Oh Don’t look so shocked! It could have said ” when I finally quit Stripping” or ” when I finally quit the gang life”. But I am not that exciting. Actually I smoked for 20 years. Then it took me 4 years of quitting for six months and then falling off the wagon and blaming it on my husband or kids or stress. It took me a long time to identify my triggers and to accept that this was just as much a spiritual and emotional battle as it was a physical one.
Let me be clear. Quitting smoking was hard! I did not want to quit really. But I got cancer and the doc was clear that I could reduce my chance of re-occurrence by over 50% if I quit. It became something I simply had to do. So he put me on Chantix and sent me out the door with arm-loads of pamphlets and pictures of black lungs,holes in necks and amputated legs.
Cancer is less fun than it sounds. I’ve had surgery, been remodeled in the most interesting places. I also developed fibro-myalgia, strange and severe pain in my legs and arms, circulation issues, malnutrition,and I smelled lovely. (Smoking will not send you straight to hell, but it will make you smell like you have been there). I could not really taste much. I wanted to set a good example for my kids. I wanted to be able to serve my God without having to hide in the parking lot for my hit of nicotine. I wanted to be more appealing to my cowboy. I could not breathe and mountain climbing was out of the question. Breath mints were a must and I don’t care how much bath and body works you squirt on your freshly laundered self… you can’t hide it.
Lots of reasons to quit. So I did.
And I got SO depressed
I was laying around in my pajamas, watching law and order reruns, feeling to sad and angry to answer the phone or go anywhere, eating laffy taffy, chocolate cereal out of a box and oreos. Not cleaning or cooking, listening to 80’s love ballads and feeling like a complete failure.
I did not put it together for a long time.
At first I did not understand what was going on. I could not figure out why I was miserable, after all I had accomplished something big, met my goals, did that really great and healthy thing… My lungs were repairing, my life just smelled better and Food…… oh heavens, it tasted good… But I was miserable. It took three times of this cycle to figure it out. and one day it dawned on me……
I was giving up my very best friend. I was depressed and sad because I was grieving. Long after the physical cravings had stopped, I was still emotionally craving my smokey crutch.
See this little friend was with me when I did everything. When I woke up, it was with my coffee. When I was angry it calmed me down, when I was sad, it comforted me. When I was nervous it calmed my nerves. When I needed a break it gave me a reason. WHen I was hungry, I smoked. When I socialized, I smoked. When I relaxed,I smoked. Stressed- Smoke.
And it gave me excuses. It excused me from church functions, trips in the car, eating right or eating at all. It excused me even from relationships.
Whoa! that was something to discover about myself. Especially when I realized that My best friend gave me cancer. So I started to give my departing friend another look. I realized that I had made this “friend” More important than anything else. I let it keep me from being a whole-hearted servant and lover of this God I claimed to love, to the children and husband I claimed to love and the people around me who were counting on me. I let it take part of my body. I let it keep me from being free. I let it make me crazy when It was not with me. I let it take my money. I let it decide what I could and could not do and where I could and could not go.
So I dealt with my depression. I treated it like a recovery. I finally ” turned my back and slammed the door” and for almost 4 years now, I have not looked back. About 6 months after I quit smoking, the pain got better. The depression was gone. I could breath. I had reclaimed so much time. money and freedom. And I am cancer free.
Watch for the post
” When I finally quit having hot Flashes”
That’s the one I’m looking forward too.