Posts Tagged With: quitting

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Friday is my birthday and I’m turning FOUR YEARS OLD! Yay me!

HUH?

That’s right. I no longer celebrate the number of years since my birth. I now celebrate the number of years since my rebirth; the years I’ve been nicotine free.

 

I smoked 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day for over 30 years; it’s no wonder no one believed that I could quit. If I was awake, I had a cig in my mouth. Every move I made, place I went, and thought I had, was based around taking my next puff. And no matter how long or hard I sucked, I couldn’t seem to get enough.

 

It was exhausting.

People say you have to want to quit, to be successful at it. But I was pretty comfortable in my addiction, until the day I caught a bad cold and learned I had emphysema. I didn’t want to quit. I had to.

 

I decided that if I was going to war with this addiction, I needed to prepare for battle. So I did my research and armed myself.  

 

I requested information from the American Cancer Society and joined their phone counseling program. I was advised to set a quit date and chose my birthday.


Then, I told people about my plan. The guy at the store where I bought my cigs actually laughed.

I learned about visualization and how to imagine possible weak moments, so I would know what to do and could combat them when they actually happened.

 

I also learned about the voice of addiction. You know those thoughts that have you toying with the idea of smoking just one cig? The thought that says you can quit tomorrow instead? That thought is your addiction talking. Ignore it. That voice still whispers in my ear on occasion, but I silence it.

“Sorry, dude, shut up.”


I started on the medication Zyban which is taken WHILE you quit and can help reduce withdrawal symptoms.    Amazingly, my cigs started tasting mucky and I put them out sooner. 

 

The night before quitting, I cleaned the ashtrays, scoured away the smoky smells, destroyed all remaining cigarettes, and stocked my refrigerator with TONS of healthy food.

 

Some previously purchased tools included a pair of walking shoes, my first athletic bra, and an MP3 player. I awoke that first morning and reached for the cigarette on my nightstand. It wasn’t there. 

“Oh, *%&$! It’s gonna be a loooong day!” I whined.

Then I got up, laced up, and went for a walk.

This obnoxious, but well-intentioned four year old has a list of THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO DO while you’re trying to quit smoking:

DON’T OVER-THINK IT! Don’t try to imagine the rest of your life without cigarettes, or even the rest of your week. Just take it one day at a time.    

DON’T ANTICIPATE THE WORST! I envisioned myself draped on the sofa crying desperately for one more puff, while being slammed with wave after wave of cravings.

They say that cravings last no more than 20 minutes, but I’ve never had one last longer than the time it takes to get a tasty snack or lace up my walking shoes.

 

SOMETIMES, DON’T LISTEN. I’ve been told that heroin users who try to quit using have a higher success rate than smokers do. Now WHY ON EARTH would you tell me THAT?! I’m sure it was said in the spirit of support, but that’s why we smokers don’t even try to quit. We think it will be pure torture.

I expected this:

But it never happened.

DON’T EXAGGERATE! You’re not solving the problem of world hunger or curing cancer . . . you are choosing to stop an addictive behavior.   Nothing more.   Just make up your mind, put on your big person panties, and do it. And don’t look back. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE YOURSELF! You can do ANYTHING! Be your own superhero. Afterwards, you’ll live in a healthier world that you created for yourself and you’ll be amazed at your newfound confidence.

 

So HOW AM I DOING FOUR YEARS LATER? Well, my smoking dreams have long ceased, as have my daily cravings; and my idle hands have discovered more productive activities. There are many days, and sometimes even weeks, when a cigarette never even crosses my mind. I would’ve never thought that possible.

 

There have been those of you with questions for me. Many a wrinkled, weathered face has coughed, gagged, huffed and puffed as they inquired with concern about possible weight gain. Quite familiar with this excuse, I peer through the haze and smell of the ashtray . . . and smile at the irony.

 

“Yep, I’ve gained some weight. So what. “

 

So what if I’m a bit chubbier due to my incessant new habit of popping grapes and consuming large amounts of cheese; I’ll tackle that or adjust it . . .  all in good time. At least now I’ll have the breath, the energy, and the time, to work it off and to work it out.

 

Sometimes those first few baby steps can be a bit wobbly.

But I’m standing stronger these days.

 After all, I’m a big girl now. I’m turning four.

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(For information on quitting smoking, visit any of these sites, see notices in your newspaper, or call for free programs provided by your local hospital. Also available: hypnosis, acupuncture, the nicotine patch, smoking cessation programs, or support groups).

National organizations and Web sites

Guide to Quitting Smoking: AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETYwww.cancer.org/Healthy/…/GuidetoQuittingSmoking/index

QuitNet
Web site: www.quitnet.com Offers free, cutting edge services to people trying to quit tobacco

Nicotine Anonymous Toll-free number: 1-877-879-6422 (1-877-TRY-NICA)
Web site: www.nicotine-anonymous.org For free information on their 12-step program, meeting schedules, printed materials, or information on how to start a group in your area

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health
Toll-free number: 1-800-232-4636 (1-800-CDC-INFO)
Free quit support line: 1-800-784-8669 (1-800-QUIT-NOW)
TTY: 1-800-332-8615
Web site: www.cdc.gov/tobacco Free information on smoking and health; phone hotline for people who want to quit

National Cancer Institute
Toll-free number: 1-800-422-6237 (1-800-4-CANCER) for cancer information
Toll-free tobacco quit line: 1–877–448–7848 (1–877–44U–QUIT)
Web site: www.cancer.gov
Direct tobacco Web site: www.smokefree.gov Quitting information, cessation guides, and counseling is offered, as well as state telephone-based quit programs

American Lung Association
Toll-free number: 1-800-548-8252
Web site: www.lungusa.org Printed quit materials are available, some in Spanish. Offers the tobacco cessation program “Freedom from Smoking Online” for a small fee at www.ffsonline.org

 

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Categories: Addiction, Holidays/Birthdays, Humor, Inspiration/Motivation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 44 Comments

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