FEBRUARY 1, 2019
I made it! I did it! After over 300 attempts to quit smoking over the last 40 years I am now ONE FREAKIN' YEAR without cigarettes! Woo Hoo! 🤗
It feels so damned good to finally be free of the cravings and the guilt. It feels like I've been released from the trap of an evil mind control villain. He had me convinced that I needed a cigarette when I was stressed, one after each meal to digest, another 2 or 3 if I went to a bar. How many times did I step outside to smoke instead of exercising, or reading, or setting goals? Ugh...too many to cownt.
It especially feels the best to be done TRYING to quit smoking. Ugh...that was the worst. The first 3 days suck and I did those first 3 days about 100 times...that nearly drove me insane.
HOW DID I DO IT?
Well, first of all I didn't quit quitting. Sometimes I'd quit for a week...sometimes a month...sometimes I'd quit for a whole hour. Nothing seemed to work...my will power was no match for the Evil Mind Control Villain. Then, I decided to try acupuncture with James T. Burr in Everett, WA. OMG...after the session I had a slight craving but it was nothing and I got over it quickly. I easily got through those first 3 days and I couldn't believe I was able to stay quit for 3 months!
But then I had a very stressful event and thought I'd have just ONE cigarette to "calm me down"...I let the Evil Mind Control Villain back in and he quickly took over again. Thank God I didn't quit quitting. I went back for another acupuncture session and it didn't work as perfectly as the first time, but it did help. I had just a few more stumbles and starts and finally kicked that Evil Villain out for good a year ago. My sole motivation at this point was to never have to do those "first 3 days" again.
HAS IT MADE A DIFFERENCE?
So has not smoking for a year made a difference? For those who want the quick answer...HELL YES! it's made a difference. Kind of like night and day...up and down...over and under. I feel free, energetic, and happy. Thank you James T. Burr!
For those who want more detail....let's take a look at those cigarettes again. I took these photographs 8 months before my last cigarette. It was the easiest way for me to visualize some of the feelings and symptoms I was having when I smoked. Let's take each cigarette one by one.
1. NO MOTIVATION
-A Year Ago: I had very little motivation and put off projects and goals.
-Today: I am blown away by the things I have accomplished in the last year, only one of which was increasing my music gigs and income by nearly 50% WOW!
-A Year Ago: Saggy eyelids, splotchy complexion, drawn look...not happy with my reflection in the mirror each morning.
-Today: Even though I'm a year older I am so much happier with my reflection. I don't see that sag in my eyelids anymore. My skin is much clearer, less papery (more supple) and more healthy looking. My face does look a few years younger...and happier.
3. SINGING PHLEGM and VOCAL QUALITY
-A Year Ago: OK...so maybe this is TMI, but it was pretty distressing. During my performances I would have to clear my throat a lot...it was starting to embarrass me and put a damper on my performances. It was also becoming harder to control my voice and there was more cracking and some notes I was not able to hit anymore.
-Today: Absolutely no more phlegm...nada...zilch. Vocal control is amazingly better, no more cracking and I am hitting all those notes again and even a couple more I've never been able to hit before. Yaaaaay!
4. BLACK LUNGS
-A Year Ago: Frankly, writing "black lungs" on that cigarette was just to scare myself and let myself know where I was headed.
-Today: No clue as to whether I have black lungs, but I like to think that every day they are getting pinker and healthier.
5. SLOW FLOW
-A Year Ago: Seriously, my body felt like sludge.
-Today: I can feel that the natural flow of my body is better. There is more perk in my step.
6. OUT OF BREATH
-A Year Ago: Besides not having enough breath for some of my more intense songs, I was winded more easily and started not being able to catch a deep breath sometimes. It was kind of scary.
-Today: I know it will take longer than a year to fix 37 years of smoking, but already I notice a significant improvement. I am definitely breathing easier. I'm so grateful for this peace of mind.
7. COUGHING - COLDS
-A Year Ago: Not only was I coughing a bit more from smoking, but I noticed that I got colds more often and really hacked out coughing spells when sick, plus it took so much longer to get over the colds.
-Today: I don't cough anymore...at all. I haven't even had a cold for the last year.
8. NEVER PRESENT
-A Year Ago: I was always leaving a business meeting, or social engagement, or training lecture to smoke. It was a nervous habit. I told myself it was to calm down but what it really did was leave me absent from making important contacts, learning opportunities, and kept me aloof in social gatherings.
-Today: I am fully present when I go places and have met some amazing people over the last year that I know I would have missed had I been dodging in and out for a cigarette.
9. BAD EXAMPLE
-A Year Ago: I hated that my children grew up with a smoking mother. I felt guilty every time I lit up.
-Today: I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of the example I am now setting.
-A Year Ago: My chest always felt constricted.
-Today: I am getting bigger breaths and feeling more open in my chest.
-A Year Ago: I was always finding myself trying to hide from people on the street when I went out for a smoke. I was embarrassed and I didn't want them to smell my smoke. At home I sometimes tried hiding from my kids so they wouldn't see me.
-Today: Everything is out in the open. I'm free! No more hiding.
12. ASHTRAY SMELL
-A Year Ago: You know what it smells like...yuck! I hated me when my fingers smelled like that...when my clothes smelled like that. I hated it when I smelled it on my mother. I was embarrassed and felt like EVERYONE could smell it on me (they probably could).
-Today: It is wonderful to go to my closet and just smell the aroma of cloth.
You're still reading? I'm amazed and I hope this has somehow been helpful to you. If you are trying to quit or thinking about it I applaud and encourage you...keep quitting...try acupuncture...try hypnotism...try cold turkey...picture a new happier you...
...keep quitting...be a quitter.