Quitting Smoking - Will I Do It This Time?
A Little History
Smoking has been quite a problem for me since about the age of sixteen. Since then I have been roughly a pack a day smoker and am now 36 soon to be 37. I have tried to quit several times and have always ended up starting up again. Things that always seem to trigger the habit for me are stress and other associated habits such as drinking alcohol or even coffee.
I think that part of my problem in the past has been that I was quitting smoking for the wrong reasons and not doing it for myself. More recently, I have decided, for various and obvious reasons, that I want to quit for good. This was a revelation for me and it feels good to know that the decision is founded and solid this time around.
Prior to this attempt, I can remember that, while I was smoking a cigarette, I knew that I wanted to quit and it seemed very possible. However, as soon as the cigarette was out of my hand, I found myself forgetting those thoughts and went right on smoking. Fighting with myself like that constantly really started taking it's toll on my mind and other aspects of my life.
It is definitely time to quit.
The Beginning of My Quit
I have tried several methods of quitting this habit over the course of about 10 years now. Some of them seemed to work, but not for long. Cold turkey was the hardest and the most stressful, not only to me, but to everyone around me. I became irritable and antsy. No one could really stand to be around me. Next I tried the patch. This seemed to be for the most part effective, but not without consequence. A major side effect (at least for me) with the patch, was severe heartburn. This got so bad at some points that it really hampered my daily activities. Since this gave me a negative experience, that worked it's way into the process of quitting which I then somehow associated with a bad thing. I started smoking several months after I quit.
The next method that I tried, was to use quit smoking aids in the form of smart phone apps. There were several of these apps on the market, and most of them are free, so I started trying them one by one. All seemed to have a common method for quitting, which is to slowly increase the amount of time between cigarettes to ween you off of the nicotine. Most of these apps failed me within a day or two of starting to use it.
I finally found an app that seems very promising and have continued to use it. It is called Gotta Kick It. The app is extremely simple. With a little information from me pertaining to how much I smoke in the course of a day and how aggressively I wanted to attack my habit, it was ready to begin. The app quite simply notifies me when it is 'OK' to smoke by giving me a notification on my phone and ringing a bell. It also has an advance button, which you can use up to five times daily. This lets me get to my next cigarette fifteen minutes sooner in the event that the next scheduled cigarette is not at a convenient time. This is not to say that the advance does not come without penalty. When you advance your smoke by that fifteen minutes, your next smoke is just that much further away, so you learn very quickly to not use it too often.
I started this quit ten days ago as a pack a day smoker. Now, at day ten, I am smoking seven cigarettes per day. My stress level from cutting back has not been affected very much and I am beginning to change my behaviors so I am not tempted to light up outside of my predetermined smoke times.
According to the app, I should be at or below two cigarettes per day on November 12th, 2011. My overall goal, is to quit completely by Christmas of this year as a present to myself.
When I started, I was allotted one cigarette every fifty-eight minutes. Now, at day ten, I am at two hours and fifteen minutes between cigarettes and have not gotten overly anxious about that. Occasionally, I get the urge for one, but have found that if I can redirect my thoughts for at least three minutes, the urge goes away and I am not reminded until my next scheduled smoke arrives.
I feel very confident about quitting smoking this time and will share my progress with you along the way. I have decided to use this hub as reinforcement to help me quit. So, please, when reading this, feel free to ask me any questions about my experience this time an offer any advice or words of assurance that you may have.
This is the hardest thing that I have ever had to quit in my life, but I know that I can do it.
Thank you for reading, and check back to see my progress even after my last cigarette which I will post on the day after smoking it.
10/24/2011 - I wanted to add an edit as to where I am with my progress on here. I am now on day 15 and am down to five cigarettes per day. The interval is currently 3.25 hours between cigarettes. I am rather pleasantly surprised that my stess level has actually gone down and not up. I am finding it easier to control my urges and have an easier time focusing on tasks throughout the day. I'll post again in a few days.
10/28/2011 - Just a quick little update... I am currently at day 19 and my cigarettes are at roughly 4 hours apart. It's gotten a bit harder as my smokes are down to 4 per day. I've found that washing my hands thouroughly and getting rid of any residual odors after smoking keeps me from craving one quite as quickly after the fact. I hope that this info helps someone.
11/21/2011 - Haven't had much time to be on here lately but I wanted to let it be known that I am still sticking with this and am now down to 2 cigarettes per day. Today seems to be a particularly difficult day for some reason but I'm working through it.
12/21/2011 - I didn't forget about this. I've been busy with work and fighting a bad case of bronchitis. The two cigarettes was not too bad to get down too, but I found myself way to edgy to give them up for whatever reason. Today, I smoked my last cigarette and put on low level patch to see if I can eliminate the final two. My original goal was to completely quit by Christmas. Using the patch feels like cheating, but I needed to give it a shot. We'll see how things go through the beginning of the new year.
Merry Christmas everyone!!!
2/1/2012 - OK, so it's been a month now without smoking. I officially quit on New Years at 12:00am. I flushed the rest of the pack. Also, I wasn't able to continue using the patch as it was giving me some serious heartburn/indigestion issues. I have heard arguments that this has been proven to not be the cause, but removing the patch helped and I haven't used it since. I have had numerous cravings throughout the time since I quit, but keeping busy helps a lot. I have also started eating better and exercising regularly to keep the weight off. I feel much better overall.
8/26/2012 - Still smoke free. Started walking last month and do so just about every day for 3 miles or more. Aside from that, I cleaned the dust off of my bicycle and started riding as well. I have started to take off some of the weight that I put on while quitting and I feel a great deal better.