Long-time lurker; first-time poster. Female; 48 years old; widowed; living alone.
I am looking for help. I think something might be wrong with me. You see, I want to stop smoking. I do not wish to be a smoker any more. I want to be a non-smoker. I have been working hard on this for well over a year.
I’ve smoked for about 30 years. Average, around 20 cigarettes a day. In the past six months, I have read Allen Carr’s book twice. I listen to his CD two or three times a week. I listen to Susan Hepburn’s recording once a week or so while I’m working out at the gym. I listen to other recordings. I chew gum, drink water, wear patches, breathe deep. But still, I seem to be smoking.
I stopped drinking beer and wine. I stopped drinking coffee. I gave up tea. I gave up Coca Cola. I stopped all those things simply because they were so enjoyable with a cigarette. I haven’t gone back to the beverages. I started going to the gym regularly (this was huge. I’m so opposite of “athletic”. I’m a book-worm, knitting, sit-by-the-fireplace sort of gal). I stopped smoking in the house and in the car. Still, I smoke.
Years ago, I attended a Lung Association program. I then tried laser therapy and aversion therapy. I once tried hypnosis and that worked for an entire day. That was with a live hypnotist and a group. Hypnosis tapes don’t quite seem to cut it. I’ve had psychotherapy. No effect. I don’t handle meds well: tried Wellbutrin /Zyban – couldn’t take the side effects. I’m afraid to take Champix/Chantrix for the same reason.
Just over a week ago, I had some minor surgery and didn’t smoke the afternoon before, per my doctor’s orders. I didn’t smoke for two days after. I ate like a hog; gained ten pounds in seven days while recovering. But I was feeling calm and confident. I was actually breathing easier. On the third day, something happened. I had just one cigarette. Only one. It’s hard to recall exactly why. I’m not sure I can articulate the reason. Then, the following day, two. Yesterday, three. Today, I had five.
I’m disgusted with myself. I’m disappointed. I’m seriously frightened.
Before I had that first post-surgical cigarette, I held it in my hand and wondered who I could call to speak to. Like, a friend, someone who wouldn’t simply recite lung association statistics at me, but who would talk to me about what I was doing. I couldn’t think of a single soul. I don’t have any close friends; only acquaintances, and only one or two of those people smoke. So I guess I held my own private pity-party and lit one up.
I am sincerely seeking help here. Please don’t tell me about the terrible diseases I’m going to get. Please don’t recite medical facts about the physical damage from smoking, or statistics, or stories about how you recently buried your grandfather, uncle, etc. who was in agonizing pain for eons before the relief of death. Please don’t tell me about dying young. I don’t live in a vacuum. I know it. I’ve read about it. I’ve heard it. I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it.
My grandmother, a smoker to whom I was close, after years of emphysema, died of lung cancer. My father, also a smoker, died from lung cancer that went to his brain. I’ve had friends die of cancer and/or heart attacks. I’ve seen the effects of strokes firsthand. I have relatives who work in the medical field. I’ve read the most graphic books about the effects of smoking.
The end result of re-hashing all that information only seems to be a deep, black despair. Still, I smoke.
I feel like a loser. I feel stupid. I feel hopeless … beaten … doomed.
Is there any hope? Has anyone else been so addicted but managed to beat it? Are there any words, any modes of thinking, any programs, books, CDs, tips, advice?