Thursday, October 09, 2008

Posted on the quitnet

Here I am 100 days under my belt and I'm granted the elder label. It certainly doesn't feel like I'm an elder, much like I don't feel my 43 years of age. After all I still laugh at farts and burps. But since I'm an elder, ha ha, I get to dispense a little advice to those following this road to smobriety. It's not easy, but it's easier than yesterday. That's the principle truth I can pass on. Each day really does get easier, maybe infinitessimally so, but as in so many efforts that are worthwhile, progress is sometimes agonizing. I can tell you this, at 100 days I am no longer in agony.

My smoker's history is nothing new. I started when I was 18 because my friends were smoking and because of my perceived invincibility to anything an adult warned me of. Now I tell all the younguns to never start smoking because as hard as it was to start (and it was! I remember "practicing" every time I drove somewhere because I felt like an idiot if I took a drag and coughed in front of my friends) it is a thousand times more difficult to quit. I have had a few semi-successful quits (oxymoronic, that). Once, and this is so lame, I quit on my birthday. I don't remember which birthday that was though I want to say 23, and of course it was the worst birthday ever. I quit cold turkey that time and on my subsequent birthday "rewarded" myself with permission to smoke a cigarette. Within a week, I was a smoker again - a whole year down the drain. I have quit more times than I could easily keep count of, probably a dozen or so. You know you're a chronic quitter when relatives roll their eyes at your next quit announcement. Why didn't they stick? Most of the time I gave myself permission for one cigarette and that always led to more. This time, I understand that I can NEVER take another drag off of a cigarette again. Ever. If I do, I am a smoker again, because the evidence is now overwhelming that I am a nicotine addict and always will be. I always thought that I couldn't quit smoking if the spouse didn't quit too. We quit together in the past and I always blamed spouse's failure for my own. But that is giving someone else the power, and that I will no longer do. So spouse goes on smoking, in fact the filthy things are sitting right there on the counter any time I want one, but I don't because I know I will only be hurting myself and why would I want to do that? I love myself.

A culmination of things caused me to quit this time. My grandmother smoked into her 40's and quit and she is going so very strong another 40 years later. I made a pact with myself long ago that if I hadn't quit by 42, that that would be the final year. The final quit. So that has been percolating in me since my last 5 month long quit failed a few years ago. And this combination of attitude shifts makes those cigarettes on the counter no more interesting than the tile itself.

My longest quit was that cold turkey birthday quit and lasted a year. Every other time, I used some sort of program. Patches, Zyban, gum (shudder), and this time I used the inhaler which I had gotten used to from taking on long flights. I didn't follow the directions, after all the directions never worked for me in the past, I listened to my body and after 25 days I had had enough of sucking on the inhaler and stopped. I didn't like still being addicted to the nicotine and I felt like the longer I strung that out, the longer I was going to be a slave to those cravings. This is what has worked so far for me, your mileage may vary.

The quitnet, though I'm largely a lurker here, is invaluable in that it is a place I can touch base with other individuals experiencing what I am. Friends and family get tired of hearing how you're cranky because it's day 4 or day 10 or day 44. Really, really tired. But here at the quitstop, you can always get inspired and bond with others on this golden road to liberation. Because that's what it is, a liberation from slavery. Slavery to the cigarette so much so that everything you plan is colored by the need to accommodate it. Freedom is all we quitters have to gain. Keep the quit!

29 comments:

"Just David!" said...

4 years for me on the 19th of October! I think I've saved well over $12,000 so far and added 14 months to my life which I think I can use right now! Ha!

Snooze said...

Congratulations! That is a huge accomplishment.

Vato Diablo said...

"It's not easy, but it's easier than yesterday." I like that, and it is so very true! Early September was 2 years for me. Congratulations.

Birdie said...

All of you are wonderful for quitting. I live with a former smoker, and he didn't tell me of all the times he quit until it stuck. It's been over twenty years now. He said he wanted a cigarette for five years, and in that time he once said that if it weren't unhealthy he'd pick up a cigarette right away. He no longer feels that way. Aren't there only two known substances more addictive than nicotine? (I think it's the stuff which Oxycontin is made of and our own hormones.)

Keep it up! Those who love you want you healthy for a very long time.

franck said...

Well done! I have never smoked but I'm sharing a small apartment with someone who quit recently (for the umpteenth time, too) so I can appreciate the effort.

Greg said...

Congratulations to you, my Elder friend!!!! 100 days, like the 99 before it, is no easy accomplishment.

This summer, I decided to, as a friend said, "invite all kinds of good health" into my life...and one of those things was quitting smoking.

It was the right time for me, which helped...but I can't tell you how many times it has also helped to know that you were about 20 days ahead of me and doing fine!

83 days here; keep the quit!!!!

Anonymous said...

I quit smoing 7 years ago. I could start back up at any time. I won't do it because I want to keep breathing clean air.
Congratulations on 100 days of being smoke free and having your lungs change back to the pink they used to be.
Now, what will it take to get spouse to quit? Have him to get an X-ray of his lungs. Maybe the black blotches of Tar that are slowly filling his lungs and shortening his breath will convince him. ed

Lemuel said...

That was marvelous, Torn!
You know how much I am pulling for you!
I think the one thing that struck me in this post was your admission of the addiction. It is not unlike any other addiction, and the road to that freedom is very much the same.
Best wishes always as you continue on that road!

Roxrocks said...

I believe quitting successfully is 90% mental. You have to be ready before it will ever be successful. I'm glad you were ready.

Lacey said...

Congrats to you and to Greg. I would never get tired of hearing how cranky you are feeling, or whatever. I quit for 13 years once and then I was sure I could smoke just one, any time I wanted to cause I was no longer addicted. yeah. So after five years of THAT, I quit AGAIN. It's been five years since then, and I still crave one at certain times. Like driving on the Thruway. What could be more boring? Or painting a room. Roller in one hand, cig in the other. Mostly though, it's driving in the car when I miss it.

RJ March said...

What a wonderful post. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a great analysis of the smoking addiction. May I say I am so proud of you--I quit when I was 35 and am now 79 year old---so (sounds like your grandmother [one doesn't capitalize the possessive?]. Best wishes!

GayProf said...

I am so glad that I never became a smoker, which is surprising given what an addictive personality I have.

Congrats on staying clear!

Patricia said...

Your road of recovery sounds so healthy. Realistic and supportive and honest. I'm happy for you and I hope to get Chris to find such a supportive group.

carlnepa said...

Congratulations: I love the classic film noir, but I am struck by all the grey smoke billowing around the actor's faces and in the air around them. PA instituted a smoking ban in Sept but there are loopholes - food must be >20% of sales, private clubs are exempted, and ofcourse CASINOS...I mean, who wants to ban smoking while gambling and drinking, it's a trifecta of vice. It's been 12 years for me, after having been free another 10 years then relapsing for a year or two. YOu have to learn to live with the urge, I don't think it ever goes away, but the longer you are away from smoking, the more you realize you couldn't just pick one up again. It wouldn't be what you thought it would be. I'm very happy for your success and your commitment to your health. Let's hope spouse soon follow suit.

em said...

I can't begin to tell you how glad I am, every time you say you can never smoke even one I feel a thrill of gratitude. Congratulations my sometimes cranky, smoke-free, fabulously stubborn in your refusal to smoke even one, Torn.

Scooter said...

I'm proud of you. :)

Christie said...

You quitter, you!!

Congratulations on winning the fight.

VeePee, Team Morion said...

I just quit in June....sort of unexpectedly, as I had tried quitting so many times before...but I haven't had a cigarette since June, and I don't miss it at all!! :-) Yay me....now it's just hoping I don't ween myself back on somehow...which I've done before. Good luck!!

rbo said...

Boy was this the right time for you to post this. I was in europe over the summer and had a few drags for the first time. When I came home, I had a couple more by convincing my 2 smoking friends. No coughing, no nothing, it was easy and comforting..

And since then, I've been trying to convince myself that it's not something I can ever do again, (even if I want a sexy raspy singing voice) because even though I've smoked less than a pack, I already crave one at least once a day.. slow day at home, just want to get out on the deck and chill out for a bit. But I know if I'm already craving them at this point, it would be the worst decision of my life to start.

So thanks for the timely warning, and congratulations to you and everyone else who has quit and commented about their achievements :)

Craze said...

Congrats! I know it's not a painfree journey. Reward yourself with messages from the Universe: www.tut.com

Butch said...

Coming from an ex-smoker myself, I think it is great you have done this. You have the correct mindset this time around and kudos for you seeing that we make the decisions and not our spouse. You will find that after a while, you think less and less about smoking until it is something that occasionally pops into your head as an after thought.
Congratulations!!

johnny368 said...

Hey, very happy for you that you're a
smoke-free crow now!!!

You did it.....: )

evilganome said...

I'm trying to quit, so every little bit of inspiration helps. Keep it up, I am always impressed by other people who manage to quit and I've known some very heavy smokers who've managed to put them down.

Doug said...

So many congratulations on sticking to your guns and following your instincts.

Java said...

Congrats!! 100 days is significant. :)

pete said...

100 days is a great start. You have to fight those habits/feelings where you always lit up. I quit over 25 yrs ago. I had an unopened pack, half open pack of cigarettes, and in between jobs and quit cold turkey. Spent alot of time in places that I normally didnt smoke; in bed, in the bathroom etc. There were some breakdowns along the way; but they never lasted more than a day. The worst day was 18 yrs ago this month when I found my dad dead. I had such a craving for a smoke that it surprised me. I could have easily had a smoke as my dad smoked and there were cigarettes in the home. But they were the wrong brand and I got through it.
When your sense of smell corrects itself, you'll run into an item of clothing or the interior of your car and smell that smell and wonder how anyone could stand being around you.
Hang in there, the days get easier

Mark in DE said...

Congratulations!

This is a great post, balancing humanity with common sense.

Mark :-)

bstewart23 said...

I just passed Day 137 today, though I'll admit to having two while in Spain last month, so keep up the good work. This is also Day 1 of me checking out your blog, which is a crackling good read. And, finally? You, sir, are one fine-lookin' man.