Although this is meant to be my bit of a blog to celebrate reaching 300 days, it’s actually in answer to Dale’s message about acceptance and about why quitting seems easier for some than for others.
If I did it using willpower, I guarantee I’d be fully smoking again today. My willpower is zero. If I had any, I would be slim and fit and healthy
I never had the slightest wish to stop smoking for over 40 years. I never tried to stop, think of trying to stop or worry about when I might feel like stopping. It wasn't on my agenda. I was a happy smoker. Not hiding it from anyone or apologetic about it ever.
The only person who nagged me to stop was my daughter when in grade school the day came when they learnt about the effects of smoking in class and she came home in tears worrying about me getting black lungs. I'm ashamed to say that I talked her right out of her belief that smoking was harming me.
I made one half-hearted quit attempt about 3 years ago which lasted 5 weeks but I wasn't committed. I was miserable. I stayed in a 5 week long bad mood and started right back up again when we had an expected and blessed, welcome death in the family. I just lit up and carried on where I left off …. 20+ a day.
But when I decided in January this year to quit in order to possibly survive my April surgery, I did a lot of self-talk, soul searching, remembering, examining and writing. I was unsure I would be able to stick to it. I talked myself into the possibility that I MIGHT be able to do this at least until after surgery but hopefully for good.
Patches were going to be my “go to” friends to help me get through this process. When I got the news that they are no longer available in SA, I nearly let it all slide. I don’t chew gum so that never occurred to me and I don’t know what the lozenges are you sometimes talk about. I’d heard about Chantix/Champix but I am on many meds for depression/anxiety/panic/blood pressure/thyroid and some other ailments and I was just not willing to try another tablet. Also, although I didn’t know it then, Wellbutrin is also a quit aid. I’d been on Wellbutrin for many years as part of my “head meds”. So maybe, in retrospect, I did have a quit aid without being aware.
As far as I knew, I was on my own.
I knew that IF I quit smoking it had to be the real deal even if only till April. I had to accept this change in my life. I had to decide what my reasons were. I hadn't even read a word on Youtube or any other websites. It was all me. My decision. I wasn't doing it for beloveds. I had to accept this was possibly forever and that I would have to make peace with it.
I was very scared and unsure how to tackle this. That was before I found EX.
And when I found this site, it sort of sealed the deal for me. Out of nowhere came this support group that I wasn't even aware of, whom I hadn’t gone searching for. It was my sign. Doing it for myself without pills or NRT’s was possible, but having support, daily and tangible and friendly and knowledgeable support, from MANY fantastic people, all on this same trip, knowing how to talk to me, would be the cherry on top of my first real quit attempt.
When I quit 27 Feb, I DID think I was going to lose my mind. The first day – oh my giddy aunt – I NEVER want that day again. Not that day or days 2, 3, 4 and the rest. I experienced what every new quitter experiences. It was hell. There is no other word for it. I could happily have slapped my husband with chairs. Animals were not tolerated, I wanted no visitors and generally I just behaved badly, slept A LOT, tried to use my carefully put together quit kit, kept on reading, kept on growling and being a brat.
Then after about 2.5 or 3 weeks I woke up calmly one morning astonished that I hadn’t had a puff in 3 weeks and that I didn’t feel like having a puff. And from there, with a few exceptions, I accepted that my decision was solid. That I WANTED to do this. I enjoyed being smoke free. I didn’t look at smokers and wish to join them. I had come to a place where I’d made my own decision to stay in a smoke free state. I accepted that going forward without nicotine was entirely doable.
I’ve questioned why I’ve had so few craves in the last 10 months when others seem to really struggle with them. I’m blessed that I’m not sure what a crave feels like. I’ve had what I call smoky thoughts occasionally but nothing that I couldn’t just acknowledge and let pass. I’ve also wondered why I didn’t do the ugly cough I hear about. No digestive problems or any other kind of problem. My lung disease may be waiting for me down the road. But my quit has been uneventful – I can’t call it easy – I still enjoy the smell of a freshly lit cigarette. Same as I enjoy the new car smell. I don’t DO anything about it. I smell it, smile and move on. Occasionally I could murder a cigarette but then I remember….the cigarette will be murdering me.
Thank you EX. Each of you enriches every day for me. I don’t think I would have been able to persevere without the site. Even when I have my dark days, I still read every day, every blog, every comment or reply. It has kept me focussed.
I’m no longer a smoker. I’m a HAPPY QUITTER.
Bree Free 303 (it rhymes!)