (I could've killed him.)

But tonight, it all came to a head. I went out on our back deck (where he does his smoking... he never smokes in the house...) and sat down to chat with him and before I knew it, it ALL came out... how afraid I was that he was going to either drop dead of a heart attack, or die a slow, horrible death from emphysema or lung cancer.

I became very emotional about it, which totally caught him off guard, because I'm pretty much the "engine" of the family. And then I told him, if he did die, he would wind up breaking THREE hearts. Mine, and both of our children's, because they idolize him.

The only reason I bring this up here (on my normally light-hearted, sunny little blog) is to ask you, my blogging friends, if you have had a loved one who has quit smoking.... what was their 'watershed moment'.... what was their 'wake-up call'? How did they do it? How did you encourage them? What the hell WORKED to get them to quit???

I want he and I to grow old together. I want our grandkids to know HIM, and not just ME.
I don't want to be a widow, and I sure as hell don't want our kids to lose him.


Deron Arnold said...

Hi Happy Wife. There's a new medicine out there that might be helpful (if he hasn't already tried it). It has a funny name: Chantix.

Here's a link:

From what I've learned, a person just has to keep trying and trying. Eventually something will work. (I could talk to him about how it really sucks to have to use oxygen all the time--and to have to worry about lung bleeds. And when you lay down, you can't breathe. Etc. etc.)

The scare tactics aren't always very effective, however, in my experience. I once had an autopsy assistant who smoked. One time we had just finished taking out the lungs of a guy who died of lung cancer. Then, before proceeding to take out any more organs, he took a smoking break!

BTW, what does he think about you posting about his "little" problem?
My wife would have a fit if I posted about her addiction to Diet Coke.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Thanks Deron. I will talk to him about Chantix. He has no clue I have posted about this, and would not be happy.... (he doesn't read my blog).

You're right though - scare tactics don't work - the impetus to change has to come from within.

I appreciate your thoughts and will look into the info on Chantix.

dons_mind said...

dunno - tough problem. we smoked for a long time when we were younger. then one day while back, i just woke up one morning and lost the urge - didn't want to anymore. tried to smoke one and it was awful - threw them away and haven't smoked since. no urges, no desire - just don't want to anymore. honestly, i think that's a large part of it - medicine or no medicine, ya gotta want to first. i really hope hubby makes the choice, all the cliches are true - you DO feel better, look better, think clearer and smell better! i wish him success when he decides to make that move....

Louise said...

Wow. That's tough. No answers here. My husband's parents both smoked their whole lives. His mom died from it, at 67. She used to puff between breathing treatment breaths while she had emphysema. Neither of his parents ever got it.

The quitting for a bet then starting baffles me. I knew another person who quit for a year for a bet, then immediately started again. It has to be something triggered deep inside, but no idea how to get there.

Sorry for thsi. I would be beside myself.

karengberger said...

Dear HWHL,
All I can say is how sorry I am that this is causing you such anguish. It is so hard to accept the hurts that come with loving...but they do exist.
Your fears are understandable, and coming from our situation, I can never figure out why people smoke, but a habit of that long-standing must be hellacious to try to break. If he feels guilty or pressured (even though that is not your aim in sharing your fears with him), he may dig his heels in more, depending upon his temperament.
I pray that your prayers will open a way for you to live with it in peace, since you cannot change him (only he can do that).

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Golly, so sad indeed. My husband and I smoked for years until we just decided it was just way too expensive and we were working one job just to support the habit and besides, I was developing asthma from it as well and it was really easy to quit for those reasons. Cold turkey. Health and money reasons. We saved a ton of money and got to buy and do things we could never do before!! It was awesome!

My mother in law also smoked and at the age of 71 passed away from lung Cancer and it was horrible to watch her waste away when she was told about it. Took 8 months before she died... it was horrible. If I hadn't quit before watching her then, I surely would have afterwards... :(

I think now that you have said something, gave him some food for thought, maybe he will think about it.... throw some literature around the house perhaps but not too much. Might make him smoke more... =)
Good luck.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Thanks for the comments, guys.... I feel much more positive now that the new day has dawned. Last night I just felt so helpless (and angry) about this issue..... and part of the problem was that I had spoken to a good friend of Hubster's whose own father had dropped dead of a (smoking-induced) heart attack when he was in his late 40's... leaving behind a wife and 2 kids (who, ironically, were the age my kids are now). Anyway, in talking to this friend of Hubster's, he told me how much that event marked his childhood (obviously) .... and all the times growing up that he missed having his Dad there.

So, regardless, I appreciate everyone's thoughts and encouragement. You guys are the best. :-)

Anne hearts Jackie said...

well kiddo... we talked about this at J's wedding:

Are all lung cancer victims smokers? probably and sure.
Are all smokers going to be lung cancer victims?

Smokers like our hubsters simply think that "it won't happen to them"...or at best they "hope" it won't happen.

People with dependancies and addictions don't get consequences. Because consequences are so far from the cause of the problem I know..stay with me):

the problem isn't his smoking..the problem is WHY does he smoke. He needs to get to the root of his dependancy. Sure there are lots of reasons...for smokers it is a chemical thing...

I have a great book that dispells some dangerous myths about "addictions". Next time we meet ask me about it.

Sugar said...

Oh Sweetie... how I wish I could just hug you right now...

I know you want an answer that might be duplicated in your husband's case, but it has to come from him. It's good that you told him how sad it makes you to think of a life without him. I think we all have that fear. You were probably hoping this would be his watershed moment.

But I see this as a watershed moment for you.

Dig into why it is that you are afraid. Further down than just being without him. There's more down there, girl.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Thanks honey. Yes, we did talk about this and Jessie's wedding, didn't we? Strange that it used to never bother me before (and as you know, he and I have been together since we were CHILDREN)... but it obviously is weighing heavily on my heart now... I think it's because I see how much our kids idolize him, and I also see, as he and I blast through our 40's, how our own mortality has come into focus. And then when Brad told me at the beach what it was like to lose HIS Dad to a sudden (fatal) heart attack (due in large part to his Dad's smoking) when Brad was in 5th grade, that just send me over the EDGE...

But, you know what... I got that book that Karen was talking about - "Co-Dependent No More". And I realize that I can't control ANYONE else except me (dammit... I HATE that.... LOL...) so, as much as it pisses me off, this is something HE has to change.

Anyway, enough about that. I was really down about it last night. No more blues tonight.

But thanks for your encouragement. We'll talk more soon, girl.

Hug to you. :-)

D'Arcy said...

i get this. we will talk in person about it.

suz said...

My Mom used the chantix with good results. the side effects can be weird though...bizarre dreams. (Like mine) Some people have had issues with the drug if they have any alchohol too.
My Grandma did not quit until she was almost 75. She and G'pa had acupuncture.
He really has to WANT to do it though. He NEEDS to do it for you and the kids.....
Good luck

Ruahines said...

Kia ora HWHL,
I struggle with this as well as Tara is a smoker. I stopped long ago trying to convince her to give it up. I know she has to come to that decision within herself. Which doesn't make it any easier. Yet I know now with her working full time and going to University it is a battle I cannot fight. I just hope she makes that choice while it is still in her control. Good luck.