Hello everyone. I just made this account today, and I would like to share with you all my story on my tobacco addiction and how I made it to week 2 today! I want to post this to uplift others going through the same thing, or to bring insight to those who want to quit but aren't quite ready.
Let me start with my story on how I started.
My senior year of High school, things just weren't going too well for me. Depression and anxiety were huge burdens, and I was going through dramatic phases because of my insecurity. I was going through a lot of turmoil and I was obsessed with doing research on drugs. I wanted to try all kinds of drugs...but I was 17 and still finishing high school. I lacked the hookups and didn't know very much about drugs, so I spent my days after school cooped up in my room on erowid.
My mother is a smoker, and seeing her smoke, I wondered why she did it and what kind of feeling it gave her. I was pretty depressed and desperate to not be sober, but I was very limited on my chances of getting drunk or high. (Note: around the time I started cigarettes, I had also been smoking weed and drinking on rare occassions). So this was a new way for me to feel different.
I even gave myself reasons for why I should start smoking. "I feel so shitty about life, and myself...so why does it matter if I smoke? I don't care about myself or what I do to my body, I just don't want to feel this way anymore. I already feel dead inside so I don't care if I'm cutting my life span short. And I want to try drugs that I've never done. I'm still young so if I get hooked, I'll be sure to quit before my chances of cancer increase dramatically."
So it was settled. I saw a cigarette my mother left on the dryer machine in our apartment. It was a camel crush. I waited until everyone was asleep and went in my room, shut the door, opened the window, and lit up. I didn't know about the crush ball in the filter so I didn't crush it. But the feeling it gave me was great. I felt relaxed, a little spacey, and for some reason I felt mature (i know, silly, right?).
I believe it was a couple days later when I started bumming cigarettes off of high school students outside of campus on my lunch breaks. Eventually I found ways to get my own packs even though I was still 17 years old. I got in trouble at school for leaving my purse on a bench with my pack of smokes and my school ID in it. I had to go to saturday school. After that I escalated into taking pills from my moms bathroom, smoking weed, cigarettes, and getting drunk every chance I got. After graduation I tried diphenhydramine, DXM, and a variety of other legally obtainable drugs.
Life got pretty crazy after I graduated. I hitchhiked out of town and was homeless for a couple months...I tried a variety of illegal drugs (did not get hooked on any though), and smoked cigarettes heavily. I came back with bronchitis. I could barely talk, my voice was gone, and remained gone for almost half a year. And it scared me that I continued to smoke cigarettes, knowing that it was hindering my voice recovery.
Due to my depression and anxiety and whatnot, I continued to smoke after my voice had recovered. But I noticed that I was getting a lot of throat problems, including sore throat, coughing, and an abscess on one of my tonsils. My voice never 100% fully recovered, but it did mostly. And this was after only smoking for a year.
After some time, I made one attempt to quit. I used the Nicotine lozenges and I lasted 2 weeks. But I started again because I heard about something tragic happening in my family, and I impulsively bought myself a pack and started the habit again. And then started using drugs again (again, didn't get hooked on it).
So I went another year smoking, and then recently, this year 2014, something inside of me urged me to quit smoking once and for all. Here is what happened:
So I do not judge anyone based on their religion/spirituality. I am a Christian, and on October 26th of this year, I went to church. It had been a long time since i had, but since I moved to a new town I figured it would be a good opportunity to meet new people and hear a good message.
The pastor did a breakdown of Psalm 23, and how it can be used as a remedy for stress. But the part that really stuck out to me was the last verse:
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I contemplated the meaning of the word "forever." I thought about what is forever, and what is only temporary. I thought about my tobacco addiction, and realized that the drug only provides temporary relief from stress, boredom, sadness, and loneliness (for me anyway). It's not forever. It's a thing of this world that is gone as soon as you get it. It's a faulty antidote for these problems. And in my heart I said "God, I want to come to You with my problems...I don't want to rely on cigarettes or any other substance to help me cope and feel better."
After the service, I still smoked a cigarette. I went to my friends house and drank some beer and smoked a lot of cigarettes. But something was telling me "this is your last day of smoking." and somehow I knew it was true. It was like a lingering voice was talking to me that night, giving me the news that the day I would quit would be tomorrow.
The next morning I did not have a cigarette. I bought a box of Nicotine Lozenges, because they helped me last time and I prefer them to gum or patches. People smoked in front of me that day and I did not give in. I literally felt like a barrier was enveloped around me, keeping me from reaching for a smoke. I still feel that barrier in my life today. The day I quit was the day my 4 days off from work started, so I was prepared and ready for withdrawals
On the second day, I slept and laid around all day. I kept feeling hungry and drowsy. But I still gave praise to God for giving me the strength to make this decision. During the first week I would cry and say "i just don't want to feel these withdrawals anymore but I don't want to go back.." my boyfriend, who is a smoker, has been very supportive and always tells me I'm doing great. he wants to quit too, but he isnt quite ready to make that commitment. He has been very respectful and smokes away from me. i admit, there was one time during my first week when I went up to him while he was smoking. i asked: "can i just have one drag of your cigarette?" he paused and was like "i don't want to let you have a drag. but do you really want one?" and i said "no...the cravings are really bad but I seriously do not want to smoke ever again!" since then, i have never asked for a drag from anybody.
I felt fatigued for the first week, and honestly I still am coping with some fatigue withdrawal symptoms. i also dealt with gas and mild constipation. But as I took the lozenges and found different things to do instead of smoke, it became easy after the first few days. When I was a smoker, whenever I didn't have a cigarette for a few hours, I felt like I was PMSing...except it was worse. Now I am so happy that I only PMS once a month!
When I have a craving, I remind myself for my reasons of quitting. I ask God to give me strength in times of temptation. I find something else to do. I go online and look at my bank account and see how much money I have saved by quitting. I look up the dangers of smoking on google. I have a card in my wallet with my reasons for quitting on it. When I'm around someone smoking, the smell of it is not pleasant and it reminds me of how I don't want to smell like that constantly. It's weird because when I did smoke, I couldn't even smell the fumes.
Today I have risen from bed on Week 2 of being smoke free. The lozenges have been a great help! My first week I was taking about 6 or 7 of them a day, and for this week I've only had 3 or 4 a day. Sometimes I spit them out when they're almost halfway done. They are seriously helping me wean off of nicotine, once and for all. The lozenges are supposed to be used in a 12 week program, but I'm almost to the point where I don't need them anymore. the directions say to take 9 a day for the first few weeks, but i only have 3 or 4 major cravings in a day, so i only take 3 or 4.
i have found that setting my own personalized quitting plan works better for me. i take a lozenge when a craving sets in, though sometimes i challenge myself by chewing gum or eating candy instead. it works better this way, IMO.
Even though I am 2 weeks strong, I will continue to stand my ground and be on my toes for the next urge to smoke. Every day it's becoming easier to brush away the urges. i will make another post on week 3 and update on how i'm doing.
Greenheart added 3 Minutes and 3 Seconds later...
I want to add really quick, one reason why I quit smoking, is because of the reason I started. i started because i hated myself and didn't care. now i don't hate myself and do care, so it's time to quit doing the thing i started when i was filled with self hatred.