Friday, April 5, 2013

How to Quit

I've been asked by TONS of people to write about this. Last year, I quit smoking. I have stayed smoke free since my quit date without a single deviation. This is NO small feat as any smoker knows. Nicotine might be the single most addictive substance out there. Smokers poison themselves slowly and tell themselves it's because they love it because that addiction is so very strong. TRUTH.

Now, I'm not all crusader-y about it (or maybe I am) but I definitely feel like if I could do it, anyone can. I smoked for almost 20 years straight. TWENTY FREAKING YEARS! I quit here and there, but nothing ever really stuck. The bottom line is: I wasn't ready to REALLY commit to quitting. Once you get over that enormous mental hurdle, the rest is cake. Seriously. THAT was my big secret to quitting. You HAVE to be able to tell yourself with complete honesty that you will NEVER, NOT EVER take another drag off a cigarette ever again. And you have to believe it.

First, I set my quit date a couple weeks in advance to mentally prepare myself. It was after my injury last year, so I set my quit date for the day I was getting out of my walking boot. My rationale was, I would be able to move around more instead of being tempted to sit on my ass and smoke. I got some of the nicotine patches to help with cravings, but I got the lowest dosage. I only used them with a little regularity for the first few weeks, then I only put one on when I went out to a bar or party. It really helped with initial temptations.

The BEST tool/resource/aid in my success at quitting HANDS DOWN was this FREE app a friend recommended called Quit Now. It was instrumental and essential in my journey. This app tracks your progress. It tells you how much of your health is returning, how much money you are saving, puts you in contact with others quitting, gives you tips, and marks every achievement no matter how small. It gives you something concrete to refer to so that your accomplishments are marked and have substance. I could not endorse this application more.

Lastly, share your mile markers with friends and family. The support they offer can also make a huge difference. My kids were my biggest cheerleaders and the reason I gave my all. It was easier than I ever thought it could be because of them. I want to be in great health for them and share all their experiences in their lives....not in another room or hanging around outside smoking. I never realized what a time sucker that stuff was! It even becomes a smoker's way of measuring time. STUPID.

This morning I was asking my son if he thought I was forgetting something...because I thought I did and sometimes he is very helpful. He was going through a mental list with me saying, "Keys? Purse? Your money?" all those. Then he stunned me by adding to the list, "Smokes?" I stopped short, looked at him and laughed. I said, "Mama quit smoking over a year ago! I don't carry those!" It felt SO fantastic to say out loud, I had to say it a few more times. I QUIT SMOKING! (You can too.)

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