Keeping my quit is no big secret. If I want to stay smoke free it is very simple… Just one day at a time, I do not beg, borrow or buy a pack of cigarettes and light one up! The first absolute truth about the drug, Nicotine, is that once an addict, always an addict. The second absolute truth is that the very fleeting euphoria it produces is never enough! Nicotine is an addictive drug! Period! That is the reason we keep reaching for another one, over and over and over again!
I was always thinking about when I can have another smoke! I would watch the clock, the whole time, in between the butt I snubbed out, until the new one I could not wait to light up! And just below is the awful truth of how I lost my first six month quit and could not keep my quit for another twenty-plus years!
I was in my late forties and needed major surgery… a complete hysterectomy. It was a revolutionary new procedure, my surgeon said, and I would have only three one-inch incisions… I was scared and stopped smoking two weeks before the operation. My husband, Ed, quit with me. We spent a lot of time in grocery stores looking and shopping for food! It was our way of keeping our quits! We did a lot of eating too! Time flew and we were doing great…
And then there I was in pre-surgery, waiting to be wheeled-in and put to sleep… Many hours later, I finally was totally awake and in my hospital room. I rang for the nurse to help me out of bed and into the restroom… All I can remember next was that I started freaking out! She came back and said, “Now try to calm down, and take a deep breath.” As hard as I tried, I could not inhale! I was gasping and trying, and so out of breath…
Quickly diagnosed and put under the care of a Pulmonologist, I had mild COPD. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease! I spent another week in the hospital, with antibiotics and steroids being “pumped” into my veins, through a tube and needle in my hand. I also had oxygen flowing into my nose 24 hours a day! I was unable to breath normally! I was scared and so was my husband [I think].
It was time to go home and Ed and I vowed to stay quit. We were not in any type of support group, and really knew nothing about addiction or the drug, Nicotine. Before we realized it, we both had six months smoke free…
Our lives were comfortable, and we had no problems to speak of. The “demon” wanted both of us back! The days of fear had disappeared. I felt good and my surgery areas were no longer feeling like my “insides” had been torn out! I began to feel like something was missing. I did not have a clue as to how terrible that day would be… I told my husband about my feeling of emptiness… and suggested we should now be able to control our smoking, and should be able to “have just a few a day”? I honestly believed what I had just said! Silly, uneducated girl!
Before I could say another word, Ed was in the car and off to the store… We both “lit up”, after months of abstinence, and I felt like my throat and lungs were on fire as the smoke went into my body! “I can’t do this!”, I cried out…
However, within days, we were both smoking like we never quit! I kept rationalizing that it was ok, as long as I tried to limit the times I lit up. No addict can control their addiction! I am so ashamed to say that I kept on smoking for over another 20 years, and until I needed COPD medication, to keep my lungs clear, and my breathing more normal. I had to inhale two drugs every single day -- Spiriva and Advair… and carry around an “emergency inhaler”, since my now-chronically congested lungs could no longer clear out the mucous, on their own, which made me cough a lot.
How crazy is it, to take medication each and every day to keep my lungs clear, and then light up, in between, to satisfy my addiction?
On August 1, 2018 I got smart and begged for help “from above”. I was using my “emergency inhaler” often, and I literally started begging God to help stop my insanity!
I got online and ordered Allen Carr’s book, “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” and read it… twice! I didn’t quit immediately, but the “wheels” in my brain kept turning! And that, my friends, was the beginning of a new and wonderful life! I quit on August 12, 2018 and never picked up another cigarette!
If I can do it, so can you! We are in the right place and learning how to stop smoking and stay quit! Please… always remember… Smoking is a drug addiction. One or one thousand cigarettes are never enough!
I wish you all a very happy and smoke free Tuesday, and let’s all keep our beautiful quits, ok?