Life's Lessons: A to Z Blogging Challenge
Way back in 1999 I decided that I was going to quit smoking. Actually, if I am telling the honest truth here, I didn't want to quit smoking. But Richard and I were going on a 32-day vacation with other people and I was the only one in the crowd who still smoked. I didn't want to be the only one leaving to go out in the open-air to smoke! So, along with my best friend, we decided to quit.
First I chose my "quit" date. November 1, 1999. That is the day that we decided we would no longer smoke. Then I made a plan. I followed the plan no matter how hard it was. And it was hard!!
We had just bought a brand new car in July 1999 so the first step in my plan was not to smoke in this car. And I didn't allow anyone else to smoke in it!
The second step in my plan was to quit buying my cigarettes by the carton. Well, actually it was to get Richard to quit buying me my cigarettes by the carton. He had quit smoking
15 years prior to me but he still was the one who stopped at the Smoke Shack, on his way home from work, to buy my cigarettes. I never bought my own cigarettes.
Next, I went to see my doctor. I told him my plan and I asked if he would prescribe Zyban and Nicotine patches for me. Of course he was more than happy to do that. Zyban is a drug especially formulated to help people quit smoking. It also comes with a full "Quit Smoking" plan and support group. Many people use Wellbutrin, which is the same drug but without the support. Zyban works by reducing the cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.
Continuing on with my preparations for the final date: I walked our backyard and picked up and 'field-stripped' every cigarette butt that I found. And believe me when I tell you that during some of those first days I wouldn't have had a problem going outside in search of an old cigarette butt. So I am glad I did this. I also started to make myself walk around the block every time I wanted to smoke a cigarette. I was determined to not gain the notorious 40 pounds after one quits smoking. This was one of the smartest things I could have done. Because (in the beginning) I did not gain any weight.
Finally, November 1, 1999 arrived. I had to work the night of October 31. After I arrived at the hospital and before I headed in for my last shift I smoked my 'last' cigarette.
Now the real hard work started. I am not going to tell you that I didn't backslide. Because I did! More than once. One night, on a night off work, while at home, I wanted a cigarette so bad that I literally thought I would die if I didn't get one. So, I grabbed a couple of dollars and headed down to our local Kwick Shop. It was the middle of the night. I asked the clerk for a pack of Salem Slim Lights and I slid my couple of bucks across the counter. The guy looked at me and said, "It's been awhile since you bought cigarettes, hasn't it?" I needed two more dollars. What????? When the heck did smoking get so expensive???? If you think that stopped me you would be wrong. I went home for more money and returned for the cigarettes. Sad, I know! But I really liked smoking.
One early morning, at work, when I had not smoked a single puff for almost a month , one of the day-shift nurses came on duty. The first thing I noticed about her was how she smelled like a dirty ashtray. It was that realization (and probably that alone)that has kept me from ever smoking again. I cannot believe that I used to smell like that. It's funny that when you are the one who is smoking you don't smell it!
It was a horrible, tortuous, long road to becoming a non-smoker. My oldest son once told me that quitting his drug habit was easier than quitting smoking. It is so sad that it is that addictive. I think those who have never smoked just don't have any idea.
I used my Zyban and Nicotine patches religiously. I can remember beginning to panic when I would get low on either of those. It was like smoking. But with both there is a step-down process that will wean you off the drugs.
During those months of quitting the thing that I missed the most was the 'hand to mouth' habit of smoking. So I 'smoked' tootsie rolls. The skinny ones that are shaped like a cigarette! And I cut straws into cigarette length and 'smoked' those. They became my crutch for the cigarette that I missed so much. I'm sure I looked stupid as heck. But I didn't care.
I have been free of cigarettes for more than 15 years now. I gained around 30 pounds from that. (I Gained more during my recent caregiving stint)! I haven't noticed that I have more money, but I know that I do. Especially with cigarettes now more than $6.00 a pack here. People told me that I would be able to breathe better. I don't!( But that might be because of all the fat I now have around my lungs) People told me I would be able to taste food better. I don't! But I do know that I SMELL BETTER. My house smells better. My clothes smell better. My grandkids smell better. For that alone I am thankful!. I'm still just as crazy! I just don't smoke.
Tell me....did you ever smoke? How hard was it for you to quit? Share with us, please.