Great American Smokeout Feature Blog: Quitting Is A Life Changer!

Meet Peggy. She is a nicotine addict. Today Peggy celebrates over 1241 days of being smoke-free. She is also the first place winner of QuitNet’s Great American Smokeout: Picture Your Quit contest and the inspiration behind this weeks’ Qblog.

After 20+ years of smoking, Peggy tells us, “The changes to life seem to evolve like quitting…I tend to embrace more of life now instead of hiding with a sickerette.”

Peggy found QuitNet in 2007.  But it wasn’t until 2009 that she felt ready to quit. She joined the Chantix Users club—one of many clubs on QuitNet— and has made friends for life. In fact, the winning contest photo she submitted depicts her “QFriends” from the Chantix Users Club whom she met during a 3D meeting in Chicago. She explains, “We have grown close; this quitting journey had led us to exploration and discovery of ourselves, with each other.”

And it’s been quite a journey. On July 7, 2009, after over 20 years of smoking, Peggy turned to Chantix and the support of QuitNet, and turned away from cigarettes. She attributes being able to stay quit due to the education and shared experiences on QuitNet. She felt a bond with other Q members which kept her accountable to her quit.  Shared stories, shared interests, shared laughter and shared tears brought Peggy closer to the Q. She learned a lot about her fellow Q members; she also learned a lot about herself.

While she holds onto many memories, she recalls a pivotal moment in her quit, when the advice of another fellow Q member kept her from almost losing a 6 month quit. She had just found out one of her close Q buddies had relapsed. And this advice was just what she needed to hear to stay on guard:

“Peggy, be careful if it was a close bud to you. For some reason when someone slips it can open a door to other buds to do the same. It happens a lot so please be careful, Peggy.”

Peggy considers herself privileged to have had her hand held and, in turn, has held the hands of others through difficult times. Ultimately, the accountability she felt for keeping her quit for her Q buddies shifted to keeping the quit for herself.

An important part of her quit day is the Morning Pledge. Each morning, she repeats these powerful words, “I pledge not to smoke today and offer my hand in friendship and support to the next." She still reads the list of pledgers and looks for newbies and other folks who may need an extra hand that day. There is nothing like the power of the pledge.

Congratulations to Peggy on her quit and her win! Keep the quit and keep on being an inspiration to others!