- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
I Stopped Smoking Cold Turkey
My personal story of how I was able to quit smoking cold turkey without using hypnosis, nicotine patches, prescription medicines, nicotine gum or any other prod
I was a smoker from the age of 18 to 31 years old, so about 13 years. I smoked about a pack a day with my preferred brand being Marlboro Menthol Lights which later changed in 2005 to Basic Menthol Lights due to the rising cigarette costs. I was spending a lot of money on my addiction and was bothered during the winter with troublesome coughs that wouldn't go away. I work in commercial roofing and also noticed my stamina had slowed down through the years and was getting winded much easier and it wasn't just related to me getting older. I decided to take the plunge on Feb 5, 2009 to quit smoking for my own health and to give my oldest son a birthday present that meant a lot to him. I will go into further detail about my struggles and what I went through during this time. I won't go into the psychology aspect of this or the health hazards since most individuals unless they have been living under a rock know what they are doing and risking by smoking. I will include links and the like for smoking products because not all of us are the same.
I had tried quitting smoking with nicotine gum before at the age of 28 but I was only doing it because of my wife and I didn't really want to quit. I would last several hours and then I would have a cigarette. I had every excuse in the book for smoking. My most regular excuse was that I have bad nerves and am under stress, needing cigarettes to calm me down. I never smoked in the home, I always stepped outside in respect of my children and their health. I don't want to die before my time and want to spend a better quality of life and see my children grow up and hopefully grandchildren as well. Now if you are offended by talk of God which I am about to go into then you may not want to continue reading. I believe in God as well and deep down believed I was polluting his creation. This doesn't mean that if you're a smoker that you are a bad person, don't take it that way. God knows we sin and err daily. As long as we try to do our best and follow his teachings, accept Jesus as our personal savior and practice the Golden Rule, God knows our heart condition so that is what is most important to our Savior. I decided to stop smoking cold turkey with my determination, support of my family, and with the power of prayer. Even then it was much harder than I realized.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/polanaked/3097640389
Books that could be helpful - Some people need motivation and inspiration. I researched some books and listed the ones I found most helpful.
Many say Carr's book is the best. Has great reviews.
For those who dread the consequences of weight gain when you stop smoking.
The early stages of withdrawals and issues I was dealing with when I took the plunge.
If at anytime, I revert back to smoking, I will delete this lens.
Feb 4th, 2009: Had last cig about 9pm.
Feb 5th morning: I woke up and of course wanted a cigarette. I am a big coffee drinker and I am so used to having my morning coffee with a cigarette to get me going. I bought a 3lb 12 oz bag of Jolly Rancher Hard Candy the other day for something to suck on. I have been using them a lot. Some people claim that lemon drops work but I couldn't care less about the sugar content right now. I know many like to chew mint gum or gum but I don't like to chew gum.
Feb 5th afternoon/evening: I keep going to where I always had my cigarettes like a zombie. I just took a Tylenol Extra Strength pill since my head is starting to hurt. More Jolly Ranchers. I think if I can go to bed early that it might help because if I'm sleeping then I won't be tempted to go out and buy any and maybe get some more out of my system, nicotine that is. I am feeling even sick to my stomach a little and I just finished watching Hell's Kitchen and am off to bed about 10:15PM.
Feb 6th morning/early afternoon: Howie's birthday today and feeling like crap. No other way to put it. I am second guessing myself thinking I should have tried to slowly wean myself off cigs. I am really miserable and want everyone to just leave me alone. I actually can't concentrate that well. My darn head feels a little dizzy and is pounding real bad. I still feel a little queasy to my stomach. I don't know if that is from the lack of nicotine or something else. It's about noon now and I've all ready taken 2 tylenols and since yesterday have had about 40 Jolly Rancher's. Been praying as well to help me out. Will update later this evening or tomorrow morning to show how the rest of the day went. I don't even feel like writing right now.
Feb 6th Evening: I'm being very impatient and wife is getting tired of my snapping so to speak. Some people have informed me that I may experience some flu like symptons, etc. I hope tomorrow will be a better day since I haven't accomplished nothing in the last 2 days. My dizziness and stomach upset has died down a little but I still have the headache and I have a blah feeling. Not a sick feeling but I can't explain it. Like I have no energy and motivation to do anything. Wife also out of the blue offerred to buy a pack of smokes and dole them out to me if it will make me more to my normal self. Like I said, she is getting tired of how I am acting. It was so tempting but I've come this darn far and fear if I try to ration myself on cigs I'll just go back and not quit. I have people that I know giving me encouragement and knowing I have people rooting and praying for me, gives me that extra help to keep on. This will be my last post of the night since it's about 6pm and wait to see what tomorrow brings. I just hope for my headache and miserableness to go away.
Feb 7th: Am not feeling physically better at all. Still have the headache and a blah feeling. Stomach still has a little bit of an uneasy feeling. I feel about the same as yesterday. I think maybe the sugar I am taking in is making me queasy? I don't like chewing gum but am trying a sugar free Trident. I am still irritable but am encouraged by my fellow family and friends giving me support. I also have to thank those who have sent encouraging emails and prayers my way that I know online at Blujay. I keep getting emails about your health will improve and the money you will save. At about 5 dollars a pack that does add up, almost 2000 dollars a year. That is more ammunition for me.
Feb 8th: Feeling just a tad better than the Feb 6th or 7th. Find myself very restless and pacing around. Headache has went down a lot and no longer have upset stomach. As stated previously, it may have been because of the increased sugar intake or withdrawal symptoms. I can concentrate just a little better today but still am irritable, so my wife says. I am starting to feel more optimistic because I was so scared that I would fail for sure. The temptation is so there and I found myself yesterday in the evening looking around the house, I knew subconsciously what I was looking for, a loose cigarette maybe just laying around. This is really hard and I don't know at this time if I would recommend anyone going cold turkey without cutting down first and then giving it a try.
Feb 9th: Feeling much better today. Finally am hopeful that things will get better. Still smoke free, yeah.
Feb10th/11th: Physically I am not feeling the withdrawal symptoms as I was. Of course the mental aspect is still there. I find myself reaching over the fridge where I used to keep my cigs at various times without realizing it when I have my morning coffee and am half awake. I keep hearing about a weight gain issue and food will taste better but at this time it's not something I have noticed. I will update every so often now in the lower module. I don't know if a week is enough to say you have kicked it but for this purpose I have at this time. The temptation will always be there and I can slip at any time.
The title alone makes me want to buy it if I relapsed, since I believe tough love and advice is necessary at times.
My longterm progress and thoughts
I'll add here occasionally and review my progress and how my life has changed
IT TAKES WILLPOWER to quit any bad habits. There is no easy way.
Feb 23, 2009: I am still smoke free but I still am tempted and have the urge for cigarettes but the extreme physical symptoms have passed and the mental/psychological addiction part has slowed down.
I heard that food would taste better again and you wouldn't have that persistent cough and cold that is real bad in the winter, at least for me it was. If food tastes better it is only by a slim margin but my coughing/breathing has improved. Maybe it takes more time for a person to experience better benefits. I do eat more and have gained about 5lbs in the last 3 weeks and I am trying to be more active so the weight gain has validity. I'll keep updating further observations I noticed a few times a month.
March 10th: Very happy, over 30 days being smoke free. I am feeling better and cough has improved a lot. I am exercising a little more because I've gained several pounds. If I wasn't exercising a little, lord knows how much weight I would have gained. I noticed when exercising that I don't get as winded as quickly. I am proud of myself as is my family, I am diligently striving to keep on this path.
March 29th: I'm now about 51 days smoke free. I have noticed changes now and my raspy breathing and coughing in the morning has pretty much went away. I do have more stamina/energy without getting winded so easy. I eat more and even with my moderate exercising still am several pounds heavier than when I quit smoking but overall I can live with that over the damages smoking would cause me more in the future.
April 22: Still smoke free and feeling great. Been about 2.5 months now.
May 18: Yahoo. Smoke free for over 3 months. I am glad I made the change but as I've stated it is hard work. If you fail on an attempt just keep trying. Everyone is different and what works for one may not work well for another. You must have the desire to quit which is probably the most important thing in my own opinion.
Aug 22: Still smoke free. Yeah.
Oct 26: About 9 months smoke free. I forgot to mention that after a year I can lower my life insurance rate by being smoke free. There is a huge difference between what a smoking male pays monthly versus a nonsmoking male. It will cut my rate around 50 percent. How cool is that?
Feb 5, 2010: Celebrated my 1 YR ANNIVERSARY SMOKE FREE.
June 2010: Still Smoke free and has been about a year and a half. Michigan now has a law that bans smoking in bars, restaurants and any public places. When I was smoking that would have really irritated me and also how much cigarettes cost nowadays, about 6 dollars a pack.
Sept 2011: Around 2.5 years smoke free.
March 2012 Still smoke free for over 3 years now. Feeling good and recent doctor visit made me feel good when stated that my breathing and lungs were in good shape.
Sept 2014: I've been smoke free for over 5 years now. I feel great and besides myself being happy, my wife and children are as well.
Some people swear by Hypnosis. To each their own.
What is the best way to quit smoking?
How would you quit smoking or if you quit smoking, how did you do it?
I found it interesting that they have a stop smoking book just for women.