7 years ago tonight, i was coming to the end of day one for the final time. i didn't realize it at the time, because i'd quit so many times before, it never occurred to me to think of this quit as the one that would finally stick.
no matter what's going on in your life, you always get to choose how you'll respond to the next craving. what you can't do is evade the consequences of those choices.
but it did: i took my last puff 7 years ago last night, threw away 18 and a half packs of newports (yep, that's right; a full carton and most of another), all my lighters and ashtrays and other smoking paraphernalia, and vowed that i would never smoke again.
and i've never looked back, except in shame over how i abused myself for so long before i finally stopped.
you see, i smoked for 35 years, give or take, and did the quit/relapse cycle too many times to even bother counting. before it was over, i'd given myself an advanced case of emphysema that put an end to my career as a performing musician (i was a professional trombonist and singer), and would have, my doctor assured me, put an end to my life, in a very unpleasant way, if i didn't quit, and quit right then.
i took that as a wake-up call, and quit a week to the day after my diagnosis. i haven't had a puff since.
if i had to pick a single factor that made this long-term success possible after so many failures, it would have to be my realization — and acceptance — of the fact that i'm an addict. as traumatic as it is to think of yourself that way, it's also incredibly liberating: because when that crave comes knocking, addicts only have two choices: feed the addiction, or don't feed it.
this is one of the few things in life that are truly black and white: feed it or don't. simple.
and as long as you're clear about the consequences of those choices, and accept the responsibility for making them, you can't make the wrong one.
if you choose to feed the addiction, you strengthen it, you reinforce its control over your life, and you make it that much more likely that you'll cave in and choose to feed it again the next time a craving comes.
this way lies death.
on the other hand, if you choose not to feed the addiction, you weaken it, you reinforce your own control over your life, and you make it that much easier to choose not to feed it again the next time a craving comes.
this way lies life.
btw: i put "lucky" in quotes in the title because luck has nothing whatsoever to do with this process: once you choose to quit smoking, if you ever find yourself sucking on a lit cigarette again, it won't be bad luck that got you into that situation; it'll be a bad choice. your bad choice. your deliberate, conscious choice to start poisoning yourself again. to choose death.
at this point (after having been around the online quit support community for 7 years), i've heard every excuse there is (heck, i've even heard a few that i never used myself in 35 years of serial quitting), but that's all they are: excuses. the bottom line is, no matter what's going on in your life, you always get to choose how you'll respond to the next craving. what you can't do is evade the consequences of that choice. those are yours to keep.
i'd suggest you choose wisely.
i'd suggest you choose life.