My name is Neal, and I feel especially lucky today for two reasons. 1). I started smoking over 40 years ago, and I'm still here to talk about it, and 2). More importantly, I have been free of any nicotine and healing for Four Days, 19 Hours and 39 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 10 Hours, by avoiding the use of 120 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $24.10.
I started smoking when I was 11 years old. I was the youngest of 4 kids (who all smoked), from parents who both smoked. It seemed like all my relatives and everyone I knew smoked. It was the end of the 60's and smoking was cool! Cigarettes were sold everywhere, even in vending machines for about 50 cents. The Ads were everywhere, all the Hollywood stars smoked on the big screen, and you could smoke anywhere.
When I was sixteen I lost my father to a smoking related illness. He was 48 years old (younger than I am now) when he passed. He smoked two packs a day of Lucky Strike non-filter. I guess I never really acknowledged that it was a smoking related illness (hardening of the arteries) until recently. I guess that was part of my junkie thinking and rationalizations.
I remember my first serious quit attempt at 17 years old. I quit cold turkey with no help for almost two miserable weeks. I lost count of how many times I tried to quit. As new gimmicks would come out, I would try them. I knew I should quit, and I knew how unhealthy it was, but I could not succeed. I tried cutting down, switching brands, vitamin programs, cigarrest, switching to dip or chewing tobacco, patches, gums, lozenges, and even hypnosis. In the long run my addiction always won out. I would always find some way to rationalize going back to smoking or why that particular quit wasn't right, or how I would do better next time, but it was alright to smoke for now, etc, etc, etc. My record quit was 15 months, I also quit for 12 months, 10 months, 8 months, 6 months, 3 months, and many times for an assortment of weeks or days. I was always reminded of Mark Twain's quote " Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it a hundred times".
I really believe that this time is going to be different from all my other attempts. I have armed myself by reading as much of the literature and watching as many of the videos on WhyQuit.com as I could. If knowledge is power, then I am beginning to get very powerful. I will not stop, if I think I've read every word on WhyQuit, then I'll start over and read it again and again. I even joined Freedom well aware of the relapse policy, because this time I will not fail.
My quit has been going well so far (almost 5 days), and because of all my researching there has been no surprises. The first 3 days I was lost in a fog, I could not concentrate, I felt very lightheaded and almost dizzy, I was tired all the time, and of course I had to deal with the craves. So far each day has been better than the last as I can slowly fell myself returning home. I'm not sure if I'll be able to recognize home since I've been gone so long, but it has to be better than where I've been.
Many of the other times that I quit I got a taste of the "better life" without nicotine, but I never realized the extent of this addiction and the brain wanting disorder, I always went back to using nicotine. Now knowing that this is one of the worst addictions and diseases, makes it easier for me to understand why I have failed so many times in the past. If I ever feel like I'm losing control I can strengthen my resolve by reading at WhyQuit or I can post to this forum for advise from people who know what I'm going thru.
I have different options available now before reaching for that first puff. Every single failed attempt at quitting in my past had one thing in common. I took that first puff! I know now that just one puff will send me straight back to my full addiction. I'm just one puff away from over a pack a day. I feel so lucky, almost blessed, to have stumbled onto WhyQuit.com and ending the 4 Decades Of Lies.
I now call myself a recovering nicotine addict rather than an ex-smoker, because it reminds me of the power of this addiction and disease. I don't know how many more quits I have left in me. I never know if, or when, that spot will show up on my chest x-ray, but I know if I have to face that type of situation, I want to face it as a non-smoking recovering nicotine addict, and I won't go down without a fight.
In closing, I hope there is a special spot in heaven for John, Joel, and all the volunteers who make this site possible. You are helping so many people, like myself, who would otherwise be helpless! Thank you so much.