I quit smoking on January 27, 2006. At
that point, I had been smoking for 17 years, since I was 14 years old. I
am now 32 years old. By the age of 28, I had developed a chronic cough.
I'm a feminine woman (despite the smoking), so for me to have such a
nasty cough was really awful.
At first, I blamed the cough on the house I had moved into after marrying my husband, Ron, thinking there was mold or something in the house that was causing me to be allergic and have this cough.
I also thought that it could be related to the old mattress we were sleeping on. We bought a new mattress and the cough continued.
A year later, we moved to an apartment and the cough continued still. I started thinking that it was caused by psychological issues - that I had pushed my bad feelings down all my life and did not communicate to others how I felt, so my bad feelings were coming out of my body in the form of this nasty cough. I thought it was telling me that I needed to deal with my emotional issues instead of pushing them further down.
You are obviously thinking "How stupid can you be to not see that smoking was causing your cough?" Well, the reason I'm telling you all of this is because so many people are in denial the same way I was. They don't want to admit that smoking is affecting them negatively in any way. Smokers make as many excuses as necessary to be able to hang on to their habit and feel okay about it.
After having this nasty cough for 3 years, and it was getting worse, not better, I decided in January that I would buy some Nicotine patches and try to cut down on smoking so that I could allow my lungs to clear out and hopefully the cough would get better. I wasn't planning on quitting because, quite frankly, I didn't think I was capable of quitting.
All my life I had heard people say how addictive smoking cigarettes was. The studies even said that cigarettes were "more addictive than heroin." That's stupid! What kind of person thinks up things like that? I can see how they might think that by saying that, they are preventing kids from starting to smoke, but they don't realize or care about the negative impact it's going to have on the people who are trying to quit.
As smokers, it is drilled into your brain for years and years that quitting is next to impossible. They say you have to try an average of seven times before you will actually quit and other dumb statistics. They've brainwashed us into believing that we can't quit. I wouldn't doubt it if the cigarette companies themselves came up with these ridiculous statistics to make us all feel hopeless about quitting.
So, getting to the point... How did I quit? Well, after wearing the patch for a couple of hours, I noticed that my cough was gone. GONE. It didn't take days or weeks or months for my body to "clean itself out" and get all the gunk out of my lungs. Nope. My cough was instantly gone.
Of course, I had not quit yet, I was just "cutting down" at this point. So I would still smoke a few cigarettes a day. Twenty minutes after each cigarette I smoked I would feel congested again. It was like clockwork, I could predict it so well. There was no doubt then that the cigarettes had caused this nasty cough all along. I had been deceiving myself to believe that it was anything else.
I still didn't think I could quit though. It didn't really cross my mind that I would seriously try to quit. I enjoyed smoking, I thought. It was a comfort that was there for me when I needed it. Yeah, right... I might as well have a razor blade sitting around the house to comfort me.
I had read about positive affirmations for years but never really used them much. I decided I would try it to stop smoking. No problem if it didn't work because I really wasn't planning on quitting anyway.
Everyday in the shower I started having mock conversations out loud, as though I were talking to someone else. In an excited, emotional way (think Tony Robbins), I would tell my imaginary mom, friend, or neighbor how EASY it was for me to quit smoking and how I wished I had done this long ago because it was SO much EASIER than I ever dreamed possible. I just rambled on and on about it like this - easy, easy, easy. I can't believe how easy it was. It was so freaking easy. Should've done it long ago, etc. etc.
I did this for a few days and the desire to smoke went away completely.
Now I was on nicotine patches at the time, and I highly recommend that you use a nicotine substitute so you don't have to struggle with the physical withdrawals while you are trying to quit. People don't seem to understand how much the patches (or other nicotine) can help. The only other person that I know who succeeded in quitting at the same time I did (my neighbor that I had the imaginary, and then real-life conversations with) used my leftover nicotine patches and then bought her own. I had the same conversation with her that I had practiced in my shower and it convinced her to quit as well.
The patches irritated my skin something awful, leaving a very itchy red square where the patch had been for many days afterward. I scratched them so badly that they'd bleed. But that's just me. My skin is very sensitive. (I need to use affirmations or subliminal messages to make it normal.) I've not known anyone else to respond to the patches the same way.
I ended up "stepping down" from 21 mg patches to 17 mg patches in less than a week because my skin was so irritated. After another week or two I stepped down to 7 mg. I used those for a couple of weeks and then stopped completely with NO withdrawal symptoms or cravings AT ALL.
My husband refused to use the patches. He also didn't use the affirmations as I suggested. He thought he was man enough to quit smoking by sheer willpower. He had actually done it in the past, but unfortunately he is still smoking. I don't know why he doesn't use the methods that worked for me.
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