birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.


It was Trump's fault. I'd tried a few times, and sometimes it took for a month or so. I'd even promised two spouses that I would do it, had done it, was still doing it, and so on and so forth. I got really good at hiding that I still smoked.

And then November 8th. I didn't quit immediately, but it was just a couple of weeks. I realized that if I could do it *now*, when the world was clearly going to shit, that I could really do it. And if we were going to donate more to causes that were getting gutted and attacked, then I had to save what I spent on two or three packs a week.

I didn't get a patch this time. I'd tried that in Iraq. It didn't take. I didn't really want to quit then, I don't think. I think I was just bored and figured that I could use the change in scenery to my advantage. I hated it. Every stupid day of it. I don't remember how long I lasted, but I know it wasn't a month.

I didn't tell anyone for a little while this time. It helps that I was a largely secret smoker -- my co-workers knew, but no one at home. I *did* continue some of my old tricks, mostly the one where I go outside to take a phone call (everyone thinks that I just hate having anyone hear my conversations, which is in fact true).

I didn't change my habits or anything else this time. I just kept doing what I was doing. I walked a lot the first few days. A LOT. Kept moving, kept going, kept avoiding thinking about it, not that I actually avoided thinking about it.

The worst day was the Saturday. My wife went shopping and left me with the baby around 10 in the morning. Then she got lunch. Then she did some more shopping. For five hours. Five hours I was alone with the baby and no nicotine. It wasn't out of my system yet. I was still jonesing. Hard. I don't know how I managed to keep from running to the gas station. "Just one," my body was telling me. "Just one, and everything will feel better."

But I didn't. I haven't bummed one from my co-worker, even though I still go out for a break with her a few times a day. I haven't had a single one in seven months. Longest I've ever quit. I think it might last this time. I hope it does.

Inauguration Day was pretty hard, too, but fuck that guy. He's not going to help me or mine, so I had to. If spite is what it takes, we'll, then I'm a spite-quitter. Fuck him.

No politics

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