100 Days Smokefree - Daniel Gordon
I’m celebrating 100 days without tobacco today, and words cannot begin to tell you how good I feel. One hundred days ago I made a decision to release something that had taken control for more than half of my life. Why quit now? Well, unless you’ve been a smoker it’s rather difficult to articulate what gets you to that point. Smoking not only wears you down mentally and physically, it also takes a toll on your pocketbook, social and career. It zaps your productivity and haunts you with the ability to smell like a walking talking ashtray.
But, you don’t know it. The addiction leads you blindly. If you took the time to sit back and soak in a glimpse of what it was doing to you just for a moment, you’d be disgusted, but even then keep on doing it. It’s a “habit” for some, for me it was an addiction. I smoked heavily every day and did not ever think about quitting. I was ‘enjoying’ it way too much. So, I thought.
Eventually, I had to get fed up and tell myself I’d simply had enough. Maybe it was the arrival of our beautiful new baby girl and watching our two boys grow up quickly. I was watching them grow and mature, while realizing I wasn’t getting any younger. This realization didn’t hurt in the decision making process either. I wasn’t forced. My doctor hadn’t given me orders. Of course he highly recommended it as he should always. I just wanted to see my grandchildren. Maybe hearing someone got sick, and others dying due to complications that I knew, personally. Listening to radio **commercials on the commute home reminding me how bad this filthy ‘habit’ is and then coming home to my kids who heard it at school and reinforced the same message.
Something clicked inside me. I was ready to move on. I’d had enough. There was a moment when I told myself “this is it” and I am going to start to live and stop continuing to poison my body, mind and soul.
The first three days were brutal. I’m not even going to sugarcoat it. I was going through physical withdrawals and while I was “technically” a functioning human being, I could’ve easily passed for something unbeknownst to humankind. It felt like an infinite loop of surreal gestures I was forcing myself through. I repeatedly told myself once I get through these first 72 hours, I am going to feel like a new person. And, I did. It was one of the more difficult tasks I had completed in my life, but I traded three very uncomfortable days for quite possibly more than 30 years of life back.
The first week ended on a pretty high note. It got much easier after that initial shock. It wasn’t near as uncomfortable after that. Weeks rolled by and I accumulated a full month. All the while, I used Facebook to post progress for accountability and moral support from friends and loved ones. That helped more than I could have imagined. It even inspired others to take the plunge and go for it, as well. We accidentally formed an online support forum that trickled out in a positive manner. I eventually got to the point where I’d go full days without a craving. Then full days without thinking about smoking whatsoever.
For those who are battling now or thinking about it, a highly effective mechanism to help with cravings is to write down everything negative you are walking away from the moment the craving hits. If I felt a sudden craving, I would quickly get out my pen and paper and start writing. What seemed to be desirable for a moment, quickly looked unattractive when written on paper. Also, the 3-minute rule. I would time my cravings. I heard from someone early on that a craving only last 3 minutes. So, I started to time them. I’m not sure if there is any truth or not to that or not, but it worked for me at least. Sometimes they lasted 5 minutes or so, but until I tried that, they all seemed like hours.
So, I lived through the first three days. Then a month led to two months all the way up to more than three months. Looking back, I still am in disbelief what I was doing to myself and getting absolutely nothing in return. At the same time I was damaging and potentially shortening my life by years. The main thing is that I want to be here for my family. Sure, there are absolutely no guarantees quitting will ensure that, but continuing smoking I was definitely was not making anything better.
I feel so much better about myself now. Healthwise, and sound of mind. I know they say that non-smokers need one less hour of sleep compared to those that do smoke and I’m here to tell you it sure feels true. For me at least, the sense of smell, the heightened energy level and overall look and feel of how I go through daily living is enough in of itself.
It’s a rebirth of sorts. It feels like being reborn into a whole new world. It’s reinventing yourself. It’s feeling like a human again.
I can’t cry over spilled milk or go back in time and change the past. But, once you have a little time to reflect, one cannot help but think of all the time wasted by organizing your smoking around your living. Going outside to smoke. Not smelling like smoke. Changing clothes. Needing that cigarette – so I thought.
If I could add up the minutes, the hours, the days, and maybe even the year(s)? It sure is powerful when you sit back and think what damage is not only done to the person smoking, but the ripple effect it has on everyone surrounding it.
Family. Work. Life.
It’s the best decision I’ve made to date. Here’s to my first 100 days finding someone else that needs to know they can do it. If I can quit, I promise you anyone can. Anyone that knows me, knows how much smoking completely ruled me.
If you want it badly enough, you can too. There was a better quality of life out there waiting for me. It’s waiting for you. I just decided to grab on for dear life.
Start Living Today.
**If you are looking for help on how to quit, please checkout these useful (free) sites thanks to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET): http://www.ok.gov/TSET
Call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit http://www.okhelpline.com to begin your path to become an ex-smoker.