I’ll Be Standing On The Sideline Praying

   Those of my generation remember the popular song with a country and western twang, “Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette; smoke, smoke, smoke and if you smoke yourself to death, meet St. Peter at the Golden Gates, say brother you just gotta wait, cause I just have to have another cigarette”.
   I still sing it occasionally when I see someone using tobacco, but it is not a feeling of disrespect, but one of caring. I still believe it is the right of every American to choose their hamburger and their tobacco. In my younger days I developed the habit. We had “Lucky Strikes”, “Chesterfield”, “Camels”, and “Old Gold”, which advertised, “We offer a treat not a treatment”. They buried most of their patients. I remember seeing the 13 CEO’S stand before a congressional committee of Congress and swore that smoking cigarettes was NOT ADDICTIVE. They lied, they lied, they lied!! I am told that one smoke takes off one hour of your life.
   Just imagine taking a hit from some drug twenty to forty times a day for five, ten, fifteen or twenty years and tell me that that drug is not addictive. Try just one year or six months or less and see the hold it has over you! I was a smoker, I was hooked at an early age, I know. My heart goes out to everyone that cannot ditch the addition. It takes “tough Love” and dedication.
   It wasn’t habit that caused me to pat my shirt pocket and pull out a cigarette. It was my body saying, “I want a hit and I want it now”. I began when I was 14. Later I was in a boarding school and we could buy a pack of Bugler tobacco with papers for five cents.  We would roll our own and the book matches were free. All around the Georgia school were tobacco growers and tobacco barns where the leaves were cured. Stacks of cured tobacco leaves were auctioned off every year. Just walk through the auction house place and get “high”.
   Having a summer job I could buy cigarettes by the carton…  Back then it was 20 cents a pack (one cent per cigarette). I was happy blowing smoke and all went well until I met the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. I was ambushed shanghaied! She was gorgeous, tall, stately, intelligent and beautiful. On the first date I pulled out my pack and lit up and blew smoke rings. She looked me straight in the eye and said “I don’t like that stuff, in fact I hate it”. I crushed it under my heel and said, “You know, I don’t like it either”. I lied, but that was the last cigarette that ever touched my lips. Everyone unfortunately doesn’t have such a powerful motive but I can still see a person light up and remember the addition I had that was pleasant to me. It’s the most powerful addition I believe than one can develop. The need grows from one pack to two or three. It’s the last thing you do at night and first thing you do in the morning. The non-user just doesn’t understand the power it holds.
   So what do I say to you, my reader, who is trapped so deeply in the habit?
   What magic word could I give that would help you “break the hold’ and ditch the addition?  I have never yet met a smoker that didn’t want to quit. You are well aware that if you break the bond now your body may be able to regenerate and negate at least sum of the damage that has already occurred. The day will come when Mother Nature will knock at your door. The price the she requires will be more than you want to pay.
   No one knows the hurt that second hand smoke can do to your children or your spouse or others in your family. When we were in real estate (on the side), we purchased a duplex where both apartments served single men who were chain smokers over a long period of time. We had to “kill” the walls and ceiling. The carpet and vinyl had to go along with  everything else. From top to bottom it had to be completely redone. Even the air-conditioner core had to be taken apart and purified. The smoke had infected every thing in the apartment.
   When you break the habit a new day appears. Then you will notice the physical, mental, emotional damage the addition brings. It will be the greatest of all physical and mental battle you will ever win. It completely changes life, not only for you but for all your loved ones and friends. To say it is easy is a lie. The body of flesh just does not cooperate in the process. It is a war and only you can win it. And when you do, I will be on the sidelines whooping and hollering when the battle is won and you are at last, smoke free. Many have tried and failed.
   The apostle Paul writes to you the following encouragement. “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary one to the other; so that you cannot do the things that you would. . . Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ . . . For I can do all things though Christ that strengths me” (Galatians 5:17-18; 6:2; Philippians 4:13,23).
   I’ll be standing on the sidelines praying for you. “Do it” and never, never, never, never look back. There are bright days ahead.


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