Quitting Cold Turkey

I smoked as a teen. It was more an act of rebellion than anything else, but I liked it as a social device, as well. If you saw a cute guy, you could always ask him for a light to break the tension. You could smoke with your friends, too.

When my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer, I decided to quit. He was a pack a day smoker for most of his 80 years and I knew I could easily end up just like him. And so I dropped the cigarettes.

The problem is that I have a very addictive personality. If you give me one smoke, I’ll take the pack. It’s one of the issues that has also led to weight problems for me. So, when I decided to give up smoking, I knew there was no way I was going to make it if I tried to gradually work down to zero. Going cold turkey was the only way to go for me. It was certainly not easy, but it was necessary.

At the age of 21, I tossed my last pack in the garbage, fought my desire to pull it right back out and finish it up, and I walked away. The first few days were the worst. I was jittery and constantly reaching for the smokes that weren’t there anymore.

I stayed far away from my smoking friends and I basically holed up in my room when I wasn’t at work. It wasn’t fun, but in the end, I got through it. The desire to smoke didn’t go away though, for a long time. Even now, nearly 20 years later, I still want to smoke sometimes! The trick is to make the decision each minute of each day. “I’m not going to smoke.”

Distraction helped a lot, too. I spent a lot of time reading or watching TV to keep my mind off things. However, since I quit cold turkey, I’ve had one cigarette in nearly all those 20 years. Not too bad, I think! I can proudly say that my children will not be subjected to second hand smoke and that makes it all very worth it.

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