Updated March 25, 2014.
I was sure I'd be the last person on the planet to still be smoking. I was sure I could never quit. Every birthday I began to feel more depressed and the self-hate I felt about smoking was beginning to affect every aspect of my life. I also began to feel the deepest envy toward people who were able to quit smoking. I especially abhorred those who quit on January 1st!
As the medical news grew grimmer by the day, and as I grew older, I felt I had to at least give it a REAL try.
(I distinctly remember, for example, Al Gore's sister dying of cigarette produced lung cancer at age 45. This kind of news began to terrify me. I am 44).
Before I quit I decided that quitting cigarettes was going to be my number one priority in life. I resolved to wear my quit like a "star on my forehead". Even though I still had to work and deal with stressful and routine things, my invisible star was the most important part of my life. It was like a shield that protected me: I could not give in and smoke because the most important thing I was doing at all times was not smoking.
I also had a realization. I knew that someday, somewhere, somehow a doctor was going to tell me that I had to quit. This information was going to make me go out into the parking lot of that hospital and furiously smoke 3 packs of cigarettes. I knew I had to quit by myself before this happened.
I quit with a nicotine patch and with the support of a friend. She could not quit and I knew I had to find some kind of alternative support or I would fail.
After 5 days without a cigarette I found the forum and it may have saved my life. Only smokers can understand how hard this is. Here I found great compassion, laughs, and wonderful advice.
I must add that quitting smoking was an enormous event for me. Recently I had to see a doctor and, when I told him I had quit smoking for a year, he said that I must have a very high tolerance for pain because quitting smoking is very painful. It was so interesting to hear him acknowledge this.
I have spent a year in a boxing ring with nicotine and I am winning. It has been worth it. I feel like superwoman and I think that anyone who can quit smoking is heroic. My lungs feel great, I don't get colds, I no longer smell disgusting, and, the best of all, my children are proud of me. I still see "day one" without a cigarette as one of the most extraordinary and miraculous days of my life.
The things that most helped me to quit were: my children, the fabulous nicotine patch, the forum, the article on the stages of grief when quitting(denial, anger, negotiation, depression, and acceptance), living with the concept that quitting cigarettes was the most important activity in my life, Trident chewing gum, potato chips, chocolate, and exercise.
One of the stories that made a very large impression on me is the story of "Crying Wolf". Because of this fable, I was so scared to tell anyone that I had quit smoking and then fail. I knew that the next time I tried to quit nobody would ever believe me. So, this is the truth, I didn't tell a soul that I had quit and NOBODY NOTICED. (We've had great laughs about this and it even produced a forum poll).
One of the greatest things about the forum is that I have been able to be Emily Bronte, the spa's mop girl, the Marlboro Man in drag, breathing instructor, Stevie Nicks-not-in-the-nude (I just forgot to describe my dress!!!!), American Idol contestant, mother of a love child with a rock star, famous and rich screenplay writer for FRIENDS, collector of mottos, the great world renowned philosopher on the "keep on keepin' on" Theory, and, greatest of all, an ex-smoker!
Thank you forum family! Pull up your socks! These are no small potatoes!
EB(Quit date: May 6, 2003)
EB's 6 month Smoke Free Milestone Post
EB's List of Reasons to Quit Smoking