Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quitting Smoking

Ok, so I feel it has been long enough now, and I am SO over it, that I can share with you all what I've done. Brace yourselves... I've quit smoking. Over 10 years of smoking, wanting to quit at times, actually quitting at times, and always right back to it. I think it is because I didn't really want to quit - I just thought it was the right thing to do, or someone else was quitting and was trying to peer pressure me into doing it too. Well, I finally hit my point where I really wanted to, and I kept thinking "I need to set a day when I will quit", or "I can't quit cold turkey, but I have to make a plan for quitting". Of course these thoughts are no good if you don't act upon them. But then, on July 31, I was like you know what - I'm done with this. I went for like 24 hrs without a cig. Then I had 1. I had figured I would use this last pack to try to ween myself off of them slowly. Well, I had a little less than half of it, and I thought to myself, if I can go for a full day without, then why am I doing this now? It's only re-feeding the addiction and making the cravings stronger. So I stubbed it out and never looked back. It has been 2 weeks now, and I feel fan-fucking-tastic! I am so glad I stuck with it this time. I'm so not kidding - I smell better, my skin and hair feel better, I can breathe better, I can taste and smell better (which is kind of odd because it turns out there are some foods that I used to love, that I can't even deal with anymore. Like I had a salami and provolone sandwich the other day and was ready to heave 1/2 way through it from the extreme saltiness of the food.) The thing I wasn't expecting was that like, my muscles ache SO much less than they ever did before, its easier to fall asleep at night, it is easier to get up in the morning, I'm actually much calmer than I was before, and I get over the stress quicker and easier than when I used to use a cigarette to calm myself. It is really crazy.

Something I was expecting was to start eating a lot and gaining more weight. Quite the opposite. I find I am eating less, I am making much smarter choices about what I choose to eat, and not really consciously. I'm just doing it. Don't get me wrong - the ex-smokers hack is a bitch at times, and as a result, my ice cream/fudgecicle/juice pop intake has gone WAY up to help soothe the throat, but that's been my only vice, and it doesn't seem to be affecting things too badly b/c I've lost 10 lbs since quitting. It's like an oppressive fog was lifted from my body allowing me to think more clearly, my metabolism to speed up, my body to feel better, etc. Now, I'm not going to say it's been all peaches and roses either. I had some cravings the first week. After that, the cravings died down to almost zilch, and now, I have absolutely no desire to have one. I will say that the one thing that really helped that first week was cleaning. Obsessive cleaning. Like, scrubbing windows, floors, walls, re-organizing mine and G's rooms, cleaning out the laundry room - as time consuming and tedious as it could be I did it all, and not only did it help me get through the craving, but it also helped me to get rid of any lingering smoke smells, and my house is so damn clean, you could eat off of my bathroom floors - I'm so not kidding.

The hardest thing to get through I think is what they call junkie thinking. Sounds horrible, right? But until I did some research on the computer, I thought I was nuts because I was like ok, I have barely any cravings, I don't want a cigarette, yet I can't stop thinking about them. I mean can't stop. Not in a hey I should go smoke one kinda way. It was almost like my brain was reminiscing. Like hey, remember how good a cigarette after dinner is? Remember the time we were smoking a cig with so and so and blah happened? I'm not kidding. And I couldn't shut it off. I still can't, but it is SO much less severe than it was. I even made a joke to my bestie I was like omg, I need Cigarettes Anonymous. Then I did some research, and found out about junkie thinking, and letting it sabotage you. This happens when you quit doing anything that has been such a major part of your life. There are a few reasons why:
1) You have spent many years of your life attaching cigarettes to everything. Hungry? Have a butt. Tired? Have a butt. Stressed? Pissed? Upset? Have a butt. After dinner? Have a butt. Driving the car? Have a butt. Just had good sex? Have a butt. Just had bad sex? Have a butt. It takes 5-7 mins to smoke a cigarette, and if you smoke 15-20 in a day, that's roughly 75-140 mins a day you spent with your cigs. So your brain can't just shut that off. So even though you may not be having a craving at the time, your brain is basically saying like, Hey - there is something else we should be doing right now, or this is how we feel, shouldn't we be smoking?
2) Even though you maybe aren't having full on cravings, you are still a nicotine addict. It is the addicted part of your brain that is speaking. And every time you have a relapse, that addicted part of your brain is like, "Ha ha, made ya smoke. Now I'm going to yell louder until you feed me again." I picture it like that commercial for some weight loss thing where they're like don't let hunger get you, and "hunger" is a little fuzzy orange monster - I hope you know what I'm talking about.
3) Quitting smoking, because of all the time you used to spend doing it, and all the reasons you used to do it, is like losing a friend! They say you actually become a little depressed after quitting, because of that. It's like losing a close friend, and you are sad. Maybe not on a conscious level, but it still happens. (This also intensifies the cravings for food, and the mood swings that we all develop those first few days. You know, that ones that make you shoot fire out your eyes and ears just because someone idk, breathed too close to you? lol - it actually makes sense when you break it down and apply it to your life.)

So, I'm happy to say that after 2 weeks, the "junkie thinking" is dying down, and I'm really feeling good about my decision. And at $7.00 a pack now, so is my wallet! (Up until the very last pack that I bought, I was actually spending $6.75 - the last pack, which I only ended up smoking 5 cigs from, was $7.00 - grrr). Now - had you told me all these wonderful things that would happen, I can't say for sure how things would have gone, obviously. I do have to say though, that one of the reasons I decided to post this, and make it SO long winded (aside from the fact that it's my blog and I'll type how I want to - lol) is because I feel like everything that is out there trying to get you to quit smoking is gross and mean. They tell you the nasty things in cigarettes, they show you gross lungs, and tracheal rings, and that lady with the missing fingers and toes. And I myself as well as many many people I know will sit there and smoke right through the PSA's. Listen to people preach about it and (most often times people who never lit up in their lives) and then say something like, "Yeah well, my parents didn't raise me to be a quitter" or whatever. I feel like if there were ad's on TV and billboards that showed people saying, "Hey, I quit, and this is how I feel", or "I can do these things now" would have a bigger impact. If I heard someone say "I was a ball of stress, my whole body ached, and I took forever to get out of bed in the morning, and now, I don't have these problems, and this is how I feel, I may have listened to that. Because that is something I could relate to. I have these problems, I'd like them to go away too, you know what I mean?

Well, I hope this makes sense to some of you, I hope it helps others out there looking to quit, or looking for quit support - sometimes just reading what other people are going through is good for you (it is for me anyway). Good luck!!

Here is a link to a cool site that allows you to put in your info, and it tells you how much money and time you have saved, and what your health benefits are at this point in time, and how close you are to achieving things like reducing your risk for lung cancer, coronary heart disease, etc.

Click here to create your own

1 comment:

  1. Congrats Nic! Looks like you did your homework. I'm so proud of you. Can I copy your blog and give it to my clients? They are forced to quit once in recovery and this may help them stay that way once they leave. Love ya lots and lots! Aunt Carol