As a former heavy smoker and someone dealing with lung cancer, it is my mission to inform as many people as possible about the harmful effects of smoking and how to quit the habit before you end up with a cancer diagnosis.

Because even though most people know about the harms of smoking, which are printed on the side of the pack for goodness sake, it’s easy to look the other way. That is until you’re forced to deal with it.

When I got diagnosed with lung cancer, I had to face all of the ways that I had been harming my body and neglecting my health over the years. See, I had always had a pretty demanding job, which required long hours and came with a lot of stress.

I started smoking as a way to cope with the stress of that job. And I never really thought of myself as a “heavy smoker” until I realized that I was easily smoking a pack a day, and had been doing that for over five years.

So I know all too well what it’s like to be a smoker and ignore all of the warning signs about lung cancer. But my hope is that by sharing my story, you can learn from my mistakes. And finally, quit smoking for good.

What I found helped me the most, was the 12 steps program outlined by Alcoholics Anonymous. Because overcoming any kind of addiction is virtually the same no matter what substance you’re abusing, whether it’s alcohol or cigarettes.

The 12 Steps To Recovery

Step 1 – Admitting that you are powerless over cigarettes, that your addiction has become more than you can manage.
Step 2 – Believe in a power greater than yourself that can help you overcome this, whether that be God or whatever you believe in.
Step 3 – Decide to turn your life over to that higher power and trust in it.
Step 4 – Take an honest inventory of your habits, good and bad.
Step 5 – Accept and proclaim that you’re not perfect (because no one is)
Step 6 – Ask the higher power you believe in to help you let go of your bad habits.
Step 7 – Ask that higher power to eliminate any fears, doubts, or perceived limitations.
Step 8 – Create a list of anyone you may have hurt in the past and find a way to make it right.
Step 9 – If it’s possible to ask for forgiveness from those people you hurt.
Step 10 – Make it a daily habit to take a personal inventory of yourself.
Step 11 – Through regular meditation and prayer, ask for help from the higher power you believe in.
Step 12 – Help others dealing with addiction to learn and implement these steps.

Believing You Can Quit
Overcoming an addiction to smoking is a daily journey. Each day you wake up, make a new commitment to live that day as a non-smoker. Focus on that one day instead of the entire rest of your life, and it will be much easier.

I also found that having a strong reason behind why I was quitting smoking really helped. Having been diagnosed with cancer it was clear why I couldn’t keep doing that to myself. If you don’t have cancer, your reason for quitting may be your family, your work, your health or avoiding cancer in the first place.

It can be a long and hard road to stop smoking. But it doesn’t have to be. And you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Hopefully, this article has inspired you that it’s possible for you to give up smoking and to live a healthier life. Because if I can do it, so can you.