Three Months Quit

Karl Martino – 2/8/99

This was originally posted to the QuitNet smoking cessation site on 2/8/99. If you are interested in quitting smoking, I would suggest checking it out.

Wow. Here I am. Over ten years ago I let myself become a slave to smoking, and for three months now, I havebeen free of it. Well, at least in one sense….

It would call me in the middle of the night to purchase a pack, braving any kind of weather. It would demand a drag before office meetings or during casual conversations. It would urge me to take a puff before my true feelings were revealed in intense situations. It would convince me I had to smoke to be creative,bold or cool. The nicodemon has many faces and voices I’ve learned. Filling me with lies and half-truths.

Amazing what an addiction feels like. Giving it a “demon” like persona, makes it a little easier to deal with.

Early 1998 I promised myself I would begin my life as an ex-smoker. For my future wife, for hopefully my future children, for myself. I went through numerous “practice” runs. Patches once, and 6 times cold turkey. Each time having to remind myself that the attempted quit wasn’t a failure, but hopefully a lesson learned.

What made this time different? In no particular order:

  • Well, like sex, you get better with practice :)
  • “7 Steps to a Smoke-Free Life” by the American Lung Association helped tremendously.
  • Finding and coming to the QuitNet, reading everyone’s stories, successes and lessons to be learned.
  • The personal support I’ve received by so many here.

  • My Hot Chocolate theory (read my profile and hey – it works for me!).
  • Learning that it is ok to fail. That a failure is to be embraced and learned from. THIS IS REALLY
    DIFFICULT.

  • Letting “me be me” and learning it’s ok to let my true feelings shine in any situation.
  • Learning to “let things slide” and not be so intense about things that do not affect me or my loved ones here and now. Like the web page I’ve been meaning to d,o covering my quit and the QuitNet. I haven’t gotten to it yet. I will – someday :)
  • Recognizing that the stresses I feel are just like those of non-smokers. They just have different ways of handling them than I do. Sometimes better, sometimes worst. And that the goal is to follow the better path.
  • Rewarding myself regularly. Buying toys, video games, clothes, taking Richelle out to dinner.

    At first, quitting smoking felt like losing a limb. But now I recognize that that was just the way I felt then and had no basis in truth. The “cravings” still come sometimes. Playing my guitar, after eating, before a meeting. Just now, much less so. And I have a better set of tools to deal with them. I know my road is still tough. But I can feel the load lightening a bit. I must be careful now.

    I am almost an elder. But saddly, my life is so active, I rarely get the chance here to offer my support. Luckily, I know those who are struggling are in good hands with the great group here.

    Congrats to all those celebrating a milestone. And keep the faith all of you. Remember – you can do this.

    3 Months, 3 Days, 11 Hours and 55 Minutes. Over $420, 13 Days and 13 Hours of my life saved.