Good afternoon, EXers!! While I usually log in a couple of times a week, I don't often blog because after almost six years I've pretty much said everything I could possibly think of to say! Nonetheless, I just realized I haven't blogged since June, and I assume there have been quite a few newbies who've joined EX in these last three months who haven't read anything I've ever written, so here I go.
Brief background: I started smoking when I was 13. I was 66 when I quit. I smoked heavily for 53 years, and truly thought I would be the last smoker on the planet. I thought I loved to smoke. I had no idea how much smoking had commandeered my life until I quit. You know the drill: Do I have enough cigarettes? If not, when and how can I get them? Can I smoke here? I'll do [fill in the blank] as soon as I smoke this cigarette. It's [fill in the weather condition] but I need to get cigarettes or smoke cigarettes. I'm happy, sad, nervous, bored, anxious, socializing, alone, driving, talking on the phone, lonely, sick, afraid, triumphant, and I must have a cigarette.
I had quit before, once for three years. But every minute I spent not smoking I felt deprived. I white knuckled it. I envied people who smoked. I denied I had COPD for the first two years after my diagnosis. I was a hard core smoker who thought I couldn't quit. Then I found EX. I had known for the better part of the year 2014 that I needed to quit. My cough was unbearable, my breathing was awful, and I kept getting bronchitis which made me miss work too often. I joined EX in January of '14 but only stayed for a day. I thought I could just wake up one morning and stop smoking. That didn't work for me.
In November of '14, during yet another bout of bronchitis, I knew the jig was up. I set New Year's Eve as my quit date. I re-discovered EX. I read Alan Carr's book "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" and started thinking about smoking differently. I relied on the support of this amazing community every single day for the first year and beyond. Did I start out thinking I was giving up my best friend? Yes, I did. Did I think the crave would kill me? Only a couple of times, but yes, I did. Did I look at the elders and think "well, it must have been easy for them"? Yep. But I blogged like crazy, suffered the discomfort of changing behaviors I'd had for over 50 years, and found things to do other than smoking. My determination and the support of this community built this quit, one day at a time, and now I'm at almost six years of my forever quit.
To the newbies, please know that this community can make all the difference. As long as you stay determined and make EX part of every day for as long as it takes, you'll find yourself building your forever quit as well.