I made it...I really did...this is my "forever" quit and at 69 years of age, I can't tell you how many times I've "stopped smoking". Dozens of times. Closet smoker some of the time. Smoked only at work some of the time. Smoked only at home some of the time. Rarely made it to three months, though I quit when I was 23 for quite a few years and then started again to lose weight for a lover who smoked thinking I could "quit again anytime". Quit without a problem when I was pregnant with my two daughters but first thought after two difficult deliveries was "GIVE ME A CIGARETTE".
Joined Nicotine Anonymous and my shares helped others quit but I just couldn't get it together. I actually married a man who didn't know I smoked. Joined EX in 2009 and made good friends there who I'm still Facebook friends with...they quit and I kept relapsing. I would have had 10 years..
What was different this time...
*I was really sick of the whole deal...as they say in another recovery program, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Didn't really enjoy it anymore, smoked because I had to. Even that first cigarette in the morning, the one we really "enjoy" because our bodies are in withdrawal, would just zap my energy and leave me feeling tired. I started noticing that...
*Didn't want to die a smoker. Old people who smoke looked really gross to me and no matter what I looked like or how I fooled myself, I was an old woman who smoked. I'm even older now, lol, but I don't smoke
*I was spending $5/day on organic cigarettes...I couldn't afford to spend that kind of money on something that doesn't contribute to my quality of life.
*I loved the "new" EX and came back. Made a couple of false starts but DIDN'T GIVE UP.
*I made quitting smoking THE TOP PRIORITY IN MY LIFE. Nothing was going to be more important: my weight, my relationships, nothing.
*Cold turkey works for me. I found a scrip for nicotine patches from 2015 yesterday. Patches didn't work for me...they burned and itched and I would take one off and smoke. Lozenges I tried, too, and gum. Wellbutrin helps, but it helps me with depression, too, and so I take it if I need it. I didn't take it when I quit smoking a year ago.
*A little thing, but I think it is significant: I had my last cigarette at night, to get a head start on withdrawing while I was sleeping. Every other time I would stop smoking I would have my last cigarette in the morning, which meant I would get a last "fix" when I really "needed" one. I would suck on the last cig with my morning coffee like I was heading to the electric chair, romancing it, saying goodbye with dread for what I was going to be facing (God knows I had had plenty of DAY ONES, HELL WEEK, etc., etc., to know!)
*I came here and wrote about how I was feeling and doing...the good, the bad and the ugly. The self-pity, the anxiety, the pain, the fear, the revelations--I wrote about it all and my EX friends listened and understood and supported me and lifted me up. And when I felt that I didn't want to visit because I just didn't want to think about smoking at all, I did that, too. And then came back because I missed the sense of community and the friends I had made here and all the wonderful wisdom from people who have gone before me and know how hard it is. And the newer folks who were taking their first steps on this amazing challenging journey of self-discovery and growth. And when I couldn't type much because of a broken laptop I still came to LISTEN AND LEARN, and give a little input when I could.
I COULD NOT HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT YOU.
So...I've got a new laptop which I set up today--can't believe I did something techie without smoking a zillion cigarettes, but I didn't even think about it at the time. I could buy another 3 laptops and a printer with the $ I saved not smoking.
I weigh the same as I did a year ago.
I have gone through a lot of "stuff" without smoking. Smoking doesn't help and a lot of times it made it so much worse because I would relapse and then feel bad about whatever was going on AND about going back to smoking.
I LIKE MYSELF A WHOLE LOT MORE...something I really didn't think about until recently.
Everyone's life journey is their own, and everyone's quit is their own. Two things that really worked for me are the black pepper sunflower seeds (which I still like to snack on) and smoking "natural" cigarettes before quitting. For me, the withdrawal from Marlboros was much, much more difficult than the withdrawal from American Spirits. The emotional dependency was the same and had to be dealt with in both cases, but the physical withdrawal was easier with cigarettes that didn't contain a lot of additional chemicals...at least for me.
Right now I feel content. It is really storming outside, the electricity even went out for awhile. My tiny home is cozy and warm...oh my, I just realized I would probably smoking inside tonight with a couple windows cracked and then wonder if my hair smelled like smoke tomorrow at work (I have had my current job since March....haven't had a job as a nonsmoker since I taught English in Japan in my early 20's over FORTY years ago).
I'm rambling now...and sleepy...and grateful for EX...and proud of myself. But I will remain vigilant. Those nicotine receptors that I created in my brain with my addiction are still there, waiting to be fed. If a craving or "desire" comes out of the blue, I will think of it as one of those starving receptors wanting to be fed and I won't give in. If something unforeseen happens and my quit gets shaky, I won't hesitate to come here FIRST. I NEVER WANT TO SMOKE AGAIN. N.O.P.E. and "I don't do that anymore" and all the tools that are available to me, I WILL USE.
My one concern these days is my relationship with my best friend, who is a heavy smoker and who has never tried to quit. We don't see each other that often as our schedules are different, but the last few times her smoking really seemed to dominate our time together...when we smoked together of course it didn't matter, but now....only time will tell. I love her and want to keep her as a friend, but her addiction just shows me how we can always justify smoking when we are in the throes of denial. It is really, really sad that she doesn't seem to see how her health issues are all related to her smoking, but who can tell a practicing addict anything. And who am I to judge: I've been there, too. I just hope someday she will see the truth.
That's it from me. I just wanted to blog on my "big day", to capture my feelings and to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have helped me get here. I did the work, but I couldn't have been successful without YOU.
Aloha nui, dear friends and fellow travelers,