This is simple; you practice staying smokefree One Day At A Time for a single day. Then repeat 364 more times and you have a year under your belt.
Okay, so it's not so simple, when you consider how huge a part of my life smoking used to be. How could it not be a huge part considering I used to smoke three freaking packs a day?! There were changes to be made outside of just not taking that first puff which had messed up several quits in the past. Changes in how I saw myself. Changes in my daily routines. A lot needed to be changed. There is still much work to be done. It's not a process one can walk away from after a year and say "well, that's that".
Having Patty share this journey had made it considerably easier; there is no doubt about that. I've also been boosted on numerous occasions from unexpected places and people. Expected support didn't always materialize. Unexpected support very often did. Funny how that works out.
AS3 (alt.support.stop-smoking newsgroup) has been a big part of it, as well. There is a weird irony in that, however. There were times when I just needed to forget that I was smokefree and just get on with the day. Reading and posting to AS3 made that more difficult at times, rather than easier. Not to say that one just quits an addiction and goes on as though nothing has happened, but being smokefree isn't the totality of what I am. Thinking, thinking, thinking about it all the damn time can get tedious.
Exercise has been huge. After riding my Trek 720 for 1,200 miles last summer, I spent the winter working out at a local fitness center. The nicer weather during the past few weeks has allowed me to resume riding again. There is nothing I can do on a given day that will make me feel better in a physical and mental sense.
So, it's one year down, one day at a time and hopefully a long lifetime to go!
[update as of April 6, 2004...we're still going strong with being smokefree! If you're considering quitting, I'm here to tell you that the effort is well worth it. The pain is worth it and nothing compared to the pain you risk by NOT quitting smoking. Good luck to all embarking on this journey]
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