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Christian99

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About Christian99

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  • Quit Date
    12/11/01

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  1. I haven't had a single craving or even passing thought of smoking in well over fifteen years, yet I have periodic smoking dreams like the ones you describe. They're deeply unsettling. A friend of mine who has advanced training in psychology and whose insights I value suggested to me a few years ago that the dreams probably have nothing to do with my quit proper and instead may be a way for my subconscious to examine/express broader issues like success/failure, the "imposter syndrome," etc. Christian99 17 1/2+ Years Quit
  2. I wish you nothing but success in this crucial, life-affirming and life-saving enterprise. As you proceed, just be careful that you're not confusing your plans to quit and lessons learned from failed quits with actual abstinence and real success. I've seen people over the years sort of trick themselves into thinking they're making progress simply because they're able to talk about why they failed. I'm not suggesting that's the case here (as only you can make that determination, ultimately), but success in this endeavor is finally about being and staying completely smoke-free: that is the only criterion that really matters. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  3. Your comments resonate with me, Michelle, and remind me of how I felt during my failed quits of the late 90's and early 00's. In my case, I decided to change my approach pretty dramatically as a result. I decided that I needed an alternative--something that, when those inevitable moments of weakness and vulnerability emerged, there'd be a final line of defense to protect me and my quit. For me, that was my new health and fitness persona: thus, when I started my new (and final, lifetime) quit, I made substantial changes to diet and exercise. This gave me positive things on which to focus and do, and, crucially, when I had those inevitable moments when the quit was in jeopardy, the act of smoking just seemed fundamentally inconsistent with this new persona I was cultivating. And this new persona mattered to me. I'll admit that it was a big commitment (daily exercise, whole new diet), but I'm pretty convinced that this approach was crucial in my being able to maintain the quit in that critical first year or so. That was just my approach; the broader point I'd make is that if you've had serial failures, consider doing something very, very different. It worked for me. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  4. Congratulations on the quit. Two quick observations... First, maybe think about trying to force yourself to go to the gym despite the fatigue. Sometimes exercise can be an energy producer instead of an energy consumer, and you may feel better as a result of going. Second, definitely don't be alarmed if your energy is not back to normal in a couple of days, as you mention in your initial post of this thread. Recovery can be a long process--and given how long most of us smoked, the toxicity of the chemicals we've ingested, and the habits we've ingrained, it would actually be surprising if this weren't the case. Cultivate patience. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  5. Quitting smoking was exceptionally hard for me--much harder, in fact, than I thought it would be, and I think I began the enterprise with relatively reasonable expectations. But the rewards have also been exponentially greater than I ever imagined they could be--continuing to grow and help me even now, more than 17 1/2 years after my last cigarette (and about 16 years since my last craving of any kind). A positive mindset is helpful, but if you're feeling miserable in the early weeks/months, that's OK. Develop and trust a thoughtful and well-informed process that caters to your individual strengths, insist on absolute abstinence from smoking, and you WILL break through. And when you do, I bet you'll be astonished at the ever-increasing benefits. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  6. I've been quit for 17 1/2 years, and by a conservative estimate I have not spent $48,106.50 on cigarettes that I otherwise would have spent during that time. That's assuming, of course, that I would have survived the widowmaker heart attack and cardiac arrest I experienced (at age 40) seven years AFTER I quit, which every physician I've encountered tells me would not have happened had I still been a smoker. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  7. For the sake of consistency, I'd love to see challenges to this (obviously smart and beneficial) policy by the folks on this site who love to claim that ALL limits to freedom (and the commercial tobacco industry/lobby has done a masterful job of convincing people that smoking is a form of freedom) are somehow dangerous and un-american. Way to go Atlanta. Christian99 17 1/2 Years Quit
  8. I'm assuming that, like me, you choose to include NRT in your larger suite of tools to help you succeed in this crucial enterprise after carefully considering all the options available to you. As such, you've made a fantastic, life-affirming choice, and I admire you for your decision. Your quit is not only not "fake"; I'm happy to argue that since you catered your approach to your individual circumstances with an approach endorsed by addiction specialists, it very well could be superior and more authentic than those attempted by individuals who continue, irrationally, to fetishize the "cold turkey" quit. You are doing great, friend. Keep it up--it will change your life. Christian99 Nearing 17 1/2 Years Quit
  9. The gum was a very useful tool for me when I quit. I continued to carry a couple of pieces around with me for several months after I stopped chewing it (chewed it for 2-3 months), just in case I felt like I needed extra assistance in those still early stages of the quit. In my experience, claims of long-term nicotine gum dependence are wildly exaggerated and ultimately unhelpful to the quitters who choose NRT as part of their recovery. Also, scientifically speaking, inhaling burning cigarette smoke is a far more efficient delivery method of nicotine (and every other chemical) than chewing the gum. It's not even close, so a piece of gum is not like two cigarettes. It's not a bad idea to try to stop chewing entirely, but I wouldn't worry too much about it--you're doing great! Christian99 Nearing 17 1/2 Years Quit
  10. My intention is most decidedly not to pile on here (because I can only imagine the self-recrimination you're feeling at this point); however, I think you need to understand what you're up against right now: your brain chemistry, after an extended process of recalibration, has been altered by your relapse. Thus, your smoke-free future is extraordinarily vulnerable at this point because you'll be experiencing physical cravings like you haven't been for quite some time. Stay close, friend, and think back to (and exploit) your experiences and strategies early in your quit. We know you can do it. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  11. Not a fan of the book (to say the least); I share that not at all to troll on the original post or supporters of Carr, but instead to speak to those who might read it and feel like maybe they're missing something or that there's something wrong with their quit. It's not for everyone, and as long as you're not smoking you're doing great. Lots of people have benefitted from the book, and I certainly respect its impact. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  12. Some really great responses here. In my own case, it was probably 11 months or so that I was really convinced that I was non/ex-smoker (as opposed to convincing myself that I was a non/ex-smoker). That said, while I haven't had a single craving for or even a passing thought of smoking a cigarette for well over fifteen years, I remain (quietly and gently) vigilant. The addiction scares me and always will. Christian99 17+ Years Quit
  13. "I think it is officially over" Be careful: that can be a dangerous attitude at what is still an early point in your recovery. Remain vigilant--your life depends on it. Christian 99 17+ Years Quit
  14. Warmest congrats on 2 years, Jim! Christian99
  15. Ten and a half years ago, my 42 year old brother died of lung cancer. He smoked until he lost consciousness for the final time--and even then, for some time after, he continued making unconscious smoking gestures. His inability to quit after his diagnosis and through his treatment was a source of profound pain and shame for him, making his impending and actual death even more difficult and frightening for him. His wife took her own life a few hours after he died, underscoring and adding to the tragedy. Smoking kills. I quit for a better life; just as (and perhaps more) importantly, I quit for a better death. Christian99 17+ Years Quit

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