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Read my story of recovery

I'm Lisa and I'm a grateful recovering Nicotine Addict with 7+ years of Smobriety.

If you had told me before 1-1-01 that I'd be saying any of that I would have probably laughed and then definitely smoked.

“Nicotine Anonymous” -- what the hell is that – just more evidence that if the only tool you have is a hammer (12-Steps) then everything starts to look like a nail (addiction).

A 12-Step support group that treats smoking as an addiction. How stupid! I've never stolen a car stereo to buy a pack of Marlboros, I don't get arrested for Smoking & Driving. I just enjoy smoking. Life is much more pleasant when I smoke. And I feel cool when I smoke.

And yeah, I know I've got a 1/3 chance of dying from it, but that means I've got a 2/3 chance of NOT dying from it, and that's pretty good odds. Besides everybody dies from something but that's years from now.

But over the years things started to add up and bit-by-bit all the health warnings, expense (especially as the price steadily rose) and inconvenince (it took a lot of mental energy to coordinate my life to be able to smoker when I wanted to smoke). Topped off by bad news from my dentist (your gums are in bad shape caused largely by smoking, its gonna cost you – gulp -- $3,200) and a realization that I had limited control of my life (heard gun shots in my neighborhood, blown off on New Years Eve by the man I loved) so I better take control of what I could.

This cumulative effect got me to quit smoking. 1-1-01. I thank the pharmaceutical gods for the miracle of the Nicoderm Patch – which made it possible for me to get thru the first weeks of not smoking.

So, I quit. I had quit before of course – multiple times that started at night when I went to bed and ended sometime the next day. Once --when I turned 30-- I quit because I thought 30 was a good time to quit smoking but after a worrisome call from my doctor 5 months later I reached for a “friend to comfort me” and had “just one” which of course go me back up to a pack-a-day within the week where I stayed for 2 years until my new boyfriend decided we should quit together on Valentines Day (how romantic) so we did until 4 month later we picked a fight with each other to justify getting a pack of smokes just to calm us down and of course that one pack led to many others. But anyways, back to 1-1-01 – what a year that began --- 9/11 plus a 6.8 earthquake, much upheaval to my love life and domestic situation and serious financial and career worries – but by sheer willpower I quit for 6 months. I just wanted someone to shoot me. I was miserable with a capital MISERABLE.

So I tried the tactic of learning about “the enemy”: What is nicotine? I stumbled across “Nicotine Anonymous” and I went to the next meeting because I was just desperate enough to do anything to feel better. At NicA meetings and by reading their literature I learned how non-unique I was – that anger and depression were very common – and I could come and talk about how I felt and hear others do the same that somehow miraculously I felt better and wanted to smoke less.

I eventually even started working the 12-Steps of Addiction Recovery, and now I can say with a straight face that I am a nicotine addict, I am recovering and I am so grateful.

I never look back and say “Boy these last 7 years would have been so much better if only I had been smoking.”