I cannot tell you how much being a non smoker has meant to me over the last 6 years. I started smoking when I was 13 years old like a lot of people that was the environment I was in and I wanted more than anything else to just fit in. So at the ripe young age of 13 my addiction began.
At first, I do not remember feeling the constant urges to smoke we would just get together with friends and acquaintances and light up to be cool. it was more of a social gathering thing. But I also grew up in a time when smoking was still considered to be an acceptable thing.
My Parents smoked, their parents smoked, I really could not think of many people that did not smoke so it was really everywhere. You could smoke in restaurants, on airplanes, and in all places public, and private, I could walk in to any convenience store and tell the clerk they were for my parents and purchase cigarettes anytime. And I was only 13. Now it is a whole different ball game.
The one thing that really stands out to me is how the times and opinions of cigarettes has changed drastically, and yet there are still millions of people who continue to smoke, and countless young kids still lighting up.
By the time I was 18 I was in the Military running 3 miles a day and 5 on Fridays, along with doing 5, 10, and 20 mile force marches and I could not wait to get to the end of a run or a walk and smoke a cigarette. "I was hooked."
By the age of 23 I contracted Diabetes, and I was easily smoking a pack a day.But did I attempt to quit? No. As a matter of fact I was so hooked by this time I would just look forward to that moment when I could light up.
By the 90's I was listening to a lot of the complaints about second hand smoke and all the Non Smokers crying about how there health is in jeopardy because of second hand smoke, and by this time, it was outlawed on airplanes, public transportation, and a lot of other establishments were jumping on the "stop smoking" bandwagon, and I was well aware of all the health hazards associated with smoking. But did I quit? "No"
I switched to a more healthy brand of cigarettes " Marlborough Lites" as opposed to "Marlborough s"
And then in 1999 I had heard enough of the complaints on cigarettes and started realizing, or as some would say I was becoming "aware" of the fact that I was an addict. I could not just walk away from my good buddy Marlborough Lite.
My wife and I just had a Baby and we decided that for her we would quit.
Thoroughly convinced that I would not be able to withstand the cravings we went to our doctor and he promptly wrote us a prescription for a new drug called "Welbutron" and wow!
Within a couple of days the urge for a cigarette was completely gone. I had absolutely no cravings or withdrawal from not smoking and my wife was getting the same results.
So yahoo! End of story I was cigarette free..... Not so fast. I went a little more than 6 months without a cigarette and after declaring on many occasions that I am a non smoker I went with my son on a hunting trip for 2 weeks. And while sitting around the campfire having a cold one and smelling all that smoke in the air from my friends cigarettes I promptly asked for one and by the end of the trip I purchased a pack for the 15 hour drive home. I was a full blown smoker again.
As a matter fact by 2007 I was at a point where I could not go more than 4 hours without lighting up but usually every hour, and there were times when I would get really agitated if I did not have a chance to smoke. Not only was I a smoker again but it had gotten so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night ( 4 hour window ) and lite up.
I have passed out with a cigarette in my hand, I had yellow teeth, my clothes smelled of smoke, my diabetes was getting worse, I had a constant grunt from the flem in my throat, I could not even climb a flight of stairs without loosing my breath and getting dizzy. All in all, it was catching up to me and causing more and more health issues.
" It was time to stop smoking"
So I got another prescription for the miracle drug "Welbutron" and decided that this would be the cure all and that once I was free I would have enough common sense and will power to not make the same mistake.
After about 2 weeks of taking the drug I was still smoking.
As a matter of fact the drug was not taking any of the cravings away so I promptly purchased some Nicoderm Patches and put the strongest one on my arm and said " there, that ought to take care of the cravings. " Wrong"
It finally came to a boiling point with me when I realized, that I had an expensive bottle of prescription drugs, and an expensive box of patches in the glove box of my truck, with one on my arm and I was smoking a cigarette on my drive to work.
I got so angry that I was letting something control me like these things were, that when I got to my work, I pulled all of my prescriptions, patches, and cigarettes out of my glove box and promptly threw them in the trash.
I walked in to work ( good thing I was the boss ) and asked all of my fellow co workers to bear with me for about the next 10 days because I was going to go "Cold Turkey" Please do not smoke around me and excuse me if I get a little agitated.
I do not know where 10 days came from, I believe that I had heard somewhere that it took 10 days to flush all of the nicotine in your system, all I know it that it was crystal clear to me that in 10 days I was going to be free from cigarettes and the withdraws associated with removing them from my life.
In hindsight it is crystal clear to me how I made that happen.
I truly wanted to quit, and was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen, including dealing with the withdraw from the lack of nicotine in my blood stream. When you tell yourself ( with emotion ) what you want, your subconscious picks up on this and just takes over.
The repetition of affirmations leads to a belief, and when that belief becomes a deep conviction that is when great things begin to happen....
I quit in October of 2007 and have not touched a cigarette since and have no desire to ever visit that demon ever again.
I know that there are many ways that can help you quit and I decided to build, promote, and keep developing and promoting till I get at least one million people to stop smoking.
This site offers many different and effective ways to quit and I will keep searching for the latest and newest programs out there to give you a place to turn to when you are ready to quit. Both Free and paid.
If you have the desire, then your journey is well worth the price.
I have calculated that I have smoked more that 200,000 cigarettes, spent thousands of dollars on a product that has been a destructive force in my life. It is not your buddy, does no such thing as keep you calm, or relax you.
It has no conscious and neither do the companies that make and promote them. In fact it is one of the most destructive forces to the human body ever and we take no notice to the people that produce and promote them. But we can take action to try to help the people who wish to quit.
And offer them choices.
Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.
Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and lung diseases (including emphysema, bronchitis, and chronic airway obstruction). For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.
Call it an Epiphany, call it a vision, call it whatever you wish but one day it dawned on me that there has to be a way to do something to help others escape from that self fulfilling cycle of doom.
This is my attempt at doing my part,
If you ask me which is the best way to go I will only be able to tell you what I believe is the best way, but you must decide for yourself and above all take action.
You can talk about it all day long but if you take no action it will do you no good.
If you fail then pick yourself back up, brush yourself off, and try again failure is only that if you believe it to be so in your own mind.
I like to call it temporary defeat.
You will win and you will call it the same thing that I do.
"My Greatest Accomplishment"
Never Give Up. Never Stop Trying, and above all if you know of someone who needs to quit then guide them to a place that can help. If not here then somewhere, anywhere that offers help. You will be glad you did and so will they.