BodyThe Self

My Final Quit

Teta here, honestly Zeffy smoked ciggies for many years but at this point he's been a nonsmoker for almost as long. Quitting has been tricky because I'm a 'light' smoker, as in I'll rarely go through 4 ciggies all day. The other day I reached out for some help, feeling like quitting this on my own... well, suffice to say I'd have done it already. By the grace of mysterious things, I stumbled upon our local help-ums website. Honestly, I really do believe that we all have a lot more power than we feel confident admitting or embracing. I also believe that one of the most powerful things we can do is ask for and accept help.

I'll provide links when I've got them, promise. In the meanwhile, here's my plan for this space: I sighed up for the program and already I'm feeling more empowered... mostly because of the various reasons I've had such a hard time quitting.

Apparently they've been at this for 25 years and they've got a whole pack of counslors who are available 24/7 most of the year. They get part of Christmas and New Year's day, I think is what my new friend Ian said. For my package, I get 7 phone calls with the various counslors which I'm really looking forward to now that I've got the first one 'under my belt' as it were. As a random note, I accidently got to talk to 2 counslors yesterday because there was a technical error and the first phone call got cut off. Therefore, Sara[h] is also my new friend.

Their program has these 5 keys to a successful final quit:

Oddly enough, though I'm not sure why... seems so obvious to set a quit date. After talking with Sara[h] I decided to start my smoke-free journey with the new year and this is what I confirmed with Ian. Part of me feels like this is applying an unnessesary pressure, but another part of me feels like that thinking is coming from 'what if I fail?' instead of imagining the fun I'll have counting my nonsmoker days. "How long has it been since you lit up?" "Hmm, good question, what's the date today?" Perhaps the person will look at me in a funny way or perhaps we'll all have fun when someone tells me the day of the week.

Another important key is what they refer to as the mini quit which made a lot of sense once I learned it wasn't about, like rejecting smokes for a day. The concept is... what if, this one time you don't have an urge, you're just following a pattern and you opt to do somethine else instead? Ian talks about, like maybe you just finished a meal--instead of leaving the dirty dishes on the counter and going for a smoke, maybe washing the dishes instead. I talked about going for a short stroll, leaving my smokes inside, because sometimes I just want some fresh air but have developed a habit of lighting up simply because I'm outside. There are countless 'mini quit options' and these actions become our new habits to rely on after we've lit up our last smoke.

Support is essential for most lifestyle or habit changes and it was fun to hear Ian mention that they are officially part of my support network. Last night I was finally able to share these various things with Zeffy {it's only been a few days} and of course he tells me 'whatever I can do to help you.' On the phone with Ian, I shared that honestly... people in my life have already quit smoking and may have referred to myself as a 'straggler.' It's really encouraging to know that there are trained coaches a phone-call away, I already told Ian that I'll be saving my remaining phone calls for January beause I'll need the help fighting urges. Zeffy already knows that the big struggle is those first 2 weeks {though I'm sure that's the case for everyone, I've long been a light smoker and my biggest struggle with quitting has often felt like a normal struggle to change habits}  

Clean up is the 4th key and I've already begun to think about what areas will need the most attention and how I can cleanse the spaces energetically. There’s a lot of truth in ‘out of sight, out of mind’ and making a tobacco-free space is an essential part of beginning that path toward becoming a nonsmoker. One of my first priorities will be washing that old orange sweater who's pockets seem forever holding lighters on one side and ciggy bits on the other. Perhaps this winter I'll even give the old girl some upgrades.

The last key is medications, but I'm opting to go 'cold turkey' and rely on my new habits... as well as my new super-supportive friends who will likely be able to offer fascinating feedback on my feelings during those first several days of resisting urges. I don't know what happened, to be sadly honest, but at some point during my smoking life... I stopped going outside without lighting up. I attempted a few of my own 'mini quit' challenges... when I thought it just meant going smoke-free for a day. When was the last time I lit up? Oh so it's actually been 10 hours, that's impressive right? No, not really--I've been staying busy inside.

Update, 10th of January: I've been full smoke free for almost a month now, I think. Zeffy is also tracking my smoke free days and even though I chose January first as my quit date... I ran out of smokes at the end of December, therefore I've got 10 days plus some 5 or 7 before that. Overall I feel really good and I'm definately pleased with myself {also Zeffy is quite proud of my determination}. I have been patching up that old sweater and my writing is deeper as I'm having to 'deal with' certain emotions that I was able to avoid or numb {or something} before. Honestly it's been kind of trippy, these various feelings I haven't experienced  for however long. Currently I'm working on a few posts because of this unlocked insight, as it were.

More than anything else, embracing my life as a non-smoker has been changing my routines... especially in the morning. Starting my day with healthier, more productive choices is key to having a better day overall.