Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to quit smoking in 30 days by Dante Luz Viacrucis

I am posting the letter my dad sent to to help our incoming President and all others on how to quit smoking.


Dear [incoming President] Noynoy, all smokers and all concerned:                   

25 May 2010
Subject: How to quit smoking in 30 days

I am a 66-year-old RTC judge in Agusan del Sur who used to smoke one and a half packs or 30 cigarettes daily for 40 years until I kicked what I call Dante’s Inferno on New Year’s Day of year 2000. I have not smoked for over 11 years. 

I had tried countless ways to quit, rightly fearing that smoking made me more pre-disposed to cancer. Both my parents died in their 50s of the Big C, as well as a grandmother and an aunt, although none of them smoked. How much more me?

The many techniques I tried had varying degrees of effectiveness, none lasting. I tried the water cure, candy substitutes, patches, cold Turkey. The longest period I was able to quit was three months in 1986, when your mother, our iconic President Cory Aquino, appointed me OIC-Mayor of our town in Palompon, Leyte, but then a fiend of a friend egged me on over drinks: “Come on, just one stick would do no harm!” The one stick pried open again my smoky Pandora’s box.

Then the Y2K approached. I mused: why not make it the target? If I could not help myself to quit smoking on this  once-in-a-thousand-year occasion, then nobody and nothing can. I devised my line of attack, which I now call Dante’s Thesis: reduce by one stick daily over 30 days.

I started off 30 days before Y2K or on December 2, 1999, the eve of our town fiesta. Before sleeping the night before, I had set aside only 29 sticks of cigarettes as my quota for the following day, which came and went with hardly any withdrawal symptoms. Then only 28 sticks the next day, then 27 until I realized with ecstatic disbelief that I was setting aside on the night of December 24 only 7 sticks for Christmas Day!

There were times when tantalized by recurrent cravings I almost gave up, but then I learned to visualize my spasms as the incarnation of an ugly detractor in a Trojan Horse. This enabled me to instantly unhorse him.                             

Almost incredibly, I had only one stick for New Year’s Eve, which I lighted a few minutes before midnight after throwing away my remaining cigarettes and lighters. Seconds before midnight, I emoted with matching ceremony before my expectant audience – my wife, two kids and a house help: deeply drawing my last puff, I declaimed: Be gone, Satan! Then I flicked down the poor stub and repeatedly stomped over it as if it were a black widow or other poisonous arachnids, as the year 2000 exploded in great fireworks, heralding the New Millennium and a new, smoke-free Me!     

            In your case, soon-to-be-President Noynoy (and other smokers), assuming you consume one and a half packs a day, you could start on June 1 with 29 sticks, reducing by one stick a day, so that you would have only one stick by and for June 29. By noon of the following day we would then witness the inaugural of a corruption-free and smoke-free President leading a grateful nation to a new Camelot!

  Dante Luz N. Viacrucis