How Smoking "Just One" Helped Me Quit for Good

close up of stubbed out cigarette butt
pidjoe/E+/Getty Images

Most smokers who have tried to stop know all too well that there is no such thing as just one when it comes to cigarettes.  We know because we've tested the theory, as Carlos shares in his story of where smoking just one took him.

Thanks for sharing Carlos, and congratulations on all of that smoke-free time you're logging now.

From Carlos:

1 Year, 5 Months & 19 Days.... 

Yes, it's an odd anniversary to celebrate, but it's a major milestone for me.

Let me explain, in hopes that someone out there will learn from my mistake.

On January 15th, 2009 I quit smoking - cold turkey. The reason? My business partner and I took out insurance policies on each other, and as a closet smoker, my physical exam would've exposed my long-kept secret. So I quit, probably for the 3,254th time in my 20-year smoking career - all alone. My habit was hidden from EVERYONE, including my wife (at the time) and two children. This forum was a godsend - it gave me people to connect with as I went through all of the phases of quitting....and I was NEVER all alone in my quit again. Thank you!

After the first few months of smoking cessation, I took that superhuman power that we all get from taking control of our addictions and focused it on getting healthy. I changed my eating habits, started exercising and dropped almost 40 pounds. I was on a roll - even trained for and completed a MARATHON.

...that was 1 Year, 5 Months and 19 Days ago.

Upon completion of my marathon, while driving along a coastal route that I used to utterly enjoy as a smoker, and after months and months of an absentee Nicodemon - he showed up. "You can have just one. You ran a marathon; you're in amazing shape; you GOT this - just one won't hurt - we'll toss the rest of the pack - I promise!"

He tricked me. 

I stopped at a gas station, convinced that I could handle just one. Deep inside, I knew that it was a lie...but it didn't stop me. The first smoke hurt - bad. But the familiar nicotine buzz came rushing back. Before I finished the first cigarette, I had already mentally authorized the second one. And by the end of the second, had authorized the entire day, then weekend, then week, then month, then....

One year, one month and seven days.

That's how long it took me to wake up and get back on the wagon. During that relapse year, I would quit again every single morning - going through the mental ping-pong that we all play with nicotine. It sucked the life out of me. I was deflated, defeated and all around sad. I had done it! I had finished...and none of it mattered because of just one...until I crawled back to the forum with my tail between my legs on February 22nd, 2012.

Today I put that previous quit record behind me - I'm forging into uncharted territory for myself. I check-in at the forum once a month to update my smoke-free milestone graphic, as a reminder that this is something that I will always live with. Just one will never be permitted again. EVER. I guess I just had to learn that the hard way.

Don't get me wrong, Noobs - I go MONTHS now without thinking about smoking. But every now and then, at the strangest of times, the thought creeps in. I toss it aside and move forward without a second glance. This battle does get better, but it's a lifelong decision that we make. Some people really can have just one every now and then (my wife included), but they are few and far between. Chances are, if you're reading this, you're part of the lucky group of us who can't.

Life is BETTER as a non-smoker. I promise.

Last November, my wife and I welcomed our third child into this world - girl #3 for me.

She wasn't breathing at birth and as a result had severe brain damage. She is eight months old now and will likely be labeled with cerebral palsy. She may not walk, may not talk and my future instantly changed forever in a single moment. BUT - as a non-smoking father, I will be by her side every step of the way. Never sneaking off to feed my addiction, but standing right next to her every, single, moment.  God had bigger and better plans for me than to sit and suck on a cancer stick all day. Is life challenging? Sure. But it is 100% easier to deal with sans addiction. 

Life is a gift. Stay strong. Stay quit. And NEVER, EVER, let anyone convince you that you can have just one.



Continue Reading