Today marks 3 years since I last took one puff from a cigarette. When I read blogs posted by people who are struggling to get started or to maintain a commitment long enough to make it stick, I wish I could wave a magic wand and show you what the future will feel like if you can just stick to the advice long enough to know in your heart that you are going to succeed. Past the first few weeks when absolutely everything in your world is associated with smoking and you just can't imagine that changing. Past the 120 days where you finally managed to wrap your head around thinking about getting on with your life and concentrate on other things, when out of the blue the NicoDemon sneaks up and tries to convince you that just one won't hurt. It will, and we have seen plenty of people try to tempt fate and fail to prove that they might be the exception to the rule. Further on down the road, maybe starting to feel a bit more confident and Darn if you don't need to remain vigilant to deal with those seasonal urges that might blindside you. Raking the fall leaves, preparing a holiday meal, celebrating a birthday, the first outdoor party of spring, etc. Gosh, you might say, I might as well give up now. These cravings and triggers will never cease to haunt me and cause me misery. Wrong!
I am a very stubborn person. I can be a very slow learner (because I'm stubborn). My addiction was 10 times worse than yours!!! Just kidding. I did smoke for 44 years, 2 packs a day in the early years and then gradually got it down to 1 pack/day. Over the years, I felt like I tried every trick in the book to quit. Patches, gum, seminars, hypnosis, acupuncture, e-cig. Heck, I even read Allen Carr's book at least 4 times and still didn't get it. So what did finally work? For me, a heart attack served as inspiration to get serious about quitting. I suggest you do not wait until your health is compromised to get going. In my first year on this site, I saw 3 people associated with EX die from smoking-related illness, and several others hospitalized. Don't wait for that kind of motivation. It might be too late. The other thing that is that main thing that I attribute my success to is this wonderful, marvelous, stupendously helpful community here. I accidentally stumbled upon this site while looking for something different (which I am now convinced was a far inferior website full of advice given by people who had NOT been there, done that). Here, I found an incredible group of people that I instantly related to because I could tell they knew EXactly how I felt. Advice that I had seen before was suddenly presented in a way that actually led me to understand the evidence and science behind the advice. As I did the recommended reading, things began to click, and I started to have some "aha" moments. One that really sticks out in my mind to this day was "why did I feel like I was going to die if I didn't get a cigarette, when in fact the opposite was true?" The answer lies in the science, that nicotine attaches to receptors in the brain that mimic the ones you depend on for survival- the ones that tell you to eat, breathe, and drink water. For more of this type information, I recommend reading some of the suggested articles on whyquit.com. And so, in the beginning, I spent a LOT of time here reading and absorbing as much information as I could. There are plenty of amazing people here who are willing to hold your virtual hand and guide you to all the tips, techniques, understanding of the addiction as well as the cure (which really is as simple as NOPE), and give you all the support needed to guide you down the path to freedom.
So, why not have a little faith? Believe that a day will come when something stressful happens and the thought of smoking never even enters your mind. Imagine that you never again have to worry about missing some special moment with family or friends because you needed to sneak away for a fix. Imagine that you are able to save hundreds and then thousands of dollars which you can spend on something that adds joy or at least a little ease in your life. Believe that when some rare occurrence sparks a memory associated with smoking, you can simply think "I don't do that anymore" and poof-the association is gone. So why not believe that your life a few years down the road could be better in ways that you cannot imagine now? Listen to the Elders. They were once where you are, and found their way to freedom. Read blogs from "The Best of Ex". Seek out as much information and understanding as you can glean from the EXperts. When you feel vulnerable, do not think about going to the store to purchase a relapse pack. Come here and ask for support. You will get whatever you need to help you succeed. And one day you might just wake up and realize that you are very happy to be an EX!