A smoke-free struggle

Ashley King and Ashley King

The Current’s Ashley King describes her battle with Smoking Cessation Therapy

As a smoker of eight years, quitting is a decision that comes almost too easy for me. Who quits smoking during midterms? That’s just asking for an F.  I lost 65 pounds in the last year; won’t quitting smoking make me gain weight? I was finally willing to admit to my manipulative mind that I needed help. I needed professional help.

I decided it was about time to explore the resources here at ARC. The American River College Health Department had my answer: Smoking Cessation Therapy.

I’d like to thank Robyn Huetter, a nurse in the health center, for this service. When we spoke, I had already conquered seven brutal smoke-free days, but was nowhere near the comfort of a clean system.

Huetter answered questions I didn’t know I even had. Immediately, I began to sweat a lot on a particularly cold day when I first arrived.

“It’s not uncommon for the withdrawal symptoms to manifest as flush feelings, stomach aches, headaches, (and) nausea,” said Huetter. I was still mentally chastising my deodorant as Huetter continued to explain, “it can be a really confusing time for your body.”

I sat across from her and answered questions that seemed unnecessary to me, until I heard my ridiculous answers. She asked me about triggers, people in my life who smoke, my support system and even my preference in brand. I found that I smoke more during heat waves and thunderstorms, that classical music can be an abstract aid in conquering the fear of traffic without nicotine and how I felt urges to smoke when just talking about smoking.

I was given a “quit kit” containing honey sticks, spearmint gum, candy, sunflower seeds and a stress release toy, all tucked in a water bottle donated by STAND (Sacramento Taking Action Against Nicotine Dependence).  A quote printed on the water bottle carrying it all inspired me.

“The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Too bad when you first quit, it feels like your shoes are on the wrong feet.

If you’re even thinking about quitting, stop by the ARC Health Center to come up with your personal plan. There are answers available about your changing body and emotional outbursts. You don’t have to go trough the struggle alone.