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Ok....but not a bad addict

Ok. So it is the smoking that is making it a "little" difficult for me to breathe. the nicotine is ok...it is all that other stuff i am smoking that is bad. I can quit smoking and the nicotine patch will help me not smoke. Good we have such caring big tobacco companies that provide patches and stuff like that.    My quit date is set. I got the patch. And...i am happy, ready to go!!! Put the patch on and I am off. No problems, no withdrawal, no smoking. I am learning to live without a cigarette, no withdrawal. I knew I wasn't a bad addict. Besides, smoking and nicotine is LEGAL!!!    Then I join a forum on day 4 of my quit and someone asks me (not mentioning any names...saz)  why I am using an nrt  to put nicotine in my body. Hmmmm. My rationalization abilities are pretty good if I do say so myself. My goal is to quit smoking, the patch will make that easier and take edge off withdrawl. Made perfect sense, right?   But...another crack. I begin googling about nicotine and I begin reading about nicotine receptors in my brain that have hijacked my  normal receptors. What?   And these nicotine receptors demand nicotine; if you supply the nicotine you relax and can focus and get dopamine, if you don't you get increasingly more irritable and stressed. No dopamine.  What? You mean the nicotine receptors caused me to get stressed and irritable? when I had a cigarette, it appeased the nico receptors for about 1/2 hour. Ahhh I was relaxed and happy. But then the nicotine receptors would demand a fix again. What a vicious cycle.    Ok. Nicotine is addictive...but I am not an ADDICT. Well, not a "bad" addict. I'll just take off the patch. Yes, i am afraid of the big bad withdrawl. I am in fear of what will happen. But, Saz says I am stronger than a crave.   At this point, i was Beginning to think maybe..no way...could I really be an addict? What does that really mean?    

lml

lml

 

Me an addict?

While this is so obvious to me now, a couple weeks ago I the thought never entered my mind.   I smoked since I was 15 and I am now almost 65; I graduated from college, have a successful business career, raised a wonderful daughter, was a good mother and wife, was married for 35 years, etc.    See, I didn't have to Smoke, I enjoyed smoking. I liked it. I could quit IF I wanted to, but why would I want to? It released my stress, calmed me Down, helped me maintain my edge in being a quick thinker and I liked smoking...it did me no harm.    For 50 years, I rationalized my addiction and clothed it in beauty and gave it so many wonderful attributes, I really believed smoking was beneficial to me.   I don't really know how or why, at this time in my life, a crack in my rationalization occurred and from there, all my wonderful rationalization began to unravel, stich after stitch, thread after thread.   It all started because I wanted to breathe better on my next vacation, climbing up the mountainous stairs to various places in Japan.   Ok, doing good on incline on treadmill to prepare for next year, but...darn breathng  Was taking a long time to improve. So I decied  Not to Smoke until I got up to 5 miles, incline 10, speed 3 mph for  3 miles. That was the first crack...wait did I just admit to myself that smoking was causing me harm? Was it impacting my breathing?   So I set a quit date and the closer the date got the more panicky I became. Oh dear me, I was fearful of the withdrawal and thought I was too weak to quit on my own. But never fear, nicotine would help me get through it.   Now everything in my rationalization of smoking came tumbling down.     

lml

lml

 

Overview

After much reading and much advice, I understand there is a method or process to become free, to become whole, to heal from an addiction. While I no longer want to smoke and have made the commitment to myelf never to take another puff, I also want to heal in all areas. So from this moment on, I am taking full responsibility for any choice I make; I will lead a conscious and caring life. With each crave I overcome, I will regain inner power i have  unconciously given away to my addiction. Yes, each time I grow stronger and it grows weaker. This will be one interesting journey and strangely enough, I am looking forward to it.

lml

lml

 

Day 19 - Relaxing Into It

Finally.  It's finally happening.   I'm beginning to feel like a non-smoker again.  I find myself thinking about it less and less; mostly just the occasional "vague thought."  (Description of vague internal thought:  'Hmmmm, am I supposed to be doing something now?  Oh, yeah.  I'd normally smoke a cigarette.  Is this a craving?  Nah.  I don't want one - that's just a habit.  What am I going to do instead?  Ooooh!  SQUIRREL!)  So, I'm starting to feel like my old self again.  YAY!   For the last few days, though, I've been super-cranky in the evenings after work.  What's awful is that I'm irritable towards my husband.  It's not his fault at all, but the weather is turning and after being in an office all day, I enjoy spending my evenings sitting on back patio, having a glass of wine, reading a book while the sun is setting.  That's my unwind time.  It's also the "smoking" area since we don't allow smoking in the house.  The problem isn't that my husband is a dirty smoker.  The problem is that he is being so CONSIDERATE of my quit, that it's actually causing me a problem.   Picture this:  I've just spent 10 hours commuting and working, with only the occasional vague thought of smoking.  As long as I don't think about it - or, as long as I don't DWELL on the quit - I'm in great shape.  But then, just when I get comfy for the evening, here he comes pulling out his pack of cigarettes and specifically showing them to me and asking me if it's gonna be a trigger for me.  Seems perfectly reasonable and considerate to anybody else, but to the person that is trying to NOT think about smoking, it's just - UGH!  His smoking is not a trigger for me; I honestly would've maybe just looked at him, had a vague thought, and then moved on.  But, instead, I'm sitting there not even thinking about smoking, and then he asks me a question like that and BAM I want a cigarette.  And, it makes me cranky.  And the addict in me wants to blame him unnecessarily.   But, I finally told him (well, fussed at him, really) how irritating I found his consideration and WHY it was causing me a problem.  He put his unlit cigarette back in his pack, told me he understood, and that he wasn't going to smoke that minute, but from now on, he'll just do what he normally does instead of making a production of it.  And, to be honest, I'm not sure if he smoked again after that.  I'm certain that he did, but I either didn't notice or didn't pay any attention.   Is there a point to this story?  Is there a moral to be learned?  I dunno.  But, I guess the important thing, what I'm grateful for most today, is that I have a support system - even if he is a dirty smoker.  And I'm taking full advantage of it by being open and honest about how I'm feeling - not just to my support system, but also to myself.  I know I'm just being sensitive, so I'll give him a pass.  And he knows I'm being sensitive, so he's giving me a pass too.      

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Day 13 - Dangerously Close Call

The internal war wages on.  All the way home from work yesterday, I kept thinking it's been almost two weeks, and perhaps I've earned myself a cigarette as a reward.  Just one.  I was completely convinced that having successfully quit smoking for 5 years and now that I'm successfully doing it again - well, it should be a no-brainer for me.  I've got this, and I totally deserve it.  Thought about how great that cigarette was going to be all the way home... how I was just going to have one of my husband's cigarettes and then carry on with the quit as I've been doing.  Certainly he'd give me one - he loves me.   About half an hour after I got home, my husband showed up and found me on the back patio.  After about two minutes of small talk, I asked him to give me one of his cigarettes.  He told me no, and there was no way that HE was going to be THAT person that takes me back down to zero days.  Then, he said he was going back in the house, and if I wanted to come in and steal one from him, that would be up to me, but he wasn't going to just give it to me.  And he left me there, and there I sat questioning everything about this quit.   I stood up several times considering walking in and taking that cigarette.  I logged in to QT and went to the SOS board, thinking that there was seriously nothing anybody could possibly say to me that was going to make me NOT have my reward.  I thought about how much I wanted to be a non-smoker.  I thought about how much I wanted that cigarette.  I thought about how hard it would be on me if I had to go through Hell Week again.  I thought about how I'm mentally strong enough to have just one.  I was so completely torn - I felt like a complete lunatic.  Either I wanted the damn thing or I didn't.  But, I could not make up my mind.   So, I thought, you know, let's just post an SOS and see what's what.  But, when I started reading about how to post an SOS, I found myself reading another member's SOS posting.  That person was having all of the same conflicting thoughts that I was.  And, I read some of the responses by other members.  There was so much kindness, so much truth.  Strangers going out of their way to help prevent another stranger from lighting up.  Just for right now.  And then I started crying.  I wasn't sad, or angry, or anything like that.  As I look back on that dark hour of mine, I believe the feeling was frustration.  Frustration from having to deny myself what I "want" everyday.  It's terribly draining to be so firm with yourself.   The crying seemed to help.  It relieved some of the pressure and some of the tension - enough for me to really listen to what these other members were telling the SOS poster.  I don't have my head on right yet.  I still think of it as denying myself a cigarette, when I should be thinking that I'm denying the addiction.  I'm not losing anything.  But, as much as I try to tell myself that, and as much as I want to believe it, I can't quite get my head wrapped around it.    So, I went out to read up on addiction some more / again and reaffirmed my NOPE commitment, and watched some QT videos about smoking (again) and then...   @Sslip must have noticed that I was "liking" posts on the SOS thread and then must have noticed that I was re-NOPEing, and took the time to check on me.  Just to make sure I was OK.  It took me almost half an hour to reply, because the gesture of reaching out to me during my struggle got me crying all over again.  I realized that I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself.  Feeling sorry that I couldn't have a cigarette.  Ridiculous as that sounds, it's how I was feeling.  And the fact that I was being ridiculous made me FEEL ridiculous.  Eventually I responded that I was "struggling a little bit" (understatement of the century), took a few deep breaths, and thanked my husband for not letting me have one.  (He admitted that the look in my eye was clear - I was going to smoke.)   If it weren't for the old posts here and Sslip's thoughtfulness, I'd be back to Day 1 again today.  Or Day 0 - who knows if I'd've actually only had the one.  I owe today's continued quit to all of you.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.   If you're reading this, please pay it forward by posting your own threads.  Posts, blogs, anything.  It may not happen today or next month, but eventually, someone will read it at just the right moment.

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Day 5

Memoirs of my fifth day not smoking (here in list form for your entertainment): Woke up tired.  My body, while nicotine free, is still greatly missing the stimulants. Got out of bed and made coffee. Laid back down in the bed and tried to decide if quitting smoking constituted a legitimate need for a sick day. Got out of bed again and got dressed. Went to work.  Chewed three pieces of gum during the seven mile drive. Arrived at work, dropped personals off in my office, went to kitchenette to make coffee. Ate five Twizzlers while waiting for the coffee to perk. Checked email, logged in to QuitTrain. Ate a bacon, egg, and cheese buscuit, and then took my daily Chantix pill. Logged in to QuitTrain. Reading about quitting gives me the craves.  Ate five more Twizzlers and logged out of QuitTrain. Began working on an analysis; got severely distracted by a speck of floating dust, ate a Twizzler.  Didn't help.  Ate four more. Pulled analysis back up and realized I wanted a cigarette.  Logged in to QuitTrain, and NOPE'd again for good measure. Let calls continue to go to voice mail - no desire to be fired for a mouthing off today. Looked at analysis.  Added some numbers.  The sum line looked like a cigarette.  Sucked on a lolllipop.  Recalculated because my addition was wrong. Logged in to QuitTrain.  Played Chicks or Sticks for five minutes while deep breathing. Dammit.  My math was STILL wrong.  Recalculated.  Got more coffee. Noticed the clock.  I have only been at work for seventeen minutes.  Ate two more Twizzlers. Phoned a friend. Re-committed to being ultra-productive at work today, but played Chicks and Sticks instead. Googled whether or not anyone has ever died from quitting smoking. Googled whether or not anyone has ever been convicted of murder while quitting smoking. Googled how many calories are in a Twizzler.  Ate twelve more Twizzlers. Committed to exercising every time I get a craving. Ate lunch. Food exacerbated the whole tired feeling.  Got another cup of coffee. Had a craving, thought seriously about getting some exercise.  Ate a Twizzler instead. Walked to the store to buy more Twizzlers. Logged in to QuitTrain. Tried to complete analysis - realized it's not going to happen today - decided to work on system testing instead. While test system booting up, logged in to QuitTrain. Got distracted by Chicks and Sticks and forgot about test system. Ate thirty-two Twizzlers in a fit of the craves. Felt ill from Twizzlers and considered walking to the ladies room to evacuate.  Decided I was too tired for that much activity. Made a fresh pot of coffee.  Forgot to drink any of it. Ate some rice crisps.  Not sweet enough.  Ate three more Twizzlers. Closed test system and cleared voice mail messages. Sent tasks to everyone in the office to call these people back so I don't get fired for mouthing off to them. Logged in to QuitTrain.  NOPE'd again. Ate three Twizzlers while watching the clock tick down to quitting time. Discovered the time-slowing properties of quitting smoking.  Left work an hour early. Chewed two pieces of gum on the seven mile drive home. Drank an ale. With Twizzlers. Ate dinner. Watched Girl's Trip, which was funny enough for me to not think about smoking at all for like two whole hours. Ate an entire box Mike & Ike's.  And popcorn. Opened another ale, set it down on the counter to go to the bathroom, forgot about the ale and went to bed early.

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Day 4

Too busy eating to write a blog today.   I need to be saved from myself - can someone please just tape my mouth closed so I can't eat anymore junk food???

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Catching me by surprise.

I’m more than two weeks smokefree. Yay me!   i just sat down to work email and wanted to, visualized it actually, reaching for my pack of cigarettes. Like a ghost or shadow it was. It caught me by surprise.    Reminder: I have not given anything up by not smoking. This is just the many, many years of habit acting on my brain and physical being. The muscle memory.  It will take time to rewire me so I have to be patient and not give any more thought space to smoking thoughts than the initial thought itself. There is nothing to miss about smoking. I was its slave. I am free without it. I can hike up the rough trail of the mountain, I can watch a whole movie, and I can ride in a car without the window open. I have more time to be the me I want to be because I’m no longer held back by smoking. 

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Day 3

Day 3 lasted for-freaking-ever.  First day back to work after quitting, and I had exactly zero concentration.  Glued to my support system all day, I really didn't get anything productive accomplished.  While it feels like I wasted the entire day mooning over the emptiness of not smoking, I can't really say it was a waste, can I?  I mean, that's one more day under my quit belt - and the last day (supposedly) of nicotine in my system.   So, with the physical withdrawals done (mine consisted of sweaty palms, shaking hands, and a whole lot of whining), I guess it's time to start "ferociously" addressing the emotional withdrawals.  I just wish I knew HOW.  A fellow quitter (Sazerac) suggested to me yesterday that I:   Get ferocious about banishing your smoking/not smoking thoughts. Replace them with something that feels good, sounds good, looks good. I know it is hard, and it nearly made me really crazy but, the earlier you take control of your brain, the easier it gets. I wish I had been more aggressive sooner re-programming my brain.   Sounds easy in theory, but I am still "romancing" the cigarette.  Yes, yes I am.  I still think I wasn't entirely ready for this quit; I didn't have a count-down, I didn't clean everything beforehand, I didn't even have that last cigarette outside the night before I quit.  SEE?  The romance isn't dead over here.  I want to smoke, but I also want to be a non-smoker.  God, how gross is that?  Smoking smells bad.  It makes my teeth and fingertips yellow.  It gives me more wrinkles than I've earned.  And those are just the VAIN reasons.  There's also emphysema (I see my father slowly suffocating even with his oxygen machine), there's cancer (oh, a whole family history - everything from cervical to skin to breast to brain), there's heart disease (not-so-much in the family history, but I'll be darned if I'm going to tempt that fate).  I'm totally embarrassed by the way I perceive non-smokers being able to smell it on me.  My kids hate it.  My family hates it.  I hate it.   And, I still want to smoke.  It won't even do me any good right now - I've been taking that Chantix medicine, so it's blocking the nicotine receptors making it so even if I DO smoke, I still won't get that release of dopamine.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  It just doesn't seem to matter how much I know about this addiction, I still can't control that little nicotine voice in my head that tries to tell me I can have complete control over it.  I KNOW I WON'T AND CAN'T, but I keep thinking that I can.  And, my mind can be very convincing.   So, I'll keep battling and blogging.  Because, I also know it's going to get better.  It's going to get easier.  And, I am going to figure out how to retrain my brain.

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Day 2

Tempting and teasing my addiction was probably not the best approach to the second day of this quit.  I mean... how much harder do I really need to make this for myself.   Against all odds, I survived Day Two with my quit intact. Drinking. Partying with friends. Escorting my best friend outside for her smoke breaks. The resulting urges to smoke were, needless to say, powerful. I discovered that my poor and slow texting abilities are a boon to using this forum. By the time I type it all out, the urge has begun to pass. Yay for sucking at texting!   Tomorrow will be my first day back to work as a non-smoker. I have no idea what to expect of myself when it comes time for my normal breaks. I usually walk outside, but maybe I can take walks inside for a few days. Grrr. I hate that I relapsed. Withdrawal is no fun. You know it's bad when you're actually looking forward to it all just being in your head. LOL!

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Day 1

I wasn't prepared to write my first blog post ever in my life tonight - but, I mean, here's this option right here and this site has just made it so easy and I always said I wanted organize my old posts to remember how awful it was...   Here I am. Again with the first day. Again with the relentless discomfort that follows every life segment. Wake up. Remind myself that "No. You don't smoke anymore." Drink coffee. "No. You don't smoke anymore." Driving. "NOPE."  Finished breakfast. "NOPE." And so on throughout a seemingly endless series of NOPE that represents, what? It's only been a day? ONE day?    But, my reality is different than that. It still sucks, and it still feels incessant (this constant tendency to want a cigarette and the resulting need to remind myself of my NOPE and to redirect my thoughts to something (anything, really) else. Yet, this all feels familiar to me, and not nearly as scary and horrible as last time.   I hate to say it, but until.this morning, I wasn't sure that I wanted to quit today. I saw my pack of cigarettes on the table when I came downstairs this morning. Seventh day on Chantix. I COULD quit today... OR I could keep smoking for a whole 'nother week because I like smoking. Wait. What? And, that's when it hit me. I LIKE smoking?!? No I don't! Who said that? Me? Surely not.   Ugh. So here I am. Again.

TravellingSunny

TravellingSunny

 

Coping with Outside Stresses

I've faced a lot of stressful situations since the weekend. Tax day. Relationship stress. Work stress. I was not particularly graceful or dignified but overall not too bad. I snapped like a child, instead of talked. I cursed like a sailor. I paced like a mad person. What I didn't do was smoke. In fact, having a smoke wasn't even my first thought when I was hit with a wave of stress...until someone reminded me by saying, "Why don't you go and smoke?" Nice. Thanks for your support. Victory was mine though because (a) it wasn't my go to thought and (b) I didn't want to smoke and (c) I was able tell that person what I thought about saying that and forgive them.   I am just keeping my eyes on the prize: what is good and best for me and that would be not smoking, which in turn empowers me to do and think other positive things for myself. Like the other day, when I felt like all i wanted to do was eat my way through the day, I took a step back, read about quitting/weight gain and watched a whyquit video, and the following day was able to make better decisions on what to eat and whether I was hungry or just feeling empty. Education and knowledge really are my best defense or better, reinforcement in the quit smoking process. Like an Army by my and on my side.    I feel like I have more time now...which is a gift, I think. When I was feeling really work stressed yesterday, I purposefully made time for exercising (Day 2 of my fitness challenge complete). Something I would normally blow off because of too much work to do.   Baby steps. And maybe "coping with stress" is not the right choice of words -- successfully managing stress in a healthier way is better.               

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Eight and Ate

8 days smokefree. Yeehaw!    Oops. Didn’t start that 21-day fitness thing yet.    Two things on my mind are rewards and the bottomless pit of what seems to be hunger. Yesterday, I had several moments where I wanted to smoke but I didn’t seriously consider it. I noticed around lunchtime just how hungry I was and I ate a normal portion of leftover lo mein and then I finished it with a second helping. I still felt hungry. I had two cookies. Luckily that was just about all the food I had in the house because we’ve not been shopping for a couple of weeks. This could be dangerous. I recall that bottomless pit of “hunger” from my last quit. I put it in quotes because I think it’s more my body’s effort to feed the addiction rather than an actual need for sustenance. Last time I ate at will. I suppose I gained weight. I don’t remember. I’ve already gained some weight in the last couple weeks and this is a concern for me because I’d like to stick to a few pounds max. I get that nicotine surpressed my appetite and now I’ve got to figure out how to eat healthy. I need to eat Something in the morning (I rarely ate breakfast when I smoked) and regular smallish meals throughout the day. Last night we went to the grocery store and we did buy healthy foods—vegetables, fruit, meats, and some healthier type snacks. That’s a start. The other part is of course the mental discussion—am I feeding me physically or am I feeding the addiction?     Side note: Monday night shopping is not good. Perishables are in limited supply. The shelves were half empty and there bits and pieces all over the floor in the produce department.    Rewards was my other thought. How to reward myself. I’m a wife and mom...I’m not trained or programmed that way. Martyrdom was how I was taught...anyway I’m working on that foolishness too :-)   Husband (still smokefree with a particularly tough day 3 yesterday!) suggested we open a separate bank account for the money we save. I think it’s a good idea.    Another side note. We have this jar with slips of paper that have things to do for the weekend. We sometimes pick when nothing’s going on. Some are house projects (put in the backsplash) and some are fun (day drinking) and some just general to do. If we pick and don’t do it I put it up on the refrigerator. Several months ago we picked this one in the picture. Now I can finally take it down.   Yeehaw!!

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

1 week down

As joyful and as awesome as Saturday was for me, Sunday was that much of blah. It’s a roller coaster ride.    I found myself missing smoking at several times throughout the day yesterday. I guess that’s romanticizing smoking...thinking of the enjoyment of it, etc. I had to remind myself to just live in and be present in this moment; to decide not to smoke right now.    I have some PTSD-like things that come up every now and again and while i manage them much better than I used to I still get a little lost in those thoughts sometimes. That had a hold of me yesterday too and was probably why I thought more about smoking. When im emotionally or physically weak that’s when the smoke thoughts come on strong. A reminder to take care of me.     Anyway I think that to recognize the feeling or emotion that makes me think about smoking is good but only if I can kind of examine it from a “distance.” That’s tricky but it goes to controlling how I respond to an emotion - or trigger. I also have to be willing to let that emotion or trigger go. Each time I do It (acknowledge, accept, let go) i get stronger and it gets easier. It becomes my new habit. A healthier, more positive, and socially acceptable habit.    I think that a main reason to quit smoking and stay quit is because I can and it’s an accomplishment and success that feels good... like look at me: i won this mental battle today! It’s like it’s own reward.  I am proud to have 1 week of practice under my belt.    I can keep doing this. I got on this roller coaster by choice and I don’t have to be afraid.    Today im going to start a 21-day core fitness challenge. I hope that writing it here where others can see will help hold me to it. 😁  

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Smoke Free Saturday

I am still smokefree!!!    Yesterday I drove 3 hours without smoking. I held a straw in my left hand for most of the trip. At one point I actually flicked it as if to get the ash off out the window. That was totally out of habit and without thinking. I thought it was kind of funny. It made me realize how much of this is the habit of smoking, the muscle memory.    I was also also thinking about what seems different about this quit for me. It’s not as much of a struggle for me as the last time I quit. For that I’m super grateful but I won’t take it for granted. There is the chantix which may have a lot to do with it. But this time I think a big difference is I’m just taking it as it comes...like right now I’m not going to smoke kind of thing. Or when I feel an urge, I’m more accepting that an urge is just a natural part of the process. It’s ok to acknowledge and accept it knowing it will pass. In my previous quit it felt like an all-consuming, constant struggle and battle. I was often  focused on the fear of never smoking again and feeding the anxieties that go with that. I muscled through it and stayed quit for three years. But I think because I was always saying, “you can’t do that. you can’t smoke” it was like I was denying myself something instead of giving myself the greatest gift of all. This time I  just keep telling myself I have a choice. I can smoke or not smoke and I’ve wanted to not smoke for so many years that I think I won’t smoke right now. That’s the right choice for me right now. Rinse. Repeat.    Today is is an amazingly sunny and beautiful day. I went for a walk on the beach with my husband who is also smokefree for a whole day now!! It was a wonderful time and reward. I felt a lot of joy!!!   I washed and vacuumed the car to try to get some of the stink out. Under the driver’s seat I found one of my cigarettes. I looked at it for a moment or two trying to decide if I was tempted. I tossed it in the yard. When my husband came out I showed him — look what I found—and then I put it in the shop vac.    So instead of me sucking on the cigarette, the cigarette got sucked up today!!!  

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Saved by a bic pen, a straw, and the quit train

Yesterday was a bit of a roller coaster for me but i made it through. Just when I felt confident I had a major trigger that I've not dealt with before and panicked. All of my planning went out the window but I got great suggestions in SOS to use a straw like a cigarette, deep breathe, and lollipops or other hard candies. I didn't have a straw so I used a bic pen. I made it through just fine.  I read today that once you experience and deal with a cue/trigger that it won't impact you as much the next time. That's encouraging news. I have to be vigilant of those unexpected "firsts" that seem to come out of nowhere like a gut punch.   Today I will experience another first time trigger. I will be driving approximately 3 hours to the beach. I sometimes smoke 5-6 cigarettes on that trip. I have not smoked on the trip a couple of times when i was carting my daughter and her friends so I know that I can do it. I will take my straws, breath mints, hard candy, and ice water to substitute when the urge hits me. If those fail me, I will curse or sing loudly. I'll figure out something to take care of myself and not smoke.    My husband just texted me that he is on his last cigarette. That is a great benefit. It will be nice to have company. BUT, my quit is not dependent on him because my quit is for me. I will have to read some stuff on this subject...because I think it's pretty easy to cave in if someone close to you caves in...   Related side benefit of not smoking today: Three of six drawers in my chest of drawers are sorted and organized :-)     

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Nicotine Free

It amazes me how in such a short time, you can get a real boost to your self esteem and sense of accomplishment by quitting something so bad for you. That is where I am today (at least for the moment).  I was actually able to concentrate on my work this morning for two hours without even thinking about smoking. Well, actually that's not true but I was able to quickly brush aside smoking thoughts and carry on. Someone else said it but I think I agree that the Chantix must truly be a wonder drug for me because this is SO much easier than the last time I quit...again at least that's how I feel right now in this moment...   Another thing that's helped is that I know what to expect because of my previous quit experience. My excuse or one of my excuses to keep smoking, or say I wasn't ready to quit yet, has always been because I didn't want to put myself through that hell again like the first time I quit. I was afraid of that hell. Apparently deathly afraid since I continued to smoke for another 15 years after that first slip. But honestly, the only thing that's been scary so far was that first step saying ok I'm gonna do this because I ran out of cigarettes. And even then, I didn't make a super big deal out of it -- I'll give it a shot and see what happens -- and it wasn't too bad at all. I know it's early days for me but I'm not sure why I was so afraid to quit again.    Yesterday kind of sucked with anxieties, lots of smoke thoughts, etc. I paced, sang poorly and loudly, and did jumping jacks. I meditated for a bit. The urges/thoughts eased up in the afternoon. Then they started back in the evening. Around 11pm, I had one and thought to myself, "don't make a big deal out of this. it's a normal part of the process. it's just what happens biologically, emotionally. it's only a big deal if you make it a big deal." I was kind of proud of that thought when I had it because it was like I was all grown up now. Haha. I'm 52 (and it's still debatable whether I'm a grown up) and yes, I'm talking out loud and answering myself now...Quit Train=Crazy Train. Or maybe it's just that one car on the train they reserve for the newbie quitters.    Coincidentally 11pm last night was exactly 72 hours since my last cigarette. I believe I'm nicotine free now. That's kind of cool. Been a long time since that's happened. Another celebration for me.  

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Uphill but following signs

This is my day 3. When I woke up today I felt it would be different -- more challenging -- uphill road, maybe covered in ice. I'm pretty sure "nicodemon" was whispering in my ear. I don't want to feed my anxieties and fears and make more of them than I need to. I have to keep reminding myself of that. I read one of the posts yesterday about how we should make it hard to smoke instead of make it hard to quit. That makes a lot of sense to me...very practical, sensible, logical. I also read a bit about the danger of romancing the cigarette...so don't make it any more than what it is: a habit I am giving up to save my life from some hellish diseases that result from smoking. That reminds me. On Day 1, I saw this commercial that I guess Phillip Morris, RJ Reynolds and tobacco companies must air. It came on twice during the show i was watching and basically was just narrated words and said something like, we put nicotine in cigarettes to make you addicted and keep you buying and the plain truth is that cigarettes kill people...it was longer and more detailed than that but I've not seen it before, saw it twice on Monday night, and not seen it since. I figured it was a sign of encouragement meant just for me. :-)   Day 2 wasn't too bad. A lot of the same triggers and some new but obvious ones to catch me by surprise...leaving the house and wanting to go get my smokes before i went out the door, getting in the car, which smells a lot like smoke. Add that to the list - clean the car out this weekend. Those damn sliding glass doors that catch me almost every time I walk past. I smoked on the deck; it has been my sanctuary. I actually took a snack (nuts and dried berries) went outside, sat in my chair, and ate my snack. My husband came out and said you shouldn't be out here! I said I love it out here and I need to attempt to redefine my space. Special thanks to Beazel's blog post for that idea.   Benefits - I was trying to decide whether to wash a sweater I wore yesterday - yes i sniffed it - and it smelled fresh like shower gel. That made me kind of happy. Also, I didn't have to run back in the house to get my smokes.    I've told my children, my sister, and my Facebook friends that I haven't had a cigarette since Sunday night at 11pm. I'm accountable and my honor is at stake now.    This time tomorrow? The nicotine will be gone from my system. That's something to look forward to.     So today? Today I feel weakened, drained. But I'm going to work on NOT romancing the cigarette. I'm going to try and acknowledge my anxiety as a normal part of this process of giving up a destructive habit. I'm going to try to not dwell on the anxiety, the urge to smoke. I'll pace, take a break, meditate, take a nap, jump up and down, sing really bad and really loud, deep breathe, or do anything when the urges and smoking thoughts start to get to me. The urge to smoke will pass whether I smoke or not and I'll choose not to smoke right now.   I'm going to follow the signs and put on metaphorical ice cleats or whatever you wear to walk on ice--quit train, why quit, etc.--and slug my way up the hill today.     

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

A cause for celebration

Woohoo!!! I made it through day 1 and am on day 2. A few strong cravings yesterday but I've actually had an hour or so at a time where I didn't actually think about smoking. I think that's the thing that I hated most the last time I quit -- obsessing over smoking for the first three months or so. The cool thing is that even though the last time I quit smoking was 15 years ago, a lot of the things I learned then kicked in yesterday. That's good news.   My husband received a stressful call last night from his adult son's mother...It was a situation that normally would have sent me outside to smoke and I thought multiple times, "I need to smoke, I want to smoke." BUT I DIDN'T SMOKE. That is cause for celebration...a small one...but a celebration of victory because I can do this not smoking thing and it's ok; i'm not gonna die from it; it's not impossible.    I looked around the forums and read some of the posts and some of the materials for newbies yesterday and I'll do some today as well. I listened/watched one of the Why Quit videos. These are things that mentally help me. Belonging to something positive and good with other positive and good people around is super important.    Physical symptoms - headache, tightness in the chest, a little bit of GERD, difficulty falling asleep. Deep breathing (in for five, hold for five, release and repeat) helped a lot throughout the day. I used bourbon to help with the sleeping thing. Not a great idea in hindsight. Next time I'll try a self guided meditation instead of self-medication.    I need to identify substitute activities: take a walk, clean a drawer, organize a closet...   I want to be healthy and enjoy my new physical energy. I don't know whether this is nervous withdrawal energy or what but I only needed one cup of coffee this morning and that's after only about four hours of sleep.   I need to take better care of myself.   I'm so glad I've taken this first step down the no smoking road and hopped on this quit train!    

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

Taking the non-smoking road

I wasn't really prepared to quit. I've been putting it off for a year and half. My doctor gave me chantix and she picked a quit date for me. It passed on February 1, 2018.   So April 9 is the day I quit smoking.  Two months later than I promised my Doctor. But better late than never.   I've been smoking since I was 13, off and on until about 21 when I took up smoking in earnest. I averaged about 10-13 cigarettes a day until, at 51, I experienced some personal trauma and I began to bump it up to a 20-25 smokes a day. That was a year and a half ago. I quit once about 15 years ago and it lasted 3 years. I used nicorette gum for a couple weeks and then went cold turkey and used a support group online - I think it was freedom from smoking. One of the members from that built his own site and this one kind of reminds me of it, which is why I joined. I remember WhyQuit.com too.    Anyway, I wasn't really mentally prepared to quit today. But I'm out of cigarettes - smoked my last one last night at 11pm. So what the hell? I'm not being flip. I could come up with a million reasons why next Tuesday or Saturday or two weeks from now would be a much better day for me to quit. Because then I can plan, prepare, etc. Well, truth is I've intended to quit for more than a year and never really got around to planning and preparing so today, without any cigarettes, is a good day to quit.   I remind myself that I'm choosing to quit smoking. I'm choosing not to smoke right now, this minute. And in the next minute that I need to I'll remind myself again that it's a choice and the right choice, the best choice, possibly the most important choice of my life...I'm at that fork in the road: to smoke? or not to smoke? I've previewed and envisioned what's down the "to smoke" road and it's not pretty. It doesn't have to be me. So on Day 1, Step 1 is to choose to take the "to not smoke" road. So far so good.   Many things come back to me from that last time I quit. I remember the first 72 hours or so were kind of foggy and hellish as the nicotine left my system. I remember "the urge to smoke will pass whether I smoke or not." I remember - delay, distract, and I forgot the other two "Ds" - there were four altogether. I remember some of the Joel Spitzer things too and it's good to know here is a place where I can find those resources as well as support from others. I remember the feeling of needing to drink or eat something --- feed that empty hole that quitting nicotine causes. Last time I quit I drank so much coffee at first that I ended up with chest pains and went to the doctor who told me to stop drinking so much coffee. :-) So today I had some herbal tea when I felt like that fourth cup of coffee might be useful to me. The chantix seems to help but it's early and I know i must be vigilant.   Around lunch time I had a major urge or craving or whatever you call it as I walked past the sliding glass doors to where I spend most of my smoking time. It took me by surprise with its strength...it almost felt like a physical pull, but I delayed and distracted myself with deep breathing - that was one of the Ds! I also ate lunch - I remember hungry, angry, lonely, tired (HALT) as times I might be more vulnerable.    What are my reasons for quitting? (I remember this was something you were supposed to do as part of the quit smoking program.) I want to quit for my health. I don't like the congested sound I have sometimes when I laugh. I can see tiny fine lines forming around my lips from where I pucker to smoke and I'm not quite ready for that. I feel really bad that my son picked up part-time smoking (he's 22) and maybe I can be a positive example for him to quit also and not follow in my footsteps. I don't like to be smelly - or get that judgy look people give you on an elevator when you've just come in from smoking.  I don't want my friends and relatives to say, "you really should quit" ever again because it's annoying. I could save a good deal of money ($65/week at least). I don't have to go outside and freeze my ass off to smoke -- especially since winter seems to be hanging on for so long in these parts. I want to succeed and feel good about succeeding.    Lots of challenges, I know. My husband smokes. He says he's going to quit too. Fighting cravings, urges, anxieties, crutches, etc. And what is that fourth D?    

Rosewothorne

Rosewothorne

 

April 5, 2018

DD and I made it home safe and sound. And as I had anticipated the urge to smoke was very strong, knowing that I had money and a store just 5 miles down the road, I had to battle the urge to go and buy a pack, just for one. But I did not. I NOPE-d every time I felt the desire to. I was surprised that the urge was mental and not physical. It was just fleeting thoughts that I had to work through. No anxiousness, it was somewhat a loneliness, which seemed a bit strange.   Now this morning it is a different store, today it is physical, very apprehensive,  a physical feeling of jitter-ness and not really thoughts in my mind. But some of that is because of "life" itself.   I am home today and I will be sticking close to the boards and this blog. I have some emotional stuff to of the mind to work through. So prepare for some ramblings, self reflection and moments of truth. Sorry in advance, but I came to this board for a community of people that would support me and lift me up as I make this "huge" change in my life.  

marie-quit

marie-quit

 

April 3, 2018

Day 2 and I am smoke free. It has been easy up to this point. I knew I would not be smoking anyway. I did not sleep well last night but I am sure it is from staying in a hotel bed as opposed to my own bed. I really have not had any cravings. I have only chewed 4 pieces of gum. DD and I ate at lunch at CookOut and I did have a deep longing for a "smoke" when I tried to drink my milkshake. I guess the pull on the straw as I was trying to get the think milkshake through the straw "inspired the desire" to smoke. So I ate my shake with a spoon.    Yesterday when we stopped to fuel up before we started up the mountains I came a cross to cigarettes in the pocket on the passengers side. I contemplated keeping them, buying a lighter so I could smoke later that evening when we got to the hotel. But I quickly broke them and threw them away before I talked myself into buying the lighter.    I am pleased that I have not been short tempered, as normally I do get very short tempered when I go a period of time with out a cigarette.    Tomorrow we travel home, getting home will be the real challenge, as I will be back in to a daily routine.  I have been reading over the changes to the body, but as I am using gum and I still have nicotine in my body I guess I can not gauge my recovery based on these times lines. I was trying to find something positive to focus on for day 3 of my quit as I know this might be a struggle once I return home. By day 3 nicotine should be out of the body, but of course I have been using the gum so that is not the case. So I will focus on the fact that my lungs have been smoke free for 3 days and that I am free from trying to find the time to smoke.  It truly had become a burden to find a time to smoke, and then in high stress times it became stressful trying to sneak in a cigarette. But amazingly enough I would smoke a pack a day. Unbelievable, imagine what I could accomplish if I channel that effort to something else......hum need to think about what I can channel my effort towards. That will be my day 3 goal.      Today I was amazed at the number of student on campus that were vaping. 

marie-quit

marie-quit

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QuitTrain®, a quit smoking support community, was created by former smokers who have a deep desire to help people quit smoking and to help keep those quits intact.  This place should be a safe haven to escape the daily grind and focus on protecting our quits.  We don't believe that there is a "one size fits all" approach when it comes to quitting smoking.  Each of us has our own unique set of circumstances which contributes to how we go about quitting and more importantly, how we keep our quits.

 

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