It's Never Too Late to Quit - Dar's Miracle Quit Story

It's Never Too Late to Quit Smoking

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Dar

It is common for long-term smokers to think that too much damage has been done for smoking cessation to be beneficial. That couldn't be further from the truth, however, as Dar's quit story shows us.

A member of the support forum here at About.com Smoking Cessation, Dar is a shining example of just how much we can accomplish when we set our minds to the task at hand, and how worthwhile quitting tobacco is, even after 50 years of smoking.

Smoking cessation brings tangible improvements to our health within just  20 minutes of the last cigarette smoked, and benefits continue to grow for many years.

It is never too late to quit smoking -- just ask Dar.

Update:  As of this writing, Dar has been smoke-free for over 6 years.

From Dar:

Please rejoice with me, because I am one of the lucky ones. I quit smoking and have been given a second chance.

I am three months smoke-free as of today, September 9, 2008, and have found a peace and freedom that I've never before felt. I believe it is because I quit smoking and have completely changed my life. I abused my body big time in many ways for most of my life, but no more.

Here is my story -- why I quit and why I think I will make it this time. I want more than anything for my story to inspire all of you, your friends and your families.

I smoked for 50 years and have permanent damage because of it.

My ongoing medical issues include:

  • Leaking mitral valve
  • Sleep apnea (I sleep with a BiPAP sleep machine at night),
  • High blood pressure
I've also had two carotid artery surgeries. Smoking had caused some of these problems and was affecting them for the worse as time went by.

In October 2007, I spent 5 days in the hospital in extreme pain.

It turned out that I had a pancreas infection. The doctors suspected cancer at first, but thankfully, it wasn’t.

The hospital stay was miserable. I was sick to my stomach the entire time I was there, and could take nothing by mouth, not even water. I was given morphine every two to four hours around the clock for the pain -- a terrible experience all around. I came home with oxygen to help me breathe.

My doctor told me, "You are running, not walking down the path to death. If you don't change your lifestyle and quit smoking, you will not be on this earth for long. Now what is it going to be? Only you can decide."

I could feel myself dying, but I just could not kick the addiction to nicotine. I'd planned my funeral because I didn’t want my kids to have to do it. Imagine that. I thought that I would die with a cigarette in my hand.

Somewhere along the way, I finally realized that I wanted to live. And to do that, I'd have to go to work on changing my life, habits and mind. It was like a miracle to reach this new mindset.

But I knew it wasn't going to be easy and that the changes would happen slowly. There is no magic button you can push to have it over and done with. Smoking cessation is a process that takes time. I knew this because I had tried to quit twice before and did nothing but climb the walls. I was a wreck.

I planned my quit program over the course of the next month. I read everything I could get my hands on, and printed out a lot of information, which I stored in a folder for future reference. I spend time meditating and reading from this folder everyday. I've written a quit plan for myself. In it, I have committed to daily meditation and education through information in my folder for one full year or more if necessary. This framework has helped me stay focused on my goals.

The bad thing about tobacco addiction...

...is that it usually takes years for smoking to do its damage on our bodies. The onset of smoking-related disease is often so subtle that you hardly notice it until it is too late. This is not always the case, of course. Sometimes nicotine addiction takes smokers' lives when they are young. What a gamble we take. We all think we're bulletproof and that smoking-related diseases only afflict others, not us. That is absolutely not true.

Today, three months after quitting smoking, I am happier than I have been in 25 years. I've taken control and made things happen. I made up my mind to change my life and that is what I did. Three short months after quitting, my blood pressure and heart medications have been discontinued. Also, oxygen was discontinued a month ago. Why? Because I quit smoking and lost 57 pounds. I now eat healthy, exercise regularly, and work hard at eliminating stress from my life.

And, do you know what else I do? I treat myself with love. I eat my favorite healthy foods, but seldom eat out. When I do, I'm careful to eat healthfully. I never eat fast food anymore. I do water exercise, because it is what I like. I also watch my favorite TV programs, listen to my favorite music, and have a small water fountain with candles in my bedroom. I enjoy simple things like taking my little dog, Sadie, for a walk in a beautiful park. I have let go of every bit of stress possible.

I am not particularly religious, but I am a spiritual person. I try to live right and set good examples for others. I refuse to live any other way. I live by the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuh. Part two of this prayer is the section that I like and use most:

Serenity Prayer - Part II

  • Living one day at a time
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I Surrender to his will;
    that I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
    Amen.
    Reinhold Niebuh
Thanks to this forumily for all the help I have received here at this support forum.

My life is blessed with happiness, peace, and most of all, freedom.

~Dar

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Dar. While quitting tobacco takes hard work and perseverance, you are proof positive that with patience and determination, our lives can be transformed.

If you're still smoking, please do the work to find your freedom from nicotine addiction, just as Dar has. We all have the tools for success within us. Believe in yourself and the sky is the limit.

Quit smoking today.

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