What makes these four years so lovely is at no time in that period have I hidden behind a screen of smoke. All emotions (good, bad and ugly) have been right out there. Not one cent has been spent on cigarettes. Not one moment have I spent battling nasty weather for the specific purpose of getting more cigarettes. Not one time have I stated "I'll do it after I finish this cigarette." Not one cough has been a result of having just inhaled smoke into my lungs.
Every time I have to use oxygen I am grateful that I didn't make my lungs any worse than I already did. Every time I see my sister smoke I grieve that she is so afraid of the pain of quitting that she accepts the pain of dying sooner. Every time the opportunistic little old addicted lady in my brain wakes up and, every now and then, says "a smoke would sure be good now" I smile and tell her to go back to sleep, I'm not interested.
So 4 years have passed and I know this is my forever quit. I have an old friend who has attempted to quit many times, even going to a residential program for a month. She's discouraged, but we spoke last night and she's quitting again tomorrow, and I told her she can call me every day if she needs to. She's read The Easy Way to Quit Smoking, and says she'll read it again today. I've expressed to her how happy I am that this quit will stick, and that I'm no smarter than she is, or more disciplined than she is. It's just a question of 1) knowing that craves won't kill you; 2) accepting that it's going to be uncomfortable for a while but you will come out the other side; and 3) grasping that you are not giving up anything of value. There are myriad important concepts and tips, and elements, but for me it has come down to those three things.
I've suggested before that she come to this site, but she's convinced that an online community isn't her "thing." I'll keep suggesting it. I know that the three things I mentioned above were the basic elements of my quit, but this community has been the heart of my quit. I don't get here very often anymore (although I keep meaning to) but I can't imagine celebrating a milestone and not being here to do it. I went to lunch with my family today and mentioned that this was my fourth anniversary, and everyone smiled, but weren't that interested, and my granddaughter said "oh, I thought it was longer than that." I can't expect them to attach the meaning I do to this quit, but I know for certain that here with you all I'm hearing a loud and enthusiastic Wahoo!!
I love you all!!