My Greatest Accomplishment

8.11.2015

This date marks the day that I made the best decision of my life. I made the decision to quit smoking. I was a pack-a-day smoker and had been for seven years already. I was growing tired of the smell and tired of revolving my life around when I could have my next cigarette. I used to panic in settings where I could not smoke and I couldn’t enjoy myself for long periods without them. Seven years passed by and not once did I ever try and quit. I never wanted to, I enjoyed it too much. I was addicted.

On the day that I decided to quit smoking, I wasn’t even sure that I really wanted to. I just knew that it was time to see if I could make it at least one day without them. That’s how I quit, one day at a time. Guess what? I made it that first full day. After that, I wanted to see if I could make it another day. Every single day, I pushed myself to see if I could make it another. I didn’t think about the future, I just focused on 24 hours at a time. I will admit, my first year was not completely nicotine free. I gave in to a couple of cigars and begged friends for a cigarette on various occasions. I even bought a brand new pack once. However, that pack became my safety pack, one that I only dug into once. To this day, it is still mostly full and in my glove box. I hate to tell you, but there is nothing easy about quitting smoking. You just have to do it, get it over with and stay strong through all the ups and downs.

That first year was rough. I had terrible mood swings. On some occasions, I would be so happy and proud to have made it thus far. On other occasions, I would crave one so bad that I’d burst into tears. I never gave up. On a bad note, I replaced my smoking addiction with iced coffees and snacking. I gained over 20 pounds in that first year and a half. It was depressing and made me question if it was worth it. It was. I am still healthier than I was then. For almost the entire first year, I could barely go a couple hours without thinking about a cigarette. Everywhere I went, I imagined having one. As a nonsmoker, I could suddenly spot a smoker in a crowd anywhere when I used to feel like I was the only one. It was a miserable year, but I kept on going.

I am not even sure when it started but suddenly, days would pass by and I would realize that I hadn’t even thought about having a cigarette in at least a couple of days. I was happier. I was able to go places without yearning to join other smokers and I could enjoy being smoke free. I made it over the hump! The worst of it was finally over. To this day, I still occasionally think it would be fun to have a smoke or wonder what it would be like if I never quit although, the cravings themselves are gone. I tell myself that I will not give in to any of these temptations because I never, ever want to go through that process again. I made it this far, I am NOT starting over!!

I have never been so happy with myself as I am now.

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