My story: Lawrence LeBlond

Town: 
Jay
Date quit or quitting: 
January 1, 2007

I have been smoke free now for 4 and a half years and feel better than I have in the 19 previous years as a smoker. I started smoking when I turned 18 because my friends thought it would be cool to try it out. I tried smoking once when I was 13 and didn't like it, but that didn't keep me from trying it again when I was 18. At first. I only smoked a couple of cigarettes a day and usually only bummed them form friends instead of buying them myself. But eventually I got too addicted and had to begin buying them, which gave me more cigarettes to smoke. I smoked about a pack a day for a few years, until my (then) girlfriend asked me to stop. I tried to quit, but everytime I went more than a day without them, I was cranky, so I only smoked at work, hiding it from her for more than a year. But eventually I gave up hiding it and told her I wasn't quitting. I continued smoking between a pack and a pack and a half per day for another few years until, in 1997, I finally gave up smoking through using the patch. I stopped smoking for 9 months. Those 9 months felt good to be a non-smoker due to work injuries and anxiety that also affected my life, which also led me to go on SSD. But alas, I got too stressed out over some issues with a girlfriend I was living with and started smoking again. I left her and moved to Ohio, then Virginia, and New Hampshire, and then back to Maine in 1999. By this time, I was smoking two packs a day and felt like crap most of the time. I moved back to NH in 1999 to avoid trouble I got into with the police. I was dealing with major depression and attempted suicide while in NH in the winter of '99 right before the millenium. I spent a few days in a psychiatric unit before being moved to a homeless shelter nearby. I continued to smoke two packs a day. I found a place to live in early 2000 and got a part time job working for a data service which helped supplement my small SSD checks. Which in turn allowed me to smoke more. By the end of 2000, I was smoking sometimes 2 and a half packs a day. I decided to move back to Maine to face my demons and also go work with my brother. By this time, however, I was suffering from insomnia and was spending only 2 hours a day sleeping. I was in the worst shape of my life, not to mention I had put on almost 100 pounds since my disability came into play. I ended working with my brother due to further illness and the development of sleep apnea sometime in 2001. I was smoking close to three packs a day, but this lasted only a few months, and I pulled myself back down to 2 packs a day. I was going to bed at night wheezing and coughing. I was waking up with sore throats and more coughing and gagging. Spitting up phlegm on a regular basis, and I had chest pain quite often. I knew I had to try to quit. But I knew it would be hard. I met a new woman who became my girlfriend in 2003. She was also a smoker, but she hid it from everyone. She told people the reason her apartment smelled bad was because I smoked in there. She didn't help at all for trying to quit. But I stuck with her because we had a few things in common. It was summer of 2003 and I got into more trouble with money, leading to woes with the police. This time I decided not to flee and stick it out. At the same time, I was trying to quit smoking. I tried everything under the sun: Patches, gum, pills, smokeless tobacco.... you name it, I tried it. But nothing worked. In fact, I smoked while I was on the patch on more than one occassion. In 2004, I went to court and was put on probation for 2 years. At this time I was smoking roll-your-own tobacco, but no less than what I smoked with pack cigarettes. I was still feeling like crap and was coughing, wheezing, felt light-headed oft times, and generally had a feeling of blah. Plus, a new symptom of smoking showed up in 2006: Increased heart rate and pain with breathing on occassion. I was scared. So I called the Maine Tobacco Helpline. I left a message and they returned my call within a day or so. But it ended there because I was still not ready to quit. But something happened that I know must have happened for a good reason. I was watching TV on New Years Eve in 2006. I was alone, and nothing was on, so I was flipping through the channels and came across a commercial for Maine Tobacco Helpline. Something clicked inside and I knew I had to give this one more try before it was too late. I tossed the remainder of my cigarettes ( about three packs) in the trash and I vowed to quit. It was very hard at first. I spent many days wanting to go buy cigarettes, but I held off and fought the withdrawals. After three months of cold turkey cessation, I felt I was totally free of nicotines grasp. And I never looked back. And now, the smell of cigarettes make me sick. SInce quitting, I have met a new woman who became my wife and I have felt better than ever. Now, after gaining more than 200 pounds, I am working out and trying to better my health in other areas as well. Thanks to Maine Tobacco Helpline's commercials....I was able to quit and live healthier.

Comments

Well let's see I quit smoking when I got pregnant with my son. Started back up since hubby was smoking, and it helped with stress. I stopped smoking when I was in the middle of my pregnancy with my daughter and then started back up b/c of family stress. I quit smoking when I found that it increases my running time (I could breathe better). Then I started back up when I realized that I wasn't going to join the military and it wouldn't make a difference.Is it hard? For some I would imagine. For me? Yes, but only if I'm like stressed out and have no other way to de-stress. No, b/c I know that smoking is just a bad habit I picked up b/c it was the only one I didn't mind having. But you seem to have a perfect reason to stop. Though I have to say my mom has asthma and that hasn't stopped my father. It's really up to you and your willpower. You have to remember why you are quitting and keep this in mind when you get the urge. To be honest, I don't get the urge. Smoking for me is a concious decision. I decide to stop and I decide when to start back up. I'm also lucky b/c I'm allergic to cigarettes. So when I don't I get no withdrawal symptoms.I'm smoking now. Why? It's my way of getting out of the house. Smoking is my way of just blowing off the stress of my life. But the moment I see that it is getting in the way of my goals, I will stop. For some people, like my hubby, he can't just up and quit. He has to get help and support. Me, I just go, okay, jack, it's time to stop smoking. I stop. And my reaction to it, is just as if I had never smoked before.But that's me.

So true. Hoesnty and everything recognized.

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