Today marks four months without cigarettes. To backtrack a bit, I decided to quit smoking cigarettes five months ago. A month later, after getting engaged, I made the commitment to say goodbye for good.
It was hard. I struggled through the summer on boats and at barbecues, rosé in one hand and a twitch in my other instead of a cigarette. Even though I had someone else to share my misery and to keep me honest (my fiancé quit with me), I’m not embarrassed to admit how difficult it was and that it took me a while to find what worked.
I failed over and over again. After experimenting with nicotine patches (not recommended for anyone who smokes less than a pack a day), there was a stint of vapor cigarettes (making me probably more chemically dependent on nicotine than when I was smoking straight cigarettes). It was a challenge to remain patient and stay committed. I had a lot of negative self judgement every time I fell short of a goal.
It was a constant balancing act of vigilance and kindness.
I was forced to challenge my cravings and to have that hard conversation with myself weeding out wants from needs. It is an important exercise, even if you don’t smoke, to question what and how you consume. I had to trust myself and my process. It is an immensely positive and supportive experience to share these goals with my fiancé, and at the same time, I have to know I can rely on myself.
It was an empowering opportunity to examine a part of myself that I didn’t have control over before. I had to build some very important, invisible muscles that extend far beyond my lung health. I can choose how I want to live my life and to control how I access success.