My name is Joe and I am addicted to smoking cigarettes. I have suffered and continue to suffer from the effects of this deadly drug which I freely administered into my body.

After forty-five years of smoking I have contracted emphysema. I stopped smoking cigarettes cold turkey with great thanks to the free education I received at this website.
Since my wife quit smoking at the same time as I did we have saved almost $2,500.00; and that is after only four months of living free and clean of nicotine.

I prefer not to dwell on the financial aspect of quitting smoking cigarettes because I genuinely care about the many friends, neighbors, family, associates, and yes, even strangers who continue to ingest nicotine poison. For me it was cigarettes, but the good folk at Freedom and WhyQuit factually report that the poisonous effects of nicotine ingestion covers the gamut from chewing, smoking cigarettes and cigars, and/or "snorting" it.

I have so much to say on this topic but do not wish to make it seem that I am any kind of voice of authority with regard to the website or educational material which is freely provided. I am an authority only about me, how I think, what I do to stay on the clean side of my life and how/what I do to protect my quit from smoking.
Most importantly, I need to tell you exactly why I stopped smoking. Certainly it was not because my doctor told me to do so; he/they have been telling me that for years. It was not the social stigma of standing outside the workplace in a doorway to cop a few drags, nor was it the fact that I needed acceptance from my buddies who also smoked.

I was hospitalized twice with bronchitis which evolved into pneumonia. I was told this happened to me because my health was compromised due to smoking. Do you think I listened? Do you think I cared? Nope, first day out of the hospital I was right back at it with my brand of choice. That's what addicts do, we can't or won't fight it, and we lie to ourselves by thinking we can't live without it. Actually, the reverse is the truth; we cannot live a decent quality of life if we continually poison ourselves with nicotine. I think this addiction actually affects every part of our bodies in one way or another but I didn't consider any of that, denial was more suited to who I was.
No friends, for me I had to come face to face with my own mortality. My constant bouts with bronchitis eventually evolved to what was termed COPD which is: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For me, I understood this to be the precursor to emphysema which it was but do you think that stopped me from smoking? Nope, it just made it more dangerous, exhilarating and stupid. So, forty-five years down the pike ruining my health, I am now sixty-five years old and living with emphysema; predictable huh?

For many years prior to quitting smoking I had been suffering seizures. At first they were like excessive pins and needles in the head leading to blurred vision and some extreme coughing. As I progressed with my debilitating mental sickness of nicotine addiction, the seizures became a lot worse. I would fall to the floor in a semi-blackout but feeling weird sensations covering my entire body. I would shake and quiver and although I could see to a degree, I could not talk or breathe. Later, I would suffer total blackouts where I saw and felt nothing. Fortunately for me God granted me the ability to return to reality (not normalcy). Luckily, one of these seizures happened in the hospital while they had the CAT scan focused on my carotid artery. I saw the playback later, the artery actually contracted from what seemed like a half inch in diameter to what looked like a squished soda pop straw; this artery feeds blood to the brain. I was given some medications to help me control my problems and allowed to go home after some severe admonitions.

I continued to smoke.

I half heartedly tried acupuncture, the commercial patches and gum, "feel good" medications and even hypnosis; none of it worked to help me stop smoking. Looking back upon those times, I don't think I wanted to or was ready to quit smoking. I wonder whether or not I was waiting for the undertaker.

Four months ago I sat at this computer smoking while typing the next great American novel. I walked downstairs to get a soft drink. My wife was away for a few days on business so I was home alone. Halfway down the spiral staircase I started to cough violently. My body stiffened and twisted while the shakes started. Trying to hold onto the banister I slammed my back against the railing of the staircase and fell down the rest of the steps. I had a blackout seizure and there was nobody to help. When I "came to," I thought I had broken my back or fractured some ribs, I had really bad pain. With much effort I crawled to the couch and managed to get into a semi comfortable position. I was telling myself; "this too shall pass." Eventually my breathing stabilized and I knew that I did not puncture a lung with a broken rib. I managed to stand erect with some effort so I figured that I had not caused any real damage to my skeletal system. I thought; "perhaps some bruised ribs or muscles, I will tough it out." Once again I was lucky but the pain did not go away. Sleeping was iffy at best as I had to keep adjusting my body position due to the pain. After a few days of this agony I bit the bullet and went to see my family doctor.

His examination revealed that I had bruised some muscle but the trauma of the fall brought on a case of shingles; more medications different disease, what a merry-go-round. Wouldn't it be nice to tell you that at this point I had learned my lesson? Nope. In my junkie thinking I rationalized that shingles had nothing to do with smoking so I could just continue my life willy-nilly without a second thought to cigarettes, nicotine, addictions, or shingles.
A day or so later, my wife had come home and was is in her office fifteen feet from me. I was surfing the web looking for a chicken-hearted way to quit smoking. Of course, I had a lit cigarette right in front of me. A small cough led to an attempt to take a deep breath but I could not. I was restricted from breathing and I fell off this swivel chair to the floor floundering around like a fish out of water. Drastic convulsions, shakes, clenching of teeth and extreme cold to my extremities caused great fear. I thought this is the one; this is the episode which will claim my life or render me mentally diminished.

My wife totally freaked out. There was nothing she could do and she knew it. She had seen these things happen to me before and knew if she called the paramedics the seizure would be long over by the time they arrived. She just lay on the floor and lovingly held me.
After a while I had some water and slowly returned to where I was; sick but controlled, at least until the next time. I looked at what I was doing on the computer, the search engine listed I started to read. I smoked for another day or so but reading "Joel's library" made perfect sense. I firmly resolved at that time and after all those years to stop smoking cigarettes cold turkey and so did my wife.

I had decided that suicide by cigarette was not a good way to die; I have children, grandchildren, a loving wife, and an elderly mother to care for. In short, I have an awful lot to live for. I owe it to myself, even if at this late date, after so much history behind me, I owe it to me to capture what is left of my life and live it as healthy and happily as I can. I vow to do this by learning all I can about this addiction, listening to others, and applying the techniques that are freely dispensed by freedom and whyquit. The most important lessons I have learned are pretty simple but they are paramount if you really wish to quit smoking.

1- Never Take another Puff (NTAP)
2- One Day at a Time (ODAT).
3- You can only do this by yourself for yourself

And now for the good part: After a week or so of my quit from smoking the seizures started to decrease in intensity; thank God. I have not had one in months.

A few months down the road I started self testing using the portable PFT test device. (PFT = pulmonary function test.) Within four months, I have tripled the positive values on that test, going from a meager 88 to over 350. Although I am not where I am supposed to be on that test, I continue to improve. This means that I can breathe deeper, walk longer, have more endurance, and yes, I have even started to jog around the neighborhood. To add in the obvious, food tastes better, the air smells cleaner and our home is nicotine free.

If you who are reading this message are still smoking, truly I can say to you that I understand your fear of quitting. I do however beg you with all my heart to consider what you are doing to yourself with each drag you inhale. You are poisoning yourself friend; mentally and physically. I am one of the lucky ones; I am so far, a survivor but that doesn't mean that you or anyone else can play the game and slip by like I managed to do by the grace of God. Some die quick, some die slow, agonizingly slow, think about it, isn't it time for you to stop this silliness? At this point in my life, I am absolutely terrified to smoke a cigarette. I wish I felt that way back in 1961 when I first started to ruin my body so painfully slow.

Thank you for reading this message, my hope for you is the same as it is for me; a message of hope! Yes, you CAN stop smoking.

Joe Doherty - Free and Healing for Four Months, Three Days, 21 Hours and 33 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 17 Days and 11 Hours, by avoiding the use of 5036 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,265.52.