The American Lung Association is sharing inspiring stories from individuals who have been able to end their addiction to tobacco and stop smoking through #TheDayIQuit blog series. Quitting smoking isn't easy, but it is possible—and we firmly believe that anyone can quit with the right support. If you, or someone you know, would like to quit smoking, share with them the new, interactive Freedom From Smoking® Plus.
Have your own quit story to share? Leave a comment below and we'll work together to showcase your success and inspire others to start their quit.
I first started smoking when I was in middle school. One or two cigarettes a day... then high school when my mother found out, I was allowed three a day. That was in the late 1960s when people didn't know the consequences. It was "cool" to smoke; even advertised that way.
I continued to smoke and quickly went up to three packs (60 cigarettes!) a day. I would wake up and it was the first thing I reached for and it continued that way for 42 years! We would smoke at our desks back then, and even when that changed, I would chain-smoke any chance I got.
My mother had asthma and smoked. My brother and father smoked. My father had lung surgery and I continued to smoke to "help me get through that tough time."
When I realized that I was having a problem breathing, I started my journey to stop. I tried it all. Cold turkey. The patch. Prescriptions. Gum. Lozenges. Hypnotism. Acupuncture. Almost every time, I immediately went back to smoking within a matter of hours. One time I made it for a few months! I thought I had finally kicked it out of my life. But I didn't.
I might not have succeeded because I never really wanted to quit. I liked the routine of smoking, the act of lighting up, inhaling. It calmed me down... or so I thought. I had a thousand excuses. And I hated the withdrawals. I felt like I didn't have the willpower, and I thought you needed that to quit.
Then I found the American Lung Association's Freedom from Smoking® program. It showed me how I had to change my routines and understand my smoking triggers. I changed everything. I even changed where I sat when I watched the news.
I believe so much in the program, I became a Facilitator to help others quit. There are so many reasons I think the Freedom From Smoking program is fantastic:
The handouts and workbook help for referral and reinforcement
The structured environment
Connecting with others going through their own quits
I was proud of myself, and each time I went that pride was reinforced. My motto now is "never give up." If I can quit, you can too.
I have been smokefree since March 28, 2012. I don't remember anniversaries or birthdays, but I remember my quit day! I celebrate it every month on the 28th to remind myself how far I've come and that I actually accomplished it.
Although much damage was done to my lungs, I do feel better. Will I run a marathon? Probably not. But I can walk in a room and know I don't smell of smoke, have tainted fingers or a burn in my clothing, no less all the internal changes to my body. I am healthier. I will live a longer, more productive life with those I love—including my brother and his family whom I adore and lifelong friends who keep me laughing and coping in this crazy, hectic life. And for that I am thankful every day that I finally quit smoking!