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GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support diary for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are quitting or thinking of quitting, please -- join us!  We kindly ask that politics be left out.  
You can also click the GUS tag to view all diary posts, or access the GUS Library at dKosopedia for a great list of stop-smoking links. Check it out!

A message to ALL quitters. You don't have to avoid GUS if you have a failed quit. We won't give you a bad time and we consider the failed quits as "practice" for the real quit

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Good evening everyone! Three years ago today, I quit smoking. I was hoping to write a piece worthy of this group for tonight's diary but I didn't find the time. I hope you will settle instead for some rambling and a few of my garden photographs that I've posted recently on Saturday Morning Garden Blogging (SMGB).

I never really smoked until I was in college and that is saying something for someone having been born and raised in Kentucky. I was the only one in my study group that didn't smoke. I decided to try a cigarette one night and then continued forcing myself to smoke with them each night by bumming. I was eventually told that I needed to buy my own and so I did. I quit cold turkey several years later which was pretty difficult. Around eight years after quitting, I was in Hawaii in a bar and found myself with an entire group of friends smoking except for me. I convinced myself that I hadn't had a cigarette in years so one wouldn't hurt. The one took the back of my head off and made me dizzy. I walked out of the bar and down the street to buy a pack. The rest is history.

I tried several times to quit but was never really serious about it. I would say to myself, okay, I'll quit when I'm this old, or when this gets accomplished, etc etc. I got a new job about seven years ago and had to start dressing up more. Someone there asked me if I smoked as they thought they could smell it on my clothes. I never smoked again at work and wore the nicotine patch everyday for approximately 4 years but only during working hours. I would pull the patch off about an hour before it was time to leave for the day. And oh how I looked forward to that first cigarette when I reached my car.

Connecticut raised the state tax on cigarettes an extra dollar a pack in 2009. I bought three cartons on September 30, the night before the tax increase on October 1, and told myself when those were gone that was it. October 25 was on a Sunday and I was getting nervous as my cigarettes were running out that day. That night when it was time to go to bed, I had three cigarettes left. I went outside into my driveway and sat on the back of one of the cars so no one would see. I hadn't told anyone that I was planning to quit. I smoked the three remaining cigarettes and went to bed. The next morning, I put on a nicotine patch as soon as I woke up. I won't say it was easy and I struggled, trust me, but after a month or so, I calmed down just a bit. It wasn't until the following March that I was able to finally quit the nicotine patch. I was visiting my parents at the time and forgot to put the patch on. It wasn't until the next morning that I realized it and so I didn't use it anymore. So here I am happier and healthier three years later.

I believe that GUS started in the summer of 2009 and I lurked from the beginning. It helped motivate me to quit and then the new Connecticut tax was the kick in the butt that I needed. GUS has been here throughout for me. Everyone here understands exactly what you feel and are going through. We know and care.

So some may ask, Missy's Brother, how do you stay smokeless? And I say it is not easy and I still have difficult times. But without the cost of the cigarettes, the nicotine patches, air and mouth fresheners, chewing gum and gas for trips to the store, I save a ton of money and so I award myself. I buy books, I buy a lot and I like it. And during those difficult moments when I want to smoke, I tell myself that if I have a cigarette then I can no longer buy any more books. It works for me. This time around, I know that I can never have another cigarette again but I do not place a limit on the number of books! And that is what keeps me going.

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and I cannot forget that gardening helps me also!

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and so all my fellow GUS friends, I leave you with this:

It's a beautiful day today

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      Thu PM: Missy's Brother
       Fri AM: Flumptytail
       Fri PM: Open
       Sat AM: effervescent      
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       Sun Am: gchaucer2      
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       Tue AM: gchaucer2
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       Wed PM: Vacationland
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