Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?

I am proud to say that I have been in recovery from alcoholism for 22 years. I am sad to say that despite my weak-willed efforts, I have not been able to quite smoking. I had been a smoker in my twenties, but when I was first pregnant, was able to quit, and for the most part, remained a non-smoker until my youngest child (of 4) was around 12.

I did what you are absolutely, positively, not supposed to do. I traded one addiction for another. When I was in rehab for the last time, I bummed a cigarette off a fellow “inmate”, and that restarted my addiction to tobacco which has now lasted for 22 years. I thought I’d get over it quickly. I’d quit before, why not this time?

Perhaps it’s because I am an addict that it’s hard to quit now. Or maybe it’s a more sinister side of my personality: I quit drinking, what can’t I have at least one vice? I am not a heavy smoker — 12-15 cigarettes a day, so I conclude that the problem is more in my mind. What I learned from getting sober is that you have to want to quit far more than you want to continue on the downward spiral. I think I hit bottom, as they say, and I was finally able to fully accept my addiction and stop. I no longer wanted to drink: I finally recognized it as the devil it was and wanted sobriety for my miserable self, and for my suffering family.

This is another “justification” for not throwing out my cigarettes. It may be an addiction, but it is far different than being drunk all the time. Smoking doesn’t affect your mind and priorities like drinking does. I regret I’m a smoker. I know it’s not good for my health (which is pretty good), and I know that my smoking does confirm for others that smoking is okay — and for the grandchildren, I’m sorry about this.

Perhaps the time will come when I’m ready; but my life is pretty good and my smoking is “controllable”; when I’m in a situation where I can’t smoke it doesn’t bother me that much.

I know people who have quit cold turkey, including my son who smoked a lot and was feeling its effects. My husband had such a hard time quitting in his 40’s that he simply wouldn’t put one in his mouth now.

Suggestions welcome, but no sermons.

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