When I look back now, I am really and truly baffled as to how I started smoking. I grew up with my mom smoking like a chimney, and my dad dipping snuff. Our walls always turned a gross shade of yellow, and everything I owned had the faint smell of cigarette smoke. When I was a kid, I took it for granted that everyone smoked when they grew up. I had been exposed to it my whole life.
I don’t remember exactly when it was that I began to understand that smoking was bad for you. Sometime in my elementary school years I started to take in the health implications, and I immediately began urging my mother to stop. For years, we went through this sort of stop/start roller coaster of quitting for a few days only to have her start back up again. I never imagined it would be so difficult for her!
I remember when I was twelve or thirteen asking my mother the hardest question I’d ever asked, “Why are you willing to die for your cigarettes, but you won’t live for your kids?” She was unable to give me an answer. It was right then that I vowed to never be the sort of mom who smoked.
Then, like a miracle, sometime when I was in high school, my mother discovered Nicorette(R) gum. I didn’t understand at the time what exactly made it special. After all, every other time she’d “quit,” she would chew bubble gum like a loon and it wouldn’t help. But somehow, this time it was working. She went a week, two weeks, a month without smoking, and it didn’t seem like any great sacrifice for her. She kept her smile and her sunny disposition.
At some point, she was able to refer to herself as an “ex-smoker.” I couldn’t have been prouder.
And then, many many moons later, I found myself with a cigarette in my own hand. I was working for a small telecoms company in Bentley, England and I wanted to fit in with my peers. It was frowned upon by management for anyone to take a break during the day – except for smokers. Smokers had two designated smoke breaks each morning and afternoon, and during lunch. They’d spread out on the grass overlooking the beautiful farmland and smoke rolled cigarettes and chat. I wanted to be part of it. So I started bumming cigarettes and eventually, I started buying them.
I told myself that I wasn’t addicted because I was only doing it to fit in. But my three times a day slowly started turning into a pack a day and I couldn’t stop. I was hopeless.
I smoked through a stressful, though amicable, divorce, and I moved on to a new relationship with the man I am now married to. I smoked through the beginnings of our relationship and to this day, I’m amazed that we made it, as neither he nor anyone he knew smoked. When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, I quit cold turkey. I’d been thinking about quitting for a while, but I hadn’t been able to. Having a baby inside of me gave me the strength I needed.
I made it nine months without a cigarette, but soon after he was born, I was right back out in the garden blowing smoke. I didn’t want it to be over.
It was only when my son was eleven months old that I finally decided I needed to quit for good. That’s when I reached for NicoDerm(R) CQ(R) patch. I’d seen my mother’s success with the gum, but I was not a gum chewer. So I went for the patch. I found it really helpful, though I still had a bit of oral fixation and I wondered what might work. A phone call to my mother revealed that she moved from the gum to the Nicorette(R) mini lozenge back when she was working on quitting. The next morning, I decided to switch from the patch to the Nicorette(R) mini lozenge, so I went out and bought the 4 mg. mint flavor and found it to be exactly what I needed. I took less and less and finally I, too, was able to declare myself an “ex-smoker.”
I do believe that a great way to stop smoking for good is to “find your why.” Find the one thing you look forward to more than your next pack of cigarettes. Find the thing that grants you courage and hope – the thing that drives you forward. Every “why” is unique and individual, and we all have own reasons for quitting smoking.
For my mom, she was just tired. She’d been smoking since she was twelve, and she wanted to stop before she had major health issues. She did it for herself because she wanted to take control. For me, it was having a child. I loved him more than I had ever loved anyone, and I remembered those words I had said to my mother so long ago – I wasn’t ready to die for my cigarettes, but I was totally ready to live for my child. I eventually wanted more children, and smoking wasn’t something I wanted them to be exposed to.
If you are ready to take the leap, sign up for a $5 coupon at Quit.com so you can start on the journey to becoming an ex-smoker. Quit.com offers you wide resource of information, as well as tons of inspirational articles on other people’s journey to a smoke free life.
Find out more by visiting Quit.com, Nicorette.com, NicoDermCQ.com on Facebook, Twitter (@Nicorette and @NicoDermCQ) and on YouTube. You can even get a $5 coupon in-pack to trade up to larger sizes or the next step in the program.
*Behavioral support program increases chances of success. Use as directed.
Now for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card, what is your reason to quit smoking?
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