Six Months After Quitting Smoking: My Story
It's Been 6 Months
I have now been smoke-free for a full six months, thanks to successfully completing a smoking-cessation course called Nicotine Solutions.
I feel absolutely great, especially as the course didn't require the use of any drugs, patches, gum etc. It was completed entirely via weekly live phone calls between Lela Bryan (the founder of Nicotine Solutions), and other people who wanted to stop smoking in various locations around the world. In other words, the course could be completed from our own homes via either a Skype connection, or with Lela phoning your normal telephone using her Skype connection.
Now that I've reached the six-month mark, I am aware of many changes in my day-to-day life as a result of no longer having the body pumped full of tar, smoke and cancer-causing chemicals. Firstly I have loads more energy than before, I am finding myself waking up earlier in the day, and without that horrible stale taste in my mouth. My skin looks brighter and less dull, my teeth are no longer stained with nicotine (as I had them descaled after I stopped smoking, and now there is no danger of the staining returning). My hair is shinier than before and seems to be far healthier, my sense of taste has dramatically awakened and I now realise what I have been missing out on for the last 20 years as a result of my a 20-plus-cigarette-per-day habit.
One of the most noticeable changes is my sense of smell is far more sensitive. I never cease to alarmed at how awful a smoker smells when they come back after having had a cigarette. It horrifies me to think I used to smell like that and was naïve enough to think I could simply suck a mint to cover up the smell of the smoke on my breath. I guess I forgot about the smell lingering in my clothes, my hair and still on my breath in spite of the mints! I can now smell a smoker several hours after they last had a puff, and believe me, it is not an attractive scent.
As many of you may know, in the past I had tried virtually all the other known methods to stop smoking, accupuncture, willpower, patches, inhalators, hypnosis, Zyban, Champix, Alan Carr's book etc etc etc. None of these worked for me, and I was rapidly getting more and more depressed at the level my Nicotine addiction had reached, plus losing hope that there was even a solution out there that would work for me. It was only by sheer chance I read an article by Lela Bryan here on hubpages about how to stop smoking. I quickly left a comment essentially saying "Help".
Lela was great. within a day or so she came back to me and said she could help me, and that she had helped hundreds of people to stop smoking over the years. Naturally I was a little bit skeptical at first snd had concerns over the likely success of such a course, but Lela assured me she had over a 90% success rate. Finally I decided it had to be worth a try as I had little to lose and everything to gain, plus my Husband and I were unsuccessfully trying for a baby and felt the smoking was probably not helping our chances and could be contributing to my infertility.
As a smoker it is truly hard to imagine being able to stop purely based on a course. You can't help doubting the possibility of it working when you know you have tried all the known methods of quitting smoking without any success. It is only when you begin living the course week by week and following the methods, advice and techniques that Lela teaches, that you begin to see and feel how this will work.
For the first six weeks you continue to smoke with the Nicotine Solutions Course, and this is important if the course is going to work for you. It is a mistake to simply try to stop cold turkey, and you are almost definitely doomed to fail if you try this method, leaving you filled with self loathing over your own failure and believing that you are never going to be free of this horrible habit.
Yes there are day to day tasks and exercises to follow in order to achieve the outcome of being a true non-smoker by the end of the course, but these are all part of achieving the success you desire. I followed the course to the letter for the most part, and am so glad I did as I am now comfortable in my new persona of being a 'smoke free' person.
Our home smells better, I feel, and look, healthier. When we finally go for a mortgage, our life insurance will be virtually half the price of that of a smoker. Our cottage has been redecorated and no longer has the nicotine stained walls, plus the car is also a far cleaner and nicer smelling vehicle to travel in.
I don't wake myself up in the mornings by coughing uncontrollably, inevitably ending up retching in the process, plus my bank account balance suddenly seems to be a whole load more healthy too!
My mother (as well as the rest of my family), finally have got off my case and no longer need to nag me to stop smoking. The best part of this is my mother has stopped presenting me with armfuls of newspaper cuttings about the perils of smoking, (as if I didn't know the dangers already). Believe me when I say this has not only reduced any arguments I have had with my family, but has also alleviated their stress levels now they no longer need to worry so much about my health and the risks my continuing to smoke was causing. I used to try to explain to them that Quitting Smoking is something you have to do when you alone are ready, and not because your family try to emotionally blackmail you into it, but it is really difficult to make a non-smoker understand this. Only a former smoker may be able to identify with the need for you personally to truly want to stop smoking, but for yourself, not because everyone else wants you to.
Lela taught us not to think of it as "Quitting Smoking" or "Giving Up" smoking, as this implies that smoking is enjoyable, when clearly it isn't. Far better to simply refer to it as "Stopping Smoking". You will always get some die hard smokers (forgive the pun), who will try to say they enjoy their cigarettes, but they are not being true to themselves when they say this. Having analysed thoroughly each cigarette I smoked during the course, I soon realised there was nothing enjoyable about the experience, not the taste, not the effects, not the price, in fact there was nothing I could single out as being the so called "enjoyable" part of smoking.
Another trick I learned was to never refer to having had "a craving" for a cigarette. It is okay to recognise that you thought of a cigarette, or it crossed your mind, but again, referring to it as "a craving" is to make the same mistake as calling stopping smoking, "giving up" or "quitting". At first this can be a hard lesson to get through to yourself, but keep on reminding yourself of this fact, and if you do decide to try the Nicotine Solutions Course for yourself, then pay close attention to what Lela tells you to do. You will get out exactly what you put in, in terms of effort and will quickly learn that stressful situations do not feel, or get, any better from having a cigarette or any kind of Nicotine "fix". Your mind may trick you into believing that a cigarette will calm you down or reduce your stress and anxiety levels, but in actual fact smoking a cigarette will speed up your heart rate and put your body under more stress. It is only the Nicotine receptors in your brain that make you believe otherwise.
Smoking comes with so many horrible risks and problems, especially with regard to the potentially life threatening health risks from such horrors as Lung Cancer, Strokes, High Blood Pressure etc.
For those couples trying for a baby, smoking can seriously effect fertility in both male and female partners. Smoking when pregnant poses a significant and highly dangerous risk to the unborn child, and even if it survives the gestation period, it is very likely to be born underweight, less healthy and with lower intelligence than if born to a non-smoking Mother. Needless to say smoking in a home where children are present is also a big no no, and should really be illegal by now in my opinion.
Smoking can cause male impotence and reduced stamina, and that is if you can find a women who wants to have sex with a man who smells of old musty ashtrays and wakes her up the following day with a hacking, nasty sounding smoker's cough!
Think of Your Children!
Apart from all of the above points, it is worth thinking of any children you may already have. Imagine the horror for them of watching you die a slow and painful death from lung Cancer or any other smoking related disease.
Think of the risk that they may be influenced by watching you smoke, and could copy you by taking up this fatal habit themselves.
Consider any inheritance you might be planning on leaving to them, and ask yourself if you would rather your children had this money, or it was burnt into ashes to line a tobacco companies bank accounts?
So to end this article I can only say that I feel liberated, healthy and proud to have come this far without even finding the process of stopping smoking difficult. I totally have to thank Lela for this, and her ongoing support is always there if I need it, (although I have been fortunate enough not to need it for a long time now as the course was so effective in the first place).
I hope to write another article after I have been smoke free for 12 months, just to prove to any doubting smokers out there as to how effective the Nicotine Solutions Course really is. I would also love to be able to say by then that I am pregnant with a healthy, smoke free baby, but only time will tell if that dream also comes to pass.
Good luck to all of your who are either planning to stop smoking, or already have stopped using whatever method worked for you.
Keep smiling! It only gets easier from here.