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Saturday, July 13, 2013

On Quitting Smoking

I quit smoking on November 1, 2009.  For years I battled smoking and weight.  For years I tried to overcome both, unsuccessfully.  For me, I had to overcome the smoking first in order to have the time, energy, ability to breathe, and the stamina to tackle exercise. Quit All TogetherI stumbled upon and found a Forums area.  This area is designed for people like you and me to support others who were trying to quit smoking.  I learned a lot from them and they held my hand through the very difficult process of quitting.  I formed some lifelong friendships there and have had the pleasure of meeting several of them in person.

Someone recently reposted my 2 year anniversary "ramble" in the forums and I thought I'd share it here.

If you are trying to quit, or know anyone who struggles with quitting, pass this along (there's a facebook share button on the side, too) ...who knows, maybe it will help.  If I can help anyone quit and regain their freedom from the horrible addiction of smoking, it is my privilege to do so, and only fair to pay it forward for all the help that was given to me.


"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." -Martin Luther King

You say you want to quit smoking. Do you? Really?

Are you willing to give up your comfort zone?
Are you willing to walk where you have never walked before?
Will you trust those of us who are ahead on the path to help guide you?Are you willing to shatter your deeply held core beliefs about yourself?

I held so many lies as my core beliefs about myself and about life that had to be shattered and rebuilt in order to make it this far. Lies, like:

1. "I am a smoker. A smoker is just WHO I AM."

2. "Cigarettes are my friend; they've been there with me through every life event."

3. "I can't make it without smoking. Life is too hard."I'm here to tell you that this kind of thinking is the addiction talking, and they are all lies.

Let's debunk those lies...

1. I am NOT a smoker. I am Carly. Carly, a non smoker is who I am, who I was born to be...who I always was - underneath the addiction was a scared non smoker just wanting a chance to break free.

2. Cigarettes are my ENEMY. Through every day since age 11, they have been poisoning me, sneering, jeering, and patiently waiting for my demise. Cigarettes are poison; they cause death, destruction of families and misery. "I" was with me for every life event. "I" was responsible for soothing myself during hard times and I can do it without the poison....(In fact, I have found so many wonderful ways to experience all life's events...being PRESENT, and not anxiously trying to escape for that smoke.)

3. I can, in fact, make it without smoking. Life is hard for all of us. Smoking just makes it so much harder. The added guilt, shame, labored breathing, stench, expense, and distraction from real living....egad I am so grateful to be free. Life is not easy, for any of us. But it's MUCH easier than it used to be now that I don't smoke. And that's a fact.


During that first month when I quit I cried a lot. I kicked. I screamed. I felt nauseous  I couldn't think. I couldn't concentrate. I couldn't function very well. I was scared and excited and awkward and so out of sorts.

But I read what everyone was telling me. They were saying, it's hard, Carly, but it will get easier IF YOU DO NOT SMOKE. Just hang in there. Believe us. There will come a point where you don't think about smoking. You won't crave it. You'll be free.

I didn't know what that could possibly look like. I didn't know what that could possibly feel like. I had no frame of reference. It was like I grew up since age 11 locked in a dungeon with lots of other really nice smoking prisoners.  Other folks kept sending me messages that there was another world out there with sunlight and fresh air and breezes and freedom.  I could kind of imagine it, but couldn't really understand the big difference.....BUT I BELIEVED THEM. They had gone before me and knew what I did not know.

And I read and read and read everything that those successful people were trying to tell me. I read their profiles. I read their stories.

I shared my process openly and kind of fearlessly. I figured, holding it all in and trying to do it all MY way had failed me dozens of times. My way doesn't work. It just doesn't. So I figured if I spilled it all out and let the successful people share their suggestions, experience, strength and hope...I'd have a chance at doing it DIFFERENTLY.

And it worked. If they told me to go put my head in a freezer for 3 minutes during a bad craving, then come back and post, by God I did it! (I’m not making that up, I really did that.) If they told me to go to bed at 8 p.m. and wake up the next day a winner, well, nite nite, see ya in the morning! (I really did that, too.)

What I can say now is what they told me two years ago.

If you don't smoke, it WILL get easier. If you don't smoke, there WILL come a time when you don't think about it, don't crave it, and don't want it. I know. Because that is where I am now.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase." -Martin Luther King

Take one step. Then another. Then another. And I promise you, there is a path out of the dungeon and it is way better than you can possibly imagine.
Believe us.



  1. AnonymousJuly 13, 2013

    Thank you Carly for all your words of encouragement. Your story helped me quit. March 17, 2013 was the first day of not smoking. It does get easier! But thank God for Chantix! Keep up the good work! love, Kim Waterhouse

  2. I am so proud of you Kim! I wish everyone who smoked could know that they can get to the other side - that no one in the history of the planet ever died from a craving....and that the cravings DO go away.

    And yes, Chantix was a huge help for me in reducing the side effects of withdrawal.


  3. Awesome as always Carly!!! You have been a huge help to me on my road towards getting, and staying quit. I'm almost 900 days now, and going strong. I now know that after almost 40 years of being a smoker that there's nothing good that comes from it, and I finally have zero desire to ever go back to being a slave to big tobacco.

    thanks for all you do Carly, Love you!!!


  4. Mark! 900 days...holy toledo - time flies!

    I am super proud of you and your quit twin Wendy. Helping you helped me just as much (you know that, right?)

    Hope to meet you one of these years, my friend!


  5. AnonymousJuly 13, 2013

    I stopped smoking nearly 3 years ago. The best and hardest thing I have ever done. D

  6. Dear know it! Once you quit smoking you realize you really CAN do anything you set your mind to doing!


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