Thank God I'm Free

Diana's Quit Story

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Written at the one year mark, Diana's quit story is full of insight about recovery from nicotine addiction.

You'll be inspired by her words and also by the bonus that comes at the end -- her 5 year milestone message.

True and lasting freedom is possible, folks, and Diana's story illustrates it beautifully.

From Diana:

How can I sum up in a few words what a whole year of freedom means to me? I can’t. I can say that I am proud and grateful, but the words don’t do the experience justice.

When I smoked, I never thought or fantasized about quitting. It seemed pointless to dream about something that wasn’t going to happen. I believed that I was hopelessly trapped, so I never tried to break free.

A couple things changed last year. My car was falling apart and I couldn’t afford another one. And my mom told me about a new drug that my uncle had used to stop smoking.

When I decided that I was going to quit, I was very clear about doing it once and for all. I expected it to be very hard, and I knew I would need as much help as I could get.

To make sure I gave it my all, I bought a new car with the money I had been spending on cigarettes. So, if I decided to go back to smoking, I would literally have to give up my new car. That was a pretty good incentive to do this right the first time.

I looked up Chantix on a search engine and was led to a group of people who were taking the drug, and had achieved varying lengths of time smoke-free.

That gave me a little bit of hope.

Someone mentioned, which was a lifeline for me. It also led me to the About Smoking Cessation support forum, where I’ve been since day 13. This place has given me everything that I have needed for my journey:

Education to “retrain my brain.” For me, Knowledge really has been the key.

People who had been around for awhile, who gave me hope and support.

Newcomers who I could help. When I tried everything, and still felt like I wasn’t going to make it through the day, the only thing that seemed to help was to “get out of myself” for awhile and think about someone else. By trying to encourage others, I helped myself.

Here are a few random things I have learned on this journey so far...

  • Quitting smoking means so much more than just putting down the cigarettes. It has led to a transformation in the way I see myself and my possibilities.
  • I see this freedom as a “gift” that I have had to work really hard to earn. It was not just handed to me, so I appreciate it and treat it with the respect and care it deserves.
  • I believe if I had waited for the right time to quit - when I was thoroughly prepared, ready, willing and able, I would still be smoking.
  • No matter how hard it is to break free, I need to do it anyway, because I may never get another chance, and if I do, there is no guarantee it won’t be even harder next time...after all, then the junkie would have “see, I told you so” in her bag of tricks.
  • Quitting smoking has required several qualities that I didn’t know I had. Maybe these qualities were latent within me and surfaced as they were needed, or maybe they are brand new skills. In any case, I consider them treasures and will continue to use them in other areas of my life.
  • A major part of quitting is simply being willing to tolerate discomfort and delay gratification. Simple, but not easy.
  • Personal responsibility (aka: owning my quit). No event, circumstance or person can make me smoke. It is up to me to do whatever I need to do so I don’t smoke today, learn some tools to help with tomorrow, and change my mind so eventually I won’t have any desire to smoke.
  • I quit smoking...what other impossible dreams can I achieve?

I still occasionally get a weak urge to smoke, but my mind immediately gets to work, replaying "Aversion Therapy" videos that I spent so much time watching in the early days of my quit.

Most days, I only think about smoking when I am on the forum or notice that someone around me smells like smoke. And my thought is Thank God I’m FREE!!!

I am so grateful for everyone here who has helped me along the way.

If you’re new, buckle up and hold on. You’re in for the ride of your life!

At 5 years smoke-free, Diana has come a long way on a number of levels as you'll see in her short, but powerful milestone post below. One thing is sure, smoking has no part in her life any longer. Congratulations, Diana!

I realized last week that it was my 5 year smoke-free anniversary and I was so grateful, but I couldn't think of what to say, so I thought I'd just give it some time. Well, I still haven't been able to come up with anything earth shattering. I think I already said everything that I wanted to say in my one year post.

Since I quit smoking, I decided to try to get my bachelors degree (another seemingly impossible goal). I graduated in May. I know that was only possible because of the confidence and persistence that I gained from this quit.

I'm grateful that quitting was so difficult for me in the beginning. It forced me to work hard and to change my relationship with smoking. I don't know if I would be free long-term if this had come easily. I also don't know if I would appreciate it as much as I do now.

I don't think about smoking much anymore. That's so weird to write, to read, to realize. But, it's the truth. I don't usually think of myself as an ex-smoker, non-smoker or in any relation to smoking at all. Unless I smell smoke or see it on a t.v. show, I seldom think about it anymore.

It's kind of like high school. Smoking is something that used to be an all-consuming reality for me that no longer has any place in my world. I can still think about it, but it doesn't have the emotional ties it once did. I don't know if that makes any sense, but it's the best analogy I can make.

I wish there was a way that I could prove it gets better and that this journey is worth it. All I can suggest is that, if you're new, I hope you give yourself a chance to find out how good your life can be without smoking.

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