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!