I’ve stopped smoking and I need your help


This is a personal request to any of you who may have the skills to help me. What I would like is  some kind of widget for my sidebar that will keep count of the days from today’s date so I can track my progress.

I have been a chain smoker for the last 5 years, and have had ups and downs in my smoking over the past 22 years. Yes, read that again, 22 *&^% years of sucking nicotine and god knows what down my lungs.

I stopped on my birthday in 1998 for the first time but reacted badly to the patch and was sick as dog from nicotine poisoning. So I ripped it off.

I stopped on my birthday in 2004 and stayed off smoking for 7 weeks after that until the day I realized I needed to make changes in my life, professionally and geographically.

Well, 40 was always my landmark date for stopping smoking, except that one can’t really stop in Paris 🙂 Anyway, this was no big decision around picking the date today. It just came to me that I needed to do this, that I must do this, and that today was the day. So I listened, I really listened to the message I was being given – of course it doesn’t hurt that the message was sent in such an obvious way to a slow tubelight like myself.

I can’t walk with my sprained ankle down my street, which is on a 30 degree steep angle, and I have no cigarrettes at home. Now I could, of course, try. But that’s when I stopped and asked myself, as I was in the shower getting ready to go out, that here I am, my ankle is hurting and I am going to do what? Let’s just say the message was unequivocal and non-negotiable.

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8 Responses to I’ve stopped smoking and I need your help

  1. Wow. What a moment. I did this 22 years, two months ago, after smoking from age 13 (hey, you grew up male and Italian in the Bronx back then, you smoked) to age 36…so, I guess we smoked for about the same length of time. January 3, 1984, I came home and told my wife, “oh, I quit smoking today.” She freaked, and smoked for another 14 months before quitting herself.
    I got into the pain. I know it’s weird, but I got into the “lung longing” that accompained quitting. I began to enjoy how much it hurt to breathe without smoking, and breathed real deeply to experience what it was like. It wasn’t pleasant, but, somehow, it helped me keep quitting.
    I also put a pack of Kools (I loved them!) on my nightstand so they were the last thing I saw at night and the first thing I saw in the morning. They sat there for two years before I finally threw them away. For some strange reason, I never wanted to say, “boy, it’s a good thing there are no cigarettes around now, ’cause I’d probably smoke one.”
    This was a stupid way to quit, but it was how I did it. Never smoke another cigarette since.
    Stay strong…the first month sucks really bad, but it gets better after that.

  2. niti bhan says:

    Yeah and it’s not the patch, gum, hypnosis, what have you, I’m discovering. It’s from within. My dad stopped cold turkey just like you, one day, after being a chain smoker in the two-three pack range. In 86 in fact, so 20 years for him.
    Maybe it’s a *point* you reach, especially if you’re the professional smoker, not the social half hearted type, but the one who always has matches, lighter or cigarettes. Worries if hte pack is getting low, plans for the future etc
    thank you, your good wishes will come in handy every single day from tomorrow morning’s cup of coffee 🙂

  3. Find something else to do with your lungs. Get a mountain bike, or a street bike for San Francisico, go riding with friends. Biking is pretty good, because it’s easy, you don’t have to build up too much skill before you can enjoy it. So long as you enjoy it, you’ll start to see that your smoking is getting in your way, in a big way.
    If you already run, jog or bike and chain smoke, you are truely amazing.

  4. atrakasya says:

    1. Do not count.
    If you actively count the number of days it is the surest way to tie yourself to the cigarette.
    When you leave something, leave it fully without constantly looking back.
    2. Reinterpret the urge to smoke.
    Everytime you feel the urge to smoke, interpret it as the urge to drink water or green tea or something. This is not unusual, because smokers anyway often interpret thirst as an urge to smoke. You just have to reverse the neural pathway.
    Keep a flask of warm water with you and keep sipping it all the time. Lovely habit, helps metabolism.
    3. Keep in mind that with every moment that you don’t do it, the urge only reduces, since the neural pathway weakens – lack of reinforcement. In addition, if you provide an alternate pathway to the urge (drinking warm water), its really a piece of cake.
    Have fun…

  5. niti bhan says:

    Alan, can’t walk much yet, let me work on that, then I’ll think about running 🙂
    Lynn, thanks for the widget site, but I think atrakasya’s suggestion not to keep track makes a lot of sense. Best to just put this behind me and move on as though it was all in the past and the past is gone and over. thanks!

  6. jens says:

    as a quitter myself i can say: atrakasya gives great advice.
    wisdom from india. we are loving it! – always.
    especially the thing with the water flask. do it. otherwise your metabolism might play some strange tricks on you.
    i quit heavy smoking about 9 month ago… and i cannot tell you how i did it. i just know i did. but i also can tell you that i took on about 15 kilos of weight. i had not changed my diet – i had not changed my exercise habits. but my metabolism just changed itself by not getting his precious smoke anymore.

  7. niti bhan says:

    Thanks! Jens
    yes, also apple juice and lychee juice and some candy. But last time when I stopped, and it was actually closer to three months not 7 weeks, I was worried about gaining weight but I didn’t gain. Hopefully my metabolism can handle the change.

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