4 Decades Of Lies! (First Post Journal)

4 Decades Of Lies! (First Post Journal)

Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

15 Jan 2011, 00:43 #1

     My name is Neal, and I feel especially lucky today for two reasons.  1).  I started smoking over 40 years ago, and I'm still here to talk about it, and  2). More importantly, I have been free of any nicotine and healing for Four Days, 19 Hours and 39 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 10 Hours, by avoiding the use of 120 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $24.10. 
     I started smoking when I was 11 years old.  I was the youngest of 4 kids (who all smoked), from parents who both smoked.  It seemed like all my relatives and everyone I knew smoked.  It was the end of the 60's and smoking was cool!  Cigarettes were sold everywhere, even in vending machines for about 50 cents.  The Ads were everywhere, all the Hollywood stars smoked on the big screen, and you could smoke anywhere.
     When I was sixteen I lost my father to a smoking related illness.  He was 48 years old (younger than I am now) when he passed.  He smoked two packs a day of Lucky Strike non-filter.  I guess I never really acknowledged that it was a smoking related illness (hardening of the arteries) until recently.  I guess that was part of my junkie thinking and rationalizations.
     I remember my first serious quit attempt at 17 years old.  I quit cold turkey with no help for almost two miserable weeks.  I lost count of how many times I tried to quit.  As new gimmicks would come out, I would try them.  I knew I should quit, and I knew how unhealthy it was, but I could not succeed.  I tried cutting down, switching brands, vitamin programs, cigarrest, switching to dip or chewing tobacco, patches, gums, lozenges, and even hypnosis.  In the long run my addiction always won out.  I would always find some way to rationalize going back to smoking or why that particular quit wasn't right, or how I would do better next time, but it was alright to smoke for now, etc, etc, etc.  My record quit was 15 months, I also quit for 12 months, 10 months, 8 months, 6 months, 3 months, and many times for an assortment of weeks or days.  I was always reminded of Mark Twain's quote " Quitting smoking is easy, I've done it a hundred times". 
     I really believe that this time is going to be different from all my other attempts.  I have armed myself by reading as much of the literature and watching as many of the videos on WhyQuit.com as I could.  If knowledge is power, then I am beginning to get very powerful.  I will not stop, if I think I've read every word on WhyQuit, then I'll start over and read it again and again.  I even joined Freedom well aware of the relapse policy, because this time I will not fail.
     My quit has been going well so far (almost 5 days), and because of all my researching there has been no surprises.  The first 3 days I was lost in a fog, I could not concentrate, I felt very lightheaded and almost dizzy, I was tired all the time, and of course I had to deal with the craves.  So far each day has been better than the last as I can slowly fell myself returning home.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to recognize home since I've been gone so long, but it has to be better than where I've been.
     Many of the other times that I quit I got a taste of the "better life" without nicotine, but I never realized the extent of this addiction and the brain wanting disorder, I always went back to using nicotine.  Now knowing that this is one of the worst addictions and diseases, makes it easier for me to understand why I have failed so many times in the past.  If I ever feel like I'm losing control I can strengthen my resolve by reading at WhyQuit or I can post to this forum for advise from people who know what I'm going thru. 
     I have different options available now before reaching for that first puff.  Every single failed attempt at quitting in my past had one thing in common.  I took that first puff!  I know now that just one puff will send me straight back to my full addiction.  I'm just one puff away from over a pack a day.  I feel so lucky, almost blessed, to have stumbled onto WhyQuit.com and ending the 4 Decades Of Lies.
     I now call myself a recovering nicotine addict rather than an ex-smoker, because it reminds me of the power of this addiction and disease.  I don't know how many more quits I have left in me.  I never know if, or when, that spot will show up on my chest x-ray, but I know if I have to face that type of situation, I want to face it as a non-smoking recovering nicotine addict, and I won't go down without a fight.
     In closing, I hope there is a special spot in heaven for John, Joel, and all the volunteers who make this site possible.  You are helping so many people, like myself, who would otherwise be helpless!  Thank you so much.

Joined: 16 Nov 2008, 23:57

15 Jan 2011, 02:02 #2

Welcome to Freedom Neal!!

You have "experience" with this addiction we all share.

You have tasted the "better life" without nicotine.

You understand that just one puff will bring you back to smoking all you used to and perhaps more.

However you now also know that the knowledge provided at whyquit.com and here at the forum is indeed powerful. Educated Cold Turkey Quitting works! Once you understand Nicotine you can ultimately learn to fully enjoy life FREE form this insidious drug.

Keep reading and watching the videos. Participate here at the forum and share your experiences with those currently marching with you. You will succeed. Just take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

Denny B - After 38 years - Free and Healing for Four Years, Nine Months, Twenty Days, 213 Days of my life have been saved to do as I choose, by avoiding the use of 61469 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $18,184.81.

Attitude is everything, keep it positive, move forward and live life to its fullest. NTAP!

Joined: 11 Nov 2008, 19:22

15 Jan 2011, 02:03 #3

Welcome Neal and wowsers!  Talk about being loaded for bear!  The only thing that jumps out at me is all those prior quits and wanting to encourage you not to see yourself as being in competition with them.  Why?  Because although many of us reside here on Easy Street where we haven't known challenge in years, we remain equals to you in our distance from relapse.  

The first day of the rest of our lives, your freedom today was every bit as real as ours.  In many ways, we value and admire what you did today vastly more than the effortless calm and comfort that accompanied us.  We were there.  Our biggest challenge in getting here was developing the one hour, challenge and day at a time patience needed to allow addiction's chatter to end.  What makes this attempt different from all my others is that this time I know exactly what it takes to both fail and succeed!

Welcome to the group, Neal!  As you've come to realize, there was really always only one rule ... none today!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x11)   

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

15 Jan 2011, 05:51 #4

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Joined: 23 Feb 2009, 13:26

15 Jan 2011, 18:38 #5

Welcome Neal and congratulations on your new found freedom! I understand what you mean by continuing to smoke even though you lost your dad to a smoking related illness. I cared for my grandmother in Hospice care in her home as she died of lung cancer from smoking all of her adult life. I think back to how crazy it seems that everyone who came to visit her would sit around smoking at the table. That she would be in that hospital bed asking for a cigarette and we would turn off her oxygen so she could smoke before she eventually went into a coma and died from her disease. I think that whole scenario speaks VOLUMES to the kind of lies the addiction allows us to tell ourselves. The good news is we both made the decision to stop the madness and agree to NTAP! Keep reading, keep doing the great work you're doing! - Kerry (free since 2/10/09)

Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 10:37

15 Jan 2011, 23:06 #6

Hi Neal and welcome.
We are all just one puff away from smoking. But now you are educated and understand this is an addiction and that the difference.
You have made a great decision to quit and this site provids all the tools to succeed.
Stick with it, you sound so positive.

All the best

Quit date 14th October 2008

Joined: 13 Sep 2010, 17:47

16 Jan 2011, 05:17 #7

 You were the newbie that I pulled up and said to my hubbie "hey, you wanna hear about "nonic4neal"? He said yes and I started reading. Afterwards I said to him "I know you can't fully appreciate this as a never-smoker, but wow. We can find so many million ways to rationalize smoking when we are living in denial. People don't realize how profound it is to realize you are an addict. THAT is why we failed." He said "It's a shame everyone can't come to that realization". He gets it. You get it. I got it. Thank God!  Can you believe I actually thought I really LIKED smoking. I said it's just a HABIT. WRONG.

Embrace the truth. Life is so sweet on this side of the bars. Please let me know I can help in any way. I already know, though, that everything you need is here and in you. One rule, keep nicotine out of your body. Develop the attitude of recovery and work hard to secure your quit. You are an inspiration!

You have given yourself and those who love you a wonderful gift!

Terri - free and healing for 4 months and 10 days!!!!!

Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

17 Jan 2011, 17:16 #8

Just a follow-up:
I made it thru my first week, one day at a time. I'm still feeling strong in my quit, I have been spending time continuing to seek knowledge on WhyQuit. Along with feeling strong, a new feeling is starting to surface - pride. I am still having the psychological triggers. I made an analogy of the triggers being like the ducks on a shooting range. I don't spend time admiring their shape or size or color, I don't wonder what it would be like to touch them. I just look where their coming from and shoot them down. I then take a couple of deep breaths and continue with my healing. Each day there are fewer ducks to shoot. Someday I might have nothing to shoot at! I will still really enjoying taking the deep breaths though, I enjoy not having any pain or coughing. My sense of smell is also getting amazing. I'm beginning to really see some of the advantages of not taking another puff.

Joined: 16 Jan 2011, 14:53

17 Jan 2011, 21:19 #9

finished at about the same time as you and am enjoying being without the nicotine as u r. not the easiest but worth every feeling better minute.Good luck and health,

Joined: 30 May 2009, 03:09

18 Jan 2011, 16:10 #10

And how AWESOME are you?  AWESOME!  You have a great feel for this.  Keep up the good work.  One day at a time.  Do whatever it takes for you to succeed.  Breathing is fun, isn't it?????   Mary

Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

20 Jan 2011, 19:50 #11

I'm on Day # 11 now, and everything is good. I can't say that it is a piece of cake, but it is manageable. Thanks to everyone who responded and continue to give me support, it means a lot to me. One day at a time I have been getting more optimistic about not using nicotine. I still feel tired easily and I did gain a few pounds (as expected). I have been following the suggestions in the literature and have been reversing my weight gain the last few days. I read on Why Quit and this forum when I have time, and it keeps me strong. My craves are getting smaller and only seem to last about 10 seconds now. Hope everyone has a great nicotine free day. NTAP

Joined: 12 Jan 2011, 17:39

20 Jan 2011, 19:58 #12

Neal, you are doing great!  Just remember that it is a choice!  NTAP!

... to keep your quit going, choose to not smoke today.


Joined: 18 Jan 2009, 06:57

25 Jan 2011, 19:26 #13

Hi Neal,

You are doing an awesome job with your recovery and the best possible thing for yourself and your long term quality of life.  Sooner than you may think possible you'll have it on cruise control and enjoying the long ride.  You still have to pay attention but it will get so much easier.  Keep the promise, wait and see.  That's what they all told me when I first decided to set myslef free.  Like the rest of the stuff you read at this site it all tells true.

Following up on your post in
Just think about something else?

Cost of my first relapse (have a calculator handy)

Keep the focus on the road ahead.  It's ok to look in the mirrors but it's focusing on what lies ahead that needs our undivided attention.

I always told myself I could choose to go back but I'd have to accept all of them if I decided to relapse and have
Just one little puff .  Well, I already tried to smoke all of them - or as many as I possibly could - and it nearly killed me.  I can assure you none is a much better deal.

Joe J Free - GOLD - Free and Healing for Six Years, Fifteen Days, 4 Hours and 11 Minutes, while recapturing 413 Days and 15 Hours of my  life's time.  Not needed wanted or missed 59567 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $19,592.73.
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Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

28 Jan 2011, 00:29 #14

Well, I have almost 18 days now. I'm starting to finally get over the lightheadedness, still having problems sleeping thru the night. I've been coughing up a lot, I guess my lungs are cleaning themselves out. I'm feeling pretty good about my quit, my freedom from nicotine, and life in general. I will not use nicotine today.

Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

01 Feb 2011, 16:16 #16

Update - Day 23
I really had an awakening this weekend. On Friday night I decided to have my first drink of alcohol since I quit. I had 3 beers in the safety of my house, and I did get several cue triggers (which I expected) and handled easily. On Saturday I did some outside work around the house and I was literally pounded with cue triggers (which I didn't really expect). This is the first time I did any of this work since I quit. It seems I smoked a lot when engaging in this activity because my subconscience was in overdrive. Lately during my normal days I was down to very few urges to smoke, but working in my yard I was getting plenty. Thanks to Why Quit and Freedom I understood why. I hadn't engaged in this activity since I quit, so my subconscience had to be re-programmed that smoking doesn't go with yardwork anymore. Then a light illuminated. I always wondered on previous quit attempts why I would get hit with triggers so far into my quit. It was because I was doing something I hadn't done since I quit, that I used to do while smoking. I'm sure I lost a quit or two by not knowing this. In one of Joel's videos he mentions going to a wedding or funeral well into your quit and all of a sudden your hit with urges to smoke. Since weddings don't happen all the time this is your first one since quitting. Your subconscience will remind you of each time you had a cigarette at the last wedding you went to, by giving you an urge to smoke at this one. I learned that I need to look for new activities and face each one knowing that I might encounter an urge to smoke or use nicotine. This will give me a new opportunity to tell my subconscience that we will never take another puff, dip, or chew. My knowledge of this addiction is making me powerful in my fight against it. No Nicotine Today!

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 16:48 #17

Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 01 Feb 2011, 17:29, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 16:55 #18

Hello Neal:
I attached the video above that you referred to, where I mention sporadic events like weddings and funerals. Actually, I have a few other videos that touch on the issue of the important of facing as many triggers early on in your quit to break the common associations you have with smoking, but also why it is important to reinforce your resolve every now and then to prepare for the occasional new first time situations you can find yourself encountering over time long after you quit. I am going to attach them in a series of posts here for the benefit of all who are reading your comments here. It will be beneficial for all people who read here to recognize the importance of what you realized here to help them protect their own quits over the long-term.
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Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 16:56 #19

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Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 16:57 #20

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Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 16:59 #21

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Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

01 Feb 2011, 17:00 #22

Last edited by Joel Spitzer on 01 Feb 2011, 17:33, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 01 Feb 2011, 23:13

05 Feb 2011, 03:29 #23

Hi Neal.  I also am a big gardener.  I have not smoked inside of the house for almost five years, so quitting while staying inside has been relatively easy.  Over the last few days I have been venturing outdoors and I have also been hit by quite a few strong cravings.  Like you, I am trying to recognize them for what they are and embracing them. 

Keep up the good work.

Kelly - One week, 8 hours, 48 minutes. 162 cigarettes not smoked, saving $52.67. Life saved: 13 hours, 30 minutes.

Joined: 14 Jan 2011, 00:33

09 Feb 2011, 11:21 #24

I can’t believe tonight will be a whole month without using any nicotine. I have quit smoking for a month several times before, but this is so different. My past quit attempts left me addicted to other nicotine delivery devices. Leading up to this quit I had been addicted to nicotine lozenges for over a year, I used them and smoked cigarettes constantly. When I couldn’t have a cigarette I would have a lozenge in my mouth. Occasionally I would smoke cigars, I tried the e-cigarettes, the inhalers, the gum, the patch, and I even tried oral tobacco to break up the routine. ( It was a real nicotine addicts heaven, but in reality it was ****).

Before finding this site I thought I was accomplishing something by giving up the cigarettes, but all the time I would still be on the lozenges, or some other form of nicotine. I was in a state of constant withdrawal. This time, in my first week of quitting cigarettes, I went online for support and found Why Quit.com.

After a few days of reading and watching the videos I decided to really go for it. I threw away the lozenges and stopped using all nicotine on January 9, 2011 at 11:00PM E.S.T. I downloaded a quit counter and set it to zero. Now, faster than I could have dreamed, it is at 1 month of nicotine freedom.

I originally named my first post journal “ 4 Decades Of Lies” because I have been smoking for over 40 years. The lies I was talking about was aimed at the tobacco and pharmaceutical companies, and the government for letting them do all that lying to us. After working this program for the last month I came to realize that I was doing the lying to myself for all those years. I never “liked” or “loved” smoking, cigarettes were not my friend, it was not O.K. to substitute NRT for cigarettes and think I was doing myself a big favor (it always lead me back to smoking anyway), I thought smoking was a bad habit, I told myself I wasn’t addicted, it was alright to have just one while I was trying to quit. I thought I couldn’t live without smoking, I would never be able to quit for the long haul, nicotine feedings were not my #1 priority, I could never go a whole day without wanting a cigarette, and one of my favorites - you have to die from something, why not smoking? Etc. Etc. Etc. They were all lies to keep me feeding myself nicotine.

I have learned so much on this site. I really believe that this time, I will be able to make the transition to become an ex-smoker / recovering nicotine addict once and for all. I couldn’t have come to this realization without the wisdom and support of all the veterans of this site. I have been amazed at the wisdom of the people who have come before me. It is great that you continue to motivate and support all the newbie’s like me. Whenever I think of you Guys a saying comes to my mind: ASPIRE TO INSPIRE BEFORE YOU EXPIRE. You all have INSPIRED me, eventually as I learn more, I will ASPIRE to help new members with their quits like you do, and since we’ve all quit this addiction we will not EXPIRE as soon as we would have.

At this point in my quit it really helps me to just read a little each day, and strengthen my resolve for that day to not take a single puff. My urges are now very weak and don’t come very much anymore. They are easy to handle, but I know I have to always have my guard up.

Today I got some news about a Guy I used to work with. He left the company last year. It turns out that he got diagnosed with a lesion on his lung in December 2010. He was an active smoker for many years, and he still smoked when he quit the company. He passed away in January of 2011, the cancer spread to his liver and other organs. If he was waiting to “bottom out” before quitting he only had one month of life left after he first heard the news. There but for the grace of God go I, it shows how serious we all have to take our quits, we are truly fighting for our lives.

I’m sorry to be so long winded but it is my quit, my life, my journal, and my Green anniversary. I’m very proud to be a member of this group. Keep taking it one day at a time. NTAP

YQB Neal

Joined: 15 Jan 2011, 18:31

09 Feb 2011, 12:38 #25

Welcome to green , it's a GOOD feeling isn't it !
Congratulations !!!