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First and foremost - a huge thank you to this Forum and everyone here who is making this painful but, oh so, worthwhile journey possible for me. Today I am sure that, with the help of you all, I am giving myself the best possible gift that I can by freeing myself of this horrible addiction.
Luckily, the brain is a marvellous organ which seems to block out pain very quickly. I can barely remember the intensity of the pain of those first few weeks and months of quitting. I did keep a journey of sorts but didn't make regular entries, especially in the early days. However, last week I was transferring the relevant dates of birthdays etc from my 2016 diary to my new diary and I saw some notes I'd made when I first quit:
12th Jan. 2016 - 'Cravings totally unbearable - feel sick/confused/gassy - my head aches - concentration nil - can't sleep'.
13th Jan. 2016 - 'Fewer cravings and for shorter times - so very angry, emotional and brittle - can't stop crying - all senses heightened - taste/shower/smell like new, raw, heightened sensations - nerves jangling - balance poor - why am I doing this? - I hurt!!'
I had forgotten all this - it almost feels like it happened to someone else. I was very near to tears when I read it. I felt so sorry for the fact that this addiction had put me through all that pain. Now I know, though, how worthwhile that suffering was and how quickly everything improves. The intensity and frequency of both the 'craves' and the mood swings diminished during those first few months. However, I was left with a very strong feeling that 'something was missing'. That, too, has now lessened and I only feel it when I come across a new trigger or situation when I would always have smoked before. These are lessening too.
I still sometimes think of a cigarette but I am lucky to have accepted the fact that just one puff would take me right back to being a heavy smoker again and then I would probably never have the courage to quit again. It's a no-brainer. I pledge nope daily as a commitment to myself that I will not smoke a day at a time. So far it's working. The other fact that I have completely accepted is that, contrary to what I used to believe, cigarettes were never my friends, my allies or my crutches in times of stress. I now know that they were my enemy and the cause of unimaginable stress for the 52 years I smoked. I was totally addicted to the evil drug called nicotine.
I was told to put as much time and effort into quitting as I had put into smoking. When I worked it out, I realised that I had invested hours of my time on something which was killing me. I now spend as much time as I want here on the Forum and I know that, as well as being enjoyable, it is time well invested to insure that I can keep my quit strong.
I won't waffle on too long but would just like to add my thoughts on an unexpected benefit of quitting smoking. We all have our 'Reasons to Quit' lists which usually consist of pretty much the same expectations. However, I had never imagined the extent to which my self-esteem would grow. I'm managing to change self-pity (boy, I've always been good at that one!!) into self-love and compassion. I seem more able to recognise now what is good for me and to realise that I don't always have to go with the flow of what others want from me. I have more self-respect and, oddly enough, other people seem to have more respect for me too.
My relationship with my husband (who had given up smoking long before I met him) suffered badly during my quit. I made his life hell. However, he stood by me and is almost as proud of me today as I am of myself. Our relationship is truly now the best its ever been in 25 years. Somehow my ability to love myself has meant that I am more able to love others too. Also, I can now accept that I am not, and never will be, perfect. All I can hope for is to try to improve myself as I learn more about myself. This means that I am more tolerant of my imperfections and also those of other people.
I used to say that I enjoyed smoking but I now know that the truth was that I never thought that I was strong enough to quit and I was completely terrified at the thought of living without cigarettes. I also know that I would not have been able to quit had I tried to do it alone. However, with the help of this Forum and the wonderful people here, I am doing it and have been doing it for one whole year.
So, once again, my sincerest thanks to everyone here on this Forum. I just can't express my gratitude that I found you and that I have you by my side while we make this incredible journey together and free ourselves from this awful addiction.
Hi Sue ,
CONGRATULATIONS and Welcome to the Clubhouse! We're all so proud of you and you've been such an inspiration!
It really got me chocked up reading those entries in your journal. Mine is very much like yours page after page. Now you know the answer to "why am I doing this? - I hurt!!'
I love your post. Congratulations. I hope that anyone who is struggling right now will read your words and be inspired to go through what is needed to get free. There are so many benefits to kicking that nicodemon to the curb. Well done and Woo Hoo!
Welcome to the Clubhouse! Thank you for sharing your story with such honesty and feeling. It is sure to encourage and inspire others.
One year. It's a pleasure to be on this journey with you.
Love and hugs,
I am in awe. Congratulations. May the celebration be huge!
What a powerful post. If there is anything positive to be gained from addiction, it would be the empowerment that overcoming it gifts us with. It's clear you have opened that present already. :-)
When I first came upon this forum after I quit smoking, it was messages like yours from old-timers (you're in that category now) that kept me going. Thank you for sharing from the heart so beautifully.
I'm thrilled for you, and guess what? The journey isn't over. More benefits await in year two, and the ride is SO much smoother. It's all good!
I hope you do something special to celebrate!
What a marvelous post of your journey to freedom. Congratulations on year one. I'm sure that many folks reading your message will inspired and motivated to hang on to their own quit or take the plunge and give cessation a try.
Thanks for all that you do in supporting others and your commitment to our forum. You are truly a wonderful example of quitting with grace all while keeping it honest and telling it like it is.
Best wishes as you continue your journey. It gets better and better each year.
WOW, SUE, WHAT A GREAT MILESTONE POST. I SEE SO MUCH OF MYSELF IN WHAT YOU HAVE WRITTEN. THE KEY IS BEAUTIFUL AND A BIG CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN. VERY PROUD OF YOU, SUE, AS I AM SURE YOU ARE OF YOURSELF. ENJOY THE CLUBHOUSE PARTY, MUSIC AND FRIENDS. CELEBRATE BIG!!!
What an inspiring post. Welcome to the Clubhouse. We're all glad to see you here. You made it in spite of a lot of pain and misery, and you hung in when the odds all seemed against your succeeding. That's what you call your basic Grit and Determination. You have every right to be proud of yourself, and we are all proud of you.
Now, on to the 80% Clubhouse. You'll make it, and you'll continue to inspire others along the way. Well done!
Congratulations! That's a beautiful key you have there.
Quit November 12, 2016
One month, four weeks, one day, 18 hours, 14 minutes and 0 seconds. 1195 cigarettes not smoked, saving $359.75. Life saved: 4 days, 3 hours, 35 minutes.