How I quit smoking for good

by PaulGoodman67

My personal experience of quitting smoking: the challenges and how I overcame them.

An anniversary went past recently. Ten years have gone by since I quit smoking for good. The strange thing is that I almost never noticed it. The thought of smoking almost never crosses my mind anymore.

This was not always the case. Ten years ago I was obsessed with smoking and it was rare to see me without a cigarette in my mouth, surrounded by a cloud of smoke and puffing and coughing away pretty much constantly during my waking hours. I avoided non smoking rooms like the plague and the thought of not having my tobacco on me filled me with an almost overwhelming sense of anxiety. So what changed and how can I sit here now and say to you that I quit smoking for good ten years ago and I have never felt better?

How I began smoking

CigarettesFirst of all it is probably best if I explain how I became a smoker in the first place. I actually started pretty late, around the age of twenty. I was brought up by parents who both smoked, my mother cigarettes and my father a pipe. But I never found the idea of smoking appealing as a child. The smoke smelled horrible and could make you feel sick just be being in the same room. Fresh tobacco smoke was bad enough, but when it went stale it was even more horrible and the stink clung to everything. Another thing was that I knew that my parents felt bad about smoking and they were clearly uncomfortable when trying to explain to a child (me) why they did it.

It was a college when I first started smoking the odd cigarette at parties. It tasted bad and make me feel a little nauseous, but it also gave me a pleasant buzz in my brain. Without even realizing what was happening, I began to drift into being a hardcore smoker. At first I just smoked at social events, then it was every weekend, then every evening, then during the daytime. Before I knew it, the first thing that I did each day was to light up a cigarette. I didn’t have much money, so I would roll my own cigarettes with tobacco and rolling papers.

Attempts at giving up smoking

Dirty ashtrayI didn’t worry too much about smoking for the next ten years. I knew that I had become an addict but there seemed to no rush to give up. But as the end of my twenties loomed, I decided that I would quit smoking before I reached my thirtieth birthday. I was aware that the dangers of cancer and other smoking-related illnesses, such as heart, breathing and blood circulation problems begin to increase as you head into middle age and, as my father died a slow painful death of a cancer aged forty where smoking may well have played a part, I wanted to avoid that fate.

But giving up smoking turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated. I made numerous attempts, normally relying on will power alone. Some of my attempts were partially successful and some were frankly, pathetic. There was more than one occasion when my attempt at giving up smoking failed to last even one entire day! I reached the age of thirty, then went past it, still a hardcore smoker.

I began experimenting with ways to help me get through the nicotine withdrawal. The one that worked best for me was nicotine gum. I could start out chewing strong gum and gradually reduce my dose. After a few abortive attempts, I managed to give up smoking for an entire months, before recklessly accepting a cigarette at a wedding. All it took was one cigarette and I was an addict again. Within a couple of weeks I was back to chain-smoking again.

I quit smoking for good – success!

Me playing tennisThe ten month period of abstinence had taught me that I could do it however and after about seven months of renewed smoking I attempted to quit cigarettes again. This time I made up my mind in advance that this would be the last time. My love affair with smoking was over. I was fed up with the stress of giving up attempts too! The strange thing was that when I gave up smoking with a positive attitude, I suffered virtually no side effects from the nicotine withdrawal. I did use the gum, but in the past I’d still had all sorts of cravings and side effects, it could even feel like I was going insane at times, it was that powerful. But this time I felt calm and quietly determined. One thing that did help, I believe, was that distanced myself from other smokers for a couple of months. Other smokers are never helpful to have around when you’re giving up smoking, I’ve found.

I have never smoked since and I can say there are no regrets. It was ten years ago and I have never felt better! My circulation improved, I stopped coughing, my lungs felt better, and I lost the constant nagging anxiety of getting stuck without cigarettes and worrying about my health. I almost never think about cigarettes anymore. But it was nice to remember for the tenth anniversary since I quit.

Have you tried to quit smoking?

Updated: 02/12/2013, PaulGoodman67
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AnomalousArtist on 05/08/2013

Great article, I could really relate. I was thinking of writing my own, I think people need to hear it over and over so it'll take!

dustytoes on 01/11/2013

Congratulations on quitting smoking. I have never smoked but everyone who does seems to have a terrible time quitting, so I give you tons of credit for sticking with it! Your story of success will undoubtedly be encouraging to many.

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