Thursday, November 19, 2009

This is My Quit Story

I started smoking when I was 17 years old. I married a man 14 years older than I was. All of his friends were older too and his friends became my friends and my new friends taught me how to smoke. That's what you did in our little home town; you grew up, you got married, you drank,you smoked, you had babies. My husband and I raised 3 children. All of 3 of our children grew up to become smokers and all 3 of our children are raising my grandchildren around that smoking.
My daughter and her husband tried for 13 years to have a baby and finally in May of 2002, my daughter gave me a Mother's Day card with a positive pee stick in it. I still have that card and I still have the pee stick. On Dec 30, 2002 Willard Lee Stripling was born. We call him Billy. When Billy was 3 years old his Daddy died. We told Billy the only thing a little boy would understand....we told him that his Daddy had gone to heaven. A little while later Billy came to me and said "Nana, if you and Mama go to heaven too who will be here with me?" I held on to this child as tight as I could and assured him that his Mama and I were not going anywhere for a very long time. I told him we would never leave him, until he was a grown man. This seemed to satisfy him. He ran off to play and I went to the patio lit a cigarette. I could not look into those eyes and make a promise I couldn't keep. I knew I had to do everything within my power to make sure I could keep my promise to that little angel.

I made an appointment with my doctor, who had been nagging me to quit for 3 years, and told him I was ready to quit. He wrote me a prescription for Chantix and said this has helped a lot of my patients stop smoking. I took the prescription home and set it on my dresser. It stayed there for 3 months. When I returned for my blood work up my doctor asked me how the quit was going. I had to admit to him that I hadn't even filled the prescription yet. He wrote me out another one which I filled, took home, and set on my dresser. 5 or 6 days later I was on the patio smoking and watching Billy play. I shot a little prayer to God, thanking Him for this child in my life because he is such a blessing. I was smoking and talking to God! That did not set very ..OK, Lets just do this thing. I read all the inserts and directions, I signed up for a 7pm phone call and an e-mail support program called GetQuit. I credit this wonderful support program for helping me quit. I received a phone call every night at 7pm. It became a matter of pride to push that button on the phone that said no, today I did not smoke! And I did take it one day at a time and I know you won't believe this..but it was easy compared to the other 9 methods I have tried. I did face many challenges and struggles but I had no withdrawal symptoms, I was not angry, short tempered or irritable. I had none of the symptoms associated with smoking cessation. Your experience may be different because we are different.. This is something you should talk with your doctor about. The GetQuit program gave me little exercises to help with the behavior patterns, they informed me of how my lungs were busy healing them selves of all the damage I had done in the 44 years I smoked. The program also taught me think like a non-smoker. To believe that I was a non-smoker, until it actually became true. I was a non-smoker. My quit date was 08-08-08. I chose that date because I thought it sounded cool. On my first year Quit Anniversary I went to lunch with a friend who knew of my Quit Journey and my struggles with the addiction and had supported me this past year. When I finally got home our house was full of people. Friends my daughter had invited over. I told her I was sorry but she did not tell me we were having company. My daughter went into the kitchen and came back with a cake with 1 candle on it. Of course that made me cry..just to know my daughter was proud of my success too.

Now, 1 year, 3 months and 11 days later I am still smoke free. And I have been honored to be selected to be a GetQuit Ambassador. I have an opportunity to go all over the United States and share my Quit Story with others. I let people know that they are not alone in their journey. I, too have experienced the struggles and challenges of quitting. God willing, I will have many more chances to pay it forward and just maybe my story will help others find their own motivation to get quit...and stay quit.

When you do quit: I invite you to tell your own quit story and to pay it forward. Tell others of how you quit with treatment and support, and invite others to tell their story.

Peace and Prayers