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  1. Abstinence is always possible and always the right choice. Christian99 19 1/2 Years Quit
  2. I apologize in advance if this is excessively maudlin, but I'll never forget the images of my 42 year old brother who, having lost consciousness for the final time as a result of his metastatic lung cancer, still made smoking gestures with his hand and mouth for some time until his actual death. His inability to quit smoking made his death that much more terrible--his final months, weeks, and days were marked by guilt, regret, and shame for his role in his own early demise. Testifying to the horror of it all is the fact that his wife took her own life very shortly after he died. I was already quit for more than seven years at the time, but it illustrated to me that, while I definitely quit for a better life, I also quit for a better death. Christian99 Nearing 19 1/2 Years Quit
  3. Hi-- I was ultimately able to quit, at 33, by situating smoking cessation in a broader enterprise of developing new sets of healthy habits and activities. I very consciously and actively attempted to cultivate a new persona: my thinking was that these activities (working out, eating/cooking differently) would give me positive things on which to focus instead of the thing I was seemingly denying myself. Moreover, this new persona might serve as a final line of defense during inevitable moments of vulnerability early on in the quit. Fortunately, this strategy worked for me. But the initial stretch was still extraordinarily difficult. Regarding the writing and intellectual work more generally, my experience was that quitting absolutely did affect my abilities in these areas. Perhaps that won't happen in your case (and it certainly doesn't with everyone), but it did with me. But I came to understand that I probably needed a recalibration of my relationship to my academic work and different writing processes if I were to have a healthy and satisfying professional life; thus, the struggles were actually illuminating and transformative. It doesn't mean they were easy or quick. But, in retrospect, things got better when I realized that I would remain quit even if things never got any better. This can be done, and it's the single most important thing you can do for your health and your spirit. Christian99 About 19 1/2 Years Quit
  4. Thanks much! Didn't really celebrate today, but I've got 365 days to plan for something big for the 20 year mark. C99
  5. Welcome and keep up the great work: remaining smoke-free will transform your life! I'll just strike another note, though...since you're feeling so good right now, use this time to identify some concrete strategies/actions in which you'll engage if things turn a bit. When you're in the midst of that turn, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming and your perspective can narrow, so it's good to plan now when you're doing well. I'm a big advocate of naming specific actions for yourself because, for many of us, just telling oneself to "think positively" isn't enough (and can sometimes seem impossible) during the most difficult stretches of recovery. That's especially the case as one begins to lose the initial thrill or adrenaline of the newer quit. Here's hoping you won't experience any of those stretches, but you can be ready for them if they materialize. Best, Christian99 19 Years Quit
  6. I still have occasional smoking dreams (maybe once or twice a year), and they're incredibly disturbing to me. I don't think they have anything to do with smoking, per se; instead, I've come to see them as profound expressions/metaphors for anxiety or stress about other things going on in my life. Christian99 Nearing 19 Years Quit
  7. My brother died of lung cancer at 42, smoking until he lost consciousness for the final time (and even after, making unconscious smoking gestures with with hands and mouth until his death). It was a terrible death, made much worse by the shame he felt because of his complicity in his own death. His wife, also a heavy smoker, took her own life an hour after my brother passed. Christian99 18 1/2 Years Quit
  8. So let me describe a slightly different approach... I struggled with some false starts when I first attempted to quit, and it was bewildering to me that I didn't seem able to maintain my resolve and commitment when--just like you--I was fully aware of the terrible damage my cigarette use was doing to my body. Frankly, I've never felt like a mentally weak person, and I was pretty certain that I had, indeed, made the genuine decision that I did not want to be a smoker anymore; thus, I couldn't really figure out what was missing. In fact, I bristled at the suggestion that my failures indicated that somehow I just hadn't committed myself fully to becoming a nonsmoker. At some point, I decided to simply bracket further education on the addiction and the cultivation of a particular (positive) mindset about quitting and instead focus on action. For me, that meant engaging in non-smoking behaviors--primarily connected to exercise and healthy foods--that, piece-by-piece, helped me slowly construct a new smoke-free identity. I really couldn't think or will that identity into existence; instead, it had to emerge organically from lots of little, concrete choices I made and actions I undertook each day. The change obviously took time, but even in the early days, these new behaviors helped me during difficult moments when the quit seemed vulnerable: at those times, the actual act of smoking seemed inconsistent with this new persona I was creating. And that new persona was being created not by thoughts but by actions. I like to think that I quit my way into certainty, commitment, positive thinking, etc. And things changed for me when I realized that it wasn't necessary to have those things first. All the best--we know you can do it. Christian99 18 1/2 Years Quit
  9. Thanks so much, friends. I told my students yesterday and one of the classes broke into a round of applause; I have one class today, and I'm looking forward to sharing the news with them. Cheers-- C99 18 Years Quit
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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

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QuitTrain®, a quit smoking support community, was created by former smokers who have a deep desire to help people quit smoking and to help keep those quits intact.  This place should be a safe haven to escape the daily grind and focus on protecting our quits.  We don't believe that there is a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to quitting smoking.  Each of us has our own unique set of circumstances which contributes to how we go about quitting and more importantly, how we keep our quits.


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