Quitting

Year I started smoking: 1991

Number of times I tried to quit smoking: Countless

Last failed attempt: 14 October 2007

Last attempt to quit smoking: 15 October 2007

Last time I lit up and smoked: 27 January 2008

Do I still consider myself a smoker? No more! I lit up and smoked last 27Jan. I enjoyed it but I made a decision not return to smoking. I’m really glad those 2 sticks didn’t restart the habit for me.

Will I light up again and smoke? I really hope not. I will admit that there are times when I am tempted to smoke.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

I started smoking because I wanted to. I even I auditioned for a role in a stage play that required smoking so I can “legally smoke” (as in have a reason for the parents why I was smoking) and I can learn how to smoke properly. *in my world then, it made perfect sense…hay baliw*

From mooching, I eventually graduated to buying my own pack. In 2005, to help me quit I switched from filters to menthol. The plan was to cut down because I really didnt like menthol cigs. I ended up liking it. *Failure*

When I started running in 2007, I was still smoking. I would notice that I’d ran out of breath pretty quickly. So I would experiment with not smoking a few hours before a run (hahaha yes. I knew naman that smoking was bad me … Of course, I knew that. But in my crazy world and logic I was just hoping that all that smoke and nicotine going to my lungs won’t affect my running.) And of course, my performance was definitely different if/when I don’t smoke.

In September 2007, we programmed our key races…New Balance PowerRace, Yakult 10Miler and the Subic Half Marathon.  I decided that if I wanted to survive the races I needed to cut down or better yet quit.

14Oct2007 800pm. I lit my last cigarette. After I finished the stick, I got my remaining cigs, soaked it in water then it threw away with my lighter. It was a big production number for me. A dramatic gesture to end my smoking habit.

14Oct2007 930pm. I left the house to buy another pack. I chain smoked 5or 6 I think and promised to really quit the next day. While I was smoking I strategized. I knew needed a tool to help me quit smoking. I also wanted to make sure that I won’t end up on an eating binge. While I smoked, I decided I will make a journal to help me cope. I also started cutting out power words and striking images from magazines to help me keep focused and motivated.

The ideas was whenever I get the urge to smoke, I will pull out the journal, find a power/motivational word and write in the journal to distract myself. I will also log the number of days, hours and minutes I have not smoked so that I will have milestones. I’m sharing some of my journal entries here with you.

Its been 8months and 6days since I officially quit smoking.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Here are some of my sticking to the quitting game tips:

1. I identified my smoking triggers and devised ways to avoid them. I really sat down and wrote down the things that makes we want to light up.

2. Smoking is dangerous to your health. It makes you stink. It can lead to cancer. Your second hand smoke is killing your friends. All abstract. I needed something concrete to hold on to. I needed a better hook. I failed several times because my goal then was to just quit smoking because it was bad bad bad. I was able to stick to the quitting game this time because I had a bigger plan and more concrete reason.  I wanted to run longer and faster. Shallow? Maybe, but I dont really care, the important thing was that it worked for me.

3. I made a plan. I knew that it was going to be stressful and I devised ways to cope with the stress. My coping mechanism was keeping a journal. Luckily, this worked for me. There are lots of ways to cope with stress … apart from smoking.

4. I forgave myself everytime I slipped. So I lit up … it doesn’t mean I can’t go on anymore. It certainly doesn’t mean that I have to quit quitting.

5. I tested my selfcontrol one step at a time. Going out again with my friends who smoke and watching them smoke and not light up was very hard for me. I still celebrate every minute that I am able to stay away from smoking.

 

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16 thoughts on “Quitting

  1. congratulations on quitting smoking! It’s an addiction that has no benefit whatsoever, it’s just a means of killing yourself slowly…

    great post, great new header! 😀

  2. Haha… ngayon ko lang napansin yong header…

    Congrats no quitting!

    I agree with Joe that smoking has nothing good to offer.

    I started smoking when I was in 2nd year high school… that was in 1999… Then I “quit” the after, when I got involved in some sports… Went back the year after and continued to college. It was difficult to stop… I made a conscious decision to stop in August of 2006. It’s been almost 2 years since I stopped.

    Running is also a motivator. 🙂 smoke, can’t run… Run, can’t smoke… I choose the latter.

  3. Congrats to you as well.

    I started in my 2nd year of high school like passion runner. It was because of peer pressure. Because of getting involved in cross country and track in my junior year, I stopped.

    Best decision that you made!

  4. thanks guys and i really hope this post will also help others who are also trying to quit.

    on the new header, haha i had to make a new one kasi i messed up the old one when I tried to use one of the fuego running pics as a header. sus! necessity is the mother of invention talaga.

  5. Great post, Bernadette! It’s nice to have you on the non-smoker’s side of the barkada’s takaw table… 😉 And to think that a year ago your main concern was whether running would be bad for your hip hopping knees! Haha!

  6. Congrats on kicking the habit. Running is a way better addiction, as I’m sure you’ve realized. 🙂

  7. mesh – thanks. the austinpoweresque header is fun eh, but i like my Au talahib kahit it has got nothing to do with running.

    LR – thanks.

    PCG – So true. thanks for dropping by. btw, the running snowmen are so cool 😛

  8. didn’t know you were a fellow quitter coach! hahaha i’ll be smoke free for 2 years this July…and it’s a nice feeling. One tip when going out with friends who smoke when you’re feeling vulnerable, choose a table inside the resto/bar, stay in the bar when they need to smoke, don’t get drunk so your will power weakens :o)

  9. I experience a very similar story. Age 26 athletic man 5.10 160 lbs, run 3 miles almost 4 days in a week. AND A smoker for 5 years. Smoke on an average 5-8 per day. love cigarettes and really never had a day without smoking until this week. I had a hectic work weekend and i smoked a pack this sunday and almost a pack saturday (higher than usual ). I came back from work Monday, dint eat breakfast, not taking care of myself that week though I eat good and workout well. I was feeling a light breathlessness Monday evening. My roommate said she had experienced that breathlessness before when she smokes a lot . So I was feeling Ok and hoping that lungs would clear up. it was embarrassing and PAINFUL for a 26 year athlete to be gasping for air. Though i considered myself to be a moderate smoker, i thought i was OK. I went to work tuesday and I was Ok. I dint smoke monday evening and tuesday morning. Tuesday lunch i smoked half a cigarette. culdnt finish the whole, i was starting to choke.So i trashed the pack and told myself not to smoek again. at the point my body was not ready though my mind said a quit. Things got worse from there. I was increasingly struggling to breathe. i came home and started choking bad. i was almost opening my notebook to call an ambulance, culdnt beleive what was happening. before i booted my computer I had a breath which got in and i thouhgt at that point my lungs cleared up a little bit. things started improving from that point. was able to breather and in 24 hours i was back to normal. no breathing problems. I REALLY ENJOYED wednesday- enjoyed every breath i took, never had the slightest craving for smoking. I am now sacred to even see cigarettes. i hope this is best day in life.
    I realize that life is all about good health, I don’t wana be in oxygen tank. I wana hike bike. Being breathless and choking for air, sucking as hard as you can and still not able to get the oxygen into the blood- that was a torture. I really want my lungs back/
    I am hoping to run marathons in a year with a blood full of oxygen.
    So- about quitting, I thought it was impossible to quit smoking. But after this week, I think its impossible for me smoke again.

    california

  10. Karthik – Congratulations! Keep at it … it will not be easy but you are right it is not impossible. I found this little bit in the net … Yey! Our lungs will regenerate 😛

    “How Quickly Do the Benefits of Quitting Start?”

    * “Just 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your blood pressure and pulse rate drop to normal and the body temperature of your hands and
    feet increases to normal.”

    * “A mere 8 hours after your last smoke, the carbon monoxide level decreases and the oxygen level in your blood increases to normal.”

    * “Just 24 hours after your last cigarette, you substantially lessen your chances of having a heart attack.”

    * “Two days after your last cigarette, you will notice that your ability to taste and smell is enhanced.”

    * “Three days later, your breathing should be noticeably better because your lung capacity will be greater.”

    * “Your circulation will improve and your lung functioning will increase up to 30% within two weeks to three months after quitting.”

    * “Between one month and nine months, the cilia in your lungs will regenerate, allowing your body to clean your lungs and reduce
    infection.”

    * “One year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker.”

    * “Five years after quitting, your risk of stroke is reduced to that of a nonsmoker.”

    * “Ten years after quitting, the lung cancer death rate is about half that of a continuing smokers. The risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney and pancreas decreases.”

    * “Fifteen years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmokers.

  11. Thanks- I think it is easy. I had some withdrawal symptoms after 48 hours, couldnt drink more thnan one cup of cofee or soda.
    NEVER had a single craving for a puff. I just hate it and this is my 6 th day. i could feel the oxgyen tingling my finger tips. it been an mazing feeling. ran today for 4 miles, no choking no gasping for air. life seems wonderful though its my first week.

  12. congratulations. i’m on my 32nd day of nicotine deprivation… but i have to admit that i, uh, cheated for three non-consecutive days. sobrang hirap talaga ako. but considering that you started way earlier than i did, i guess i’ll take my cue from you and stop. stoooop.

    marga
    http://3-5-oh-1-2-5-go.livejournal.com

  13. karthik – going on week2? keep it up!

    marga – hi nice to see you are blogging again! inhale errr puff then put out the yosi exhale and dont light another stick hehehe good luck on your 33rd day

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