This former smoker doesn’t have a story about how she stubbed out her last butt and kicked the habit through sheer force of will.
Too many times to count, Adriana Anderson-Viskovich threw a package of cigarettes away, only to completely cave in by noon the next day and go buy a new pack.
Too many nights the local health care worker went to bed at night hating the fact that she was a smoker, and couldn’t quit.
She tried to quit when she got pregnant, but willpower alone wasn’t enough.
Adriana relied on cigarettes.
“I thought it was helping to relieve stress that I had in my life,” she said. “Now, I don’t think it helped at all.”
It was the death of an aunt, by lung cancer, that finally gave her the impetus to quit.
“I saw her on her death bed,” Adriana recalls.
She thought about the children and grandchildren her aunt was leaving behind, having not yet seen her 50th birthday, and how sad it was for them. She thought about her own son, and knew she had to quit for him.
Willpower alone can rarely cut it for someone who had a pack-and-a-half habit.
“It was futile for me.”
She tried the patch, but couldn’t make it stick. It helped her to quit for almost a month, but she eventually went back to smoking.
Finally, Adriana tried a smoking cessation drug, and somehow it was the right antidote.
“It just made it more tolerable.”
So her story is more one of perseverance, which is a kind of willpower.
She breathes easier now. She put on a few pounds, but eventually that leveled off, and she feels healthy. She can tell her son Cole not to smoke, and not feel like a hypocrite.
If cigarettes helped her relieve stress, she realizes now it was because of the little break they offer – a chance to step outside, escape a nerve-wracking situation, if only for five minutes.
Like everyone, she does need strategies to cope with stress, and now she’s addicted to yoga.
Looking back on it, from a distance of four years in August, does not make quitting seem any less of an ordeal.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
Adriana used the B.C. Lung Association’s website quitnow.ca as an online resource and support. The association called upon members of its QuitNow Facebook community to share their personal stories to inspire others, and Adriana’s is one that was highlighted.
Another was Michelle Lylack, a Pitt Meadows resident.
Before I quit, smoking was everything,” she wrote. “I got up and had a cigarette. Then I’d get in my car and have another. Then I’d have one during smoke breaks with friends.
“To quit, I had to recreate my life. I started biking and running … And now that I’ve been two years smoke-free, I’m excited for the future. I have a second chance at living a longer, healthier life.”
The Lung Association is running a contest that challenges women to blow off one full week of smoking, from June 2-8, for a chance to win a $1,000 prize. Association spokesperson Katrina van Bylandt said the goal is to get women thinking about butting out, and introduce them to QuitNow.
“We just want people to keep trying, and eventually they’ll get there,” said van Bylandt.
That was Adriana’s experience, and her advice to other women.
“Just quit,” she tells them. “It’s really worth it.”