Keep Coming Back Until The Miracle Happens

By Joanne S.

I started smoking cigarettes when I was nineteen years old. I felt isolated and cigarettes became my "buddy." I smoked until I was twenty-four at which point I was smoking two packs a day. I became concerned about how much I was smoking and quit for five years until I decided to go back to smoking to stuff my feelings. Then I smoked for thirty years. Along the way I made attempts to quit. Once I was down to one cigarette a week but soon was smoking the pack a day which was my norm at that point. I tried nicotine gum and was down to the last piece; the gum pulled a crown which cost $500 to replace. I went back to cigarettes. At the end of my smoking career, I smoked the lowest tar and nicotine cigarettes but could hardly stand to smoke them. I still couldn't give them up. I smoked all my cigarettes at home outside because my husband has allergies and I finally came out of denial about the harm I had been doing to him. Smoking isn't allowed at work so every lunch hour I would make my way down 13 floors so I could have a cigarette. I developed high blood pressure but couldn't stop smoking. This is powerlessness.

I had been in other Twelve Step Programs for over ten years but had been unable to give up nicotine. When I saw a notice in the local paper regarding a Nicotine Anonymous Program, I thought that's for me. I started attending and Jennifer M. encouraged me to attend and participate in the Intergroup Meetings. However, I attended meetings for over a year and still hadn't quit smoking. Finally, I attended a smoking cessation program along with the Nica Meetings. Now, I haven't smoked since January 24, 2002, at 7:10 a.m.. My worse fears never materialized - I didn't blow up at work; deep breathing helped a lot. I didn't rush out in the middle of the night to buy cigarettes. Working the first three steps and saying the Serenity Prayer for Smokers helped a lot. I did put on about 10 pounds which I'm tackling through healthier eating and some exercise. I read a Nica slogan a day, attend Nica meetings, and go to Intergroup Meetings. I have a sponsor! I went to the CINA retreat! (My very first sponsor and very first retreat). I noticed in my gratitude journal that when I initially stopped smoking I was grateful for each non-smoking day and I'm doing that again. I'm grateful to the fellowship and especially to Jennifer who said "keep coming back until the miracle happens." I'm grateful to my Higher Power for giving me this miracle.

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