Hopefully you will find this approach helpful
How I Quit Smoking – The Last Time
© Tom Schmor 2021
“Quitting Smoking is easy,” said Mark Twain. “I’ve done it hundreds of times.”
With the 1964 U.S. Surgeon General report concluding cigarettes cause cancer, efforts to quit increased. But, despite the warnings, a significant number continued, about 20%. My attempts to quit cold turkey were painful and didn’t last. So I looked at other techniques with benefits such as being painless or free or easy or without withdrawal symptoms. When I finally did quit, I found a method with all of these advantages, though it did have one small drawback.
After quitting, several things happened. The bank account breathed easier right away. Health improved with fewer colds. Morning cough got better gradually then went away. What didn’t happen was weight gain. No need to replace a smoking addiction with a food craving. Without tobacco, life improved and became more enjoyable.
That was over thirty years ago. Since then, I’ve had no cravings or even one cigarette. In today’s money, estimated savings totals around $100,000, ($10 a day for 30 years).
Can this method be credited with all of these benefits? It’s hard to know for sure, but I believe it can. Unlike Mark Twain who stopped many times only to start again, my attraction to smoking ended. With this routine, I’ve never had the urge to go back to it.
Other annoyances also vanished, the need to carry bulky cigarette packs and periodically running out at inconvenient times. You know how it goes. You’re sure there’s another pack around somewhere. You just can’t seem to find it. The memorable night of the blizzard was like that. At around 10 pm it was impossible to drive, with more snow on the way, when I finished my last cigarette. Now what? On that evening it was easier to walk through six inches of snow to the store rather than spend the night suffering withdrawal.
For anyone who knows how this feels and wants to quit but thinks it’s a hopeless cause, I sympathize. I’ve been there. Many others have been there too and found quitting is not a mission impossible. We all know people who gave it up and how happy this made them. Unfortunately we also know some who didn’t quit. A friend since school died shortly after retiring from an almost year-long painful bout of lung cancer. With enough money to never have to work again and otherwise in good health, those golden years ended far too soon from this self-inflicted illness. Yes, if you get sick from smoking, that’s the consequence for your choices.
Based on family longevity, my father forfeited approximately fifteen years of his life due to respiratory arrest. His lungs just quit after a lifetime of smoking, but not before going through a long and agonizing illness. At the end he became a prisoner in his own house,
unable to get far from his life-sustaining oxygen tank. In reality, the cause of death could have been listed as smoke inhalation. In his own words, “And to think I brought this on myself.”
What is your incentive to quit? Grim stories of friends and family. Signs of your own diminishing health. Financial concerns and wanting to reduce expenses. This may help.
I can’t remember where the idea came from, but one day I started a routine while smoking. When lighting up, I said, usually silently, “One day I will stop doing this”.
That’s it? That’s all there is? Yes, that’s it. Repeating seven words changed my life. Could it be any easier? This method to finally quit smoking was that simple and that painless. No patches, no hypnosis, no acupuncture, which are also worthy of your consideration, but not the method I used. Every day, with every cigarette, I repeated this mantra, ‘One day I will stop doing this’. We now know it as an affirmation. (A positive statement of your intentions)
There are two simple steps. Step one: choose an affirmation that feels right for you. Use this one, one you find on the internet or make one up yourself. Step two: say the affirmation every time you light a cigarette, until the day you quit. It has been said that repetition is the mother of learning. It can also be an agent for change.
Some may not agree with this wording of an affirmation. All I know is it worked for me. One day I did quit. It didn’t happen right away. It took a couple months. The time seemed unimportant seeing the progress. Cravings decreased along the way and I smoked less and less. Not creating urgency for results, I figured, helped with the long-lasting success. Having no time limit and no target date to quit allowed for a gentle progression to the right time to give it up.
When that time came I was on a weekend trip with friends a long way from the nearest store. The trip lasted longer than planned and disaster struck. Both of us who smoked ran out of cigarettes. No smokes for more than twenty four hours. Unlike other times without cigarettes, I suffered no discomfort and no cravings. Feeling the time was right, I quit. This smooth transition to a smoke-free life felt natural. Mentally, I was prepared. To add to the good news, my friend gave it up cold turkey and never started again.
Now that I am about the same age as my father when he died, there are no breathing problems, no prescription drugs, no doctors involved, no oxygen tanks and no expiration date in sight. At a time in his life when managing to walk around the block brought cheers from the family, I enjoy good workouts and long walks in the country.
When going through a stressful time, or a difficult situation, you’ve probably felt the need to light up. How can you possibly get through this without a smoke? Surprisingly, you can. Whether a fight with your significant other, or losing a job, you manage to get through it without the crutch. Cigarettes don’t help you do anything you can’t handle on your own. Eighty percent of people do just fine without them.
When it comes to smoking everyone knows the hazards. Fifty percent of long-term smokers die early. Estimates say ten years early on average. Besides the tragic ultimate end, the path to get there can be horrendously painful. Whether cancer or a lung ailment such as Emphysema, the dying process and suffering can last several months. Quality of life decreases significantly. Pain and suffering fill the days of the smoker, family and friends. Don’t forget the toll your smoking takes on them. Eventually the need comes for a caregiver to manage life’s necessities. Hopefully, someone close by will take that on, or there is money to afford hiring someone.
Right now you are in a position to stop tragic events like these from happening. Only you have this power. The smoke damage already caused will start to heal the day you quit and continue for five years. Yes, that’s how much harm you do to yourself. You get over a cold in a week or two. A broken leg heals in about six weeks. But overcoming the effects of smoking can take five years to be considered free from risk of major illness, and ten years to clear completely.
Should you decide to use this method, please know that I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I do not offer any expertise in this other than experience. I did it and it worked. This came from the school of hard knocks. (To consult experts, your government may have a website on quitting.)
There are no guarantees offered or implied, no assumption of responsibility, no money back with no money paid, and no suggestion of it being risk free, since this may not work for you. (No method works for everyone.) Why? Success is up to you. Your ability to persist, to continually repeat the affirmation with every cigarette, may determine your success and how long it will take. How badly you want to quit also affects the outcome. It is doable, but you must do it.
Should you decide to try this method, please do not complain after a month and say it didn’t work. It may not take that long or could take longer. Since this is easy, takes none of your time and costs you nothing, why not stay the course? If you make excuses of why you can’t continue, maybe you’re not ready to quit. Hopefully you will be soon.
Even though this takes no courage to follow, some people refuse to try anything without recommendations from a doctor or a celebrity. If you feel that way, and no worries if you do, read up on affirmations. Find out for yourself how effective they can be.
Another idea, because smoking may have bad effects on the body, it could be helpful to add foods to your diet that boost the immune system during your recovery. This may include certain supplements and vitamins. For suggestions on what to eat, Google, ‘How to boost the immune system,’ and talk to your doctor. Check out ideas on YouTube and Ted Talks. Lots of information is out there. Exercise suitable for your current physical condition also helps to fight infections and eliminate toxins. Get professional medical assistance and advice before starting a new exercise program or making a lifestyle change to make sure it is suitable for you.
I wish you well in your quest for a healthy, smoke-free life. © Tom Schmor 2021
In the resources mentioned above, the Internet, YouTube,Ted Talks and books
you can find a great deal of information on how affirmations work, what makes an effective affirmation and other reasons to use them.
A comment section is planned for the near future where you can share your thoughts on quitting. Until then, please feel free to email the address below
and I will do my best to read and/or answer them. Thanks for taking this road less traveled in the quitting smoking journey. I am anxious to hear about
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