I was a very heavy smoker for 32 years. I self identified as "THEE" smoker everywhere I went. I started at age 11, and so I truly had no other learned coping mechanisms. Eating and smoking were my defenses against all that life threw at me. I did not know how to exist without smoking.
I assumed I would quit smoking, create a huge void in my life, mourn and cry and be miserable for a long time until I was still miserable but no longer mourning and crying. I assumed it would be hard, and stay hard, but if I was just strong enough somehow, I could fight that battle day in and day out for the rest of my life so I could have a longer (and hopefully less miserable) life.
Well, you know what they say about assume, right (makes an "ass" of "u" and "me" ha!)
Here's what actually happened.
I was miserable (really really miserable) for the first 3 months. After that I was intermittently miserable and rather hopeful. After the 140 day mark I started getting rather surprised by how often I would go without thinking about smoking. Once I passed the year mark all "cravings" were reduced to simply "thoughts" that were easily pushed aside. By the time I hit the 2 year mark, I no longer associated anything with smoking. The only time I would think about it was when I saw smokers and then it was more a "poor fella...I wish he could quit" than anything else.
What else happened?
After I quit, I gained 40+ pounds in one year (and I was already obese). BUT..I also gained the ability to breathe without wheezing and I gained energy I didn't realize I could have.
So I started moving and becoming more active and after the first year of quitting decided to tackle the morbid obesity. I started this fitness/weight loss blog to document the process.
|Zip Lining along the Ocoee River, TN|
I also ditched the self imposed limitations in my brain. I didn't like the Baltimore DC crowded metro area but felt stuck there. I had no family there and was barely existing some days. But after quitting and losing weight I realized the only thing stopping me from really living was me.
So I found a new job near the Smokey Mountains, put my house on the market, grabbed my son, and moved (I'm a single mom...have been for 8 years). Since moving, this 46 year old woman has:
- gone zip lining
- gone swimming in the Tennessee River
- gone hiking, biking, rock climbing, caving
- gone whitewater rafting
In fact, I'm heading out today with my 12 year old to the mountains were we will rent a little boat, swim, fish, and on Labor Day we're hitting class III and IV whitewater rapids (at the site of the 1996 olympics).
Next month I'm doing a 35 mile Appalachian Mountain bike trip (mostly downhill, but STILL!)
And in 3 weeks I'm doing a Warrior Dash: http://www.warriordash.com/
I was petrified 34 months ago that life was going to change in unknown ways once I put down the cigarettes. Now, I thank God that it has. You couldn't pay me to go back. No freaking way!!! That was dying...this lis LIVING!