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I hang my head in shame. I'm pretty smart, active, often athletic, but I have a foul habit deeply imbedded in my psyche. I've been a smoker for (oh god, deep breath) 32 years.
I'm trying to quit.
This has led to a lot of thinking about who I am, as I am trying to redefine myself as an adult who does not smoke. Never known myself w/o a cigarette nearby.
Why am I posting this story here? My reasons:

  • Trying to quit has made me aware how 'asleep' I've been, and how much fear I travel with. I am hopeful that this action will stimulate courage in other parts of my life, especially political/social arenas.
  • I want to share my experience with the medication I'm taking for those who are interested.
  • and this is a shameless way to get some support.

I'm near the end of day two.
I'm okay. Not freaking out, not weeping, not searching through the garbage for an old butt. I'm also holding my breath a bit, not wanting to fail, yet slightly craving a smoke. That goes away pretty fast.

I've tried to quit before; many, many times and methods. This time I am taking Chantix.

Day 5. Still okay. I weigh 10 pounds more than I'd like, so I bought carrots last night. I'm not beating myself up about my weight - I actually look fine, just want to get back down. I also went for a long jog/walk with my most patient dog. It felt good to get some of the heebies out of my limbs.

I found sitting at the computer makes me a bit stir-crazy, so I'm doing this in episodes. Feeling at times courageous, at times weepy. Overall - I'm excited to be moving on from something that has hung over everything for so long. Funny thing, though - I'm embarrassed to talk with my friends about this . Only one friend knows I'm doing this. I guess I'm afraid of failing and ashamed of my weaknesses. Wow - get over it!

Chantix - let me describe my experience.
My sister recommended it, several of her patients had some success. Unbiased studies show a higher success rate than the patch or Wellbutrin. Afraid of smoking lectures, I haven't seen my doctor for a couple of years, so I asked my sister to write me a scrip. It's not cheap (about $100 for the 1st month), but I ran to the pharmacy as soon as her letter arrived. I took the first pill the next morning. You ramp up the medication dosage in the first week, while you are still smoking. As the drug builds up, smoking becomes really unappetizing. Nausea is typical, but I also felt a bit headachy. Reading the other reported side effects, I will admit to vivid dreams and increased flatulence. Damn, I'm glad the gas isn't my fault. The medication binds to nicotine receptors, and thus blocked, smoking a cigarette doesn't reward you any longer (okay, I know it never did...).
By the day you are supposed to quit, about 7 days in, you are taking a full dose, and at least for me, smoking was no longer pleasant. There is a website as a guide and resource, and you are supposed to take the drug for about 3 months.

This was easy, if I may say so. I am not allowed to tempt myself, and I really do want to quit, no matter how good I am at sabbotaging myself. I did time the quitting to glide between stressful events - a few papers due last week, and Xmas is often a mess.
I'm tired of my own excuses. My 48th birthday is next Monday. Enough!

About accountability. I can only speak for myself here, but I often only give things lip-service. Kind of makes me sick. I know I can't solve all the problems, I can barely take care of myself. But I do care, I am competent, and I do want my efforts to have an impact on some  level. Facing my ugly, dirty habit, peeling back some of my internal lies, replacing them with reasons to live, and live healthier, takes me a bit closer to the level of personal accountability I respect in others.
Smoking gets in my way, on so many levels. It's time for me to move on, clear out the debris, and get to work on what is really important to me.

Originally posted to parryander on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 09:51 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  You can do it! (8+ / 0-)

      I quit years ago after completing the one-day Smoke Out.  I had smoked a pack of unfiltered Camels a day for 20 years and was goading into participating by a coworker. But I really did it – midnight to midnight – just to see if I could.

      The next morning, I awoke, opened my eyes and reached for my cigarettes.  But I had a question for myself:

      "Are you ever going to quit, totally?  Or are you going to smoke for the rest of your (abbreviated) life?"

      Well, I’m going to quit totally, of course...one day.

      "Then what could be worse than yesterday?  Today has to be easier.  Perhaps infinitesimally, but easier.  And tomorrow, easier still.  Do you ever want to repeat yesterday?"

      No.

      That was it...24 years ago.

      It’s only annoying for a while.  Soon the craving goes away.  But the twinges can last for a longer time.  Each urge you resist is less urgent than the last.  Really.

      You can do it!

      (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

      by john07801 on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:31:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hang in there pal. (8+ / 0-)

    I'm on Day 12 and from that link, you can follow all my posts and comment as well if you want.

    Good luck. You can do it. And put up a healthy tip jar so we can give you some mojo for trying. Also, you can check out how this great community responds as you continue to remain smoke free.

    And with the smell of smoke off your clothes, you can really smell the love coming from this place.

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 09:56:18 AM PST

    •  You have crazy dreams with the patch as well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      parryander

      I can attest to that, especially the ones I had last night that I wrote about just 30 minutes ago.

      Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

      by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 09:59:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had nightmares on Nicoderm.... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alohaleezy, parryander, sunbro, Loonesta

        ..my doc then told me one should never wear the patches at night. His advice: take the patch off an hour before bedtime, and wash the area where the patch was. Then put on a fresh one in the morning. I tried it and it worked fine that way...no early morning cravings.

        My Democratic Nominee Preferences: 1.Gore or Clark or Edwards 2.Richardson 3.Obama 4.ABH (Anybody But Hillary)

        by VolvoDrivingLiberal on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:02:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I tried Nicoderm that last I tried to quit (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          parryander

          and yeah, I still had the dreams. I wear the patch all through the night because one big problem of mine was waking and going right for the smokes.

          I think I made the mistake of not reading the instructions on this (Nicoderm CQ is different from the last patch I tried) and I noticed the other day something on the box that differentiated between wearing it for 16 or 24 hours.

          I didn't read any further. I'm not smoking right now and it feels pretty good. My only concern really at this point is how I'll feel as I start weaning the nicotine off my body, too.

          I'll probably crave the patch.

          Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

          by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:40:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm loving (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunbro, Loonesta

        the dreams. It's been a long time since I've been aware of them.
        Thanks for the links and support. It's hard for me to reach out, but now's the time.
        Best to you and your quitting!

  •  good luck to you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alohaleezy, Stand Strong, parryander

    and congrats to you too for taking the step.

  •  Thanks parryander. I'm set to quit (6+ / 0-)

    on 2/14, the aniversary of my mother's death from lung cancer.  Reading your diary here gives me hope.  Thanks again.

    "An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war."-Mark Twain

    by coloradocomet on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 09:58:57 AM PST

    •  Why wait til 2/14? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alohaleezy, parryander, karmsy

      I understand the significance of the anniversary but I think you're mother would want you to quit ASAP and would understand if you didn't wait. New Year's resolutions are stupid and trying that to quit for me never worked very well so why not quit...like...

      ...right now?

      Sorry for your loss but as a young parent with two children who wants to be present for my children, as well as the child of my mother who I saw smoke for years and constantly worried that she would suffer something terrible from it and always hoping she would quit, when she finally did, I was very happy.

      It's been 10+ years since she quit smoking and 10+ years she's been rubbing it in my face beggin me to quit and offering to buy me the patch, which I finally took her up on.

      There's no time like the present. Mom will understand and be proud of you nonetheless.

      Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

      by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:02:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You WILL be able to do it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alohaleezy, Stand Strong

      You have a much deeper motivation than I do, I'm so sorry.

  •  To elaborate on your post (6+ / 0-)

    (of which a lot of what I will say is contained within my own blog posts on quitting), I'm 28 and have been a pack-a-day smoker for longer than I care to admit. I, like many, started smoking young, on and off. Over time it basically solidified into part of my lifestyle and was ever present wherever I was.

    I've always said I wanted to quit smoking over the years but I never really did.

    That has changed recently with tight financial situations, a new son, and my overall concern with my health, as I don't have insurance right now and I don't want smoking to be the death of me. I'm tired of the taste, I'm tired of scrapping for cash (it'll save me @ $150/mo), and I want to do something good for my family and I.

    So that's my motivation.

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:08:23 AM PST

    •  I began smoking (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      at 16. I was in a play where my character smoked, so the adults taught me how to inhale. I was hooked in about 2 weeks.
      I have no memories of my mother w/o a cigarette, and as I get closer to her age when she passed, I get more disgusted with myself.
      You should be really proud of your choice. I skimmed through your blog, and am amazed at how universal our experiences are with this smoking thing. Keep it up, and thanks for your support!

  •  I went cold turkey (7+ / 0-)

    15 years ago on my 40th birthday and I'm still working on the 40 pounds I gained. the thought I used which may help you since like me you've tried before without success.  After the 5th day I kept reminding myself that since I knew I was eventually going to have to quit it made sense to keep going because if I had just one, I'd have to start the whole thing over, so haveing a butt equaled starting at the beginning of the quiting cycle all over again.  I used that for years.  Now, (and I don't know when the turning point came) every time I see someone smoking I think how glad I am not to be "under that influence" any more.  It's also a great come back when some criticizes you in the future for not doing enough or being strong enough or whatever because you can say I quit a 32 year cigarette habit what did you do to top that?  Congratulations on making the choice to quit.

    Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.

    by SMucci on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:13:32 AM PST

  •  Almost seven months (8+ / 0-)

    smoke free for me after almost forty years of smoking. I had tried everything from the patch to hypnosis, accupuncture, Welbutrin, and on and on. The last year I absolutely hated smoking. It was only with me because of the freaken addiction.

    It took me having a heavy duty health scare at 53 years old and two TIAs(ministrokes)in May for me to say never again! I haven't had one since and have had no cravings at all. The weight gain is depressing but I allowed myself that and am now ready to tackle that part of it.

    Folks, don't wait for the inevitable health consequences to get you off the cigs. Do it NOW!

    Frodo failed....Bush has got the ring!

    by Alohaleezy on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:14:36 AM PST

    •  That was a scare for my mother last year. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      parryander

      She had a TIA and not to scare you, but I'm sure you know the relative rates of actual heart attacks to actually occur in patients who've had TIA's.

      Here's what my brother had to say when our mother suffered a TIA.

      Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

      by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:19:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You can't scare me... (3+ / 0-)

        I have done so much research onTIAs it scared the crap out of me. "They" say most TAI victims suffer a stroke within 3-12 months of having the TIA. Well, those forst three months I was a wreck. Just waiting for a full blown stroke to happen. I had to get high blood pressure and high cholesterol under check with medication. I feel I have taken all the right steps(except for the added weight)to help stop me from having a stroke. There is only so much one can do. I have finally stopped being such a worry wart and started living again.

        To ALL of you going through the struggle, take it one day at a time and hang in there. It is so worth it. My mom died at 68 from emphazema related stroke stuff.

        Frodo failed....Bush has got the ring!

        by Alohaleezy on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:16:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I meant (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alohaleezy, parryander, Fabian

          was that as far as motivation is concerned, it motivates me. My mother had a TIA and smoked far, far, far more than me. Believe 5 packs a day? Believe it.

          But when I think about the health risks, a TIA, sure, may be better than a stroke. But if the TIA is somewhat of an indicator or precursor, just having one of those would scare the living shit out of me.

          Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

          by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:32:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Good job! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alohaleezy, Stand Strong

      I had a stroke at 35 - unrelated to smoking (really), but it really impressed on me how fragile we are. It's taken over 10 years for me to wade through the post-stroke depression to care about my future health.
      The addiction sucks. I'm less concerned about the weight. I would love to start dating, and figure a smoker is less attractive than someone on the heavy side.

      Seven months is great! I'm really impressed.

      •  I was told (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Stand Strong, parryander, sunbro

        by a therapist that I smoked to keep people away, especially after my divorce 11 years ago. Yeah, go to any internet dating site and most people are nonsmokers. Now that I quit, I cannot stand the smell. Who would want to date that?

        Frodo failed....Bush has got the ring!

        by Alohaleezy on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:17:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Even after not smoking for just a couple days, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Alohaleezy, parryander, sunbro

          whenever I walked through a smoker's cloud, it really hurt to smell it.

          Like...physically hurt.

          Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

          by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:30:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I quit on March 1, 2006. (4+ / 0-)

          Seven days later, I met my current girlfriend.  I haven't smoked even one cigarette since.  

          I used Nicoderm CQ every day from March 1 to June 1.  I've worked out at the athletic club nearly every day since March 1, usally including at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise.  I've added more fruits and vegetables to my daily diet.  

          My nicotine addiction lasted more than 25 yrs and I'm free of it!

          All you smokers out there: try combining Nicoderm, vigorous and persistent exercise, a healthy diet, and dating.  It worked for me.

          -4.75, -5.33 Cheney 10/05/04: "I have not suggested there is a connection between Iraq and 9/11."

          by sunbro on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:35:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm cheering for you, parryander (5+ / 0-)

    I believe quitting smoking, after you've been a regular smoker for years, is one of the bigger personal lifetime transformations.

    But you're also making a strike for the rest of your species, quitting smoking--though you may not think of it that way.

    For starters, you're doing it for your children, if you have any. You're doing it for your spouse, if you're married--and so on, it just keeps rippling outward. You're doing it to improve the air on this planet, and you're doing it in deep solidarity with anyone who's ever battled an addiction.

    I'm glad the pills seem to be working well for you. Whatever works--keep it up, don't ever be discouraged.

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      karmsy

      one of my small struggles has been that I am w/o family, and find it harder to find that motivation others have nearby. Had to dig a bit deeper. As the poster below states so well - no excuses.

    •  It really is an addiction, too. (4+ / 0-)

      And I've only recently (last 6 months to a year) been realizing that fact. Late in my teens and early twenties, I dabbled a bit with cocaine. It was never to the point where it impacted my life significantly and prevented me from operating within society normally but I was doing it frequently and I know that once I'd get started with one little bag (for a night of partying), when the bag was up, I'd want another to keep the fun of the night going.

      The next day, I'd be fine, but I became totally aware of why I cannot do cocaine even recreationaly anymore because it has strong addictive qualities and eventually, with my addictive personality, it would only be a matter of time before the cocaine would begin to truly take hold.

      Realizing smoking truly is an addiction that's just as strong and as detrimental to your health, even if over a longer time frame, is truly of great importance if you're on the fence regarding quitting because either "I'll quit tomorrow" or "but I LIKE smoking."

      This has brought up another point which I want to make real quick. One thing IN PARTICULAR that drives  me out of my mind is seeing Phillip Morris running commercials encouraging parents to visit their website to get resources on how to talk to your kids about smoking and how to prevent them from starting.

      This is like....like...

      ...George Bush telling Americans Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to the mainland United States when all the while, it was us who actually posed, and carried out, a threat against the Iraqis, leveling the countryside in the process.

      The hypocrisy of tobacco companies astounds me and anyone who says "Oh, Phillip Morris and other companies are trying to help us!" is only fooling themselves.

      (Betcha nobody thought I could tie in George Bush with smoking, huh? Trust me - he can be tied to everything. EVERYTHING!)

      ;p

      Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

      by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:10:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If you truly are tired of your own excuses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, karmsy

    then you will have no trouble staying off the crack once the prescription ends.

    But watch out for giving yourself facile new excuses for remaining a crack addict, and instead -- when you feel your life circumstances are so especially and uniquely trying that everyone here will completely understand that you couldn't possibly be expected to cope without the crack -- imagine dying of emphysema (you know, where you slowly drown in your own lung fluid over a period of years) and see if that doesn't help.

    And finally, there is no try, only do.  Saying you're trying to give up the crack is setting yourself up with a pre-formed expectation and acceptance of your imminent failure; you were never going to actually give up the crack, you were just going to try to give up the crack.  Ah well, at least you tried, right?

    Wrong.  Look, millions of weaker people than you have successfully got off the crack.  No more excuses -- just have some strength of will and stop buying that shit.

  •  I'm at 17 months as of two days ago. (5+ / 0-)

    I went to see the Mad Russian.  I feel great.  

    I'm proud of you.  Keep it up.  Life without cigarettes is pretty damn good.  Not scary at all.

  •  Three years and a month of no smoking (4+ / 0-)

    for me. It took forever to get it done. Tried the patch, but ultimately went cold turkey. It's difficult but doable.

  •  I haven't quit yet... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, Loonesta

    ...though I have on and off periods where I won't smoke for a week, start again, stop again, etc.

    What I've found is that, among other things, the amount I smoke decreases proportionally to the amount I exercise. Start running or something--you'll notice in about a week how much easier it is to do when you haven't smoked.

  •  I quit after 37 years of smoking. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, Loonesta

    8 months now  without a single puff.
    That's the key. I've quit many times only to start back up ("Now that I've quit, I can have occasional cig."---NOT!)

    It was visiting a smoker friend in the hospital after his heart attack that convinced me to quit. For me the habit was stronger than the addiction. I used the Telly Savalis lollipop method to occupy my hands and mouth when I felt the urge for a cig.

    Good luck and good health!

    ------- 1776 called. They want their country back.

    by EdlinUser on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:34:33 AM PST

  •  Another reality (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, Fabian

    Maybe thirty years ago, there was an article in Reader’s Digest called "What the Cigarette Commercials Don’t Show."  It was written by a reporter who was in a long-term hospital ward after undergoing radical surgery to remove much of his cancerous face and throat, diseased from smoking.  He painted an horrific picture of himself: face swathed in towels to absorb his free-flowing saliva, being fed by a tube because he had no way to swallow, too terrible to be seen in public, even outside the ward.

    He was there, growing replacement flesh between his shoulder and neck which would eventually be used to reconstruct his face.  He described the many "freaks" he lived with, all with similar frightful appearances, some still holding cigarettes to the holes in their necks...

    I won’t apologize for the gruesomeness of the story.  I’ve never forgotten it and it helped me quit.  I hope it helps you.  Good luck.

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:42:52 AM PST

    •  I had a friend. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      parryander

      She was raised by her Grannie.  Mom died of cancer of the face(no idea about smoking).  Dad committed suicide.  She was very young when all this happened.  All I could imagine is a lovely young woman with part of her face missing.  Not a way anyone wants to go.

      We must never lose it, or sell it, or give it away. We must never let them take it from us.

      by Fabian on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 01:05:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I quit the easy way... (7+ / 0-)

    Heart attack at 31 followed by four days of ICU morphine ecstasy - no physical withdrawal symptoms.

    Cured me.

    Unfortunately the damage was done. My heart is an Edsel.

    One thing that helped with the psych cravings - picture your biggest personal or political enemy (mine was Brian Mulroney) as the President of the Tobacco company. Picture him taking your money and buying a yacht to waterski behind.

    That worked for me.

    DFooK

    "Strange and beautiful are the stars tonight / That dance around your head"

    by deepfish on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:43:30 AM PST

  •  Eigth years ago (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, Loonesta

    I decided to quit.  I'd smoked for 20 years, except during my two pregnancies.  I used Wellbutrin. I spent a lot of time talking to myself about being a non-smoker, and what that implied, and that seemed to really help me.  But within a week of quitting, I was in the hospital with undetermined digestive problems and back pain.  And every month after, right about the time of my period, I would end up in the emergency room again.  After six months filled with diagnositc tests, exploratory surgery, lots of pain and increasing despair, I was diagnosed with diabetes.  So in my mind, I traded smoking for diabetes.  Weird.  I still miss smoking sometimes, but am confident I won't be starting up again.

  •  My tale . . . and encouragement (LONG) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander, Loonesta

    While I never smoked as many years as you have, I smoked for over ten years and averaged slightly over a pack a day.

    Now, of course Mark Twain said quitting smoking was the easiest thing he ever did . . . he did it hundreds of times.  And the famous heroin addict/author William Burroughs (whom I once shared dinner with) formed the opinion that quitting cigattes was harder than getting off heroin.  So . . . when you are truly finished with the habit, you can actually take a lot of pride in your accomplishment and will realize that if you can do that, there are few tasks you cannot accomplish.

    I actually quit twice and the second time stuck.  Both times I did it "cold turkey" (there was no "patch" available back then).  Some of the things that helped me: (1) identifying my Pavlov's dog moments (details below), (2) tapering off before "quitting day," and (3) rewarding myself.  The last one is pretty self evident, but let me expand on it.  Everyone is quick to point out the bad things about smoking, but many smokers find the act rewarding on some levels, so you need to offer some counter-rewards to yourself.  I was very strict on this and if I "cheated" even a little bit, I lost all (to the American Cancer Society in my case).  But I simply set aside the cost of a pack a day and set some reward out there at intervals on which that money would be spent.  For example, after the first week, my wife and I shared a bottle of good champagne.  I recommend intervals of every week for the first month, then monthly for the next two and then at six months . . . soon thereafter, the accomplishment is its own reward.  (BTW, if the medication is truly helpful, its cost could certainly be considered part of your "reward," but I think something more fun is key.)

    Now about those Pavlov moments.  Ever stop and think about when the cravings are strongest?  For me, it was when I had a cup of coffee or a beer, when I was waiting for someone, after a meal and a few other times (including the cliche after sex).  When I realized how primitive the stimulus/response mechanism was, I decided that I was going to make a conscious effort to remind myself that I was a human and that I had more control over myself than a dog does.  I started this during the tapering off period, but framing the struggle in this way motivated me whenever I felt the urge.

    Things to look forward to: smells and tastes that you have been missing and masking.  Really.  The hedonist in you will wonder why you ever dulled your senses so.

    Finally, although he was born over a decade after I quit, my son (now 13 years old) went through a bout of Hodgkin's lymphoma when he was six (he is now technically cured, not just in remission - thanks).  His doctors have cautioned him that, even though cured, he is statistically more prone to cancers from exposure to smoke and have warned him not to even be around it.  Had I been smoking when he was around, what sort of guilt might I have visited upon myself and what dangers might millions of smokers be unknowingly and unintentionally visiting upon children.  You are to be applauded, not only for helping yourself, but for all of us.

    Best of luck and hang in there.  It DOES get easier (in my experience, the first month was the worst).

    When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and the purity of its heart. - Emerson

    by foolrex on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 10:54:00 AM PST

  •  Good Luck (3+ / 0-)

    I quit smoking almost a month ago when my daughter was born. I quit for short periods a couple of other times, but my little angel was more than enough reason for me to do it...I want to be there and be healthy when she's an adult.

    It's tough, though. Good luck and hang in there.

  •  Don't Quit Quitting (4+ / 0-)

    I smoked for over 20 years before I quit back in 1993.

    It took me a long time to quit.  I tried and failed many times.  

    It is not just the physical addiction from the nicotine, but there is also some sort of addictive behavior involved.  For the longest time I couldn't figure out what non-smokers did with their hands when they weren't doing anything.  Like after you finish a meal.  A smoker has something to do with their hands, what do non-smokers do?  

    There are also those strange triggers like the smell of coffee, picking up the telephone, getting into your car.  

    The first few days are the worst.  Then the first week.  Then the first month.  At some point you still know you crave something but you are not certain what it is you are craving.  

    It'll never get any easier to quit than it is today.

    Keep quitting.

  •  good luck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander

    i've smoked for fifteen years now. i have quit many times and always gone back. what always gets me in the end are the "occasional" cigs; i'll go two, three months not smoking at all, then one weekend night, after a coupla ten, twelve pops, i'll walk to the store and pick up a pack - just to smoke that night, of course. that'll work for awhile, i've lasted as long as three more months that way. but eventually, i'll be really stressed at work, and i'll decide to go get coffee, and then on the way down to the coffeeshop i'll happen to find an almost-finished pack in a coat pocket, and within two weeks, i'm back at pre-war levels.

    i've decided to quit again, on new year's day. i know, i know, should just do it now, but i'm just not there yet, especially considering that i'm also going to have to give up drinking my beloved weekend beer. there's no way i can drink at this point and not smoke, so the beer's going to have to go, for awhile anyway.

    and yes, new year's is sort of arbitrary, but the best quit i ever had started on new year's day a couple of years ago. made it four and a half months. totally quit drinking, quit smoking, started eating really well, started exercising daily, an hour walk at least plus sometimes some exercise bike thrown in, LOST 40 lbs, yes, i lost weight by quitting smoking.

    i was feelin' like a hundred bucks and honestly thought i'd never go back. alas, i had a big party for the kentucky derby that year, made pulled pork, potato salad, and such...got real drunk at the party and wound up walking over to buy a pack. had alot of food and beer left, didn't want that to go to waste, swore i'd get back on the stick tomorrow, but then tomorrow turned into next week and close to two years later...

    this time, i'm going to make it. just have to remember to resist the "occasional cig" mentality and to steele myself for "big occasions."

  •  the cravings never leave (3+ / 0-)

    been off the smokes for 25 years, and other peoples smokes still smell good sometimes. but im no longer tempted. i mean after you get all clean inside, which takes a few years i guess, then you dont want to put that junk in your lungs again.
    its funny i quit drinking coffee about the same time, and coffee really smells good, but i know from experience it never tastes as good as it smells. and i quit drinking coffee because i had drank enough, years in the navy, then a long haul trucker, i just didn't have any more room for coffee. cigs are kind of the same i think, you just do so much and you cant do any more (well tell yourself that)
    there were no nicotine patches when i quit, so i bought some unfiltered pall malls (a real good nicotine fix believe me) and timed them out, until i gradually cut down to nothing.
    and each day youre stronger, not weaker. remind yourself.

    mom and i quit at the same time and now shes 86 and going strong, so dont give up.

    "Everything is chrome in the future..." Sponge Bob Square Pants

    by agent double o soul on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:04:52 AM PST

  •  I'm a trained smoking cessation counselor... (4+ / 0-)

    And you are doing great.  Applause for you.

    You are taking care of yourself.  Every breath without a cigarette is an incredible gift to yourself.

    Remember, it's ONE DAY AT A TIME.  I promise you, it gets better and better.  

    (I've 7 years smokefree.  please feel free to email me:  shari@stopsmokingclass.com)

  •  I quit a one year ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    parryander

    at age 52.  Best thing I ever did, and I was a 2.5 pack a day smoker.  Yeah I gained about 20 pounds but I work out daily, and as long as my body is fit and works the way it was designed, I don't mind having a few extra pounds.  Don't think of it as giving up something.  I'm not even sure keeping a diary about it is a good idea...you're keeping your focus on cigarettes.  The way I did it (cold turkey, with no patch or drugs) was every time I wanted a cigarette I would say "I don't smoke"....and I would NOT follow the thought.  I would let it pass on.  One minute later it would occur to me again...and again I would say "I don't smoke"...and concentrate on something else.  The thoughts would come frequently....but they would pass.  Don't follow the thought...make it a meditative exercize.  Let the thought pass by as a leaf in a stream.  Each day was noticably easier than the previous one.   Within 2 weeks the thought of a cigarette stopped entering my mind.  I almost never had a craving!

    My friends who smoke are SLAVES to their cigarettes.  Believe me... I don't think of it as giving something up...instead...I chose a healthier life style.  I LOVE not smoking!!   Good luck!!

    explain how letting gays marry will directly affect your own heterosexual relationship?

    by bluestatesam on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:06:33 AM PST

  •  Here's some more motivation for you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    parryander

    American Cancer Society

    20 minutes after quitting: Your heart rate and blood pressure drops.

    12 hours after quitting: The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.

    2 weeks to 3 months after quitting: Your circulation improves and your lung function increases.

    1 to 9 months after quitting: Coughing and shortness of breath decrease; cilia (tiny hair-like structures that move mucus out of the lungs) regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs, and reduce the risk of infection.

    1 year after quitting: The excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.

    5 years after quitting: Your stroke risk is reduced to that of a nonsmoker 5 to 15 years after quitting.

    10 years after quitting: The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smoker's. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, cervix, and pancreas decrease.

    15 years after quitting: The risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker's.

    And it's been reported that the lungs have an EXCELLENT capacity in restoring to normal, healthy condition lungs which have been damaged by smoking within only a few years after quitting smoking.

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 11:23:48 AM PST

  •  Good for you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander

    I picked up the habit in Russia and have been smoking for the 7 years since my return.

    Commit lozenges kept me clean for 6 months, but I am back to 1-2 smokes a day.  Can resist a smoke after the gym. Weird I know.

    Good luck!! Thanks for making me think about quitting again.

  •  You're a nonsmoker... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander

    ...not "an adult who does not smoke" -- too long a phrase.  There are only smokers and nonsmokers.  Keep telling yourself that.

    Also, you've gained weight because your body is getting more nutrients in the system!  (This may be a myth, but it's a healthy myth.)

  •  Cold turkey for me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stand Strong, parryander

    After the first few days you break the physical addiction for the most part. And as other have said - one motivating factor is not wanting to have to go through those first few days ever again!

    One thing that (usually) works for me when i've really been wanting to smoke - is it better to occasionally feel like smoking or to constantly be terrified of getting sick and being anxious and getting crazy about quitting?

    Over time the 'wanting' to smoke will decrease to only a few moments,  than minutes, seconds until one day you'll be laying in bed one morning and say to yourself - jeez - i didn't think about smoking once all day yesterday! And so on...

  •  Here is the good news and the bad news (5+ / 0-)

    If you can successfully quit, I promise you that you will not miss it as much as you anticipate. At first it will be hard, but within 3 or 4 months it will no longer be part of your daily routine and it will seem  very unfamiliar to you.  Your life will be a bit hazy at first, but one day you will realize you are back to yourself old self, only you'll have more engery. The bad news is that to successfully quit you will probably need to rely on more than just will power, utilizing nicotine replacement systems and meds for awhile. The best piece of advise I can offer, "take it one day at a time", measure your successes in days, hours, or even minutes if you have to, just don't light up. Be realistic, cravings for a cigarette will come less and less frequently, but not necessarily less stronger. Even years out you might suddenly crave a cigarette.  Smoking is a physical and psychological addiction. It is probably more addicting than most drugs and breaking the addiction will not come easy. It is, however, an addiction which will cost you and society far more than any other addiction. So be brave, be strong, and be determined to persevere. Good luck!!!!!  

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