Day 11. Cold Turkey.
On September 13, 2013, I had my last cigarette. I smoked for roughly 18 years. I quit once in college for about a year and then again for another year when I was pregnant and nursing. Not many people know that I was a smoker. If anyone, including some of my closest friends, asked, then I would usually say that I only smoked occasionally and socially.
“Just when I have a couple of drinks,” was my standard reply and it was an outright lie. I don’t “look like” a smoker. I am a well-educated, middle class, minivan driving, mom of kindergarteners and many people were shocked by my smoking admission. I found myself saying the following quite frequently this week : “Not many people know I smoked, but everybody is going to know I quit.”
On the day I quit smoking, I was up to a pack a day, the most I had EVER smoked in my many years of lung pollution.
Saturday morning, September 14, 2013, I woke up and felt like sh!t. My lungs were tight. I couldn’t take a deep breath without collapsing in a fit of coughs. I decided I was done. Just like that. No patch, no e-cigs, no gum. Cold Turkey.
Also, for fun, I decided to stop drinking alcohol and soda. Booze is a serious trigger for the smokes and soda, well, if I’m gonna get healthy, then I might as well cut that crap out too, right?
It sucked. The cravings were/are super intense. To muscle through them, I did the following:
- I cleaned – -a lot.
- I drank ridiculous amounts of coffee and water.
- I did like 35 loads of laundry. Washed, dried, and put away – – that is a miracle in and of itself, my friends.
- Turned youtube on the TV and had a serious dance party with the boys – – in which I realized late 90’s and early 2000’s hip hop/rap may not be the most appropriate music for me to share with them.
- I joined a gym and waited impatiently at the foot of the driveway for my husband to arrive home so I could sweat out the cravings.
That’s what I have been doing for 11 days. I have consistently been hitting the gym and I know that within about 4-5 months, these extra pesky 20 lbs will be gone. I actually ran on the treadmill for 10 straight minutes yesterday without gasping for breath. I could have gone longer, except my shins felt like they were going to break in half. As a matter of fact, all wheezing seems to have disappeared, which I never thought would happen.
This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. One of the reasons this is so difficult, is because I actually enjoy smoking. I was never one that hated it. I didn’t want to quit, but I knew I had to and God provided me with the strength and support to do so. As my daddy so accurately stated, “You have a steel will when you want to Andrea; I know you can do this.” Those words have reverberated through my brain for the past 11 days and every time I begin to feel weak, I repeat those words to myself, step outside, fill my lungs with air and make a mental note about how amazing it feels to just breathe.
This post is sponsored by:
The Brett Saks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hopes to make our Arizona communities safer for bicyclists by teaching adults and children about road safety and mutual respect between drivers and cyclists in fun and engaging ways. We are “Shifting Gears to Saves Lives,” as more than 600 cyclists are lost each year to car-bike accidents. Learn more at gearupaz.org.