Leslie's Omnibus

Tootin' The Horn

It's one year to the day since I woke up and decided to see if I could make it through the day without a cigarette. I didn't use a patch or gum or lozenges or inhalers or Welbutrin or Chantix or e-cigarettes -- most of which I tried in the past and failed at miserably. I did it cold turkey. Not only did I make it through the day, I made it through the year (and with little real discomfort in the process). Yay me!

I'm not going to lecture anyone who's still smoking. Seriously, I can't judge you.

If you want to quit, however, this is what worked for me, and why:
  • Don't wait for January 1. You doom yourself from the start if you play that game.
  • Be ready, but not stressed about it. For me the best time to quit was when I woke up one morning, realized that I'd smoked the last cigarette in the pack the night before and didn't have any more in the house. That kind of timing just works.
  • Take it one day at a time. Anything else can get overwhelming.
  • Don't use crutches -- the side effects can really suck and you can blame your failure on them, rather than your own failure to stick to your guns.
  • Treat cravings like you would a cranky child. Most of the time simply not engaging will nip it in the bud. Sometimes, however, the most effective way to stop a kid in the middle of a temper tantrum is to mimic them by throwing yourself down on the floor and wailing, pounding the floor and rolling around. Silly? Yes. Effective? Yes. (Positively refreshing sometimes!)
  • Say "I quit," not "I'm quitting." Words are powerful things, and positive statements can really reinforce your resolve.
  • Take responsibility for your own behavior. It's not your friend's fault if you backslide: It's yours. Suck it up and be a grownup, pal. (And, even though I haven't backslid, if you do, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Don't beat yourself up and make a big deal about it.)
  • Pat yourself on the back each day for making it through one more day, especially if the cranky craving problem child has been particularly naughty that day.
Now I'll have to figure out how to celebrate this big milestone, and I promise it'll be something good.

A big "Thank You" to all of my friends who've provided encouragement throughout the year!

P.S. -- If you love someone who smokes and want them to quit, here's what not to say to them. Guilt, love, science, rationalization -- none of it works, and just makes most of us dig our heels in and get way more stubborn.


Judy and Don said...

Hooray for you!!! Congratulations; we're very proud of you!

diamond dave said...

My window of opportunity twelve years ago was when I had a head cold for two weeks, which made my cigarettes taste nasty. And since I was on the last one in the pack, I just decided to see how long I could go without having another one. Never picked one up again, though my mouth did bleed from all the Jolly Ranchers I sucked on.

Strangely enough, to this day I have dreams where I'm still a closet smoker and actually wake up with my mouth tasting like an ashtray. Go figure.

Pammy said...

Congrats, Leslie! I'll hit the Cold-Turkey-one-year mark on Jan. 3. When I really stop to think about it, I still can't believe I did it.

Omnibus Driver said...

Judy and Don -- Thanks a million!

Dave -- I think when we stop having those dreams is when we're in danger of picking up a cigarette again. Congrats on 12 years of not smoking! That's an incredible accomplishment.

Pammy -- Great minds think alike. Congrats, my friend!

Harper said...

Way to go Leslie! I quit 17 years ago when I got pregnant and the smell of smoke made my stomach turn. I can't recommend that method, but agree that building it up as a big thing, like quitting on Jan.1, rarely works. It's the difference between wanting to quit and making up your mind to quit.

Omnibus Driver said...

Harper -- Thanks for the kind words... and congrats on your long years of freedom from the nicotine monkey!

Anonymous said...

Hey Les -

My only hope of moving back to Chicago was based on the fact that I could move in with a smoker... I'll never quit, so I hope it's not the case that I'll never move back!