Four Smoke-Free Years and Going Strong

Tim Clark

Tim is a member of the About.com Smoking Cessation Support Forum.  His four year smoke-free account will inspire you, whether you've quit or are thinking about it.

Thanks Tim, and congratulations on four years!

From Tim, July 9, 2015:

Four years ago today (actually, it was yesterday) was the last cigarette. It was a lonely feeling at the time, a little scary, and clouded with uncertainty. I liked smoking, people are going to say I didn't, it was just an illusion caused by the addiction, ok, but it felt like I liked smoking.

Heck, I looked cool smoking, ok I probably looked almost as stupid as I was, but smoking was the dumbest thing I ever did and it would be awful to look that stupid.  

Whatever the case, I quit, and it was the smartest thing I ever did.  My doctor said it was the best health care decision a person could make. He was right.

Today, I feel too good to be this old. Happy, cheerful, free, and healthy, and it started with a decision to quit smoking. Making the decision was easy, following through could be tough at times, but every day got easier, every week was a victory. And they piled up, faster and faster. Soon it was a year, a year without a cigarette, wow! That was amazing. Who knew it was even possible?

It is liberating being an ex-smoker, no more stopping to buy a pack, no more making sure there is a lighter handy, no more washing up in an attempt to cover the odor. Life is simpler, and better.

I work downtown in a medium sized mid-western city, and walk around after eating lunch.  The little clusters of smokers, huddled together, outposts against the coming sanity, brings feelings of sympathy (for them) and pride (for me).

There are so many problems with smoking, least of which is the ridiculous expense.

A person could probably fund a presidential campaign on the money spent smoking. It is hideously expensive, and that is the least of the problems. Smoking kills people, slowly, insidiously, painfully, humiliating them, bankrupting them, destroying them. And I did this by choice?! 

My Mother quit when she was 85 years old.  Her doctor told her she had to, or it was going to take her vision. After many years, I don't even know how many, she quit. She carped and complained and griped, but it was a source of great pride that she managed to quit at 85. But she had no idea, nor did I, that smoking is terrible for your eyes. 85 years old, smoked most of her life, and she quit.   So can you, and you should.

An interesting anecdote, my mom was kind of a handful and made my younger sister promise to tell everyone she died prematurely (if that is possible at 91) because they made her quit smoking.

I didn't start exercising until January of this year.  I thought I would quit smoking, start exercising, eating right, and living the good life.

 But, I put on weight, got lazy and found the joys of binge watching.  Now I am wearing clothes I outgrew, taking the stairs, drinking water, eating fruits and vegetables, and even my doctor is happy with me.  The old "I quit smoking" was losing traction with him.

I exercise, real exercise, three times a week, at the gym, treadmills, elliptical machines, weights, resistance training, real exercise, and I feel great. Better than I have in years. Happier, healthier, nicer to people, a little wealthier, and all because I quit smoking.

Think about it, quitting smoking will help you see better, live longer, feel happier, and have a little more money.  Yes, there are moments of difficulty, temptation, even longing, but they pass. There is an old saying in the fitness world (imagine that, me in the fitness world) "If the question is not hunger,  food is not the answer." What question could possibly have the answer "smoking a cigarette." 

Here is a song about freedom, it is old so some of the imagery is a little dated, and it might not be exactly appropriate for freedom from smoking, but these guys are cool, and I am sure would be very happy to help you quit. Besides, no matter what the question, "Rock and Roll," is always a good answer.

Don't smoke, don't even think about it.

Continue Reading