No One Was More Addicted Than I Was

Lesly

From Lesly:

The first time I tried to quit smoking seriously was in March of 1979!

I paid big bucks and joined Smokenders. I remember our teacher gave us a test to determine how addicted we were. Everyone put their hands up, and if the situation did not apply to you, you would put your hand down. The questions were ones like: have you ever violated a "No Smoking" sign?, or, Have you ever gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to smoke?, or , Is smoking the first thing you do in the morning?

By the end of the test, there were three people in the room with their hands still raised. Two guys in the back, and, you guessed it, ME! The teacher didn't seem too concerned about this, but it confirmed my deepest and darkest beliefs:

No one in life was more addicted than I was.

That quit ended about four months later when I started cutting the filters off my husband's Carlton cigarettes, and hiding in the bathroom, blowing smoke out the window. Ha - I sure fooled everyone!

Over the years, I tried many ways to quit. I repeated Smokenders, and then tried Smoke Stoppers. I told myself when they made NRT's non-prescription, then I would quit. Well, that day and year(s) came and went and I still smoked. My little daughter would leave notes all over the house:

"Please don't smoke - I will choke coff coff" with sad pictures. I actually saved these.

My kids got older - my son became a State champion in tennis; my daughter was a State champion soloist in synchronized swimming.

Both of these sports require a lot of oxygen and stamina. Here is what I did to help them: I drove them to meets in a car filled with cigarette smoke, and made certain to smoke in every room of the house. I missed some of the highlights of their competitions, as I got so nervous, I was always racing outside to smoke!



Finally, I tried the (nicotine) gum. This worked until one day I got so fed up with the process, I decided I needed a little reward. So...I went to the store, bought a pack, lit up one, and threw the entire pack out of the car window. About three hours later, I was back at that spot, madly searching for that beautiful pack I threw out.

One of my best friend's husband is a doctor. He supplied me with free patches that sat in my drawer until they expired and I threw them out. By this time, I could no longer sleep through the night, as I was coughing all the time. I coughed so hard I don't know how anyone slept.

Then the unthinkable happened...

My ex-husband, father of my two children, and his wife both were diagnosed with lung cancer. My children's world fell apart. School and activities were put on hold as they cared for the two of them. My daughter would call me, sobbing about how her father moaned in his sleep like a wounded animal, he was in so much pain. He went down hill so fast. 5 months after the diagnosis, my daughter was changing his diapers, and 6 months after the diagnosis, he was dead.

His wife died 7 months later.

At Christmas time, 2002, my daughter asked all of us what our New Year's resolutions were going to be. When it came to me, I said what all smokers think:

"Well, I really should get around to quitting smoking."

At this time, I was not just buying cigs by the carton, I would order them 3 cartons at a time! I wouldn't tell myself, "just one more pack", I would tell myself "just three more cartons"! Every time my son would come over and see the fresh supply on top of the refrigerator, his face would fall, and he would ask me if this was the end or not.

In February 2003, I found a newspaper article on Internet sites to help you quit smoking. About.com was listed. I checked out all of the sites, and of course, this one was by far the best. I decided that definitely, positively, absolutely, this would be my last 3 cartons of cigarettes.

When I got down to the last one, I went out and purchased nicotine patches. I started reading extensively on the About.com Smoking Cessation forum, and also at Cognitive Quitting and WhyQuit.com. These sites all gave me a completely different way of looking at why we smoke, and provided tools to help me quit.

I smoked my last cigarette on March 9, 2003 around noon, jumped in my car and went to stay with my step-daughter and her new baby for a few days. It helped those initial days being in an environment where there were no triggers, and I certainly couldn't smoke. I really didn't think I could make it, and that I would probably cave in and buy cigs on the way home. However, somehow, having made it two days, I decided to see how long I could last. Here's how I accomplished that - I lived on the About.com forum. Every waking hour that I was not working or sleeping, I was posting, reading, crying out for help, bragging, whatever. I met wonderful, wonderful people here from all over the world, and had great times laughing and playing, as well as sad times reading as others failed or got sick. That forum was like a family to me.

Now, at 11 months quit, I can't believe I waited all those years! It was not easy, but certainly not the impossibility I had imagined it to be. Anyone reading this who is thinking of quitting, I exhort you - do it NOW!

There is never a "good" time to quit smoking.
The very best time of all is as soon as possible.


I love my smoke free life, and I am so very grateful that I allowed myself to succeed - one day at a time.

~Lesly

More from Lesly:
Cigarettes Are a Deadly Lie
Gratitude is My Attitude
Two Years Ago, Cigarettes Were My Best Friend
Desperate to Smoke -- Desperate to Quit
Book Review - The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

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