An Open Letter to Washington State Smokers Wishing to Quit
First off, thank you for showing up. You are very important, you matter, AND coming from someone who knows the struggle, I want to provide you with a gentle reminder that your confidence does not come from your smoke breaks. If you are ready to quit, have attempted to quit, or are even slightly considering quitting. Read on.
Yesterday I reached my third-anniversary smoke-free and I can honestly say, it's worth the time you put into deciding enough is enough when it comes to cigarettes, to nicotine to addiction.
Do the Cravings Go Away?
Yes...and no. There will be MANY moments in those first few months even that first year and possibly beyond where something will trigger you and you automatically crave a cigarette break. You might even find you need to steer clear of smokers for a bit to quell the need to join in. Remember you are not missing out and it's about more than saving money. It's about saving years of your life and the list of complications that come with smoking as a consistent habit.
How to Get Started
Honestly, there is no foolproof method but don't let that discourage you. To each, their own but the main factor is YOUR willpower. Your decision that you would rather not smoke than smoke and figuring out what that looks like for you.
The Stops and Starts of an Addiction
You would have thought getting caught as a teen smoking and being told I had to make a choice, cigarettes or sports, would have been enough but I picked it back up a few years later. Even when the nicotine hit me so hard I was spinning and sweating, vomiting in the bathroom, that should have made me want to quit. NO, I just pushed through it.
My Grandpa, a lifelong smoker, was enjoying a cig when all of a sudden blood started pouring out of his mouth. He was rushed to the hospital and as I watched him pass away I still wasn't ready to quit.
While working on cruise ships I took a break from smoking but after coming back home to Yakima and being fired three months into my first land job, I went straight to my crushes house and asked for a cigarette, we smoked hard together for the next few years, dating, getting engaged and currently married.
He quit and I was the one that allowed my momentary weakness to get the better of me. He started back up again and then we were just two peas in a smoke-filled pod.
Pick A Date
Three years ago, probably mid-February I was really starting to get fed up with smoking. With my birthday arriving at the end of March I figured I had enough time to smoke as much as I wanted for the rest of February and March 1st, 2019 would be the day I went smoke-free. This gave me enough time to go wild with it and then start pacing myself. I don't really have a specific memory of my last cigarette but I do love the memories of each time I have fought the good fight when it came to cravings and have continued to be smoke-free.
This was my decision so I wasn't about to tell my husband he needed to quit. When he's ready he will. I don't mind too much sitting outside with him enjoying the breeze while he puffs away. Sometimes I dream about smoking. Randomly I will get a craving and I've found mentioning it out loud helps me move through it.
Breaking habits is NEVER easy but the reward of learning how to control my desires has set me up to continue to dive deeper into my inner strength. Pulling from it whenever I am feeling low or making excuses.
Pick your date and make a plan to stop. You are worthy of achieving your goals and your cigarette habit doesn't need to continue to control you unless that's how you want it.
Where Can I Get Help?
- American Lung Association of Washington 800-586-4872 ext 2
- The National Cancer Institute Quitline at 877-448-7848
- Get free confidential coaching through a telephone quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW)
- There are free online resources like CDC.gov/quit and Smokefree.gov
- Sign up for free texting programs like SmokefreeTXT
- Nicotine Anonymous 1-800-642-0666
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Line 1-800-662-4347
You've got this and feel free to @sarahjthedj with your stories, struggles, and successes!
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