Have you ever been quit for a while, then chosen to start smoking again for whatever reason? When you did, did you ever feel like you should just quit again right away, but then found yourself talking yourself out of it and putting it off? Like you were afraid of taking that first step, or of even deciding to take that first step and just quit right on the spot?
Do you believe in addiction? More to the point, do you believe that you are an addict? The answer to this question is super-important. Not for me; for you and for your chances of success at getting quit and staying that way.
Not so long ago, gangrene was a fairly common condition in the western world. Gangrene, also known as necrosis, is the localized death of living tissue, usually caused by either serious injury, infection, or lack of oxygen to an area of the body for any number of reasons. Left untreated, gangrene will usually spread to surrounding tissue, and if left untreated long enough, it is often fatal.
The night before I quit for the last time, I went outside at a few minutes before midnight and lit my last cigarette. As I smoked it, every time I took a puff, I repeated out loud, “This is the last cigarette I will ever smoke.” In between drags, I reminded myself that smoking was something I would not miss.
I used to be a smoker.
On November 19th, 2001, I started making some new choices for myself: I started choosing life. I started choosing health. I started choosing strength, and self-control, and freedom. I started choosing not to smoke, just for today.
I remember hearing “older” quitters saying that if you stuck it out long enough, there would come a day when you’d forget that you had quit smoking. That, in fact, there would come a day when you’d forget that you’d ever been a smoker at all.
I wasn’t sure I believed them.