I Thought I Would Always Smoke

Ronnie's Quit Story

woman with arms thrown back standing over water
Courtney Keating/E+/Getty Images

The takeaway message from Ronnie's one year smoke-free milestone is that it takes some time to get comfortable in our non-smoking skins, but if you stay the course, peace will come.

Thanks for sharing Ronnie, and congratulations!

From Ronnie:

I am so incredibly excited to be writing this message at ONE YEAR smoke free! I can hardly believe I made it this far!

There was a time, and not so long ago, that I thought I would always smoke.

I worried each and every day about what I was doing to my body and how I was shortening my life, but still I continued to smoke. I just couldn’t believe that I would be able to break away from nicotine addiction after over 30 years of smoking. I couldn't imagine life without my cigarettes.

But guess what.

I did it!!!!!!!

Last year at this time I was scheduled for eye surgery. I knew that in order to heal well and not have continuing problems with my eyes, I would need to stop smoking. This was the motivator and I finally did it.

Diagnosed with Graves' Disease

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Graves' disease. This is an overactive thyroid condition. One of the things that can happen is that eye problems can occur. Fatty tissue builds up behind the eyes and makes them protrude forward.

Not everyone who gets Graves has eye problems, but if you smoke, you are four times as likely to develop them.

Also, if you smoke you are eight times more likely to develop Graves. Of course, I learned this after my diagnosis.

When I was diagnosed , the physicians told me to quit smoking so that my eyes would not get worse. Of course, I didn’t listen and over the next six years or so, my eyes began to bulge quite a bit.

I looked horrible and got a lot of stares wherever I went.

I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and went to an ocular specialist who performed surgery to correct the problem. My eyes are back in a much more normal position now. All of this because I smoked. But no more!

It has not been an easy year.  

It really wasn’t until about the 6th month for me that I began to turn a corner. Not that I found it easy at that point, but the discomfort and cravings were less frequent and intense.

I am so happy now to report that the next turning point for me was around the 10th month and since then, it is just so much easier. I am so thankful for how I feel now.  It is no longer a battle and I am so comfortable.

I have everyone at our smoking cessation support forum to thank who got me through so many difficult times, making me feel like everything I was experiencing was normal; that hanging in there would be my reward because the passage of time makes this whole thing so much easier.

I am loving life now!

There are so many incredible benefits, However, the biggest benefit is how liberating it is to be smoke free! I also love being able to watch and listen to commercials about how to quit smoking and what to use and realize I no longer need those things, because I no longer smoke.

I used to cringe when I saw them thinking that I should quit. What a relief!

Those of you just beginning this journey or having a tough time along the way, please hang in there. I am proof that this can be done. I had several really difficult months, but now cessation no longer hurts.  Quite the opposite - it feels FANTASTIC!

Smoke free since January 27, 2005

Continue Reading