My main Reason to be Cheerful is that, by this time tomorrow, I'll be a non-smoker. No, I'm not going to bore anyone (me?) with all the reasons why, just suffice to say that, after thirty years of drug addiction, I can't wait to be free. The person I have to thank for this is sadly no longer with us: Allen Carr. He chain-smoked for thirty-three years before the scales fell from his eyes and devoted the rest of his time on this earth to explaining to us otherwise reasonably intelligent people why smoking was A Bad Thing. None of what he writes would surprise a non-smoker, but for us delusional addicts, we needed someone to speak our language to us, someone who'd been there, done that, and found it easy to quit once he'd understood why he smoked in the first place. This 'wisdom' is entirely personal; you have the feeling he's speaking to you directly when he peels away all the fears and doubts that cigarette addiction entails. I originally set myself March 31st to smoke my last cigarette, but now cannot wait to finish the contents of my revised goal: the pouch of rolling tobacco I still have in my bag. The thought of buying another just to make it through another fortnight is abhorent to me and only want to finish this one so that I can have my own version of closure, and it's working: every cigarette I smoke now repulses me, and there can surely be no better way to stop than with a rancid memory of the taste and my own perverted desire to do it in the first place.
In any case, I'm not currently smoking anywhere near as much as I did before I started reading Allen's book; I haven't wanted to. My intake has fallen by two-thirds and Mrs. Fingers has already told me how much better I look and how much more relaxed I am, not to mention the fact I don't snore any more. Previously, I'd try to stay away from my daughters as I didn't want them to smell the smoke still hanging around me when I came back in after a cigarette; now, in my newly-found fragrant state, I seek them them out and spend more time with them, play more with them, joke more with them. They've already noticed the difference and demand more of my attention. There don't appear to be any losers in this equation, just winners.
Mrs. Fingers is not a musician. Somebody asked me last summer how I could be with someone who didn't share the same passion. I replied: 'Because I know how good she is for me'. Subconsciously, I think I'm aspiring to be like my wife, who, if she needed to, could quite happily live on a glass of water a day. Not for her these props and crutches; she's a complete being in herself, a rock in an otherwise constantly-changing, superficial society. She is naturally delighted I've made this decision: her father, a life-long smoker, died of lung cancer five years ago, an otherwise very physically active man who always ate sensibly. Their relationship was not perfect, but that had no bearing on her feelings about my addiction. Her attitude was simple and to the point: 'You are intelligent, handsome and successful, a wonderful father and the envy of many. Why do you feel the need to smoke?' For me, with my programmed, brainwashed attitude of the persecuted, couldn't understand her concern; everything was fine; just let me smoke and we'll just get on with our lives. My God. It's 2011 and there are still people thinking like that. If there's anyone reading this who is closely linked to someone who's freed him/herself from the addiction, you'll know what I'm talking about. For any non-smoker out there, I'm sorry I've wasted your time. And I don't mean that sarcastically, believe me; all the above is stuff you've always known; we mugs just need longer to get it.
Another plus point in all this is that I'm now permanently horny, which was not always the case, before. This is either good or bad news for Mrs. Fingers, depending on how long her delight at my new-found liberation lasts.