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To Have the Best Life Give the Best of Yourself to Life

'Integrity' highlighted in green

For twenty two years I was a slave to cigarettes. Some days I smoked two packs. Back then it was like each day I set a $5 bill a day on fire. Not to mention the constant coughing, bad breath, horrible smelling clothing, reoccurring bronchitis, and inability to walk up a flight of stairs without having to rest. I was only in my early forties and I was terrified of dying. Yet, day after day, year after year, I continued to justify smoking. Just like any addiction, smoking was my way of stuffing emotional pain so with each inhale I sucked in more self-hatred, denial, and disappointment.

While I hated being under the control of a tiny white tube of tobacco, I believed I was too weak-willed to quit. Until one day it hit me. I was NOT weak at all. I was strong for having successfully survived all of the other challenges life brought me. No, I was not weak, but fearful what life would be like and who I would be without the emotional crutch I’d used for over two decades.

Accepting the fact I was using cigarettes to avoid opening up to loving and respecting myself, was the game-changing aha.  The truth is, no matter how painful my life had been, intentionally continuing to hurt myself was even more painful. A little over fifteen years ago, at 9 p.m. on a Sunday evening, I put cigarettes down for good.

When we finally decided to love ourselves and do whatever it takes to accomplish a goal we will succeed.  It begins with an intentional choice to stop allowing something to control us. Then we start controlling ourselves because to have the best life we must give the best of ourselves to life.