17 Ways Quitting Smoking Has Made My Life Better

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From ex-smoker, Deborah (Deborah1964):

Six months ago today, at 7 AM, I smoked my last cigarette. That cigarette was the last of a twenty-year addiction, and putting it out was my first step towards becoming an ex-smoker.

I first started thinking about quitting smoking when I turned 40 in January 2004. I promised myself that quitting smoking would be my 40th birthday present to myself. But I didn't know how to gather up the strength, knowledge and desire necessary to take the first step, so I kept smoking.

A sense of dread, anxiety, disgust and guilt took hold of me, yet I kept smoking.

In late September, a few days before my husband and I flew to France for vacation, I came down with a nasty cold with chest congestion and a horrible cough. I coughed constantly, with very bad coughing spasms, but I continued smoking. We returned home, and I was still coughing, and I got scared. I realized that the time had truly come and that I needed help.

I went to see my doctor and got a prescription for Wellbutrin (Zyban). I searched the internet and found About.com Smoking Cessation and whyquit.com and started reading. And crying. I learned that I should set a quit date, so I set a date weeks away.

And then on the morning of October 13, 2004, I went out and got the newspapers and sat in my chair on the porch and lit up. I took a few puffs and realized that this could not continue. I put it out and challenged myself, "just see how long you can go without smoking."

That first day it felt like a contest, or a game. I was just "seeing how long I could go". I got giddy as the work day ended and I still had not smoked a cigarette. I made it through that day, and I just kept on going. Sometimes I hung on by a pretty weak thread, but I didn't smoke. Never one puff.

Six months later here I am, incredulous, thankful, joyful and incredibly proud of myself.

I have lived six months - half a year - without cigarettes. I have celebrated several holidays, driven in the car for hours upon hours, talked on the phone, drunk cups upon cups of tea, eaten hundreds of meals, sat in bars, drunk many glasses of wine, walked miles and miles, had many fights with DH, and lost a job, all without smoking. All without taking a single puff!

Just a year ago I told anyone who would listen to me that I couldn't imagine my life without cigarettes and that I loved smoking. In these past six months I have learned that not only can I live life without cigarettes, but life is so very much better without them.

Since I quit smoking, I:

  • Hardly ever have headaches. When I smoked, my head hurt almost every day.
  • Hardly ever have stomach issues. When I smoked, I had all sorts of digestive issues.
  • Can hit high notes when singing.
  • Can sing without getting lightheaded.
  • Have had one cold, and it did not go to my chest. When I smoked, all my colds wound up in my chest and I coughed for weeks.
  • Am no longer constantly filled with shame, guilt and fear.
  • Have become more confident and comfortable about speaking my mind.
  • Have learned to knit.
  • Can smell things and can identify what I smell.
  • Can sit through long meetings, movies, and anything else that lasts over an hour.
  • No longer plan my movements around buying my next pack of cigarettes.
  • No longer worry about burning up the car or the house.
  • No longer smell of cigarettes. When I smoked I didn't even know that I stank. All the time.
  • No longer have a yellow spot of my fingertip.
  • Have discovered an inner strength that I never knew existed.
  • Have begun to tolerate discomfort.
  • Have begun to learn to just be.

I am so very thankful for the About Smoking Cessation supportĀ forum and for all you wonderful people. I would not have been able to quit smoking and reach this milestone without all of you, and I won't be able to continue this journey without you either. Thank you so very much for all your wisdom, support, knowledge, humor and presence.

I am Deborah and I have been smoke-free for Six months, 2 hours, 18 minutes and 13 seconds. 3641 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,274.67. Life saved: 1 week, 5 days, 15 hours, 25 minutes.

Deborah (deborah1964)

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