Friday, December 09, 2005

Happy Anniversary

Exactly a year ago today, I smoked my last cigarette. No more yellowing hands; no more irritating cough in the morning; no more smelly clothes; no more disapproving looks from my children; more money in the pocket, - about £1460 more; more appreciation of taste; a 'slightly' expanded waistline; more stamina; more active.

Has it been worth it? You bet. It was difficult at first. I decided the best way for me was to go 'cold turkey', so I made sure there were no cigs in the house, and smoked what I had left (which meant I was up until about 1:00am). The following day Christine was at work with the car, - the shops are about a mile away, - and I got involved in a project my eldest daughter was doing. Although I was aware of not having a cigarette, I was to busy to want one (if that makes any sense). Eventually, I asked my daughter if she had noticed I hadn't gone outside all day, and the look on her face gave me the resolve to carry on, and it stays with me today. The look contained pride, relief, happiness, - real happiness and tears. Now, when I go to work, I choose routes that don't go near shops, and when I do go to the shops, I'm generally with people who would probably chop my legs off if I attempted to buy cigarettes.

It's been an OK year. The first couple of months I was thinking about cigs more often than sex (men are supposed to think about sex every 7 seconds!), but that has generally lessened. What I have to remember is that I am a smoker. Just like a recovering alcoholic, I have to have the same sort of resolve. The cravings have gone, and generally it is very easy, but there are occasions when a cigarette would be perfect such as sitting at the top of Winter Hill looking out over Horwich, or in the pub at the end of a really good bike ride or walk. So as they say, one day at a time until this time next year.


jane said...

Congratulations Mark! 1 year is a helluva long time & you did it! Dec.3rd was 2 years for me, but I used the patch for 6 weeks.
It sounds as though you had a plan & I've found that's the most important part...well, with the desire too. I think being scared to death helps, also.
I call myself a non-smoker, but I don't look at smoking any less harmful than heroin, alcohol, or any of my old vices. It's just liberating for me to do that.
Every day, every hour, every minute, is a success! I'm damn proud of you.

Jackie said...

Congratulations!! I stopped 7 years ago and could still smoke one when I am sitting on the lock gates on the canal.. the advantages of not smoking far outweigh that feeling now though!

Mark said...

Thanks Jane. I'm pretty proud myself, and congratulations on your acheivement. Next update in a year!

Eddie said...

Congratulations Mark, very well done.
In February of next year I will have been a non-smoker for 14 years and I can tell you that you just have to keep going as you are and, like me, you'll find that you even stop thinking about smoking.
I did find, however, that certain foods now taste different. For instance eggs don't seem to be as nice as they once were.
Let's hope it doesn't affect your taste for beer!

Tom said...

Congratulations. I quit when my son was born 34 years ago. Sort of. I began smoking a pipe which I finally gave up when my second child was born five years later.

It may be my proudest achievement. That sounds pretty pitiful, but the difficulty is hard to appreciate by those who haven't experienced addiction.

When I see people smoking now, I can see the pain on their faces as they inhale.

Stay clean, friend. It's a better world smoke-free.


None said...

You have no idea how happy this makes me feel since my mom's cancer has been diagnosed as lung cancer which spread to her bones. She smoked for 23 years and quit about 20 years ago. One tiny little spot on her lung - 7 mm - has wreaked all this havoc in her body and in our lives. Good for you, Mark. I'm proud of you and happy for your family!

Mark said...

Thanks everyone. I'm really looking forward to my second smoke-free Christmas since I was 17. I just need to get the weight down now. I've started a new eating regime which is, eat little but regularly, and not heavily at night. Of course, plenty of exercise which I do enjoy.

None said...

Good luck with your eating regime and getting some exercise. Don't forget - you and Dave are supposed to do your walk this Spring, right? How's he doing, by the way? Hope he's recovering well.

Mark said...

Thanks Jen, I'm seeing Dave this weekend, and we are, along with some others going out for a meal together - eating regime up the Swanee already!

However, I am getting regular exercise, though the kids keep complaining about all this activity I keep asking them to do!