Smokers Pain. I know it, You Know it, But You Can Quit.

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Listen to Gary, one of our many success stories, describe his experience with us:

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Amid powerful addictions to substances like OxyContin, cocaine, heroin, alcohol and party synthetics like ecstasy and methamphetamines, people often forget that smoking (although on a steady decline) claims thousands of lives every year in Canada and many more across the world. I used drugs, I drank, but I was thankfully able to give up both without much effort. Perhaps I wasn’t really addicted to the drugs as I only really ever used them on weekends, and while I still have the occasional bottle of beer I don’t exceed any of the recommended limits for how many drinks a man should have in any given week. I’ve smoked a joint every now and then, but my real problem was six years as a smoker of cigarettes. It seems pretty stupid for someone who was born in the 80s to pick up smoking in his 20s. I knew the risks, I knew what the damn things were going to do to me, but for whatever reason began to allow myself to smoke a handful of smokes a day when it started. For nearly a year I was a very light smoker, and only smoked at work twice a day (which was something of a luxury as I was allowed to take more breaks than the rest of my co-workers, how dumb is that?). I promised myself I wasn’t going to be one of those heavy smokers that pops outside 15 times a day to get my fix, but I soon found myself smoking a pack every two days. That’s quite a bit. Not as bad as some of my friends who always seemed to have one of the damn things hanging out of their mouth, but I was feeling as though my smoking career had become a full-blown addiction that began to run my life. The first thing I did when I got out of bed was go outside and light up. After eating, I light up. Everything seemed better knowing that after I was doing whatever it was I could go outside and have a smoke.

Those warnings on TV never really got to me. I’d see people who had lost limbs from smoking in combination with other illnesses like diabetes, but it seemed like someone else’ problem, not mine. In fact the only bit of anti-smoking campaign that had any effect on me was the picture of someone’s rotting teeth on my cigarette pack. In fact, if the lady behind the counter pulled down one of those rotting teeth packs of my favorite brand from the cases that concealed the cigarette selection, I would return it and ask for a different one. Take my lungs, my heart, but not my teeth for god sake.

I tried quitting once or twice, and tried to cut back even more times, but I always ended up smoking the same number of cigarettes a day, unless of course I was having a beer, which seemed to taste so much better with a cigarette in hand. The patch didn’t work, neither did the gum which lost it’s flavor about two seconds into chewing it. I tried switching to cigars and even took up pipe smoking for a while while trying to quit, nothing would stick. Luckily I found a method that allowed me to get my fix of nicotine, gave me something to hold in my hand and didn’t turn my fingers yellow or made my clothes stink like all hell. It was an e-cigarette I got for Christmas in 2013. After switching to this far tastier method of smoking (or as us insiders call “vaping”) I never looked back.

I’m not here to promote this new type of smoking, which is just as addictive as a real cigarette, but rather I want people to know that there are ways to quit. For some it’s the patch, for others the gum, and even prescription drugs you can get from your doctor. The point is smoking cigarettes will eventually lead to serious health concerns, even if the things don’t kill you. I know first hand that smoking is incredibly hard to stop, especially, like I said earlier, when the things start to run your life and when everything you do is followed by ten or twelve great hauls from your favorite brand of cancer.

You can quit, and there are methods out there to do just that. Don’t lose hope, and don’t resign yourself to the “fact” that you’ll always be a smoker.

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Sobriety Foundation

Smokers Pain. I know it, You Know it, But You Can Quit.

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