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18 Months Smoke-Free

Share Your Story: Milestones on the Road to Recovery from Nicotine Addiction

By Avas1223

Updated February 23, 2010

18 Months Smoke-Free

Vicky - 18 months smoke-free

My Milestone

Celebrating 18 months smoke-free!

How I've Gotten This Far

I quit smoking on July 18, 2008, using the Cold Turkey method. I had smoked for 13 years at the rate of approximately two packs a day. I am 31 years old.

I quit for many reasons, but number one was that I was concerned about my health.

A few years prior to quitting, I was diagnosed with asthma and I felt it was getting worse. I worried that if I was already having breathing issues due to smoking, what would my breathing be like by the time I was 50 years old? Or worse, would I even reach 50?

Out of curiosity, I decided to do a search on quit smoking support and was surprised that there was support out there. I was even more surprised that About.com Smoking Cessation's support forum was so active!

Through the forum community there I learned that Knowledge is Power and the key to success, so I read a lot and I continue to read to this day. I would not have come this far without the support of the smoking cessation forum.

In the beginning of my quit program, it was a challenge to learn how to get through my day without a cigarette; it seemed that thoughts of smoking were constant. I learned that it was because smoking had been part of my daily routine for so long.

When I quit and didn't spend my free time smoking anymore, it felt like time was creeping by. As time passed though, I broke through a lot of my triggers, and this quit started to get easier. That eased my mind. There is a saying on the forum that goes like this,

    quitting smoking is a process, not an event.
It's true, and I understand it from personal experience now.

Several months into my journey, I started to look at my quit like a game, almost. Breaking through things that triggered the urge to smoke was satisfying and achieving smoke-free milestones was rewarding.

By the time I was a year smoke-free, I still had smoking thoughts, but they pretty much left as fast as they came. I am in my second year of cessation now, and I find myself feeling very thankful that I have come this far. I truly am enjoying being smoke free.

Lessons Learned

  • Knowledge is Power- read all you can about nicotine addiction.
  • Have patience- try to understand that smoking cessation is a process, not an event
  • Own your quit- take full responsibility for your quit; ownership of it. Do not let anyone or thing come in the way.
  • Work though your triggers - there will be stress, disagreements, sorrow and so much more, but a cigarette is never the answer.

Terry Martin, About.com Smoking Cessation, says:

Congratulations Vicky, and thanks for your honest thoughts on what it's like to recover from nicotine addiction. You touch on an important point in your account:
    Smoking cessation is a process, not an event.
I always tell folks to allow the entire first smoke-free year to healing from nicotine addiction. That is not to say we'll be miserable for a year, but it does take that long to face most of the events and emotions in our daily lives that trigger the urge to smoke. Once faced smoke-free, those triggers begin to lose their power to affect us, and with enough time, fade away to nothing.

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