Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

Smoking! I love it, I hate it. I’ve succeeded, I’ve failed. Right now, I’m going through an “I want to quit phase”, but I just can’t get up a strong enough desire. It requires total commitment, and I’m not sure I’m there yet.

I didn’t begin smoking until I was 20. My cousin visiting from Wisconsin, then in nursing school, taught me how to smoke. When I returned to college the following fall I took my growing habit with me and had friends who were already smokers — and it was more common place then and less frowned upon, or legislated against.

When I got pregnant at about 28, I quit smoking. Unfortunately I miscarried that time, but didn’t smoke again. I finally had my first baby in 1970 with three more in the next 5-1/2 years. In about 1995 someone offered me a cigarette, and I decided to take it. That’s a no-no. Smoking is an addiction, and once you’ve been addicted, you can’t go back. I was again hooked, and I’m still smoking.

I know I should quit — who smokes and doesn’t know that. I justify — a popular and self-defeating ploy — “I don’t smoke that much” (about 15 a day). “I don’t drink” (so I deserve another self-destructive habit?). I get A’s on my annual physical; I exercise and keep a busy schedule, even though I’m retired.

I’ve tried the tactic of setting a date to quit (several times), and it passes, because it just wasn’t the right time… When will be the right time?