I was just thinking about those days before my quit. There seemed to be a lot of things happening in my little world. Once I’d made the decision to quit. Once I’d convinced myself that I really did want my freedom, I started reading. I went through a lot of the exercises here at EX, and through the Colorado quitline.
When I first called the quitline and talked to a counsellor there, we agreed for me to start working on my triggers. I chose delaying a cigarette for one hour when I first woke up because we’d determined that one of my strongest triggers was when I first woke up in the morning. They also had me set up a quit date on their web site.
And so the next day began the first day of my preparation. I woke up and delayed that cigarette. It seemed hard and yet in a way it wasn’t, for you see, I knew I could have a cigarette when I was finished with that hour. I got through that small test, and was glad that I did it, mainly because I knew that it was the first step on a journey of life. A journey of freedom. An amazing journey into myself.
The next morning I started using a cigarette tracker, and tried to stay pretty normal as far as my habit goes. I still called it a habit then rather than the addiction that I now know it was. I realized that I was a thirty cigarette a day smoker. I had a horrible smokers cough in the mornings and now I knew why! I had no idea how much smoke I’d been pouring into my lungs every day.
I continued my journey the next day. I decided to take out my next trigger. Smoking while driving. This was the first life lesson that I was to learn, because it was hard to separate driving from smoking. From there I started looking at other triggers and told myself that I had to wait ten minutes after an urge before I could smoke.
Over time, I was going two hours a day without a cigarette. I started doing “practice quits” where I would go as long a four hours without a cigarette. By the time I quit, I’d reduced my smoking to five cigarettes a day.
I stayed focused on the fact that I was quitting the entire time I was prepping and I knew just how important this step was if I was going to succeed. I know I changed my quit date a few times, but by the time I took that first faltering step on the path to freedom, I knew I was ready!
We all have to find our own way of quitting. It’s a very personal thing after all. We can take advice and use it if it benefits us, but in the end we have to understand our addictions before we can beat them. If I hadn’t prepped for a while before my quit, I don’t know if I’d have made it.
So all I can say is that if you haven’t started your quit yet, preparation is a key to success. It’s the foundation on which we build the rest of our lives. And so long as we have a strong foundation and understand the addiction that we must fight, then we have all of the weapons that we might need when we actually start the journey.
It’s a war, to say the least. A war that is won one battle at a time. And each battle fought and won is another piece of knowledge to add to the foundation of our quit as we build the house of freedom.
When I quit for the last time, I was ready. My mind, heart and soul were in agreement to quit and though there was some fear of failure, when my final quit date came, I was ready. In fact, I was looking forward to it.
Not that the first days were easy! Like everyone, the first days were tough, but with the strength of preparation, I got through. Never turn your back on yourself! Take those steps that must be taken and then put out that last cigarette and march on into your shiny new future of freedom!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!