Today marks nine months since I have taken even one puff from a cigarette and I am tooting my own horn as I am so gosh-darned pleased!!
Many of you know that I've had a few times during this current quit where I've been on the verge of relapse, but the support of my fellow EXer's has helped keep me in line.
I will say the core of my compliance to the standard of NOPE has come from the fact that I have offered a precious wooden cross as collateral should I screw up and go back to smoking, even if it's "just one puff". The cross is carved from the wood of an olive tree grown in the holy land, and I treasure it. If I should choose to smoke, I will lose this cross that my daughter-in-law gave to me when my husband passed. (Just like I would lose a house if I put it up as collateral and could not make the promised loan payments.)
It has taken me over 60 years of hard and heavy smoking to get me to this point. I have COPD, heart irregularities requiring a surgically implanted defribrillator / pacemaker, and a recent surgery on a clogged carotid artery leading to my brain in order to avoid the threat of an impending stroke.
Added to these medical problems are late-stage periodontal disease and an aortic aneurysm.
For some time now, I have been aware of my COPD, heart issues, and my aneurysm, but I kept on smoking anyway. Even as my beloved late husband Pete struggled with Stage IV lung cancer, I kept on smoking.
Later, when I learned that my brain was not receiving sufficient oxygen, I kept on smoking. However, with prodding from my surgeon, I finally quit 5 days before that surgery in late August, 2019.
But, did I stay quit? No!
In early November, a one-cigarette "slip" led to my eventual total relapse in late December 2019.
This is the madness of nicotine addiction.
Thank God -- literally -- I came to my senses and went back into recovery on January 6, 2020.
I can never let my guard down as I believe I will always be additcted to nicotine. So I must stay the course, strictly adhering to the mantra of Not One Puff Ever (NOPE) -- no matter what (NMW); that means NO MATTER WHAT may be happening in my life to cause stress, anger, sadness or any of the additional triggers that have fueled my smoking history.
But, for today, I am allowing myself to settle back a bit and bask in the knowledge that I am *** NINE *** MONTHS *** SMOKE- FREE *** for the first time since age 15.