Real life part five: I am done

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Heather M. Norris
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
It has been 2 1/2 months now and I am still smoke free. I honestly have no desire for a cigarette. It has been an interesting journey; one that I am sure is not over. It will be an ongoing struggle between my nemesis and I, but I am confident that my choice for a healthy, smoke-free lifestyle will prevail.

So confident, that at the start of my tenth week, I decided I no longer needed prescription medication to help me win this fight. I know I should have consulted my pharmacist, also known as the Candyman, as all the information dictates I should complete the entire three months of Chantix even if I feel I don't need it. Against the advice of co-workers and the counselors at the American Lung Association Hotline, I decided to trash the remainder of my prescription medication and solely rely on my willpower and desire.

Those closest to me during this time of transition in my life know that doing this medication-free is the best decision for me. I complained countless times that the harmful effects of smoking could not possibly be as bad as the rollercoaster ride of side effects I experienced while on Chantix. I should give credit where it is due; Chantix did completely suppress my nicotine cravings, but at times it changed me into a person that I did not like very much. I hope by leaving the medication behind, the uncontrollable moodiness that randomly reared its ugly head is a thing of the past.

Other things in my past that I will not miss are being winded from the smallest amounts of physical activity, horrible morning breath after a pack-and-a-half of cigarettes during a night out, applying perfume only for it to smell like cigarette smoke moments later, stinky ashtrays filled with cigarette butts, cleaning stray ashes that somehow always miss, burns in many of my favorite clothes and countless dollars spent on an expensive habit.

Things that I have to look forward to are additional years added to my life, healthier lungs, fewer wrinkles, longer runs, improved oral hygiene, less coughing attacks, increased sense of smell, not being the minority forced to stand in the cold to smokeĀ and amazing vacations I can now afford.

The best part of being smoke-free is the rewarding sense of accomplishment. I believe in myself and my ability to accomplish anything I set my mind to. Nicotine is no longer a staple in my day-to-day life, and I don't depend on it. I have improved my quality of life. I am no longer mind-controlled by an object.

This is the fifth and last in a series of articles featuring Staff Sgt. Heather Norris and her efforts to quit smoking.