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7 years ago I stopped smoking – this is my story.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

October
31
2007

Today is a wonderful anniversary for me! This day will always remind me of one of my proudest and most difficult achievements: on October 31, 2000 I smoked the last cigarette of my life. I was a very heavy smoker for over 10 years, and the last three or four years of that time I was more of a chain smoker than a heavy smoker: I was going through more than two cartons of cigarettes per week – 3 packs per day. It was ridiculous. I constantly had a cigarette lit, and sometimes I’d even accidentally light a second one while another one was still burning in the ash tray. I was horribly addicted, and for a long time I honestly thought there was no way I could ever quit, and so I never even tried…

When I finally decided that it was either quit or die, I went cold turkey. There was no winding down, no patches, no hypnotism and no tricks. My thought process was, “Hey it’s better to quickly rip a bandage off rather than take it off slowly!” Just do it. I knew it was going to be hard, but it was even more difficult than I could have imagined. The desire to smoke was so strong that it consumed my thoughts constantly for a long, long time. I would catch myself trying to rationalize why it would be OK to “just have one”, but somehow I was able to fight though all that.

I remember about three weeks after I quit smoking our air conditioning went out (it’s still very hot in Florida this time of year) and things at work were going haywire. I actually got in my car and drove to the store with the purpose of buying a pack of cigarettes. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the store thinking, “If you do this, then all the suffering you went through over the past three weeks was for nothing.” Even worse, I knew that I’d probably never have the guts to go through all that again. I honestly believe that if I’d gone in that store and purchased those cigarettes my life would be completely different right now: I’d probably still be a smoker, I’d still be smoking pot, and I doubt very seriously that I would have ever decided to undergo my transformation in 2003. Even though I was hot, irritable, irrational and frustrated, somehow I was still able to recognize the extreme importance of the choice I was about to make.

As I drove home from the store without the cigarettes, I knew that tough days were still ahead, but I also knew I’d just fought the battle that won the war.

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