One hundred days ago, I quit smoking. I don’t remember my first cigarette. But I’ll never forget my last.
June 20, 2017 10:00 p.m.
I took my last drag of the last cigarette in the last pack of the last carton I had. I pitched the butt in the toilet and flushed. I threw the lighter in the garbage can. I just ended my longest standing relationship.
In those first days of not smoking, I felt lost. I spent almost every waking moment on the EX Community site. You know you’re in a bad place when you can relate to the addicts on “Intervention.” I didn’t know who I was anymore. I had been a pack a day smoker for 32 years–since I was 14 years old. It really communicated who I was or who I wanted to be when I was 14. Smoking was cool and awesome and fun. It is also gross and expensive and will kill you.
I was able to quit for five years when I was 22 but started again when I moved to Chicago and was hanging out in bars meeting new people (my husband who was never a smoker). I quit when I was pregnant only to start back up when I returned to work.
I have been successful in many things in life – from work to losing weight to athletics….I ran a half marathon as a smoker for crying out loud! Who DOES THAT?! I realized that I was getting too old to be so reckless with my health. Why couldn’t I just kick this nasty habit to the curb?
I didn’t know or didn’t realize 100 days ago that quitting smoking meant I had to completely change my lifestyle. I had to find new ways to relax, to reward, to celebrate, to vent. I knew I didn’t want to do it by eating (which is another blog for another day). Smoking was literally the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing at night. When I wasn’t smoking, I was thinking about the next cigarette and when I might be able to have it.
I realized that developing an eating habit probably wasn’t the best solution, and noticed that the only other thing that made me feel better was to physically move. I couldn’t sit still. That eventually subsided and it took me another month or so before I went to my local gym and signed up (again). I began walking outside but have yet to make it into the gym. I put on some weight and decided to give myself three months before tackling that again. As of yesterday, I called a personal trainer and will begin training again next week.
I know it will make me feel better. It will help to calm me because even after 100 days, I am not always calm. I recently got to eating healthy again and some of the weight I put on has now come off and I’ve got more to go. After losing 154 pounds and putting some back on, I am ready to keep that moving in a forward direction as well. I’ve always been diet conscious since I have always been overweight. I know I can’t undo 32 years of toxic chemicals immediately, but forward progress can’t hurt. Onward and upward!
It will be interesting to see how training will be now that I don’t smoke! I wonder if I will be able to condition faster and not get out of breath so easily.
I have had a gym membership since 2010. I was great at going up until about 4 years ago when my job changed. I would go to the gym 5 days a week and work out for 3 hours at a time. I realized I was working out and suffocating myself from the inside. It wasn’t a good time. I want to get the “runners high” for the first time in my life. I am ready to push myself further and harder every day. I am hoping my new trainer will teach me how to lift weights and stretch and breathe. I want to feel physically better than I ever have in my life.
The emotional part is catching up. I’m not going to say I don’t think about smoking (or not smoking) every day, because I do. By pledging not to smoke today I am making a conscious decision about (not) smoking. You know how alcoholics say they don’t recover; they are just alcoholics that don’t drink and are in recovery? I think I will always be a smoker who doesn’t smoke and or I am an EX-smoker which is different to me than a NON-smoker.
As I grow physically stronger, I get emotionally stronger. Losing my security blanket and best friend has made me a little more vulnerable, a little more honest, a little more real.
I could not have survived this journey without all of my amazing friends and family and this community. The amount of support, encouragement and love I’ve received has been overwhelming and truly humbling.
I’ve never been much of a “sharer,” but if my story helps one person realize that they can quit their bad habit and overcome the addiction, then it is worth it. Seriously, if I can become an EX-smoker, lose 150 pounds, and begin an exercise routine, you can totally stop biting your nails or eating too many cookies or whatever. You can join me on my soap box.
Let me tell you, the view from here is pretty darn good.