I did Quit!

by Barbara
(Montreal)

It seems that we all agree that quitting smoking is not easy. Yet at one point or the other, we might be forced to do so.

My name is Barbara and I haven't smoked in over two decades. I tasted my first cigarette when I was about 10 years old. Actually it ended up to be half a cigarette, which I then put back where I took it from, hoping nobody would notice.

Of course they did notice. Prepared for a major 'no no' lesson, the only question was: Have you thrown up yet? No, I didn't; but I did not like the tobacco taste.

I really started smoking in my late 20s. It was fashionable to do so at that time, but mostly it was stress related. My ashtray was never empty. One cigarette was finished, a new one was lighted. Sharing my office with another heavy smoker did not help.

It was not only cigarettes buds in my ashtray but also the occasional cigarillo or cigar, which, quite frankly, were much more enjoyable to smoke.

Equally my apartment smelled heavily of old cigarette smoke and so did my clothes. As smokers we do not realize that we carry the smell around with us and no matters how much we want to cover it, the attempt is futile.

One day I finally was forced to sit down and reassess my lifestyle. My physical condition was not what I needed it to be. There were too many days and weeks where I was not feeling well.

I quickly decided to put an end to smoking. At that time, one either stopped gradually by reducing the number cigarettes or packages one smoked per day or week. I started with quite simply smoking less, which did not really work. The stress level at work went up, so did the number of cigarettes smoked.

My solution was to go Cold Turkey. It worked for a while, but then I went back to the occasional cigarette after dinner. This lasted for approximately 2 years when another reassessment of my lifestyle was necessary.

This time the Cold Turkey decision was successful. The temptation at times was still there. However, my mind very definitely told me 'NO'. Personally and with all the stop smoking help available today, it is the individual him or herself who must decide for itself to stick with the decision.

Helping me to get through this rather difficult stage was that whenever the urge reared its ugly head, I was able to convince myself that there was some kind of physical task waiting to be done. It didn't matter what it was as long as it took my mind off the need to have a quick smoke.

It was a long haul, but I have never regretted my decision to stop smoking. I feel healthier. One drawback though: Nowadays when I am around smokers, my nose buds are not happy.

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