This is the story of how I quit smoking. As I have said throughout my web pages I tried most methods of quitting (even looked at a few stop smoking programs) before I was finally successful. In the end I went cold turkey and faced the nicotine monster head on but the journey up until that point was painful. Every smoker who has considered quitting smoking knows what I am talking about.
I smoked for 28 years and I think the first time I tried to quit was after about 15 years of smoking. I got a nasty case of bronchitis which wouldn't get better so I considered that perhaps being a smoker had something to do with it - ya think? There is nothing more pathetic than seeing someone standing out in the cold weather dragging on a cigarette while struggling to breathe bent over double with a hacking cough!
I tried to quit right then and there - cold turkey but I lasted about a week and the bronchitis eventually got better but I had the cough for about 3 months after. Even though I started smoking again the seed was planted in my head about quitting smoking. Plus, all I kept thinking about was the damage to my lungs - would I get lung cancer or some other lung disease such as COPD?
Over the next 13 years I tried nicotine gum, lozenges, inhalers, hypnotism, acupuncture, nicotine patches and Zyban. Everywhere I turned there was someone saying:"this is how I quit - try this." I was feeling like a complete failure and possibly the weakest person on the planet. But, as I have already said in my pages on quitting - everyone is different, we have different personalities and different tolerance levels so what works for one person might not work for you and vice versa.
I tried to quit when I fell pregnant but (I am ashamed to say) I failed and even though I managed to cut down to 10 cigarettes a day I still don't think it is right to smoke when pregnant and I will always carry that guilt.
The last (and final) time I decided to quit I had read alot of stuff from the government quit campaign about choosing a date to quit and focusing on that date preparing yourself for the big day. I chose a date (6th Jan 2007) which was about 2 months in the future and focused on it. I told family and friends that I would be quitting smoking on that date (some people laughed) and I actually started to look forward to the date arriving. Many family members said that they would quit on that date as well but I ended up being the only one. The rest of my family did quit later and many asked me how I quit.
When the 6th Jan finally arrived I felt ready and I didn't smoke. By day 3 the nicotine monster was jumping up and down screaming in my head and I decided to give nicotine patches another go. This time I followed the correct procedure for using them and had the correct dosage according to how heavy a smoker I was.
After a couple of weeks I was talking to an ex-smoker about quitting and he told me to go and get Alan Carr's book on quitting smoking called "Easyway." It cost me $30 and I started reading it straight away. It took me one whole day and half a night to read the book and when I finished it I ripped the nicotine patch off. At this point I want to point out that I am not advertising his book or getting a kickback and again it doesn't work for everyone - my sister read it and it had no effect on her. But, for me something clicked. The main point that I remember in the book was that if you are trying to get off a drug (nicotine) why would you use that very same drug that you are addicted to? That made so much sense to me and even though I had nicotine withdrawal, anxiety attacks and a raging nicotine monster I did not WANT to put anymore nicotine into my system and I did NOT want to start smoking again.
It was HARD - I had tantrums - I cried and at times I wanted to die but it WAS worth it! And I still say quitting smoking is the hardest thing I have ever done that's why I want to share the story of how I quit.
That was 7 years ago and I have never felt happier or healthier. And, as I have said before - I am not special if I can do it anyone can and perhaps if you read how I quit and how others quit it might help you.