From Gaylene (dadmont)
It's been four years since I walked through the doors to freedom. It's really hard for me to write the expected "speech" because smoking is such a thing from the past. I rarely think of a cigarette anymore. When I do, it's usually because I'm near someone who is smoking.
Speaking of people smoking....I've started paying attention to the number of smokers standing outside non smoking establishments. My report on numbers is an uplifting one. There just aren't as many people to count. One very good example of this came to light at a recent cosmetology convention which I attended. There were no more than 20 people outside smoking at any one time. This was from an attendance of close to 300! Just a few short years ago it was a huge exodus for the door at each break period. And to think I was leading that exodus!
Hairstylists and people in the beauty industry have always been known to be "smokers". Why for pity sakes? We are in the beauty business! Our mission in life is to help others look good. We need to be examples. Not smell bad, have ugly skin, and coughs.Grateful doesn't begin to describe how I feel to no longer be like that.
Free really does describe how I feel now. To me, it's such a beautiful word....free...to be unshackled, unrestrained, able to come and go at will with no bonds holding me back...free. The sad thing is, I didn't realize I was a prisoner until freedom came to me. Now it's like a load has been lifted; the air is clear, I can smell my flowers and the rain again. Oh how I love the smells!
I liked using images as a stop smoking aid. Picture this...
A poor gray-skinned, yellow-fingered, coughing, gasping for breath, smoky smelling gal. Let's call her Strangling Sis. Strangling Sis staggers from the medical clinic. She's in shock. Her Dr. has just told her she has COPD. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. emphysema. Her life will be very short and painful if she doesn't stop smoking...immediately. This girl is terrified. Not only of having her life cut short, but of quitting the very culprit causing her predicament. She has tried this so many times before. There's got to be some way to break loose from the cigarette chain.
Sis goes home and gets online, searching for a miracle. Her cry for help is answered at About.com's smoking cessation forum. People literally come out of the woodwork offering hands to hold, wise words, laughter. One of these many is a girl named Mikki. She becomes a quit buddy and very dear friend to Strangling Sis. There are scads of others giving their all to help too. Sis struggles, sometimes cries, sometimes gets mad. Gradually she notices her world looking brighter. She is breathing so much better and people are starting to tell her how nice she looks. Things just keep improving.
Can you guess who this story is about? Yep...me! 4 years ago today I took charge of my life and gained my freedom. I now have a whole slew of wonderful new friends (Mikki, my Posse, Jilly and so many others whom I dare not start naming for fear of leaving a name out). I'm no longer hiding behind corners, hanging my head and feeling guilty. I'm free!
You can be too.
OH...you can now call me SMILING SIS!
From Mikki (lvsprettyponies)
Hi quitters and congratulations on finding this great site. It got me through my horrible days and gave me laughs I otherwise wouldn't have had. Not to mention...a wonderful friend (Gaylene), my first and only pen pal.
Gaylene's letter did a lot to tell both our stories. We found through our posts that we had a great deal in common. Both cosmetologists, both had sons, and we both found out we had emphysema. That diagnosis knocked some sense into us and we decided to quit the cigarettes once and for all!
Then the "fun" began...starting with HELL week one, two, and three, etc. etc. We actually made it! We really quit for good. While it's never written in stone, we both have learned a lot and shared from our posts to each other and others over the years. We know the support is there if we need it. I'll never grow tired of celebrating this special day with Gaylene. I wish all of you the very best with your smoking cessation. Being on the positive side of the "cigarette" fence is the greatest!
More from Gaylene and Mikki
Gaylene's Quit Story
Gaylene and Mikki's One Year Milestone
Gaylene and Mikki's Three Year Milestone