If I Can Do It...
I quit smoking after 13 years! Granted it's only been 2 weeks, but I have a determination I have never felt before. With the help of Chantix I have battled through the toughest time in quitting and have never felt better
I started smoking when I was 13 (26 now). I started like most people as a pretty light smoker. I was an athlete throughout highschool playing football, wrestling, and tennis. I was also a very regular pot smoker. As time went by and I entered college, away went the sports and I began to care less about my body. Cigarettes increased as did my pot use and I became more and more inactive. In the back of my mind I always said it's ok, I can quit no problem.
It took me 8 more years to seriously think about quitting. I missed the days of being fit and feeling confident and wanted to get back to it. Now an almost 2 pack a day smoker I was pretty well entrenched in the addiction. I tried a couple times cold turkey to no avail. It was then that I heard about Chantix. I was skeptical at first, I'd read stories of people becoming totally indifferent on the drug. I figured what the hell, anything is worth a shot at this point.
Finally got the prescription from my doc after a long spiel of paying attention to my moods. Chantix can cause severe depresseion, even suicidal thoughts in a small number of people. You start with smaller doses for one week while still smoking. After 1 week you go to normal dosage and actually quit. The first week of small doses was uneventful, I felt no less of a desire to smoke and I became apprehensive. I decided to stick with it and quit the Monday I moved to the full dose.
It was tough. I don't think there is any method out there that makes quitting "easy". The best way to describe my own experience would be to compare it to losing your best friend. There was a sadness I had and a real sense that I was missing out on something. All my favorite times to smoke (after a big meal, with my morning coffee) became very difficult. I should say though, compared to going cold turkey Chantix reduced my smoking thoughts probably by an astonishing 50%. For me, trying cold turkey, I literally thought about smoking every minute of every day. Chantix greatly reduced those thoughts and allowed me to focus on day to day life without being overwhelmed.
I coincided smoking with starting to workout again. The second day I quit I went for a run. I almost died. I made it less than a mile and felt like I couldn't breathe and was coughing for hours afterwards. I have gone every other day and have gone progressively longer and with less trouble breathing each time. It is such a great feeling jogging in the park and having other runners nod or say hi. It is such a different feeling than the embarassment and shame I developed as a smoker.
I am by no means out of the woods yet. In the short two weeks I have found that the toughest times are ones where I feel down or upset about something. It is easy to get back in that self-destructive place when those feelings arise. When they do, I'll try to go for a jog, lift weights, call a friend, take my dog out. I really feel the key for me is to remain active. Activity makes me realize what I've been missing, and lifts me out of any funk Im in.
My friends can't believe I quit. It was a running joke that I'd be a lifelong smoker and that I had no regard for my well being. They give me great support as does my family and I truly feel like a new person. I hope this can be even the slightest help to anyone trying to quit. For anyone who says "I still like smoking, I'm not ready to quit", you will always enjoy it to a degree. For me, it was the vision of a healthy life every night when I had my last cig in bed that finally made me sick of it. GOOD LUCK!