The year was 1978. The time to quit smoking. I was NOT ready; so I waited until September of 1979 to quit the one lone vice that remained.
I LOVED everything about smoking. At the time that is.
The anticipation of a smoke at the end of a meal. Smoking while having coffee at the local Denny’s, watching TV, after a romp in the barn, car, bed etc. While having cocktails during Happy Hour. (When I still drank). The ceremony around opening a new pack of cigarettes. The freshness of the now opened pack. Learning to blow ‘smoke rings’. The need to turn your back to light in the wind and succeeding….awwww the memories! Cough, cough, wheeze!
I knew I needed/should quit. But what about the weight gain? Whatever would I do with the extra time? The conversations with strangers at the bus stop? How would that happen? All of these and other questions kept me from making that really (at the time) difficult decision. However, a friend of mine joined SmokeEnders and then became a paid trainer. IF she could quit….damnit, I could quit. So I joined and paid some money to go to yet, another recovery meeting and I quit. The first week was a breeze…they let you write down ALL the times you smoked and what you were doing and where….SNAP this is easy!
I learned how to snap a rubber band on my wrist at the mere thought of a smoke. I had to change where I sat and when I did smoke, go brush my teeth. NOT sit in my ‘smoking’ chair. OR in the car.
So I went to the 8 meetings over 2 months and became a non-smoker. I now had tons of time and more money. I stayed a non-smoker for a whole year. Then I decided I could smoke just one. That was my down fall. I smoked for another 6 months and then returned for a discounted second (ie “loser”) SmokeEnders session. That lasted about 18 months before I fell “off the butt-wagon” again.
It took another 5 years of smoking and costly illnesses (sinus infections, bronchitis, untreated asthma) before I finally decided on January 1, 1988 that “this was the year that I would become a NON-Smoker”. I took time to write out a mission statement, of which I vowed to say the words “I am a non-smoker” out loud, regardless of where I was when I lit up a cigarette. Which I did. Yes, people looked at me like I was insane…which clearly I was, I was SMOKING. I am totally surprised I wasn’t doused with flames for being ON-FIRE! Each month I bought a lower-nicotine cigarette, until I believe – I was just smoking “paper air”. The number of cigarettes a day diminished. I was working at a job that didn’t allow for “in house” smoking, so that made it even easier. On December 31st, 1988, I had at least half of a pack left.
When I awoke on January 1, 1989 I became a NON-SMOKER
Only once in all those years have I ever had the urge to smoke. By this time I was a daily gym rat…I would arise at 5am, dress in workout clothes and head to the gym, where I would run for 3-5 miles on the treadmill and then spend 30 minutes in the weight room. I would then head home, make coffee and while waiting for it to brew I would get down on the floor for ‘crunches’…this particular morning I was laying there feeling good about my workout when I was hit with the urge to smoke….I started to laugh. It had been a bit over 5 years and I was craving a cigarette while doing crunches.
I ignored it then and can say I have been successfully smoke-free for 27+ years. So, yes…it has stuck. Thank GOD! I can not even imagine ever smoking again….