June 29, 2016
“Any real tough situations, remember to ask yourself if I have a cigarette will this change the outcome”
My main motivation for quitting smoking was my health. I have quit smoking many times before but have never stayed quit. I found that when you quit it has to be your own personal decision. I knew I really wanted to stop and it was my time again. I was waking up every morning coughing and gagging and my breathing was a little laboured and I had a lung whistle that annoyed me.
I heard a commercial on the radio talking about smoke clinics and to see your doctor. As it turned out I happened to be going into the doctors for another matter and mentioned I would like to stop smoking and they put me in touch with the right people. However, this was in March 2015 and they were booked solid. I asked them to keep me on the waiting list which they did. I received a phone call in July saying that they were able to get me an appointment in August. I was thrilled. By the time my appointment came around I had myself pumped up and I was ready to stop. I met my smoke counselor Diane Arsenijevic (who has been absolutely amazing). We talked about a quit date and what kind of smoker I was. We talked about the reasons why I had failed before; about what we could do if these same reasons came up again. Diane offered me my choice of cessation products (for free by the way) and I chose the inhaler. I was to come back in a month and set my quit date.
When I came back the next month I had already stopped smoking, I say stopped because for me quitting sounds like a challenge and to win that challenge I would have to start smoking again. I stopped on August 16th 2015. Diane was surprised. But I told her I was ready. This was my twelfth time and I wanted to make this my last time. Diane gave me the tools to stop. And I thought if I get crazy I will just have 1 smoke but I know myself and if I even have one drag I may as well go out and buy a pack. Having a smoke counselor to vent to was an incredible blessing and vent I did!!!
I was very weepy the first month and very angry. I wanted to pick a fight with everyone. I found I worried more. I also had a lot of heartburn. I used candies and my inhaler(which I called and still do call my pipe) as a substitute. The sugar in the candies gave me a lot of heartburn and my mouth was full of canker sores. I drank water and tried to exercise. I lost my energy when I stopped smoking and became somewhat depressed. It was very important for me to see my smoke counselor. Stopping smoking was like losing my best friend.
Most of my winter friends smoked in the house so that was difficult for me. I found I would sit less and pace more or we just would not stay as long. I did not want to isolate myself even more because I chose to stop smoking. I had friends that would taunt me eg. If you were irritable they would say why don’t you go have a smoke… they thought they were being funny but that would almost bring me to tears cause I was trying so hard. So I would just stay away from them for a little while. Everything seems magnified at least by 10. You seem to lose your sense of humour for the first little while. And when that happens see your smoke counselor. I also have friends that support me unconditionally. They are wonderful. With my summer friends we were outside most of the time so it really did not bother me.
One of the hardest things is the isolation… eg. your playing cards and 3 out of 4 get up and go for a smoke and you sit there going okay now what do I do… so I bought adult colouring books and coloured while they were out for a smoke. And you have to stay focused. Not smoking has to be at the forefront of your mind. I didn’t want to give up my triggers such as coffee so I reduced it to 1 cup a day. I slept every chance I could get and if I couldn’t sleep I would read. I put a quit smoking app on my cell phone which shows you your progress daily. And I see my smoke counselor.
The cravings were difficult however my pipe really helped especially with the hand to mouth trigger. The cravings never leave you but they do get less and less, it does get easier.
I was 63 days not smoking when I started to feel like myself again. I also started to feel my energy coming back. On my quit now app it gives you positive messages at 30 60 90 days and so on. These are achievements. Be proud of them and tell your smoke counselor.
On day 79 when my feet hit the floor I was surprised I wanted a cigarette very badly, I grabbed my pipe and had a couple puffs on it. It didn’t seem to help or if it did it was only momentarily, I practiced my slow breathing exercises. I kept trying to distract myself,I finally went for a drive to the beach and stayed there most of the day. It wasn’t until 4 in the afternoon that the craving went away that day. Some days are to remind you how hard it is to stop. I have a good support group that helped me through it. You really need your support group and see your smoke counselor. It does get better.
Holidays are tough but your cessation products help and your smoke counselor. Any real tough situations, remember to ask yourself if I have a cigarette will this change the outcome … it does not, so work through it, call a friend, call your smoke counselor. Do it for yourself. You do have to make some changes if you really want to stop.
- Try not to smoke in the house a month before your quit date. You will smoke less because you think about whether you want to go outside or not.
- Try not to smoke in your vehicle, believe it or not the car will start without you lighting a smoke.
- If you find situations uncomfortable; if possible leave and if that is not an option deep breathe slowly and clench and unclench your fists slowly, rub your hands, have a smooth stone in your pocket you can rub your thumb back and forth on.
- Buy an adult colouring book
- Have a deck of cards handy and just keep shuffling
- Walk your dog or somebody else’s
- Switch up your routine
- Find a quit smoking app on your cell phone
- Ask your spouse or significant other not to leave their smokes lying around or a half one in the ashtray, remove the temptations if you can
- Tell your friends and ask for support, most people are pretty good.
- And most of all see your smoke counselor.
As of today I have not had a cigarette for 274 days/ I have not smoked 4,662 cigarettes/the money saved is $1,865/I have saved 19 days of my life and my risk of heart disease has been reduced 75%.