I am 40 years old and to give a little background. I smoked for nearly ten years and stopped back in 1997. I had contracted RSV from my son (it put him the hospital) and I gave up smoking in January of that year. I kept away from them until 2006. The articles are absolutely correct about never taking another puff, it was a Christmas party with my company and my boss bought all of us cigars. I thought, "What could one cigar do?" Even though I had not allowed a single puff to pass my lips until I smoked that cigar, I was back to smoking a half of a pack to a full pack of cigarettes a day within a month.
Here's the catch though, since I had been a militant ex-smoker during those off years I was supremely emberrassed to be once again smoking. I became a secret smoker. I hid from everyone, did everything I could to hide it. There would be times I would make up trips to town just to get a couple of smokes in. Keeping it concealed meant I was not smoking as much as I was before, but one is still too many. I kept a long jacket in the trunk of my car and would put it on whenever I lit up, no matter the temperature outside to keep the smell off my clothes. I also kept a baseball cap in the trunk and would pull it down over my hair. As soon as I got back in the house I would furiously scrub my hands and face to get rid of the smell. My car became the home of up to three air fresheners at a time to combat the smell.
Now, sometimes at the sports bar or at a gathering I would bum a cigarette and smoke it, even though I had a full pack either on my person or a few yards away in my car. "How can you just smoke one?" people would ask or people would joke "Look even the non-smokers are smoking."
Fast forward to 2008. I've had three false quits in the last year, stopping for a week and going back. The kick to my motivation this time was good old sibling rivalry, my youngest brother announced that he had stopped smoking and had been off them for nearly a month. While I knew I needed to quit, my experience with withdrawals had driven me to put it off and put it off and put it off. Now, my baby brother was doing something that I couldn't do? No way, that isn't going to happen.
I smoked the last cigarette of my life on January 21st, 2008. I am committed to staying off of them. I have to. I can count at least five members of my extended family that died prematurely because of cigarettes. We have long lives, a large percentage of us manage to live well into our seventies, eighties and nineties. There are even two that made it past 100. Even the ones that smoke managed to live long lives, though the last few years were rather unpleasent. I just hope I've stopped in time.
I've read the articles and I've been that person in so many of them. I've heard those words coming out of my mouth and those thoughts in my head. All the justifications that a drug addict makes in order to keep doing that drug. Reading the articles have motivated me to keep away from the smokes.
Intellectually I know that I am well past the 72 hours, that there is no more of the drug in my body, but I still feel them pulling me. First thing in the morning is rough, getting in the car. I kept my smokes in the mapcase in the door of my car and I have caught myself numerous times in the last couple of weeks reaching into it to find my pack. The lighters are still in there, but the cigarettes are not.
Do I feel better? Somewhat, I've put on fifteen pounds in the last couple of weeks. Now I have to deal with my addiction to sugary snacks. I am setting myself up to get back into long distance hiking and backpacking. I am dusting off the elliptical in the garage that has been dormant for a year and I need to replace the weight bench I sold to the teenager down the street.
Having read the articles I feel so much better about making it forever this time. Anyway, that's my story.