In response to the prompt “Happy Endings” in which the question was asked, “Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?”

January 1st marked 6 and a half years since I had my last cigarette. I know I’ve blogged about this before, but since the question was raised in the daily prompt, I thought I’d share my story again.

When I was in high school I thought smoking was the worst thing you could do. My best friend John smoked, and it would make me crazy. But then a few years went buy, and after a bunch of college parties where I’d bum one or two smokes I became one of those “I can take it or leave it” kind of gals.

When I started my first job after college, half the people in the office smoked, and after a few months of grubbing, I began buying my own. And there you have it. I was a smoker.

By the time I was in my 40s I was up to two plus packs a day. My husband hated it, my kids hated it. It was becoming socially unacceptable to smoke. I was the only person in my office who still maintained the filthy habit.

I had tried to quit over and over again, but if your heart’s not in it, it’s never going to stick. I liked smoking…that was the trouble. I actually quit for 9 whole months, and started again when someone offered me a smoke. All it took was that one cigarette, and I was buying myself my own pack.

I finally got a prescription for Chantix from my doctor. But when I went to the pharmacy to pick it up, and found out a one month supply was over $100, I got really angry.

I had gotten myself into this disgusting mess by being weak and lazy, and was not about to let it cost my family $100 a month. So I handed back the Chantix pills and instead got a box of nicotine patches for a third of the price.

I took it one day at a time. I didn’t smoke on Tuesday…let’s see how Wednesday goes. If I made it another day, I’d see if I could make it another. I was only trying to keep myself from having one cigarette. Because one was all it would take to make me fail. I didn’t think of the months and years down the road, because that would make the task seem impossible…I just thought of that one day.

After a week, I said, “gee, I wonder if I can make it to two weeks.” Then a month. Then two months.  And here I am 6 and a half years later.

I see people smoking in their cars or outside their office and I feel so bad for them. I know how hard it is to quit, and they still have that tough journey ahead of them.

I didn’t get off scott-free, though. I put on weight when I quit that I have not really been able to shake off. Not even after 900 miles of walking.

I still can’t believe I was able to do it though. It’s the one thing in my life I can say I accomplished.