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  • Get to keep it by giving it away

    I'm still here. Though my other board is now up and running smoothly, I've decided to hang around here to just offer a little oasis for anyone struggling thru the desert of stopping smoking. Your mouth gets pretty dry, you throat gets scratchy and your skin breaks out in a sweat sometimes. Someone was out there on the web when I needed a hand and I'd like to return the favor, holding out a hand to whomever comes along next here. Maybe no one will. It is ok if they don't.

    The journey here was full of learning experiences and it has been fulfilling to share with others as I have traveled. I walk this path of recovery slowly, now, cautiously, as I have been careless before and fallen...the dirt tastes lousy, I can assure you. I am excited with each new day of this recovery because it seems I have a new awareness of something that was in darkness yesterday.

    Today is my 51st day of not smoking. It is my 23rd day of no nicotine of any kind. I can do it one day at a time, with the help of God and people who support me. I am not different, not strong, not superior, not special. I have no ability to do this that anyone else does not have. I am just average, plain and hardheaded and stubborn like a regular person. I wanted to do it my way, in my time and on my terms. So here I am almost 33 years later,just getting to do it my way. Ha! If truth were told, MY way has had a habit of being adapted every time a quit didn't work out. I had to keep changing MY way to another way because MY way kept failing. If this sounds familiar, then maybe there is hope for you too.

    I tried cold turkey within 6months of my first cigarette, never made a whole day. Was not even smoking a pack a day, then. sheesh! What power in the addiction. Later I tried cold turkey and chewing carrots and celery all day...I got diarrhea, and only cut down as long as my mouth was full. What started at age 17 went right along to a 2 pack a day habit when I was 10 years later. A few years after the veggie try, I tried subliminal tapes...you know, hidden messages that play over and over in a tape of sounds of rain or the ocean waves licking the beach. Ummmm, not much luck there, either. Then there was the lifesign gadget that was a glorified calculator. $80 to tell me when I could smoke. Stupid. No, I never made it a whole day. Then I got depressed. This was not just the blues. It was out and out depression. A feeling of hopelessness because I felt that I was so defective that there was no possibility that I could ever stop smoking or live a normal life. However, it was worth $45 for me to attend a 2.5 to 3 hour group (auditorium) hypnosis session to learn another way that could not help me. That made me mad, not depressed. I threw away a good disposable lighter and a half pack of cigarettes on top of my fee! Rats! It took me about 10 more years to come around to the idea of wanting to stop smoking again. I had watched others do it, then a coworker who seemed very energetic and younger than me gave me a hopeful idea and I worked with my doctor to try the patches and an antianxiety drug which is nonaddictive (Buspar). Over about 4 or more months, I quit, and maintained the quit for 6 whole months. Trouble was that I fell into a depression during that time and decided that cessation from smoking may have been causing my depression. Well, you guessed it, smoking did nothing for my depression. What it DID do was piss my wife off and she threatened to divorce me if I didn't quit. So, once antidepressants were started and working well, I switched to Wellbutrin, the original form of Zyban. Of course it was wonderful for the depression and I smoked on like a choo choo. Tried quitting again with Wellbutrin,patches, Buspar regimen, but no good. Could never get down from Step one. I played this game for almost a year,smoking off and on, but smoking less than the 3 packs a day that I had been. I gave up on the Wellbutrin helping me, and also on the Buspar but decided to keep trying the patch and the gum...I just couldn't seem to make myself quit for a WHOLE day...even just a couple of smokes was enough to keep the addiction as active as ever. Last year, my wife and daughter brought it up in counseling that my smoking was a big issue for them. I could see how smoking was keeping a space between me and my family and that the defensiveness of it was also a rejection of my family. So feeling absolutely desparate and hopeless about it,for some reason, I looked up Smokers Anonymous on the computer. Saw some interesting information at the website,saw a list of meetings and found one in my city. I went. It was the beginning of the end.

    Nicotine Anonymous is the actual organization that I went to. It is like AA for smokers. There were only 4 of us at that first meeting, but it was so nice to feel welcomed, understood, not judged and condemned and ostracized, and to have someone else tell the same story of hopelessness, addiction and feelings of slavery...well, it was exactly what I needed. I got a real taste of HOPE when somebody said "you don't have to quit smoking to be a member,only have the desire"...and that was my ticket. I attended for 6-8 weeks of meetings smoking all the while. One night, I realized we were going on spring break last year and it would be an 8-10 hour drive and no one except me smoked, then I would be surrounded by nonsmokers and mostly kids for 5 days, I just decided to quit again. And I did. Used patch and gum. It went pretty well until the break was over and when I was not around nonsmokers, I began craving more. I managed to stretch 5 months of quit out of that, but then had a big argument with my wife and was sick with an upper respiratory infection and I relapsed. Didn't even stop to think. Justdid it automatcially.Like I had been possessed or something. It took me 4 more months to get off the smokes again. I continued going to meetings. I continued to wear the patch and chew the gum mostt of the time, but didn't ever stop completely. A week before Christmas, it was cold, I decided I would not spend all winter going outside to smoke, hiding from my family and being threatened with divorce. I quit again 12/19/01 and decided against using the patch. Interestingly enough, there were no major cravings. I chewed a couple or 3 pieces of nicotine gum a day for a few days, then I began to not even chew it daily. Then on day 27 I had the worst craving of all time. It went on for 5 hours. I was fortunate to find 2 oldtimers who were able to talk to me about staying quit and not backsliding and my sacrifices to date and the remorse I would feel if I smoked...and they talked me thru that terrible craving. And that was the last craving big enough to make me chew nicotine gum.

    I know this is a long story. 32years is a long time to abuse one's body and try to break free of the addiction. It is not just a simple story. I have not even included the day in, day out humdrum stuff like worrying if I was going to run out of cigarettes before morning, losing my lighters, losing my cigarettes, worrying about getting stranded on the highway without smokes, burning holes in furniture, clothing, cars, spilling ashes on everything, burning my kid, my dog, my cat...the usual...

    I have a lot to be thankful for. And I am. As far as I know, the only ill effects showing from all that time is some minor loss of hair on my ankles and cold feet and hands from hardening of the arteries and a mild wheezing.My breath has pretty much come back. I feel blessed. Hopethis gives you some hope too. God bless,

    Michael

  • #2
    Thank you for writing. I just wanted you to know someone was reading your post. I quit smoking 03-03-99. and its still very hard on me at night time. What other message board group do you belong to about smoking?
    Sue C.~
    [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi, Sue.

      Wow, 3/3/99, that's along time! Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back. That is really an accomplishment.

      I sent you a private reply but had trouble with it so enclosed an email address if you want me to send you more info. Im not sure if it is allowed to post websites and addresses and links here. It is NOT ok on the board that we came from that was down yesterday.

      Are you chewing nicotine gum or using inhaler or smoking any at all? The reason I ask is that nicotine in even small amounts can keep cravings going forever. How do you manage cravings? hope you will write again.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi there I am a new member to the IC disease and it is driving me crazy. some days I feel great and then there is the bad days and it seems like sometimes the bad outway the good ones, I seem to want to cry all the time. someone could say sjomething very nice to me and I would cry. sleep now what is that? I am so tired of hurting all the time. finding out I had IC took some time one urg Ihad said there was nothing wrong with me and my other doctor always wanted to give me something for pain and I finaly put my foot down and said you put me in the hospital and let's find out once and for all what is wrong. now I have a great urg doctor. I guess my question is does anyone else feel like crying all the time and just basically hurt all over. I am so glad I found this site it has helped me to see I am not along with this disease. I have a hard time trying to work now. some days I can only work 4 or 5 hours a day I just feel so bad and some days it seems like no pain meds help at all. well I quess I will check in later. it is so hard to sit very long at a time. I look forward to hearing from someone. I think this is a big help for people with this problem take care and God Bless YOu all. clexi [img]eek.gif[/img]

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi there I am a new member to the IC disease and it is driving me crazy. some days I feel great and then there is the bad days and it seems like sometimes the bad outway the good ones, I seem to want to cry all the time. someone could say sjomething very nice to me and I would cry. sleep now what is that? I am so tired of hurting all the time. finding out I had IC took some time one urg Ihad said there was nothing wrong with me and my other doctor always wanted to give me something for pain and I finaly put my foot down and said you put me in the hospital and let's find out once and for all what is wrong. now I have a great urg doctor. I guess my question is does anyone else feel like crying all the time and just basically hurt all over. I am so glad I found this site it has helped me to see I am not along with this disease. I have a hard time trying to work now. some days I can only work 4 or 5 hours a day I just feel so bad and some days it seems like no pain meds help at all. well I quess I will check in later. it is so hard to sit very long at a time. I look forward to hearing from someone. I think this is a big help for people with this problem take care and God Bless YOu all. clexi [img]eek.gif[/img] mailto:[email protected][email protected]</a>

          Comment


          • #6
            Welcome to the ICN Clexi [img]biggrin.gif[/img]
            I was so relieved when I found the ICN 3 years ago. I was forced to quit my job and am now on SS disability but God was good to me and let me stay healthy enough long enough to bring up my 2 kids as a single parent. I wasn't forced to quit my job until they were gone from home and I had been remarried for 4 years. I thank God every night for that gift!

            You will find every kind of support that you need here....there is always someone to hold out a hand to you......no hard rules to follow, except for one! You can't call yourself crazy or nuts [img]wink.gif[/img]
            This IS a real disease and many of us stuggle with it every waking hour. This board has been such a great reminder to me that I am never ever alone in my physical or my emotional struggles. It's saved my life and given me a lot of true friends....I pray the same for you.

            Again, WELCOME [img]biggrin.gif[/img]
            teri
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow".

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank You MB for sharing that life long story of struggle, it was very inspiring. I did send you a private message, I'm new back to this group after long absence without computer, now have my own. Your story sounds so familiar and was a tremdous support for me as I have been beating myself unmercifilly with my struggle. Do you also have IC? Keep up the good work, we are all behind you.
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Carol~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


              "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." --Helen Keller

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank You MB for sharing that life long story of struggle, it was very inspiring. I did send you a private message, I'm new back to this group after long absence without computer, now have my own. Your story sounds so familiar and was a tremdous support for me as I have been beating myself unmercifilly with my struggle. Do you also have IC? Keep up the good work, we are all behind you.
                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Carol~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." --Helen Keller

                Comment


                • #9
                  [img]rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]rolleyes.gif[/img] Hi Clexi, welcome, I am new here again too but not new to IC. I kept your email and will send you mine. Hope we can all be of help to one another. I know all too well of your pain and yes each day at times feels like a struggle. I try to remembr the saying this too shall pass even if it is for a small amount of time. This site has helped me so much in the past and am grateful to be able to be back in fulltime.
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Carol~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


                  "Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." --Helen Keller

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    HelloHelloCarol,
                    Got your message. Today is day 74. I have saved $379.62 in a gallon jar on the dining room table to remind myself of how much I was spending on cigarettes and patches. Have NOT smoked 1,184 cigarettes and NOT used 74 nicotine patches and probably 74 or more cigars during this time.

                    No, I do not have IC. I hope that doesn't disqualify me from using this board from time to time. It was listed as a message board for smoking cessation support by a search engine and that's how I found it...and there were no posts here or a moderator.

                    I am on aol and that's where my home board is where I get most of my support online, but I also use other sources for support. My very FIRST experience with seeking support for stopping smoking was Nicotine Anonymous. I live in a town where this group meets once a week. Began going there about this time last year. Had a 5 month quit, relapsed, smoked 4 months, and got sick of it. I would not be a nonsmoker today if not for my NicA real life meetings. It is a small and informal group HERE, though it may not be otherwise. The nonjudgemental attitude, the atmosphere of understanding and acceptance and the invitation to keep coming back because the only requirement was a DESIRE to quit smoking was just what I needed...I didn't even have to quit to keep coming to meetings.

                    There are online NicA meetings, though they are a bit slow and require patience. The protocol of these meetings precludes discussion and question/answer kinds of dialog, and I find that unhelpful to someone in crisis. BUT, there is a lot of wisdom and compassion there, and that is also a component of recovery.

                    Yahoo has some online meetings and so does AOL.

                    Additionally, the message boards are a lifeline to me. Between the real life NicA meetings, I need contact with others who have been there and who know how to do this better than me. I also find that I need to lend a hand to keep it fresh for me. Giving back what someone else gave to me keeps me involved and restores my sense of purpose at the oddest times. It allows me to get outside of my own selfish thinking to focus on someone else and give assistance and experience when I can.

                    I can be reached at [email protected] if you wish further info about support, websites, chats, meetings, etc. Just let me know.

                    Hope your quit goes well.

                    Best wishes,

                    Michael

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