Stories & experiences


Four years of freedom

Posted in Staying quit 08 Jul 2017

1461 days! Crazy to think that four years ago I was wondering how on earth to get through the next few minutes, let alone the whole day, without smoking. What an emotional roller coaster ride those first few days and weeks were, but I found a stubborn streak I never knew I had. Now the whole concept of smoking seems completely foreign, and any desire for a cigarette, even in very trying times, has long gone.

What worked for me:

I promised myself never to give in during an actual craving, with the idea that if I still wanted to cave after the craving passed I would. Just bought time and distance from the thought I guess.

Keeping my hands occupied. I found using a stylus with the iPad really helpful, kept my "smoking hand" very busy.

Chewing gum and hard lollies were great, especially telling myself they were rewards, for example driving to work I'd "let" myself have a chewie, still do that now actually.

Self compassion: it's ok to gain a bit of weight, it's ok to feel irritable, sad, deprived in some way, it's all part of the journey and accepting that seems to lessen power of the emotions.

NRT! Lozenges really worked for me, far, far exceeded the recommended time to use them (although in very small doses), until one day I just thought enough, and stopped without any problem at all. Stopping smoking was always the most important thing, anything else secondary.

And of course this site! Still visit frequently to read everyone's stories, and wish you all the best on your journeys.

Report abuse


Showing oldest to newest. Swap comments order
  • Lia July 08, 2017 | 10:18
    Hi Dottily. Power to you. And thanks for coming back to post as longevity and experience and wisdom you can talk about provide hope for those of us in your wake. Am up to 770 days today and never pretend I am out of the woods as the longer one lasts the less likely one is to remember how addictive those nicodemons are. Mind you that thought disappears very quickly as there are better ways to reward oneself. The best is intrinsic, knowing one is beating the addiction.
  • Dottily July 09, 2017 | 10:04
    Thanks Lia, and your 770 days is fantastic! I don't think, no matter how many days, years, even decades, we accumulate, that we can safely become complacent. So many years of active addiction and entrenched habits and behaviours! I know even after four years,when something upsets me, my go-to thought is often a cigarette, but it is only a thought, and there is no desire to act on it. Stay free, Dot.
  • Red-67 July 11, 2017 | 7:09
    Hey Dottlly; Good of you to drop in :)
    I have been reading over your stories, and I think you found the best key.. This is something you really have to want. And, it can't just be the words.. Once one really makes up their mind,, I WANT to quit smoking, it all gets a little easier to bear.. :) I just could not be that slave any longer.. 5 months free, from 45 years a smoker :) We are in the 6% club :)
  • Kim26 July 12, 2017 | 17:11
    Hi Dottily,

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting your message and huge congratulations to you!!!

    I can relate to so much of what you've said. My daughter has gone off the rails, turned 18, up and left to live with a guy she barely knew and haven't seen her since. That was nearly 8 months ago and just recently been corresponding by text. I love and miss her deeply. It's affected me so much because whilst I know she's alive, it feels like I'm grieving a huge loss.

    It's been 4 months smoke free for me BUT I am still using a few low strength lozenges a day and feel so terribly guilty about it. I've spoken with my dr who keeps telling me that it's okay to use them and to stop being so hard on myself. She said that once things become more settled, we will work on a plan together but for now, the risk of caving into smoking again is too close and she'd much prefer me use small nrt.
    I've started meditation and thanks for the advice about headspace app. I just downloaded it.

    May I ask how long you were on lozenges for? I still feel guilty.
  • Dottily July 12, 2017 | 21:36
    Hi Kim,

    I can really identify with your grief over your daughter, I have been out of contact with mine for a few months, she won't respond to emails, and has moved without giving me an address. I miss her and my grandkids, and I think without a meditation practice I'd be spinning out of control! I hope you find the practice helps too, if you can recognise that your thoughts are taking you on a wild goose chase, and come back to what's actually happening, the emotions seem to lose their hold a little.

    I hope you find Headspace helpful, let me know hey, I've got a code for a free month if you'd like to go further than the "take 10". Another great app is Insight Timer, it's free and has hundreds of guided meditations on it.

    And Kim, don't beat yourself up over the lozenges, their whole purpose is to help prevent relapse, and the most important thing is not smoking! You'll stop when you're ready, don't force it. I'm not sure how long I actually used them for, maybe nudging the two year mark? I was using one or two of the low dose ones a day, cut up, before I eventually realised I had no need or desire for them anymore.

    Hope some of that makes sense.
    Stay strong,
  • Dottily July 12, 2017 | 21:40
    Thanks Red,

    Five months is brilliant, love your positive attitude too!
  • Red-67 July 13, 2017 | 2:26
    I totally agree.. No reason to feel guilty.. If a few lozenges a day helps ease your mind, and works for you, then fine :) You will stop them, when you are ready, and that is all that should matter :)
  • Kim26 July 13, 2017 | 10:24
    Hi Dot thanks so much for the support!!

    Yes, you would totally understand where I'm coming from. It's just an awful feeling and I need to try the headspace app as soon as possible. That's how I'm feeling at the moment, emotions out of control. I recently seen a pain psychologist who recommended meditation because they are reluctant to operate on me until I'm feeling better than what I am, mind wise. The psychologist is concerned that I'm being drawn into my daughters chaotic thinking. She has Borderline Personality Disorder and is not seeking help and has been couch surfing. The psychologist is trying to get me to realise that my daughter made a choice and stepped away and that she's young and making very poor choices but that I've got to take a step back for my own sake. That's easier said than done. I've been doing breathing exercises but I think guided meditation is for me in terms of letting go. The multidisciplinary team I'm seeing are all saying the same about the lozenges as well. I guess I need meditation for that also to stop me feeling guilty. I feel more confident that it will help me after reading what you've said, so thank you.
    I've come soooo close to relapse it's taking all I have to not run to the usual cig!!! I so don't want to smoke again because they are disgusting and won't help with my problem anyway.

    We are all individuals on this site, each with a story and some with dreadful ones. I know that's why I try as hard as I can not to judge because it doesn't help the person on the other end.

    I will let you know once I've done a couple on headspace.

    Thanks Kim x

  • Kim26 July 13, 2017 | 10:25
    Thank you Red. That was kind of you.

You need to register or log in to leave a comment.