Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Two Years Smoke-Free!!!

I was supposed to write this entry yesterday, but I think that I was putting too much pressure on myself to write something truly epic.  Something that would make you think, make you laugh, make you cry, and make you just get it...

I'm over that idea now.  I've decided to just write free-style and see what happens.

I quit smoking two years ago (July 5, 2009 to be exact).  Much like when I decided to finally lose the weight for good, something just clicked inside me.  I knew that I didn't want to be a smoker forever.  I knew that the reasons that I smoked just didn't hold up anymore, and that I was ready to walk away from something that had brought me comfort for years, but that could ultimately kill me.  Seriously, there are a lot of simularities between quitting binge-eating and quitting smoking.  And I knew that back then, too.

The main reason that I knew it was the right time for me to quit smoking was Weight Watchers.  I had joined WW in May of 2009, and had done it under the pretense of "wanting to get healthy".  And yet... I still smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.  Therefore, I was either being a hypocrite, or I was lying about why I wanted to lose weight.  Either way was not okay with me, so I decided that it was time to get healthier in all aspects, including quitting smoking.  I wanted to get WW down first, so I waited a couple of months before giving quitting a go.

Why did I start smoking to begin with?  It's not much of a story, and it's pretty dumb but here it is.  I was in recovery for my eating disorder, at around age 20.  I quickly became best friends with one of the other girls in the program, and she was a heavy smoker.  One day while out with her, I decided to buy my own pack of cigs that were just like hers.  She always looked so elegant and "cool" when she smoked, and I wanted to get that feeling.  Also, she was much skinnier than I was, and I was jealous and thought that cigarettes may have helped her to get so skinny and to keep her mind off of food and ED-recovery.  She and I went to her family's beach house and smoked and drank all weekend.  I felt happy and clouded, like I didn't have a care in the world! 

When my boyfriend at the time found the pack of cigarettes, he got very angry and told me that I had to choose between him and the cigarettes.  I loved him so naturally I chose him.  After just a couple of days of smoking, it was pretty easy to quit cold turkey.  I didn't look back.  Until... we broke up.  Then I used the breakup as an excuse to start smoking full time.  He wasn't the boss of me anymore, I was a single and independant woman, and I could smoke if I wanted to. 

I used cigarettes as a crutch for the next couple of years, and they became my best friend.  Always there for me when I was stressed, when I was angry, and especially when I was lonely.  All throughout my abusive relationship with my ex-fiance (not to be confused with ex-boyfriend above), cigarettes were there for me.  At least they would never call me fat or ugly, and they were always there, not judging me.  When I finally left my ex-fiance, cigarettes took over my life, but I also allowed food to take over.  Do you see a pattern here?

When boyfriend #1 and I broke up, I started smoking because he hated it and hadn't allowed it.  When fiance and I broke up, I kept on smoking, but started binge-eating because he never allowed me to eat and called me "fat" all of the time.  Two terribly unhealthy things that I did, both out of spite for relationships gone wrong.  If only I had had the self-esteem to not let bad relationships drive me into doing things that were bad for me and that could ultimately have killed me.

Fast forward to late 2007:  I met a man who loved and respected me for who I was (binge-eating and chain-smoking included.)  For awhile, the fact that this man loved me even though I overate and smoked a lot astounded me.  I continued to gain weight for the first year of our relationship, perhaps just to test his love.  He still loved me.  Weird... 

I finally realized that I needed to get back into therapy.  Bob (the therapist, what a great name for a therapist), really helped me to start learning the art of self-love and self-respect.  That while it was wonderful that Stacey loved me for me, it was more important that I love me for me, and don't put all my happiness in Stacey's hands, because that is not fair to either of us.  WOW.  I needed to hear that! 

This is around the time that I joined Weight Watchers and quit smoking.  I no longer needed those crutches, and I no longer needed to test Stacey's love for me.  I loved myself, and was taking steps to keep myself around for as long as possible.  :-)

Wow, I really wanted to make this about how I quit and how it's been, but this ended up being more about the journey...  and if you are still reading, bless you

If you have any questions about quitting smoking, don't hesitate to email me!  I don't claim to be an expert, just someone who's been there.


Andrea said...

You are an inspiration. You have made such progress in your life. You are emotionally and physically strong, healthy, and have a bright future.

Jill said...

Congratulations on being smoke free for 2 years! Quite and accomplishment. You took the power back and used it! Not easy to do!! BRAVO!!

Megan said...

Congrats Leah! Great story and incredible journey! I've said it a million times and I'll say it again - you're an inspiration!

Rae Jeannine said...

Congrats on the two years smoke free and that is a great story. You have come a long way and are an inspiring, amazing person!!

LabelSnob said...

Great post Leah! Congratulations on being smoke free for 2 years! I just past my 3 year anniversary and it feels so great to be free of that addiction that ruled my life!
Stacey sounds like an amazing guy and I'm glad you found someone to give you so much unconditional love! But I agree it's more important that you found the self love and self respect that you deserved! :)

Jennifer said...

Such a great accomplishment!

My mom was a smoker for like 30+ years and finally had enough, so she quit cold turkey one day. She definitely still has her cravings, but she's healthier!

yajur said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

Giving up Smoking

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