Quit Smoking Method

Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I tried most of the conventional methods of quitting and they didn’t work for me. After many years of trying and failing, I finally had a flash of inspiration and it helped me to actually quit smoking. What follows is how I got started, and how I stopped smoking.

My high school had a smoking lounge and that’s where all the cool kids hung out. Nick was a cool kid. I wasn’t.

Nick was such a hunk that I just HAD to find a way to meet him. I didn’t know anybody who knew him. He wasn’t in any of my classes but he did hang out in the smoking lounge. He was cool, he was gorgeous, and he didn’t have a girlfriend. I intended to change that. None of my friends hung out in the smoking lounge. They didn’t smoke. I’d look like a jerk just standing out there unless of course, I had a cigarette…

Cigarettes were great! I got a buzz every time I smoked one and for once in my life, I looked COOL. Maybe I’d even meet some of the other cool kids! I was only using the cigarettes as a prop. I wasn’t hooked on them and I didn’t intend to be. I just wanted to meet The Hunk.

I never did meet any of the cool kids, but I did finally meet The Hunk through one of my neighbors (I hadn’t needed the cigarettes after all.) Nick, however, was not interested in me, and he disappeared a couple months later into the wild blue yonders of graduation. The only thing I had accomplished in the smoking lounge, was to start smoking. The cigarettes didn’t disappear. I liked smoking. I liked the freedom of being able to go anywhere I wanted and look COOL, leaning up against a wall with a cigarette.

I was seventeen, and the year was 1975.

By the time I turned nineteen, I didn’t want to smoke cigarettes any more. I wanted to quit smoking, but I couldn’t. For the next eight years I tried all kinds of ways to quit smoking and never made it past 48 hours. I had it bad!

I tried to quit cold turkey. I tried gradual withdrawal filters. I tried drops that you put on your tongue to make your mouth taste minty and cigarettes taste awful. I smoked them anyway. Foul tasting as the drops made the taste of cigarette smoke, I still had to have that cigarette! They didn’t have the nicotine patch back, then so I don’t know if it would have worked for me. Somehow I doubt it.

I was one of those cigarette junkies who’d run out of smokes in the middle of the night and go rummaging through my car, feeling down in the seats looking for the one that got away. I’d go through ashtrays pulling out old butts and relighting them. I had it worse than any heroin addict.

By the time I turned twenty seven I was totally fed up. Cigarettes were expensive. Cigarettes were unhealthy. People everywhere were quitting, why couldn’t I? Whereas once almost everyone smoked, now it seemed that nobody smoked. Cigarettes weren’t cool anymore.

My boyfriend didn’t smoke. I always felt guilty when we kissed. He tasted so clean and fresh, and I didn’t. I really wanted to quit. He really wanted me to quit. As much as I wanted to start smoking to meet Nick, I wanted to stop smoking to stay with Ryan. It’s really hard for a smoker and a non-smoker to be together.

I wanted to quit for myself, too. I couldn’t forget all the pictures I’d seen of cigarette smoker’s lungs. I didn’t want to die 10 or 20 years ahead of my time, and just think of what I could do with all that extra money!

The plan was simple. I used a daily chart that divided each day into half hours. Every half hour I’d log how many cigarettes I’d smoked in that time. If I didn’t smoke that half hour, I’d fill in the block with a bright orange marker. The object was to cut down and keep cutting down until I wasn’t so addicted to nicotine anymore. Then maybe I could stop.

The first couple days I just kept a record of my smoking. I didn’t really try to cut down. I felt great when I got so busy I didn’t smoke and could color a square bright orange.

After a couple of days I began to take a more active role. I’d try to go a half hour just so that I could color in a square. Every bright orange square was a huge accomplishment. I’d find myself watching the clock and waiting an extra five or ten minutes for a cigarette, just to be able to color in a square.

As the days went by, I was able to color in more and more squares. My body was gradually beginning to withdraw from nicotine.

I didn’t put a time limit on myself. That was too much pressure. I figured a half hour at a time was pressure enough. I don’t remember exactly how long it took, but I finally got to where I was smoking only three cigarettes a week. THREE cigarettes in a whole WEEK! I was so proud of that!

Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? I mean, why bother to smoke at all if you’re down to only three cigarettes a week, right? Most of the time my body didn’t crave cigarettes anymore. I’d get a twinge here and there but nothing I couldn’t handle. But about three times a week I’d get this major urge. It would hit me BAD. That’s the only time I smoked, and I’d only smoke one, just to get past those last few big urges.

After a couple of weeks of smoking just three a week, I quit. I finally quit smoking, absolutely and totally. The major urges had faded into twinges and I could handle twinges.

So after 8 years of trying to quit, I made it! I really and truly made it!

When it comes to quitting smoking there’s only one rule: Don’t stop trying to quit. Every stop smoking method does not work for everybody. Some people CAN quit using filters, gum, breath drops, acupuncture, nicotine patches or even cold turkey. We’re all different.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, don’t give up. Wait awhile, let go of that feeling of failure, then try again. YOU are not a failure. That particular method failed for you. So just wait awhile and try again. Try something else. Sooner or later something will work. Just don’t ever stop trying!

Believe me, it’s worth the wait!

Author’s Update: I was successful. I quit. My lungs are clearing out with each year that passes. My Mom wasn’t so lucky. She died at 60 years old. My Mom was a heavy smoker. She had throat cancer. Did it come from smoking? Who can say? All I know is that I had a Mom, and now she’s gone. She didn’t survive the chemo treatments for the throat cancer. She made it all the way through the very last treatment, and they declared her cancer to be in remission. But the chemo made her body so weak, that two weeks after the chemo ended, she died anyway. Even as I write this, my eyes fill with tears. Don’t leave somebody behind to cry for you. A parent, a child, a spouse, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a best friend. Quit now, before you end up like my Mom.

P.S. — I don’t have smoker’s voice either. I am now in my fifties, and a narrator of audiobooks such as the book Broken Butterfly. Listen to my voice. It is crystal clear. You’d never know that I once was a smoker.

  • Broken Butterfly

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    Broken Butterfly: My Daughter's Struggle with Brain Injury

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