Up In Smoke
A Tale of Two Friends
Mark Twain once quipped: “Quitting smoking is easy. I've done it a thousand times.” Becky Murray had quit smoking many times, too. The 42-year-old mother of four even took a seven-year hiatus during her pregnancies. But she always returned to the habit that she says she used to defuse stress and deal with peer pressure.
When she attended an AAMC smoking cessation class nearly three years ago to support her friend, Leslie Tydings, Ms. Murray was surprised to find herself deeply affected by the presentation and individual counseling.
“I was there to support Leslie, but I had no intention of quitting,” said Ms. Murray, an Annapolis resident who smoked for 22 years. “The program and the facilitators showed me how to understand my relationship with cigarettes. Smoking was one of the things in my life I could completely depend on. I gravitated toward cigarettes as a stress-buster. Having to give that up was almost like leaving an old friend behind, even though I knew the old friend was killing me.”
Mrs. Tydings, also of Annapolis, smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 18 of her 38 years. A bad bout of bronchitis nearly three years ago prompted her to quit. “I signed up for the smoking cessation class at AAMC, and my quit day was Sept. 22, 2005. I was ready.”
When Becky accompanied her to that first class, Leslie assumed Becky planned to quit, too, and was surprised when she later learned that wasn’t the case. “I wasn’t aware she didn’t want to quit,” said Mrs. Tydings. “I assumed we were going to support one another.”
The counseling and support provided by AAMC smoking cessation nurses Sue Glover and Joanne Ebner are instrumental to the success of Ms. Murray and Mrs. Tydings,and hundreds of other former smokers. “Sue prepared us as well as supported us,” said Ms. Murray. “Having knowledge, control, and support is what gave me the motivation and tools to quit.”
“It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible,” said Ms. Glover. “Our team is behind our patients, and we can help them make changes in their lives to help them quit. Whether a participant quits cold turkey, or quits over time, health benefits begin right away.”
One change Becky Murray has made is how she handles stress. “If I need to yell, I yell. If I need to walk away, I walk away. I give myself a break in a different way now. When I first quit, I depended on cinnamon sticks and walking,” Ms. Murray explained.
Since graduating from the program, she has a new avocation: guest appearances at the smoking cessation classes to encourage others to quit.
"When I see people outside huddled in the cold to have a cigarette, I pat myself on the back,” said Ms. Murray. “I'm glad I don't have to do that any more. I'm proud of the fact that I don't smoke anymore. And I'm proud that I don't even want to smoke."
AAMC offers teen and adult smoking cessation classes once a week in the Sajak Pavilion at the AAMC Medical Park campus. To register for either class, call askAAMC at 443-481-4000 or 800-MD-NURSE.
For Email Marketing you can trust