Monday, February 22, 2010

10 Years Thank Goodness

I've made some poor choices in my life, I can admit that freely. I continue to make some poor choices in some don't get to be overweight without making poor choices. But, 10 years ago today I made a choice that has made a big difference in my life and in the lives of those around me.

Ten years ago today I quit smoking.

Before I quit? I had smoked for nearly 9 years. Maybe that doesn't seem like a long time to some, but it is long enough. Too long. Now that I have been smoke-free for 10 years, my risk of lung cancer is half that of a smoker. I can't go back and unsmoke those cigarettes that potentially cut my lifespan, but I'm thankful I wised up and did the work and went through the discomfort before I had major health problems at a young age.

It was hard for me to quit, just as it is for every smoker. I tried probably 10 times before that last time worked. I didn't like being a smoker. I stunk. I was ashamed. I couldn't enjoy myself at family functions because I thought I was hiding the fact that I smoked. I wanted to leave or make excuses to go for a drive so I could smoke. I spent my time trying to figure out how I could get away to have a cigarette. I wasted money.

When my brother got married I was the maid of honor. I snuck out and sat in my car to smoke so that my relatives wouldn't see me. It felt sleazy, sitting in my beautiful navy blue dress with my hair in a swanky up-do, dragging on a smoke. I was already engaged by then, planning my own wedding, and I wondered how I would get through my own wedding if I felt the need to sneak out to smoke. Also, what if I dropped my cigarette on my beautiful wedding gown? Would I be able to live with myself?

It took me 5 months after that to really commit to quitting. I bought some nicotine gum, gulping at the price but telling myself that I spent more than that in cigarettes every year. That first day I popped a piece of gum as at sat down at my desk. It helped me take the edge off of my addiction. I was still irritable and I had a hard time figuring out what to do with my hands in the car. You don't realize how many of your daily activities are automatic until you try to change them.

It was hard, but I did it. Most things in life that are worth doing aren't easy.

10 people like me!:

chelle said...

I was a smoker too. *sigh* all the cool kids were doing it.

I do not have 10 years under my belt yet I cannot even IMAGINE smoking now.

I am trying to tap into that same determination and will power for losing weight.

slouchy said...

i am very impressed. congratulations. that's not easy.

Madeline said...

Yay to you!! That is a huge accomplishment. You should be extra proud of yourself for that.

for a different kind of girl said...

I've never smoked, nor have I tried, but I grew up with parents who were fiendish smokers and had (still do) many relatives who were/are still. My mom quit nearly 13 years ago, shortly before my oldest son was born. It took having her first grandchild to decide she'd had enough. My dad tried to stop after a massive stroke many years ago, but it's an area he's just not strong enough in, so he still does. Perhaps not as much as in the past, but very obviously still does. I think it's one of the most difficult habits to break, so I commend you for being able to do so.

mayberry said...

Good for you -- think of the gift you have given yourself and your family by achieving that!

Nap Warden said...

Good for you!

Rima said...

Thanks for writing about this. I have been there, too.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Great for you! I think quitting smoking must be the hardest habit to try to break.

Dory said...

It's been eight weeks for me. I can't even imagine 10 years. It gets easier, right? Please say it does, because it feels like it's getting harder instead.

But, Yay, you!

Heather said...

Dory, it DOES get easier. In fact, the smell makes me ill now.

Hang in there! You can do it!

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