Choose Life

Have you tried to quit so many times, in so many ways, that you just don’t know what to do any more? Have you tried all the different programs, pills, patches, potions, and plans? Do you feel like there’s no hope for you? Like the addiction is too strong for you to control?

Does it ever seem like you’re not even conscious of buying cigarettes? Do you quit and stay quit for a week, or a month, and then something suddenly clicks and you’re smoking again before you realize what you’re doing?

Do you wonder if you’ll ever get free? If you’ll ever be able to find a way to quit that will work for you?

What Worked for Me

What worked for me was I stopped kidding myself.

I used to tell myself that the addiction was too strong.

I used to pretend that I was helpless to stop it.

I used to kid myself that I somehow "slipped" and went back to smoking, or that I "accidentally" smoked one, or that I somehow "unconsciously" bought a pack.

My Wake-Up Call

Then, one day in the Fall of 2001, my doctor was explaining my latest set of chest x-rays:

Pointing at dark areas that covered the lower third of both of my lungs, he asked,

"Do you see these black areas? That’s all dead tissue, and lung tissue doesn’t grow grow back. If you keep smoking, these black areas will continue to grow until you’ll need to be on oxygen 24/7 just to survive. Eventually, even being on pure oxygen 24/7 won’t be enough, because there won’t be enough live lung tissue left to process the oxygen, and you’ll suffocate and die."

He assured me it was not a pretty way to die.

I Heard the Call

I made a firm decision right then and there that I was going to quit smoking, and that I was not going to go back this time. I went through the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking online program and quit a week later, on November 19, 2001.

I haven’t had a puff since.

You can quit, too, and stay quit long-term, just like i have. But you have to stop kidding yourself.

Yes, you’re addicted to nicotine. But the addiction only has as much power over you as you give it. Stop making excuses and start making better choices.

Your Choices

When you get a crave, you only have two choices:

  1. Feed the addiction, knowing that, by doing so, you’re only buying a few moments relief from the crave, strengthening the addiction’s hold over you, and insuring that the craves will get stronger and more frequent.

    This way lies death.

  2. Starve the addiction, knowing that, by doing so, you’ll only have to face a few moments of discomfort, but that you’ll be weakening the addiction’s hold over you and insuring that the craves will get weaker and less frequent.

    This way lies life.

I’d suggest that you choose #2.

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