Today I am celebrating 5 years of freedom from nicotine. I smoked for 44 years. On numerous occasions, I paid sizable chunks of my hard-earned money to people who claimed they could help me quit. They did not. Most of them had never smoked a cigarette in their life. And nothing compares to someone taking your hand (even if only virtually) and telling you "I've been where you are. I know how you feel. And I can tell you how to break free." This community did that for me. Was it easy to quit? No way! But it was doable, if you follow instructions and really commit.
I work in a fancy pants grocery store (similar to Whole Foods). I have worked full time throughout the entire pandemic., and frequently I silently acknowledge how grateful I am to feel like I no longer have a compromised respiratory system. When I smoked, I had a chronic cough and frequent colds in the winter. I can't remember when the last time I had a cold was, but I'm pretty sure coughing, sniffling, and wheezing over people's groceries would have gotten me in a world of trouble during this difficult time. Thankfully, I haven't had to worry about that.
So today I am stopping by to tell the elders who led me to freedom-I think of you often with enormous gratitude because you taught me how to break an evil addiction. For those of you who are well on your way, and sticking around to pay it forward by helping others, I thank you for making the world a healthier and better place. For those of you who are new or still struggling or wondering if you will ever really be able to quit- hang in there. Educate yourself. Ask for help as often as you need it. Learn from others - both in their success or failure. Fake it until you make it. Five years down the road, I can honestly say that most days any thought of a cigarette never enters my mind. On the very rare occasion an urge tries to pop into my head, it takes less than 2 seconds to chase that with "boy am I glad I don't do that anymore".