So it just occurred to me that one week ago today, at 8 a.m., I passed the six month mark while remaining nicotine-free.  I don't know if it's a good sign or a bad sign that after making all this effort, it didn't immmediately occur to me that, in one sense, I've moved on; in another, I have to admit that, living with two smokers in the house, I still feel a bit tempted at times -- though the temptation gets immediately drowned out by a cacophany of thoughts about what it would be like to be a smoker again -- YUCK!  It just goes to show that one can never be too complacent with this addiction; the stakes are too high.

I've taken easy breathing for granted for a while now, but I occasionally draw a deep beath to feel what it's like to be able to do so -- all of my smoker's asthma symptoms are long, long gone, but I remember dreading going to bed at night, when I would lie there hacking and coughing until the wheezing subsided enough to go to sleep.  I coughed so hard that I'd break out in a sweat.

If any newbies happen to read this, be assured that any "temptations" I have to smoke are weak, short lived, and absolutely nothing compared to the first week or two -- let alone the first three days.  I am not one to bother totaling up monetary savings -- I'm much more concerned with the health benefits of being off those awful cigarettes -- but a quick mental calculation puts the figure at about $1080 I've saved.  And while smoking is a zero-sum game -- you either smoke or you don't, and there's no compromise -- craving, temptations to smoke, and thoughts about smoking are not.  If you're really new to quitting it may be impossible to imagine that the thought of a cigarette can be just a thought and not a dire, life-or-death craving, I'm living proof that this is not the case.  Yeah, it's a cliche, but:  IT DOES GET EASIER. 

So January 22, 2011 remains the day I quit -- not just another day I managed to stop for a few days or weeks.  Six months -- plus a week -- down, and six months -- minus a week -- to go until it's been a full year.  And I'll Never Take Another Puff.