I am feeling cranky.

It’s not that it’s the Christmas season. I generally like the Christmas season.

It’s true that I’m feeling all kinds of crankiness and stress over all the things I have to do that I don’t know how I will find the time to do. Between my work hours, the children, and my husband’s work hours — oh, and my love of a full night (between 7 and 8 hours) of sleep — and all I want to get done… sigh. I just don’t know what to do. Plus a small health issue (not the one below); plus the tedious busy-ness at work; plus unusual side drama…. yadda, yadda, yadda.

The real issue on my plate lately is this: I am addicted to cigarettes. And I cannot seem to find my way into wanting to quit, let alone quitting.

And this, clearly, is a problem.

Because cigarette smoking is bad. Unhealthy. Smelly. Inconvenient, now that winter is here and most places are non-smoking. Embarrassing, even. I mean who wants to stand out in the cold indulging in a bad habit?

I do not smoke in my house. I do not smoke around my children at all. I do not smoke at all, as a matter of fact, until I am “done for the day”. Meaning, I have no more chores, no more laundry to fold, no more kitchen cleaning. I finish up for the night, grab a book, grab a smoke, bundle up (embarrassing), and go outside for my lone cigarette of the day. And about 20 to 30 minutes later, I go to bed.

I have quit many times before. Three pregnancies aside, I can count about five other times I have stopped smoking for months or years. I kept telling myself that I would quit again this winter. Because it’s idiotic to go outside in the cold to smoke. And since Allegheny County technically has gone non-smoking, it’s not as if I can wander to the nearest bar or restaurant to indulge. (Which would be challenging in any case — I’d have to find a babysitter and all.)

Since the weather has changed, I have gone a few days here and there without a smoke. I think I even made it to about 10 days at one point since, say, October. I smoked one night over Thanksgiving weekend (we met some friends at a non-smoking bar). Two cigarettes.

And when I don’t smoke, or I don’t have cigarettes in the house, I stress about it. I miss it. I crave it.

I keep telling myself not to buy that next pack. But then I do. And about 20 days later, they are all gone. And I go a few days without smoking. And tell myself not to buy that next pack. And then I do.

Anyone else ever in this situation? What did you do? What do you do? It’s obviously as much as a habit as an addiction. It’s like checking something off my to-do list. Kids in bed, check. Laundry, check. Dishwasher running, check. Nicotine fix, check. Half hour of reading, check. Wash face, brush teeth, bed.

I actually feel good about writing this post. I feel like it’s a positive step in freeing myself from this addiction. Isn’t that the first step, admitting you have a problem?

Hi, my name is Red Pen Mama, and I am a smoke-a-holic.