How I got here: Part 5

Continued from a prior post…Skylar

Since I couldn’t exercise, I knew I could and should do something to improve my health. By this time I’d also had two sinus infections on top of my mono and strep, so I was done being sick! Fortunately, some good friends at work (who also recently got engaged and make an adorable couple) who also happened to be my smoking buddies had recently quit smoking. One of them actually smoked a lot more than I ever did, and so I figured if they could do it – I could!

I’d tried quitting with the patch, the gum, and the electronic cigarette a few times before, and I was never successful. But I stuck with my conscience and made a quick, brash decision to try and quit again. I wasn’t sure if this spur of the moment decision would be a good idea, but I figured it was as good a time as any. Following their lead, I bought an inexpensive electronic cigarette as my main crutch – and – I also bought the lowest level of the nicotine patches. Just to be clear, I do not recommend trying this on your own – I probably could have done some serious damage trying both, so you should talk to your doctor first.  In addition to the crutches, I also gave myself a clear reward if I met my goal: a dog!

My family always had a dog when I was growing up. But my old roommate was allergic to most pets and didn’t really want a dog, so I went without when I moved to Ohio. Having this clear reward (that wasn’t tied to food, mind you) was a great incentive. Quitting smoking wasn’t an easy task and I’m sure I bit a few people’s heads off at work (although – I also had a warning sign on my cube), but after two weeks I was ready to give up the patch and just use the electronic cigarette. Another two weeks later, I was crutch free! The cravings still came, especially when I got stressed, so I used strong mints like Altoids and simply chewed them (yes – it’s intense) to get through the craving. It was simply amazing that I’d finally given up this habit, so I was absolutely thrilled with myself – but – I was much more excited about the dog.

After searching for a few weeks, I stumbled upon the picture in this post, and I knew he’d be the one for me – at least I hoped so! I went to the shelter that had him and took him for a quick walk and some play time. Yup! He was the one! After the adoption paperwork was completed, the calls to my references made, and the supplies bought – he was mine! He’s simply been one of the best things I’ve given myself – and – he’s kept me accountable for not smoking. I know I can’t afford to smoke and keep the dog, so if I ever start smoking again, I’d have to give up the dog – and that’s not happening anytime soon!

In April, all of my project work was finally over – so I started to process of taking my life back.

To be continued…

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