Being a smoker for 41 years, I thought that I'd live the rest of my life as one......tried to quit before but never lasted longer than 5 days before running to the store to buy a pack of cigarettes. Tried the patches too.....wore them at work and then got home and ripped them off as fast as I could, ran down the basement.....and smoked.
Around the end of '99, my husband and I said we had to quit, but how and when. It was discovered in august of '99 that he had three aneurysms forming..one abdominal.....two illiac (arteries into the legs). The doctors said he needed surgery after the first of the year before the aneurysms got any bigger and burst. An aneurysm is the thinning of a blood vessel that becomes worse until it bursts.....like a balloon being blown up until it pops. An aneurysm that breaks is instant death unless the person is lucky to get to the hospital before bleeding to death internally. There is no sign or clue that it is in you unless it found during an exam for another problem or it breaks.....smoking is blamed for a majority of aneurysms. Needless to say.....the vascular surgeon said smoking would have to cease....easy to say when you've never smoked....hard to do when you've spent your life smoking.
Hal said that if I quit smoking, so would he. Aw gee.....and if I continued smoking, well, so would he. We set Jan 1 for our start/quit date and I told everyone at work that after New Years' weekend, I would return to work smoke free. Before the New Years weekend, I bought 2 packs of cigarettes and 1 box of patches. They gave me dirty looks at work! Well Jan 1 came and went and we were still smoking. On the second of January, I was surfing the net looking for smoking articles when lo and behold.....a forum for people who were trying to quit!! Imagine that!
I sat there mesmerized and read and read the posts of people just like me trying to kick the habit. My husband and I were not the only people in the world, who, that very day were trying to quit. Amazing. They had these neat things at the ends of their posts that told how long it had been since they smoked......it was the quitmeter they said and it was free....just had to download it to my computer. I did!!! I got the nerve to say that I, Linda, was never going to smoke again and then received all sorts of letters of encouragement from people I'd never met before. This was wonderful!! I had my quitmeter and I was going to beat this habit.
On January 3, at 11:45 am, I found a cigarette!! It
was hiding in my drawer in my bedroom.....actually I knew it was there....was sort of saving it for a rainy day.
I smoked it! I stood in my bathroom just 13 hours into a quit and smoked a cigarette.....how could I??? Well, a cigarette is a cigarette and now I have to reset my meter back to ground 0. The people at the smoking board said....that's ok Linda...start again, and I did. I was so angry at myself, so disgusted at my weakness, so upset because the cigarette was here in my house. But because I was so upset.....I vowed it would never happen again.
Online suppot has saved my life and my husband's. He did not come near my computer, but had I failed, so would have he. To be able to sit in your own home and scream and yell and cry and laugh with others that are going through the same thing was a modern day miracle. To know what to expect and what to do should I feel the need to smoke....was a keyboard stroke away. Help was always there for me. I read and read and posted and posted.....kept a very close eye on my quitmeter and smiled each day at noon when it made this silly quacking or honking noise letting me know another smokefree day has passed......I found whyquit.com and then Freedom and the days, slow to pass at first, now fly by faster than ever.
For all the new people here and for those of you that are having a little more difficult time quitting than others.....I say use online help to its fullest. People helping people is the most wonderful concept in the world. Look at AA or NA and the success those wonderful organizations have enjoyed over the years....people helping people. For those of us a little more confident in our quit....the greatest gift we can give to others is that which was given to us....encouragement and support.
Scream, holler, do whatever you have to do ........but remember the most important thing you can do for yourself is to ask for help and receive it......and then when you have succeeded, and you will.....give it back to others.
Yes.....my computer, that which my husband said I did't need, saved our lives.....for that, and for all the wonderful support I received, and for all the new friends I've made.....I will be forever grateful.
Linda....after 41 years of smoking...free since January, 3, 2000.