Sunday, March 28, 2010

4 days to go...

It's four days until I quit my smoking habit of 40 years. I look forward to April 1st with trepitation as I already feel the loss. I know that sounds strange to a non-smoker , but I have smoked all my adult life and have no idea how it will feel to not take that "smoke break".

I am pysched up to find out what it's going to be like to not be chained to this lifelong habit. All I've read and heard tells me I can't break a habit, but rather replace it. I'm going to replace the smoke break with a tea break. I have bought a variety of healthy teas in the leaf form so I can create a tea ritual to replace the smoking ritual. Does this sound reasonable? I expect to drink an awful lot of tea in the beginning, thus choosing healthy herbal blends.

Part of why I am excited about being free of the unhealthy habit of smoking is that I'm soooo tired of feeling awful. It's been 2 years since my back as been injured and 8 months since I've been able to lead a full life. I know smoking and my back injury appear unrelated, but these many months have given my plenty of time to think about my health, growing older and the desire to feel great. I know my old friend, smoking is slowly killing me and it's time to fight back.

I have four more days to prepare myself mentally, physically and emotionally. I'll be ready. As the commercials say "It's my time to quit"!

"Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending" michelle fehrman

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Freedom challenge Continues...

Well today is my last day smoking in the house. I expect the mornings will be the toughest, but a good way to break me in. We are also, repainting most of the house this Spring so, that will definitely encourage me. I don't want to stink everything up again.

I have strategically set bowls of nuts, plain popcorn and candies in my usual smoking spots and so far it has helped. Today I start deep cleaning the house to rid it entirely of left-over smoke residue. I'll begin in my office; washing curtains, walls etc. because I often smoked in there and I need the smell and feeling of clean to avoid temptation.

Mentally I've been going over and over the reasons why I want to quit and all the positive effects being smoke free will engender. It's said after ten years the lungs restore themselves to almost those of a non-smoker. Since I'm blessed to not have COPD of any sort, that means by 65 I should be in fairly good shape.

I do not want to gain weight through this ordeal so my snacks and comfort measures will be focused toward healthy. This too, will benefit me in my journey toward health because health and longevity is really the name of this game. I want to dance at my grand children's weddings; God willing.

After my leg and back are fixed up I am going to start regularly exercising again. I use to do yoga and I love to swim so, I look forward to be able to do these. All in all I'm moving forward eagerly, although with great trepidation. One week to go toward freedom!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Time of your Life

What have you put in the closet of your life? What is waiting for another day? How long has it been in the closet and when do you plan to bring it out?

We all get busy in life with jobs, family, obligations and well, let’s face it, busyness. Many of the things we use to enjoy or plan to do in our life get relegated to that “some day, next year, when the kids grow up, when I retire” land. Sad to say, much of it gets lost in the shuffle of life; never to be recovered. Before we know it time has taken care of the problem of finding time and what might’ve or could’ve been is no longer possible. Some dreams need to be grasped at the moment or it just gets too late. Others simply waste away and die from waiting. So, what are you putting off until tomorrow?

I’ve lived more years than I have left and sadly, I put too many dreams in the closet of life. Dreams I was going to get to any day but, procrastination is the thief of time. When I was young I believed I had plenty of time for my dreams. I put off pursuing them for too long and have lived with regret. Yet, regret too, can steal our time and dreams. So I won’t spend any more time in regret.

Life has changed and so have I so, it’s time to take those old dreams off the shelf, dust them off and see what I can do with them. Sadly some will be too outdated and timeworn, but for those that still have possibility....who knows what may become of them?

My advice if you’re younger and have gone ahead and tucked your dreams away in the closet of life is to go get them out and see what can be done with them now. They are not cheese or wine; time won’t necessarily age them well. Some may never come to fruition regardless, but those that are given a chance may change your destiny.

Now is really all the time in reality we have and now slips away quickly. Grab it, use it, dream with it but don’t whatever you do let it accumulate dust!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Becoming a Tea Granny

Just a short update on my plans to ease my way into the smoke-free world. I no longer smoke upstairs in my office, bedroom, etc. I cut that out a week ago. Already I'm adjusting to it. Today I designate all, but my kitchen a smoke-free zone. So no more lighting up as I read, watch TV or visit in the livingroom. By Thursday I declare my entire home smoke-free and have to go outside until April 1st, my official quit date.

The idea behind this is to give myself several days to adjust to not smoking in my usual spots. Of course, I need to substitute my habit with another habit. I do believe as the professionals agree that we don't break habits; we replace them. So what will I do?

The obvious like chewing gum or sucking on a mint will help, but I need more of a new ritual because much of my smoking is associated my daily routines and rituals. Knowing that I am a ritual person tells me that just chewing gum or sucking on a candy won't be effective in the long run.

Lately I've grown quite fond of tea; especially the wellness blends. In fact, I find I'm drinking less and less coffee which wasn't a goal, but heh, it doesn't hurt. Tea for myself is more of a ritualistic drink and always has been so, I'm going to use this to help me create new habits. I've chosen refreshing cleansing teas that encourage good health and hopefully, help create a new mindset. I'll build my tea-time rituals around those times when I smoked, thus replacing the smoking habit with a new habit. Wish me luck and pray for me.

I have nine days left to get ready for this great challenge and I'm trying to be as prepared has possible this time. I expect it to be a battle after 40 years, but if I come to the front lines fully equipped I should win the war. I can't ponder too much the possibility of losing the battle. That is the devil speaking lies because I know many people who after years of smoking who have succeeded. I shall be free, too!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In search of Freedom

Okay, here’s the deal. I have been smoking for almost 40 years! Yes, FORTY years! It’s hard to believe, even for me. How could I have let this very bad habit continue for so long? Well, as with many things, the time went by and I just never really thought how long I been filling my body with poison; until now.

I have been off work for seven months due to a back injury. It looks like I will need surgery and although scared at the thought of someone cutting around my spinal cord; I will be relieved to either be pain free or living with tolerable pain. The prognosis is that I will always have a weakened, painful back and am unlikely to be able to return to my line of work; which is in health care.

So what as this got to do with smoking? Well, I’ve had seven months in which I haven’t felt well and have had plenty of time to think about oodles of things; my overall health being one of them. I know all the reasons why smoking is bad for me; I haven’t lived in the backwoods for the past 20 years. I know my health is suffering and I have shortened my life because of this nasty habit. Yet, in the past when I have tried to quit because of the health reasons it just didn’t cut the mustard. Maybe it should’ve but, it just didn’t give me the motivation I needed. So be it. It is what it is. I needed more reason than health to convict me and finally I believe I have found it.

It started with prayer. I asked God to help me in any way He could to have the desire and drive to quit. Two things have happened to get me to this point where I feel determined to be free. Being disabled has led me to think about getting older and how I want to live the rest of my life. The fact that all my future plans have been altered and the lifestyle I was living is finished has shown me how precarious and precious life is. It has also, exposed how smoking really makes me feel. Being less busy and preoccupied I’ve become aware of the toxic effects smoking causes; headaches, queasy stomach and general malaise. I’ve also, noticed more how it smells, tastes etc. Yuck! I have grown to quite dislike smoking. I believe God has used this time to compel me to really take stock of why I smoke and what it’s really doing to me. Fortunately for me these 40 years of polluting my lungs hasn’t caused the damage it could’ve or should’ve. My doctors and I are surprised as we should be. I believe this to be another blessing from God and I dare not take it for granted.

Reason two is the reality of the financial cost. At three hundred dollars or more a month I can’t help thinking what this money could truly add to my life versus destroy it. When I quit my hubby is going to tuck away the three hundred dollars to be used on the countless extras we can add to our life. Things like a brand new kitchen, purchasing a cottage lot, etc. This extra wealth can do so much more for us than be thrown away on a slow demise.

So, hopefully I’ve finally found the motivation to go through the hard part. I really don’t want to keep going through the initial quitting so, my goal over the next two weeks is to fully prepare myself mentally & spiritually that although it will feel like I’m losing a lifetime friend, it is a friend that has been slowly killing me. Friends like that I don’t want or need. I’ll do all the strategies suggested and pray, pray, pray.

I will be has ready as I can be by April 1st, so I can begin my journey toward freedom for the first time in my adult life. No longer do I desire to play this extremely risky and foolish game with my life. God has blessed me and protected me for forty long years. It is time to show some gratitude. Amen!

FREEDOM!! FREEDOM!! My new mantra!