This is part of a series of letters from QuitNet members who shared their experience with quitting smoking using QuitNet, and offered their encouragement for others to do the same. If you'd like to share your experience or motivate a loved one or smoker who wants to quit,
please submit your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you thinking of quitting?
Are you scared?
Think you can’t do it?
I am writing you this letter to tell you that I was once where you are.
I was thinking of quitting – not because I wanted to, but because my doctor said I could quit before or after the heart attack. Thankfully, I quit before.
Let’s be honest here: this quit was not my first attempt. I kept my previous quit for over 12 years, but one night, I was out with smoking friends when I decided I wanted a smoke. I figured after all those years that I could have just one... What a shock. I am an addict! Within a few weeks, I was back smoking a pack a day again.
Two things happened in my life that helped me choose to start a quit and keep it:
The first was the aforementioned doctor’s statement. While those words did impact me, I still needed an additional 4 months in order to quit for good.
The second was a well-intentioned comment I received on QuitNet over 10 years ago. I announced, yet again, that I was beginning another quit, and Rosie--an angel of the Internet--said to me that while she admired my repeated quit attempts, she felt it was such a shame that I kept putting myself through those tough early days over and over and over again.
This quit was born on March 15, 2006.
Was it easy? No. Those early days were very difficult. I turned to my journal to cope with my emotions and write my way through my illness. I took Zyban to help me quit, but I cried and cried and cried bitter tears from my 25 best friends I had to separate myself from. I hated happy people, whether they were happy smokers, happy nonsmokers, happy quitters... I hated them all.
But here's the thing: even during my previous quit, I never saw myself as an addict. I thought that I loved to smoke. I thought it made me happy! I remember writing the following in my journal, and I want to share it with you now:
"I feel that I have lost a friend, and a very close one at that. My smokes are–not are, were–always here for me. Now I no longer have my smokes, and it's sad as it feels like something is totally missing from my life."
I really believed this stuff! I can see now that that wasn't me, but my addiction talking. I did not love smoking. I only loved the relief smoking gave me. I couldn't see this while in active addiction, but when the smoke screen cleared, I saw smoking for the vile enslaver it was. Smoking did nothing for me.
Below is some wisdom I’ve learned from my journey.
Hopefully you can make your life easier by not falling into the potholes I did!
I have taken back my power from addiction. I control my life again, and I refuse to ever again surrender that power to a white tube filled with poison. I call the shots in my life. I am not running out to serve my addiction. I am free but vigilant as I never want to go back and start over again.
I use a line in my daily pledge that I walk the Freedom Road. That is where I am: living my life, doing my thing, and doing it my way. Life is not perfect but it’s a whole lot better when lived smoke-free. Come and join me on the Freedom Road. I know it feels kind of rocky at the start but if you take my hand, I will support you until you are ready to walk it on your own beside me.
Quitting is not always easy, but it is possible. You can do this! Let us show you how.