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quit thoughts

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Amazing to me

This morning I just realized that yesterday I didn’t have one smoking thought. I had periods of boredom but I didn’t think about smoking I just did something else. I accomplished work stuff and didn’t think about having a smoke as a reward or to transition to the next task. I had stress at work and I didn’t think about having a smoke so I could deal with it better. Amazing! I’m really retraining my brain to act and think without dependence on nicotine after two months. The power of being human!   Last week i had had lots of smoking thoughts. But they passed without me smoking. This week I’m not having any and I almost took it for granted. I’m celebrating the truth that it does get easier.      
 

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. 
 

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?    
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