Mission Spotlight: Freedom From Smoking

(January 2, 2013)

Susan Donovan is a Freedom From Smoking® participant in Virginia who smoked for 42 years. Several times on her own, Susan attempted to kick the habit but had no luck.  After her father fell victim to lung disease over 12 years ago and lost half of his lung, Susan still found it difficult to stop smoking because of her strong addiction to the deadly product.  Eventually, Susan decided to seek help through the American Lung Association's Freedom From Smoking® program offered to employees of Fairfax County (Live Well).

Initially, Susan felt a bit reluctant when asked to share her feelings and experiences with the group. Despite her hesitations, she soon found herself opening up though and has even come to enjoy the program.  Participating in Freedom From Smoking® has given Susan the support she was seeking to effectively quit smoking. She has not smoked a cigarette in the past 9 months.

Like many others trying to kick the habit, Susan experienced old cravings; however, she learned to utilize alternative methods in order to avoid relapsing. For instance, she would change her normal routine. Susan began putting her make-up on in a different chair, started to exercise, among other minor life changes in order to distract herself from smoking. It took Susan several attempts to quit smoking but she found success and believes that others can achieve the same.

Susan found the structured environment and tools made available through the Freedom From Smoking® program helpful. One of these tools is a workbook provided to participants which they can refer back to when needed. "I found it refreshing to connect with other participants and facilitators who also had smoked and were able to quit," said Susan. "I do appreciate the compassion given because far too many times I have experienced judgment from others who never had to experience this addiction. Every time I walked through that door I felt a sense of pride because I was receptive to such help, as well as delighted to offer advice to the other participants." Susan offers simple but strong words of advice to those with lung disease and/or trying to quit smoking; "Never give up!"