DUSTIN: As early as I can remember, I was against smoking. My mother and father both smoked when I was born, and it was a normal piece of my life growing up. I hated everything about it. The smell is disgusting, it takes too much time, makes a mess, and costs way too much. I just could not comprehend why anyone would smoke......until I turned 13!
I was now a "teenager" and had to act like one. I remember turning 14 and quitting football for work as a paper delivery kid. I started finding school difficult. I was in the seventh grade at this point. I had many friends that seem to be entering this "Punk" phase. They started listening to some heavier rock, alternative punk and grunge music, piercing their bodies, wearing chains attached everywhere, coloring their hair, and more rebellious dumb ideas we came up with as kids. Smoking was introduced at this point in my life.
I remember by 15, I was the coolest kid in town (in my head). I had baggy JNCO jeans, both ears pierced, a wallet attached to my earrings, and a green pager (mom was the only one with my number). In my pocket was my pack of smokes and lighter. It seemed like all my friends smoked, and I was no different. There was never any peer pressure cast upon me, but I remember picking on straight edged people and pressuring some of my fellow peers to "try a drag". From there on out, I loved smoking til my mid 20's and never thought I'd quit. I didn't want to. It was cool, it was part of me.
When I turned 30 years old, I was not in a good place. I changed my lifestyle because I didn't like where I was heading. I started changing small things in my life, but always held on to my tobacco! NO MATTER WHAT! Something needed to change, and Doug Bentley walked over to me and asked, "Have you heard about my tongue?"