I’m currently undergoing a total physical and spiritual detox. At least, I’m trying to. I was so determined that today was the day I would quit smoking. Again. I’ve been convicted of it before, but it’s especially striking at my heart now that I’m back at my old Kentucky home. Yes, you read that right. And I got some singin’ to do, but this smoke is hurting much more than just my voice. So it’s time to kick the habit. Again, again.

I made it three hours.

I don’t know who among my readers have quit smoking or tried. If you aren’t one of those readers, let me shed the same light to it that I shed on Facebook: You’ve heard it’s hard. But how hard is it? Imagine that you’ve eaten the last potato chip in the canister. The very last one. And then you remember that you can’t eat just one. You know that craving you get for a food after just one bite? Multiply that by about four million. When you’re willing to beat up an old lady for her Pringles can, or tear open an empty bag from the garbage can and lick the greasy crumbs off the inside, that’s when you know.

My mom smoked for over thirty years and finally quit. This is how she did it, and I thought it was genius. For two or three months, while she was quitting, she allowed herself to eat anything and everything she wanted. No matter what it was. Then after she kicked the habit for good, she started hitting the gym. Her before and after pictures are awesome. So, credit to mom.

That won’t work for me. I have a problem with food. If I tried to replace smoking with eating, I’d eat this entire state. Not just the food here. I’d eat Kentucky from the muddy rivers up to the mountains. I’d make history books. Fifth graders fifty years from now would be reading about the hungry hungry hippo who created the great hole in the east. Kids would be encouraged to please keep smoking, for the love of the remaining 49 states.

Someone on Facebook advised me to replace smoking with something besides food. She said, “Try jogging.” Right. Because when someone offers me a cigarette, I’d much rather go get sweaty and miserable. I did well in Tennessee with dropping weight and going to the gym, praise God. But there’s no gym within 50 miles of me anymore. Someone else suggested an electronic cigarette. No. Because I’d have that cartridge unscrewed doing nicotine shots in a dark alley.

Either way you look at it, this is going to be tough. I had no idea how hooked I really was until I went just three hours without it. Three. Have I been smoking that much? Really? I don’t remember the first time I quit being this hard. At this rate, I’m going to be curled up in the fetal position underneath the house by sundown just on the first day. I’m definitely not looking forward to this…

“Why tell us all this, Jessie? What’s the point?” I’ll tell you. Very soon, I’m going to be starting a five-part series called Cussing in Church. It’s going to be about some very deep, personal issues that you’ll rarely hear a pastor discuss. Many are too afraid of the congregation’s reaction or being offensive, or they just don’t want to. One of those issues is going to be tobacco and substance usage. Other topics are going to be centered on sexual issues, social issues, and mental health.

Stay tuned, kids. The internet is iffy since moving back home, so I’ll be starting the series as soon as possible. Expect the first post to be within the week, and we’ll start with addictions. See you again soon!

(On a serious note… If anyone has ever survived this nightmare, please offer your ideas and advice. I welcome it, because I know I can’t do this one alone. Advice and prayers would be awesome.)

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