“Know that sometimes we need help and having the resource and having places and people you can go to talk to, that was a blessing.”

Ashely
Smoke/Vaped for 2 years, Tobacco-free for 2 years
2 Years Tobacco-free
Press play to hear Ashley's quitting story

In Their Own Words...

My Story

“When I was younger, I loved being around animals, so I would go and I would ride horses, and I would interact with the animals. And that was probably my favorite part about my childhood around here. I’ve always been a writer and I’ve always painted. And it was something that helped me cope with a lot of different things in life at the time. I was diagnosed with PTSD and I was having these panic attacks and I was having such strong anxiety, even around my family so it was something that was hard for me to deal with. And smoking was something easy that I could just kind of go and do no matter where I was at. And that helped. It was a quick fix to a big problem. I felt like I had found the one to help me, but I also knew that it was hurting me in different ways.

When I realized that I needed to quit, it was first and foremost for my health, because I could actually feel with my lungs, I couldn’t breathe. I would wake up in the morning and have a lot of pain. There’s a difference between knowing in your head this is bad for me and then actually feeling your body react to it so that was pretty alarming. Trying to quit was a lot of me throwing everything I had away and then buying it again or quitting and I would have a friend who would offer me something and I would kind of fall right back into that. It took me, probably, I think, on my seventh time is when I finally quit for good. But you know, those six times – it’s very difficult.

Writing about it or writing right after I smoked helped me to smoke less that day, maybe, or just pick up one less cigarette. So, I can write it out and get it down and that makes me feel so much better. And then painting. Painting is just to me a mindless activity and I never really have an idea when I paint. It’s just trying to take my mind off that and put it on something else. There’s so much to do with your hands with the brushes and with the paints. There was really no room for me to think about having a cigarette.

Now that I’ve quit, I feel great. I feel like there’s not something that controls me anymore. I knew that I could do it. I knew that even though I have failed before – many times – which is totally OK and totally normal. Everybody’s journey is not the same. It’s not going to be the same. Everybody is not going to be able to quit the first time, some people will be able to quit the first time. it’s just very unique to you. Be patient with yourself. Be gentle with yourself and know that sometimes we need help and having the resource and having places and people you can go to talk to, that was a blessing.”

Related Resources

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Social Quitting Communities for Women
Smokefree Women (For Women) - Connect with women who are trying to quit and stay quit by sharing stories, tips and encouragement: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
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BeTobaccoFree.gov
Free information and tools for quitting from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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