smoking

All posts tagged smoking

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.

Silence…..Isn’t as Quiet as You Think

Published July 21, 2015 by Liz Ault

You may have heard the latest “buzz words.” Silent illnesses. “What’s the matter with him?” “She is parked in handicapped and even has a placard, but she’s walking in fine.”

I have dealt with many silent illnesses for most of my life. Abuse came first. But the short sleeved uniform blouse was just long enough to cover the fingernail stabs in my upper arms. High enough that no one would see, but hell, even if they had, back in those days, the nuns never would have called authorities.

That was accompanied by verbal attacks. “You are so stupid.” “You will never amount to anything.” “I can tell you aren’t my blood – never would have happened.”

At this point, knowing that I was adopted gave me hope and filled me with despair. I didn’t fit in anywhere.

As an adoptee, I was much taller than my mom by the third grade. That stopped the half-moon fingernail piercing on my upper arms.

When I was in the first grade, my uncle, who was a priest, was the assistant pastor at my grade school. The nun who had my first grade class seemed to think it would impress my uncle if she found me doing something I shouldn’t do. Little crap, like chewing my pencil in half. Or, being called on in class to answer a question – and you had to stand up to reply – that was the day we were allowed to bring Christmas albums to school and I sat back down on the album. This nun took me on the walk of shame several times that year – leaving the other kids (59 of them) alone, so she could mortify me. I still remember 55 years later standing in front of my uncle’s office door as the nun knocked each time. I never remember what happened after he opened the door.

Grade school was finally over – only other thing of mention was my youngest brother was born between sixth and seventh grade year. I had one year of non-Catholic education and attended public junior high.

We moved the summer before I started 8th grade, so a new school. I was hopeful. But I think I was also cursed. I had zero confidence in myself at this point.

Got through high school. Shit still happened, but nothing to really add here. I went to several different local colleges. I was engaged by 19, so was trying to find something that I could to add income while he went to law school.

That relationship didn’t make it to the altar. And my next life-defining thing happened. I was 22 and raped. Raped on a college campus in rural Nebraska while visiting my brother. It may sound stupid to some, but I was so grateful when the term PTSD came into our vocabulary. I’m 60 and still have remnants of the July of 1977. Silence? Yup. Went back to my motel room and squatted in the shower for four hours. Hot water lasted about 10 minutes.

Fast forward. Did marry for about 7 years – never could commit myself longer than that. Too many ghosts. In that time I had two beautiful children. He was a reservist. His unit was not called up for the first Persian Gulf War, but he volunteered. I felt abandoned yet again. We divorced about a year later.

When I was 18, I ended up with a bleeding ulcer. I lost 4 units of blood, and received 3. The next year was hospitalized again with ulcerative colitis. I still deal with that. If you ever see a person doing a fast walk leaning backwards, give them the right-of-way – they are heading to the Target/Walmart/any bathroom and afraid to death that they will shit their pants.

I move forward to the 2000’s. Think my undoing started in about 2003-4. The great thing was that all IT people at my company were regularly given raises from 1998-2001. My salary grew substantially. Y2K was my friend.

Was in my mid-forties at this point. I was the only female in my group and also the youngest by at least 10 years. My supervisos wanted me to give up some of my regular work (PBX, auto-attendant and programming) to these soon to be retired asses. My spirit was stolen. When all was said and done, by 2004 I was a highly paid billing clerk.

My body ached. My joints hurt. And I was confused. My PTST kicked in even more hard core than ever. I just didn’t understand why my body was betraying me. In Friday, the 13th of July, 2007, I walked out the door of my work. Didn’t tell anyone I was leaving, I just left. It was about 2:00 (normal leaving time for me was 3).

It took many doctors and many appointments to be diagnosed with severe anxiety (silent), fibromyalgia (major silent), depression, etc. I was fortunate then I had a physician who was willing to work my case as a disability and it went through the first time.

I was on a leave of absence from July of 2007 to the end of May 2008. I was granted retirement. My LTD was fought for a year and didn’t succeed, but SSD did.

This brings me to more recent times. Since February/March I have gone to Urgent Care with total dizziness, vertigo and vomiting. Each time they saw water in my ear and prescribed antibiotics. GUESS WHAT??? Silence.

I’ve been diagnosed (dx) with Meniere’s disease. Brings silence to a new level. When I’m in an episode, I often can’t hear anything. The others symptoms vary with the episode, I don’t always have all of them, but even just a few bring my life to a standstill.

My other silence factor? I smoked for 40 years and in the last 10 years was just under 4 packs a week. I stopped smoking 19-Nov-2013, but still suffer from hard core COPD. And that is why I have a disabled placard for my car. SO QUIT F*CKING STARING AT ME when I walk into the gym or the grocery. OK??

SILENCE IS GOLDEN, except when it isn’t.

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!

Liz, meet Liz – Writing 101: Day Six

Published June 10, 2014 by Liz Ault

Writing 101 – Day 6: A Character-Building Experience. Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

January 18, 2014, 12:15 p.m. It was a reflection she knew so very well, yet was seeing for the first time. The fine lines like webs stretched gently from the corner of the eyes toward the temple. The loosening of the skin on the neck seemed to happen over night. The feelings were very mixed. By the calendar, it was 60 days. Sixty long, agonizing, nauseating, and freeing days. In a few short months she would begin her final year of the decade. The final stretch to 60.

The 60 days was the freedom from an addiction of over 40 years. The highly addictive action of smoking cigarettes. Don’t let anyone tell you it is a “habit.” Biting fingernails is a habit. Cracking knuckles is a habit. Cigarettes are a crippling addiction.

The lines and loosening of skin is part of a process called aging. But that day it came in to clearer focus. So did the inability to easily climb stairs, pick up a toothpick dropped on the floor, or getting in to and out of a car, chair – heck so many things. Fibromyalgia mixed with osteo-arthritis made so very much difficult to do.

It was at that moment the woman in the reflection met the woman opposite the mirror. It was the day that everything changed. The Liz of yesterday met the Liz of today.

In the few months since they met, I joined a gym and hired a trainer. I became a gentler, kinder friend to myself. I continued not to smoke – and it will be 7 months soon. I greeted my 59th birthday with a smile and greater mobility than I have known in many years. And mostly, I am no longer a prisoner in my own home.

I like this Liz!