Share your quitting success stories: What hel... - COPD Friends

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Share your quitting success stories: What helped you quit smoking?

R2B_Joe
R2B_JoeAdministrator

I am noticing a few posts lately about people who are trying to quit smoking. Being a former smoker myself I understand how hard it can be to quit. Truthfully, creating a lasting change in life is tough enough (for me at least) without the added burden of nicotine addiction making it even harder. That said, it is NEVER too late to quit and it IS absolutely worth the effort.

For me- I quit because I was pursuing a music career and wanted to be a better singer. I was passionate about it and committed so it made quitting easier for me.

I also have studied sports psychology a bit and have used some of that understanding to help me make changes in my life. I can share more in a comment but I'm more interested in what others have to say first and I'm willing to bet that there are plenty of people here who will provide some great information.

I would love it if our COPD Friends could find some tips and encouragement here on quitting. Saying, "Just do it" is not as helpful as sharing HOW you "just did it". What worked for you? What did you do to refuse to give in to cravings? How did you occupy your mind? How did you battle stress?

I'm looking forward to learning from everyone!

11 Replies
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I tried to quit several times after my mother and dad both died of smoking related diseases. I even volunteered in the county committee developing the ACS Great American Smokeout, but still would light up when I got back to my car. I used a kit that had me ping a rubber band against my wrist when I wanted a cigarette. I tried singing whenever I was in the car, as a way to keep my mouth busy. I would pray at Mass that I could somehow quit. Then a business associate told me he quit smoking after going to a specific hypnotist. He suggested I quit on the Great American Smokeout day (always the Thursday before Thanksgiving in November), and said he would call me the week before to make sure I'd made an appointment with the hypnotist. Sure enough, he did, and then I made the appointment for the Wednesday prior to GA Smokeout Day.

I kept the appointment. I'd been told to bring my pack of cigs in to the appointent. When I did, I was told to put them into a baby casket in the room. Then the fellow began a rather weird way of speaking in a deep monotone to help me relax and then continued in saying why it was good for me to quit the cigarettes. I had never been hypnotized before, so kept a close watch on every word he said. When we were done, I thanked him and returned to my car where I'd stashed a second pack of cigarettes. I picked up the pack and said to myself, you can wait a bit after spending that money. Soon I found myself at the after work gathering of employees at at friend's business. All were having a drink and a cigarettes were offered all around. I had the drink but said I would wait a while before smoking. A couple hours later some of us went out to dinner where they were still smoking. Again, I said I would wait. And I've still not had a cigarette.

My conclusion is that hypnosis works IF and WHEN a person has already developed a deep subconscious desire to quit, as I had. My success caused two friends to go to the same hypnotist, but it did not work for them. They both admitted to me that they really enjoyed smoking and were hoping for a quick fix to get over it. I don't think they prayed over it either, though.

So I think a first step for anyone would be to try to develop a hatred of smoking -- the dirty ashtrays, the smell that is always around you no matter where you are, the fact it will catch up with you one day with a smothering kind of death, or worse, and just look at how many non-smoking nice new friends you'll make! I smoked for 27 years and have been off them now for 30. But that didn't mean I was safe. In 2017 I had a smoking-related disease -bladder cancer. It's what killed my mom, but I was lucky because these days they can remove the bladder (very major surgery). I have difficult complications from that surgery (lymphedema in legs and abdomen, for one), but I was happily declared "No Evidence of Disease" - no metastasis - on the two-year anniversary of the bladder removal.

The sooner one quits, the better, methinks. Hope this long tale is helpful to you.

Chantix helped me quite a bit, I managed to get down to 1 cigarette a day after being a 2 pack a day smoker for 30+ years. I could quit for 2 days, but couldn't get past that, I went back to smoking on the 3rd day. It was February in 2007 when I ended up in ICU intubated and in a medically induced coma for a week for respiratory failure, was in the hospital for about a month, then to rehab, but went home early because the food was so bad. I never smoked again. Feb 27 will be my 13th anniversary. I cannot and do not recommend quitting smoking this way, just sharing my personal experience. I was already at the severe stage when I was diagnosed in 2002, it took me 5 years to finally quit smoking, but am so glad I did. I also learned how to use supplemental oxygen more effectively. Really, those who prescribe and supply oxygen should do a better job of instructing people how to use it. Turns out I am a co2 retainer. That's probably what caused the respiratory failure. Not that the 1 cigarette a day was doing me any favors. I needed off of those things! Good luck to all who want to stop smoking!!!!!

grannyk 💜

I was the only one in the house who smoked, my husband had developed a bad cough, I was starting to think about trying (again) to quit smoking. I had developed a case pneumonia, which was diagnosed through a chest x-ray. The doctor told me that for someone who had been a smoker for over 30 years, my lungs were surprisingly clear. That was my AHA moment, I knew it was time to quit. The doctor put me on that pill that's supposed to help lessen your desire to smoke, and instructed me to set my quit date for at least 30 days out. Take the pills for 30 days while still smoking, then start using a nicotine patch after my quit date, and continue with the pills for another 30 days. I set my quit date for Thanksgiving, spent the few weeks before then cleaning everything in my house that was cleanable, anything I couldn't clean, I found other ways to deodorize and I made myself go outside to smoke. Thanksgiving day after dinner and dishes, I went outside with my adult children (who all smoked) and had my last cigarette.

I used nicotine patches for the nicotine withdrawal, and those licorice strips for the hand to mouth puffing part of the habit. Anytime I got in my car where I would normally light up a cigarette, I "lit up" a strip of licorice. I would "puff" on that until I got to work, then I would eat it. Eventually I got past that part of the habit, so the licorice was no longer needed. I switched to hard butterscotch candies, any time I got that urge to lite up, I would suck on a candy instead. Eventually the urge got to be less often, and less intense, to the point that I was able to just stop, breathe, and let it pass. I have been an ex-smoker for 19 years now.

I was still diagnosed with lung cancer twice, the first was 6 years ago, the second was almost 2 years ago, but I am currently NED. I was also told 6 years ago that I had mild emphysema. But I am still very happy that I was able to quit smoking back when I did,

I had quit a number of times since 1972. The longest was for two years in 2015 when I was scheduled for a total hip replacement as I wanted to give my aging body a chance at a better recovery. I quit for almost two years. I was on Holiday in Las Vegas and of course no one smokes in those casinos and picked up where I left off. Half a pack a day for another 15 months and breathing issues had been causing me issues. Just couldn't seem to get a deep breath when I wanted to, and then out of the blue a nice deep breath. As it was in the fall and a lot of allergens here I thought my allergies were just getting worse. I brought it up to my PCM (primary care manager) and he had me take a spirometry test in March 2019. Of course after smoking all those years I assumed the worst and had quit two weeks before the test on Nicorette gum (2 mg). The test results had FEV1 at 88%, FVC at 84%, FEF 25-75% at 99%, DLCO at 85%, PEF at 109%. I asked my PCM when I would see the Pulmonologist. He said the lungs aren't bad enough to get the referral. Well, my breathing was telling me otherwise and it has been a battle since. I still use the nicorette gum one piece a day just out of habit. Chew for about 5 minutes, take out and save and then do it again throughout the day. I brought this up to heart doctor as I had a high cholesterol issue and had gone Vegan in January 2018. He ordered a echocardiogram and a stress test. Passed the echo and flunked the stress test. Also fearing I might have blockage and years of smoking causing issues I was referred to heart cath lab. Told no stents needed, I did have heart disease (Diastolic Dysfunction) and it was mild and could be treated with medication. Back to PCM and put on a diuretic. Still have shortness of breath. Went to an allergy doctor who ran tests and said no allergies. She referred me to a pulmonologist. That is in two weeks so hopefully someone can tell me why I have shortness of breath. I have had CT chest scans and it has revealed mild emphysema. It just doesn't feel mild to me. I do not run out of breath in the gym and can walk for 45 minutes without any problems. But cannot seem to get a deep breath on demand. So I will stay off the cigarettes and keep using my 1 piece of gum per day.

Sorry to be so lengthy, as this issue has been going on since 2012 and has been getting worse.

R2B_Joe
R2B_JoeAdministrator

Thank you all for sharing!!!

I stopped smoking 12 years ago using Champix tablets (UK-Scotland) I was diagnosed with hardening of arteries in right leg which consultant says they cannot help as I might lose my leg if they operated so suffer the pain which I am now used to, just stop when it gets too bad. But giving up smoking stopped it getting any worse. I now do Pilates, Zumba, Aqua, Pump and Aqua Zumba on a weekly basis. I find exercise helps both leg and COPD. Now waiting on knee replacements but not giving up gym I do what I can.

I smoked for forty years until the age 60. I quit by cutting down in a measured way. I had never smoked when I first woke up and I just gradually extended that period. At first, I wouldn't smoke until noon, then 4pm, then 8pm and finally, in bed before I went to bed. Meantime, I rewarded myself for not smoking with a cigarette. The thing is, a lot of smoking is habit, and I gradually forgot to smoke. It took me about a year, but the one cigarette last thing at night lasted for about 5 years.

Hi,

I smoked for approximately 24 years until I stopped at the age of 41. I loved smoking and didn't want to give up until I got a persistent cough which I dealt with by taking cough lozenges. This went on for a couple of years and still I didn't want to give up but knew I had to because I was now aware that it was affecting my health.

Finally I sought the help of a hypnotherapist who sat with me for an hour asking questions about my addiction and about myself, then we had a short session of hypnotherapy. This first session was just to become familiar with the hypnosis process and for her to understand my thoughts on smoking. I was sceptical as to whether it would work in my case.

I returned the following week for the next and final session, as we started the session she asked my to concentrate on a corner of the ceiling which I did and she then counted down from ten to zero and asked my to close my eyes. It was then that I had to tell her I couldn't shut them, I was completely aware just unable to close my eyes! She was very happy about this as she said it meant I was a good subject, I did ask her the question, 'What if I leave here and have a smoke?' Her response was that it was my choice if I wished to smoke or not. If I did have a cigarette it didn't mean I had to have another one, I could choose not to.

After the session, I went home and never ever had another cigarette, never had the urge to have one, I was never bothered by others smoking. It was as if I had never smoked, all temptation was gone forever and what a relief it was. I was free, I hadn't realised how much of an addict I was, no longer did I worry if I had enough cigarettes. One thing though, I never felt better after giving it up and neither did food taste better. I just felt free emotionally.

I recommended hypnotherapy to colleagues I worked with and also to friends, who wished to stop smoking, sadly it never worked for anyone else. I was the lucky one.

Yes I have severe COPD and also bronchiectasis but it would be even worse if I hadn't stopped over thirty years ago.

I hope this helps someone. Prior to the hypnotherapy, I had tried the chewing gum and also going cold turkey but was such an obnoxious person that my two sons begged me to take it up again!

Good luck to anyone wishing to give up smoking.

Joan

Well, it's hard... in the beginning I reduced the number of cigarettes for a few weeks; then I cut each cigarette in two (two halves) for another few weeks, then I cut each cigarette into three! for a period and on the last day I only had one puff! I used a pair of small scissors. I gave up coffee for a few months (or any other beverage) except water. I hope you can do it, too! Good luck!

I guess I was lucky in a way, I saw my first grandchild 18 years ago, left the hospital lit up took a drag, exhaled put it out, never had the inclination to smoke again.

Unfortunately 12 years later diagnosed with COPD,

Just your luck I suppose.

I believe that if you crave something stronger than the than the weed you will get there.

My craving....to see my grandchildren grow up.

I quit many times, sometimes stayed off cigs for years, but always went back. That is, until I quit by using the patches. I used each of the 3 levels of nicotine patch longer than suggested. I used the strongest for a month, then the middle level for a month, then the lowest level until I finally could not tell the difference between not putting on the patch and wearng t. The softwate wll no longer allow me to type the letter .

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