I have a story to tell. It is my GetQuit story.
It started when I got married. I was married at an early age and to an older man. He smoked and all of his friends smoked. Since I was the youngest person in the group, I started smoking too, so I would fit in with my husband and all of his friends. It was what you did in my little town, you got married, you drank, you smoked. You were a grown up and that is what the grown-ups did.
My husband and I were married for 30 years before he passed away. We raised 3 children and they all grew up to be smokers. All 3 of them also married smokers. My daughter, like her mom, married an older man. After trying for 13 years they finally had a son. His name is Willard Lee, after both of his grandfathers. We call him Billy. Due to a tramatic head injury my son in law was unable to work, so for financial reasons, the 4 of us moved in together. Sadly Billy's daddy passed away 2 months before Billy's 4th birthday. We told Billy his daddy was in heaven. One day Billy came to me and said "Nana, if you and mama go to heaven too, who will take care of me?" I held on to this little child as tight as I could and promised him that I, and his mama, were going to be here with him for a very, very long time. Even when he was a grown up man, we would be here for him. That seemed to satisfy Billy, but it did more than that for me. It changed my life forever. I looked into those angel eyes and I knew that I would have to do everything within my power to make sure I would be around that long. I knew the first thing that I would have to do is to quit smoking.
So, after 40 years of smoking and nine failed attempts at quitting, I made an appointment with my family doctor. He had been nagging me for 3 years to quit. I told him I was ready and would need some help. He prescribed Chantix, a prescription drug that is suppose to help people quit smoking. So I took it home and put it on my dresser, and promptly forgot about it. I also continued to smoke. Three months later, back at the doctor for diabetic blood work up, and he asked how the quitting was going. I had to tell him I never filled the prescription. He gave me another lecture and another prescription, which I filled on my way home. I put it on my dresser, and promptly forgot about it.
Finally, in late July I said to myself: OK...its now or never. I swore this was not going to be another failed quit attempt, because this time I had made a promise and a committment that I intended to keep. I set my quit date as 08-08-08 just because it sounded cool. I did smoke that first week because I could, but I took the Chantix as directed and signed up for the on-line e-mail support and the 7:00pm phone call. I credit this wonderful support program with helping me quit. I received a phone call every evening at 7:00pm. It became a matter of pride to push the button on the phone that said no, I did not smoke that day. And I did take it one day at a time and I know you won't believe me, but it was easy! I had no nicotine withdrawal symtoms at all and I had the support program. The e-mails came every day, then once a week, then monthly and lasted for a year. They gave me little exercises to do, they informed me of changes taking place as my lungs healed, and they taught me ways to handle situations where I might be tempted to light up. More importantly, they taught me to think of my self as a non-smoker.
Now, one year, 2 months and 28 days later I am still smoke free. I am also honored to have been chosen as a GetQuit Ambassador. I get to travel all over the United States and tell my Quit Story to others who face the challanges and the struggles of quitting. Hopefully, God willing, I can pay it forward. Maybe what I say will give some else the courage to find their own motivation to quit.
So, little sister Tammie, that is why I am thankful for Chantix. It enpowered me to become a non-smoker and to keep my promise to a little boy with angel eyes.