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Quit smoking for 12 months
and what a year it's been!

 8:09 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I’ve now been a non-smoker for a full year! In that 12 months I’ve not smoked 9,120 cigarettes – that’s 456 packs – and not spent Ł2,325 (well, I now have twice as many cd’s and dvd’s as I did a year ago!).

Phew! I made it!

I put on a stone and a half in weight (21lbs/10kg) during that period and subsequently lost around 7lbs. Over the next 6-12 months I intend to lose most of the rest. I have to say though that I’m now fitter and faster than at any time since I was around 21 – 20 years ago. (Mind you, that’s not to say that I’m particularly fit, or fast!)

Right from the start I went to the smoking cessation clinic at the local health centre and took up a course of nicotine patches. As back up I also made use of nicotine inhalators – small white plastic things that you can puff on and fiddle with in the same way as you do with a cigarette (although walking around with something that looks like a tampon in your mouth can be a little off-putting!).

For three months the counsellor at the clinic - George - gave me much needed weekly support and endless morale boosting “well done’s”. (God Bless George, and the NHS!)

After about the first month though “strange” things started to happen – thoughts, emotions, frustrations and more - my world seemed to be changing for the worst; something was happening to me and I had no idea what.

I described what I felt to George and he just nodded sagely. He told me that for a rare few smokers who give up, the process of quitting triggers a reappraisal of life and everything in it. As I became fond of describing later on, quitting smoking triggered a sort of mid-life crisis – but ultimately without the crisis.

I gave up TV (still have and don’t miss it one tiny bit). I left Freemasonry – something that I’d held quite dear (ditto). More consequentially – I left the pub. (A dangerous dependency ended up being broken and, whilst I’m not teetotal, a couple of glasses of wine a week invariably seems quite adequate nowadays.)

A few weeks later, and once my head (and body) had stopped reeling from the effects of the withdrawal of just about everything, life started to take on a new, brighter hue.

Imbued with an unusual sense of self-confidence and having been single for a number of years, I joined a couple of internet dating sites (jeesh, what an experience!). Around this time I also started an evening course in web design at the nearby City University, with a view to furthering my inadequate abilities. They’re still woefully inadequate and I finally decided that in this realm I should stick to what concerns me most and stay focused on those matters where I at least have a little understanding – site management, content and marketing issues.

As the new year broke so the sun started to shine, and it continues to do so – very brightly.

Just a few weeks ago I met my mum for the first time. Well, that’s not strictly true: the last time we met I would have been around 18 months old – that was pretty much 40 years ago. Families – what tangled webs they can weave!

At the beginning of February, and courtesy of an internet dating site, a most amazing, incredible, intelligent, sexy woman said “hello”. A couple of weeks later we met up by the Thames, under London’s Millennium Bridge, and spend hours together chatting endlessly and as if we’d known each other all our lives.

We’ve spent three incredible months together to-date. She tells me wonderful things about myself that I never knew: she sees a different “me” than everyone else in the world. I didn’t know I existed in this way but apparently I do. Ah – what joys she brings. The world I live in now is not the one I merely existed in a year ago.

So, all told it really has been one hell of a year – and what a wonderful adventure, all brought about by a last cigarette smoked 12 months ago!

Happy days indeed. And if you made it this far - thanks for your patience and indulgence.




 8:14 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Congratulations to you!


 8:19 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Congratulations and what a year! Mind you I would be happy with just giving up smoking.

I see you used the NHS for help. I will consider that - I was planning just to go cold turkey on my own.


 8:24 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

congratulations Syz! year one of a lifetime free from addiction. Go celebrate by getting a tattoo or a piercing.

I'm serious. You have weaned your body from addictive poisons, and you must have had that epiphany that your body is no longer a vehicle that you are willing to poison daily with cigarettes in regretful disregard for its maintenance. I've heard from other ex-smokers that they become more body-aware and interested in fitness, wellness, nutrition. Celebrate that by adding some steel adornments.

There are some "special" piercings that you and your new girlfriend would both enjoy...

mister charlie

 10:21 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I promised myself I would quit smoking before I moved into my new house. With the move just 35 days out, I am bracing for a tough couple of weeks.

I plan of getting myself some Zyban next week, and being smoke-free within 14 days.

While I look forward to the long term benefits associated with not smoking, I absolutely dread the next month or so. I am printing out this post for inspiration.


 10:31 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

great job - congratulations! wonderful! woohoo!

I quit smoking the easy way. I got pregnant. As soon as I learned I was pregnant quitting was the easiest thing I ever did. I had no more desire or urge for them, even though I had smoked for 13 years and tried 6 or 7 times before to quit unsuccessfully. Talk about psychological :).

oh, and my boy is three years old now and I never started again.

[edited by: LisaWeber at 10:32 pm (utc) on June 5, 2006]


 10:32 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Syzygy, you have my respect and congratulations. Smoking... what can I say that hasn't already been said, except for "I quit". Too often I've used the smug response that "I've given up everything else, why should I give it all up?" The reasons are obvious, of course.

I've switched to a safer brand... is there such a thing? I've attempted (half-heartedly) hypnosis. I've seen the effects of a lifetime of smoking first-hand.

To be honest, I have a fear of the initial responses. The mental anguish, the physical withdrawal. There is a reason for the coach, and for the support networks. I know they work, I went thru it with alcohol, and with other drugs.

Then, I run into someone like the unknown woman I encountered a short while back, who upon hearing my cough proudly proclaimed, "I haven't coughed like that since I quit smoking." More than anything I wanted to slap her! Especially since she continued in this vein until I moved away from her.

Thank you for sharing your experience. It will help one day, I'm sure of that.


 10:47 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I've been smoking 2 packs a day for the past 21 years, and have no intention of stopping. My hat's off to you though!

The best of luck in your endeavors... and may you live longer than me :)

( My Grandmother smoked for 62 years and died at 98 - she never had cancer )


 11:09 pm on Jun 5, 2006 (gmt 0)


On the pregnancy theme, I was talking today to someone born in 1959 as I was. He was saying that his two older brothers were big babies and when his mother was pregnant the doctor suggested she take up smoking to reduce the risk of having another big baby! How things have changed.


 1:59 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

You know, I make it a point not to mention smoking, smokers are such a minority these days. But have to tell you your post is so damn inspiring that I guess it's time.

Smoked from 16-22, then just quit. I smoked non-nicotine sub's for a while and once the nicotine was out of my system, had no urge to smoke at all. I never experienced the anguish of withdrawl everyone raves about, it just wasn't there. So you would think quitting would be an easy thing . . . oh contraire . . .

I was off 5 years. To the point where being around smoke didn't even bother me (which is odd for an ex-smoker.) Then I divorced my first, and a few buddies who smoked started hanging out and that's what got me back at it again. Been at it for 8 years this run.

I have the greatest wife ever, she does not smoke and does not harp on me but I know she wants the s*** out of our lives. When it comes up, she says "I know you'll find your own way" (and ow, that twists like a knife coming from her.) Syzygy, if you're ever on this side of the pond, I owe you one, tomorrow will be day one for me.

<yikes I can't believe I'm going to do this over something said on the Internet> :-)

bobthecat: my family is a long list of old smokers too, but they are wrinkly old smurfs. :-) Less than half a pack here.

[edited by: rocknbil at 2:00 am (utc) on June 6, 2006]


 2:00 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Congratulations Syzygy, sounds like a year you need to remember for years to come.


 6:19 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

I gave up 3 years ago after 19 years of smoking. Put on a shed load of weight though. Glad I do not smoke anymore. Anyway well done as you need 6 months for it to get out of your system, so I would say you are over the worst.

Visit Thailand

 6:26 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Good Luck RocknBill and congrats Syzygy. Your story is an inspiration, and I know I should quit, and have been doing on and off for a while but I guess the time is coming to call it a day for good.


 7:01 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Just a midnight check-in, launching an AdWords campaign for a customer and off to smoke the very last one ever. Wife reminded me I'll be doing it on 06-06-06 too. :-)

Thx again Syzygy. Though I may be cursing your name tomorrow. :-)


 7:29 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Congratulations Syzygy!

Sounds like you have had quite a year! :)


 7:59 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

This leaves that many more cigarettes for the rest of us. -Larry


 8:07 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

'grats Syzygy.

Although I never started smoking, my parents were quite heavy smokers (20+ per day). And like you they decided to stop and I don't think it's a problem for them anymore (it's been over 10 years now).


 8:49 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

This oncology nurse applauds you!

Whew, one less patient. Now, if everyone else would just quit smoking, work will eventually be so much easier for me.


 10:27 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Awesome job, Syzygy!

I have somewhat a similar experience! I quit just a little over a year ago as well. I've been smoking since I was 13 years old! I am now in my early twenties. Only now I understand that I've never experienced the joy of life. Smoking was dimming all of the experiences and feelings. Now I live my life to the fullest. It's like I was born again.

I remember the first few weeks I had an overflow of energy. I didn't know what to do with all this energy. I remember I decided to dump Windows and installed Linux, then I used it for a week and didn't like it and installed Windows. I started biking a lot. I was so busy for a week that I didn't even want to smoke. I think that really helped me.

And yes, I noticed the same thing you mentioned, I got in a sort of crisis. I was not depressed though, I just wanted to make myself even better. I got addicted to good feelings. So I am doing lots of self development. Including going to the gym and following a clean diet on daily basis.

I wouldn't wish smoking on my worst enemy.

Life without smoking is awesome!


 10:53 am on Jun 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Congratulations Syzygy.

On the 16th June it will be 2 years since I gave up having been a smoker for over 30 years. I too went through something of a life change.

I was pretty much inactive as a smoker, almost a living corpse, underweight, lifeless, asleep!

Now I feel alive, I do Yoga every day, play squash 3 or 4 times a week and swim regularly. I've never felt fitter or more alive.

My wife gave up with me and we've saved lots of money and hopefully extended our lives by a few years.

If anyone wants inspiration and help then try reading Alan Carr's book called 'The Easy Way', it helps break the psychological addiction of smoking before you break the physical addiction, it really helped me.

Keep it up Syzygy!


 12:31 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm glad most people are finding this sort of health drive does them good.

So far this year, I started going to the gym three times a week in January, gave up drinking Coke (which I loved) in February, mostly gave up eating crisps and chocolate in March, started eating a lot more fruit and veg in April (now up to 6 to 7 portions a day) and finally (finally!) gave up smoking in May.

I thought February was bad but now I think I have never felt so lonely or miserable or hated life so much.

I just went on holiday to enjoy the sunshine for two weeks and found it incredibly difficult to wake up in the morning almost every day - any dream seemed preferable to facing reality.

I am living in a nightmare world where my body is healthier and fitter than it has been at any point since I was a teenager and I find almost nothing in life to be happy or enthusiastic about any more.

I suppose I should conclude that health drives aren't for everyone. But somehow I want to give it a few more months and see if I do actually take an overdose or not.


 2:40 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

ronin, most of the posts here seem to indicate that things get worse before they get (a lot) better.

I'm beginning to feel jealous that I'm not a smoker and hence miss out on these life-changing experiences!


 3:21 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

congrats Syzygy - just finishing my 3rd year since quiting.

Aside from snagging hawkgirl, quiting was one of the best things I ever did. I would never have believed how much better/different my life would have been before quiting. Just amazing what a difference it makes in every area of your life.


 10:22 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

...gave up smoking in May.

But somehow I want to give it a few more months

Yeah, that wasn't that long ago. Give it more time. Addictions can screw up brain chemistry pretty good.

I like plenty of alcohol with my tobacco, and tobacco with my alcohol. If one goes, both have to go. I've done lots of both for long periods of time, and have done neither for long periods of time. Right now, I'm doing neither.

There always seems to be at least a few months of very withdrawn behavior after stopping. I might not leave the house, answer phone calls, or even (gasp) check email for several days at a time.

The things I do to help are activities that produce good brain chemical highs. Intense weightlifting helps, but can only be done a few times per week. Sex helps. Playing sports helps, particularly something like raquetball or basketball. ...Competitive and not much time for stopping.

Eventually, the withdrawn stuff goes away. I'm happier, friendlier, and more willing to strike up conversations in public than I was before quitting.

People talk about the physical withdrawal a lot, and it's a hump to get over for certain. It takes much longer for your nervous system and digestive system (and probably other systems) to adjust. Definitely, give it some more time.


 11:53 am on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hmmm, it's not just anecdotal.

Changing Brain Chemistry with Intense Exercise for Drug Addiction Prevention and Recovery



 3:27 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

ronin - you need to see a help organisation like the Samaritans. You have nothing to lose by contacting them. They will understand your problems and offer you good advice.

Addictions can screw up brain chemistry pretty good.

I'm addicted to WebmasterWorld. :)


 3:34 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

A very touching story! Congratulations.


 4:50 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story, Syzygy.

Congratulations on your success.


 5:08 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I am living in a nightmare world where my body is healthier and fitter than it has been at any point since I was a teenager and I find almost nothing in life to be happy or enthusiastic about any more.

There used to be an old poster/bumpersticker anecdote: "I quit smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex. The funeral is tomorrow."

Like a bad relationship, you are still on the rebound and subconsciously pining for your addictions. Tough it out man, you'll beat it! :-D Take up something new. Like RC flying. Or skydiving. Surfing, rafting, anything, fill up those unenthusiastic hours with something new.

I am happy to say I made it through day one without falling down. It wasn't easy, nerves are singing an aria, had I gotten into the truck and gone anywhere I would have fallen, but I live 3 miles from the nearest convenience store with it's evil supplies just waiting for me and refuse to leave until I can venture out safely without caving in. So begins day two, if I made it through one, I can do two, two I can do three, three, a week, a week, a month . . .

I found out about Zyban/Welbutrin and gave the doc a call, he phoned in a subscription. Not only does a 90-day supply cost $104 - HOLY CRAP - I also found out it's an anti-depressant. I was prescribed A.D.'s once as a misdiagnosed "sleep aid" - I had trouble sleeping, the doc assumed it was depression (well it must be, I'm over 40, American male, right?) these things majorly mess with your head and I will **NEVER** take any sort of anti-deressants for any reason.

Anyway the combination of the fact that Zyban is an antidepressant and the cost made me angry. Yes angry, and I don't know or care why, but it worked as a motivator, I will beat this without that crap. :-)

THX again to Syzygy, right place, right time. :-D


 8:25 pm on Jun 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I gave up smoking and found food :) I have put on 15 kilos and now I need to give up my new addiction :) Right I am off to the fridge for a snack after I hit the submit button.

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