Quitting smoking was kind of like exercising: I talked about it a lot, but never really got around to it. When I finally did, though, I found the whole process to be a lot easier than I had expected (except for the first three days, when I acted like a grade-A biatch and wanted to commit all sorts of murder and mayhem).
I first called 1-800-NO-BUTTS in Summer, 2009. I was connected to my county’s Public Health Department, where I was told about the program. I would be given NRTs (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) if I followed an easy program, which included online counseling and a really neat forum on which to interact (I found this one to be my favorite). I bought mocha Commit lozenges instead, and, using an electronic cigarette, managed to quit for… about 2 months. Then the holidays and accompanied stress arrived, and I easily relapsed into my trusty American Spirit addiction. I moved to Los Angeles shortly thereafter, and continued smoking. I enjoyed it less, even though I was completely addicted, and thought about quitting often. George, the county smoking cessation coordinator, continued calling me every four months or so, never pushy, but persistent nonetheless. In October of last year, I moved again. George called. I answered. I was ready.
Because I’m a research maniac, I read up on the most successful quit methods. I learned that planning and preparation were super important. I quit cold turkey on November 22, 2010. After about three days, I met with George to pick up some nicotine lozenges (however, my nicotine withdrawal only lasted about 3 days). I took my mom, who was also a smoker at the time. Encouraged, she decided to quit too. She chose the patch method, along with an 8-week smoking cessation group course, to which I was initially opposed, but signed up for anyway as her support. I was surprised to receive a wealth of information, and enjoyed these groups immensely, as the information was presented in a really positive and affirming way (I hate smoking scare tactics). My stepfather was a very heavy smoker at the time (my mom was probably at a half pack/day; I was at almost a pack/day; my stepfather was pushing 2 packs/day), and in no hurry to quit. In fact, he quite rudely and openly opposed my quitting (too much stress at the time for me, he said), which I found slightly discouraging, completely irritating, and totally ridiculous. There is no ideal time to quit, really, is there? If there were, we’d still all be smoking, standing around the ashtray waiting for it. Stress and suffering will exist whether you are smoking or not. Then a funny thing happened: after my mother and I successfully completed our course, he signed up. The rest, as they say, is history. My stepfather attended the courses (he used both nicotine patches and lozenges), accompanied by his best friend, who was pushing 3 packs/day (he used patches, gum, lozenges, and an e-cig). Soon thereafter, our neighbor decided to quit, using the patch. Her husband, who chews, is currently in the process of quitting. We have all experienced success.
Today’s thesis: When you choose to make positive changes in your life, you affect those around you in an equally positive way. You have the power to create a ripple effect via your actions… through something like a smile, quitting smoking, or eliminating meat and other animal products from your diet. It is said that your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, and your habits become your destiny. Just as you are what you eat, you are also what you think and feel. I encourage you to experiment with making just one positive change in your life. Today. Challenge an old, negative thought pattern. I guarantee that you will attract the positivity you choose to consciously extend outward. Who knows, perhaps you will even change your life.