All posts in the smoking category

Twenty-one months and counting!

Published August 20, 2015 by Liz Ault

I started out the first year of my journey to become a non-smoker with weekly updates for about 6 weeks. Then moved to monthly ones when I hit 2-3 months. It’s been a few months since I’ve done one. Today marks 1 year, 9 months. That sounds better than 638 days. Both are impressive for close to a 3-pack a day smoker.

I’ve said many times before how horribly sick I became during the withdrawal period. It was more like a detox as I can only image it would feel to come off heroin or oxycodone. My quit date was 11-19-13, and Thanksgiving was about a week later. I never got off the couch. I barely watched my family bustling about me to feed themselves. To me, detox was a blessing. The sicker I felt, the angrier I got. I was not going to let this mother F get the best of me.

I am impressed by many of my stats:

  • I have saved $4045 (would have been higher, but I smoked cheap cigarettes) and 200% of that has been donated to charity.
  • I have NOT smoked 27,422 cancer sticks. That figure is mind blowing.
  • Since my quit date, there have been 6,115,310 smoking related fatalities.

If you are still a smoker, please consider stopping. Especially if you are young – you can avoid many hidden health risks. No one else can give you the reason to stop (kids may make you think about it, health issues, too) it has to come from inside you.

When my uncle passed away in 2005, his obituary made reference to his 31 years of sobriety – written by another priest who knew him well in his last years. That’s how I feel about no longer being a prisoner of the cigarette. I imagine I will celebrate every year and maybe my years smoke free will make it to my obituary. It’s that big to me.

Happy 21 month anniversary to me!! Over and out.


Smoke Free Day 365

Published November 19, 2014 by Liz Ault

A year ago today I made a decision that had a huge impact on life as I knew it. I butted my last cigarette (actually didn’t butt it since I used a self-extinguishing ashtray, but I digress). First, my stats: 1) just under 14,000 cigarettes not smoked; 2) $2,100 saved and donated to charity; 3) my lungs have improved by 5% – this will be the longest part of the journey. One of the apps that I used to log my progress/success showed me that since I stopped smoking there have been 3,497,345 smoking related fatalities, and I AM NOT one of them.

I know of at least 6 people that have found encouragement from my journey and have left this horrible addiction behind. That in turn encouraged me along the way. Five of these people I have never met in “real life,” just via Facebook. Outside of Facebook, my ex-husband quit and both my kids moved from cigarettes to e-cigs (the vape rage) and I am so thankful.

What I wasn’t prepared for a year ago was how the journey would go. I had quit before, many, many times. The last time I was serious about it was over 30 years ago, and other than nicotine withdrawal, I had very little discomfort. What a difference 30 years makes. Thirty years of tobacco manufacturers adding more and more addictive ingredients.

Thanksgiving last year was horrible. I was nine days into detox. I vomited most days/nights during that first few weeks. Everything smelled like it had come out of the back end of one of my dogs. The house, refrigerator, food (both at home and out), you get the point.

That early detox actually led to the very success that I found this time around that eluded me any other time I had tried to quit. Finding myself so physically ill pissed me off. Really pissed me off. The more pissed off I got, the more I was determined that I would never go back. I cried a lot. When I would voice my anger the tears would flow and the determination would be even more cemented.

When I hit the two month mark I walked into a gym. I was just looking for information, but left with a membership and a trial evaluation with a trainer. The first week in February I began the physical part of my healing.  Combining the smoking cessation with the training – that push – I really started to feel the changes. They didn’t happen for many, many months – it was a slow process. From a distance no one would see the change. The weight is the same. But as you get closer or have a conversation with me you notice so very much. I can complete a sentence of more than 4 words without coughing for air. I can laugh without coughing.  I had become a recluse. Rarely would leave the house. I’m out a minimum of 4 days a week – even if just 30 minutes.

What a journey. What a ride.

TBT? For Real?

Published September 11, 2014 by Liz Ault

#TBT I have no picture. Okay I lie. I have pictures. I find none of them give me a pull to post. Done the kids as babies.  Done myself as a baby. Done the siblings as babies. I’m eight days from a smoking update (don’t worry, still smoke free, for now and ever more) – so no need to do those numbers now.

I struggled with watching a very slow demolition of a house that good or bad, belonged to the family since the mid 50’s. I personally lived in it the longest. It had good memories, it had horrible memories – but still my memories. Same for my kids – probably more bad than good.

Feeling a bit deflated today, and that is very okay. Days like that happen. No human can be up 100%, not possible.

So, all that said (and believe me it’s a reader’s digest version) I have to allow myself the permission to pat my own damned back. Odds were against me from the get go. LOL “Get Go” means over 59 years ago.

Okay one share – when I was about 17, my dad and I had a rare intimate conversation. I was sitting on the corner of a counter and he was facing me. He said, and I quote, “Lizzie, you are my child that started out with the least and made the most of yourself.” I was, obviously, still in high school. Yet in 42 years I’ve never forgotten that moment. But I’ve always appreciate his insight – that he wasn’t blind to my struggles – and he wasn’t blind to the treatment of my adoptive mom (his bride).

Maybe it’s the anniversary of the day that hasn’t affected me the same way since the shooting of JFK. Those days that you will always remember where you were.

Anyone who is still reading, please, please, please, reach out to us baby boomers who lack the confidence to high five our own damned selves!! High five for us!!

Over and out!

Smoking, who me? Eight months.

Published July 19, 2014 by Liz Ault

The day almost got away from me before I realized that I am now at 8 months without a cigarette touching lips, let alone the toxins reaching my lungs. Those months of feeling ill are far behind me (looking much more forward to holidays this year). Somewhere between 6 and 7 months I started calling myself a recovering smoker. Non-smoker sounds cool, but addiction never goes away. I AM A RECOVERING SMOKER. Have to buy myself or design for myself a patch or pin to wear with pride. $1400 saved; 9200 cancer sticks not smoked.

I’m sure I sound very silly to some who have never taken this journey – but this is HUGE! I have short periods of time that a thought, dream, smell, etc. will make me briefly think of just lighting one – to see what happens. Hell, I know what happens. 

Still not at the longest as a recovering smoker. I stopped when I was 4 months pregnant with my son in August of ’83. When he was 6 months moved from Omaha to St. Louis, and not much longer after was pregnant with my daughter. About the time I got pregnant with her I started working for a major company that still allowed smoking in the workplace. I hit almost the 2 yr mark. The last months of my second pregnancy, I dreamed about cancer sticks jumping over fences – who took out the sheep?? I realized that the second hand smoke (which I always pooh-poohed) was real. I was surrounded by smokers. My pores were being inundated with that second hand smoke. I took a pack of cigarettes to the hospital, and after I delivered my daughter, I lit up.

I’ve stated I’m a 40 year 2-pack a day former smoker. I did take some breaks, but each time I started again I increased the number per day. 

What I will say out loud (okay as a post) – I will never go down that road again. I’ve been going to the gym, and working with a trainer, since February (3 month gift to self). I will always be in early stages of COPD. I will always have difficulty breathing in hot or cold weather. Yard work will still be in 10-15 minute increments. And I won’t be able to park my car WAY down the parking lot and still breathe. But, I will work at the gym and at home. I will increase my endurance. With increased endurance, am building muscle, etc. to support the arthritis. 

I AM A RECOVERING SMOKER. I thank those who have read about this journey. I thank those who have prayed for me (keep those coming). I thank those who have shared with me that my journey has helped them try it one more time. For those who are taking this journey because they have read about mine, know I will pray for you also. And I am here for anyone who needs to talk their way through NOT lighting that cancer stick.

Next major date, will be 9 months. The time that nature has given us for new life…