In this video, you’ll hear Diane’s story of how she quit smoking after 35 years in March 2018!
Diane is a strong, independent woman, and besides smoking, she had a very healthy lifestyle. She knew she could do anything.
Like most of us, Diane used smoking as a crutch. And she was afraid that without it, she wouldn’t be able to cope.
Not only she’s now a happy non-smoker, but she also overcame challenges that would have made most people relapse.
Prolonged depression after quitting can happen to only 14% of ex-smokers. Diane was one of those people.
But she came out of it stronger than ever with a lot of lessons to share.
As Diane explains, smoking is psychological, and your mindset plays the biggest role in your success.
ASK AN EX is a new interview series. Each interview features an inspiring ex-smoker who succeeded with the CBQ Method ™
And they tell you everything – how they did it, what helped them, what challenged them, their fears, motivations and aspirations.
Because the best person to ask about quitting smoking, is an Ex who’s been exactly where you are right now.
Every EX shares their unique perspective and wisdom on quitting smoking (because everyone has a unique mix of background, mindset, and experiences).
Hi everyone this is Nasia Davos and welcome to this episode of Ask An Ex.
Today, I have someone with me who joined the CBQ program and whose persistence and never-give-up attitude helped her quit but have also inspired many others to succeed as well. So if you believe that quitting is impossible, if you’re afraid of failure and relapse or if you think you can’t do it, stay with us.
The ex I have with me today not only quit smoking after 35 years, but after she quit she overcame challenges that would have made most people relapse but she is still a happy nonsmoker.
Please welcome Diane Felix
Nasia: Diane, thank you so much for being here
Diane: Thank you for having me.
Nasia: So you have been a non-smoker for more than a year and a half now right?
Diane: Yes I have
Nasia: The 15th of March 2018
Diane: Yes the 15th of March 2018
Nasia: Huge congratulations this is an extraordinary achievement
Diane: Thank you, it Is, you’re right, I’m very proud of myself
Nasia: Well, you should be, it’s no small feat. So you smoked for
35 years how did you start smoking?
Diane: I started smoking when I was a teenager in high school, my sister’s smoked, my parents smoked it was cool back in the 80s and my mother actually said to me at one point when she knew I was smoking, she said “I thought you would be the smart one” and the same year that I started smoking, she quit. So my parents quit actually right after I started smoking but I was addicted and I was a teenager and it was cool.
Nasia: Yeah, so I remember when you succeeded you sent an email and you said I did it I quit this time I was ready mentally ready
Nasia: How did you know that you were ready?
Diane: Well I was concerned about my health and I think that that was probably the largest driving force. I had like every other person who smokes you wanted to quit every day. You don’t want to be a smoker, you know that it’s hurting you and then it’s costing you money and it’s costing you time. So I did get mad at it, and but I had a cough and I am well, I guess I was 51 at the time and I had wanted to when I was 50. So, I didn’t make the 50th birthday mark but I said I have to do this otherwise I’m not going to see my grandchildren and all the
other things so I mentally said I have to do this, period. And I didn’t know how I was going to do it though.
Nasia: Was it the first time you tried?
Diane: I did quit for a year in 2008 and I never did smoke another cigarette again but I was smoking cigars occasionally and then I became an addict again and I smoked them every day. So, for 10 more years, yeah, 10 more years. So, I knew that I had to, I knew I had to, I had to figure this out. I think that really it’s really mental.
Nasia: Yes, definitely! Definitely, you’re right about that. Before you quit what worried you the most about starting an attempt?
Diane: Not being able to cope. It’s a definite fear. And I remember twice the day in 2008 when I decided that I was going to quit, I had to call a helpline hmm because the anxiety was so strong and that was just deciding the day, that wasn’t quitting it, was deciding the day. But it was similar when I decided to buy your program, to make that purchase.
Nasia: What maybe you decide to try the CBQ method?
Diane: You were on my Facebook, I saw you, I found you on Facebook and I said I’m going to, it’s different, it’s a different approach and I did not want to take any drugs that was really an important thing to me. I’m really trying to be more holistic now in my approach to life
Nasia: In general
Diane: In general, right, so I don’t take any medication and I don’t like medications and so I did not want to use drugs again. And I did not want to, some people I know have used the puffer things and I knew that that was just prolonging one addiction for another and the same with the patches, the same thing. It’s all the same right you’re just kind of putting a band aid on and trying another addiction. So I knew that my biggest fear was that I would gain weight. And which I struggle have with, so I’ll have to work really hard at that. And that I would be unhappy.
Nasia: Okay so, being unhappy gaining weight and afraid that you’re not going to be able to cope
Nasia: And fast-forward, you had to deal with all three of your fears.
Nasia: As far as I know right
Diane: Absolutely, yes. However my mindset was simply, I’m not going to do this anymore so as soon as I would have a thought if I wanted to have smoke I would say but you don’t do that anymore. Every time I would look say I don’t do that anymore. I also used a lot of positive affirmations and I had them, I had them on sticky notes and I had them everywhere in my house. Yes, I put them up when I was doing the program, as you spoke many of them I wrote them on sticky notes and I pasted them on the walls, in the area that I studied. And I
was very adamant about studying and making sure and I did at the same time every day so I did prepare myself for the course.
Diane: Yes, so and I’m not at my residence right now however those sticky notes are all still there.
Nasia: And you know I remember them, and you had I am a happy non-smoker, I respect myself,
Nasia: Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional, and that was my favourite
Nasia: So how did all those sticky notes help you on your journey?
Diane: It was changing my mindset. From believing that those smokes or the cigarettes or my cigars were actually what I needed to cope or to deal with life or to not eat. And that helped me to realize, it was me. It was not those folks, I needed to do that. I needed to train myself that I can trust in myself and be able to overcome with just my own mind and not addiction
Nasia: And this is so powerful! And I noticed following your journey that you were someone who understood the power of thoughts. You understood that the way you communicated to yourself about smoking, about quitting and about everything, really, that it has the power to make or, break you, so you got that!
Diane: Yes, yes I wasn’t in denial.
Nasia: No, but I’m saying that because not everyone understands how important it is the way we talk to ourselves
Diane: Oh absolutely! I actually, since then have done a lot of meditation and just simply you know with your phone, your cellphone and headphones whether, I’m yeah, because it’s so important with everything in life that you want to do. I mean everything that you want is on the other side of fear.
Diane: That’s another saying that I had, so you have to mentally be able to overcome and I also have a background of I was a single mother my whole life, I’ve had multiple jobs, nobody’s ever taken care of me. So, I’m a very independent person and though it was that nicotine that I relied on, I could do anything else I could be the single mother, I was this hard worker or I could buy, whatever, I wanted I did things all by myself, always, very independent. However, I had that crutch and that was what I believe it or not it wasn’t people that I’ve ever relied on, yeah and I when I was doing some of the work, I found that out like, oh my god, I am relying on these this package this package of cigars or cigarettes for my, for my everything in life. This is nuts, this is crazy! So, that was that was like a defining moment too. Like, I can, I have to do this myself.
Nasia: And it’s this is nothing alignment with with, who you are I mean you’re independent about everything, you take care of everyone else,
Nasia: And you have this to control you, I mean no
Diane: I did some writings too about you know making them write to them, to write to the addiction, right to the nicotine, right to the smokes on a journal, to make it go away, to say I
don’t like you, you know, long time control me it blah blah, a letter.
Nasia: So you did that every day, once in a while?
Diane: Just very a real one so I could reread it if I needed to.
Nasia: Okay, all right and do you still really go back and read?
Diane: It’s in it’s in New York but yes, I could still have it
Nasia: Okay. And which when you had like a craving and which thought or mantra helped you the most in your journey?
Diane: Certainly, what I did in the, because I thought the cravings didn’t last very long, the physical cravings, they didn’t, they didn’t last very long at all. So that I just told myself for the first week,it probably was a week, you’re not doing that, you you’re not doing that anymore, you’re not doing that anymore. Just to get through that craving. I did do some breathing and I certainly keep myself busy. I’ve always exercised, so even when I was a smoker I exercised.
Diane: So I knew that that was going to be wildly important to do. So I had to overcome pain and I don’t take medication remember. So I had to figure out how am I going to now do
these exercises because I need to, because I don’t want to be heavy I don’t want to be hurt. Nasia: How did you do this?
Diane: Yeah I, just consistency every day you have to you have to stay abroad on your own self, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and say I’m going to do this and you have to do it every day. And you can’t allow other people or other influences to take that away from you. So I was giving this to me, this was it I don’t often do a lot for myself but this time I was doing it for me.
Nasia: And the hardest part I guess for many smokers is allowing themselves, the time to figure this out and be patient with themselves and love themselves a bit and put yourself as a priority for a bit, it’s hard.
Diane: It’s very hard, I struggled. I did struggle, I went, I did feel depressed in the beginning probably for six months actually.
Nasia: Let’s talk about that, that was a huge challenge, you were able to overcome.
Diane: Remember, and it was seasonally, it was by that time it was winter, which isn’t which isn’t as much fun mentally. Anyways, so seasonally I think that I probably had to deal with it too, I really did have some depression. So I was not going to go to the doctor’s and take any type of drugs I because I just don’t do that. I just didn’t want to, so I did research
from some of what you had already given on the teas and I’m a tea drinker anyway, so I did start taking some ashwagandha root and 5htp yeah and I still do.
Nasia: And it helped?
Diane: Yes I’ve gone off it for a time period and there’re periods when I’ve gone not taking it and I realized that I get a little bit short, a little bit irritable.
Nasia: Okay, interesting!
Diane: Yep, so I have kept, I do keep taking it, I mean it’s all natural, so yeah. But I was in
about six months and then I noticed that it did actually subside a lot.
Nasia: And what else did you do to get through this? The six months?
Diane: I did, probably, a lot of exercise, when I could with because I was going through some pain at the time, some physical pain from the arthritis so I did exercise and I’m consistent even with the pain. I’m talking at least three times a week.
Diane: And I did a lot of walking. I did try very hard to take care of myself emotionally and allow that and tell myself it’s okay. Pat yourself on the back, you did it, breath, allow this, allow this strange behaviour, it’s okay
Nasia: Thank you for sharing that, because I hope everyone can hear that. Just allow yourself to feel the way you feel and go through it the way you’re going through it.
Diane: Yeah! And don’t hurt, don’t beat yourself up. Say okay this is, think about it, you smoked for 35 years and give yourself credit. Allow yourself to just, whatever happens be okay with it. You’re gonna be okay.
Nasia: Yeah, because when we see someone smoking, there’s a memory that comes back. It’s not a desire, it’s just a memory.
Nasia: You think ahead of the memory of how you will feel ten minutes after smoking, or half an hour after smoking or being addicted, this the desire just evaporates.
Diane: Exactly, exactly like that. It has nothing to do with a craving, a physical craving. It has to do with an emotional craving.
Diane: And now you have to fill those emotional with something different whether it be productive or not or maybe I can take a break.
Nasia: Definitely! So how did it feel the moment you smoked your last cigarette if you can remember?
Diane: Yeah I actually quit on day eight.
Nasia: Yes, I remember that
Diane: Day eight not ten because I had gotten down to two yes and I was frustrated so I said this is crazy. I’m not prolonging this, you know for myself just be done. So I think the last one was nine o’clock at night if I recall. And I didn’t necessarily know it was my last one because I didn’t give it that weight.
Nasia: Okay, you just let it be.
Diane: I just let it be and then when I got up I said I’m not doing this again. I’m not going to do this to myself because it was really hard to do just to
Diane: So I said I’m not doing this.
Nasia: So I’m not doing this is a quote, a phrase that really helps you
Diane: Yes it did. It really did.
Nasia: Yeah and I remember you challenged yourself and you quit before the predetermined quit date so you felt in control.
Nasia: What part of the program helped you the most in your whole journey?
Diane: Journaling, well certainly cutting down obviously.
Diane: I already I was probably a little bit ahead because I already was not smoking for an hour before I after I got up because that’s what I exercise.
Diane: I always get up in the morning and exercise and I didn’t smoke till after, being consistent with doing the work because you do have to cut out that time for yourself.
Diane: And it’s probably an hour and a half if I recall each morning I spent an hour
and a half.
Nasia: So if you want to make the most out of it, yeah.
Diane: Yes oh right true, yes you really do, otherwise you’re cutting yourself short. And you deserve to have that time for yourself for 10 days for crying out loud really think about. So it was the slowly cutting down and then also journaling and realizing how silly you are when you start writing down why you’re doing it. And what you’re doing, if you’re honest with yourself then you’re looking at this like you know this is this is craziness.
Nasia: Yeah all the emotions go away when you look at that.
Diane: Right! Yeah ,so I used the app I thought I found that to be encouraging and when you look at, you know the thousands of dollars that you’ve saved
Nasia: Yeah you saved a lot, right?
Diane: Yeah it’s over 6,000 now
Diane: Yeah, exactly so when I purchased your program at the time I thought that at the time it was one month of my spending and I said I deserve that I deserve to spend one month I do I deserve this. And that’s the difference, you need to tell yourself you deserve this you’re doing it. You’re doing it because you’re going to do it. Not because everybody says that you have to quit smoking.
Nasia: Exactly, 100%!
Diane: You know what else I quit? Well, right before I quit smoking I quit drinking soda. Nasia: Good for you!
Diane: And they went together for me. Yes from being, even a teenager when I started smoking, I always had a soda because I didn’t like the taste so I would and then I switched to diet soda of course so I could be thin-ner. And then I quit that ahead of time though. So I really started drinking tea and I still make my own, I make my own.
Diane: I make my own ice tea and then I drink you know tea at night. I don’t drink coffee at all.
Nasia: Fantastic, so you have a very healthy lifestyle
Diane: I do so I was the smoker with the very healthy lifestyle, it’s crazy.
Nasia: Wow, good for you! And I like that you treat yourself and you allow yourself to break down when you want to down to have your treat when you want to have it and because that’s life right? It’s never going be all calm or all mad.
Diane: Everything has to be in moderation. I mean if all humans could live in moderation it would be a lot easier on the world but I know that that’s not always the case. So and then you have to forgive yourself, allow yourself and forgive yourself.
Nasia: And also allow yourself, forgive yourself, moderation, consistency and I don’t do that Diane:
Nasia: Exactly here you go. I love that. So last question what advice would you give to someone who’s struggling to quit right now?
Diane: Don’t give up. When I was a child, actually my dad gave me a plaque and I have it on the wall and I’ll just never forget it. It says you can’t fail if you stop trying so which is true in life. So don’t ever give up. Find what it is inside of you, that will make you be whole with yourself and allow yourself, allow yourself the opportunity to quit, to be yourself, to be you. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t ever give up.
Nasia: Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing, this very nice. So as you all can see Diane had a journey full of ups and downs and she’s an example of what you can achieve when you take responsibility for your success, take control of your thoughts and stay committed no matter what happens. Because smoking is a mental addiction and cravings are just positive thoughts about smoking, so if you stop thinking good thoughts about smoking and start thinking good thoughts about not smoking and yourself you will succeed. Never give up. So I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did please let us know in the comments what you took away from Diane’s journey that can help you in yours and Diane thank you so much for being here and for being open about everything you went through and your experience and how you succeeded. What you said, it’s really valuable and it will help anyone who’s struggling to quit or struggling to remain smoke free, so really thank you.
Diane: And thank you Nasia really thank you for doing your journey and helping so many other people I was able to quit with your with your program because it fit for my life and I’m really very grateful.
Nasia: Thank you I’m grateful are our paths crossed and that we were able to meet so thank you all for being here with us have a great day and see you next time.