It’s hard to believe that I have not had a cigarette in 4 years! When I first started my journey, I am not sure that I had made up my mind completely. My decision was a spur of the moment thing. I knew that I needed to quit and wanted to quit, but I am not sure that I had decided to.
Even though I knew that I was dealing with an addiction, I didn’t fully understand this addiction and how to break the cycle. I believe that it was the morning of my 4th day that I discovered this site. I was more than surprised to see all the current activity here. I spent most of the day reading and learning about nicotine addiction. The more time that I spent reading on EX, the more that I realized that quitting is possible. I had so many good examples of people who had quit and still spent a good deal of time here helping others. Even though these good people didn’t always agree, they were friends all working toward the same goal – to quit, remain quit, and help others to quit. I was impressed!
My plan was pretty simple:
- I decided to use nicotine patches to take the edge off. Originally I planned on using the patch for 8 weeks – but shortened it to 6 when I felt ready to step down a little early.
- I drank lots of water to flush out my system. Also tried to eat a little healthier and have lighter portions because smoking after a big meal was a major trigger.
- I avoided people who smoke in the beginning. I announced to the world that I had quit and instructed my smoking acquaintances to not give me a cigarette if I asked for one.
- I made a short list of things to do besides smoke – have a snack, take a short walk, read a book, take a bubble bath, sing along with the radio, etc.
- I spent a lot of time here reading and educating myself about this addiction. Also encouraging and congratulating others helped keep my attitude positive.
- And lastly - I did not smoke – no matter what!
It wasn’t easy – but it was doable! My make it or break it time was the period around day 80 for me. When I made it through that week-end, I knew that I was an ex-smoker and never wanted to fall into the cycle of being a serial quitter. When I accepted the fact that “one” is not an option for a recovering nicotine addict, I felt like I had won the battle. There were still tough times after day 80 – but I knew that I could make it through.
At four years quit, I still protect my quit. That is one reason that I spend time here. It is not only to help others, but also keep my quit strong. As a wise friend once said, “We are all nicotine addicts just one puff away from a relapse”.
Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way!
1461 DOF aka 4 years!