|From: SweetLorraine (Silver)||Sent: 7/23/2002 1:06 AM|
For anyone out there wondering if they truly could quit smoking - please give me a few minutes to tell you how Freedom helped me.
More than nine months ago I quit smoking - nicotine is highly addictive and I am completely suseptible to every addictive substance known to man. I was a hardcore user of nicotine that thought filter cigarettes were for sissies. I smoked for more than 30 years, virtually all of my adult life.
When smoking became less acceptable in the 1990s I switched to stronger cigarettes so that I could get by with less than a pack a day.
In Juneof 2001 Using nicotine became even less convenient - I was no longer allowed to smoke at home. Work had never allowed smoking, so there I was faced with pretty much constant withdrawal. I began to think about quitting, very reluctantly. I decided to cut down (that was a suggestion on a web site - I think the ALA's ). Withdrawal was even worse - there was no time when smoking was pleasurable. At 7 - 8 cigarettes a day I was either craving a cigarette or dizzy from smoking one. And one was never enough. This went on until October - four months to realize some simple truths:
1) I do not smoke because I enjoy it - I smoke because I'm addicted to nicotine
2) Smoking has no benefits
My health care provider offered several options for quitting smoking - including NRT but considering how poorly I'd done with nicotine I didn't think change the form of the drug was going to be the answer for me. One thing they offered pushed me over the edge, it was information. They had a test to evaluate your readiness to quit smoking. The test had a question about the number of cigarettes you smoked each day; if you answered less than 10 the response was what are you waiting for?
I had a whole carton of cigarettes left! Despite that I decided to quit on Wednesday evening. I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned the following morning and had an extra two days off work. It seemed like as good a time as there was going to be.
I spent a lot of time on the computer - playing games and looking for information on quitting smoking. Actually I was searching for some benefit to smoking that I could use to justify taking it up again when I found tons of information on the benefits of not smoking. I still have What Happens When You Smoke Your Last Cigarette book marked. It gave me comfort to visualize healing instead of deprivation.
One of those early searches brought me to Freedom. I eventually managed to get a MSN Passport and to apply for membership. The acceptance letter from Grumpy was such a thrill. I posted a barely coherrent diary thread and got responses. I was still fuzzy at that point and having a lot of trouble with complex tasks like messaging. Despite my rather disjointed posts everyone was very kind and I clung to the words never take another puff like a life raft.
After the first few weeks infomation began to seep into my brain and time began to move forward. I saw humor I'd missed in posts, abbreviations made sense; hours passed without junky thinking plaguing me. Hints of comfort and life without smoking being possible at the same time began to filter in. I had hung in there long enough so that what the seasoned quitters had been telling me all along began to happen.
Up until that time I was going on blind faith that Joel, Joh, Joanne, Linda and the rest of the Freedom folks weren't lying. There had been plenty of times when I said to myself "Yeah sure you all are comfortable in your quits and never even think about a cigarette - but that is never going to happen for me because I'm such an addict and I'm still having thoughts!" Mind you this is prior to the one month mark and they were just thoughts! My patience was in such short supply that I marvel I got through it.
It was at the point where I was convinced that comfort was never going to happen to me that it did. A post from Marty made realize that thoughts are way different from cravings or urges or triggers. With that little glimmer of insight I re-read Joel's post on Fixiating on a Cigarette (sorry never have gotten that link thing to work) and the light went on! Started looking at things from a new perspective. I started to appreciate my quit, worked into enjoying my quit and now I am celebrating my quit.
I achieved a goal I had thought was impossible - I quit smoking. I wanted to add my testimony to the annals of Freedom. For each lurker, newbie, for anyone struggling with nicotine addiction - there is hope. Freedom offers information and support it's all you need to win - if you do your part. Your part requires a commitment that for now you wont take another puff, that's it.
Quitting can be as easy as you make it - the faster you put the information available at Freedom into practice the easier it will be.
Celebrating 9 months 1 week and 5 days of Freedom!
PS I'm off to the beach for awhile tommorow so congratulations in advance on any milestones I miss - and congratulation on anyone celebrating another day of Freedom they are all worth celebrating!