I smoked alot. Over three packs a day. For about three and a half decades. I was also an alcoholic. So it was a race to see which would kill me first. Booze or sickarettes. Tobacco was winning and by 1998 I had been hospitalized twice for breathing problems. They told me then I was developing emphysema. I quit quite a few times, but alcohol was always my downfall. Finally I took my last drink and joined AA on 11/21/98. I quit smoking on that date too but relapsed after about three months. Luckily I stayed sober and finally quit smoking for good on 2/28/2001. So its’ been a while. I am SO grateful to be off both alcohol and nicotine. I can’t imagine ever doing either again. But we are never “cured” of addictions like these. The best we can be is what doctors called “sustained remission”. Just one puff, or one sip, would cause instant re-addiction from these powerful drugs. So I remain vigilant. I was diagnosed a year ago with “severe emphysema” when I had a ct scan to check for lung cancer. I don’t know why that was shocking to me. It’s a miracle just to be alive. And no cancer! Luckily, I have no symptoms in spite of my terrifying diagnosis. I’m still working out on the treadmill daily. And downhill skiing. I set the course record on my lung doctors 6 minute walk test when I went 600 meters without lowering my oxygen level. He isn’t sure how I’m doing it. But I’m as good this November as I was last November. So the progression is slow and I’m 67 years old with two decades off nicotine. I can only assume its because I stopped when I did nearly 20 years ago that I’m doing so well. I’m finally the man I always wanted to be, and I’m so grateful that I probably won’t be checking out anytime real soon. I’m retired now and have the time and money to have a good life thanks to my quits. If you are just now quitting, please keep it up. If you haven’t yet quit, today would be the best possible day to quit. If we don’t take that FIRST puff, one day at a time, it is physically impossible to fail. If we don’t take that FIRST puff, just for today, we are absolutely, positively, 100% guaranteed to go to bed as WINNERS tonight!
Your friend in Montana