Ellen Quit Smoking One Year Ago

"Life is My Prize."

Ellen.

I can’t believe it’s been ONE year.

It has by no means been easy, and at times no fun at all, but I made it through.

For everyone out there who was there when I had a rough time, I thank you. Thank you for being my life-line when I was in the middle of the sea.

I would always see the saying “it gets better.” At first, I hated that saying. I felt awful - if this was what it felt like to quit smoking, how in the heck was this going to get better?

What a gyp. I thought I quit smoking to feel better, and instead find out that every week is something entirely different. Well, just because you quit, it doesn’t mean you get immediate relief. Just like there is no pill that will “shrink” fat cells and make them disappear, there is no magic word that will take away the withdrawals from smoking. One day you just realize you feel better. And that’s how it works.

Last year at this time, cigarettes were making it hard for me to breathe (it was hard enough to smoke with the cold I had). I realized I felt lousy when I didn’t smoke, but lousier when I did smoke. I decided the part that felt lousier needed me to listen, so I got out the “Smoke Away” (an herbal method for quitting) I’d bought about six months before when I thought I would quit, and thought since I had a cold and felt lousy, might as well not smoke.

Five days later, my cold was cleared up but I was coughing so much, and felt so out of my head that I looked up quit smoking symptoms.

 

If you were to try to explain to someone you worked with that you were craving a cigarette and had quit x amount of months ago, if that person were a non-smoker, you’d get no sympathy. You might get a laugh, or just a strange look, but that’s about it. If you said it to a smoker, you might be offered a cigarette.

If you came here, to this forum, and lamented about a crave or a bad day, or whatever, you'd get sympathy, understanding, love, help (if you need it or not), and a place where everyone understands you.

I’ve “quit” smoking in the past, but after a while, a bad day would come up and I’d smoke. It makes all the difference in the world if you feel that someone cares whether you smoke or not. And everybody here cares. Where else can you get excited because you made it through a whole week without a cigarette?

Who would have thought something like a gold star would mean so much?I didn’t see the big deal at first. I hated it at first. I saw people with stars and pictures and all that, and I was jealous. Everyone else was “so far ahead” of me. I would see posts from people with one or two stars, and think it would take me forever to get there. I didn’t see the big deal about it until I got my first star. That star was such a big deal to me, and looking forward to posting every month for another star became not only a goal, but a downright obsession (this was before the “dot” system was implemented).



OK, this has been long enough. I don’t think I would have made it without the help of this forum. It does give a sense of belonging and accountability for your actions. So, I can’t say it enough - I thank everyone who was there when I needed it! For those who are just starting, the result is worth what you’re going through. When I told my kids it had been a year since I quit smoking, my son said “you should get a prize or something.”

Life is my prize.

More from Ellen:
Don't Start Smoking!

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