Thanks for sharing your story Derya, and congratulations on a year plus smoke-free!
I started smoking around the age of 16. It was high school and part of the package of hanging out with friends. Of course, I was only smoking 2-3 a day then. When I left home for college in another city, suddenly I had all the freedom in the world and smoking felt like part of that freedom. I was so wrong of course, but did not know it then. It took me almost no time at all to start smoking a pack a day. So, there is a warning for those who think their daily cigarettes are not at an alarming number. You never know how quickly you can increase your daily intake.
I lived abroad and continued to study further. I always had an important exam or an important event as a reason to postpone quitting. I always had the perfect excuse. Even my wedding became an excuse and I regret having wedding photos with cigarettes in my hand.
Finally one day in the bookstore I saw Allen Carr's Easyway to Stop Smoking. I did not think of it much but bought it anyway. I started reading it and understood that there was an interesting argument here. Having completed my PhD and married the same year, I was out of excuses anyway. I was also the type that needed arguments rather than encouragement. So I started to read and I bought the longer version of the book in English.
I was a smoker for 15 years, a pack a day for 13 years. I never stopped smoking, even for a day, even at my wedding. But after completing the book I was convinced that those 13 years were not years of pleasure. They were years of addiction.
The book stole my last excuse which was that I enjoyed smoking and destroyed my last defense that I wasn't addicted to it. I learned that the discomfort of heavy smoking, the disgust of the smell, the yellow tone of my skin, the dark circles under my eyes were actually all related to smoking. The pleasure I felt was not real pleasure but only relief that comes from getting the substance that you are addicted to replenished in your body. I observed how I smoked and was convinced.
Besides, with smoking bans everywhere, my life had turned into a game of when and where I could smoke rather than what shall I do with my free time. In my in-laws' home, in libraries, the cinema, bars and cafes, all I was thinking was when I should go out to smoke and most of the time freeze in the cold of the winter. The ban really exposed the addict in me. I hated the cold, yet there I was freezing, shaking and smoking. No pleasure there.
I finished the book and with actual tears of joy, I quit smoking. I never had one headache, one desire, one urge, nothing. I sometimes had a funny feeling in my mouth, a few times a day during the first week and once a day for the rest of the first month. I remembered what I read at about.com that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for smoking urges. So, I drank lots of water, tea, green tea. I walked every day because I felt more energetic and also to regularize my body and allow it to adapt to my new and healthy lifestyle.
It has been more than a year now since I quit smoking. Aside from gaining only a couple kgs, which I attribute to married life actually, I haven't had even one nicotine withdrawal symptom. I never thought I could quit and honestly believed I would die smoking. But the realization that smoking is an addiction and like all addictions it can be kicked, made the world of difference.
It is not that I tried and forced myself not to smoke. I did not force myself at all. I decided not to smoke because I declared it was not a pleasure so I was not deprived of pleasure. I was just returning to a normal state of affairs.
Allen Carr's book worked for me. Perhaps another method will work for you. But I urge you to try. Things will not turn out to be as difficult as you fear if you look for help, whether it's a book, medicine, therapy, etc. Smoking cessation is more than doable. Start by taking the first step and by congratulating yourself for taking it. You deserve it.