Hope for the Hopeless Smoker

Practically everyone has a loved one who smokes or smokes themselves. This post is for you.

Quitting smoking is one of the best things a smoker can do for their health.

My Story

I started smoking when I was 15 years old, several months after my best friend Robin started smoking. Both of my parents smoked so this did not seem too out of the ordinary for me. I continued to smoke between 1-2 packs a day for the next ten years.

Here I am at age 17 sporting a major attitude with a cigarette in my hand.

While I would have told you at the time that I liked smoking, it being my buddy, my pal, my constant source of comfort, I did NOT like being a slave to it. And I knew it was unhealthy; I feared getting cancer. So I tried to quit. About a hundred times. I never made it very long before giving into those noxious fumes again.

I was such a cigarette slave that I smoked throughout the pregnancies of my first 3 children, with permission of my obstetrician during the 1st one. He said he it would too traumatic for my body to quit, “so keep it down to 10 cigarettes a day”, which I did religiously, and for 2 more pregnancies too. Well, I should say 4 more pregnancies, but those next 2 ones sorrowfully ended in miscarriages. (There is a high likelihood that those miscarriages could have been results of smoking, but I cannot know for sure.) However, those two losses did serve to motivate me to quit smoking.

I wanted to quit because I knew it was the right thing to do yet I felt that smoking added a wonderful extra dimension to my life. Or so I thought. It was also great for coping with unpleasant life issues. For instance, one time while putting away groceries I dropped a jar of mustard on the floor; it shattered. And I lit up immediately, to have company while I cleaned up the mess.

Another compelling reason to quit smoking besides the miscarriages, increased risk for cancer and other lung diseases, and the expense was the fact that I was a Christian, and I actually was convinced that God’s best for me was to not be a slave to anything. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery”, (Galatians 5:1, NASB).

How I Quit Smoking Forever

Well, it has been umpteen years anyway, and that is pretty close to forever. Since the day I smoked my last cigarette on April 15, I have never had one hit off of a cigarette. That is the key to my success in quitting.

So two weeks prior to that monumental day another best friend, Jeanette, was begging me to give up smoking. We finally agreed that I would quit on her birthday, April 16th, a Wednesday. I approached this day with such fear and dread because I had failed at this particular thing so many times. I laid on the living room floor after smoking myself sick right up until midnight, pleading with God to help me. I told him I would never smoke a cigarette again. I told Him I would do everything I knew to do to succeed, and then also admitted that I knew that wouldn’t be enough and asked Him to fill in the rest. And He did.

Besides praying, the most important thing I did to quit smoking was to put a cigarette in the kitchen silverware drawer. I know that sounds strange, but it was very effective. I told myself if I wanted to be a smoker, I could light it up anytime I wanted to, but if I wanted to be a nonsmoker, I would leave it there. I finally threw it away about 3 years later; I didn’t need the monument anymore. This cigarette-in-the-drawer method actually was very important because my husband was still smoking at the time and continued to do so for five more (long) years. Insert grim face here.

Recommended Book to Help

Recently I came across a book, “The Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr. I do a lot of smoking cessation counseling as a nurse, so I wanted to read it, hoping for some good tips. After reading it I give it my highest recommendation. Millions reportedly have had success using his method, which he discovered after being an extremely heavy smoker for 30 years. He claims you do not need to feel deprived being a nonsmoker, you will not be afraid of withdrawal pains, you will not gain weight, you won’t need substitutes, drugs, or gimmicks, and you will not need willpower. Sounds pretty incredible, huh!

One interesting factoid that Allen Carr shared in his book: 70% of alcoholics are smokers. The two tend to go hand in hand for one reason or another. (I didn’t really believe him, so googled it, and sure enough, it’s true.)

Anyway, I digress. (I always wanted to slip that phrase somewhere into my writings. There. Done.) So, Carr’s book is compelling, interesting, an easy, quick read, and is supposedly phenomenally effective. Great resource! I highly recommend it. I really wish I had had this book when I quit; it would have been so much more pleasant, and it wouldn’t have taken 101 attempts.

Conclusion

Do I ever regret quitting smoking? NO, NEVER, NOT ONCE.

Now I want to speak to the smokers: Can I beg you to quit? Can I beg you to quit on my birthday? Or anyone else’s birthday? You will never, ever regret it either.

 

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