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Returning to the quit. 

AKA 'The One After the Relapse'

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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.      

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.

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.

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???

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.

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!

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.
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