10 Thoughts on Being Six Months Smoke-free

Today, dear readers, marks six months since I embarked on my most successful attempt to quit smoking since I started just about 15 years ago. I’m proud of myself and the people close to me are too but I won’t pretend it has been an easy or pleasant experience. It was very hard and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Here are my feelings on being smoke-free so far:

Every was right, cigarettes smell horrible. I never noticed very much before. I mean I knew I smelled bad right after I smoked but I didn’t think I did all day. When I first quit, when my sense of smell began to return to normal, the smell of cigarettes triggered cravings. Slowly the smell began to revolt me. I get why people do everything they can to keep smokers far away and out of smelling range.

There can be a social life outside of “The Smoking Area”. It might sound weird but my biggest road block to quitting was my fear of being alone. The smoking area of any workplace is where all the fun happens. It’s where people let loose and say all the things they can’t inside in front of the boring nonsmokers. It was hard giving that up but I actually enjoy the quiet time away from the loud mouths now.

I have so much more free time! When I quit I knew I needed to find something to do with all the time I used to fill up with cigarettes. Boredom is a chance for the addiction to wear you down so you have to avoid it at all costs. I started learning Spanish and putting more time into writing. More to be proud of :)

I can buy so many things now! I can now justify almost any purchase to myself and my girlfriend by simply saying “Well, I did quit smoking, so not only do I deserve this but I can probably afford it too.” I try to be careful so I don’t end up substituting a shopping addiction for the smoking but it is nice to have things to show for my money now.

My anxiety over the adverse health effects of smoking is at an all-time high. When I did smoke I didn’t worry about cancer much. My mind always pushed my worries away. My addiction made me think it wasn’t going to happen to me. Since I’ve cut my dependence on nicotine I realize I will probably pay a price for 15 years of smoking eventually and it scares the shit out of me.

Human emotions are not easy to work through. Before, when I got angry, sad, frustrated, lonely, or felt any unpleasant emotion, I could just have a cigarette (or two) and everything would be better. Now I have to actually deal with my feelings and find a way to work through them. I have to say of al the struggles I have gotten through since I quit this is what I am most proud of. I can face my feelings now without nicotine.

Nicotine affects you physically, and quitting can have unexpected results. My body was used to a regular dose of nicotine and other chemicals almost every day for most of my adult life. When I cut that supply my body felt it. I was very tired for the first week or two. I developed a cough and a runny nose. The returning circulation left my hands and feet feeling tingly and numb for days. Most of that has passed by now and I feel much better now than I used to.

Anyone can quit. I am fighting the urge to become one of those ex-smokers who lectures people who have chosen not to quit at this time. I hear smokers saying “I just can’t quit right now.” or “I have tried before and it’s too hard.” I get it. I probably tried at least six or nine times before this one. The only thing that was different this time was I knew all the reasons I thought I couldn’t do it was adjust my addiction lying to me.  Evey step of the way I told myself I could do this and I did. That was it.

I don’t regret quitting at all. I did for a long stretch of the past six months, though, I’m not going to lie. I missed it a lot. I didn’t like all the changes I had to make. I didn’t like feeling grouchy and uncomfortable. I didn’t like not have my friend and security blanket. I didn’t like not having a way to escape things that were making me uncomfortable. Now though, now I know it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

I have a long way to go still. I am still tempted every so often. If I become too emotionally distressed or if I am outside enjoying some nice weather, the thought that a cigarette would be really good occurs to me. In those moments, I remember the feeling a good cigarette gave me. Instant relaxation. I am able to push the craving away easily but I think it will be a long while before those thoughts stop coming to me at all.

I did this and you can too.

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Published by

Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

20 thoughts on “10 Thoughts on Being Six Months Smoke-free”

      1. I know what you mean. One of my friends quit smoking recently. He told me he doesn’t know what to do with this hands now when he is sitting on his back porch relaxing! You deserve a lot of credit. I’ve read from medical studies that quitting smoking can be just as tough as quitting heroin and other hard drugs. I’m proud of you!

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        1. Thank you! I used to go out on my back porch after work in the summertime to relax with a beer and a smoke or two. I can’t go out on my porch anymore :( Not until I make a little more progress anyway.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. Congratulations! You should get a coin, or a level up or something. I know a few people who’ve quit, all using different means to get through. This is the first candid discussion I’ve seen about the effects. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for reading! I’ve tried a few different ways, the gum, the patch, meds, this time was the cold turkey method. I think it’s the best way.

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  2. I can so relate! I’m about to hit 8 months which is exciting. I have quit many times and my best so far was 2 years!! I was so mad for ever going back. I know it’s frustrating to see other people who smoke but as an ex smoker we know that feeling! You don’t want people nagging you and honestly, when you make the decision to quit you just do it. I remember times when I hated smoking and the control I let it have. And as an ex smoker I swear we are more disgusted by the smell!! So proud of you and your accomplishment! Keep going! It feels great doesn’t it?? You are free and took back your powers!!

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    1. Wow, 2 years, that is really awesome! And congrats on the 8 month mark this time around too! I try to remember how much I hated the nagging but I can’t help but to drop a hint or two to my friends who still smoke. I hope they don’t mind too much lol. I just want them to feel as good as I do :)

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Quitting any bad habit is hard (some are a little harder than others is all) the trick is to just keep trying. Good luck to you!

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