Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SELFtember My Quit Story: If I Can Do It, You Can Too

It's hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. I've always said that it's my favorite season, so the end of summer is always kind of bittersweet for me. Part of that feeling probably has something to do with my kids going back to school - another year older and in a new grade -  I'm sure I'm not the only mom who feels a tiny tinge of sadness when packing up outgrown children's summer clothes to pass on to charity. That's the mother in me. But there's another side to the close of summer, and that's the bright promise of change. You know what they say: the only constant is change!

There's something energizing about the arrival of autumn. You can smell it in the air, and see it all around you. There's something that pushes and motivates us to change right along with the seasons. Fall is invigorating, and motivating! What better time to embrace the change and turn September into SELFtember™ - and do something important to take care of YOU? This season, choose change! One of my favorite sayings is, “sometimes you only have to change one thing, and then everything else falls into place.”

One of the biggest and most important healthy changes I've made for myself was to quit smoking. So when Nicorette® asked me to share my quit smoking story, I was eager to do so. I've never talked about it on my blog before, so this is a first.  I'm hoping my story can help motivate someone else to quit!

I smoked for a long time: over 20 years. Wow. Saying that, and seeing it in writing, it's hard to believe that I carried that bad habit for so long. I smoked about half a pack of cigarettes a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but that was my average.

I never smoked in my home, or around my kids, only when I was alone, outside, or out with friends in social situations. I enjoyed it and hated it at the same time. I hated the control that I felt that smoking had over my life. It felt as though parts of my life were built and arranged around the horrible habit of smoking. There were times when it was embarrassing and shameful. I smoked when I was happy. I smoked when I was sad. I smoked in the morning, as well as after every meal. I would even smoke after an hour of advanced cardio 3 to 4 times a week for years. My addiction to cigarettes had such a strong hold on me that at times it felt like it controlled much of my life. When you are a smoker you're not completely in control of your life. Your life revolves around having cigarettes, smoking cigarettes, finding other people who are smokers to smoke with, and finding places that allow smoking.

As you can imagine, it gets to be very trying, stressful, and anxiety-provoking living your life like this. I was highly addicted to cigarettes. While certain friends and family members seemed to be able to quit with ease, I struggled. At the same time, I was getting more and more tired of smoking. I was tired of the lingering bronchitis that I seemed to develop when winter rolled around. I was tired of spending so much of my hard earned money on something that was hurting me. I was tired of waking up in the morning with the wheeze. But most of all, I was sick and tired of the control that smoking had over my life.

I was determined to quit. As a matter of fact, I tried to quit four times, and each time I was very determined, and certain that that time I would be a success. There is no such thing as a person who can control their smoking and turn it on and off like it's an electronic device. Slip-ups are bound to happen. The important thing to remember is to not let one cigarette undo all the positive progress you have done. Staying both positive and realistic about quitting is the best mentality you can have.

Fast-forward another year when I found myself on the Internet, researching ways to quit smoking. I reached out to friends and family members who had quit and asked for their best advice. It was my sister-in-law, Chris, who gave me a life-changing, key piece of advice that changed the way I thought about the whole process of quitting. Chris told me that I had to see myself as a non-smoker, as opposed to seeing myself as a smoker who was trying to avoid smoking.

It wasn't until I made the conscious decision and that I was a non-smoker, that I was able to mentally separate myself from the habit of smoking. In each of my previous attempts to quit, I viewed myself as "a smoker who was trying to avoid smoking." That was probably the first real mental change that helped me beat my habit.

But I still had to deal with the other half of my struggle, the physical part, and that was finding a replacement for the nicotine that my body was so used to craving. After scouring quit smoking message boards and forums and reading how many people had success with nicotine replacement therapy (a.k.a. NRT) I decided to give it a try.

My doctor recommended that I start out with the NicoDerm® CQ® patches. I was amazed by how well NicoDerm® CQ® worked for me. I'm not going to say quitting wasn't uncomfortable, because it was. The first couple of days I really had to push through the cravings but it truly got easier every day.

I was amazed by how things changed within just a few days. The stains faded from my fingertips within a week. My hair and clothes now smelled fresh and clean. When I woke up in the morning I could take a deep breath without any wheezing. I truly felt like I was back in control of parts of my life that cigarettes had previously been in control of.

And now, as I check one of the quit smoking apps that I have on my phone, I see that I have been a non-smoker for one year, six months, 3 days. Be sure to check out and register for the Nicorette® and NicoDerm® MyQuit, which is an email support program based on where you are in your quit process and customized for your chosen product - because the support you need in your first week is different than the support you need in your last!  Remember to continue following all product directions though!

Register today for the MyQuit program, and get a $5 coupon via website! 
BONUS – is offering a separate $10 coupon, available for download during September/October that can be used at any retailer that sells Nicrotte® and NicoDerm CQ® on the MyQuit website!

Do I still get cravings? On occasion, but only very rarely. I have a friend who still smokes and I can sit across from her and it doesn't bother me at all. I have no desire to go out and buy cigarettes. I will never go back to smoking again. I know all too well the struggle of the smoker who wants nothing more than to quit. I will never go down that road again. There's an amazing sense of freedom that comes from quitting. I am so happy to be a success, and I truly thank Nicorette® and NicoDerm® CQ® for the help. 

*Behavioral support program increases chances of success. Use as directed.
Visit Nicorette® on Facebook, on Twitter: @Nicorette and @NicoDermCQ and YouTube.

How did you quit smoking? Did you use NRT? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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