"~At first, I quit for my kids and my days were rough. Now it's for me and my days are easy. :) ~"
My quit date is July 29, 2010.
“I stopped smoking on a whim as a challenge to myself to see how long I could go without smoking before quitting for good...and haven't found a good enough reason to start again so I could quit. So now I'm a former "confirmed smoker"....How cool is that!”
6 years. Wow, just the thought of it blows me away. I never thought that would be me.
As with most of the big things in life, anniversaries become introspective for me. Who am I now in comparison so who I was then, what have I learned, gained, lost, let go of – where I’ve succeeded and failed and how has it affected life.
The quit date anniversary is also 3 days after my birthday – another day of looking back at where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I’m headed.
Needless to say, it’s been an interesting week, much of it spent in solitude honoring the lessons, growth and experiences that brought me to the present moments.
It’s odd that EX is the only place I’ve ever been comfortable shedding the armor I exist in everywhere else. The ability to be open and real here has been incredible.
Joining this amazing group of people, coming together to help save each other from the grips of addiction often mislabeled as a habit, has utterly and completely changed my life. The EX community and the friends I’ve made here live in the fabric of my soul forever.
I didn’t quit for health reasons.. I quit on a whim, on my way out of town as we were relocating to uppermost Northern California. I just wanted to know how long I could go without smoking. The lighter and cigarettes went from my purse to my sister as we pulled away.
For almost 2 years following that day, I couldn’t say I ‘quit’. I ‘stopped’ smoking because stopping wasn’t the same as quitting. The commitment involved in quitting was daunting, scary and made me feel like a failure. A failure because I quit for 6 weeks and lost it over 1 bad day, because a 5 month quit was lost over an argument with my young teenage daughter. Because I could get down to 5 or 6 cigarettes a day but was crawling out of my skin at 2 or 3.
The motivation behind the quit was and still is my girls, otherwise known on this site as Daughter #1 and Daughter #2. We made an agreement that if I stopped smoking, they would not start. So I stopped long enough to see how far I could go with it. I failed twice after that agreement. Nobody thought I was really going to quit smoking after the last two tries.
EX became my home ground 5 months after I stopped smoking. Kathy (Strudel) found the first hello post lost in another part of the site and had the most gracious welcome. Very soon, Dale (Jonescarp), Tommy (Pir8fan), Peggy, Connie, Mike (mikecity), Maggie (Live Well) and so many more were there with introductions and advice…
This site is a wonderful place for all the kinds of help you need… tough love when you’re BS’ing yourself, a hug and loving support when you’re down and feel like giving up, encouragement when you’re frustrated.. and about 1,000 people who won’t let you give up on you.. especially when you’re at your most raw and vulnerable.
When you finally get to the root of what’s keeping you in chains, the stuff about you that’s hard to face, they are there for that, too. There’s a depth and realness to this place.
I lost so much during the first two years of my quit that it still has me reeling sometimes, especially since I’ve not yet recovered from it fully, financially or emotionally in some ways.
I’ve never had such a long fall or hit the ground so hard. Talking about it rarely happens. It’s still painful to the touch sometimes. What I can say is that I learned what matters most to me.
Losing the business was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through. Not because I put so much into it, that was ok, but because it belonged to people who mentored me for years and groomed me to take it over for them when they retired. I moved back to California to re-open it and felt as if I let them down when it went under. There was nothing I could do to stop it from happening and I tried so hard to save it. I fought to keep it open through vandalism and broken windows, threats of violence, sabotage and so much more… until it was too dangerous to keep it open anymore. The California Department of Real Estate called and advised me that it was in my best interest to shut it down when threats were made against my life during a conversation with one of the parties. He was arrested for an attempted kidnapping and released on bond shortly after that conversation. Shutting down that business broke my heart.
We also lost our house and I lost everything I knew to be normal in life during that time. 17 years of building a life and it was gone so fast. I still don’t have it back yet, and maybe I never will. Perhaps because something different than what I had is taking its place.
My back got reinjured several times as well and the pain levels were intolerable. For a while, it looked like surgery was the only choice and not one I was willing to accept. I’m pain free now and still recovering from nerve damage of the spine.
Through all of this, my EX community was there in the trenches with me. They called and messaged, helped me keep my quit intact while dealing with some of the worst times I’ve ever gone through.
The reason I’m telling you this is because I believe, like I believe, like I believe, that you can do this, no matter what else is going on in your life, stopping smoking is something you can do. Hell, it might be the only thing you actually have control over right now, and you can do it.
You see, a quit is made second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year… just like way the rest of life happens. All we ever have is this moment. And it’s what we do in this moment that matters most.
If I can do it, you can do it… Seriously, I was the least likely person to quit smoking… it was a whim because I had zero confidence that I could actually do it. What I told myself instead of that - I was a confirmed smoker, I enjoyed it and no one was going to tell me that I had to quit. It’s my life, I can do what I want with it.
6 years later, I’m here. Nothing stopped me except myself getting in my own way (that’s what EX is for).
I’ve made so many friends who have become family here. Thank you, thank you, thank you..
I would not be here without you, my EX family. Thank you for the tough love and gentle hand holding, the words of encouragement and the time we spent together, getting to know each other.
Love, gratitude and blessings to you all. I love you!
2196 Days since I stopped making excuses to smoke.
This site helped my become a lifestyle instead of multiple failed attempts.. What helped? Being here.
Please leave a comment, if you have time, about how being here on EX in our community has helped you stay quit and what has been the most helpful to you. :D
For me, it was having an outlet so I didn't feel alone in the challenges, the people I met here who have become lifelong friends and the help in unlearning smoking (mental, emotional and physical). Mostly the people who are here to support each other.. it made all the difference...
Love and peace! Have a great day!
2043 days since I stopped making excuses to smoke.
38,140 Cigarettes Not Smoked $12,395 Spent on other things... (not saved like I should have ;) )
That's a huge accomplishment for me. I was the quitter who refused to quit. I "stopped" smoking instead because quitting was too much of a commitment. And I did it on a whim with no prep.
During my quit, I moved state, started and lost a business, my house, had to send my kids and the dog to live with other people while I lived in my office. I had chronic pain that should have required surgery through the first 3 years.
I made it anyway... if I can, you can! Stick around EX and learn what keeps us successful and solid in our quits. Education and support make all the difference.
Big shoutout to my peeps who are still on here... Love and miss you all!
1907 days since I stopped making excuses to smoke!
Human faults are like garden weeds. They grow without cultivation and soon take over the place if they aren’t thinned out.
Napoleon Hill's Thought for the Day - Napoleon Hill Foundation
Habits are formed so slowly that most of us don’t realize what is happening until the habits are too strongly entrenched to be broken. Seldom can one pattern of behavior be eliminated without replacing it with another. It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum and will always find something to fill a void. The best way to thin out the “weeds,” or faults in your character, is to identify those traits with which you are dissatisfied and replace them with their positive counterparts. If you have a tendency to lose your temper, for example, find a replacement for your anger. Neutralize it with a positive expression or affirmation, such as, “No one can make me angry unless I let them. I will not let anyone else control my emotions.”
1559 days since I stopped making excuses to smoke.
First a hello and how the heck are ya... It's been a while since there has been time to stop by. I hope this finds you well on your way to freedom. :)
One of those major life things happened yesterday and it's been a rough 24 hours.
I sat at the deathbed of a family member yesterday, a 46 year old man with congenital heart disease who smoked his entire adult life. We (his Mom and I) watched over him as he struggled to breathe after taking him off the breathing machine that was keeping him alive. The heart attack he had late morning yesterday had him flatlined before the paramedics got there. The lack of oxygen to his brain ultimately was the reason he was unplugged. It was very challenging day for all of us.
Aside from this, I won't go into the rest of it, because it's still fresh and painful. But there is an unexpected lesson in this.
On the way to the hospital, my daughter and I stopped at the convenience store for food and snacks to take along. Next to the fountain drink, random snack items and M&M's I grabbed a package of Sour Skittles. With the same intensity I used to have nearly 4 years ago looking for a pack of cigarettes.
For 4 years, whenever I have one of those "I can't handle this right now, I need something to soothe me" it's been sour candy, not cigarettes that came into my hands.
The reason for this is simple. Sour candies and cigarettes taste like a$$ together. Gives me shudders to even think about having both at the same time. So the sours became a habit when the urge to smoke used to blindside me (romancing the cigarette).
It was automatic, natural to reach for a bag of sour skittles. Smoking never entered my mind. That is the power of habit. :)