Today marks another milestone in my quit. This will be my third day nicotine free! I put my last patch on last Friday. On Saturday which was supposed to be my last patch day, I simply decided not to wear it. To just get this over with as soon as possible. So tomorrow, all nicotine should be out of my system and I can embark on a new phase of my quit by throwing away the training wheels!
It’s been an interesting ride so far. A ride that started a couple of months before my actual quit when I built the foundation for my quit. I remember using those pack trackers to cut down my cigarette consumption from thirty a day to nine. I remember how this one thing taught me so much about my addiction for with each cigarette that I didn’t smoke, I learned how to cope. How to deal with urges and most of all it built a confidence in me that I really could do this. I really could be free!
Then as the days drew ever closer for the actual quit, I remember the nagging fear of the quit in the back of my mind. I remember how irrational this seemed to me to fear something that was surely bringing me a slow death or at the very least a future that is less then perfect. I remember the last days before my quit when I read and read everything I could about quitting. I remember going to sleep the night before the quit day and waking up with no fear. It had simply vanished!
I was now excited to begin. I put out my last cigarette at 8:15P.M. on February 20, 2011 and knew right then that I wouldn’t miss them. I knew right then that I intended to win this for myself and I realized right at that moment that I was indeed a nonsmoker. I could literally see myself in my minds eye as a person who didn’t smoke. This in itself turned out to be a powerful tool down the road.
Those urges on the first few days were tolerable to me with the patch and yet I realized I was still going through the same withdrawals as someone who quit cold turkey. The difference was that because of the patches my withdrawals were less intense for me and as such I gained even more confidence in my quit.
Each time I stepped down on the patches, I felt the urges increase and then fade and realized that when I became completely nicotine free that it should be much the same. Thankfully, it was. This being the beginning of the third day without nicotine has already proven this to me. I was indeed prepared for this because I’d already practiced it.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire anyone who can manage to quit cold turkey and can understand why so many choose that route. I just knew that this wasn’t going to be a successful route for me and to me when we quit, success is more important then anything else. No matter what it takes to achieve that quit, the most important thing is that we win. That we do not smoke!
And so I continue on this journey, taking pride in each careful step that I take to complete the climb. I can now take the time to look around at the wonderful scenery that dwells on the slopes of Mt. Freedom. I can rest my aching mind just a little because I know that though my addict might still be with me, every day it becomes harder for him to get me. Every day we learn to get along a little more. Every day we learn the reality of our quit.
So really it all starts with one day, one moment in our lives when we put out that last cigarette. This is the defining moment. This is the moment when we first create the resolve needed to take our lives back. This is the moment that opens the door to our new, exciting and healthier future. This is the moment when we say that no addiction will ever take my life from me if I can help it!
After all, it really wasn’t that much fun to smoke in the first place . . .