In the technical sense of the word, I have ALWAYS been a smoker, but I didn’t actively start smoking until I was 18.
Like many have done in the past, Delorus Alderman started smoking at the age of 18. It was part of the culture at that time. There weren’t any laws banning smoking ANYWHERE. There was a smoking “hole” at her school where all you needed was a note giving permission. Her parents did it, her friends did it, and it was just something that was accepted. Before long, she was smoking two packs a day without even blinking an eye.
She continued at this pace, until she heard the words come right out of her doctor’s mouth, “Quit now or die.” It was a simple, sobering statement after it was discovered that Delorus had congestive heart failure, and on January 2, 2010, Delorus began her difficult journey to quitting.
With help from HealthNet’s smoking cessation counselor, Stacey Chappell, Delorus has overcome many obstacles on her road to no smoking. Stacey gave her many practical tips that she used to prepare herself and her family. Delorus used NRT patches; however, she was unable to us Chantix due to other health issues. “Stacey gave me my life back, and I try to tell her how amazing she is every time I talk to her.”
Delorus gained inspiration from her husband, Jerry, who quit smoking in 2002. But with inspiration also came some resentment. Jerry made it look easy, and this oftentimes discouraged Delorus. “He took a class, read a book, and just walked away from the cigarettes. But, he was my biggest supporter, even when I wasn’t the happiest camper!” She had tried to quit several times in the past, but ended with no avail. Now, she could not even tell people that she was trying to quit because she didn’t think she could be successful.
Blessed with a supportive husband and family, Delorus sought peer support from others who were going through the same thing. She asked for support from her online “MomsLikeMe” group – all of whom rallied around her, using creative strategies and tough love to help her get through those hard months. Her kids would bring her hard candy and gum. Her youngest daughter came up with a great idea – a jar for collecting cigarette money, a visualization of her success. And Jerry was there, whispering words of encouragement and support along the way. Her online group stuck with her, emailing with her at all hours of the day and the night. Making herself accountable to these folks spring boarded Delorus to success.
As Delorus enters her first year without cigarettes in a very long time, challenges still remain. Cravings are strong. Family members and friends still smoke. However, Delorus finds inspiration in a thought she had when reflecting on becoming a non-smoker – “My mom was 8 years older than I am now when she passed away from congestive heart failure. She was a smoker; so, I felt like if I kept smoking, then I was bailing on my kids.”
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