Everybody who quits smoking does it in their own fashion. There is no one size fits all. We try and fail and try again. When I was a smoker my favorite quip was, “It’s easy to quit smoking I've done it hundreds of times!” In a perverse way it turns out to be kind of true. I believe only a very few people quit on the first attempt. Most people know it’s bad and may half heartily try to quit, but I think something has to click or snap inside before we really are ready. When you are ready to quit the steely determination of winning the battle will carry you through. Read below the orange filigree to hear my story.
Quitting Smoking feels like a death, but with out the intense sadness. They day I quit I woke up like any other day and the first thing I though about was a cigarette. No, I though they’re gone. You can’t have one. It’s all you think about at first but you try to push it to the back of your mind, but it keeps coming back.
The next thing you do is try to distract your self. In my case that was sitting in front of the television in a numb state. It’s hard to focus, but for a few minutes you might get caught up in the drama on TV, until the commercial, then you want to take a cigarette break, but you can’t because they’re gone.
My husband and I both quit the same day, so we tried not to talk to each other too much because we didn't want to fight. He was always saying he needed to quit, but the one time he did it, he slowly came back to cigarettes, because they were still in the house and all around thanks to me. I didn't care I was a slave to them and if he didn't have the will power it wasn't my problem.
I was always going to quit, but I always pushed the year back. I’ll quit at 30, Maybe 40. It didn't happen.
I came to the slow realization that my husband was slowly dying because of cigarettes. He had a tumor removed that had some cancer in his bladder. They caught it so early nothing else was needed no chemo no radiation. He spent a summer after a foot surgery with an open wound that wouldn't heal, I pretty sure his feet weren't getting the oxygen they needed because of smoking. Then he had prostate cancer. We still didn’t quit smoking. He had to get his back fused, the doctor who did it didn't do a very good job, but my husband still wasn't healing because of smoking. I reached the tipping point.
I was determined that was it. Cigarettes were going to be kicked out. I don’t think my husband was ready to quit, even though he kept telling me he HAD to quit. I didn't care. We were quitting and that was that. No more cigarettes in my house. It was put up or shut up time.
That’s what led to the next day of zombie like grief. We wanted cigarettes so bad, but they were gone and could never come back. There where times I missed them so bad, but no they’re gone, I‘d tell my self. After trying to come up with a fitting eulogy for cigarettes I could only find one thing that was positive. They gave me something to do with my hands. Maybe they let me connect with strangers in a superficial way, “Oh look we‘re all social pariahs together”.
The bad stuff, now that was a whole column to itself. I smelled all the time like stink. I couldn't breathe well. Nicotine gets on everything. Even though I hadn't smoked indoors for a few years my walls were still nasty. They were expensive and getting more so. The pool of friends and family smokers was shrinking every single year. They gave my father the emphysema he’s dying form. I was so tired of being the person who constantly had to run outside, rain storm or black of night to have a cigarette. Enough was enough.
The day was really tough to get through, but each day was a little easier. Part of it was my stubbornness; my husband would tell me we can have one, just one. I’d get so mad. He’s supposed to be supporting us, not the devil tempting me. “No” I’d shout. That’s just going to end with me smoking again and all the pain of withdrawal would be for nothing.
I understand I’m an addict. I can never have one puff or by the end of the day I will have that demon for company again and the cigarette pack will be back in my purse. Quitting hurts so bad, like the worst break up you’ll ever have. I gave up my abusive partner of cigarettes and I’m so much better for it. I’m never going back. It will be two years in October. Do I miss my abuse habit? Sometimes, like when I get done with a real tough project, but it’s fleeting. I’m not sure I’ll ever have the will power to quit again, so it’s so much easier not to start.
My husband had a new Doctor redo his back surgery; it healed up great this time. We can breathe so much better. I don’t see an improvement in our finances, but I’m pretty sure that if I was still smoking I would be in default on a few debts, because we are just hanging on by the skin of our teeth, Thank God we don’t have that expense of cigarettes anymore. It’s so nice not to have to leave a social event to have a smoke. Someone told me the other day my hair smelled nice, I realized I hadn't heard that complement since high school. It was a great day.
It is such a cliché to tell you, if I can quit any one can, but that’s how I feel. I have ADHD and cigarettes always calmed me down. They were the crutch I leaned on in good times and bad. I also live with chronic pain, so I can’t just light up when things get bad anymore. When I was a child I learned to quit clinging to my mother when I needed comfort. As an adult I sure as heck could quit clinging to cigarettes.