When I first found EX (which was a completely random Google miracle), I wasn't even sure I wanted to quit yet.
And yet, here I am, a successful Quitter.
Why? Because when I came to EX, I could see that there were people here who had already achieved what I thought that I maybe, sort of, kinda wanted to do. These people were ex-smokers and I was still a smoker. They had something to share. I should listen.
I accepted that. And I DID listen.
I read what they told me to read (even if it seemed stupid and simplistic.)
I read blogs. I responded to the people who reached out to welcome me and to just talk.
I did the tracking exercises offered here on EX. I learned that, even though I smugly thought I already understood my triggers (phone, car, coffee...duh), I had one MAJOR trigger that I had never before understood. (It was my patio). Many smokers have unconscious triggers that they are completely unaware of!
I did the separation exercises offered here on EX. Yes, I felt stupid (and I'm embarassed to admit it) superior when doing these exercises. But, holy cow. I cannot tell you how scary it was to walk out of my door on a trip to the grocery store, leaving my cigarettes behind ON PURPOSE. I remember standing next to the dining room table with my car keys in hand, looking at that pack of cigarettes sitting there...and telling myself that I was only going to be away from my cigarettes for about one hour. And not knowing if I could actually do that. I did it, though. And how incredibly empowering it felt to make that trip to the grocery store and back again without lighting up in the car...and (surprise!) NOT dying for want of a cigarette during for that one hour. The preparation for quitting is so important. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
There's been some discussion here lately about whether or not you have to WANT to quit in order to be a successful Quitter. Here's the thing, folks. You don't have to come here with the absolute conviction that you are ready to quit. But think about this: You wouldn't have found your way to EX if you didn't already have the "seed" growing in your brain.
You DO have to come here knowing that you want to learn how to quit. STOP. Read the next paragraph.
Well, actually, that's not true at all---you just have to come here to explore, to read, to keep coming back. If you do, you may eventually be OPEN to what you read here. And find that you've gained whatever it is that YOU need to actually quit. Try to be willing to respond to the people that reach out to you. Iif you blog that you are considering, thinking about, dreading, worrying about actually quitting, people here WILL respond. We WILL reach out to you and help you. Newcomers to EX are wanted, noticed, encouraged and advised. Nobody will force you or push you. We will respond to where you are in your head at every step.
It's really normal here if you can't (yet) see yourself having a satisfying, even HAPPY life without cigarettes. I don't know any successful Quitter who came here who could already confidently and easily see their life without smoking.
What happens on this site for most people is that the "tiny seed" I mentioned above actually takes root and begins to grow. You don't even have to WANT it to grow. If you stay with us on this site and read and maybe blog, and make connections with people, that desire to quit smoking may just grow...
Here is an important truth to understand:
YOUR NICOTINE ADDICTION IS NO STRONGER OR HARDER TO BEAT THAN ANYONE ELSE who has ever come here to EX and been successful. (Hate to say it this way, but...you're not special. Nicotine is a equal opportunity addiction.)
You CAN do this. When you are ready to stop leaning on cigarettes, lean on EX. We are real people, not a burning stick of dried leaves. We will give you the emotional support that you THINK you've been getting from cigarettes.