I went to a job interview, and the woman doing the interview, asked me the following question. "What is one of the best accomplishments in your life thus far?" The answer for me was easy! Quitting smoking was my proud answer! I quit smoking in 1970 and I have not toughed a cigarette since.
I quit smoking my last year in the Air Force, and at that time, it was not easy to quit. And, that's because, back then, smoking was fashionable...it was the "in" thing to do...and it was trendy. (if you can believe that) If you didn't smoke at that time, you were some kind of a square or cube. At that time, people smoked everywhere...on television talk shows, in restaurants...and there were cigarette ads all over the place, too. In magazines, newspapers, all over television, on billboards all over town...smoking was acceptable in those days.
Quitting smoking gave me the discipline I needed, because I was able to do other important things in my life like lose 40 pounds of weight; stay with and win the battle over high blood pressure and lower it, and start a variety of jobs and finish them. That has always been important to me. There was also the ugly face of peer pressure involved, which came from people who didn't want me to quit! They would blow smoke in my face; leave a pack of cigarettes lying around to tempt me; light up a cigarette in front of me and so forth. These type of people had no common sense or decency...you know the type!
They were negative people, who couldn't quit smoking themselves, and they didn't want anyone to quit smoking either. They're what I call, "excuse-makers," people who always have an excuse for they CAN'T do! They never talk about what they CAN Do...they're the jealous and resentful type! I'm not a crusader for anything, but if people want to commit suicide...one puff at a time...go ahead...I really don't care. If they don't care about their own health, I sure don't care!
Thirty years ago, smoking was the in thing to do...but not anymore! And, today (2007) smokers are being pushed off the planet, by those of us who place a high priority on our heath and the health of those around us. "You can't do it!" That's what I heard from, what I call, "the little minds of the world," as I call them, as they tried to dis-courage me from quitting, etc. At that time, I loved to hear it, because it would inspire and motivate me even more to accomplish what I had set out to do.
I quit smoking in a most unusual way, and getting sick at that time with the flu. I was never a heavy smoker, about a pack a day...and that was a pack too much. But then one day, I got sick from the stomach flu...really sick! I got the worst cold/flu that I could remember with deep chest congestion. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise...a silver lining. You see, I had tried to quit smoking twice before and had failed. After those two failures, I didn't know what to do. Back in the 1970's, they didn't have all these medications and patches they have on the market today.
Getting sick was lucky for me, and I'll tell you why. With the stomach flu, in which I could hardly keep things down, and a deep chest conjestion with all the rest of it, the last thing I wanted was a cigarette! (yuk) And, during this awful time in bed, I went about TEN days without a cigarette, and YAHOO...was I excited...sick but excited! This turned out to be the beginning of the end...the end of smoking! If I could make it ten days without a smoke...who knows...maybe I can make it all the way. The ten days without a smoke, was followed by 11 days...and then 12 days...13 days...without a cigarette, and I was now on my way to quitting for good!
Although, sick as a dog at this time, my spirts and confidence, were riding high, and I remember I was so sick, that I even lost my voice to a whisper. It was going to be attitude that would get me there...like the "little train that could...I know I can...I know I can!" I was now headed up that steep mountain, and I was going to try to make it...and I thought if I could just make it to that 30 days...I felt I could make it all the way!
Nothing worthwhile doing comes easy, and there was agony and depression and temptation that I suffered over the next several days! I had to stay out of my whining and crybaby mode, and just keep going straight ahead, and focus on what I had to accomplish. Right up the mountain I had to go...16 days without a cigarettet...18 days...24 days...I was going crazy, but I was getting closer and closer to the 30 day mark.
FINALLY...26 days...28 days without a cigarette...and 30 days without a cigarette! I DID IT! YAHOO! I started to cross out the days on the calendar I made it without a cigarette...a feel good feeling for sure! I thought the first 30 days would be the toughest, but there was a long, long way to go! I was on Cloud 9 for sure at the time! I knew that the toughest part would be the temptation...it was everywhere!
I think quitting smoking and losing weight (I've done them both), is not so much a physical thing...but requires a "mental toughness," that is tough to get and tough to keep for a long period of time. I couldn't let temptation get the best of me...as I continued on...week after week and month after month!
When all the dust settled, it took me about ten months, to get all the cravings out of my system and to finally quit smoking! YAHOO! TEN MONTHS! Every second and minute were worth it, and it has been more than 35 years, that I have not so much as touched a cigarette. Why would I want to put more poison in my body?
What happened to me is about taking advantage of an "opportunity." I don't expect people out there to go out and get a cold or the flu...that's silly! But, if you DO get a bad cold or the flu, this might be your start...the beginning of your quitting smoking, just like it was for me!