How did you quit smoking?

My daughter asked me, "Mom, do you smoke?" This was the one time I answered her truthfully and said, "Yes, I do smoke." After that I wanted to quit. Before that I had tried to quit. I was a closet smoker. I smoked for fifteen years and nobody knew it. Then when she asked me, that day I wanted to quit. I wanted to be up front and honest with her. First, I asked for prayer. I asked everybody to pray for me to help me quit. Then I just stopped smoking. I have smelled cigarette smoke. I have tasted it but I've not smoked. I've not touched a cigarette in a year. It has just been good. My kids have supported me tremendously.


Did you use support to quit?

I didn't use anything like Nicitrol or any of those things. If I was going to quit I wanted it to be just like I started. On my own, more or less. It has been good. I have not had a problem. I have not smoked a cigarette or held a cigarette in the year since I quit. I have felt better. I do feel better. I was very afraid I would start eating more. It have not had that problem because I'm aware of it. I can substitute things. I haven't gone that way as far as eating a lot of other things. I am the same weight I was last year when I quit smoking which makes me feel pretty good. It's been very good for me.


When were the hardest times to not smoke?

When I first got up in the morning, the last thing before I went to bed at night and after I ate I would always smoke. Those were the hardest times to not smoke. Mine was a private smoking thing. I didn't smoke in a lot of situations. Those were the only times I was really alone. I used to smoke when I read. Those were the hard times for me.


Are you around people who smoke?


Most of my friends are church members and they do not smoke. I was in a church for many years. I did smoke there. Most of the people who come to my house don't smoke. My children don't smoke. The people I'm around the most are my family and my work. None of the people I work with smoke and none of my family smokes. No one smokes in my home. This helps me a lot. I have no ashtrays or any support systems for smokers in my home. I didn't have that when I was smoking myself.


How was the first year of not smoking?

It's amazing. My oldest son, who will be 30 this year, called me Monday and congratulated me and wished me Happy Anniversary. At first I'm thinking, "What is he talking about?" Then he said, "Mom, Lisa just told me it's been a year." I thought, "Oh, I had forgotten." It has gone so smoothly for me I have not had the normal problems I hear about. I live in an apartment complex and when the windows are open I can smell cigarette smoke. There have been times I have waken up with a start because I thought,"Am I smoking???" Then I realize it is coming from outside. It has been so easy for me this year because I guess I really wanted to do it. I had no problem stopping. I know my family wanted me to do it. The ones that knew. When my daughter asked me it was on a Saturday. Then after that I called my older son and told him I was a closet smoker and I talked to my younger son. They didn't know. They might have suspected but they didn't know I smoked. I felt in order to not smoke I had to let as many people know as possible that I was not going to smoke anymore. I told my pastor. I just told people I had been smoking and I was not going to smoke anymore. That is how I gave it up. Everybody knew. So I just didn't smoke.


How has not smoking improved your life?

I can move around now. I have other things I can do now besides smoke. I used to love to read. I still love to read but I don't have to isolate myself to read now. I can read anywhere because I don't have to read and smoke at the same time. I can walk a little bit longer now. The only thing that slows me down now is arthritis. I can breathe easier now. I can't impress enough on anybody the feeling you have. I have pride in myself because I quit smoking. My daughter asked me a number of times, "Mom do you smoke? Do I smell smoke?" I was ready to quit and if you're ready to quit, you can do anything. You can do it.


Why were you a secret smoker?

My husband smoked but his heart attack was not totally smoke-related. He had hereditary problems and stress. He was a person who stressed-out easily. The smoking did not help. He quit smoking for the ten months prior to his death. He had his heart attack and ten months later he died. That was when I learned how to sneak because I was trying to avoid hurting him. I still had a desire for a cigarette. Plus, I was under a lot of stress then. That's how I excused my smoking. He's the one who had the heart attack. I didn't have a heart attack. Why do I have to quit? You justify the reasons you do what you do. I think that is when I really started getting into my secretive lifestyle. Smoking was the only thing I was secretive about. Boy, I was good at it. My son says, "Don't ever drink Mom. If you can smoke and keep that a secret, if you drink you'll be terrible."