I Love My Freedom

Dee's 18 Month Smoke-Free Milestone


It's a beautiful fall like day in the "Windy City". I left out early before sunrise on my morning walk and took a stroll down by the lake. There's something very comforting about sitting looking out over that great body of water (Lake Michigan) and watching the sun come up.

I spent some time reflecting on a whole bunch of things that have happened over the last year and a half. When I tell the newbies life still happens while you're quitting...the good, the bad and the ugly, I'm a witness.

In the span of a year and half, I lost my job of 28 years a week into my quit. Money in my 401K I had counted on for my retirement dwindled to almost nothing when the stock market went bizarre and tanked. My 11 year old dog Thor died; I lost my favorite aunt the week after Thor; I had surgery; my husband and I split, and I suffered from a bout of depression.

On the other hand, I found a job that I absolutely love; my boss is an amazing woman to work for; my godson got married and they are now pregnant; my favorite niece graduated from high school at the top of her class, started college and still adores me. I spent a wonderful week in Puerto Rico and another in Old Williamsburg VA,and another in Las Vegas. The depression is long gone, and my estranged husband and I are better friends apart than together (go figure).

But the best gift of all is:

I'm 18 months smoke-free and I have a whole bunch of new friends from online forums, some of whom I've actually met and who have been with me through the good times and bad!

The difference between now and 18 months ago is that neither my body or mind is demanding that I smoke a cigarette. I have the freedom of choice to smoke or not to smoke. I choose not to smoke. I know for certain that " Just One" will lead me back to a pack or more a day in no time flat and back to no freedom of choice.

This is what my 18 months of freedom means to me:

No More:

  • Mad dash through the airport to find a place to smoke.
  • Smell of cigarettes on my clothes, furniture, car and house.
  • Constant nagging cough, often waking me up in the middle of the night, yet lighting a cigarette after the coughing stops.
  • Feeling out of breath after very mild exercise.
  • Lingering horrible chest colds and sinus headaches. Out of control hypertension.
  • Fear of what I was doing to myself, and the potential consequences.
  • Withdrawals every 20-30 minutes during the day and night.
  • Feeling shame while hurrying the time I spent with my best friend of 35 years because cigarette smoke makes her ill and I had to have a cig.
  • Getting up in the middle of the night to go out alone to buy cigarettes.
  • Going outside to smoke in any kind of weather, with non-smokers shaking their heads in disgust as they walked past.
  • Being asked how such a smart woman would allow herself to be a nicotine addict. "It doesn't fit your image".
  • Coughing so hard I see stars and make myself sick.
  • Fear of being unable to quit.
  • Fear of dying a painful death.
  • Smoke burning my eyes.
  • Burning my lips on the filter.
  • Trying to light too short of a butt and feeling my eyebrows singe.
  • Overflowing ashtrays in the car and house, ashes everywhere.
  • Remembering to put out a cigarette before I fall asleep.
  • Money I don't have enough of being wasted while ruining my health.
  • Redoing my lipstick after smoking.
  • Not feeling pretty, clean and sexy.
  • Having to crack the car window in the pouring rain. Wet legs, wet arms, and water in my eyes.
  • Tar build-up on windows, walls, and furniture.
  • Hating the way my hair and skin smell.
  • Spilled tobacco in my purse, on my dresser, on my computer desk.
  • Lighting the filter end by mistake………ugh!
  • Dropping a cigarette while driving and almost having an accident trying to find it.
  • Trying to tap my ashes out the car window ...having them blow back in my face.
  • Ashes dropped by mistake in my coffee, soda, etc.
  • Being regulated to the smoking section of anything.


I have been quit for 1 Year, 6 Months, 2 hours, 43 minutes and 19 seconds (550 days). I have saved $3,025.61 by not smoking 11,002 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Month, 1 Week, 4 hours and 50 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 3/18/2003

Smoke Free Since 3-18-03
"Taking it one day at a time."

Things I've Learned Along the Way
Smoking Cessation is a Process
Retraining the Brain
Quitting Tobacco Can Be Done
17 Things I've Learned About Quitting Smoking

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