01 Jun 2021
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I quit in October 2020, have had three slip ups since, but have kept at it. My slips were always in tandem with a few too many drinks, so now I know that's something that also needs managed. Without any drinks, I have no desire to smoke, at all. With a few drinks, that changes, so I just can't have more than a drink or two, and that's been fine and do-able! For which I am grateful. For me, cigarettes were a best friend that were always there for me. I went through a lot of sadness quitting, it was like a relationship that ended that I knew had to end, but I still didn't want it to. I think I am through all that now, fingers and toes crossed and knock wood, but now I have moved into a phase of near constant anxiety and fear for my health and the damage I did with smoking.
I am really, really struggling with my fear over the damage I have done to my body over the past twenty years of smoking. Now that I am not hiding things (feelings, fears, sadness, worry, health conditions, physical pains, etc.) behind my need to smoke, all those things are right there in front of me and I am having a hard time with them. Is that cough emphysema? That pain in my chest, is it heartburn or something else? If it's heartburn, did the smoking aggravate my esophagus and now I have Barrett's? When, exactly, am I going develop lung cancer? Will I die before my grandma and parents? Last year, I would have ignored every pain, ache and twitch because I wanted to smoke more than I wanted to think about my health. Now I am finally making my health the priority but I can't see how it isn't too late already - I've smoked a lot of smokes and drank a lot of drinks.
Has anyone else experienced this fear? I have tried to talk to myself about it but it's not working. I wake up in the middle of the night certain I have lung cancer or esophageal cancer or emphysema or whatever comes to mind this time, and that I gave it to myself. The guilt and shame of how stupid I was and how ungrateful for my health I was is overwhelming and the fear of it now being too late to live a decently healthy life and I am frozen.
Anyways, I can't find anything about this anywhere on the googles or in these amazing threads, so I was wondering how other people maybe found a way to not view the future with fear. I have been making steady positive changes to try to aid my health improvements post smoking, but still living with this fear and anxiety. Did anyone else go through this and does it go away? Has anyone experienced this as a phase of their quit process, like the depression I had the first few months?