The psychologist said, “Don’t make smoking a battlefield.” So instead I have tried both logic and feelings to explain the negative impact that smoking has on our family. I have even shamelessly tried manipulation. I have lost every time. I don’t know what to do to any more.
I even ask you what I should do. “I want to do the right thing for our family and I believe that is to get you to want to stop smoking.” I say to you. “What should I do to do the right thing?”
I could physically prevent you from smoking. That’s not my first or my second or my twenty-ninth approach, but I did try it too and that just led our conversation to an argument and from an argument to silence. It didn’t work.
I tried bargaining with you over the tattoo. “Wait 29 days of no smoking and then get it.” I suggest. You wouldn’t take me up on it. I refused to help you outside. You tried any way. I was right behind to pick you up off the ground. You were shook up but you still wanted to smoke.
You said on the weekend that you wanted a mulligan for a day. Then it was two days. Now it’s been four days of smoking, one cigarette for the last three days and two today. By enabling your mulligan, I have allowed the slippery slope to take over.
I should have never caved to your way of thinking. Your logic sounded good at the time. You said that since you never chose not to smoke eight months ago, then allowing you a mulligan will enable you to officially choose not to smoke. I am mad at myself because I knew that the best defense to not smoking was that you had a streak going. Now the streak is gone, your willpower is gone.
You think I hate you. I try to explain that I don’t hate you … I hate the smoking. There is a big difference. I never knew you as a smoker. I knew you as a wonderful father and friend and husband. That is who I love and who I want you to be now. You created expectations for me by concealing the smoking. I don’t think of you as a smoker.
The mental image of you with a cigarette in your hand or hanging from your mouth is burned into my mind now. I can’t shake the picture loose. I don’t like the picture and I pray that Tara and Quinn never see you like that.
I have to give you credit. We agreed last week that there would be no smoking in the house. When I refused to take you outside to smoke tonight, you could have lit up in the kitchen ... but you didn’t. And last night, when I was especially stressed out about Mum not doing well in the hospital, you choose to be a wonderful husband and said that I should go see Mum and you promised to stay in bed and not smoke while I was gone. You were true to your word.
Why do I hate smoking so much. Maybe because my Father smoked a lot. I believe that the cigarettes robbed his mind from us in the last years before his death. I don’t want our children having the same experience with their Father.