It's not the stressful event - a knock-down, drag-out fight with my editor, or a very public blunder in one of my news stories, or an expensive fender-bender - I am worried about.
It's the good things, and good times, that have ended previous quit attempts and will threaten this one, too. I just know it.
When I am feeling sentimental or victorious, my addiction tells me it's okay to have a smoke.
Treat yourself. You can have just one. Right?
That's what I thought a few years back, while I was having one of the best days of my career.
I was working for a small daily newspaper in southwest Mississippi.
I loved it down there. Especially the music.
I had become a big fan of a record label called Fat Possum Records.
One of the blues musicians who recorded with Fat Possum was playing in a nearby town. His name is Robert Cage. I went, saw him sitting and strumming for about an hour. The next day, I did some research and saw no one had written about him yet. So I called him up and asked for an interview.
Two days later, I was sitting on the stoop of a ramshackle juke joint, in the middle of the Mississippi woods, drinking beer, while this guy played song after song - for me. In between songs, he ruminated, in his guttural voice, on the history and future of blues music.
I couldn't believe where I was, or what I was doing. It felt surreal.
Then he pulled out a pack of smokes, opened it and offered one to me.
How could I resist?
(At that point, I had quit for a year.)
That one cigarette became another, and then another, and I smoked steadily until the middle of last month, when I quit and started this blog.
So, I guess what I'm saying is, for the sake of my health:
Let's hope nothing great happens.