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Lasttimeagain

200 days and 40 to Go

Posted by Lasttimeagain Apr 4, 2019

Hi everyone  It's been a while since I've made my last post. Today I mark 200 days since I quit. However  it was without much fanfare. Why? Cus I just don't really think about smoking much anymore. I mean, I'm still aware that I'm working on this  but it requires so much less effort and thought now. I haven't had a trigger in weeks it feels like. I've had a few days where I drank a few beers with friends and forgot to even think about smoking and didn't realize I hadn't thought about smoking while drinking until the next day. Wow! So the last few weeks have been busy at work  have bought a new house, and kids are busy with spring ball. Life is just humming along. I'm still going to the gym regularly and basically I feel like I'm living the life of a non smoker without having to try. I do come back here nearly every day. Reading the posts of newbies helps me to remember how hard it was in the beginning, because I'm honestly starting to forget. And I don't want to forget  so I read their struggles and remind myself that I don't ever want to go through that again. I also take note of the elders and remind myself that I really do need to continue to make this a conscious effort because of lost long term quits before, so to many times. I've got 40 days to go to get past my last quit which was 240 long before I was foolish and smoked when triggered. This time I'm gonna blow past 240 days and aim for 300 days. It's been 20 years since I've not smoked for 300 days. So that's my next big goal. Then it's the big one year goal. From there I'm headed to two years. I threw away two 2-year quits  both which were more than twenty years ago. So, I'm headed there after I get to a year. Then it's to 15 years quit. Why 15 years? Cus the longest I ever went without a cigarette was the first 14 years of my life. Well, cheers to 200 days. I'm in no rush to get to any future milestones  Just want to enjoy my new life as a non smoker and enjoy each day as it comes. 

These days in finding I'm not thinking much about smoking at all. There are fewer and fewer moments where I think  'wow I used to smoke in this situation.'  I'm still coming on and reading and participating on this site and whyquit site at the end of the day. But overall, I'm really getting used to the new lifestyle. I'm also much more sociable and more present at work these days and it's leading to better relationships with coworkers. I'm applying for a new job opening soon and it's a pretty good bump in pay and opportunity, so the improved relations could help to get that. I'm up against another person for the position, and she's also pretty qualified for the position  so we'll see how it goes. However, I'm so happy I'm not smoking now. If I were, I'd probably be out there smoking away and thinking and worrying about it rather than be inside talking with people and improving and building interpersonal relationships. I'm also finding I'm physically stronger and healthier nowadays from both the quit and the exercise. Not coughing all day and being ten pounds lighter helps a ton. This week I've even been kind of sick. In the past I'd probably be pretty severe by now and potentially have bronchitis. Instead  I've still been able to hit the gym each day and feel pretty good afterwards. It seems like the exercise is helping to minimize the severity of the cold. Perhaps it's just that I'm not smoking that's minimizing the severity of the cold.

 

Well, it's day 146 and I'm getting close to day 150. That will be 100 days away from my last quit which lasted 250 days. This time I'm absolutely determined to get past 250 and push to a full year without smoking and then to a full calendar year without smoking. I have gotten to about 8 months quit a few times in the last 20 years, and before that two years quit twice. But I haven't gotten to 9 months quit in a long time and I haven't been off cigarettes for a full calendar year since I was basically a young twenty something. I spent most of my twenties, all of my thirties, and a good portion of my forties smoking or quit for a short time. My goal is to be quit for the rest of my forties  and all of my fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties  and to a hundred and five without smoking. One thing I've noticed on this site and whyquit is that most of the people using these sites are in their fifties and sixties. All of them say they wish they had quit earlier. I'm planning on doing that. I had an uncle who smoked till about 42 who then quit and lived a long and healthy life till 96 upon which one afternoon he layed down for a nap, put his glasses on his nightstand and fell into his final sleep. No disease, no sickness, no infirmities, and sharp as he ever was (he invented those little wands you turn to open and close window blinds). That is the way to go, in my thinking. So, I've quit smoking at a similar age as he did and I'm hoping to have the same good luck and fortune he did as he aged. Aside from some good luck, the most fundamental prerequisite is that I never ever take a single puff of another cigarette. Others seem to be getting regular exercise, eating relatively healthily, having an appreciative mindset, staying active and curious and always looking to learn and do new things no matter how many birthdays you have celebrated. It seems that those who approach life with a joyful attitude are the ones who are most successful. I read a book once in which the author postulated that rather than success leading to happiness, happiness leads to success. Happiness is not something you search for, find, work for, earn, buy, get from another person, get from a drug, achieve, or arrive at. Happiness is something you choose to do, no matter what the situation is, and it is a precondition for all other success in life. Happy shouldn't be an adjective. It should be a verb. Like, rather than being our becoming happy, it seems that happy is something you do, like you need to decide you're going to do happy. You just gotta decide to do happiness. Then just start saying you're happy, tell yourself you're happy, do things with a happy attitude. I'm certain, now, that this will lead to success in every area of life. When I used to smoke, I never felt happy while smoking. In fact, while smoking I was almost always doing unhappiness. Griping to myself about all the things I didn't like or talking poorly about others. It just seems like nicotine had something to do with that. I mean, if you're constantly in a state of withdrawal, how could you feel or do happy? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we can or should be giddy with delight all the time or that we can't or shouldn't have a difficult day. I'm just saying that we can choose to do happy even when we are having a difficult day and we can focus more on doing happy at a more general level of our lives. Doing a happy attitude overall. Well  that's my thoughts for tonight. No more doing unhappy fueled by nicotine anymore that's for sure. 

Lasttimeagain

Day 136 - 7:16 mile

Posted by Lasttimeagain Jan 29, 2019

It's been eleven days since my last post when I got a 7:18 minute mile. Today I got it down two more seconds. I didn't run much last week because I took a trip to Las Vegas with my father. He goes there once a month to get an infusion treatment with an experimental drug for alzheimers. I found out that his cognitive tests over the last 18 months have improved significantly and it appears the drug is working. Anyhow, he's 83 and is happy to be able to not only get a chance to get cured of

Alzheimers and help prosperity  but in top of that he gets a free flight, hotel, taxis, and some spending money every month to Vegas with mom. This month I went with him to give mom a break. I did do twice before last year prior to my quit. This time I couldn't stand the smell of cigarette smoke that permeated the entire casino resort. At the tables there were smokers too. I don't remember the smoke bothering me at all the previous trips but this time it was making me sick. The previous two times I won some money too  but this time I couldn't focus at all and I lost. Another interesting thing was that last time I got really into the whole casino gaming. I was enjoying free drinks, the excitement of the games - craps is my dad's game so we played that. However, this time it just didn't resonate. I didn't enjoy the gaming or drinking much at all  and definitely not the losing part either. It all seems tied together though.these last few months I've been enjoying challenging myself to live a cleaner and healthier lifestyle and the whole casino thing just didn't jive. What I enjoyed this time the most was eating a cobb salad in a restaurant with my dad. Now, he never smoked or drank.his father had been a heavy smoker and died of heart disease when my dad was only 13. So dad always hated smoking and I never did it around him. He found out I smoked as a kid, but doesn't know I still smoked this long and thought I quit years ago - which I had until I started again. So the last two times I was in Vegas with him I had to sneak away constantly to get a smoke in. This time I didn't do that and it was so nice to be fully present with him. I realized that not only do I have a high risk of getting heart disease if I keep smoking like my grandfather died from, but I also could end up dying from smoking when my kids are teens if I don't stay quit now. My dad is always sad when he speaks of his father and I never want my children to be in the same situation. So, the sickening smell of the smoke, the greater presence of mind I experienced, and the acute awareness of my mortality and a fear of allowing history to repeat itself strengthened my resolve to make this quit stick and make it the final quit. I also want to do it to honor my father and his father, my grandfather I never met because he was taken from my father when he was just a boy. I do this, also, to honor my children who deserve to have their father there for them for another half century. I also do this for me  cus, it just feels great to not be a slave to nicotine and to be living closer to my ideal sense of self these days.

Lasttimeagain

Day 125 - 7:18 mile

Posted by Lasttimeagain Jan 18, 2019

Today is 125 days since I stopped smoking  It is now half way too the point I got in my last quit when I foolishly smoked on my 250th day quit. I'm not going to make that mistake again and I'm committed to reach 251, then get to a year and then two years and then five, ten, and so on. So, two weeks after I started my recent quit I started going to the gym to help keep off excess pounds from the added eating and to help reduce stress and improve my health overall. It is also part of my emergency plan when I'm having a nick-demon attack. I go there and I run for an hour until I'm drained. Well  when I first started out I was doing walking mixed with some very slow jogging.it took me nearly 13 minutes to complete a mile. It was embarrassing because my 9 year old daughter was doing 12 minute miles at school. This week I am down to a mile in 7 minutes and 18 seconds! I'm now trying to get down under 7 minutes with a goal of eventually getting to a 6 minute mile. What I keep reminding myself of is the fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to recover my lung capacity after 30 years of a pack - a-day habit and Even have such a goal. Moreover, I'm constantly reminding myself that if I do go back to smoking again, I may not be able to recover this well again. It was so hard to breathe a few weeks ago when I was running, but not so much any more. Now it is a matter of building my endurance and lung strength. I am so thankful that I haven't gotten to that point of no return. In other news, I'm getting close to the end of no man's land. These days at night I've been reading a lot on this site and why quit site. The reason is because I don't want to snack at night. For several weeks I was binging on Netflix at night reading nachos and chips and so on. I didn't gain much weight, and in fact lost about two pounds because I was going to the gym. However  about two weeks ago I decided to end the nighttime snacking and cut down drastically on carbs. I immediately lost another 4 pounds in two weeks just by eating less carbs and not doing the night time snacking. However, in order not to snack, I've stopped watching tv. So, I am blogging and reading about smoking foot a couple of hours before bed these days. But honestly  it is getting kind of boring. But I'm not sure what else to do. I mean  I have ideas - read  plan a vacation, try some new things like meditation or heck even some yoga. But for some reason, I'm kind of lacking enthusiasm for those things. I think it is because all of those things involve a degree of work and I'm pretty tired by the end of the day after working, getting the kids to do homework, getting them washed and to bed, cleaning up, and so on. All you parents out there know the routine. So by this time I usually have done one of two things : relaxed in the hot tub with a beer and about five to six cigarettes chain smoked or watched tv with a beer and frequent cigarette breaks. After I quit smoking, honestly the hot tub became boring just sitting in there alone. So I watched tv and had a beer and snacked. And that was okay, but it prevented me from losing any weight that I have been wanting to take off along with my quit. So now I'm doing more reading and blogging about my quit in place of those things. I am realizing that the way out of no man's land for me is going to include coming up with something to do at night after the kids are asleep that is fulfilling, restoring, and interesting to me. My golden time, as I call it. So this is on my mind a lot these days. What will I start doing? Each day I think of something that I think I should try, but then as night falls and the kids are finally asleep I find myself going to the safety and reassurance of protecting my quit by reading and blogging about it. For now this seems good, but eventually I only want to be coming to these sights like once a month to check in and never forget or become complacent again and to offer support to those following behind me. Anyhow  I'm committed today to never take another puff - NOPE! 

Lasttimeagain

Day 116 - 3, 3, 3

Posted by Lasttimeagain Jan 9, 2019

Looking at my quit app, I saw that I have achieved 3 months, 3 weeks, and 3 days. Which adds up to 116 days. Thinking about the journey thus far, each of those milestones were pretty big. Getting to 3 days gave me a sense of having some momentum, 3 weeks was when I was feeling pretty awful but also had enough time that I felt a strong resolve to keep going. By 3 months, I was beginning to feel a little more like I have this now and I just need to keep going doing what I've been doing. Put them all together, and by now I'm starting to really feel the positive effects. These days I have been very much enjoying socializing with and meeting new people. This is something I was often not able to do because I would always be rushing out the door after every meeting or conference or what not. And before any meeting I would be rushing out to get one more smoke because I needed my fix. But this is when people typically socialize, network, bond and what not. But I wasn't able to do so because I was always rushing in at the last second or out as soon as the bell rang so-to - speak. So these days, I'm finding that I have many opportunities to talk with people more and meet more new people because A I'm physically present and B I'm psychologically present because I'm not wishing I could get out of there to get my fix. Moreover, I just feel that I'm more positive overall. When I used to smoke I would often complain about this or that while smoking. If it was with a friend it would be complaining about work and if it was by myself at night, I'd be complaining in my head about all sorts of things frequently. I'm not sure if others experience the same thing, but for me smoking was often this antisocial, pessimistic, cynical place where I would go emotionally. Perhaps it has something to do with when I started smoking in high school with the other smokers in the schoolyard. We'd huddle around, non conformists that we were, and critique everything, thinking we were cooler than everyone else while not actually participating in healthy activities. Smoking brings out this side of me that is not at all aligned with my values and beliefs. As a nonsmoker, I am finding that I am now able to start to bring all of my behaviors more into alignment with my values and feel greater self confidence and self respect. As a smoker how could I not feel a sense of shame and hypocrisy saying that I cared about health, that I valued using money wisely, that I valued family, that I valued building relationships with people, that I value honesty and transparency, when I was doing so many things that were not aligned by smoking? By smoking, I demonstrated not caring about health, I flagrantly lied, connived, and deceived so that I could smoke, wasted money that could have been used to provide for my loved ones, and avoided people and became antisocial so that I could smoke or avoid detection of my lie and feed the need. By not smoking I am freed to be the person I imagine myself to be and have a greater chance of becoming the person I aspire to be. The dubious thing about smoking is that it is just this little box with these little white sticks. And on the surface it is just something you do for a couple of minutes here and a couple of minutes there. However, they actually transform you. They consume you. They own you. And you don't even realize it's happening to you at the outset. And when you become a long term smoker, you probably go through many quit attempts. And you go through these cycles. Quit, relapse, quit, relapse. When you relapse, it's just one puff. Then, maybe a day or two later it's one cigarette. Then a couple of days later it's two, then three, then you buy a pack and it lasts you a few days. But you just keep slipping and slipping until you are using all the same tricks and habits you had before. Same lies, same tricks, same detours, same lighters, same brand, same stores, same sales clerks (hey where you been?), same everything. It's like, you know the script and you play the role and you're stuck in it again. And it takes months or even years to get the resolve back again to try to quit again. And when you do try to quit again, often it's the same damn thing too. Same withdrawal symptoms, same coping mechanisms such as chewing gum or whatever, same return to the gym, same ritual of throwing away smoking paraphernalia. So many of the same things. It's the alter-ego script. It's like this doctor jekyll Mr Hyde thing. At some point, though, you need to make the choice as to whether you're going to continue with the back and forth yoyoing until you die, just smoke and give up trying to quit, or finally keep the quit. This time, I'm really trying for the keeping of my quit and I'm determined to stay quit for life. The yoyoing is exhausting and I just hate the smoking version of me while I love the nonsmoker version of me. The thing that I can't quite put my finger on is why I ever go back to the junkie within when I hate him so much and love the nonsmoker version of me so much. Why? While I haven't gotten that worked out yet, I have found through much trial and error, what my triggers are and what I need to do to disarm them. Additionally, I'm finding that writing these reflections is a positive step too. In the past, I have always written reflections on my experiences when quitting  but I never shared those. This time I am sharing my reflections here, with others, with you all, and that is definitely more powerful. I have considered posting to whyquits Turkey ville Facebook page, but I'm not quite ready to go public with my quit. Why? Because I still kind of want to keep the secret that I ever smoked. And even while writing this  I know it is kind of absurd since so many people I know did know I smoked. I suppose that being public about it makes it real that I was ever foolish enough to be a smoker, an addict. But I always kept that secret from my young children and from my parents who probably suspected that I quit. I suppose that it means that I have to own up to the lies, deceit, hypocrisy, and foolishness. It is a confession to those I love of my sins and my weaknesses. It is strange because growing up catholic it was easy to tell the priest in the confessional and by proxy God what my sins were. But to have to say those to the faces of those you actually love or have transgressed against - now that is tough. Perhaps that is one of the problems with catholicism. You get to get absolution from God without having to own up to your sins to your victims and your fellow humanity. You don't need to go public with it. I'm getting it now. I'm going to have to come clean in order to really solidify my quit. And  I suppose that the one person I really need to be honest with, the one person whom I really need to confess my sin to is myself. The other is my children and my parents. They are the ones whom I've primarily kept my secret from. The other group are colleagues in my current place of employment. I don't feel that I really need to share this with them at this point. So, I'm feeling at this point that if I'm really going to solidify this quit  I'm going to have to be honest with my children and my parents about it. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this with smoking.  I can imagine that other people have experienced these feelings with other addictions such as narcotics, prescription drugs,  alcohol, gambling. I'm also imagining some people who are 'in the closet' may have experienced similar feelings. It's funny because right now I'm feeling like I'm blowing this out of proportions. In my mind I'm thinking, yeah but smoking isn't as bad as those other addictions and the social stigmas and taboos against it aren't as strong as the adversity someone who comes out as LGBTQ would be. But then I hesitate. I have heard it's as addictive as heroin, I've spent more on smoking than many gamblers have lost in a casino, I've lied and deceived as much as any other addict. However  that's the thing about smoking. It's somehow more functional than other addictions. People don't typically go to the extremes they might go to in order to get other fixes. And it doesn't impair you like other drugs do. And the cost is just a little at a time. It's much more drawn out than other addictions. Rather than like the gambler who might lose the car or the rent in one shot,  the smoker spends the equivalent of a home over 30 or 40 years of smoking. Rather than missing work due to a late night binder, the smoker misses work due to catching a cold because they have a weakened immune system. The problems are all there, but their veiled. Smoking is much more dubious than other drugs and addictions because it takes away so much by slowly chipping away over a lifetime. 

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