Healthy Thursday: How I Quit Smoking Cold Turkey


How I Quit Smoking 2 Packs a Day, Cold Turkey
How I Broke My Worst Health Habit

Brick ONeil, Yahoo Contributor Network
SWEET NOTHINGS
Ah, that moment when you know you’re doing something naughty, forbidden but do it anyway. For me, that was when I started smoking when I first entered graduate school at age 25. I claimed it was a stress reliever and I enjoyed that first breath of nicotine and tobacco. The rush in my lungs, heart and mind was like nothing i’d experienced up to that point in my life. For four years, I smoked 1 1/2 to 2 packs a day. I was working and could afford the cigarettes, so I enjoyed them. Then came the hammer.
BOOM
At age 29, I knew something was wrong with my health and body. Since I was a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, used to researching diseases and disabilities, I thought I had a rare, degenerative Kidney disease, Alports Syndrome. After an appointment with my Doctor, he verified my initial research. He also stated something else. I would need a kidney transplant and he would not recommend me if I didn’t quit smoking. That day.
MAKING PLANS
Cold turkey. With no gum, patches, injections or other medical help. I had to quit smoking cold turkey. Looking back, I admit I may have been a little cranky. What I would do differently to offset the cold turkey quit, I would have had more fruits and vegetables around the kitchen and I would have started an exercise routine. When you change habits, from bad to good, it’s important to make plans, such as step down cigarettes, increase exercise and strength training, have emotional support of friends and family.
Exchange your habits as well. If you know you tend to smoke more during periods of stress, find something else to relieve the stress. A stress ball, mood lighting, plants, music can all help alleviate stress. Incorporate as many as you can into your environments as possible, be that at work or home. Buy a cheap treadmill and keep it next to your desk at home. Exercise increases endorphins, making you feel good. Plus, cheaper than cigarettes in the long run.
CLOSING THE DEAL
It won’t be easy, as I know the stranglehold cigarettes have on a person. Now I’m fifteen years smoke-free and ten years post kidney transplant. Stopping smoking was not easy, but I did, and cold turkey at that.
If I can stop smoking two packs a day, cold turkey, so can you.

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