Reading Aloud in the Car Helped Ease my Nicotine Cravings

Deb Palmer

In 1992 my left lung collapsed (Pneumothorax). The doctors said it was common for this to happen to very thin, athletic types. At the time I was sickly thin at 105 lbs. but I'd never been anything close to athletic. Although they could not confirm that it was caused by decades of cigarette smoking which began prior to pubescent development at age 13, we all knew it was, at the very least, a suspect.

After a week in the hospital, they removed the air tube, slapped a nicotine patch on my arm, and sent me home. That’s when I learned the depth and breadth of my habit.

As antiques dealers, we went on road trips, frequently scouting for vintage treasures at estate sales and auctions. With shame, I admit to chain smoking in the car whether driving or riding shotgun. To be in the car without smoking was like cake without frosting or a lamp with no lightbulb. Full-blown tobacco addicts like myself find the aftermath of quitting as difficult as the initial shock. Once the withdrawals ease you must deal with the habits that have embedded long roots into your routines. Those include smoking after meals and after sex, lighting a smoke first thing in the morning or while drinking a cup of coffee, and many more. For me, sitting in the car with no smokes felt like I was starring in a slow-motion film. All I could think about was needing a cigarette.

After dusting the dash and sorting the glove box, I began reading a 1920s antique book we'd purchased at a yard sale that morning. It was called, Black Rock: A Tale of the Selkirks, by Ralph Connor. I laughed out loud when the miners in the book were swooning over a woman singing hymns. After that, I began reading the story to my husband and that's when we created a new habit of reading out loud to each other as we traveled down the road.

As simple as it sounds, it worked for me. We chose titillating books to help keep my mind off the cravings. Thirty-plus years later, I am still smoke-free. I don't need the distraction anymore but we kept the habit of road trip reading because it makes the time go by fast.

Here are ten tips from the Mayo Clinic to help you beat the cravings.

Quitting smoking: 10 ways to resist tobacco cravings

I doubt I'd be around today if I had not quit smoking. So, I can honestly say, I am grateful my lung collapsed.

Disclaimer: This article is only for entertainment and informational purposes. It is not intended to provide legal or medical advice. For more information, follow the linked references.

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Deb Palmer is the author of “In Spite of Us- A Love Story about Second Chances,” She resides in Yakima, Washington with her husband/co-author, Sandy. Deb publishes inspirational human interest stories, humor, and local antique finds and news.

Yakima, WA

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