COVID Quit George

My name is George and I am an ex-smoker since July 20, 2020. This is my story.

I started smoking at the young age of 12 years old, thinking it was a cool thing to do.

Eventually I became a full-time, heavy smoker in my late teens and continued smoking for about 50 years. I was smoking 2-3 packs per day: I was addicted.

In 2020 during the COVID pandemic, I had a medical emergency and ended up in the emergency room at the hospital. I stayed in I.C.U. for 6 days. While there my doctor, knowing that I was a smoker, prescribed a nicotine patch to help satisfy my nicotine cravings.

I was surprised how the patch helped me during that time and was able to go home with a prescription. But I didn’t know if I’d need the patches because my intention was to start smoking once I returned home.

When I got home, my daughter-in-law suggested that I contact QuittersWin, a flexible and comprehensive program for people who wanted to quit smoking. My healthcare providers make the program available to their patients at no cost! I was surprised and happy I hadn’t smoked for about 8 days and wanted to see if I could continue to “not smoke.”

I decided to give this program a try and called the facilitator. Before I knew it I was signed up for the text message support, learned about the free phone-coaching, and was really excited to join the weekly groups. I made that positive connection and have never looked back!

These people “get” it!

The facilitator’s knowledge, guidance, advice, and support have helped me immensely. It turns out that he was a very heavy smoker himself and really struggled to quit, so he really understands this journey.  I attend a support meeting each week and the encouragement and support I receive from this group of people is unwavering. I now call these folks “friends”; they are supportive and understanding. The meetings are totally “judgement free zones” and that is the type of support that helps me get through each day.

Slip happens

I’m grateful that I haven’t slipped up or relapsed. But, when someone in the group does slip, everyone else is understanding and supportive. That makes it easy to come right back and try again. The compassionate atmosphere really makes the group feel like a safe place to try and even to stumble. I wouldn’t be “smober” today without these meetings. I attend them on Zoom each week in the comfort of my home.

What an accomplishment!

To this day I cannot believe I am a “NON-SMOKER.” I am very proud of this! My wife, children, family, and friends are in disbelief of where I am in my journey to “quit” smoking. Honestly, I feel better, breathe easier and have a better appetite. Things seem to taste and smell so much better for me. I can go on and on about the positives experiences since quitting smoking. It is a joy to my wife that my clothes no longer smell of smoke which is something that I could never admit to.

It is difficult, at times, to measure how far that I have come by not smoking. After a few months of coughing up mucus every morning (my lungs’ way of cleaning themselves out) I can honestly say I feel a difference and I believe my body is slowly improving.

My moment of clarity

Then I discovered my true measuring yardstick! I am a golfer, and now I walk the course rather than riding in a golf cart! There is a 560-yard par 5 hole – all up hill – I could never make that walk up the hill before without stopping a few times. I’d become short of breath and feel like I might pass out!

NO MORE!!! I conquer that hill easily now and breath freely in the process. This is how I measure my progress and I know never want to go back.

I want you to know that quitting is possible for anyone. If I did it, you can do it, too! Talk with your provider and get all the support you can for this challenging and worthwhile journey! If you really want to, you will do it! Good Luck!

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