A smoberversary

I had my weather facts wrong yesterday.  The snowstorm that moved through was not lake effect snow at all, but part of a clipper system coming down from Canada.  The snow we’re expecting later today will be brought to us courtesy of another front.  The weather prognosticators are saying we could get up to 6 inches of new snow.  Skiing might be possible tomorrow.

A trio of doves

I went out for my walk at sunrise this morning.  The sky was the most amazing shade of pinkish-purple.

The temperature was a big, round zero, not at all nice to my fingers even though I layered with gloves and mittens.  My fingers did a lot of stumbling and fumbling with the camera buttons/controls.  Fifteen minutes out and I’d had enough.

Thawing out my fingers was painful.  I have no idea how the birds and other critters can stand this kind of cold.

The male cardinal showed up at the feeder today.  The photos I managed to get are not very good.  My camera is doing some odd things lately (probably a result of dragging it out on zero degree days!).  A lot of the photos are coming out with that painting-like effect.  I decided to go with it and enhance it a little in Photoshop.

Yesterday was my smoberversary.  Eleven years ago, on 19 January, I quit smoking.  It slipped my mind yesterday.  I usually post my stats and my “Joy of Quitting” list to celebrate so here we go…

I have been gloriously smoke-free for 4,018 days.  I have not smoked 241,098 death sticks (cigarettes).  (Good grief.  The thought of that many cigarettes all heaped in a pile is sickening.)  Money not spent (because I sure didn’t save it):  $60,270.00.  (I wouldn’t mind have all of that heaped in a pile.)

I will put my Joy of Quitting list at the end of the post so it’s easy to skip if you’re not interested.  In the meantime, thank you for dropping by the Bogs.  It looks like the next round of snow will be arriving soon.  Maybe we can go sledding later.  🙂

Long time visitors to my blog know that every year I review my list called The Joys of Quitting.  I originally started the list during my first year and have been adding to it once in a while.  As I reread it today, some of those joys seems a little quaint to me.  They are still important joys, just not in the same way since they are now the foundation of my quit rather than part of the present moment of 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.

….. 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.)

….. celebrating my ninth year of being smoke-free and being astounded by the amount of money I would have spent if I’d still been smoking for all these years.

….. epiphanies.  Even this late in the game, there are things to be learned from the beginnings of this quit.

….. celebrating a whole decade of living without cigarettes.

….. taking a cross-country ski lesson and as we were heading up a hill for the third time thinking about how thankful I am that I quit smoking because I would not have been able to do this if I had continued to smoke heavily.  (And I was a heavy duty smoker.)

….. celebrating eleven years of deep, clear breaths and being grateful for the reminder of success.

I used to end this with:  ‘That’s the short list.’  But it has grown so much over the years that the word short no longer applies although there are the intangibles, the things that, if I could put them into words, would add a great deal to this 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.

If you smoke, think about quitting.  If you quit or are in the midst of quitting, stay quit.  It might take a while but eventually you’ll get here too, and understand just how joyous life can be once you break the bonds of that addiction.

My passion for quitting isn’t just about my own quit.  My mother died of small-cell lung cancer.  Small-cell lung cancer is a deadly, aggressive, nasty cancer.  There are two known causes:  coal mining and smoking cigarettes.  My mother was not (nor had she ever been) a coal miner.  She was, however, a smoker.

Miss you, Mom.

40 Comments on “A smoberversary”

  1. Karma says:

    Wow, over 200,000 cigarettes and 60 grand! That’s really something! Good for you. My mom smoked when I was kid ( she quit a long time ago), but I think living with that was enough to make me never want to pick them up.
    Your bird pictures out in the cold are reminding me I really need to replace my squirrel-destroyed bird feeder. What style of feeder is that in your pictures? Do the squirrels bother it?

    • Robin says:

      Karma: It’s really gross, isn’t it? 200,000 cigarettes. Yikes.

      M made the feeder from an old bicycle tire. The birds seem to love it. We don’t have squirrels this close to the house. M would love to have some squirrels raid the feeder as he enjoys watching the squirrels, but we have not been able to attract any. They prefer to live in the woods. I take corn out to them occasionally so they won’t feel left out.

      • Karma says:

        No squirrels? Wow. Squirrels are like an expected part of the scenery here in suburbia. I don’t mind watching squirrels, but I just wish they weren’t so greedy!

        • Robin says:

          I think the hawks might eat any squirrels who dare to venture out of the woods where they have plenty of cover. Too much meadow and now enough trees.

          Before we moved out to the country we lived in suburbia and we had black squirrels in our yard. They were so much fun to watch. Very playful little creatures.

  2. Congratulations on your quit-smoking anniversary. Good for you, Robin. Cigarettes are deadly. Hope you have a great weekend, my friend. And stay warm!

  3. Kala says:

    Beautiful wintry images Robin. And congratulations on quitting AND keeping to it.

  4. Bo Mackison says:

    It is a huge accomplishment, Robin, one of the hardest things to do. But when one looks at the benefits — not only the money — but a better LIFE in an infinite number of ways, it is such a grand accomplishment. Way to go!

  5. Deborah Lee says:

    My quit day was November 16, 1999. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as big a deal as I thought it was going to be. What I’m really addicted to is chocolate!! I quit eating it for about a year, and it almost killed me!

  6. Carla says:

    Congratulations, Robin! I love your list – that is a great deal to be thankful for! I also wonder how the little birds deal with zero degree weather! It’s amazing. Brrr!!

  7. Hallysann says:

    I love the bird photos, especially the first one.
    congrats on quitting, I quit to catch for my eldest daughter and haven’t looked back for almost 24 years now. It’s a good feeling. 🙂

  8. jane tims says:

    Hi Robin. A male cardinal!!!! Jane

  9. aFrankAngle says:

    One thing about my end of our state – it’s not as cold during the winter! We got ice last night, which would give you some good shots.

    Congrats on your accomplishment. Looking at it in from the monetary point is stunning. Better yet, sharing many of the things you now enjoy is even better. Well done!

  10. Tammy says:

    Robin, what a touching post. You are giving yourself a wonderful gift. And I love the painting effect on the photos. They’re beautiful.

  11. ladyfi says:

    Congratulations on being smoke-free! Keep it up.

    Love these shots – especially that magical first one.

  12. […] empty shepard’s hook in that picture, as well as Robin and Bob, have been reminding me that I still need to get out and replace my bird feeder.  The […]

  13. Corina says:

    I think the photos are beautiful, even with that “painting-like effect”. I love the vivid color of the male cardinal against the starkness of winter.

    And congratulations on your most recent smoberversary. That is quite an accomplishment! I know it’s a tough thing to do, one that takes a lot of will power and stamina and determination. Good for you!

    Looking forward to more pictures, paint like effect or not!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Corina. 🙂

      That’s what I like most about the male cardinal. He’s a brilliant spot of color in what would otherwise look like a black & white scene.

  14. Dana says:

    Congratulations on such a milestone, Robin! I can’t imagine 200,000+ cigarettes all heaped together, but I too wouldn’t mind seeing $60K+ piled up like leaves for me to play in. 🙂

    You get such amazing birds at your feeder, regardless of whether your camera feels like capturing them or not. We put up our feeder a week ago and I have yet to see *any* bird at it. 😦 Marty and I don’t know if the birds just don’t like our feeder or whether they’re too dim to find it… Any suggestions?

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Dana. 🙂

      Is your feeder out in the open? The birds don’t like wide open spaces (makes them too vulnerable to bigger birds such as hawks). It sometimes takes a week or two for the birds to find the feeder, too. Have any arrived yet?

      • Dana says:

        It’s hanging from a large tree branch near the fence that divides our property from our neighbours’– not in the open, for sure, but maybe too hidden for our dim-witted feathered friends? 😉 They have been gathering *underneath* the feeder but haven’t yet looked up to see the mother lode. We’ll see…

  15. My mother used to smoke too–I hated it but then picked up the habit at 18. I haven’t smoked since i was 32 and am now 59. It’s a huge accomplishment of which you should be proud–no wonder you now breathe “deep, deep, deep, down into your toes.” ps Really like the softness of that first photo–delicate and lovely.

  16. Sara says:

    Wow! Congratulations on your quit! What an achievement! I quit 3 months ago and although I am taking one day at a time, I look forward to reach years. Beautiful pictures by the way! 🙂

  17. eof737 says:

    I love these…. Stunning! 😉

  18. Cmsmith says:

    Your pictures are gorgeous as usual. I’m proud of you that you quit that bad habit. I imagine it was hard to do. I’m sure your mom was or would be proud of you too.

  19. […]  If you’d like to read about my Joys of Quitting, you can find the last list I posted here (that link will take you to my old blog, Life in the Bogs).  My current stats are somewhat […]

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