Darlings! I've decked myself out in fur and spangles and I'm clutching a bottle of champagne and flinging open the doors of the penthouse.
ONE YEAR QUIT!
I am - it must be said - spectacularly proud of myself.
Man, it's been a bumpy road. But here I am!
A year ago today, I stood in my back garden sick, shivering, trying to force down lungfuls of smoke despite the fact that I was coughing myself nearly sick. Even when I didn't have the flu (which is what precipitated this quit) I woke every night coughing. I woke every morning coughing. I coughed all the bloody time, and got through asthma inhalers at an alarming rate. My skin was grey, my fingers and teeth were yellowing. I was constantly sneaking away from the kids to smoke, I got irritable with them for demanding my attention when I wanted to get into the garden and gasp down a fag. I was so sick of being enslaved to a weed but I believed it was part of my identity, the last vestige of my youthful rebellion. I thought I liked it. But I knew I had to stop.
Now I'm a whole year down the road. I never cough any more, my skin is brighter, my teeth are whiter, I'm more patient, more self aware, and infinitely happier.
I'm not going to say I never think of smoking, because that would be a lie. Every now and then I stop, sigh, think 'I would have smoked now', and I suppose in a very detached way I could say I 'miss' it. But, having withstood an entire year of triggers - occasions, arguments, stress, bereavement, holiday, sunshine, aggravating kids, worry, boredom, you name it - I'm pretty sure that there's nothing life can throw at me that would induce me to go back to smoking. I simply don't want to be a smoker any more. It categorically is *not* an integral part of my identity. It never was; that was just an excuse.
The biggest thing I have learned is that it is all about choice. It's a stark, bald fact that when the trigger comes, whatever it may be, it boils down to you choosing to light up, or not. That's all there is to it. And it's a lot easier to say 'no' to that first tempting cigarette than it is to light up... and then try and resist the next thousand of the b**ards. Personal responsibility, that's where it's at. Not easy, as we all know. God knows I'm hopelessly weak willed and pathetic most of the time. But really, life is short, and I want to enjoy my time on this planet.
To those who are starting out on this road, please have faith in those who tell you that it gets easier and easier. God knows, I know it doesn't feel that way, but it truly does. Take it one day at a time. Don't lose sight of why you're doing it. Understand yourself, and your addiction, and keep making the right choice no matter what. Oh, and make full use of this forum. Without it, I would never have made it, and I thank each and every one of the people on here who reached out to help me when I struggled.
It's easy to skip past those 'I would have smoked' times now, it causes me no pain. I never thought I would reach that point, it took me some months to battle my demons and climb my personal mountain, but I'm here now and I wouldn't change the view for the world.
My, they have this penthouse decked out nice for Christmas. Champagne anyone? Or shall we put on a show? The luvvie has arrived!
PS Sorry for the humungously long post but if this occasion doesn't merit it, I don't know what does!