Today marks one solid year since I have had a cigarette. On this day one year ago, I quit smoking in solidarity with my friend Matthew, on his birthday, to support him. This may sound enormously altruistic, and you’re welcome to continue believing it so. But the reality is that, although I smoked for something like 18 years, for the last 15 of them I was at best a social smoker, a dilettante, a poseur, one of those while-I’m-drinking kind of smokers.
For me, smoking was never about the nicotine; it was always a social function. Alone, I would almost never crave one. I only smoked around smokers. In fact, in the last few years of my smoking career, I pretty much only smoked with Matthew.
He, on the other hand, was hardcore. So when he made the decision to quit — cold turkey no less — it was the least I could do not to blow smoke in his face while he suffered through weeks of nicotine withdrawal. He toughed it out, and even managed not to rip the heads off everyone within arm’s reach in the process. And so on this day, in celebration of his birthday and admiration of his undeniably difficult achievement, I raise a glass to him. After all, he didn’t give up drinking. Cuz that’s just crazy talk.