Jul 02 2008

Free From Smoking, Part Two

In the first article on this topic, I started off by telling how I came to be hooked on cigarettes — and that the story continues. This article will focus on what it was like during the years I was trying to quit. What worked and what didn’t. In the final article, I will talk about some real hope and help for smokers like me. There is a way out!

In case you aren’t sure I really was as addicted as I claim to be, let me share with you the ugly side of this picture. Maybe you will identify. . .

Here is a partial list of some of the degrading things I’ve done, while trying — and sincerely wanting — to stop smoking. Reading them now, I sound like an insane person. But that is what addiction does to you. It makes you crazy.

  • Pulled cigarette butts out of the trash to smoke the last remaining bits of tobacco hanging off the filter.
  • Lied to people, telling them I had quit when I knew I hadn’t. But I couldn’t face their disappointment with me. Again.
  • Made and broke a million promises to myself and my loved ones — and even people I didn’t care about. Cigarettes defeated them all. The battle wasn’t even close, it was total and obvious.
  • Bought a pack of cigarettes, promising myself that I would only smoke ONE — and throw the pack away. But I would go looking for that pack later, and if I found it — I’d smoke the rest of them.
  • I would light up a cigarette, take only one puff, and put it out. Throw it away. That hurt — big time! I knew I was just wasting my money, and I felt like the world’s worst failure. As a person trying to quit smoking, it was true. I was a failure
  • I would “bum” cigarettes from other people until no one would give me any more. That was a social disaster. And embarrassing. And degrading. That was pretty close to the bottom. But worse was to come, when I couldn’t even fool myself any longer. And I couldn’t quit either, no matter what I did to try.

Here are some of the things I tried, to help me overcome my habit:

  • hypnosis
  • nicorette gum (smoking AND chewing nicorette gum is pretty nasty but I did that too. . .even though I knew better. )
  • tapering off (the old “I’ll just have one more puff and then that’s it. . . “)
  • quitting cold turkey (it never lasted beyond the pain of withdrawal, maybe 24 hours if I was lucky)
  • therapy (I learned a lot and it was nice, but. . . I still smoked)

There were many other tricks I tried, but basically? Nothing worked.

So how did I ever manage to get free?

Part 3 reveals the rest of the story — and some hope.

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