My official “Quit-Smoking” day is November 7, 2001. I have not had a cigarette since this date.
I was never a casual smoker, because I have smoked since I was about 12 or 13 years old. Since about 1980’s I have been consistent with my smoking, reaching about 3 packages of cigarettes for every 2 days or so. On average, I smoked about 40 cigarettes per day – every day – for about the last 25 years. On stressful days or days when I would just light up a cigarette and was super busy and left it burning in an ashtray, the count could have been as high as 50 cigarettes per day.
And I have never wanted to quit smoking. I was never one of those people that said .. “Oh, I can quit anytime” .. or “I’d like to quit, but I can’t” … or “I plan to quit in the near future” ..
With me .. it was more like .. “Quit Smoking? Shaddup! I have no intention of quitting .. I like smoking! Why would I want to quit smoking?” There never was an issue about the money .. I worked for a living and earned the money I used to pay for my cigarettes. Throughout my entire life, I did not ever hear of any stories about people who quit smoking actually saved the money for cigarettes.
I felt bad for Yvonne though .. when I met her in March 1997 .. she was off-and-on quitting smoking. After a while, she gave up on that! We were living together and between the two of us .. we would be going through at least 3 cartons of cigarettes every 10 days. That’s 24 packs of 25 cigarettes or about 60 cigarettes per day between the two of us!
I am an accountant, and have quite detailed financial statements of all my business and personal expenses. Because Yvonne’s grocer of choice was Superstore, she had to buy cigarettes separately at the customer service counter, and received a separate receipt. I began to keep records of how much groceries we spent, and how much we spent on cigarettes alone. In early 2001, when I showed Yvonne our “combined” financial statements for YE 2000, and it showed something like $6900.00 combined cigarette purchases … she (naturally) freaked .. and decided to quit smoking.
And she quit smoking on August 13, 2001 .. (falling on same day as her birthday 13th)
Well, we split household expenses, utilities, etc .. but she wouldn’t buy me any more cigarettes. I was on my own .. but that’s okay. I like to smoke. Been doing it for a lot many years before she was around! But two developments began to take place …
(1) She began to get a better sense of smell ..
She could really smell the nicotine on the clothes, in the air … and the sweet-HART that I am .. I offered to not blow smoke in her face if she promised not to bug me about quitting smoking too … I agreed to smoke either in MY OFFICE, which is upstairs on the 2nd floor … or in the basement. Both areas were fine with me .. because I smoke while I work, and when I’m in the basement I can clean up, do filing, organize (and I setup a secondary stereo and her old speaker system down there too!)
(2) EA Games invented THE SIMS .. I think it was in September 2001 ??
It wasn’t enough that Yvonne wanted to control me, now she wanted to control little SIMulated creatures … she was hooked! Some days she would be on the computer for 18 hours .. it was ridiculous…. but – get this: She still wanted me to only smoke in my office or the basement – even though my computer that she plays THE SIMS was on .. is in my office! And it didn’t really bother her. I think. She was already addicted to Nicorette Gum and as far as I was lead to believe, she had no urge to smoke again.
It just got even more absurd because for the first time in my life, I felt guilty. I think I caused her to smoke again when we first met, and if I continue to work or watch her play THE SIMS and smoke .. she will smoke again … So, I decided to just smoke in the basement.
At the end of September 2001 – we had a cold spell here in Winnipeg, and there’s not much heat in our basement. WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING SITTING IN A COLD BASEMENT SMOKING? Geesh .. that’s when I finally decided.. on October 10th, 2001
I WILL QUIT SMOKING ON OCTOBER 31, 2001
Nobody believed me – but all of a sudden my entire workplace knew about this comment (I work with my dad and Yvonne told my mom.. etc) .. and soon clients would be calling me and congratulating me deciding to finally quit smoking.
One of my clients back then, gave me the best advice that I even remember today …
Remember the day you quit smoking ..
… and you will always remember that you were a smoker who quit smoking ..
Forget the day you quit smoking ..
… and that’s the day you become a non-smoker ..
So I needed a plan. What I did was between October 10th and October 15th .. I counted how many cigarettes I smoked and provided me with a daily average – it turned out to be 44 cigarettes. On October 16th, I determined myself to reduce my smoking by 3 cigarettes per day until I quit, on October 31, 2001. Here’s how my progess actually went – I documented it.
Oct 15 – 44 average calculated
Oct 16 – 41 smokes
Oct 17 – 38 smokes
Oct 18 – 35 smokes
Oct 19 – 32 smokes
Oct 20 – 29 smokes
Oct 21 – 26 smokes
Oct 22 – 23 smokes
Oct 23 – 20 smokes
Oct 24 – 17 smokes
Oct 25 – 14 smokes
Oct 26 – 11 smokes
Oct 27 – 8 smokes
Oct 28 – 5 smokes
Oct 29 – 20 smokes
Oct 30 – 37 smokes
Oct 31 – 49 smokes
(We had a major deadline due October 31, 2001 .. MAN was I stressed!)
Nov 1 – 15 smokes
>> I threw out my cigarettes and bought a rolling machine and rolled my own smokes
Nov 2 – 12 homemade smokes
Nov 3 – 9 homemade smokes
Nov 4 – 6 homemade smokes
Nov 5 – 3 homemade smokes
Nov 6 – 1 homemade smoke
Nov 7 – 1 homemade smoke .. and that was my last cigarette.
I used the patch started November 2nd as well .. and went through the 3 cycle program .. I think it lasted 3 weeks? After the 3rd box was empty – I had no urge to smoke ever again.
Yvonne and I got married August 31, 2002 and she was still addicted to Nicorette gum .. it wasn’t until mid 2003 I got her off of the nicorette gum, but now we both go through quite a bit of Dentyne gum every week.
From November 7, 2001 period to August 31, 2002 .. I probably gained about 35 pounds .. I like to think enjoying the taste of old cuisines that I enjoy .. although some might think food was a substitute for the non-smoking. It’s been a struggle (that I’m documenting on Battling-Obesity.com blog) losing all this excess weight and getting back in shape.
Also – I stopped wearing a watch. It somehow balances both of my arms now (before there used to be a cigarette in my right hand to compensate)
And .. I can still remember the date I quit smoking .. so, I guess I’m not really a true non-smoker … but I’m quite proud of myself for doing it cold turkey – the first time I ever wanted to in my life. My family, friends and relatives can still hardly believe that I was the one that actually quit so easily, where they thought it would be harder for me.
Well .. if you can’t have a partner to help you quit smoking … just make a plan and do it gradually. Remember – smoking is expensive and it ruins your health. Don’t worry if you quit and start again .. just quit again .. take it one day at a time .. and keep the ultimate goal in mind … YOU WANT TO QUIT SMOKING …
So – Make it happen! Good Luck!