18 Months of H.O.P.E.

Jenn

Jenn has some powerful insights to share at 18 months smoke-free.

Thanks for sharing Jenn, and congratulations on taking your life back.

From Jenn:

One night I cried as I realized that cigarettes controlled me and not the other way around. About four months later on 23 March 2013, I did the craziest thing. I quit smoking. Crazy? Yes…crazy. Smoking had infiltrated every aspect of my life, helped me hide my emotions, and just all around ruled my world.

The junkie thinking exploded out of the gates and tried to convince me I had lost my mind, setting myself up for failure, that I might as well smoke because I was someone who would *always* be a smoker, that I couldn’t live without them, I would always feel this anxiety, and the list goes on.

Today is 18 months since my last cigarette and I’m here to tell you there is hope. There is hope that you – yes, you – can be free from cigarettes, that you won’t have to organize your life around this addiction so you can get your next fix, feel ashamed, beat yourself up, hack up a lung in the morning, take extraordinary measures to hide the smell of smoke, and function through life’s ups and downs without a cigarette.

Hope gives you strength when you face adversity, struggle to overcome cravings, tell the junkie thinking to jump in the lake, seek answers to the ‘why me’ question, and when you are desperately looking for reasons that *you* can do this.

My journal is called “Jenn’s Journey of Hope” and it has been a beacon giving me strength. So I want to add the following on hope.

Every day that you don’t smoke means a little bit more HEALING has occurred making you stronger. It gets better. I assure you because I had a roller coaster ride to get here and if it felt like it did in the first three months…I would be earning an Academy Award for the epic performance of cloaking insanity.

OPTIMISM is incredibly important. Believe in yourself. You deserve freedom and you will get it along with a healthy dose of self-esteem as the smoke-free days add up. As Karen Salmansohn says: “Please know that often what feels like the end of the world is simply a challenging pathway to a far better place.” You will be at this better place. Stay positive and hang on.

And then we have PATIENCE. I had to remove the words ‘can’t’, ‘too hard’, ‘impossible’, ‘failure’, and many others from my vocabulary. I pleaded on the forum asking when I would feel normal? When would I be free? Answer: Patience my butterfly. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Breathe. “Have patience with all things. But, first of all with yourself” (Saint Francis de Sales).

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As the smoke-free days add up so do your EXPERIENCES in life as an ex-smoker. It may not feel like it but from the minute you stop smoking you are learning a new normal. This new normal is an amazing place to live but it did take a lot of getting used to as I smoked for 24 years.

Each trigger overcome and life activity you go through without smoking all adds up as you relearn every aspect of daily life…you will live again and I want you to hold your head up high with each step because life becomes so much better.

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.”  ~ Stephen Covey ~ 

My past may shape who I am today, but it doesn’t define me and don’t let it define you as a smoker either. I made the decision not to smoke and then my world collapsed over and over again with a boyfriend gone stalker, my son who smokes (and lives with me), health problems that involved me being put into chemical menopause (as if my emotions without cigs weren’t a tsunami already), attacks personally and professionally, and more recently a house fire that meant I lived in a hotel for two months.

Decide you don’t smoke. Know you are worthy, deserve to be free from this addiction, and even cataclysmic life events can’t take that away from you. Your quit is precious and all yours. Protect it at all costs. Buckle up, read everything, post till your fingers are sore, love yourself, and let the forumily help you along the way.

More from Jenn:  Tears From Heaven at One Year Smoke-Free

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