When I was in my early twenties I used to work at a pharmacy. My job (besides reading books) consisted of me selling cigarettes and lottery tickets. All day long I would hand out peoples vice’s in the form of pick 5 tickets and camel lights. My coworkers would call my little area the “sin counter”. The cool thing about the sin counter was all my customers for the most part were awesome. They were addicted to their vice and I provided it so they were always happy to see me. Because I tend to talk to everybody I got to know some of them really well.
One customer I’ll call Pete came in twice a week and always ordered a carton of cigarettes. It was like clockwork every Monday and Friday. I would have his cigarettes waiting for him before he even arrived. We would talk about sports, life, and anything else we could think of before another patron showed up. We went through this routine for about two years, until one day Pete disappeared.
That Monday he didn’t do his regular pick up and Friday came and went with no sign of Pete. I figured he was away on vacation, but the next week he was still missing in action. I started to worry that something happened to him and even asked the guy who worked the morning shift if he saw Pete in the store. The answer was no. About a month later I was reading behind the counter when Pete walked in.
I jumped up and went to reach for his cigarettes when he said, “No cigarettes today my friend”. He told me that he quit a month ago. I said congrats and asked him what nicotine patch he was wearing. He smiled lifted up his sleeve and informed me that he wasn’t wearing any. I knew Pete’s story well, he was in his mid forties and had been smoking since he was fourteen years old. I’m not great at math but I know that’s somewhere around thirty years of smoking. Throw in the fact that cigarettes contain nicotine, which is a highly addictive substance that actually affects the brain, and you could understand my disbelief.
Pete must have read my face because the next sentence he said has stayed with me ever since. Pete said, “I woke up one morning and said enough is enough, so I quit”. It was one of my first examples of how powerful our minds are. It made me realize that we all possess this weapon that we can use for or against us. A focused mind could accomplish miracles. Being addicted to something for that long and just stopping in my opinion was a miracle.
We don’t realize that we can stop or start anything we want at anytime. The same way our brain gets us hooked it can unhook us. The solution is in the problem, and the problem for the most part in those types of situations is how we think. When you develop a habit good or bad it becomes routine. The routine can be broken just as easily as it was started. Pete showed me that the mind is limitless; we can do what ever we believe we can do.