Monday, May 2, 2011

Guest Post: Quitting

My first guest poster for the week is my friend Lety from U8MyCrayons.  She's new to the blogosphere and I know she would appreciate some new followers, some comment love.  Lety is a woman I admire greatly and I am honored to call her my friend- she is passionate and seeking her path and purpose in life.  She seeks to better herself and her family- and this post is about one way she's done that.  Sometimes, quitting is a very important thing to do.

People ask me almost daily how I quit smoking. Did you use a patch? Did you take pills? Did you gain 100 lbs? How did you fight the cravings?

I am no expert but I can tell you this much. You will never quit successfully until YOU are ready to quit. If you cannot commit to it…it will not work. It may work for a day, or a few days…a week or two. I’ve been there many, many times in the past 20 years.

I started smoking at the age of 14 years old. By the age of 15 I considered it a habit. I’d smoke one on the way to school, and one on the way home. I’d smoke one on the way to work, and one on break, and the last one on the way home. I moved out at age 16 and by the time I was 17, I was smoking a pack a day.

I just turned 36 years old on April 11th. Due to an increase in stress in my life I was up to almost 2 packs a day. I’d been there before. I’d quit for pregnancy. I’d start back up anywhere within 4 days to 4 months of the birth. I just didn’t see it as a problem. I saw it as just a part of life.

The older I got the fewer smokers I knew and suddenly I found myself being the only smoker in many social situations. It was kind of comical, in a sick sort of way. I promised myself I would quit by the time I was 35. The Dr. had said that if I hadn’t quit by 35 I couldn’t get birth control prescriptions. 4 children were enough for me so I decided that 35 was my magical age to quit…because I am as fertile as they come. I turned 35. I turned 35 and 1 month. Before I knew it I was 35 and 8 months old. I was running out of time and I didn’t even care. Life was so stressful. I couldn’t fathom how I would survive without self medicating with nicotine.

I woke up on January 1st, 2011 and went out on the front porch in the freezing cold to have my morning cigarette. I decided that it would be the last day of my life that I was a smoker. I was done. I had my fill and I was ready to move on. The weeks that followed nearly killed me.

Do you know how many times I have heard people say “I don’t know why so & so continues to smoke when he is broke all of the time? I don’t get it.” And to be honest…I didn’t either. I was sure that if my budget ever became tight I could just as sure quit smoking immediately to free up that money. I was wrong.

Do you want to know why people don’t “just quit”? Because it’s incredibly hard. That’s why.

I’m not talking hard in the way that makes life uncomfortable for you. I’m talking so hard that you want to inflict bodily harm onto someone else and you are sure that you will die before it is all said and done. I recall on several days I said I would rather give birth than go through the physical withdrawals that I experienced that first week. They were the kind of withdrawals that you imagine someone who is addicted to Meth would go through. It wasn’t pretty.

I started drinking black coffee whenever I needed wanted to smoke. I found that after I quit smoking my tongue was no longer fuzzy and numb. Everything tasted weird…which I assume meant that nothing really tasted like what I had once thought it did. The coffee helped numb my tongue and made my mouth feel a bit more like it used to. I sucked on just about every hard candy and chewed 30 different types of gum during those first few months. One day I chuckled with a friend of mine as I calculated the calories I had consumed in breath mints alone. It was something like 2,000. I gained 10 lbs in the first month. After that I joined the gym!

It took a lot of crying, pain, sadness, weight gain, patience, love, support, and commitment to get to where I am today. I’ve been smoke free for 4 months. I’m still not confident that I am “over the hump.” And I’m not sure when I will be. I’m still mad as hell about not being able to smoke. My mom said that she quit 6 years ago and she’s still pissed…so who knows. I may never get over it, but at least I can get past it and move onto healthier lungs and a longer life.

The only thing that keeps me from lighting up right now is fear. I don’t ever want to experience that kind of pain ever again. The smell of smoke is still intoxicating to me. I still crave it daily. I still have triggers, of course.

I’m doing it, one day at a time, and that is about all we can ask of ourselves, isn’t it?

I’d like to thank Liz for her support during the past 4 months of my quitting smoking. I couldn’t have done it without good friends like her being in my support system. I know she will stick with me to see me reach my one year anniversary!

I'm incredibly proud of Lety and the hard work she's done this year to improve her health.  Quitting smoking is hard.  I was a smoker- started around age 13 and quit when I was in my early 20's.  My motivation for quitting was that I was soon to graduate college and would be working with kids and teens and thought being a smoker wasn't the best example I could set.  It was hard and I've slipped once or twice since.  But I can honestly say that being around smokers now truly brings on a reaction of disgust- I can't stand the smell of smoke and especially can't stand the smell of stale smoke on a person or in a place.  Lety- keep fighting those urges.  The payoff is incredible.  I'm so proud of you for quitting and be smoke free for 4 months!!  Ii've also loved following your workouts the past month and love cheering you on!!

Support to help you quit smoking:

American Cancer Society: Guide to Quitting

Thanks to Lety for the post- don't foget to leave her some comment love and to go check out her blog and Follow her!



Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Congratulations!!! It doesn't sound like a fun journey for you, but 4 months is such a long time! Hang in there!

I am grateful to not have that trial. I can't even quit chocolate!

Liz Mays said...

I can't even begin to imagine how tough it was to quit, but it's wonderful that you're well on your way to being done for GOOD!

Dillypoo said...

Way to go, Lety! And way to go Liz for being such a supportive friend to Lety. Hugs to both of you!

julie said...

How wonderful for you! I was a smoker and still would be today if I could be. I like everything about it, unfortunately. This makes it hard not to slip every once in a while but I pray and it is God who puts me back on the wagon and keeps me there. Thanks for sharing the truth with us.