How I stopped smoking and took my life back!!

How I Quit Smoking!!!
Gain your freedom with actionable steps to 
leave tobacco behind and quit cigarettes forever!

Hello welcome and congratulations on making the decision to stop smoking forever.
In this article I will get away from my poems for a moment to share with you how I set my mind to stop smoking and leave the habit behind me forever with actionable steps you can also utilize.
These are only my opinions, that have helped me stop and it has been 6 years now, so I am confident I will never look back.

I used to try and help coach my friends and loved ones to stop, then found that it appeared as if I was preaching and they didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to be a nag on them so I kind of just stopped. To each their own right? Well, I do care enough about them to still want to help. If you read the rest of this, then you will know I love helping others. I am a very loving person by nature. If you have not read my other book, I hope by the end of this you will follow and support my quest to help others. Well, I then decided I can still help, by putting this book up, for those that WANT or CHOOSE to look.
So first I will share with you how I quit, then give you some do's and don'ts that can help you leave the habit behind.

I knew that to understand how to quit I must first understand why I let it take ahold of me and how it became stronger than my will to leave it behind. I mean it was right, stronger than my will, or was it? Well, it was no easy feat and I would be lying if I said I had no problem quitting. In fact, it was an ongoing process that led me to success. It was not instant. Sure, the act of not lighting up was, but it was repetitive. I had to face every decision and stand my ground.

You MUST make a non-negotiable decision to quit, period, end of story, and stick to it.
It is not up for debate or consideration, it is fact. You want to quit, you need to quit, and you will quit. Set your mind in that frame and absolutely HATE cigarettes and the harm, expense and manipulation they have set in your life and recognize them as the filthy and destructive habit they are. Would you burn a 100-dollar bill?? Of course not, but you do every month, in fact it is probably more, at one pack a day averaging 5 dollars you burn 140+ dollars a month.
Now I am a very honest guy and I'm not going to say to you that I saved all that money, no, I redirect it. To bills, food, (I love to eat) and other constructive things. But I no longer burn it. Now, I also didn’t turn it into vape or e-cigs either as those items still dispense nicotine into the body.

To understand the method of quitting you also should understand the addiction. The addicted to smoking cigarettes is, studies suggest even harder to break than heroin. Seems impossible, yet it is not.
Every problem in life can be solved with the tools, technique and understanding implemented. Stopping a habit is a mindset. Cigarettes create a two-part addiction, one of mind and one of body.
Your mind wants the cigarettes and your body craves them. The mental aspect is the one that says to you I NEED a cigarette. Your body gets physically accustomed to the actions involved in smoking. I.E, the lighting and puffing, also physically addicted to the drug nicotine. You then have a physical addiction and it becomes second nature, like breathing or sleeping. You reach for a smoke sometimes without thought. Unless of course you can't have one then that’s all you think about; when you are out, or between breaks at work, movie theatres, things of that nature. We all have that one friend who won’t let you smoke in the car or house. The point is that you must break BOTH cycles to achieve your freedom.

 I am 45 years old and stopped smoking in 2012 near my 39th birthday. I began my addiction way back around 1988 when I was 18, still in the mind set of peer pressure and wanting to fit in. I started so I could be cool, look like my buddies. Dumb reason right, well who thinks of death at 18? Really not many, we are young and invincible, free and careless. Throughout my life, I never gave it much thought. I liked my cigarettes and wanted to keep smoking. I got a rush every time I smoked a cigarette and soon it was normal in my everyday life. It's funny when you stop the habit you get a new perspective on smoking a perspective, I wish I had seen years ago. Sometime in my 20's I guess I finally decided maybe I should quit. I really at that point only began THINKING about it. Which I will tell you was not enough to quit forever.

Thinking about it is only a step in the ladder to success, in most cases it is the first step.
I had a son in 96 and never smoked around him so at this point I really started to become aware of the dangers and harm in smoking, another step, I did not want to harm a vulnerable, innocent baby. Now many mothers can relate to this, as I have known a few in my days that quit during pregnancy only to start back up when the baby was born, although some never did and are still free today.

So now I was faced with thinking about quitting, Step 1, and the harmful effects of the act, Step 2. I really began to focus on the challenge at hand. Over the next 7 years or so I slowed down on and off and realized the grip it had on my life, yet another step on that ladder. Acceptance Step 3. I was hooked. Every time I tried to stop, I would always start back up. I sadly even used to joke about it, I would always say, I can quit any time I want, I do it 20 times a day. It’s the starting back up that gives me problems, that I can-not quit. Well is that a joke, or a fact? For many years, it was for me, a fact. I could not stop lighting up. It was my go-to, when I was angry, I needed a cigarette, when I ate, I needed a cigarette, after sex, when I wake, after a movie, on the toilet, even in the shower, THAT’S when I saw a problem. Step 4 revelation. I always had a cigarette in my mouth or hand. The coughing got worse, the sickness got longer, I smelled like smoke all the time to non-smokers, teeth were getting bad, everything about the habit sucked. I decided to quit, and after many failures I did sometime in 2008.

 I was so proud I quit, for 4 whole months. Then it happened, I got mad at something stupid and I got cocky, I remember thinking I quit once, I can do it again. The girlfriend I had at the time smoked and I took a half of a cigarette out of the ashtray she had left, then got myself hooked again.  Lesson learned, I was not free, nope I smoked that half cigarette on the way to the gas station to buy a pack. Boy did that really upset me. I was so close to being free and here I was cheating and fell straight back into it like I never quit. I then made it my mission to quit FOREVER. It would take me 4 more long years of trying, trying, trying. Step 5. Persistence.  Friends used to say why do you keep trying, you will never quit. Well I had to reevaluate my method and friends. The point is yes, I failed a bunch, but I never lost sight of the end goal. My FREEDOM from big tobacco companies. I needed to break the chain and get my life back on track. If it ever was on track to begin with.

Day by day, I would struggle with addiction, sickness, shakes, anger, depression, resentment, you name it and cigarettes evoked that emotion time and again. I tried using a nicotine replacement patch and found myself smoking with it on, so that didn’t work for me. Really only made me sick doing that, and I was aware of it. But they had complete control. I used to always say, I need a cigarette every time I got upset or mad, to help me calm down. Then one day I had a cigarette in my mouth and I still got mad at something, to me it was a revelation, like a light went off. I could not use that as an excuse anymore. I already had a cigarette so now what. Truth is that cigarettes really don’t calm you down, the opposite of which will happen, and they raise your heartrate thus increasing stress to your body. Step 6, educate. I decided that if I was going to be successful, I needed to really educate myself on the effects that cigarettes had on myself, family, friends, and loved ones.

This was enlightening to say the least and scary. I knew they were bad but long term was not something I ever thought about much. So now when I finally said good bye. It was September 21 of 2012. I decided again like I had many times before that I was done. I put my lighter in my drawer, put on a patch because I had a few left and said goodbye to them.

The first few days I ate a lot, I love tacos, so I literally made up about 5 pounds of taco meat and decided every time I wanted a smoke, I would stuff a taco in my mouth. Lol That didn’t last long, still love tacos but was not practical especially at work. I then rediscovered Gushers fruit snacks I would stuff one in my lip and just suck on it till it dissolved every time I felt like I had to have a cigarette. I decided that, heck with it I can diet later, and quitting candy would be easier, which it was. I only wore a patch for the first 4 days then decided now or never, went completely off the nicotine. Now during my educating phase, I discovered that nicotine only takes 2 weeks to a month to leave your body. Really 2 weeks to a month.
A lifetime addiction over 2 weeks or so, really.

I then decided I didn’t care how sick I got, how bad I shook, the nausea, the aches, anger really anything was not going to matter for 2 weeks. Even if it was like the flu it was better that the life sentence. The first day I was met with a lot of thoughts of cigarettes and mental battles. Back and forth.  The second day was similar with maybe more thinking about it and some shakes beginning. Almost immediately I felt the nausea and drank water daily to help offset that, I also tried to eat ginger root which helps nausea but taste horrible. I took it day by day for that first 2 weeks and realized that I found myself feeling better by the day and thinking about them less and less.  Now as the years went by, I did still think about them and was faced with constant battles to change my way of thinking. I decided that it was best to not allow myself to think of them at all. Every time I thought of a cigarette, I made a conscious decision to think of something else, anything else. So long as it was not cigarettes. I quickly decided also not to count the days or inform my family how I was doing. Because this only brought up cigarettes again. I left them completely behind till I KNEW that I was over them. Step 6 forget.  Then I finally said hey mom I quit smoking back in September. Besides then I wouldn’t disappoint them, if I started again anyway. But never did, soon I was counting years and the rest is history as they say.

If I can do it anyone can, I promise you I was HOOKED first thing in the morning last thing in the evening and wake up in the middle of the night hooked. It has now been 6 years, I am around them all the time and never bothered. I have a new outlook on smoking. I try and never judge people that do smoke but will gladly encourage them. I can tell you without a doubt that it was so gratifying and one of the best things I ever accomplished in my life. I still have that lighter in my drawer, the one I chose to leave behind that day now so long ago. Now and then I take it out and hold it as I think back on the journey that led me here to freedom.

Step 1 Thinking- You must begin thinking about quitting every day, you probably already have.
Step 2 Awareness- Really become aware of the harmful effects.
Step 3 Acceptance-accept that you have a problem and that only YOU can break the chain.
Step 4 Revelation- Realize how bad is it in your life?
Step 5 Persistence- Every failure brings you closer to success, never give up trying till you achieve.
Step 6 Educate- Educate yourself on the effects smoking has on health, family, and finance long term.
Step7 Forget- Once you quit, quit completely all aspects of the habit, especially thinking of them in every form.

Do- Form and maintain a positive mental attitude about the challenge before you.
Do- Make the non-negotiable decision to quit, no debate no second thoughts.
Do- Commit to living a smoke free life even around cigarettes. You cannot remove them from your life.. But you can remove yourself from them.
Do- Stay positive and always head to the end goal, freedom.
Do- Believe in yourself, it starts, and ends with you.
Do- Drink water daily to help flush out the nicotine and toxins.
Do- Find a substitute if needed, I used Gusher fruit snacks. It was very easy to quit them once I was free of the drug.
Do- accept the sickness you feel during the first couple weeks, shakes, nausea, weakness, irritability, all are normal symptoms. These will pass in time and it is better to be sick for a couple of weeks than the rest of your life.
Do- Educate yourself on the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke to yourself, and those around you. Get scared. Get aware. Get results.
Do- Be proud and realize your accomplishment each day you are a non-smoker, but only after the first year, by then I had complete control and could think about them without fear.
Do- Realize that cravings will pass when you truly crave a cigarette and ignore it, it soon it goes away only to return later. Face each craving with strength and determination.
Do- remember that you will not die if you don’t smoke, you may feel sick and terrible at first, but you will not die, on the contrary if you keep smoking you very likely may.

Don’t-Quit for someone else, I believe this to be your decision in order to succeed.
Don’t- let other people’s opinion influence your decision. "You will never quit" or "why are you quitting" only gets in the way and makes you think of them.
Don’t- think of cigarettes, not one more thought. When you quit you leave all aspects of the habit behind you. Thinking any thought, only puts them back on your mind.
Don’t-Do not count the days. This ONLY makes it harder as you continue to bring up the fact that cigarettes rule your life. FORGET them all together. At least for the first year, mark it on a calendar if you want then, forget it.
Don’t- be afraid to try again, and again, and again. Even if it takes you 4 years, like it did me, you will have the rest of your life FREE.
Don’t-GIVE UP. If you always try to quit, you will succeed. If you stop trying to quit, you won’t.
Don’t- Do not get over confident, or like I did get cocky and smoke again because you quit once. It is so easy to get hooked all over again.

In closing I would like to say thank you for taking the time to read this and best wishes on your journey. You will feel so proud to leave them behind forever. You will smell better, look better, be happier and with a new outlook on life. The ones that love you will be so happy you made a conscious decision to live a healthier life. I didn’t even mention all the medical cost involved with smoking and age. But you get the point. Do the research, get scared, commit and achieve your goal. Congratulations on becoming a NON-smoker. Today is that day, now is that time, your life is YOURS. Live it. Love it. Accept it.
Best regards