I had tried many times to stop smoking, but it never lasted more than a day before I was right back to it. I was now having problems breathing or walking up hills without becoming tired. I knew it was because of smoking. But how could I quit?
After all, I was buying two packs a day. I would break the filter off so I could get all the hard taste. Over all, I used 10 different brands during my years of smoking. But I had to find a way to stop.
My brother Willie had died at age 54 from lung cancer in November 1983. This gave me every reason to stop – or it should have.
I told people that I quit smoking cold turkey. That’s true, but where did I get the strength? Jehovah God gave it to me. I could never have done it on my own, because I had already tried many times, and it didn’t work. So surely a higher power was behind my success.
This is how it happened. I came home on Sunday, February 13, 1984, after an all-night drinking tour with so-called friends. It was midday, and my wife and all the kids were just on their way to the congregation meeting. Everyone looked so nice in their suits, and everyone greeted me. The girls all gave me a big hug and kiss on the cheek. So did my wife. She also said that dinner was ready on the stove, if I wanted to eat.
I felt awful watching them leave for the meeting without me. Not only should I have been with them, but I also should have been the leader. I was in a low state and didn’t feel good about not being with them. Now I was out of money, out of liquor, out of smokes.
By the time the family had returned home, I had cleaned myself up, but I could not bring myself to ask my wife for cigarette money. I said to myself, If I can only make it through this night without smoking, I will get money at my job tomorrow.
Well, it was hard. I even remember going out in the hallway, looking for loose butts so I could remove the tobacco and roll a cigarette in paper.
The morning came – I’d made it through the night without smoking. Now I could go to work and get money from the boss. But that did not work out either. My boss was broke; his wife had shopped over the weekend. That day we did not get even one cash-paying customer for the whole day, which was very unusual in that type of business.
The result of the day was that February 13, 1984, was the last day I had a cigarette in my mouth. Thanks to Jehovah God.
He gets credit for helping me quit smoking by the way things went. I may have stopped cold turkey, but he is the one who helped me keep it that way.