I'm sure nobody will be surprised to learn that I have completed five years without smoking one single puff. In fact, I completed five years on 8th November, just over a month ago.
I was very determined right from the beginning. Smoking is an addiction which requires complete abstention for most people. That is, you can't partially quit. It's all or nothing and it's a lifelong choice. Some people are able to cut down and others may be able to only smoke on certain occasions, but this is what I consider to be 'controlled smoking'. It's not a free choice, inasmuch as it requires self-control, most often leading back to full-time smoking and/or smoking ever-increasing quantities. My feeling is that if you have to control your intake, you're still very much a slave to smoking. That is what caused me to stop completely, helped along by a health incident which landed me in the hospital. I no longer wanted to be a slave!!
Funnily enough, I cannot yet feel proud of my achievement, or at least not as proud as I would like to be. The reason is that I have only equaled and not yet surpassed my previous quit period of five years back in the 1990's. That's right, I quit smoking for five years once before, due to my wife having kids and her asking me to stop, like she had done. So what went wrong, and why did I start smoking again? Well, it hadn't really been my choice to stop. I felt like I had only stopped to please someone else. I'd never really let go of the idea of smoking, so soon after a divorce, I started up again, in a way as an act of defiance. That led me to full-time smoking for the next ten years. If only I had known then what I know now!
What I know now is that the choice to quit and stay quit lies with the individual. If I had realized that at the time, I would have made quitting a personal choice. Sure, I was "encouraged" by my ex-wife, but I never took on board that what I was doing and that the reason why I was doing it required my full backing, that I had to buy into it 100%. In other words, I had to not only EXECUTE the decision to quit, I had to OWN the decision to quit. I should not have been quitting just to please someone, but to be truthful and honest to myself and make the decision FOR MYSELF.
Next year in November I will feel very proud because it will have been six years since I quit, based on my own personal decision to be rid of smoking, and permanently.
Cheers and best wishes to everyone for great success!