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Thursday, December 17, 2015

I killed my best friend

As a result of a recent lung scan I was informed that I have signs of pulmonary emphysema, most likely the result of age and a past history of smoking. I smoked for 40 years and quit 17 years ago this coming February. I was told by the technician who did the scan that it means no more damage was done after I quit. It doesn't mean the damage already done will fix itself.I am grateful that there are no other signs of lung damage and my condition simply causes a problem with low oxygen from time to time. I accept it as a reminder of not only how stupid I was to smoke, but how smart I was to follow my intuition back in 1999. If I hadn't quit smoking things could be a lot worse.

In 2006 I wrote an article on this subject for a youth group in the hopes that the young readers might get my message. This morning I am sharing it with you in the hopes that it might help others to begin the new year smoke free.


For a variety of reasons I grew up having very little self-esteem. When I graduated from high school I had no clue what I was supposed to do with the rest of my life. I had been an average student who finished school because it was expected. At 19 I was a very lonely person who desperately needed a best friend.

The friend I choose for the next forty years was three inches tall, smelled bad, controlled my life and led me in the direction of poor health. The relationship was what would be considered abusive today. At the beginning nobody warned me of danger and in all those years nobody offered to help me let go of my destructive companion.

There were of course, those who shook their heads and fingers at me making rude comments about how disgusting this relationship was. They probably thought they were helping, but they only made me angry and caused me to stubbornly refuse to let go.

Seven years ago I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw. I decided I did not deserve to be controlled by an object that could not possibly move from my hand to my mouth without my help. I realized I was the only one who could end the relationship and I have never been sorry that I did.

Believe me when I say, the only way you will successfully stop smoking or any other negative addiction is to become self centered and care about yourself. Whoever you are, believe that you are a valuable person who deserves the very best life has to offer.

There are people around you who want to help you quit smoking. The hardest thing you have to do is learn to care about yourself and be willing to accept their help. I know from personal experience that once you do that the rest is a breeze.

Do you really want a best friend who is three inches tall, smells bad, controls your life and is leading you in the direction of poor health and perhaps death? If the answer is no, follow my example and give yourself permission to live the healthy life you deserve.

Originally written by inspirational author, Barbara Loure`Gunn, and published in the New Mexico YEAH TIMES (Youth Empowerment Advocacy Heroes newsletter) in 2006.

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