On the 19th of January I celebrated six years of being smoke free. In honor of that, I’m posting a list I originally started writing in April of 2001 and posted at the now defunct Quit Smoking Diaries (a support group that was a great help to me when I quit). It’s all about the joys of quitting.
I’m posting this for a few friends who are trying to quit or thinking about quitting.
The joys of quitting …..
….. the smell of freshly baked bread, daffodils and other flowers, fresh air, sheets that have been dried outside in the wind and sunshine, the earth after a spring shower, scented candles and incense, perfume, buttered popcorn, a freshly peeled orange, and pine needles on a forest floor.
….. the real taste of all those foods I enjoy.
….. hiking up steep hills and climbing stairs without gasping for breath or feeling like I’m going to have a heart attack.
….. sleeping through the night without coughing, wheezing, or waking up craving a smoke.
….. it’s true what they say: Sex really is better when you don’t smoke.
….. lots of spare time to use as I like rather than as a slave to my addiction.
….. the joyous feeling of accomplishment, of knowing I made it through the last craving, of knowing that I’m winning this battle, of knowing that if I can do this, I can do ANYTHING.
….. the journey into who I am and what I am and what I wish to become.
….. learning how to express my anger right away rather than letting it build up to the ultimate explosion. Learning that tears are a river of cleansing and healing. Learning to live life by really feeling it rather than hiding behind a smokescreen.
….. digging deep and finding out that I really do have the strength to do this.
….. healthy, glowing skin and fewer wrinkles. Good hair days. A twinkle in my eyes. White teeth. No more yellow stains around my mouth and on my fingers.
….. living in the moment and appreciating the small joys of life as I take this journey one step, one moment, one hour, and one day at a time.
….. deep, deep, deep breaths which reach down into my toes and seem to go on forever.
….. the look of love and pride on the faces of my husband and sons.
…. the look of love and pride on my own face.
….. the knowledge that it DOES get better if I wait long enough.
….. the swing of my arms, the roll of my hips, and the increasing strength of my muscles and lungs as I take my daily walks.
….. the freedom to no longer worry about whether or not I stink of cigarette smoke when I go out with friends who are non-smokers.
….. the freedom to enjoy a movie, a play, a concert, or a party without worrying about and looking for a smoke break.
….. more energy and a general over-all feeling of being fully, in living color, alive and well.
….. kissing my husband and knowing I don’t taste like an ashtray.
….. training for a marathon, something I never could have done while I was smoking.
….. going on holiday and sleeping in a clean smelling non-smoking hotel room.
….. leaving behind the constant, every 15-20 minutes, craving for a cigarette and knowing that those cravings may occasionally come around as a minor urge, but they’ll never again control my life as long as I tend to my quit.
….. celebrating my One Year anniversary of freedom on January 19, 2002, which is when it finally sunk in that I am really doing this, without one cheat, puff, or slip.
….. the snow-ball effect of moving from one self-improvement project to another because now I truly know, more so than when I first wrote this, that I can do anything I set my mind to doing.
….. celebrating my Two Year anniversary of freedom on January 19, 2003, and realizing that I wasn’t counting anymore.
….. getting together with old friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while and having them comment on how healthy I look.
….. taking off the weight I gained when I first quit (27 lbs.) and taking off more weight now that I truly know I’m capable of doing whatever I set my mind to do. Quitting taught me that valuable lesson. It’ll teach you, too.
….. celebrating a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth smoberversary, and having to be reminded about each of them.
….. voting to go smoke-free in the Bogs and having it pass. It’ll be great, when we move back, to be able to go to restaurants, clubs, and bars without having to suck in someone else’s poisonous smoke. (Sabbaticalville is not smoke-free, much to my displeasure.)
That’s the short list.
Has this journey of quitting been easy? No. And I appreciate it all the more because of the effort I’ve had to make to get as far as I have. It’s also important to realize that it hasn’t always been hard, either. The joyous, positive moments far outweigh the crappy, struggling moments. I think that’s one of the keys to quitting…..counting up those joyous moments, no matter how small, and being grateful for them.