Breaking The Nicotine Habit: My Mother’s New Year’s Resolution

As her new year’s resolution, my mom had voiced that she wanted to stop smoking. Such a thing came as a surprise to me, because she has been so resistant to it in the past. Since I was a child, I had asked her to stop, but even then she didn’t bother trying, and to be honest, I’ve always held that against her.

This past December, my brother had suggested that she actually start before the new year. She took him up on that advice, and attempted to quit, without the aid of a nicotine patch or gum. At first she limited herself to one cigarette per day, then she took the step of not using cigarettes at all.

I must say that it was horrible being around her. She was extremely irritable and just downright mean, and I was avoiding her whenever I possibly could. Her venting became hard to listen to, seeing that her thoughts were so hostile toward everything and everyone, whether they be deserving of it or not. I was very proud of her for quitting, but this was a side of her I didn’t want to see.

My mom has been smoking since she was about 13 years old. Her father’s girlfriend had gotten angry with her over a particular incident, and forced her to smoke. Now in her early 50s, this is the first time (since I’ve been alive) that she’s tried quitting. Her nicotine habit has been a tough one, seeing that she didn’t even stop for either one of her pregnancies, or when she found out that I had asthma. She’s not a bad mother, but I feel sorry for her because her dependency on nicotine has been so strong, she could not and would not stop for the well being of her children.

But just a few days into the new year, I walked by her room, only to see a pack of cigarettes resting on her nightstand, and she looking up at me while smoking one of them. I said to her in a very pissed tone, “Oh, you started again?” And she just looked at me with a sort of look that would just breathe out, “So?”

I had tried my best to encourage her, but I can’t blame myself because her will became weak and she fell off the wagon. I’m sort of angry with her for giving in so easily, and that almost makes me want to say forget it and not even care about her problem. Some people are too stubborn to change, and I’m not sure what would ever make her stop. Lung cancer? Emphysema? She doesn’t care if I have an asthma attack over her second-hand smoke. I just hope she would take responsibility for her own health. I would never wish any sickness on my own mother, but if that’s what it takes for her to stop, then so be it.

If she wants to try again, I will try to put my feelings aside and help her, but I can’t help her if she doesn’t help herself.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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