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The Only Way I Was Able To Stop Smoking



  • Thanks Joel1Q. I have no idea what post you referred to when you were pre surgery but it's kind of you to say it was helpful. We never know when our words might help or hurt and it's a good feeling to know some of our past words was a help. I totally agree with your comment about it taking willpower to quit smoking.

    I've said it several times and will keep saying it: "Each person will have to find his/her motivation."  When a person quits it might take twenty times to finally get over that hump but IT CAN BE DONE and you CAN quit. Having said that, if it takes sucking on lollypops to get past the craving that's okay. If a person needs to munch on sunflower seeds while chewing bubble gum to get past the craving that's okay too. Relying on lollypops, sunflower seeds and bubble gum is using will power in a different form than just sticking your bottom lip out, crossing your arms over your chest and saying "no." Whatever it takes is what it takes, and what worked for me may not work for someone else.

    harpy - Forty ciggies in a pack makes a difference on my perception of the price being so high. With 40 in a pack, that's not a lot more than what I was paying here for 20. I gotta admire a non-smoker who can live with a smoker. I can't imagine how you could do it.

    Even before I quit I had been thinking how dumb I was to be paying $60 for a carton here in the U.S. when I could very well be using that money for stuff that would last longer than a carton of sickerettes. My new camera is a good example.

    When I started smoking, one pack cost 30 cents. After the price slowly crawled up to 40 cents my buddies and I groused that if the cost ever got to 50 cents a pack we'd all quit. We talked about how ridiculous that price was. Later we paid that 50 cents a pack, and much later we paid $1.00. Then we paid $2.00. $3.00. $4.00. $5.00. And $6.00 per pack. I'm pretty sure I'd be standing in line to give $7.00 for a pack when the price got there. I don't know at what price I'd have said "ENOUGH!" but I don't believe $7.00 would have been my breaking point. Non-smokers have trouble understanding, but sickerettes were like water or oxygen... I HAD to have them and the cost wasn't a consideration.

    On Tuesday my wife and I learned (officially) that I'll be laid-off on Friday. They don't call it "laid-off" these days but that's what it is. I'll get a paycheck during the next six months at 67% and my current insurance will continue but that's about it. Looks like I'll be retiring a wee bit earlier than planned, and retiring early means our retirement check will be a bit lighter than what we had anticipated. Ah, well. It is what it is and we'll adapt. "The best laid plans of mice and men" and all that, eh? We feel very fortunate that I'm in the twilight of my career and not just starting out, because we at least have options today that wouldn't have been available back when I was first starting out.

    Still a non-smoker too. Been lots of times during the last month I've kinda smacked my lips and fantasized how good a sickerette would taste but have been able to squash the desires each time one of them has reared it's ugly head. A couple of times I thought I was an old-timey sailor being lured to his doom by Sirens.

    Even though I still have cravings I don't believe they're as strong as in the beginning of my quit... or it's easier to tamp them down. For whatever reason I've been able to tamp them down.

    This thread is a good outlet for me to vent because people who are interested can read until they've seen enough and those who aren't interested won't be reading it to begin with. I don't tell random strangers I quit smoking and don't preach to friends who still smoke but without this thread I can see myself turning into a "I don't smoke anymore" snob.

  • Sunday August 12, 2018. 

    The current breakdown:
    Day 253 of not smoking.
    That's 8 months, 1 week and 2 days.
    One pack a day = 253 packs not smoked.
    20 cigs per pack = 5,060 cigs not smoked.
    $6.00 per pack = $1,518 not spent on cigarettes.

    I had to sit down and figure those numbers because I no longer keep track in my head for each day. I don't believe I'll ever forget December 2, 2017 though; that was my quit date. If you asked me on any day for at least a month after that I could tell you how many days it had been since I quit, how many cigarettes I had not smoked, and how much money I had not spent on cigarettes. Nobody asked, but I coulda told them if they had.

    Saving $6.00 every day amounts to $42 every week and THAT amounts to $168 every month. It may not sound like a huge amount of money but, for me, it's more than just the money. It's a big personal victory.

    In the past 8 months I've saved $1,500 by not buying cigarettes. What would YOU do with $1,500? I got a new camera, a new lens, and a new tripod with a new ball head. All of that cost more than the amount saved, but part of it was considered an "attaboy" reward for staying stopped.

    There is still no change in tasting food that I can tell, so I've kinda given up waiting for food to taste better. Maybe I've burned all my taste buds out. Don't know if that's even possible but I'm not curious enough to look it up.

    It's been a long, long time since I had a dream about smoking but I had one last night. No drama about deciding to light up in the dream and no hating myself for smoking in the dream. I was just smoking in the school bathroom when President Dubya  Bush came in and wanted to bum one off me. I didn't have any so we shared. We stood in front of the urinals and talked while listening to secret service personnel run frantically up and down the hall trying to find him.

    In years past, when I was timidly flirting with the idea of quitting, I didn't pay much attention to I-quit-smoking posts (like this one) from anyone who had been quit for several months. Maybe I thought that amount of time was out of my reach or maybe I thought someone who had quit that long ago had forgotten how difficult it was to quit. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. While it's true that it IS easier to remain a non-smoker today there are times I would still like very much to have a cigarette. I'm still very much aware of how difficult it is to quit and still believe each of us has to find our own individual incentive to quit.

    8 months, 1 week and 2 days without smoking. That's an incredible triumph for me.

    The journey continues........

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  • Thursday August 23, 2018

    In 100 days I'll have been a non-smoker for one year.

    265 days since I quit smoking
    265 packs I have not smoked
    5,300 ciggies not smoked
    $1,590 not spent on ciggies

    Tomorrow I'll have only two digits (99 days) instead of three digits (100 days). I hate to toot my own horn but "Beep! Beep!"

  • Hey, those that have never started—don’t.  Those that have, you know how hard this is... it’s something worth rooting for-Keep it up!

    L3-S1 ALIF Feb 2018 and 

    L3-S1 PLIF Laminectomy and Fusion March 2018

  • ^ ^ ^ ^ this ^ ^ ^ ^

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  • MudflapMudflap Posts: 234
    edited 09/11/2018 - 5:46 AM

    In years past I've stopped smoking and failed to stay stopped and stopped smoking and failed to stay stopped I don't know how many times. So far this last quit has actually been my last quit. I can't come up with new stuff to add to this thread but recognize I AM using this thread as a vent. Everything I write about today I've already written about in past posts, but at least the desires come less frequently so that is worth passing along. The struggle is less intense but it does continue. I've talked with people who have no desire for a cigarette and am envious because I still have occasional cravings, and I mean extreme cravings, to fire one up. In that sense I still battle the urge to smoke but on the positive side it isn't as difficult today as it was when I first quit. In other words it no longer consumes my soul. Sometimes, when I walk past a smoker, the odor nearly makes me stagger but it has never made me want a cigarette. Not one time.

    It's been 283 days since my last cigarette. That's 9 Months, 1 Week and 2 Days.  If I had been pregnant I'd have had the baby by now. During this quit those first several days felt like months, but in 82 short days it will be one full year since I had a cigarette. Note the phrases "days felt like months" and "in 82 short days".

    283 days at a pack a day is 283 packs of cigarettes I've not smoked.

    With 20 cigarettes in a pack that's 5,660 cigarettes I've not smoked.

    I've read that one cigarette weighs about one gram, so 5,660 cigarettes would weigh 5,660 grams. Converting that to pounds equals 12.4 pounds. That's a huge number.  Carrying that thought further, one pack of cigarettes each day represents 16 pounds of cigarettes each year. I had smoked 48 years, so 48 years times 16 pounds a year means I've smoked 768 pounds of cigarettes. How many years have YOU been smoking?

    Anyways, at $6 per pack that's $1,698 I've not spent on cigarettes. That's a lot of money to me, and represents dollar bills that I was burning every day.

    I still have urges for a cigarette but it's kinda become a new norm to want one, beat the desire down and go on with whatever I was doing. Sometimes I really, really want one... but all it takes is a minute or so for the desire to pass. And it always passes. It really does.

    I still repeat different mantras to myself such as "I've come too far to come only this far."

    I also remind myself that if I do have a ciggie I'll be back where I started, and where I started was wishing desperately I could be where I am today... nine months, one week and two days smoke free.

    I recall how miserable I was when I HAD to slip out for a smoke every half hour or so. I can also recall to mind how miserable I was when I had to wait ten or fifteen minutes past that half hour before I could finally have a cigarette.

    All of that is behind me and I'm more than delighted that I've made it this far.

    If you've also quit smoking several time but failed to stay quit, don't stop trying to quit. You never know if THIS time will be LAST time.

  • Monday Oct 22, 2018

    I'm quickly closing in on one full year of no smoking. Today is day 325. I very much want a smoke right now but know the desire will pass. I will not give in... I've come too far.

    I'm also very happy to pass along that my uncle, who has smoked 60 years, has also stopped. He's on his third month of no smoking and my aunt (who finally quit smoking about a year ago) is bragging him up. They now play cards constantly and have figured the number of hands they've played... it's in the 20's of thousands. Combined, my aunt and uncle have over 100 years of smoking between them so kudo's to them. It can be done.

    My numbers today:
    32.5 cartons not smoked
    that's 325 packs
    or 6,500 cigs not smoked
    at 1 gram per cigarette that's  14.3 pounds
    and $1,950.00 not spent

    Off topic for a bit: As far as the back surgery goes I'm totally healed. That was my motivation to stop smoking to begin with. All the hardware (rods, screws etc) are where they're supposed to be and they're solid. I no longer have the wicked pain I had before surgery and am eternally grateful for that. I still feel sore but it's getting better (or I'm getting used to it). Either way, the pain is gone.

    I'm still dealing with the nerve damage though. Everything is different from before. I can't run. Can't even jog. Can't walk nearly as far as before I start limping and/or shuffling.  Can't hop in or out of the car. Can't squat in the garden, pull a weed and then stand up and walk away. It takes a minute to get my boots on. It's difficult to pick up a grandchild. Certainly can't wrestle. But I've pretty much adjusted to my new norm and have accepted there are some things I can't do and other things I CAN do but can't do quickly.

    At my last appointment with the surgeon last week he was recommending an MRI so he can see what's going on and where. I declined because my medical leave will soon expire, and when my medical leave expires I'll lose not only medical coverage but also the 66%-of-a-paycheck we've been getting. There is no way we can afford medical treatment out-of-pocket (even if we were getting a full paycheck), so my last appointment with the surgeon was literally my last appointment with the surgeon.

    I work in prison and really need to be able to move about because some days we go from mind-numbing boredom to intense physical activity within seconds. I know I can't do the physical stuff. Recently a couple of my buddies were assaulted by inmates and I realized that, if I had been there, there's nothing I could have done to help. If an inmate had jumped me I couldn't even defend myself. If I went back to work today the inmates would watch me like a pack of wolves watch a wounded animal. I'd be a liability to myself and everyone around me. I don't want to be the reason someone gets hurt. I might get over this nerve damage and be able to go back to work eventually, but I'm disappointed to realize it won't happen before my medical leave expires.

    Lemme see... a liability at work. No paycheck. No insurance. Our savings have taken a big hit. With all of that in mind, my wife and I reluctantly agreed that our best option is early retirement. My last official day will be December 1st, one day before my first "quit smoking" anniversary. In June or so of next year we'll be nearly debt free with the only recurring monthly debt the house mortgage and regular monthly bills (electric, water, internet, etc). No car payments. Nothing else. That will be a huge burden lifted.

    As I keep saying, at least this has happened in the twilight of my career and not at the beginning or in the middle. We do have some options available to us now that we would not have back then.

    We're grateful to be where we are and being smoke free is better than icing on the cake... it's an extra helping of biscuits and gravy.

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646


    Omg! I’m in pain from laughing! You are absolutely hilarious! 

    You should write a book...you’re great at writing, and it probably doesn’t have to be about smoking either. 

    I used to smoke, quit before I had kids. What helped me the most was the dreams, waking up depressed because I caved in and smoked....then when I would have a craving I would remember how depressed I felt from the dream...worked for me. 

    They didn’t have vapes back then... I used straws, cinnamon sticks, and packs and packs of gum.

    My younger sister is a heavy smoker...I definitely think she could relate to your past smoking calculations...and even though she’s a current smoker, she’d get a kick out of your sense of humor...and maybe think about quitting...and then again, maybe not.

  • Sheri76Sheri76 Michigan Posts: 646


    Have you had anymore days where you can smell cig smoke all day? 

    I didn’t have that, but I occasionally smell something burning, like burning hot wires, or something like that. I’ve read where it can be the onset of a migraine, which I do have a history of, but not so much since starting high blood pressure medicine, though I have smelled it for a couple days since starting the BP med. Also says it could be from the first stages of Alzheimer’s. I’m thinking more sinus issues myself...

  • Great read! a quite good story with humor. Just loved it. I have a little habit of smoking occasionally but I quite it a long ago. But I'm now struggling with my husband.  He is a regular smoker and quit smoking every week or day but as usual, he starts smok again. Now I need some suggestion to make him stop smoking. 

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