Commentary

July 25, 2013

Slowest of suicides

Commentary by Airman Ryan Conroy
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) – I’ve been slowly killing myself for the past three years. I intentionally inhale toxins that destroy my lungs and heart. I smoke cigarettes.

But, I’m quitting — again.

According to the health and wellness center’s tobacco cessation class, the average smoker will attempt to quit five to seven times before achieving success.

This will be my third attempt.

To this day, I still tell people I smoke to be social and network. But, the truth is that I like the feeling of breathing in the smoke and letting it all go. For me, smoking may be the easiest way to reduce stress instantaneously. It also has the most severe consequences.

The Center for Disease Control states adverse health effects from cigarette smoking account for more than 440,000 deaths, or nearly one of every five deaths, each year in the United States.

My grandparents were examples of those deadly statistics. My grandfather died of emphysema and my grandmother of lung cancer. My mother described their experience as “suffocating to death.”

Yet, those facts never really bothered me because they never adversely affected me.

What finally influenced me was that I would be out of breath after walking up a flight of stairs, the stares and snarky remarks I would get from nonsmokers and the smell that perpetually permeated every piece of clothing I owned. None of these characteristics are attractive to say the least. This is the motivation that I hope will drive me throughout the rest of this quitting process.

Recently, the first lieutenant in my office would pester my supervisor and me every single time we would go for a smoke break. “You know you’re killing yourself, right?” and, “Seriously Airman Conroy, you need to smoke again?”

She encouraged me to go to the HAWC for a class on quitting smoking and finally I gave in.

During the class, the instructor informed the class on the health risks, talked about nicotine replacement therapy and gave us the tools to quit for good.

I then realized I needed a life change.

Instead of smoking every time I get a little stressed out, I intend to do sets of pushups. The dollars I would have spent on cigarettes are now going into a travel fund. I figure the little rewards will help me maintain my mental strength through adversity.

When I hit my lowest moments, and desperately crave a smoke, I know that I have a support system in the office through my supervisor, who decided to quit with me, and my first lieutenant who couldn’t be happier for the both of us.

I don’t want to end up like my grandparents — because let’s be honest– smoking is just a really slow suicide.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Advise Airmen of rights before asking questions

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. — Every day supervisors are faced with challenging scenarios and situations that require them to engage in efforts to help their Airmen. When this engagement is due to a negative act such as theft, damage to property or other possible legal violations, we must resist the instinct to question them...
 
 

Eliminating stigma: A leadership responsibility

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — As a child, a close relative of mine committed suicide. In those days, mental health was only discussed in hushed tones and little support was available. I was shaped by this experience and in my military career, I have tried to create an environment where people feel comfortable discussing their problems and...
 
 

New form second chance to do EPRs right

Without fail, every time I am around a group of young NCOs, there is one subject guaranteed to come up — the enduring question of “How can I write a stronger EPR for my Airman?” My answer to this question is fairly standard and is one that a chief shared with me many years ago....
 

 
CDOS_pict

Summer safety campaign wraps up

Langley AFB, Va. — As summer wraps up and it becomes time to put away the jet skis and grills, it is important to remember that safety should remain a priority throughout the year. The summer safety campaign is intended t...
 
 

The JAG Corps announces law school programs: FLEP, ELP

Applications for the Funded Legal Education Program and Excess Leave Program are being accepted from Jan. 1 through March 1, 2015.  Interested officers are encouraged to compete. The number of FLEP and ELP applicants selected n any academic year is determined based on the needs of the Air Force. “Our Air Force missions are constantly...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Krystie Martinez)

Summer burnout

Langley Air Force Base, Va. — Some of the very things we enjoy during the summer can also wear us down. Juggling work, family schedules, vacation times, and outdoor squadron activities can take a toll. The chronic engagem...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin