When You're Desperate to Smoke but Want to Quit

Ex-Smoker Lesly's Story

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Just like those who have other addictions to drugs or alcohol, cigarette smokers have a strong compulsion to smoke, even though they are aware of the health and other negative consequences. In this article, ex-smoker Lesly beautifully illustrates the angst that long-term smokers feel. We want to quit smoking so badly, yet feel emotionally tied to the rituals that have have been built up around tobacco use over the years. 
Lesly wrote the following piece at three years smoke-free. Thanks for sharing Lesly, and congratulations on your success with smoking cessation.

From Lesly:

Three years ago I was a desperate woman.

I was desperate to quit smoking – I was desperate to smoke.

I was sick to death of smoking – I loved to smoke.

I hated how I smelled – I loved the smell of my smokes.

I hated the burn holes, fears, sickness – I loved the rituals.

I hated being told I should quit - I knew I should quit.

Most of all – I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and I hated feeling stupid. Bottom line.

So – I jumped off the teeter-totter and jumped into the smoke-free boat with both feet. I clung desperately to the lifelines thrown to me and I held on with all my might through the storms (heck, more like hurricanes) that followed.
I held on with both hands and all my heart to one thing that a man who was one of my dearest friends told me. He told me this:

You think you love to smoke and you think it is so important to your happiness, but when you quit (and I know you will), you will find out that all that happiness associated with smoking is a lie. It’s a cheap carnival trick. It is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Guess what? He was right! There is not one thing in my life that I can’t do better without a cigarette hanging out of my mouth – well, except maybe applying eyeliner. Anyway, one of my greatest sorrows is that my friend died before I found the courage to quit smoking.
Quitting is hard – it takes effort, determination, and commitment, but it can be done. You need to be brutally honest with yourself, though, and you cannot quit by continuing to smoke. You have to stop! Not one – not one puff and no excuses.
There is a sign in my gym that motivates me. I’ll try to recreate it for you.

The Ten Steps to Success 

1. Try
2. Try again
3. Try harder
4. Try tomorrow
5. Try thinking about what has worked in the past
6. Try and ask someone who has done it
7. Try and figure out what is not working
8. Try it a different way
9. Try it once more
10. Don't stop trying!

The longest journey has to start with one simple, tiny step. I took my first step three years ago today, and I have never regretted it.


Lesly is right. We all have to start with the first step and go from there. For smokers that means stubbing out the last cigarette and moving forward, smoke-free. It's a scary thought because we are addicted to nicotine, but when we take it one step at a time - one day at a time, we find it's a doable task. 

If you've had more than one quit attempt and you think it's not possible to quit for the long term, take Lesly's tip to heart. Keep trying. It takes most smokers a few tries before they find the quit that sticks.

If you're ready to quit smoking, use the resources below to get started.

Dive in and get going. As Lesly said, stopping does take work, but it's work you'll never regret doing.

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