My mother’s latest health scare has convinced her of the need to quit smoking. She landed in the hospital last week with pneumonia and unable to breathe. My mother is deathly afraid of needles and the thought of being in a hospital literally scares the shit out of her. Right now, the experience is very fresh. They needed to put an IV into her hand and they had a hard time doing it. Apparently it took 3 tries before it was done. She is now looking at her hand, which is all bruised and her resolve is strong.
I worry for her though because she is setting up quitting smoking as an all or nothing proposition. I am not sure that will work for her. If she believes she fails if she has one cigarette it will be very easy for her to start again. After all, if in her mind she thinks she has failed it will be very easy for her to just keep on smoking. Instead I am trying to encourage her to think of it in a different way and to be forgiving to herself if she slips.
She is leaning on my a fair bit through this process as I successfully quit smoking on April 21, 1991. I have never slipped and I did it cold turkey. I worry that my mother thinks that because I was able to do it she should as well. Right now she is on the patch which, is great for her. I think one of the things that has kept me from smoking again is the memory of how much it hurt for that first 3 days. It was hell. All I can remember is eating sunflower seeds like a crazy woman for several days. I kept cigarettes with me for a couple of weeks just in case I couldn’t hack it. I gave myself permission to have a cigarette if it was still as bad in 5 minutes. I basically quit smoking 5 minutes at a time. It worked for me.
I am not so sure it will work for my mother. I was addicted to smoking without a doubt. I had smoked for 12 years and making sure that I had enough cigarettes at all time had become a focus for me. I think my mother (and sister) are addicted at a much deeper level. They smoke constantly. My mother was smoking at least a pack and a half per day. She smokes no matter how she feels.
I am going to support now matter what happens. I will encourage to keep going and if she slips I will help her get up, dust herself off and start again. Stay strong mom!