just clearing something up here... nicotine replacement therapy

I’ve had a few funny responses from people I know personally to my Goals for 2010 post along the lines of: “Great goals – I had no idea you were a smoker though…”

I started smoking when I was about 14 years old, as so many smokers do, with my mates from High School. The habit has carried through into my adult life, ebbing and flowing depending on what was going on in my world (I was a “stress smoker”, if stuff got hectic I’d hit the smokes).

I’ve wanted to and made numerous attempts to quit over the years (one of my favorite quotes on this comes from Mark Twain – “Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it a thousand times.”) because of health reasons and, quite honestly, I grew to dislike the image that being a smoker lumped me with. This stigma has been the main reason why I kept the fact that I was a smoker from most of my non smoking friends, along with my sheer embarrassment at the fact that I couldn’t seem to kick the habit for good.

So I tried a stack of things to stop, Zyban (which made me go a bit cuckoo), gum (which I hate), and just plain will power. Most of these attempts were successful to a point, but then when things got hectic or stressful at work of home I’d get straight back on them. Then my daughter was born and the ante was officially upped… I didn’t want to be one of those unfit dad’s who couldn’t keep up with their kids, and I certainly didn’t want to miss out on seeing my little girl get married and all those things a parent looks forward to by dying prematurely.

I am happy to say that at present I’ve been smoke free for almost a year.

The tool I’ve used to get me here is Nicotine Replacement Therapy using the patch. Normally a course of patches goes for 8 weeks or so, but I’ve been using the patch now for that entire time (since early March 09). The good thing about it is that I no longer smoke, am no longer damaging my health, and when the patch runs low I crave a new patch instead of a cigarette.

Ultimately I don’t want to have a chemical dependence on ANYTHING, but the logic has been that servicing my nicotine dependency with something that doesn’t destroy my health is the lesser of the two available evils. The goal for this year is to wean off the patch and nicotine completely. I’m happy to say that on January 5th I bumped myself down to the lower level patch and things are going well.

That’s my story, and what has worked for me. Ciggies are a stone pain in the butt to get off once you are hooked to them, and it seems that everyone’s story of quitting is different, but this is what has worked for me so far. I’ll keep you posted.

I’d love to hear any feedback on what has worked for you quitting smoking, or if you have a story that relates to some of the things I’ve said here.