One year ago today I stopped smoking tobacco cigarettes.
I had been quit for 3 years before I unfortunately picked up smoking again when I was hospitalised in an inpatient psychiatric unit about 1 and 1/2 years ago. With not much to do outside of scheduled 'groups' and a lot of free time, the option to smoke a cigarette during "fresh air/smoking time" outside was too tempting. One of the other patients there let me bum cigarettes because we were pretty buddy buddy until his condition deteriorated.
It was a mistake to pick up that first cigarette. As soon as I got discharged from the hospital I started buying my own packs and smoking more and more. I then had to attend an "after care program", which is a program you get transported to and from each day. It consisted of 5 hours of therapy, education, and groups on various topics 5 days every week for 6 months. You don't have to go to these programs, but it's a good idea to do so as you'll be engaging with mental health professionals all day most days of the week. It's to evaluate you over the long-term to see if you're doing well, taking care of yourself, staying out of trouble, and so on. They were going to let me go after just 3 months, but I told them I wanted to stay the full time. Prior to this hospitalization I'd been 100% stable and non-hospitalized for 8 years so I wanted to be sure I'd be OK.
When I didn't have my own cigarettes I'd bum them from the other people going there. We got a 10 minute break outside in the smoking or non-smoking area between every group, so basically lots of time to smoke and socialize. It didn't help that all of the interesting people all smoked so I had to be around smokers to socialize.
I finished that program 1 year ago now and I'm very glad that I have made it one year tobacco/cigarette free. I'm always going to keep in mind how easy it is to get hooked into that terrible, smelly habit again. I do still occasionally use an electronic cigarette/vaping setup.
Also now today it's been 1 year and 1/2 since I was hospitalized which is another great anniversary. Once you get to 1 year post-hospitalization it's a pretty good indication that you'll continue to be fine. I'll be happier once I get that to 2 years, but considering I only got sick again because I stopped taking my meds, and the fact that these meds kept me healthy and symptom-free for 8 entire years, I'm pretty optimistic.
Thanks for having taken the time to read this. It's good to be celebrating two anniversaries that are about me being healthier and taking better care of myself.