I have the privilege of working with some very strong and courageous people. People whom valiantly and persistently struggle to beat their tobacco addiction.
One patient I am seeing now I first saw in 2010, then again for six months in 2012, and now again he’s back to grapple with quitting. Not unlike many people who struggle the hardest to quit, he battles with a number of other challenges. On his plate are financial disadvantages, immigrant status, and mental health problems as well as having severe addiction to tobacco.
The first two treatment episodes, he worked and worked and could not find more than 3 consecutive days of abstinence. But he kept coming back. We tried tracking cigarettes, support systems, different medications, cognitive and behavioral skills, as well as a host of other strategies, through all of which he tried his best, found some success, but not complete abstinence.
This past week for the first time, he went a full week without smoking. He is more confident than ever. He is taking what he’s learned from the past, and putting it to new use. He’s found new support through text messaging and online help. He is exercising daily and noticing that he enjoys being tobacco free. His persistence is beautiful to behold, and may well be paying off as each new tobacco free day unfolds. He is certainly teaching me something about courage and persistence.