Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm the second oldest of four boys born into a career military family. My father was an officer.
Both of my parents drank. My mother smoked, while my father occasionally had a cigar. I began smoking and drinking in 1959 when I was in junior high school, while we were stationed in France.
I smoked and drank heavily throughout my own military career. I had a stroke in 2002 and stopped smoking cold turkey while I recovered from my stroke. A year later I quit drinking, also cold turkey, and to this day I abstain from both smoking and drinking.
Congratulations for taking control of your health! You made a conscious decision that it was time to stop smoking because it was endangering your life. There's not a more valid motivation than that. With the elimination of both smoking and drinking, your body benefits in even more ways, and you're adding time to your life. I love a success story!
I invite you to read my addiction post, "Four Things You Need To Know About Addiction"
which explores what causes an addiction as well as what can help. Now, I am not saying you had an addiction, but you seem proud that you stopped, so it’s all good.
The fact is, drinking and smoking was going on for years in your family, but you clearly had both motivation and personal responsibility, and hence were very successful in your endeavor, and that is a big accomplishment.
Facing mortality can be quite sobering. Matthew Perry, when asked about giving up drinking, said "I got sober because I was worried I was going to die next year.”
What you did was both a brave and a real feat of accomplishment. I congratulate you on your success, and wish you a long, healthy future.