I smoked my first cigarette almost 35 years ago. It was my constant companion, my comfort, my identity. I did not know how to live without smoking, and I didn't want to know. It became my only certainty in a world filled with broken promises and fading dreams.
Over the past year, I started to ask myself, I mean really ask myself - if I could have one wish, what would it be? And the answer was easy for me - it was not to be filthy rich, nor famous, nor gorgeous. It was simply to be HAPPY and HEALTHY. The more and more I thought about it, the more I read about it, I realized the two are inseparable. You cannot be truly happy if you are not healthy, and you cannot be truly healthy if you are not happy. As long as I was smoking, as long as I was hurting myself in this way, I could not be either.
Over the past year, I tried to quit a hundred times, sometimes for 6 hours, the longest for 1 week. Each time, a voice, or what sometimes felt like an all-encompassing entity would inevitably possess my mind, and I would find myself hurrying to the corner deli to buy a pack of cigarettes. Often times, I don't even remember making the decision to go smoke. It was like being in a trance.
It was in moments of subsequent despair and hopelessness, I was still able to find the courage to try to quit again... and again...and again. I read books (Allen Carr's Easy Way to Quit Smoking), listened to audio tapes, tried hypnosis (Kerry Gaynor online hypnosis), and explored meditation (Calm) and philosophy (Deepak Chopra). What I learned is that quitting smoking for me could not be about just will power. I had to change the way I thought about smoking. I learned that everything I associated with as the rewards of cigarettes was a BIG LIE. There is not one single good thing about cigarettes. And most importantly I had to learn to not want to hurt myself anymore. I had to learn to believe in myself and appreciate this amazing, beautiful life before I could truly quit smoking.
On November 15th, I smoked my last cigarette. I know it hasn't been long, but it is a lifetime for me. I have had some hard days and some easier days (no day has been completely easy yet). But each time I think about how I am giving myself the gift of healing, freedom, and new life, I am filled with pride and hope. How amazing is it that you have the power to give yourself the one gift that, deep down, is what everyone wishes for?
May this holiday be one of much happiness and health to you all.