My journey to the 6% ring actually began 3 years ago. I lost my 3rd quit after 6 months. Just couldn't resist that temptation to smoke just one with my friend. Needless to say that was the beginning of the end. I was so frustrated with myself. From that guilt and frustration I told myself I was going to quit if it took me the rest of my life. I would just keep on quitting. I also committed to smoking only 5 cigarettes a day. That way I could control my nicotine addiction. At least that's what I told myself.
I did keep those promises to myself, but I wasn't getting any closer to quitting. I stayed at 5 cigarettes a day for almost 3 years. Something was missing. I could not get myself to that jumping off point. I needed to get there. My body was talking. My lungs were feeling tight. I was getting winded easier; you know the drill.
I went searching online for something anything that would help me quit. In March 2018 I found this site. On October 1st, 2018 I started my journey. But this one was different. This one I started after 4 months of reading researching, studying my smoking habits, learning what triggered me, reading other people's stories. Making lists of the tools they used to quit. I began to change my thinking that maybe I could do this.
I studied the addiction process of nicotine, and realized this really is like any other addiction. All it takes is one cigarette to start the addiction process in the brain again. I did a couple of practice quits for a day at a time just to build my courage.
I talked to my partner and turned my house and car into a smoke free zone ahead of time,I started making a list of what I would do instead of smoke. Giulia's list of 100 things to do instead of smoke is a great resource.
Folks, hell week is real, heck week is real, no man's land is real, triggers are real. But so is that deep gut desire to stick with quitting and overcome what obstacles come your way. Not One Puff Ever was my motto in my head. When triggers hit I would self talk and say "I don't do that anymore. What can I do instead" and grab my list. They got less and less as time went on.
Determination is also real. Choosing your quit over the brain's argument to give it nicotine is real. Rewarding yourself for not smoking is real.
It took me 3 years to get one year of not smoking. I'm not going back...ever. It's a daily choice. An active choice. A journey that starts out with a simple desire and a lot of fear, and ends with a lot of strength, satisfaction and realization that it is a forever journey. But at the end of a year you don't see obstacles you see clear horizons with a confidence and knowledge that you have what it takes to continue your quit forever.
Dare to take the journey.