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5,366 days ago - I quit. You can do. Paying it forward.....   Quit Stories and Journals

Started Dec-1 by WhiteKnight (whynot44m); 533 views.

Every once in a while, I'm reminded to keep a promise made to myself many years ago.  This Forum helped me through the tough times of my quit, taught me techniques to deal with the cravings, provided motivation and commiseration.....and I promised myself to periodically come back and encourage those who struggle through their first days/weeks/months of their quit.

It gets better - I promise you

I was a 2 pack a day smoker - Marlboro boxes - Cowboy Killers.  It's how I rolled.  If I was at a bar or partying hard, that number would get closer to 3 than 2.  The first thing I reached for in the morning and the last thing I gunned down at night was a cigarette.  I was so addicted to nicotine that I chewed nicotine gum if I went to a movie, flew on a plane, went to Church, etc.  The thought of going 2+ hours without a cigarette was unacceptable.  Of my fellow smoking friends, I was most addicted.  Some were social smokers, others only smoked after a good dinner or perhaps just needed something to do with their hands to settle the nerves.  I needed the nicotine - period. 

I used the patch to quit.  It helped.  I learned techniques to help me through my cravings.....breathing exercises or doing things that were never associated with smoking (taking long, hot showers for example).  I threw myself into work - anything to keep my mind occupied.   I thought about smoking incessantly.  There was one question at the front of my mind every minute of every day:

Would there ever come a day when I was free of this addiction....of this suffering???

The short answer is...YES!!!!!

The more complete answer is....  For me, it took a year....a full year.  For many (most) of my fellow smokers, they felt relief far sooner - some in just weeks or a few months.  I was one of the few unfortunate souls who took many, many months before I felt the first "lessening" of my cravings (I no longer remember exactly when that was but I'd say 8-10 months).  I finally went a day without a craving somewhere around my 1 year Anniversary.  The most difficult hurdle for me during my quit was the incessant cravings.  They chipped away at my resolve every hour of the day and in order to cope with my cravings, I shrunk my world down to small chunks of time.  Don't worry about tomorrow - worry about the next hour.  Got that hour done....now worry about the next hour.   Stay busy, take that shower, log onto the Forum......get that next hour in the bank.  

This is a marathon, not a sprint.  A journey, not a destination.  Embrace the "Suck".  Defeat the "Suck" by building your quit...your time between your "NOW" and your "Quit Date" - one hour at a time....one day at a time....one week at a time....one month at a time.  Your cravings will lessen.  They will eventually disappear.  I promise you.

In a few more months - I will celebrate my 15th Anniversary of Smoking Cessation.  I don't think about smoking ......at all.  Literally months will pass without a single thought.  Every once in a while I smell it on someone else or I see the ridiculous prices charged for a pack of smokes or I see people freezing as they smoke outside in the Winter - and I'm thankful I quit.....but that's the extent I think about smoking.

I have logged in periodically since I quit simply to give the reassurance to those who agonize like I did....wondering if they will ever be free and "normal" again.  The answer is simple - a resounding YES!  Stay focused, build your quit and you will come out the other side a new person.

Oh - and a bonus you may or may not have expected.... You will be a better person.  You will have stared into Hell itself during this quit and learned who you are.  Your self-esteem will increase and you will "know thyself".   We all have our dragons to slay.   Every man and woman I've ever met have their dragons to slay.  We can't know what dragons each other deal with on a daily basis, but there is no doubt everyone has them.  Defeating this particular dragon gives you a powerful and effective set of tools to defeat the other dragons in your life.  

What brought my smoking journey to my mind today? I face a new dragon and will defeat it using my knowledge from my smoking cessation journey.  I weigh 300 lbs....and that is 75 lbs too many.

 Using my best impersonation of Liam Neeson in "Taken"...."I have a very particular set of skills - skills I have acquired over a very long career...skills that make me a nightmare for....(my current dragon to slay)- my 300 lb weight!!!  I've quit smoking.  All that is left of that particular dragon are embers and smoke.  I now start my journey to loose 75 lbs.  I am confident because I know how to slay a dragon.  That is what reminded me it was time to get back here and keep my promise to myself - to post a (hopefully helpful) story in here. 

I wish you all success!!!!!!

This journey will change you.  Keep the faith and you will have the power to move mountains.  

Jerthie123

From: Jerthie123

Dec-1

Amazing story. Thank you for taking so much time out to write it all down. Your words and encouragement are so appreciated! God bless your new resolve. You've got this! Much love to you!!

Thanks Jerthie!

I wish you success on your journey as well!

Jerthie123

From: Jerthie123

Dec-2

Whynot... I am using 6 lozenges a day to get me through my days, especially during the busy Christmas season. I smoked for 21 years, from the age of 20-41. Then I stopped smoking with the help of the lozenges, have been using them from the age of 41 up until now. I turned 51 yesterday. I find your post very inspiring because if shows someone who went through an amazing struggle and came out on the other side. You truly are blessed, and I wish you every success going forward on your weight loss journey. You've got this.

Thanks Jerthie

First of all - Happy (Belated) Birthday.  I turned 59 recently so we are in the same decade (I'm decidedly older though ;-) ).  You've gone 10 years without a cig?  That's outstanding!!!!  If I'm reading your post correctly, you've been using lozenges during that time?  Your lungs must be thanking you for the relief!

I noted you mentioned the busy Christmas Season - which reminded me of some sage advice I got from the Forum.  Specifically, we all must conquer our triggers that we associated with smoking and a year is about the right timeframe to face each and every one.  I experienced that first hand as I experienced different triggers I had either forgotten about or hadn't expected.  I remember quitting on Easter and by the time Summer rolled around, I was fishing on a boat, drinking beer and naturally reached down for my pack of cigs....but they were not, of course, there!  The Summer Fishing trigger, lol.  Then, in the Autumn, our family normally had a huge clam bake - over 100 friends and family....I was in charge of the clams.  Again, drinking a beer and reached down for my pack of cigs.....and again, they weren't there.  The Autumn Trigger lol.  So yes, I would not be surprised if we all find the Christmas trigger!  Getting through the 4 Seasons, for me at least, was very helpful as I entered year 2 of my quit.

Got on the scale this morning - down to 289 already!  Happy Happy Happy!  I used to play some football in my younger days and spent many many years in the gym.  When I hit 50, I continued to eat but stopped exercising as my life was very hectic and my priorities changed (for the worse)...I went from 225 to 315 in a "New York Second" lol!  I think having the ability for self-examination periodically is something that should be cultivated and honed.  Upon some sober self examination, I found some areas of my life that were lacking and decided to do something about it.  Again, having the track record of quitting smoking  - arguably my toughest challenge I've ever faced, gave me the confidence and tools to face my next battle.  I think that is a good, solid take-away from this difficult journey.  Does it "suck"?  Indeed....but success in this effort of smoking cessation can positively effect so many other facets of our lives (if properly harnessed) that we come out better for our sacrifices.  I firmly believe that.

I'm thankful for my journey - and encourage everyone in this Forum as they go through their challenges.

I salute your success, Jerthie!  10 years is amazing and you've got an obviously winning attitude.  Well done!!!!

Anne2020

From: Anne2020

Dec-2

Loved reading your post.  Thank you for sharing.

The beautiful promise of quitting is, when you get to a certain point, sometimes 3 months sometimes a bit shorter or a bit longer, nevertheless inevitably, you will arrive to place in your life when you never think about smoking.  It becomes something that you used to do, and that is all. 

So to everyone who is fighting the crave waves, know that your efforts will be rewarded.  The crave waves do disappear and you will be born into a new lifestyle.  A non-smoking lifestyle with no crave waves at all. 

Just don't smoke.  It is so worth it. (2 years 11 months)      Smiley Face GIFs | Tenor 

SusanK1960

From: SusanK1960

Dec-2

Happy Birthday Jerthie!  Good for you quitting smoking at 41!  I was 59.5 years old when I got the quit to stick!

I am a game player, which I still play in this forum everyday.  Every month, I would try different “things” to assist with the quit. One month of sticky notes in normal smoking places, like car, porch, phone, with questions on them, changing the questions weekly, a month of meditation and relaxation music I hadn’t listened to normally.  The next month ice water thru a straw.  The next month, finding my favorite sayings, such as Turtles first one, which I still have hanging in the cabinet where I kept my cigs, etc.. For me, it kept my quit ‘fresh’ and occupied me with coming up with different activities to help.  
 

You are already a success! You are just cleaning up the edges

  • Edited December 2, 2022 6:20 pm  by  SusanK1960
Jerthie123

From: Jerthie123

Dec-2

Thank you everyone for believing in me!!!

Perfectly said Anne!  

"..... It becomes something that you used to do, and that is all. ..."

Love it!  

You're approaching 3 years!!!!  Well done!!!

Susan

Love Love Love the games you devised to get you through your quit.  What a super idea!!!!!

Well done and congrats on your quit

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