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Elizabeth Ortega-Lohmeyer is a Multimedia Bilingual Specialist with Montgomery County Recreation. She has lived in the County for 26 years and has been in the fields of media, public relations and marketing for most of that time. She began working in radio as a DJ when she was 15 years... Read more

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When a “Must” Becomes “Never Again”

I just realized that it’s been 13 weeks since I quit smoking and it’s amazing how time passes and how something that was “a must” becomes a “never again.”

I used to smoke one or two cigarettes in the evening to relax, then I stopped for four years. When my father died six years ago the addiction became an obsession for my sisters and me. I would smoke six to ten cigarettes at night, sometimes three in a row, three while I drove back home after work and three or four before going to bed.

I continued smoking more and more especially on weekends and this got worse when my daughter became independent and moved out of the house. I did enjoy smoking but I knew each time I put a cigarette in my mouth that I was hurting myself too much.  So the experience became like a guilt trip after each cigarette, or while I smoked my conscious was saying “you are getting lung cancer” and each time I lit a cigarette while I heard myself, I would smoke another one or sometimes two more. I loved the ritual, the challenge of smoking while driving, but I just couldn’t continue killing myself. My doctors would say over and over “you need to stop smoking” and it really bothered me knowing that I had to, but I didn’t know how or when. A year ago I was told that hypnosis helps, but couldn’t find the person to do the hypnosis.

One afternoon while I drove to a meeting with community leaders, among them Sonia Mora, Manager of the Latino Health Initiative, I smoked one cigarette and after that I placed a piece of gum in my mouth to avoid the taste of nicotine. I turned the air in the car on full to avoid the smell of the cigarettes I might have left on my clothes. I arrived to the meeting and gave a hug to everyone as well as a kiss on the cheek and one of them said immediately, “You smell of cigarettes.”  I was so embarrassed, I never thought that it would smell that much.  With a nice smile Sonia said, we have a program for you Elizabeth and she gave me a number and contact person. I called and started attending the Smoking Cessation program of the LHI with Proyecto Salud. With the help of Doctor Lourdes Parry and Coach Elbita Jaldin, I stopped smoking in one week and I did it “cold turkey.”  It was hard but I kept telling myself just don’t smoke.  Since then I feel happier, I sleep better and I eat healthier.  Now I can exercise without feeling worried that my heart may give out. My new goal is to lose weight.  Does anyone know of a good program?

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About Elizabeth Ortega-Lohmeyer

Multimedia Bilingual Rec Specialist at Montgomery County Recreation, loves videos, flowers and dogs. Winner of the “Poder Con Ganas” award from the Hispanic Democratic Club of Montgomery County .


One Response to “When a “Must” Becomes “Never Again””

  1. On April 30, 2013 at 2:11 pm responded with... #

    Dear Elizabeth,

    We met during your journey to become a free smoking, more healthy person. Thank you for sharing this note and to mention our program. The true is that it was a pleasure to have you making this a successful quit attempt. I am sure that your example will encourage others to do the same, and so I am that the Latino Health Initiative will support once again this Smoking Cessation Program to make it available for many others that want to quit smoking but need some help.Kudos for you!!!!

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