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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.
I have not smoked for one year, one month and three days. I have a Firefox extension to keep track of it, otherwise I wouldn't think that I had ever smoked.
I stopped from one day to the next, without nicotine pads, gums or any other nonsense like that. It's all about showing those fags who's in charge - either it's you or it's them. It's that simple.
I should add that I have heard from people experienced in these matters that quite a few people have to try more than one time beore they succeed. I had tried unsuccesfully before myself, the longest free period being two months or so.
There's only one thing to do if the cigarettes beat you in a weak moment - get back on the horse and show them who's in charge. It's your life, not their life.
It's all about showing those fags who's in charge - either it's you or it's them. It's that simple.
AMEN! Almost through day two, doing all I can to shore up my resolve . . . . 20 minutes ago I took out the trash, there in the can was a pile of filthy stinking butts . . . . I actually took one out, almost half a cig, barely even lit, straightened it out, look at it, considered, pondered, considered . . . .
And got angry again, threw the damn thing back in the can, slammed the lid down, I WILL NOT BE PWN3D! :-)
Then I came in to reinforce, and read this:
But most importantly, these sites (selling nicotine patches and other nicotine replacement products) continue to refuse to caution the 90% of new quitters who arrive having quit cold turkey, that if they have remained 100% nicotine free for 72 hours that their blood is now 100% nicotine-clean, 90% of nicotine's metabolites have passed through their urine, and that for them chemical withdrawal has peaked in intensity and is now beginning to gradually subside. Any nicotine use at this point constitutes chemical relapse that will require them to repeat nicotine detox all over again. This is the "Law of Addiction."
This site supports something that other quit-smoking sites do not. As a smoker I know you cannot be "weaned" off nicotine any more than you can be weaned off heroin. Reports that you double your chances using patches, gums, or other nicotine replacement are propaganda and completely false, job one is to get the crap out of your system.
I am so glad I threw it back in, one more day, one more day and it will get easier. . . . :-)
Congratulations on the effort, commitment, sacrifice and ultimate win.
As the Latin American announcers say during soccer matches . . well, here's one for you Syz:
Iguana > Yes, it's well worth going to your doctor, or to a local smoking cessation clinic. As well as the obvious support you also get any 'nicotine replacement therapies' (patches and the like) on prescription. A months worth of patches will cost around £75-80 - or a mere £6.70 on prescription.
httpwebwitch > Piercing or tattoo to celebrate... Who's to say that I do not already have some 'body art'... :)
mister charlie > Go on. You can do it, and you know you want to - and it's the perfect time. Lovely new house - untainted by the lingering, stale odours of cigarettes...
Ronin > Must admit it took around three months for me to ultimately come through to the "other side" (for want of a better expression), but it really was (is) worth it. As I said much earlier, the personal transformation was incredible. I had no idea how dour my outlook on life was until the all too literal fog (or maybe "fug") cleared.
rocknbil > What a brilliant decision to make - fantastic! Day three - how's it going? You know it's going to be tough at times, but you also know that it's all about personal resolve. It's also all about breaking the back of the mental and physical addiction. Just think where you'll be in a week, or a month - smoking, and all that goes with it, will be further and further behind you. Good luck!
Thanks again for all the fantastic feedback and comments! Brilliant!
Day three - how's it going?
Day three looks like it's going to be the turning point, nicotine is gone and this is when the Jones' are at their peak. Body is singing a high strung whine, begging for me to PLEASE hunt down a cig, just one, come on, you can do it, just one, but I'm not falling for it. If I do, I have to detox all over again. I'm beginning to win.
Wife's son was married here in December and stayed here, I came across an unopened full pack of cigars in the guest house yesterday. Since then they have been calling to me about every five minutes, but I refuse to fall.
Why didn't I just dispose of them?
You have to learn to live in a world with temptation and resist it. It's too easy to say "Kim came over and was smoking, so it's all her fault I'm smoking again." So to truly beat it you have to beat it with it present. I cannot rid the world of cigarettes and cigars, all I can do is combat my desire for them. So there they will stay, my weakness is the threat, not the cigars.
Almost there! :-)
I have given up a few times, and have lasted different durations, with different experiences. Cigs are very cheap in Thailand, but I know it is best to give up for good, as for once wearing aftershave may actually have a purpose!
So I am almost through the first 24 hours of the last first day.
rocknbill and others how is it going?
Day 12 now!
It seems so much longer. I misquoted to Syzygy in a sticky, (because it is beginning to get fuddled in my head,) but today is day 12.
Yesterday was at a convenience store, the guy asked "anything else?" and I said "yes, I'd like to do a face dive into that rack of smokes behind you, but since I haven't had one in 11 days that wouldn't be a great idea, huh?"
Of course I was kidding. I come across temptations all the time but haven't faltered. The most annoying thing is that even now, after 11 full days, I still get a tug now and then, go have a smoke, time for a break, is it smoke time yet? I use the annoyance to harden my resolve. :-)
I am sticking with it, and have started cycling each morning, and again lunch time and evening.
I threw away all my ciagrettes as some times my will power my be low and if I know they are there then I will be too tempted.
In Thailand we are lucky as the shops are no longer publicly allowed to display cigarettes. They are still for sale just hidden.
Unfortunately most bars are still (not officially anymore) smoking, so I will be avoiding those places for the first few months.
Anyone with any other tips?
>> even now, after 11 full days, I still get a tug now and then
That will continue. It's the remainders of the poison gas army calling their friends. They will try every weak moment you have because they know that otherwise they will die. So, you must be strong when that happens and say "me, smoke? how ridiculous, why would I want to do that? It's not even fun or anything, just a sad and poor ting to do"
If you don't, they only need one (1) weak moment to beat the crap out of you. Take just one single blow of a cigarette and they've called in an army of friends, and then they rule you. It's an invasion. As soon as they start calling, smash them on the head with the thought of how ridiculous the very thought of you smoking, is. Then they'll walk, tail between legs.
Eventually, it will happen less and less often. Each time you tell them to bugger off they will walk longer and longer away. The quicker and the more forceful you tell them so, the more they will remember it. After a year it will be weeks or even months apart. And when it happens you just ignore it. Like drops of rain on a summer day.
After two-three weeks or so you will be able to have that feeling and ignore it. Just like a mosquito bite. It scratches a little, but that does not mean that you should do anything else than what you are otherwise doing.
In other words: It's totally easy to quit. All it takes is that you do not light that next cigarette.
As noted above, the nicotine will be out of your system quickly. (rocknbill in post #32: 72hours - link [whyquit.com])
2-3 days that's it. Then there's the psychological dependiencies and behavioural patterns. 2-3 weeks, then that's over as well. Then you're practically free.
Except for the glues, chemicals, and whatever else ia stored in your veins and the damage done to your brain tissue, which will heal slowly if at all. Some of that stuff will stay in your system for a long time, that's what you feel as the tobacco calling, long time after you've quit. But at that point you're a free man -- there's no dependency -- so you can just ignore it.
The time differs of course from person to person, but 2-3 days and 2-3 weeks that's a good rule of thumb.
So, it's really totally easy to quit smoking. It's a whole lot easier to quit than you walk around thinking when you're an addict.
Actually... those thrown out cigarettes: Take one that has been lit, and put it under your nose - but not too close. Smell it. Yes you will feel sick. you can do the same with any ashtray that you see.
Do that. And then you won't really want to put any of that inside your body again. I'm serious. It works.
Just think about how godawful a thing a cigarette really is. Then it's extremely easy to quit. You don't even want to light a cigarette.
>> nicotine pads
Don't do that. As noted in a post above, nicotine is poison. And it will be out of your system quick anyway.
You don't want to replace heroin with crack do you? It's all a big fat lie. That stuff makes money for a few firms, that's it. Legal drugs, exactly like cigarettes. Just remember to ignore the smoke craving deliberately and consciously. Tell yourself that it's a ridiculous thought that you should ever light a cigarette, and be aware that the craving is being inflicted upon you by Big Tobacco, it's *not* a real need you have.
Remember this, as it's important: There is nothing wrong with you
There's this problem, and that problem is the cigarettes (or whatever you're smoking). That's the problem. You are a perfectly fine person, who are just in the habit of poisoning yourself.
So, you should fix the problem, which is the cigarettes. Don't think you should fix yourself. There's nothing wrong with you.
And it's easy. Just don't smoke them.
One single moment of weakness and they will climb into your system, put hooks everywhere and dig holes in your tissue to make sure they've got you secured, and can stay for a long time inside you. Don't forget that it is, literally, a poison. It attacks your whole nervous system.
You are no better than any other type of drug addict. Or junkie, as it is. Yes, you are a junkie. It's a bit worse than being an alcoholic, I know that.
After I've quit I've discovered so many things that I seriously don't see any the difference between tobacco and drugs. Heroin or Marlboro, ethically it's the same thing -- slow death -- only, one of them is legal.
But, compared to alcohol or hard drugs, it's extremely easy to quit! Really. It is. Extremely easy to quit!
>> throw out
I've still got a 20 pack bought more than a year ago. Just opened, two-three cigarettes smoked. Trick is, I never did take "that last cigarette that I just had to get". I knew that that was not my wish, that was Big Tobacco. Just like a junkie always will need just the last fix, until it really becomes the last.
When I decided to quit I quit. Why should I care if some pack of cigarettes was just opened or not? Not my problem anymore.
I am quite sure that this will be hard to do for a lot of people, but actually I found it helpful in the first days that I had those cigarettes. It made me focus on the fact that it was a *decision* to quit.
The fact that "I could just smoke if I wanted to" made it clear to me that the essential issue was that I did not want to. And, as I didn't want to, why should I? So I didn't, and I still don't.
I can still smoke if I want to. I can slice my wrist if I want to. I can hit my fingers with a big hammer if I want to. But, I don't really want to. I mean, why would I? any of that is ridiculous..
If you don't want to smoke, don't smoke.
Yes. It's easy. Don't believe those saying that it's not.
Do you know why they tell you it's not easy? It's because then they can sell you a whole lot of expensive pads and chewing gum and you'll spend more money on that than on fags and look like a total moron and feel bad for yourself. And you'll have to compensate by buying more, of course.
Yes you will feel that it's hard, but it's really not hard, and that's just a passing phase anyway. It's just because poison needs to get out of your system. It's like being sick, having the flu or something. Nothing more serious than that. You can still do everything you usually do. Anything.
Most of you will even get a lot of extra energy in that period and get a lot of stuff done that needed doing.
It really is easy.
Yes you can do it even if you don't use pads or gum, and even if you still have cigarettes left in that pack. Of course you don't need to smoke that last cigarette. That's ridiculous - you don't need to smoke any cigarettes at all. Ever.
Why would you want to do such a thing anyway? Go put your head in the oven in stead, then you'll at least learn that electricity based ovens don't kill you. Or go play on the highway, that'll give you some exercise at least.
See how ridiculous it is?
I mean, the question isn't really about *stopping* is it? It's about.. well, frankly... why the hell would you even want to light a cigarette?
Here's how easy it is:
There's one thing, and one thing only that you need to do. Only one thing.
That sounds be easy, don't you think? One single thing, I mean who can't remember just one single thing?
And better yet: It's not even a thing you have to do. It's true. now, could it be any easier?
The 100% bulletproof and 100% free-as-in-beer way to stop smoking now and forever is:
...wait for it...
Yes, that's it. Just don't smoke. It's a simple as that. Really. And I speak from experience. Any previous smoker will tell you that this is the exact essense of it all.
Do anything you like, anything you usually do, anything you've always wanted to do. Do whatever comes to mind. Just don't smoke.
If you don't even start smoking, you don't need to stop. So, don't light that next cigarette. If anybody needs you to do that it's only the money machine of Big Tobacco. Not you.
Look at it, smell it, lick it, do whatever you like with it, just don't smoke it.
Oh, don't eat it either, that's lethal. But at least then your money will go to your relatives, not Big Tobacco.
Just don't smoke that next one[/6]
That's easy. Extremely easy.
In fact, smoking it is a much harder thing to do than not smoking it.
Not smoking is easy. Just don't do it. It's extremely easy.
Anybody can do that. It requires absolutely no effort, as you don't have to "do" anything. It's true, no pads, no gum, no expensive snake oil required at all.
Just don't smoke.
Oh, and I also wear a helmet when I ride a motorcycle. :)
Of course you *found* it hard, so did I. Everyone does. But it is *not* hard. It's uncomfortable the first few days (just like smoking), but it's easy ;)
You get ill for a very short period of time as the poison disappears from your body, and then you get well again. Those days are not comfortable, but being ill never is. This illnes is a very light one. You can literally do anything you usually do, although most things will make you feel a bit strange, and you will think a lot about smoking for a while, but that's what the disease is all about.
It's still dead easy: You just have to wait it out, that's really all that's required.
Quitting smoking is not hard. In fact many people start again because once they're over that initial light disease they think "that was easy, I can do that again another time." Bam! invasion! gotcha! and they're caught again.
That's why quitting smoking only lasts as long as you don't smoke. But that's also what makes it really easy: Just don't.
(imho, fwiw, etc)
im going to quit as soon as I finish my last pack!
what's the difference? you could say the same thing about your next pack, or the one after that.
I really don't want to sound like a jerk, but "at the end of this pack" is not a good way to choose which will be your last smoke. Sure you'll feel like you didn't waste those last few, but soon after quitting you'll realize that every smoke you've ever had was a waste.
I guess my point is better expressed this way:
you don't want your reason for quitting to be "I ran out of cigarettes". It should be "I can't stand these smelly things any more, they're gross and expensive and are sucking the life and vitality out of me and literally offer me nothing except slavery to the need for more". If you quit half way through a pack, it is symbolically significant.
I recommend the book by Alan Carr: The Easy Way to Stop Smoking - best-seller, easy to find at any bookstore.
For those that feel they are truly past it, how did you counter things such as weight gain? Socialising in a smokey environment etc.
The longest I ever gave up for was just over 11 months, and for whatever excuse started again. I readily admit it was a stupid thing to do. I was feeling better, looking better, could even manage the pub scene without even feeling or wanting a cigarette.
But on that time and on other 3 month + quitting campaigns, it has always been the weight gain that bugged me the most, and also the pub scene / drinking environments that caused the most stress especially in the beginning few weeks.
...how did you counter things such as weight gain?
I rationalise to myself that I can get rid of the extra weight I've put on. Not so with lung cancer...
Whilst it may be flawed logic, it works for me every time.
As for smokey places, they don't bother me in the sense that I'm not tempted to have a cigarette. I do however object to smelling like an unwashed ashtray.
So, if I'm correct, that's four here who have now quit?
....what's the difference? you could say the same thing about your next pack, or the one after that.
Have you ever smoked? Not only does a great deal of smoking rely on mental conditioning, the crap literally changes the way your brain works. Consequently whatever mental screws one needs to turn to make NOW the decisive moment, that is what someone needs to do.
I will say though - the danger in the "last one of this pack" idea is that it gives you a whole pack to subconsciously build a case against quitting. By the time you get to that last one, you will be so apprehensive it may be enough to make you fold. I managed to pull it off by the element of self-surprise, by "fooling" myself into it at the last moment.
I don't agree with "easy." If you nail it down to a physical logic of "simply don't smoke" it sounds that way. But there are unspoken tugs and pulls at your consciousness you can't even verbalize that compel you to smoke.
Smokers aren't stupid (although nonsmokers love saying they are.) They know the dangers. They know it serves no real purpose. Logic does not fail us.
So why are we compelled to continue, or return after fighting it and being away for so long?
Like I said, it changes the way your brain thinks. It allows you to conclude that smoking is the logical thing to do against all REAL logic. And this is the scariest part about smoking, not the physical damage, the addictive qualities, the stink, the social ostracisizing, the scariest part about nicotine is how it makes you think the irrational is completely rational. You are no longer at the helm, something else is controlling your thinking! It's an insanity, of a sort.
I'm at 1 year and 9 months and I gotta tell ya, it was the hardest thing I've ever done in my 35 years of living. The first week felt like I had been dropped into the pits of hell. The next three months crawled by and I rarely felt comfort or joy. Then then the next 6-9 months started to get better. But after about a year, I'm sooooooo glad I did it!
WhyQuit [whyquit.com] is a fantastic site, the forums are great. The best piece of advice that helped me get through those tough times came from there. I'll have to paraphrase, but it went something like this - When you are feeling like total crap, remember this. The way you are feeling right now is NOT HOW IT FEELS TO BE A NON SMOKER. That is how you feel going through withdrawal. Once you're through the withdrawal you WILL feel normal again, and eventually even better.
Reading that helped me so much because before when I quit I always started again because I though "I'd rather feel good smoking and die young than feel horrible and live long". But that horrible feeling GOES AWAY. You just have to get through it. I spent that first week mostly in bed, taking lots of cold medicine to keep me asleep and ate lots of chocolate when I was awake;-) Nicotine effects the way your body procceses sugar so you will be craving it more - don't deny yourself the sugar, too! You can take that extra weight off later when those cravings go away.
So why are we compelled to continue, or return after fighting it and being away for so long?
[edited by: lawman at 9:24 pm (utc) on June 20, 2006]
I have been smoking for over 25 years and I have only tried to give up once before. This time is different.
3 days ago I changed my life. I cleaned out all the stinking fag paraphernalia from my smoking areas and declared myself a non-smoker.
Really it has been as simple as that. I AM A NON-SMOKER. So why would I want to put a fag in my mouth. Being a non-smoker at present is uncomfortable at times but the cravings only last a few minutes. I know that they will go with time.
I agree with claus that giving up smoking is a walk in the park in difference to other addictions and I should know. I am over ten years sober and due to a medical condition I became codeine dependant. I kicked codeine earlier this year and I tell you that was shear hell, but nothing, nothing, nothing compares to giving up the booze.
I put down the bottle around 10 years ago and if any one addiction will kill you booze is the one...... Over 2 years of therapy got me off the booze, and I was still gagging for a drink then. Did it though and I would not be alive today to give up the fags if I had not put the bottle in the bin.
I have been thinking the last 6 months about giving up and thanks to this thread it pushed me that little bit in the right direction. And yes this thread changed my life.
I am a non-smoker. Well just for today :-)
I find that every time I have given up I have had some very unusual and even weird dreams/nightmares for thr first week or so, but then they stop. They weren't about smoking.
I figure that is just the body getting used to life without so many chemicals.
Well I am still at it, now about to enter day 7, and I feel better already, although the cravings are driving me nuts. I think the long bicycle ride in the morning helps me a lot because it reminds me what air should taste like and means I do not feel like a cigarette afterwards.
How's everyone else doing?
I quit for a whole year once and every single night I would dream about smoking cigarettes. It was awful.
Twice I stopped for a year at a time, the craving never left. Every day, every day it was the same old thing......
Yeah, that was easy.
Now I'm doing it again, I'm at about 4 months and 1 week right now. So far it's looking like a replay.
Oh yeah, the extra 30 pounds I've gained so far are a real treat too!
Another time recently I gave up for just under a month and had a cigarette, I quite literally had to sit from the head rush and even my toes were tingling.
Just goes to show the rubbish they must put into those things.
...every time I have given up I have had some very unusual and even weird dreams/nightmares...
I figure that is just the body getting used to life without so many chemicals.
Yup. Apparently, I was told at the "Quit smoking" clinic I attended, that chemicals in cigarettes effectively suppress your ability to dream (that's not to say that all smokers cannot dream). When you quit and your brain starts to free itself from all the chemical inhibitors, your ability to dream - and your dreams - comes flooding back with a vividly intense vengeance.
It is part of the clearing out process.
<added>Oh, in terms of helping balance any mood swings, particularly for men, nuts and seeds are apparently very good - brazil nuts particularly, along with sunflower, pumpkin seeds and similar. (Usual disclaimers apply here!)</added>