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Everything posted by Kate18

  1. Last night, long after I should have been asleep, I paced a few times in my home, craving sugar. Craving a cigarette, actually, but I told myself a hit of sugar would fix the craving. I have no junk food. I went to bed. Back up. I changed from my sleeping clothes to my street clothes, grabbed my purse and keys and headed for my car and the convenience store for cigarettes. I'd been watching a Jordan Peterson lecture earlier. He said that life is painful, messy,, and chaotic, and that to avoid as much pain and suffering as possible, one has to have an aim, a worthwhile goal. It is not the attainment of the goal that is important, it is the working toward the goal or aim. Once you get there, you have to set another. The point he made that stuck with me as I headed out the front door, was that any action that was not on the trajectory toward that worthwhile aim is a wrong action and guaranteed to cause pain. I'd made myself a schematic with one line pointing toward the aim of a productive life, and another line slanting downward toward disease, misery, and shortened years. Peterson's words and the visual of the schematic overrode the urge to smoke, and I went back inside and went to bed. Up again 15 minutes later, back in street clothes, going out to buy chocolate cake at the 24 hour grocery. Peterson's words echoed again, and back to bed. Tried to relax and fall asleep, I flashed on having bought a fudge brownie mix on sale to have on hand in case I was struggling with nicotine cravings. A substitution serotonin-generator for smoking powerful enough to break through cravings. Back out of bed, baked the brownies as I watched more Jordan Peterson, ate a brownie. Now relaxed and craving for both smoking and sugar gone. Awoke at 4:30 am at the insistence of my small dog, Sofia, who urgently wanted to go outside to pee and was hungry. Took her outside for a moment, gave her a small portion of her daily food, and crawled back to bed. Dreamed that I had been forced to return to work at my previous employer's. It was a high-pressure, low-paid, dirty job, sorting donations in a thrift store. I succumbed to smoking, sneaking outside, afraid they'd smell the smoke and I'd be in trouble. Awoke to the sound of the chimes of my alarm clock, feeling heavy from lack of enough sleep and saddened that I'd lapsed. The dream was so real, full color, the grass of the courtyard green, and I could feel the cold metal of the glass door frame as I tried to hold it open a crack as I smoked so that I could get back inside. After waking, it took some seconds to separate the dream from reality and a few minutes to dispel the low feeling that I'd failed again. Cheerier now, and ready for a new day. Peterson said in the same lecture,--citing Jung, I believe--that we are less in control of our behavior than we'd like to believe. After the trouble I've experienced staying quit, I feel the impact of his words. I believe it likely that I will lapse again because--in bipolar cycling--my perception of reality changes. Most of the time, I know the value of being quit. During the short but inevitable segment of despair that recurs every six weeks to three months, nihilism takes over and I become hostile to the nonsmoking voice in my head and take revenge by starting in again. I am hoping that I will gain enough wisdom from Peterson's lectures that maybe I can thwart self-destructive behavior and sustain a commitment. And that vigorous exercise will uplift my mood. Day at a time; craving at a time.
  2. Thanks to both of you, Martian5 and Reciprocity. I made myself a poster this morning and posted it prominently on my refrigerator. I feel a bit foolish sharing it, but what the heck. The "Daily Dozen" at the bottom of the page refers to Dr. Michael Greger's Daily Dozen free app to keep track of his recommended foods each day. After getting the news about my eyes a few weeks ago (mild cataracts and early-stage glaucoma), and now the rise in blood pressure, I am back to a whole plant foods diet that I began a few months ago. I found Greger while searching around Youtube for videos of Rip Esselstyn and the whole foods diet he promotes. Both Greger's and Esselstyn's stories are interesting, as are the results they say are achieved by ditching animal and processed foods, such as normalizing blood pressure, reversing heart disease, returning to a healthy weight, etc. Both back their recommendations on clinical evidence reported in thousands of articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals. We'll see. My blood pressure is too high, I am now 21 lb overweight since changing to a sedentary job last year, and I am in a fight to protect my vision. Smoking does not solve any of those problems. Never has, never will, and I'll keep drilling that point into my thick skull until it's anchored for good. High blood pressure april 29 2019.pdf
  3. Yesterday had dr appt. Blood pressure was 140/90, up from 120/60 three months ago, up from my normal 112/62. I felt a knot of fear in my stomach when she told me. According to the American Stroke Association, that is stage 2 hypertension and in stroke range. (Other organizations have their own ideas of how they define stages.) Later in the day my 5 year old granddaughter came over. We went to the park and I taught her how to fly a kite. I thought to myself, "it is unthinkable to keep smoking when it could kill me or cause a stroke, and rob my granddaughter of having her grandmother in her life." I don't know why I have such trouble staying quit. It's possible that it's affected by being bipolar and going from elation to despair in cycles. Terrible lack of self-discipline and poor impulse control. I told the psychiatrist who monitors my meds that I want to start meeting with her to learn how to strengthen impulse control and stop this destructive way of being. I want a productive life, not just existence with smoking-caused diseases as my future. I'm glad the QT is here, online, and I apologize for the lack of commitment and follow through. Truly, I am trying to get this right.
  4. NOPE Unhappy health news (not devastating) yesterday (BP, stage 2 hypertension, stroke territory). Feeling scared about it and at the same time encouraged enough about staying quit to post NOPE.
  5. Kate18

    Eyes Damaged

    Three weeks ago, I learned that I have cataracts. Mild, and progression can be slowed if I quit smoking and adopt other healthy habits. One week ago, diagnosed with glaucoma. It's hereditary, apparently, but no one in my family back two generations had it, so likely this can be attributed to smoking. When I left the eye doctor's office, I thought, "this is it; here is the impetus to get me to quit and stay quit." I came back to the site and pledged for the day, feeling optimistic. Panicky feelings followed, and before the day was out, I'd succumbed to the pressure I felt to get a nicotine fix. Yesterday and this morning I created a visual: long arrow slanting up and to the right for the right path of health and the benefits of healthy habits; long arrow slanted down and to the right with every negative consequence of smoking I could think of. Threw away the cigarettes (again). Not making a pledge today. My promise to myself is meaningless, based on past experience. Withdrawal today, tomorrow (but I have it off and can panic at home), then working the next. If I start weeping at work, I'll slap on a patch, but I think I can make it through. I made it 5 weeks. It's possible to do it again, and beyond. It's all in my mind.
  6. My work day usually starts at 9:00 am--or, at least, it has been for a few weeks. Today I begin work at 12:30. Time is motionless. The sensation of being suspended in air is unsettling, and in such a state of mind, I want a cigarette. This is a situation when, in the past, I would smoke. It would be a time--smoking--when I would collect my thoughts. A grounding time. Since I haven't been smoking for the past month (yaay), this would be a time when I would eat something sweet. I've begun reversing the trend of weight gain, so no sweets to provide a dopamine hit. Feeling fatigued early in the day. Fuzzy minded. Going to take the dog for a walk. That's what a nonsmoker would do, right? And what a non-overeater would do. OK, I can do this. After that, maybe I'll take a short nap. But then, I'm so afraid I'll oversleep and be late for work. I'll set two alarm clocks. Staying Quit takes some adjusting. My brain is weary from rethinking so that I don't fall into automatic actions, like going to the store to buy cigarettes, then falling wearily into a chair on the patio with coffee. Sound familiar?
  7. "Never, never on a Monday...." I won't smoke today.
  8. Craving a smoke badly. Not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Thought about posting an SOS, but I asked myself, "Am I really that close to flipping mindsets and going out to buy cigarettes?" Nah. It's too cold outside. It's dark. I've eaten a light, healthy dinner. I walked about a mile today with my dog, so I feel pleasantly invigorated. Don't want to pollute my lungs or hand over any savings to tobacco magnates. I was watching a series on Netflix about people tidying up their homes with Marie Kondo. As the families in each episode go through their "stuff" and decide what to keep or part with, I began remembering my former home and how much I have lost. The sadness made me teary for a few moments, but then I sat up straight and shook it off. I returned to present-oriented and forward-thinking. Shifting my focus triggered a powerful craving. This is the point where I would have celebrated the transition from gloom to acceptance by going outside to have a smoke. And now I'm remembering my own post today about a bright line. Gloom is on the other side of the bright line. I am on this side, the right side. The bright line is inviolable. Deep breaths. Craving is weakening. Another episode of exerting willpower, and now I can relax again. Not taking a chance of recurring cravings today, though. It's only 6:00-ish (pm), but I will go to bed early. I dreamed once, recently, that I was arguing about smoking with someone. I didn't want to, but he was strong and demanding. Other than that, no dreams about smoking or craving in my sleep. One's willpower ebbs as the day progresses and by evening temptations can feel impossible to resist. A few dark chocolate chips for a dopamine hit. A mango. Then brush teeth and to sleep.
  9. A whole month. Wow. I did it and it wasn't even terribly difficult. Most of the time. Regardless of how the experience of the first month has been, the point is that it was successful. My savings account is looking better. On to month two. Thank you, all, for your kind congratulations and other support. Your presence in this forum, and your responses when I was wavering, have made the difference between staying quit and relapsing. I came here to distract myself when I was craving. And I ate. Sigh. I am back to sensible eating, now that the cravings are diminishing. Only one or two a day, and those are milder and transient. I'm on my guard for surprise attacks in moments of stress however. Won't turn off my red-alert system.
  10. ..."bright lines," a term that [George] Ainslie borrows from lawyers. These are clear, simple, unambiguous rules. You can't help but notice when you cross a bright line. If you promise yourself to drink or smoke "moderately," that's not a bright line. It's a fuzzy boundary with no obvious point at which you go from moderation to excess. Because the transition is so gradual and your mind is so adept at overlooking your own peccadilloes, you may fail to notice when you've gone too far. So you can't be sure you're always going to follow the rule to drink moderately. In contrast, zero tolerance is a bright line: total abstinence with no exceptions anytime. It's not practical for all self-control problems--a dieter cannot stop eating all food--but it works well in many situations. Once you're committed to following a bright-line rule, your present self can feel confident that your future self will observe it, too. And if you believe that the rule is sacred--a commandment from God, the unquestionable law of a higher power--then it becomes an especially bright line. You have more reason to expect your future self to respect it, and therefore your belief becomes a form of self-control: a self-fulfilling mandate. I think I won't, therefore I don't. (Baumeister and Tierney, 2011, pages 185-186.) Baumeister, Roy F. and Tierney, John. Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength. (2011). New York. The Penguin Press. I feel more confident about saying "N.O.P.E." (never ever)--in addition to "not today," when I imagine a bright line into the future, separating my bright path from a dismal path that descends into darkness. That imagery and concept are helpful for me. Adding another coat of bright-paint to the line each day when I pledge to not smoke reinforces my willpower to stay on this light-filled side of the bright line.
  11. Feeling happy. Also feeling the extra fat on my body from diverting energy from smoking to eating. Still, had a big piece of carrot cake to celebrate. Gotta change my solution to cravings.
  12. Won't smoke tomorrow, Saturday. Didn't smoke today. Makes it easier to not smoke tomorrow.
  13. I won't smoke tomorrow, Thursday. One day at a time.
  14. Toughed it through a rocky -- whatever today is. I think my today is your tomorrow. Won't smoke tomorrow,, either. Strong craving. Oat chocolate cookie didn't dent the craving. Taking last resort action--going to sleep.
  15. Brrrr. Feeling chilled and it's after dinner. The combination makes me want to bundle up and go outside to smoke. Also have a headache, which is rare for me. Increases desire to smoke. It's strong, so I'm resorting to my tactic of brushing my teeth, taking the dog for her poop-walk, and going to sleep. Brrrrrrrrrr. Craaaavvvve. Feeling chilled a trigger for anyone else?
  16. Tuesday forecast is for clear air; no smoke
  17. Never, never on a Monday..... I won't smoke Monday.

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