Meet Barbwire11. She is a QuitNet ex-smoker, and an active member of the Qmunity. She's also one of the winners of QuitNet’s Great American Smokeout: Picture Your Quit contest; see her winning submission above (and log into QuitNetto view the contest page). We asked Barb to share her experience, strength and hope with us:
1. Can you tell us about your inspiration for your contest photo: "I'm
keeping my quit just so I can hang out with my grandson, breathing while I
laugh with him.”? How has your grandson inspired you to keep your quit going
I actually have 3 grandsons, this one is Ryley the youngest. His last visit is the first time he got to be around his Omi without a cloud of smoke following me & a butt in my hand. This the first time in his 14 yrs I could laugh spontaneously with him & not go into my "smokers choke" worrying if I 'd black out again. When they were young I referred to him & his brother as my heroes but they truly are; they taught me it was time to grow up & take control of my addiction. This young man is a straight A student, a super soccer player who refs other games when he has the time. How could I not possibly be inspired by him?
2. How many times have you tried to quit smoking? When did you quit, and how did you do it?
I've lost count of the number of times I tried to quit. I know every night at bed time I would tell myself I have to quit. I'd never gone one 24 hour period without a cigarette from age 13 to age 59. I'm 62 now, and I quit on Jan 25, 2010. I knew that if I made it 24 hours, then 3 days, I would become an ex smoker. 59,402 cigs not smoked over 33 months is huge to me.
I had my prescription for Champix (Chantix in the U.S). I joined Quitnet. I read profiles of many that could have been about me & came to the realization I wasn't the only one whose main priority in life was smoking. Smoking was and had been controlling me. I joined the Chantix Users Club, where there was a ton of care, support, friendship and laughter.
Someone on the Q posted the link to Alan Carr's book. It clicked for me somehow. I got angry at tobacco companies, I got angry at the government for knowingly allowing tobacco companies to add addictive additives to tobacco products. I got angry at me for being so stupid, not believing I was poisoning myself. I admitted to being an addict. I read every article I could about addiction, smoking tobacco, the ingredients of a cigarette; to me, knowledge is power.
3. How much did you smoke? What made you decide to quit?
I smoked for 46-47 yrs, never taking a break. I was up to 3 packs a day. If it was a long day I was known to open a 4th pack. My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had quit 28 yrs previously. It was getting harder for me to walk & breathe at the same time. My denial was over.
4. How did you learn about QuitNet? And how long have you been a member?
It was advertised on British Columbia Canada radio and TV. I was getting tired of hearing about it, I'm like, "This is going to help .......HOW?" I can be arrogant, but am also known to eat crow, and I am curious, too.
Short answer is: almost 3 yrs. My newest addiction began December 2009 when I joined QuitNet! I was still smoking then but I would not smoke while on the Q -- as if they could see me! I've left and returned many times, I just can't stay away from so many caring people.
5. What's your most memorable experience on the Q?
I can't name just one experience but I do know this -- of all the times I tried to quit alone, I never made it to 24 hours. With the help, support, information and caring on the Q I finally have my freedom from nicotine, my breath.
6. What are some of your favorite quit smoking tools?
Sliced apples chewed really, really, really slow. As long as I was chewing I could forget about smoking. For the hand to mouth part it was a glass of water; to this day I have a drink in my hand, could be water or wine but that is what I reach for these days.
7. What would you say is your most valuable piece of advice to others trying to quit smoking?
Get support. Talk and read about others who have walked these steps before you; you may learn some tips. Get to know who your enemy is, admit to being an addict, and plan your quit. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, do what works best for you.
Smiles, and KTQ,