10 Year Anniversary for Quitting Smoking

September 8, 2009, a.k.a. 9-8-9, is the date I quit smoking. I’d been a smoker for more than half the days of my life and I set out to reverse that trend. One of my early goals was to gain more days “under my belt” as a non-smoker so I’d tip the balance of my life in a different direction. And I did.

I quit using nicotine gums & lozenges. My strategy involved a lot of not-buying-cigarettes, too. It wasn’t particularly proactive.

My then-boyfriend, now-husband, quit at the same time. To encourage interpersonal support, we created a list of “Reasons to Quit”. Any time one of us struggled with a craving or frustration that person could ask the other, “Please tell me the ‘Reasons’ for quitting”, and the other would rattle off as many as could be remembered on the fly.

In the 10 years since quitting: I moved three times (once interstate), going from a condo to a house to an apartment to a home on the road; I got engaged and then married; I loved and lost several cats, adopted three dogs, and fostered a fourth; I was diagnosed with a list of initialisms – MDD, GAD, PTSD, etc.; I participated in ending my relationship with my mother; I nursed my father through his end-of-life journey; I renewed my relationship with my brother; I became a late-in-life marijuana user with great interest in the healing power of psychedelics; and I found new hobbies like geocaching and hibernating for very long periods.

I’m grateful to be here today, still breathing, heart beating, senses working.

As of today, September 8, 2019, these are my quit stats according to QuitNet.com:

  • Life Saved:  1 Year, 6 Months (that’s two pregnancies)
  • Money Saved: $23, 738 (that’s not accounting for inflation)
  • Cigarettes Not Smoked: 73,040 (that many pennies weighs ~402 lbs*)

*If all pennies are post-1982 minting, at 2.5g/penny

If I have advice then it’s this: start a mindfulness practice, a journaling practice, and know your own Reasons for doing anything.

Thanks for reading.

43, or, “Begin, Again”

Unhealthy, unhappy, alone, and collapsed

Operationally homeless, busted motorhome out back

Partner in a mental health facility

He went voluntarily

My brain is a fog

Overwhelmed with three dogs

Last pair of clean underwear

It’s past time to cut my hair

Don’t remember my last shower

Or sometimes the last hour

I’m empty inside

It’s why I always hide

Shame and guilt take

Everything I try to make

Letters for me

MDD, GAD, and BPD

Then there’s the family

PTSD and C-PTSD

My executive function is gone

My blood sugar’s up

Today I put CBD in my coffee cup

I’m hoping I find the way to my mat

Some Headspace would help

Andy’s voice can calm me down, stat

After I’ve prepped the space

Playing sounds of a garden oase

I can dim the lights and settle upon

My blueberry blue zafu and zabuton

I’ll take a deep breath, or ten

And in the voice of a loving friend

I’ll tell myself kindly

“Begin, Again”