Sunday, January 18, 2009

Stop Smoking

Ask me what one of the hardest things I ever did in my life was and I will tell you it was when I quit smoking. I also know that if I was able to do it so can you.

Smoking is a filthy habit. I know because I smoked for 30 years. I loved every puff. Although it’s been 9 years since I quit smoking (a pack and a half a day) I still crave one every once in awhile. Here are some of the things I learned when I was able to finally stop smoking.

Every time you quit and do not succeed it is another step in the process of quitting. You didn’t fail. You took another step. I must have quit 120 times before it finally worked.

The early days are hard. Do a new trick each day to distract yourself. On the first day I drank black coffee and sucked mentholated cherry cough drops. This resulted in a horrible taste in my mouth but was similar to having just had a cigarette.

Other days I chewed gum all day until my temples were sore from all the chewing.

Other days I sucked cough drop after cough drop.

The most intense time of it lasted about a week. It might not have been the most ideal way to get through that week, but it worked for me. Another thing I did was to reward myself for going through such a horrible experience and I practiced shopping therapy for awhile.

And, although I wouldn’t admit it at the time I did sneak a few cigarettes along the way. Trying to quit this terribly addictive disease was really horrible and there were times when I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I snuck a few. That lasted maybe the first month or so.

After that I was over the worst of it.

On the bright side? Food suddenly tasted wonderful. I mean I couldn’t believe how good a simple bowl of corn flakes tasted. Everything I ate was absolutely delicious. I ate a lot. And, gained 50 pounds, which I’m still struggling to lose. So, if you can see that you’ve set your feet upon a path of weight gain in the early days you can also counter that with an increase in exercise. The endorphins produced with the exercise will help with the whole process too.

I stopped coughing. I didn’t realize it but I had a smoker’s cough for years. I just thought I coughed a lot and, of course, while I was smoking I wouldn’t have admitted to it in a million years. There was an awful lot of denial going on.

Another plus was that I smelled better. On the downside I could smell everybody else better too. I had a particularly nauseating moment once on a crowded bus when one of the passengers smelled like he hadn’t had a bath in 6 months.

My car and my clothes smelled better too. I just had not realized how the stink of cigarettes had clung to everything around me.

They are passing lots of very strict laws in California. I believe you can’t smoke within 20 feet of a business. You can’t smoke in businesses. You can’t smoke in apartments anymore. You can’t smoke in restaurants or bars. You can’t smoke outside if your smoke drifts into anybody else’s house. You can’t smoke in the presence of a minor in a moving vehicle.

Look on the internet to get a counter sort of program for yourself. I have something called LastQuit. I don’t think it’s available anymore, but I still have it there to tell me based on my smoking a pack and a half every day how I’ve been doing:

How Long It’s Been Since I Quit: 9 Years, 3 Months, 4 Weeks, 12 Hours, 26 Minutes and 19 Seconds.
How Many Cigarettes I Have Not Smoked: 102,166
How Much Money I Have Saved: $21,403.95
How Much Life I Have Reclaimed: 11 Months, 2 Weeks, 5 Days, 17 Hours and 50 Minutes.

Good luck to anybody out there who is contemplating or who is already in the throws of quitting smoking. I will be thinking of you.


Jackie said...

Thanks for visit and nice comments.

I gave up just over six months ago. Smoked three packs a day for over 40 years so has been hard. Main problem is I had no medical reason to give up as lungs fine and never got sick with anything (could be my Vegan diet that protected me, who knows?).

Main perk for me, being retired and things getting tight, it was internet or smoking and so I am still on line having chosen that. Another thing I have to thank blogging for :)

Donna said...

You Knew it was Me, didn't you...Hahaa....I'm Really wanting to quit and I only smoke a pack every two days!!hughugs

icancarryallthebagsandthebabiestoo said...

Quitting smoking was also the most difficult thing I have ever done.

I quit with both of my pregnancies, but kept lighting up again later... at first just occassionally, and then more and more. I'd be so cranky in the day time because I would never smoke around my children. When they'd go to sleep... I'd give in.

But I am cigarette free now, and proud of myself.