Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shelly's Mantra

One my wife's best friends, a gal we'll call Shelly, is a cancer survivor.  Cervical cancer.  She's been through 3 rounds of chemotherapy for that.  The therapy beat the crap out of her, but she pulled though and is currently in remission.

Shelly is also a recovering alcoholic.  She's been sober for over 20 years.

She tends to vote Republican.

I tend to overlook that.

I have a lot of respect for Shelly.

When my doctor's constant pressure about my smoking finally got to be too much, I went to Shelly for some advice.  After all, she a pulled through several rounds of chemo AND quit drinking.  Anyone who's been though that in one lifetime is someone to be talking to about smoking cessation.  I asked her if, based on personal experience with breaking the cycle of addiction, did she know of some trick, something I may have overlooked, or simply didn't know when I tried quitting before?  Her answer was both simple and profound.

Whatever you do, no matter what happens, DO NOT have another cigarette.

In my experience the simplest advice is always the best.

DO NOT have another cigarette.

That's pretty simple but it's also very hard.  Resisting the urge to to smoke, to have one more cigarette, is the one thing I was never able to do.  Just the same, I knew that's exactly what I'd have to do if was was ever going to quit.

Shelly was right.

 I decided to begin by evaluating my situation.  I saw my addiction on several fronts.  I was addicted to Nicotine, of course.  I also had a digital fixation - I needed to have something in my hand.  I had an oral fixation, too - something in my mouth.  I was addicted to the sensation of having something other than air drawn into my lungs and exhaled as well.  After some consideration I decided that was the world of my smoking addiction.

Next was how to address that.  Having been though a number of half-hearted attempts and ultimate failures, I felt that to gang-up and kick the shit outta the habit was the way to go.  Take no prisoners.  I decided that the need for Nicotine could be dealt with with patches.  I'd used them before and they do tend to keep nicotine craving under control.  My wife suggested trying one of those so-called "eCigs" to help deal with digital/oral fixation.  Then, a little something to take the stressful edge off: Wellbuterin.  Wellbuterin is a drug used to treat depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder and aid in smoking cessation.  Added to that was a new mantra .....

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

I was set.

I won't bore you with endless details about this adventure.  Suffice it to say that after two years I have remained smoke-free.  I've laid all the tools, the patches, the eCigs, the Welbuterin aside as well.  I don't need them.  The one thing I still carry is Shelly's mantra .....

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

After a good meal when a smoke would be perfect ....

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

When I pass a group of smokers and something tells me that they'd happily bum me a smoke ....

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

When I get stressed out with work ...

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

After sex .... ;-)

Whatever you do, DO NOT have another cigarette.

DO NOT have another cigarette.

Quitting smoking isn't easy.  Having friends like Shelly who have been down that road can be a real blessing.

Listen to what they say..