I have a feeling that I'm catching onto my personal circumstances that contributed to how I have come to my own quit. Which all takes place over many years. I've been putting the pieces together. I still haven't got all the answers, but can now see some of the steps that led me to today (Smober: 2W 1D 12h 48m 39s). And of course everyones circumstances are different, but if my story helps anyone in anyway, I'll be glad. I'll begin with some history.
My first cigarette was a Camel no filter. I was just 10 years old. Everyone in the family smoked. I snuck a pack from my mom's carton and took it to my bedroom (no one would notice or suspect a 10 y/o, right?), opened the window and lit up. I didn't actually inhale though. I just puffed it into my mouth and blew it out. I had two of these smokes before the pack was discovered and confiscated. Then one day after dinner, my parents decided to "teach me a lesson" and made me smoke two of the cigarettes in front of them at the dinner table. So I cried and faked coughing, etc. just to try and get the humiliation over with. I think that kept me away from the demons (the cigarettes, not my parents) for a couple of years, until peer pressure set in.
About age 12 or 14 I inhaled my first cigarette. I was hiding out in the neighborhood with a couple of friends, and we lit up our cigarettes. One friend watched me suck the smoke into my mouth (like I did at age 10), and blow it out. She asked, "how come you don't inhale it"? I was like, "huh?, I did!" (You see, I thought that inhaling was like I was doing, and not inhaling would be to blow INto the filter. LOL) She said, "no, like this", and showed me how it was done. I'll never forget that moment. That moment when I thought to myself, "are you kidding me!? Into your lungs!?" And so I thought that if they can do, I can too. That was the real beginning of my addiction. I sat and smoked two of them, and was really dizzy when I stood up. LOL Not sure what brand they were but I do remember we often would smoke either Marlboro reds, Kools, Salems, Newport or some other brands I can't think of right now. But they all had filters. lol
Naturally, I had no clue how addictive these things were, let alone how bad for our health. By age 16, mom and dad knew that I smoked and I knew that they knew, but I always hid it. Until one day, while I was riding in the back seat of the car, they lit up in the front and I leaned forward and said to them, "Since you both know that I smoke, I may as well smoke in front of you, right?" (knowing that age 16 was a good age for asking this question). That's when the smoking increased. They agreed, and I lit up. I probably didn't even smoke every single day until I was able to smoke in front of them. It easly led to a pack a day. As a side note, I remember at about age seventeen buying a carton for $4.95. Wow.
Yes, I had been told that cigarettes are addicting, but I really had no clue. By age 18, I had decided that I will quit... when I want to. Then after getting a little educated on the addiction, I decided that I wanted to quit before I turned 30. Yeah, right. By that time, my addiction was much stronger and I was up to 1 1/2 packs a day. I had tried a couple of times, but didnt even last a day. Smoked right on through both pregnacies, thinking very little of it. Smoked in my house all the time. Everything smelled yucky, but ya got used to it I guess.
Years went by. Cigarettes controlled me more and more. And I knew it. I was always pretty good at being truthful to myself (which I think helps in quitting). I would continually plan my days and life around cigarettes. Get a job where I could smoke on my breaks, became an entrepreneur (my own boss), and have been working from home now for years.
THEN, things began to happen. My son was about ten years old and was learning in school about how awful smoking is. He also had seen me try to quit before, too. He suddenly began pitching fits when I would smoke in the house. He hated that I smoked and that I was hurting my health, but he also didn't want the second hand smoke in the house. How could I argue with him when I know he is right? It eventually pushed me outside to smoke. MY HABIT CHANGED right there. It took some time. I would try to sneak one in my bedroom upstairs and open the window, but he would smell it and have a fit (was kinda funny, but not). I remember that one of the main times I wanted to smoke was while I was on the computer. But I got used to being on the computer without, and having to step outside to smoke. I hated just standing outside wasting time doing nothing (except smoking). And many times the Michigan weather would be freezing, windy or rainy.
When mom died suddenly (arotic aneurysm), I was so depressed and my smoking increased. I felt as though I was trying to smoke as much as she used to (which was a lot). As if I were subconsciously trying to join her! At the time, I had a contractor job at a place where I could smoke, and I found myself up to 2 1/2 packs a day. I got angry and decided to make changes. I got rid of that nasty negative contractor job (that in itsself was unhealthy for me), and just started working mainly from home, and actually quit smoking for a whole 33 days while using Chantix. But the Chantix kept making me nauseous and I stopped taking it and started smoking again. I couldn't quit thinking about cigarettes. To tell you the truth, in hindsight, I think I put all the weight on the Chantix and not enough on myself, my beliefs, and my mind.
So I creeped back up to smoking regular again. Probably a pack or more a day. But it gradually went down a little. I was taking Welbutrin for anxiety and depression, and my cigarettes were down to about 10 to 15 per day. Maybe partly due to the Welbutrin, but also some habit changes. It got old having to go outside every single time, especially if it were storming or freezing cold. I started going out and smoking just a 1/2 cigarette at a time. Since I was home all the time, I knew I could go back out anytime I felt like it, so 1/2 one would do me just fine. And being on the computer actually helped. It became a distraction for me. It would keep my mind and hands busy and I learned to be okay on it without the cigarette.
I decided that I've reached an age (54) that if I did not quit soon, it could really start to affect me in so many different ways that I'm not willing to accept. So I decided to tell the doc I want to quit and make a plan. Planning helped a lot. The healthcare system worked well for me in this matter. The counselor and a pharmacist are both at my doctors office, too. While I was talking to the counselor about the plan, the pharmacist came in and joined our conversation about my quit smoking plan. It was great.
I decided I wanted to cut down gradually and use the patch, and have the gum on the side for emergencies. In the mean time, I began to get more educated and boy does THAT make all the difference! That's the first thing I would tell someone wanting to quit. Read all you can about the nicotine addiction.
Anyway, I was all set up with the nicotine patch plan of 8 weeks or something like that (maybe longer), and had the gum. I was only smoking about 10 to 15 cigs a day to start. The first week I cut to 8 a day. The next week 6, then 5, 4, 3, ect. In the mean time, I chose a quit day of Christmas. The timing was fairly close anyway, and I thought it would make for an easy to remember quit day. Part of the plan was making changes in my habits, deep breathing, etc. The plan was to use the patch while cutting down, and gum just when really needed, then after quitting stay on the patch for weeks, etc. But after I became more educated with whyquit.com website and becomeanex.org, it did not make sense to me to stay on the patch. Heck, if I can cut down to zero cigarettes, why keep the nicotine!?! That was my thought process that did it for me.
I think that I was lacking some confidence at first which is why I wanted to cut down gradual and use the patch. But as I became educated on the subject, my confidence grew. It seemed that all the pieces to my puzzle were in place. The time felt right. So Christmas Eve I had 1/2 cigarette left that I finished that evening, then at midnight I took off the patch and haven't looked back. That was the last of Nicotine for me. I have never felt so liberated. I had said before that if I can quit smoking, I can do anything!
And that's my story. That's how my own personal quit came about.
I guess sometimes we just arent ready to quit. We have to have all the pieces of our puzzle there in order for it to happen and to stick. I know one thing though; Ya gotta get the right frame of mind. Ya gotta get smarter! And the way to do that is to learn/read all you can about nicotine addiction, etc. Watch/listen to Utube videos. Read. Learn....
And get positive. =)
Thanks for reading.
>>> N.O.P.E. <<<