I'm Schizoaffective and I'm 8 Years Smoke-Free

March 19, 2020 Elizabeth Caudy

March 11 is a very important landmark date for me. This year, it marks the eighth anniversary of being smoke-free with schizoaffective disorder. Winning the battle to become smoke-free is no small feat, especially when you have a mental disorder. Here’s how I’m celebrating--as well as some insights I’ve gained over the years since I became smoke-free.

Schizoaffective and Celebrating Being Smoke-Free

Every year since I became smoke-free, I’ve celebrated by putting a charm on a bracelet. They were numerical charms that marked the number of years--a number seven for seven years, and so on. Well, the company that makes the bracelets and these charms stopped making numbers. So, while I still wear the bracelet as a reminder of my accomplishment, this year I’m buying the album Pieces of You by Jewel. (I know, it’s amazing this ‘90s girl doesn’t already have this album.)

I’m also going to post on Facebook that it’s my smoke-free anniversary. Since my schizoaffective anxiety keeps me home a lot, I’m excited to have something so empowering to me to post about.

Being smoke-free is so liberating. I can barely remember the times I had to make sure there was room in my purse for cigarettes and a myriad of lighters, it’s been so long ago now. In many ways, I’m a completely different person than I was when I quit. So, it isn’t just a habit I gave up, it’s all about who I am now. And it’s not that I define myself by my non-smoker status, it’s more like this: I don’t smoke; I don’t do a lot of things.

Schizoaffective Disorder and Staying Smoke-Free While Dieting

However, I’ve been dieting and, now, when I’ve smelled someone smoking, I’ve been very tempted. I’ve thought to myself, “I could smoke instead of snack.”

How messed up is that? But then my mom pointed out that I couldn’t work out as well as I am doing if I were still smoking--my lungs just couldn’t take it. And after she said that the cravings went away. Thanks, Mom.

Besides the bracelet, I have other jewelry that is part of my “smoke-free” celebration. I have two rings from my great aunt who passed away in 2014, and who was a big champion for me as I was quitting. She herself had been a smoker and had quit. I have another ring I bought at the Renaissance Faire that is pink like pink lungs. So, in addition to the bracelet, I always wear one of those rings on March 11.

This is a huge milestone for me not just because I quit smoking, but because, this year, I realize how much I’ve changed since I quit. It’s just not a part of my life anymore. It’s a great reason to celebrate not only the fact that I’m eight years smoke-free but to love the person I am now, schizoaffective disorder and all.

APA Reference
Caudy, E. (2020, March 19). I'm Schizoaffective and I'm 8 Years Smoke-Free, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 19 from

Author: Elizabeth Caudy

Elizabeth Caudy was born in 1979 to a writer and a photographer. She has been writing since she was five years old. She has a BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives outside Chicago with her husband, Tom. Find Elizabeth on Google+ and on her personal blog.

May, 12 2020 at 8:46 am

Wow that's amazing...smoke-free for 8yrs! Personally, I've gone the longest without smoking when I was admitted to hospital for month. (Problem was that the staff let a few people smoke late at night; if they liked you.) After being released, one of the first things I did was smoke. Since being hospitalized 4 years ago, I smoke when stressed out. The fallback is the vaping trend. I find myself always puffing on this electronic smoke stack. Maybe one day I'll be able to look back, like you, and celebrate when I stopped smoking. So any tips on ways to quit for good?

May, 12 2020 at 1:10 pm

Dear Shalonda,
Thank you for your comment. When I was first quitting, I stayed away from alcohol and didn't care about weight gain. I sucked on a lot of cherry mentholated cough drops and drank a lot of Cherry Coke. I also made a quitting smoking playlist on YouTube. For a while after that, I had a Pandora charm bracelet that I would add a bead to at every quit-versary. This went on for several years. Now I don't even need the bracelet! I think after you get over that hub of first quitting, you just get to a point where you don't want to smoke. That's how it was for me, anyway. I wish you luck at quitting smoking yourself!
Take care,

John Caudy
April, 4 2020 at 10:36 pm

Indeed thank you Mom!
This is a huge milestone Elizabeth. I am so proud of you and so happy that you have been smoke free for eight years.

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