5 years last month

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!


12 Replies

  • Thank you Alex for a very honest and heart felt post. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on making it 5 years, that is some achievement. I have no doubt just from reading your above post that you will back next year posting for 6 year milestone. WELL DONE!

  • Alex... Amazing post and thank you.... I believe 100% what you said that the road to stay quit is totally dependent on the individual... If you want it it is possible... Yes..Life is hard on us sometimes but who wants to go through this nightmare again... Thank you once again. !!

  • Alex as you said in so many words we've got to be ruthless with our quits there is absolutely no use in pussy footing about

  • Alex you should still be proud of yourself, its a lot longer than myself and many others! well done :)

  • Thank you very much, everyone! Whether you are just starting out or quit a long time ago, I hope you get to a point where the question of smoking or not becomes irrelevant. Even though I was determined not to smoke, it took quite some time (perhaps a year or two, maybe three) before I became completely disinterested in smoking. That is not to say I had cravings to smoke or felt doubtful about my ability to stay away from smoking, but more that I was regularly aware of the fact that I had quit. These days I hardly ever think about it anymore, which I believe is a good thing. To me, it shows that I have almost completely disconnected from my smoking past. I sincerely hope you all get there one day.

  • Congratulations on five years Alex, I like the reference to "irrelevance", that just about sums by attitude to smoking now. Something I used to do but don't now, and the further back it gets in time that I quit, the less I remember it. It CAN be done, there's no doubt.

  • Well done Alex, you helped me a lot when I first quit, thanks very much!:)

  • Thanks very much AngryBear and Haze56!!

  • Well done Alex , 5 years is an amazing achievement so don't knock it you have helped so many on here who have used you for inspiration and managed to quit and stay quit.

    I stopped once before like you because my x thought I should and 11 months later started again, how stupid was I.

    Have a great new years smoke free.

  • Thanks very much, Jamangie. Great to hear you're still off the smokes. Have a Happy New Year!!

  • Thanks for posting your experience Alex. I can't wait for the time when I no longer think about smoking. I'm still at a point where it crosses my mind a couple of times a day, sometimes for a few seconds other times much longer. Makes no difference if there is a smoker nearby or no one for miles, it's just a little something in my head that can't shake it off completely, at least not yet but I will continue with my quit for as long as I can, hopefully that is for life, after all that is why we quit isn't it, for life.

    Thanks again and hope to read your post next November.

  • Alex,

    5 years! That's a great achievement. I remember when you first came along to these boards and boy did you land with a bump ;)

    I know exactly what you mean about quitting for someone else and not you. When I quit before I was determined that I was going to stop. I was stopping for my husband, my children, my Mum, the flaming doctor.... Everyone except me. I accepted in the back of my head a long time ago I would one day smoke again. I did. Little by little it became more that just when having a drink. It became most days. Then 5 times a day, at set times. Then on Monday I realised what a chore it had become. That was my catalyst right there. Smoking was a chore. It wasnt fun or enjoyable. It was a chore. So I quit. I'm pretty sure I'm done now. I'm not arrogant enough to say never, never is a very long time. But I have no desire to smoke. Oh I have cravings but they are just part and parcel. I dont want to smoke. It really is that simple.

    I hope you pop by and see this my old friend ;)

    Take Care


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