It Does Work If You Work It… On June 21, 2017 I quit smoking cigarettes. It felt like taking a flying jump off a cliff. I didn’t know if it would work or not. I didn’t know how my body and emotions and behavior would react. I had tried Chantix twice before and never actually quit smoking. Here I was for a third time and I didn’t stop smoking on the eighth day. It was Day 10 on Chantix and I smoked my last cigarette the night before.
I was prepared to handle whatever feelings of shame and inadequacy which could arise if I failed, relapsed, had to start over. I knew the caring, accepting people in my life would still be there, caring, accepting, sharing and being supportive. Amazingly, part of quitting was accepting that there was part of me that did not want to quit, and learning that 100% willingness or desire was not realistic or necessary. 75% or 90% could be enough.
Quitting smoking turned out to be a relatively easy success. Staying quit has been easier than I ever dreamed possible. I only had one big head-to-toe body craving which happened in my car on the way to work and I had nowhere to go. I knew I could not stop until I got to work and told myself this craving will only last 7 seconds. I made it to work and got through it.
I love being a ex-smoker. I love not thinking about cigarettes or smoking. When I see other people smoking, I feel sorry for them. I know they are not doing it out of choice or for pleasure, but to cancel a craving. They are being obedient to their addiction. My perspective on smoking changed radically when I found and became involved in the EX Community on the day of my quit.
My life has changed in other ways as well. I now go to the gym regularly and enjoy it. My stamina is far, far greater than when I was actively smoking. I am beginning to jog gently; I used to get winded after 20 seconds. The shame of being a smoker dropped away during the first few days of smobriety. My mouth and breath feel, and obviously are, so much cleaner. Getting my teeth cleaned at the dentist is no longer a marathon of pain that takes an hour of ultra-sound scraping. Today it’s 20 minutes and pain-free. And every day, I no longer have to hide an activity that I used to do 20 times a day. I no longer have to go to my garage, chain smoke, and have my kids wonder when I will be coming back inside the house. It’s over. Better days are here now.
Instead of handling my moods and emotions and stress by smoking it all away, disconnecting from myself, putting up walls between my awareness and my experiences and feelings, I now am learning a different way of life. Being in contact with my feelings and emotions, learning how to tolerate the difficult times without numbing out or being overwhelmed, sharing in words with new friends what is happening in my inner life – these are the new coping methods that have replaced smoking. They have opened new worlds of dignity, wisdom, maturity and friendship in my life.
I have no idea how I managed to actually quit smoking. My first serious attempt was in 1995 by attending Nicotine Anonymous meetings. I only attended a few times. I try not to regret that it took me so long to actually quit. It does work if you work it. I’m living proof of that.