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A Chapter’s End


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Ohhhh boy do I have a story to tell.  Some of you know me and some of you don’t.  However, I can’t expect you to remember me.  It’s been an incredibly long and arduous journey.  But it’s been my journey and it’s been a decent one so far.  I’ve gone by many names in the past; some born from shame, some merely from forgetting my login information.  Probably the most prominent username I’d been known by was HonorAmongstThieves; although many of you endearingly referred to me as HAT.  Well, I could not pinpoint any username on this website, so I had to make a new one some time ago, which, as per usual it had remained dormant due to being a smoker.  You see, my quit smoking journey unintentionally began on 1 January 2011.  It was New Years and I only hd a couple cigarettes left but I didn’t want to go out so late to buy more.  I decided to see if I could quit.  And I did for about 4 months.  I relapsed; which I would soon learn would be a recurring theme in my life.  On the first night of my quit I came across a now defunct website, the QSMB, which is where I met many of you trying to accomplish the same thing that I was.  I didn’t make an account until I was 72 hours free of nicotine in case I couldn’t hack it.  I learned many techniques and coping skills that did help me through my initial 4 month quit. But alas, I was weaker than the cigarette and I fell back into my old ways.  This is much how the past decade had gone for me.  When I got wind of wanting to quit again, I’d lurk around, quit, be active for awhile, and then eventually relapse again.  I met so many wonderful people through that website.  I was even around during the great migration to this website, though I relapsed and when I came back, that website, to my surprise, was completely gone.  But that’s alright because change is good.  I began doing the same things here, lurking, quitting and being active here, and then relapsing.  So many amazing and wonderful things have happened in my life over the past 11 years that I have tried to quit.  I have worked incredibly hard to make changes in my life and I’m proud to say that I am not the same immature young adult that I was 11 years ago.  Even then, I still kept smoking.  Quitting.  Relapsing.  It’s a vicious cycle.   Through all the personal struggle, the drama on the QSMB, the difficult and often painful pangs of growing and maturing, it’s all been worth it.  But like Frankie said, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, to few to mention.” Still, if there was one thing I could change about my life, I would never pick up those first cigarettes.  They took too much of my life, my health, my money, my looks; too much of everything.  I always wondered if I would ever be back to this place, other than lurking.  Even now, I still do.  It’s been hard.  So many countless, blurry nights where I told myself that I hated myself.  That I would never change.  That I told myself I didn’t have what it takes to be a better person.  Even those days aren’t that long ago.  But I made gradual, sometimes baby-step, changes in my life and I’m a better man now.  A better husband, father, provider.  I often look back to that fateful night, 11 years ago and cringe with regret.  If hadn’t relapsed, I’d be preparing to celebrate 11 years of freedom from nicotine.  It was exactly that thinking that kept me bogged down, unable to advance.  It seemed so far away.  So impossibly out of reach.  I’ve honestly had to fight myself from coming back to this board and posting, and being active.  Not because it’s bad, lol that is NOT the case.  I learned so much about quitting smoking from the people here…but I also learned about myself.  I didn’t come back because I wanted to do it on my own.  With my support group at home; my wife and children; my family and friends.  My mentors and peers who believed in me.  But I did tell myself I would be back.  I told promised myself that I would not forget the people who helped me get to this point in my life, which certainly consists of many of you who tried to educate me.  For those who believed in me and never gave up on me.  I came back for you.  Because I believe that I owed it to you to let you know how things have been.  How much my struggle with nicotine impacted my life and my decisions to this point.  But most importantly, I believe I owe it to you to tell you that, as I submit this post, for the first time in my life since I began smoking, I can openly and honestly say, unequivocally, that I am happy to be here to celebrate with you that I am officially one year free from nicotine!  I have waited more than a year to share this post.  It is literally 11 years in the making.  I don’t expect to be a full time poster here, but I will try to check in from time to time.  Just know that I am finally free from this beast.  It’s an amazing feeling and I cannot imagine going back to it.  I know it happens.  I know that people who are many years quit sometimes relapse.  Just know that I am doing well, I am happy, and I am nicotine free.  What a time to be alive.  Thank you for never giving up on me after my many relapses and thank you all for teaching me how to kick this habit.  For any new quitters, it gets better.  Take it one day at a time, or one minute at a time if need be.  It’s invigorating to finally be on this side of the quit.  For anyone lurking, what are you waiting for?  The water is perfect, come on in.  As Sarge always used to say, “eazy peazy.”

 

Very Respectfully,

 

Your old pal HAT 

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Congratulations SecondChanceSailor,  Isn't it a wonderful feeling to realize we are no longer chained to the habit.  Enjoy your smoke free life.  We love hearing from you and hope you will hang around and encourage others.  Sharing your journey always helps others.

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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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