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Monday, September 22, 2008

The Struggle to Quit

I'm a smoker. I have smoked on and off for the last 18 years. I have stopped smoking in the past but have not managed to stay on that wagon. The longest period I have gone without smoking is one year. There have been times when it seemed easy to quit, then there are times when just thinking about it makes me want to light up.

There are so many studies out there on the health effects of smoking, some of them so long and tedious that I feel the need to take a smoke break while reading them.

My mother had quadruple by-pass surgery 5 weeks ago. She's been smoking for longer than I've been alive. Now, she's been smoke free for 5 weeks. Yet, she's still struggling to quit. Having quit a number of times, nicotine withdrawal usually only lasts a week or so. The habit takes a bit longer. Her question is this, why do I get cravings for a cigarette at the oddest times? She doesn't crave one with her coffee, or while on the phone or in the car. Those are the times she would light up regularly in the past. Talking about smoking doesn't make her want to take a puff. She finds it easy to say no during stressful moments. Yet, sometimes this dark horse sneaks up on her. When she's not expecting it. When there's no stress, or past "trigger" that would alert her to the impending urge. What happens to us, who smoke, to our bodies, so that years later we may still get that urge to "flic the bic"?

Have you quit or are you struggling to kick the habit? Have you been quit for years and still get the urge? Can you help us? The last time I jumped on the bandwagon it seemed simple enough. I always quit cold-turkey, no patch, no gum, no other crutch to get addicted to. In February of 2007, I said no and for one entire year I said no over and over again. Then in March of 2008 I fell off the wagon, for no particular reason. Just picked it up again. Easy-peasy.

So is it psychological? Physiological? Does our brain make connections when we light up that first one? I've heard that addicts of hard drugs, some quit for years, still have urges as well. What is it about plant based drugs that make them so difficult to quit? Or is it just ol' Screwtape helping us down the easy road to destroying the Temple of The Holy Spirit that we are? Keeping us weak in mind and Spirit.

I want to help my mom, I want to quit again myself, for good this time. Got any advice? Not the party line advice. Real, honest "I've been there where you are" or "I am where you are" advice. Maybe we can help each other.


Journey of Truth said...

It just aint easy. It's a daily struggle until you just don't feel the need any more. OR you smoke on your porch with a friend and your kids cry and ask you not to. That worked for me in the resolve department. I still crave it now and again, though, and it just takes conjuring up the image of my kids crying . . . God's truth! I'll keep you and your mom in my prayers.

Suzanne said...

Dawn, Thanks for visiting my blog and encouraging me in my weight loss. God bless dear, I quit smoking over 19 years ago and I didn't think I would EVER be able to.
I had tried but could not last hardly a day and half and had smoked for about 15 years or so and I truly craved them all the time. I had a child that was very sick (2nd one) and he did eventually pass away. Although my smoking may or may not have ever been part of his formation problems, it never left me that I really needed to quit and I was able to do that with God when I was pregnant with my 4th child approx. 4 mos. before she was born. I had cut way back and was not "inhaling" as much (lol) true,
but I had NOT quit until then. Dawn, I literally would CRY out to God to help me before this happened. I felt trapped for life and I was angry in one sense and so hurt in the next. Finally, one day, I had a pack of about 3 cigs and I laid them on a tray in my kitchen and there they sat never to be touched again and eventually I threw them away, but they sat there and I dared myself to touch them. Now, mind you, I had a hard hard struggle and I was NOT NICE to my family, but I would take lots of deep breaths and I did let myself eat, kept busy, kept away from the smell of them around others (and my husband smoked and still does some), so the smell to this day will sometimes grab my attention when I'm stressed, but thank God I make it through. I was so thankful that one day He helped me enough to do this by my crying out to him as like a child, that I didn't want to quit thanking Him and that has been KEY
for me. I also had been sick with enough sinus infections, that I was sick of going through that and I knew why it was happening. I still get them sometimes, but usually they are triggered from being around smoke or other things too much or allergies to stuff, but NOT because I cause them to happen to myself on purpose anymore, you know? Also, when I finally could go outside and smell and take deep breaths and walk upstairs without huffing, I just really APPRECIATED that. I think it was such a freeing feeling and I truly believe you have to give the power to God if you accomplish any of this and tell Him how THANKFUL you are to quit. That is all I know to tell you...I hope and pray for both you and your momma and I hope my story will help you. Big hug and prayers!
Suzanne :) PS I lost 3 lbs. already! I went last Friday and it is just Tues. I know that won't continue at that rate, but that is okay...even an ounce or two will be fun. Take care.

nancygrayce said...

I stopped by using the patch. It helped so much. Please, please quit! I just help nurse my beloved father in law to his death from lung cancer. It is horrible! When I think of smoking, I can see papa struggle for breath! I will pray you can quit.

dawn said...

Thanks all of you for your words of wisdom and help! Quitting is such a personal struggle. JOT, thanks for being around me while I was puffing away..Suzanne, thank you for sharing your story. I know you are right. I need to get to that place.
Nancy, thank you for your prayers! That is a gift that is priceless.

+JMJ+ said...

How are you doing? I will say a prayer for you today.

Suzanne said...

I am with JMJ...me too.. prayer, I mean! Thank you for your encouragement about losing weight.

Journey of Truth said...

You are one of my dearest friends - you know that I love you and consider you my other sister. I pray for your strength (both you and your mom). Sometimes it is just one minute at a time, but it's always PRAYER that works.

Hang in there!


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