Six years ago today - the evening of May 15, 1999 - I said "no more!" Tempered by a dozen prior serious failed attempts and frightened by the prospect of withdrawal, what I most feared was success. Smoking had so infected every aspect of my being that I simply couldn't imagine life without it being worth living. Ohhhhhh, how wonderfully wrong I was.
One thing was different this time. In April 1999, I at last surrendered to the fact that I was a true drug addict, every bit as chemically dependent as any alcoholic. After thirty years of games in attempting to control the uncontrollable, of treating an addiction like a habit, I now, for the first time, willingly admitted that I would never ever be stronger than nicotine. The games were over. But if not stronger, then what?
On May 13, 1999, I discovered the beauty of "can-do" encouragement flowing from online support, on June 16th I read Bryan's story and felt the positive influence of horrible truths, and on January 20, 2000, I was introduced to Joel's Library and almost immediately recognized a vast void in my dependency understanding.
Remember the end of the movie Ghost, where Patrick tells Demi that "the love in your heart, you get to take it with you?" Well recovery is the same. Although it may feel like it during the first two weeks, we leave absolutely nothing behind. Every neurochemical that nicotine released -- more than 200 -- already belonged to you. Recovery is a matter of giving our brain time to re-sensitize itself, and us time to again appreciate engaging every aspect of life without nicotine.
If you have not yet done so, I'd strongly encourage a one time cover to cover read of Joel's Library. Also, I'd find a quality source of ongoing support - a calm and comfortable ex-smoker, a non-smoking loved one or a serious and highly focused online support forum. Just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all, a principle that will always remain our common bond ... no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew. As with all who have posted here, if you need help, or have a question, e-mail us. We're each here and we're with you in spirit. The next few minutes are all that matter and each is do-able.
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!
John R. Polito(Gold x6)
Charleston, South Carolina, USA
I have been nicotine free for 3 years, 11 months, 1 day, 1 hour, and 5 minutes. While I never posted at Freedom, I owe my quit largely to WhyQuit.com. Reading others' stories, seeing what can happen if you don't quit... it doesn't take long to realize that you need to quit NOW, not tomorrow. I learned the most important four words here, the words that are the ONLY way to quit smoking: NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.
I admit it. I am a nicotine addict. I honestly believe that even one puff would place me right back into having to go through the pain of withdrawal all over again. It's just not worth it.
If you are trying to get through those first 72 hours, cleaning the nicotine out of your system right now, congratulations! Trust me; it won't seem like very long 4 years (or more) from now. Do you know how often I think of smoking now? Almost never! You may not believe it right now, since I understand how much you want the withdrawal to stop. Just one more! NO NO NO! Why start all over again? Hang in there; before you know it, it will be 3 days, and it will be easier. Two weeks, and you'll be getting used to not lighting up. Six months, and you'll wonder why it was such a big deal. Three years, and those first 72 hours will just be a vague memory, but your body will have undone 95% of the reparable damage (and that's the reason to quit now - no irreparable damage). The only thing you'll remember is that you don't want to go through them again!
Can I write about relapse? I sure can! In 1990, I had a nice quit of over a year going. Then I found a cigarette! Unfortunately, I hadn't learned the MOST IMPORTANT WORDS yet. I took it outside and smoked it. That one smoke led me to nearly 11 YEARS of relapse. Is one smoke worth that?
Why am I writing this now? I don't know. I had a passing thought to stop in to say thanks and to give my testimony on quitting. Maybe this is the day I need to put my message on top of the pile to give you that extra bit of encouragement you need to make your quit last a lifetime, or for you to decide to make it through 72 hours just in time to avoid that cancer that was about to start, or keep that heart attack from happening. With the knowledge that I must NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF, and God's help to keep that promise for myself and my family, I know I can stay nicotine free the rest of my now much longer life. So can you.
So thank you, WhyQuit.com! I hope you help millions more people to quit and stay quit! God knows we poor nicotine addicts need the lessons here.
I gave up nicotine Cold Turkey on March 10th 2004.
I had quit that way once before, successfully, for about a year, but I didn't know the real meaning of my addiction. I thought it would be OK to take a puff of a friend?s cigarette. That was in 1992. Smoking 15-20 a day, I do not want to calculate how many I need not have smoked had I understood what I know now - that I can never take another puff.
I am 55 years old and, apart from that one year, have smoked since I was 20. My mother had heart disease and a leg amputated because of poor circulation almost certainly caused by her lifelong addiction. She died before seeing her grandchildren grow up. My granddaughter was born on March 15th last year. I want to be there for her while she grows up. She has never known me to smell of smoke. I am so proud of myself for doing this that I am making other changes in my life too. I have started to run and have entered the June 05 'Race for Life' collecting sponsorship for cancer charities. I could never run before, even when I was young.
Cold Turkey is only hard if you think it is going to be. Anyone can do an hour without nicotine. And then the next, and the next, and it becomes a day, then two and then sooner than you think, you forget what it felt like to really want a cigarette.
I wish nicotine had never been a part of my life, but at least I can say for certain that it never will be again.
My name is Juanita. I'm coming up on my 15th month of not smoking. I quit cold turkey with the help of WhyQuit.com and the ALA's FFS program. Without the help of these two programs, I seriously doubt I'd be here. It's immensely joyous to be smoke free and able to be more active and smell better and all the other benefits to being a non-smoker. I learned that the success to ANY life change will be the direct result of how much education you give yourself on the subject. I'm pretty sure I would not be here if I was an uneducated quitter. I scoured every corner of WhyQuit and used FFS to its fullest. Thanks to my self-awareness of my addiction, I was able to quit and never look back!!
My name is Mary and I have been smoke free for 1 year 3 months. I smoked for 22 years and never once tried to quit. I actually found WhyQuit before my quit day. The articles and stories really helped to reinforce my reasons for wanting to quit. Once I did quit I found the discussion boards to be extremely helpful. Though I never participated in them, just reading what others were experiencing and the encouragement from those that had been there was enough to get me through some hard times.
Quitting was easier than I thought it would be as far as cravings go, but I was surprised by the tremendous emotional ups and downs I went thru. When I decided to quit smoking I didn't realize how important having a support system was. Just knowing that there were others out there that were riding the same emotional roller coaster as myself was comforting.
Any time I hear someone say they are going to quit smoking there are 3 things that I tell them; cold turkey is the only sure way to quit, visit the web site WhyQuit.com and make sure you have some type of support system, you can call me if you need one. I would like to say thank you to WhyQuit and the many people who have shared stories of their loved ones lost, they were incredibly inspirational. Also, a big thanks to the people who give advise to those of us struggling on the discussion boards. Though you may not even know we are there your advice is always encouraging.
THANK YOU & HAVE A GREAT DAY!
I started smoking when I was fourteen years old. It was the night they rushed my father to the hospital because he was having a heart attack. His heart stopped three times that night and he was forced to quit smoking. He told me that he wanted to suck the nicotine off the fingers of the nurses who smelled of smoke after their breaks. Somehow I came to reason with God that I would start smoking if he let my father live. How the mind of a fourteen year old works!
My mother died a couple of years after I graduated from college. Diagnosed with liver cancer, she had to have a lung removed earlier due to lung cancer. She quit smoking in her early forties but was now in her late forties. It was during my senior year in high school. I walked into her hospital room just as the doctor told her she probably only had two months to live. We cried with each other for about fifteen minutes. Just before she died I brought home a girl whom I just started dating. She told me later that she did not want to jinx it but that she thought that she just met my future wife and her deepest regret was that she would be there for my children.
I quit once before about four years ago for a year but had to add my name to the one puff files. My father had dementia and his brother who was a priest living in nearby city got cancer. Both died relatively close to each other. After one of the wakes I walked outside and smoked a cigarette with my brother, then believing it would help me through the situation. Back to another 30 plus Merit Longs a day.
I promised my kids that I would try again. I did try a few times but could not see myself without smoking. I wanted to quit but after several failed attempts I did not think I could. I thought I was destined to continue my 35 years of smoking until death. I made promises to my kids that I would try after tax season ( I am a CPA). On April 16, 2004, after tax season my boys asked me, "now that tax season is over when are you going to quit?" I quit on April 19th and that quit only lasted two days, maybe two and a half, before I broke down and purchased a pack. I made that pack last three days. My wife smokes and the boys are harder on her then me. They said to her, "at least dad tries to quit," after my last failed attempt. She always said we could not quit together because we would kill each other.
Ashamed that I failed in my last quit attempt, angry that I ever started to smoke, embarrassed to have to leave my son's basketball game at halftime to smoke, disgusted that I coached basketball while smoking, mad that I allowed myself, my government, and the tobacco companies to make me a slave, scared from when I went to the heart doctor for a stress test that he said to me that "chances are that if both you and your wife continue to smoke that something bad is likely to happen to one of you during the next five years." My daughter was only entering the eighth grade and my sons were entering their senior year of high school and the other a sophomore year in college. On April 26, 2004 I smoked my last cigarette. I did so hopefully my kids would not have watch me suffer or worry during their own development.
I am so proud of my quit. I'm thankful to WhyQuit.com, and the managers and members of Freedom from Tobacco (where I lurked as a non-member) for helping me save my life. Thank you! Thank you! My wife and several people I know have quit or are in the process of quitting because of WhyQuit. When they ask me how I quit I respond with a question do you have a computer. I explain about WhyQuit and will actually go to the web page on their computer to give them a tour. Before I sign off their computer I add WhyQuit.com to their Favorites and encourage them to return and explore the site when they have some free time.
Today I'm forty-nine years old, have a wonderful beautiful non-smoking wife and three children ages 13, 18. and 20. It has been one year and one day since I ingested nicotine into my body. I've saved $3,167.14 while not smoking 10,997 cigarettes. For you new quitters, please believe me when I say peace and comfort will come. Breathe deep, live long, love strong, hug long, and be FREE by Never, Never, Taking Another Puff.
You will find peace and freedom just give it chance by NTAP. Repeat after me, I do believe, I do believe, I do believe! You will be there before you even realize that you are there!
Walter F. Cain
Webster, Massachusetts, USA
I discovered WhyQuit.com a few weeks into my quit. I had been searching on the web for support groups and stumbled upon WhyQuit the same way many people find things on the web - just follow the links...
It didn't take long to figure that I'd found the right place. The information available was overwhelming. The time I spent reading alone was enough to get me through those early craves.
I continued to read day after day, night after night (my wife can attest to that). I'm convinced that WhyQuit.com was the key reason, after my own desire to quit, that I have surpassed one year of not smoking (April 21).
Thanks to all.
I quit smoking a little over 15 months ago, thinking that I was simply going to put them down and away for awhile. I was wrong. Oddly enough, I quit cold turkey.
My fiance had just bought us bicycles for Christmas and I was determined to ride as long and as far as I possibly could. I was 30 pounds over-weight, a 20-year smoker, and stressed from everyday life as a single mother of two teenagers. I quit smoking just as cold turkey as they come. I threw away everything that closely resembled smoking and gave my body and soul to God for healing. I prayed my way through the cravings and, when I thought I couldn't take it any further, I climbed up on the purple beast; my Schwinn, and rode as hard as I could through the neighborhood, local parks, to and from work. I spent the first 4-6 months coughing and spitting the last 20 years of crud from my lungs. I've since gave up sleepless nights, heavy medical cost, and started enjoying the healing power of oxygen. I often think I've successfully quit because I've just smoked enough in my life. I've really enjoyed breathing, instead!
Thanks for asking and may God bless you all.
I heard someone say once, "It's easy to quit smoking, I've done it a hundred times!!".
That was the story of my life. Not anymore. I have NOT smoked for almost 3 years, and this is because WhyQuit enabled me to have an 'intellectual quit'. This meant that I understood exactly the damage I was doing to myself, the addiction that gripped me, the reason for the withdrawal symptoms, what they meant and how long they would last.
In a scientific manner, I could grit my teeth through the worst of the withdrawal, knowing that relief would come in the form of freedom, and that the pain is temporary. True comfort is the gift that you get.
Once a 40 per day smoker, now running half marathons easily.
It is easier than you think to not smoke. I smoked for 42 years gradually working up to more and more cigarettes. It was easy enough to quit, so much so that I cannot understand why I didn't quit years ago. Why was I not motivated before I found WhyQuit.com? I hope others get motivated younger than I. My quitting cold turkey has amazed some friends to the point that they quit, too.
I have been quit for 1 Year, 3 Months, 21 hours, 29 minutes and 7 seconds (456 days). I have saved $2,969.81 by not smoking 18,275 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Months, 3 Days, 10 hours and 55 minutes of my life.
Helen McDonald, R.N.
I quit cold turkey over 10 years ago and I'm now watching my older brother try again. He is on day 20. Keep it up Joe!
I quit 15 November 2003. Learning how nicotine actually affected my body helped a lot, because I knew what was going on when I had certain feelings or cravings. I owe WhyQuit much gratitude and thanks.
I cant thank WhyQuit enough!!! I quit smoking on January 4, 2004. Its been 1 year and 2 months...I feel fantastic.!! I am going to keep this short...this web site was "THE ONE" that helped me quit cold turkey. I realize back..when I had quit smoking...it is mostly a mental challenge more than anything! I never thought I had willpower...but WhyQuit showed me ways! Thank you so much...and my 3 boys and husband thank you too.
I quit cold turkey on December 2, 2002, 2 years, 3 months and two weeks ago after having smoked for 21 years. I had tried to quit unsuccessfully in the past, almost always using some sort of nicotine replacement. Or worse, some rationalization to have "just one". As everyone knows, there is never just one. If you have one, understand that that entails the entire truckload that comes behind. From there you have only two inevitable choices: another painful quit which may or may not take, or a slow, painful death. I can't sugarcoat what I know to be the truth.
The idea of easing into a quit by using nicotine patches or gum is flawed. The best way to stop an active addiction is to stop using the addictive substance immediately and completely. To my knowledge, AA or similar programs do not encourage alcoholics to cut back or have one or two drinks. Neither should any responsible nicotine cessation program. Don't think you are an addict? Then ask yourself, have I ever gone into an ashtray or a garbage can and straightened out a bent, partially smoked cigarette and smoked it? Was it yours or someone else's? Did you care? Have you ever trekked out into snow or freezing rain late at night to get a pack? Scrounged for change to scrape up enough money to get some? Begged off a stranger? If you said yes or even maybe to any of these, then one last question, do these sound like the behaviors of someone who is in control? As an addict you are not in control. There is only one thing you can do. Thankfully it works every time if followed to the letter. Stop using nicotine immediately and never take another dip, drag or puff for the rest of your life! Here's to your success!
I am today one whole year smoke free. I hope you don't mind but I just had to write to thank you all at WhyQuit.com for the support and encouragement you unknowingly provided for me and probably thousands more like me. I took your rules very seriously and therefore never became a member as I had no faith in my ability to stay stopped for very long. However, one smoke free day led to another and armed with all the information in Joel's library I found it increasingly more difficult to justify to myself a return to smoking.
I truly thought that I had damaged my lungs beyond repair but recently joined a keep fit class and a hill walking group and these old lungs carry me along nicely. In my smoking days I regularly refused invitations preferring to stay by myself hiding in corners with my 'friends', whereas now, at the age of 54 I'm living a wonderful life which I never really knew existed. I know I can never take another puff - but why would I want to. Thank you all once again.
I just want all you new quitters to realise that you CAN do this !!! It's been 2 yrs 6 months for me , I have been through many stressful life changes without even thinking about smoking, yet at the start I was just like you are now !!
Keep reading , never take another puff. Thats how simple it is.
THANK YOU EVERYONE, Peachypie XX
I am proud to say that I have not taken a puff off a cigarette since October 21, 2003! I started smoking at age 13 and became addicted to nicotine at that same age (18 years ago!!). What is sad is the fact that I actually made myself become a smoker!! I wanted to seem grown up and be accepted by a certain group of kids. I actually got sick and continued to smoke!! I have tried the nicotine gum and the patches. Until I found this website, I never even thought about quitting "cold turkey". After seeing all the advertisement about nicotine replacement, I thought that was the only way to quit.
Four very important words grabbed my attention and I still repeat those words today (even though I have no desire to smoke). I see people who have quit for years and go back to smoking. That is why the words "Never Take Another Puff" are so important to me. It reminds me that in order to win this battle with nicotine, I must NEVER use it again!! I am so thankful to God and this website. If not for both, I would not have been successful. I am using the $1,850 I have saved and taking my daughter to Disney World this summer!! And for those who think you will get fat after quitting smoking - that is the opposite of the truth. The extra energy I have now has helped me to lose 15 pounds since the day I quit! I feel better than I did when I was 18 years old!! Thank you! Thank you!!
Hello! Today is my one year anniversary of having stopped smoking after just over 20 years. I know it's been said over and over but I never thought I could do it and be this successful. It was just plain exhilarating (and still is) to be free of this heinous addiction. Like many people out there, I too have tried a number of times but now feel down to my very bones this quit is the one that will 'stick'.
I've often read the WhyQuit disclaimer that said: "WhyQuit is staffed and its materials authored by professional cessation counselors who are not medically trained physicians. WhyQuit's information is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a site visitor and his/her physician. Do not rely upon any information at this site to replace individual consultations with your doctor or other qualified health care provider."
I understand why it's there and why you have to post it, but I have to tell you that it's because of whyquit.com and other sites like this that are devoted to helping us stay quit that I attribute my success. Sadly, although my doctor always encouraged me to quit, beyond offering to write prescriptions, I never had the education, tools and resources that sites like whyquit.com offered.
I know I will continue to need to care for my quit and never backslide or become arrogant that I could have another smoke, for the rest of my life. Interesting because it doesn't feel like a battle or something I 'gave up' any more. Now it feels like one of the best gift I've ever received. Thanks for saving my life.
I've been clean for 1 year and 2 months. I used NO REPLACEMENT NICOTINE and it wasn't easy. But it was possible. Thank you whyquit.com.
After 38 years of active nicotine addiction, I smoked my last cigarette on June 5, 2003. I quit 'cold turkey' because to attempt to quit by any method that uses nicotine isn't really quitting, now is it? I must not confuse quitting cigarettes, cigars, chew, patch, etc. with quitting the real culprit, which is nicotine. Whatever the method of delivery, the common denominator is nicotine. I will be free as long as I know to never allow nicotine into my body again.
P.S. I am a lurker. Mr. Polito. I sent you a letter approx. Sept. of 2003 in appreciation of this website. I am proud to say that I am still nicotine free and will remain so until my last breath, all due to the education I have received here. Joel's library is a gift to nicotine addicts all over the world. Your work will save many lives, mine included. Thank you...thank you...