A Better Life Three Years After Quitting Cigarettes

David Z's Story

Hiroshi Watanabe/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Three years ago, just after Christmas, I smoked my last cigarette.   In 1995, I promised my wife I would quit smoking before we were married.   I did quit, but started smoking again a few weeks later… a pattern I would repeat a handful of times over the next 17 years.    

In all of my prior attempts at quitting, I would relapse because I thought I had beat the addiction to nicotine and could smoke with moderation… “I’ll have just one!

”.   I thought it was just a question of will power.   I didn’t know anything about how nicotine affects the brain or about the biology of addiction.   

The difference between my quit three years ago and all the previous attempts was this forum, the support I received here, and the knowledge I gained about addiction and about smoking.

Three days into my quit, I was going out of my mind.   I couldn’t sleep and it was all I could do to go even five minutes without unconsciously getting up out of my chair to walk out the door for a smoke.    I would literally find myself standing at the backdoor, my hand on the door knob without realizing I had walked across the room.   My brain desperately wanted me to smoke.

It was then that I found this forum and discovered that what I was going through was not unique.   I understood from reading what other people had shared about quitting and about relapse that will power alone was not enough.

  I needed to anticipate the struggle and have a plan in place for how I would stay quit.    

I was given advice to write down my reasons for quitting and keep them handy and to come up with a plan for how I was going to do deal with the urge to smoke and to identify the things that trigger my cravings.

I just took the coaching even though I didn’t always know the reasoning behind the guidance. I visited the forum every day, supported others who were quitting, and shared my experience.   

As a smoker, I was always worried that I would get cancer from smoking.   I thought about it every time I smoked. Every twinge of pain in my chest, and I felt them often, was a source of concern.   I had a constant cough.   I didn’t realize it, but I was tired all of the time.   My blood pressure was starting to reach a level where I would soon need to go on medication.   I was overweight.I was ashamed of my smoking and would look for places to smoke where no one would see me smoking.  This was my life.

Three years into my quit, I almost never feel a twinge of pain in my chest.    The cough is gone.   I have so much more energy I sometimes feel like I found the fountain of youth.   I started exercising and lost a lot of weight.   I have a much healthier diet now and my blood pressure has come down to a point where I do not need medication.


I had no idea how my lifestyle was so connected to my smoking.   I had no idea that my life would change so dramatically by quitting smoking.   I just didn’t want to have the concern about cancer and the guilt hanging over me any longer.   

I do have rare moments when I think about having a cigarette, but what I gained by quitting is so precious and wonderful that my next thought is always that one cigarette is not worth risking the possibility of returning to my life as a smoker.

I am grateful for this forum and for the moderators who make this forum possible and for the people who quit before me and showed me a path and for the people who quit with me along the way and for the people who are quitting now and using this forum on their path to freedom.

thank you,

David Z

Continue Reading