My struggle to quit smoking

by on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009, under Well-Being

Ever since I was 13 years old, I’ve been battling a Nicotine addiction caused by my decision to smoke cigarettes.  Today, I feel lucky that I can say the addiction is mostly behind me, and I would like to share my story so that it may help others.

I said I was going to quit at least 100 times, and I tried to quit at least 40 times.  I tried the patch, nicotine gum, pills, and finally, just plain old cold turkey.  The Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT’s) like the patch and the gum really proved quite useless.  You learn how to stop physically smoking, but this still feeds the addiction leaving you with the cravings throughout the day.  I consider this method to be, for the most part, ineffective torture.  I did try Smoke Away (which has an NRT component that could be excluded), and this product seemed to work well.  I quit for 6 months after I came off the Smoke Away plan, but ultimately, I started smoking again.

Cold turkey is the way to go!  It will be extremely difficult, don’t get me wrong, but that is much of why it works so well in the long term.  If you conquer the addiction, you will not soon forget how difficult it was and how much effort you put into it.  This pain becomes encouragement later on and helps prevent you from slipping up.  Cold turkey is also the quickest route to recovery since it does not feed the addiction while you quit.

Quitting cold turkey is no easy task, trust me.  The difficulty alone will help you decide if you are really ready to quit or not.  For months, I would quit cold turkey on Monday, and then smoke on the weekends and have to start all over.  This started becoming a problem at work because my mind was not functional when going through withdrawals (and I am a software developer, so I need my brain to work).  Degrading quality in my work was a very motivating factor for me because I love my job (and in a roundabout way, my job now depended on my quitting).

The final motivating factor for me came after a tour to see VNV Nation play 7 concerts.  On my 18 hour drive home, I got to thinking and decided that I wanted to pursue a musical hobby.  I realized that this meant I may end up doing some singing.  The reasons were stacking up, and I finally just quit.  I didn’t have a single puff during the entire drive home, and that was so difficult that the following week seemed simple in comparison.  Remember, I was sitting in a car for 18 hours with nothing to do but crave nicotine.  That was painful, and I remembered that pain later on whenever I thought about having a cigarette.

After a year and a half of smoking cessation, I began smoking socially (when I would go out for drinks, etc.).  It was at this point that I noticed just how much of an effect smoking had on my quality of life.  I always thought I had hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) because I would sweat like crazy even in the winter.  This condition had silently disappeared when I quit smoking and I didn’t even notice it.  It quickly returned with the social smoking.  I also have a condition where my lungs occasionally snag on the inside of my rib cage and it can cause minor pain to breathe.  The doctors told me that there was a lack of lubrication in the area, and it wasn’t much to worry about.  I found that this condition also returned with the smoking.  I also experience severe throat pain the next morning, after a night of smoking. 

Now that I can see all of these downfalls that were previously forgotten, I have recommitted myself to quitting and I have been enjoying a lifestyle without these problems ever since.

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 Well-Being No Comments