It is just over 2 weeks since I stopped smoking and this time I feel confident that I have finally STOPPED! I have had several attempts over the years (the last one was in 2008 according to this site!) and have tried Patches, Hypnosis, Inhalators, Champix, Cold Turkey, Electronic Cigarettes, Allen Carr Clinic, and reading every book every published. I don’t want to be rude about any of those methods as I believe that any method works as long as you are READY TO STOP and I also think that the fact that I have managed to stop this time is due to a mixture of all those methods! My ‘failed’ attempts were mainly due to the fact that I felt forced to ‘give up’. On one occasion I had to have an operation and obviously was told that general anaesthetics and smoking don’t go well together (not to mention the fact that scars heal better on non-smokers). The hardest attempt was following the sudden death of my mother who developed lung-cancer at 67 years old. She had always joked that she came from a long-line of smokers and that her cough was good for clearing her lungs. I smoked before and after her funeral but then felt so stupid and ashamed that I ‘gave up’ – for 3 whole months, before ‘giving up on giving up’ again.
So here we are 2 years later and to my amazement I have not smoked for over 2 weeks! And this time I feel totally different as I feel that I actually made a conscious decision out of my own free will that I didn’t want to smoke anymore. The main contributing factor was that we were invited by our son (who is in the Armed Forces and lives many miles away) to a family Open Day on his military base. My first thought wasn’t excitement at seeing him for the first time in months, but worry about how long I would have to go without a cigarette on the journey down there, whether there would there be a smoking area on the base, and how much I would embarrass him in front of his colleagues. I felt pathetic and ashamed and at long last realised that I didn’t want my life to be governed by smoking anymore. I re-read my vast collection of stop-smoking books, trawled the internet for advice and inspiration (and realised that I had used this forum before!), but couldn’t quite picture myself saying ‘Yippee I’m Free’ (so Cold Turkey was not an option this time). I actually found myself looking forward to the day when I would slap on a patch and not smoke anymore.
On 2nd June I stuck on the patch and only had a couple of ‘difficult’ moments – mainly when walking from the car park to the airport terminal when normally I would have choked down 2 cigarettes and had a row with my husband about it! For most of the day (the flight, the arrival, a long drive, arrival at the hotel etc.) I felt relieved that I didn’t have to spend all my time waiting for the next cigarette opportunity. I even enjoyed having drinks on a hotel terrace without feeling too stressed – although perhaps it helped that there were big No Smoking signs there. The following two days were great in that although I kept thinking about smoking it was mainly with relief that I didn’t have to smoke as it would have been extremely difficult to find the opportunity. The absolute best part was when my son asked me why I was wearing a ‘plaster’ – when I told him, he gave me a massive hug and told me he was proud of me. My biggest ‘wavery’ moment was when we arrived back home where I would normally have headed straight for the back-door to stand next to my flower-pot ashtray. For a while my head was telling me that there was no need not to smoke anymore, I had got through a weekend where it would have been extremely difficult to smoke but now it would be easy to carry on – and then I remembered that hug from my son, checked my Quitometer Stats (110 cigs not smoked, £35 saved), looked at this site, and realised I stupid I would be to start again.
Sorry this is so long but, having lurked around this site for a while I wanted to give something back and I hope this helps anybody who is trying to get their head around stopping. Don’t think about ‘Giving Up’, think about choosing to ‘Stop’ and you will succeed!