The Day I Quit – Year One as an Ex-Smoker
So today is the anniversary of the day when I finally quit smoking for good. Midnight on March 15th 2012 I quit smoking. I have not had even a single drag from a cigarette since then.
Was it easy?? Heck no!! I’m not gonna sugar-coat it for you. Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I ever did. The first 72 hours are the worst. Your body goes through withdrawals. I quit cold-turkey. Tossed my last pack at midnight. I became very agitated, irritable, and unable to sit still, nor focus. I chose to occupy my mind with my work and when that didn’t work I went for long walks, many, many long walks. I bought several bags of sugarless lollipops. I went to the gym everyday and spent longer there than I normally would. Sleeping was difficult although I used sleeping as a way to escape the physical side-effects of withdrawal. Once the drug was out of my system (72 hours) then I dealt with the psychological symptoms which lasted for a few weeks.
I did gain a bit of weight since quitting smoking. About 5-7lbs. These days, I go to the gym 5 mornings a week. While I’m not on any dedicated diet plan, I do pay attention to what I eat. I try to focus on protein and vegetables; limit my carbs and I’ve been experimenting with milk substitutes since my gut seems to dislike lactose. So far, I’ve been able to find a brand of soy milk that is reasonably tasty. Although I discovered you can’t use it for tea or coffee. My next task is to find a yogurt that my gut can handle.
In addition to quitting smoking, I started up my graphic design business full-time. It’s been a year of challenging myself to push past my fears and achieve goals I thought were unattainable. Quitting smoking gave me the confidence to take on other challenges.
I’ve read that quitting smoking is harder than quitting hard-core drugs like heroin. According to many, nicotine is the #1 most addictive substance on the planet. ( http://addictions.knoji.com/top-ten-most-addictive-substances/ ) (http://www.michaelshouse.com/drug-addiction/most-addictive-drugs-world/ )
So if nicotine is the most addictive drug; why is it readily and legally available to adults at every corner store? Why is there a multi-billion dollar industry that grows, manufactures, distributes and sells nicotine? If you haven’t seen Michael Moore’s film; you’ve certainly heard of it. He’s already asked and investigated all these questions. My question is why are there no rehab services available to nicotine addicts?? Sure, cigarette smokers can hold down a job, tend to fit in to society for the most part and are rarely arrested if ever for smoking cigarettes. I suppose this qualifies nicotine addicts as functioning addicts. And on the surface, we don’t seem to disrupt society with our addiction. But is that really true?
I think that society has for the most part, adjusted to the nicotine addict. Heck, there used to be smoking sections in bars and restaurants and theatres. We provided ashtrays outside of public buildings. And employers would allow us to go out for our smoke break. Now of course, these things are changing. And with the changes, we the addicts feel more like people on the fringe of society. Outcasts. Smoking in public parks has become outlawed in my city. Who would have considered that even 5 years ago?
The nicotine addict has undergone a makeover. We were once seen as cool and hip (early 1940’s and 1950’s) Then we were seen as rebels (1960-1970 – still cool). As the toll on the healthcare system became apparent and more attention was paid to nicotine and its effects on individuals, the nicotine addict has now gone full circle and is no longer cool. We are addicts. Not so cool anymore.
My question; where are the rehab centres for nicotine addicts? Sure, the market is flooded with nicotine replacement products. Honestly, what’s the point of that? It’s like methadone for heroin addicts. You still get your fix but in a different way. I quit cold turkey. It was and still is the only way to really quit an addiction. If you are still using a nicotine replacement product, you’re still addicted to nicotine.
Now you’re all saying; “Here we go, Miss I Used to be a Smoker is now preaching her born-again attitude.” I suppose that’s partly true. LOL @ myself. But with everything I’m passionate about, I wish to share with you my feelings and thoughts on the subject. I smoked for 20+ years. Once an addict, always an addict. I think I have some insight into this topic.
What do I want to see happen?? I think it would be a big step forward if the government (here we go!!) would take initiative and start to put sanctions on the nicotine manufacturers and growers. The final goal would be to cease nicotine production altogether. Farmers need options to grow another crop. (I heard soy and canola are good options) Manufacturers need to re-tool the factories to produce another product. Replace it with a product that does not cause damage to its consumers. (Uh huh) Incentives for nicotine addicts to quit smoking are needed. We need something more useful than a once a year contest where the “winner” gets a new car. Whoopee!!! Maybe my approach is too naive?? I mean alcohol isn’t exactly the star-child of society either, and it’s been around since before; ……well forever!!
Oh and by the way; if you write apps, contact me because I have a brilliant idea for a quit smoking app. Currently there are no useful apps out there for this purpose. Strange eh??
Anyway, enough preaching. Today I celebrate one year of a nicotine-free me. I thank my best friend, confidant, teacher and spiritual guide; my boyfriend, Steve for his incredible and loving support of me through those first 72 hours and continuing every day since then. I am truly blessed and grateful to have you in my life. My daughters have also been very supportive and very pleased with my choice to quit smoking. I could not have been successful without the support of my family and friends. And my body and heart and lungs have also thanked me by giving me back the ability to work out hard at the gym without coughing up a lung. LOL!
To all of you who choose to embark on the journey; I wish you success and good health. Reach deep down for that determination and grit you will need to stop using nicotine. Remember that you will always be an addict, but you can choose to stop using.
(PS: To my readers: I have two blogs; one called the GTA Fitness Reviewer and one for my graphic design business, CAH Productions. I feel this topic is very important so I have posted this on both of these blogs.)