I can't even tell you how many times those words have been spoken in my life this week. I can't even begin to tell you how hard it is. I can tell you though, it's a true story. I have actually been saying no. After enrolling and attending the Tobacco Cessation Program through Reid Hospital "Learn to Live Tobacco Free" I was told I needed to make a quit date. So I did. That date has come and gone....and I'm happy to report....I stood by it, and quit. The day before even.
Valentine's Day was to be the day, so I purposely let myself run out of cigarettes late Sunday night. I smoked the last one around eleven and immediately took a shower, put on pajamas straight from the dryer, and applied a nicotine patch. Although it is not recommended I also popped a piece of nicotine gum, just to get me through that moment, and then got rid of it. That's something I learned in this program at Reid, that you can actually overdose on nicotine...so you need to be very careful. Since Sunday, I have applied one nicotine patch each evening before bed, and have chewed two pieces of nicotine gum during the day when my cravings are at their worst. The rest of the time I stick with plain old sugar-free gum. It's working, and so are the tips I'm receiving from my program facilitator and fellow quitters in the program.
I won't lie...it sucks. I want to smoke. I miss it. Not that it's so great, goodness no, I hated that I was a smoker, but I enjoyed the break. The act of smoking wasn't what I hated. I liked the taste (I know, gross) and I liked the smell of one burning (gross too). I liked stepping outside with a friend, or co-worker, chatting and smoking. I liked having a beer and a cigarette when I was out with friends. I liked sitting outside in the morning, enjoying a cup of coffee and a smoke while I listened to the world waking up. I just hated the way I smelled afterward. I hated the way I felt afterward. I hated the fact that smoking controlled me. I HAD to have a cigarette. I know now that I don't HAVE to have one...I just sometimes want one. Sometimes I want one REALLY REALLY BAD. I'm pushing through, I'm fighting it. I feel like I've been a junkie for the majority of my life. I'm thirty six years old and I've been smoking since I was sixteen. I have deprived myself of food on many occasions just so I could afford a pack. It's shameful...but if I can't admit where I have been wrong I'll never see why I need to change.
I highly recommend the "Learn to Live Tobacco Free" program offered at Reid Hospital. It's really helping me in a way I wasn't aware I needed. It's a support system, a learning tool...a God-send if you will. I'm in a small group of people that openly shares with one another why we smoke, how we feel before we reach for one, how we handle stressful situations and how we are coping with our attempts at living smoke-free. We have been given so much helpful information, from a list of what is in cigarettes (rocket fuel, and rat poison are only two of the very toxic ingredients), to stress management tips, to breathing exercises. It's an encouragement to not feel so alone. To hear that others are also struggling, that we are trudging along together, and that if we slip and smoke a cigarette we aren't complete failures...well, that really helps.
Seriously, if you are tired of stinking and throwing away money on cigarettes and damaging your health, I encourage you to look into this program. You won't regret it.