What Stopping Smoking Has Taught Me About Myself

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This three-month smoke-free milestone comes from Rhona Mac, who has discovered many more benefits related to smoking cessation than she ever would have guessed.

Thanks for sharing Rhona, and congratulations on three smoke-free months.

From Rhona Mac:

I have made it to three months smoke-free.  Here is my small guide to what I have learned on the journey so far.  The wonderful (and sometimes weird) benefits from quitting tobacco I would never have guessed were coming...

Because I stopped smoking, I have learned that I am stronger than I knew or suspected. Who knew that smoking saps your self-confidence?  Well, it does!  And stopping helps it to grow again. With my new-found strength I have found myself a little more ready to take on challenges or to stand up for things or people than I was before. It's also easier to have a go at new things - or things I have been putting off.

Because I stopped smoking I have learned that I am a soprano!  For years I sang alto, and then I stopped singing in choirs because my breath control wasn't up to it.  Within four weeks of stopping smoking, I found that I had an extra octave on top of my voice that had been hiding away for 24 years!  Who knew that middle C is actually quite low?  I now have a three-octave range again, only it's a little higher, and my breath control gets better each week. (well, perhaps I am really a mezzo, but that's ok.)

Because I stopped smoking I have learned that strangers are amazing. I cannot tell you how very much my journey has been enriched and enabled by the people I have met here. Who knew that total strangers would spend their free time reaching out to help each other through the pangs and pains and trials and tribulations of this sorry addiction?

 Enriched and enabled, that's me.

Because I stopped smoking I have learned that there are many people like me around the world, but they come in oh so many shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds, income levels, ages, educational achievements, skills, outlooks, religions and politics.  (ok, maybe not the politics).  Who knew you could start conversations on level 7?   Because in this addiction and its recovery, I have found  that we can cut through the dross and the social etiquette alike and simply being be human beings together.

Because I stopped smoking I have learned that I love to write. And I think and write and share and encourage very happily and gratefully.   This is something I have been thinking of for years and not made time for, and I am oh so grateful to have the time to try what I love.  Who knew that in the midst of this journey from nicotine addiction to freedom I would be blessed with the time to explore what I can do?

As for the negatives:  

Yes, I have thoughts of smoking and I am learning to live through fresh triggers each day or week, but  the cravings to smoke are gone and I barely remember them.

Yes, I have put on weight that I would not want to live with in the longer term, but I can live with it for now.

Yes, I was irritable and had  problems with sleeping, anxiety, headaches, moodiness, crying jags and all that stuff that I read about.    But, that has passed, and already I barely remember it enough to write about it here.

And yes,  I am still learning a lot about myself and emotions and where I am going....is the battle over?   No, I am a nicotine addict and I will always be a nicotine addict.  I intend to be a nicotine addict who doesn't smoke, though, for today and today is all I have. But I am so glad to be on the journey.

I'm not complacent. I am watchful. I am hopeful and determined. And, I am a little bit excited about what is yet to come....who knew?

Rhona Mac

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