It feels like I quit smoking years ago, but really it's been just a few weeks.
Quitting was hard at first, but the cravings got easier to handle day by day. I can now go a full day before wanting a cigarette – which feels like a huge accomplishment. And, it's nice not to have to go outside for a cigarette when it's raining or hot.
As a new nonsmoker, I realize how much I hate cigarette smoke. I never knew that my house – or I – smelled so bad. The other day a friend who visited had just finished smoking a cigarette before he came into our house. He smelled awful! My granddaughter said, "Well, grandma, that's what you used to smell like." I used to follow my friends out on their smoke breaks so I could have a whiff, but now I stay behind. I can't stand that smell anymore.
There have still been times when I thought about giving into the urge to smoke but I was stopped by my amazing support system. I often texted my brother who talked sense into me. "No, you really don't want that cigarette," he said. He knew that I would hate having that cigarette, but the craving was so loud that I couldn't think straight. He was right, and I am proud that I haven't given in.
My friends have also cheered me on, especially when times were tough. One friend has said he'll treat me to a dinner every month I don't smoke. I'm looking forward to that next week!
Lastly, my family's encouragement has been crucial. One of the main reasons I quit was because my grandchildren wanted me to, and they are why I stay off cigarettes. My granddaughter has asthma and I know I need to do this for her, along with my grandson. My husband, who quit when I did, has also been a great person to lean on as we've gone through the ups and downs together.
I am getting there. I made a goal that if I got to a certain day without smoking a cigarette, I would get a tattoo. I did just that. There is an image of a humming bird and flower on my left leg that reminds me how far I've come in my quit journey and to keep going.
My advice for those who are looking to quit is to set yourself up for success by having a plan. Quitting smoking is hard and it's really easy to give to give into the urge to smoke, so you have to have your reasons for quitting, your support system and your perseverance to fall back on. But, if I can do it, then anyone can.
My quit journey has just begun. There are times I think, I could have a cigarette right now, but I know that I won't. I am committed to quitting. If I can make it to a year, I will know that I am done for good, and I hope that I can. I am ready to move past my smoker life.