Hannah's story illustrates this process and provides hope for those still struggling to find a foothold with cessation. Learn from what doesn't work and use that experience to build the quit that will last you a lifetime.
Congratulations Hannah, and thanks for sharing your story.
As I come up to one year smoke free I see how far I have traveled from the woman who smoked obsessively to a person who rarely thinks about smoking. I started this journey four years ago, on July 15, 2008. On that day I put the patch on for the first time and decided that the time had come to quit once and for all.
The first journey went well to begin with, and I was left feeling euphoric at the fact that days and then weeks had passed during which I did not smoke. At first I felt that I had already become a non-smoker. The months passed and around 3 months I started to come down from the initial joy of quitting, as well as at that time I was weaning off the patch. The days seemed long and I thought of smoking often. My whole day revolved around the fact that I did not smoke. I drank coffees as a treat and bought croissants as a treat. Everything was in order to not smoke. Life seemed draining. The battle eased around 5 months, only to culminate into smoking again at 6 1/2 months.
Over the next 3 years I would quit 3 times and each time I would learn something new. Each time I resorted to smoking, it seemed less and less desirable, and the periods that I smoked became shorter and shorter.
Finally last October 29th, 2011 I decided that I'd had enough again and after smoking for about 3 months, I slapped on the patch and began the journey again. To my amazement, from the moment I put on the patch until today the road has been smooth. I have not longed for cigarettes and am simply grateful that I decided to quit.
This past year has been easy, the road smooth and for the most part I have felt like I have never smoked. I know why this is, though. The work had been done and realized over the past 4 years. This final quit simply coincided with a turning point inside of myself, and as I put the patch on that last time, I had already turned the corner on the inside and become a non-smoker.
It did not happen without the days and months where I battled the urge to smoke, the moments when I felt depressed and caved, and the moments when I felt depressed but stuck to my guns. Every moment taught me something, and every moment led to the sum of all the efforts made to get myself free.
Now one year (plus 3 years) later, I can honestly say that I am free.
I can also say to anyone starting out that quitting is an excellent choice. Continue on your path, because ahead of you lies treasures you cannot imagine at this moment. Gems of understanding that will one day completely alter the part of you who feels that life cannot be easily or happily lived without cigarettes.
The fog of illusion dissipates and the sun rises and any tears cried along the way disappear. Your mind realizes where it once was and your heart is grateful because now you can truly laugh. You were once stuck, and now you are free. There will be no regrets that you chose the road to freedom!
One year, 17 minutes and 5 seconds. 14640 cigarettes not smoked, saving $5,270.57. Life saved: 7 weeks, 1 day, 20 hours, 0 minutes.