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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Say hello to Frank, a new friend.

I warned you that this month was going to be a long, sometimes terrible, sometimes boring tribute to me, all because I quit smoking.  Here is the first post, it is about a man I admire, a lot.

There are many reasons people smoke, none of them justify the prohibitive cost, or, the enormous risk.  Yes, there are people who live long, more or less healthy lives smoking.  And there are people who survive train wrecks, plane crashes and gunshot wounds, who wants to roll those dice?

Smoking was a friend, to me, an old, dear friend, who was always there, as long as I had the money, and a light, and a place to smoke, that was all that was needed.  There are people who would dispute this, and say, "well, it was only a chemical reaction triggered by the addictive toxins in the smoke."  Maybe, but, hey, they should get their own blog.

Anyway, if I wanted to quit, one key would be to replace an old friend, with some new friends.  I did this by joining a smoking cessation forum.  It was a great place, and offered unlimited support, and sound, researched advice and methods all designed to help you succeed.

In the forum, you join a group of people who quit the same month as you, and that becomes your main line of help, though there are plenty of other options, and most people take advantage of more than one.  In my group, there was a gentleman, named Frank, he was like the guardian angel of our little family.

Frank seemed to be omnipresent, when somebody was going through difficulty here came Frank.  A few kind words, a small bit of advice, and a breath of fresh air, delivered with the compassion of Alan Alda, with the brevity of John Wayne.  We all admired Frank.  He was the man.

I had to know more, so I read his first post, and looked into his forum past a little.  It turns out smoking has cost Frank almost everything.  But, you couldn't tell.  I will not go into his health, mostly out of respect for the man.  But, I will say, with all he has been through and goes through his offers of friendly support and advice are even more amazing.

Some time ago Frank started a journal on the forum, where he talks about the costs associated with smoking, costs he understands so well.  His posts are powerful, and his pain comes through in elegant, short sentences, delivering reason after reason after reason to quit smoking.  There is no end to the dangers of smoking, and most of them have visited Frank, and when he details them, people listen.  His suffering and pain, offered as incentive.

He shares his agony, and his fears so freely to help others.  And then he apologizes, he does not want to sound like a complainer.  But, people respond to Frank, he is an icon on the forum now, and I consider him a friend and an inspiration.