Victory fingers Dec 2 14Today is a high-five, way to go, milestone day in my life. I"™m not looking for accolades, congratulations or any such thing from you, my readers.

This blog post is my thank you to me.

It"™s been 365 days, or 8,760 hours, or 525,600 minutes since I last smoked a cigarette.

Frankly, I don"™t know how I achieved this milestone as I resisted even contemplating quitting for 40+ years. I expended a lot of energy in fighting for my right to smoke and honed my argumentative skills by furiously debating with those who urged me to quit.

Yet, here I sit today, in front of my computer screen in my warm and cozy office, typing this post to share with my friends, without having had to don my heavy winter coat, trudge outside to our unheated/non-insulated garage, to get my morning "˜fix"™ of nicotine and tar.

I might add here that I have a shit-eating, kick-ass grin on my face as well because frankly, I never thought I"™d be able to accomplish this goal.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the extremely kind ER doctor with beautiful silver hair who on November 15th of last year looked me in the eye, laid her hand on mine and said, "œYou know, Ms. Oulton, I have a feeling that if you would just quit smoking most of your breathing problems would go away. Please try, won"™t you?" There was something in her presence and demeanor that touched my soul and I made a decision that night that come hell or high water, this time I was going to try, really try, to stop smoking. I owe that lovely lady a huge hug.

So I started the next morning and said by the first of December, I"™d be a non-smoker. The first week I smoked 4 cigarettes a day, the next week I went down to 3 a day, then 2. On the last 3 days I smoked, I had a measly 1 smoke a day. I"™d rush out to the garage, take two puffs off the cigarette, then butt it out for later.

The last day, December 2, 2013, I dashed outside before eating dinner to have one, short drag off the single cigarette I"™d lit that morning. I clicked on the lighter, took one quick puff, looked long and hard at the half a smoke that was left and ground it to a pulp in the ashtray and said "œYou and I, we"™re done!" and went back into the house to enjoy my dinner.

The days that followed my quit day weren"™t kind ones. I suffered withdrawals and cravings that caused me to rant and rave in frustration from no nicotine or tar going into my body. In hindsight, I feel so sorry for my poor hubby as he got most of the brunt of my bad temper. He truly deserves to be nominated for sainthood for putting up with me through those first few months (and the rest of the year as well!).

So"¦ here I am today, 365 days later. I still crave a cigarette every now and then, but at least I now go days without thinking about it for which I"™m very grateful. Yes, I"™ve probably gained at least ten pounds, but I refuse to get on a scale to check. I figure the extra weight will eventually come off and it"™s a small price to pay in exchange for not smoking.

I learned a long time ago when battling another addiction (I know"¦ there"™s a pattern here) that one should never say never, so I won"™t use that word when referring to my desire to not smoke again. Let"™s just say I"™m really hoping that I can fight those urges to light up one at a time"¦ one hour at a time"¦ one day at a time.

365 days of not smoking.

My lungs just thanked me.

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