Sunday, August 28, 2005

Quick Day 19 update

Ok. So I've made it 19 days. No weight gain, sporadic cravings.

I'll put this out here as delicately as I can - let's just say that I'm a bit hormonal right now. That has coupled, I think, with the no nicotine thing to give me the massive shakes today. It's a weird feeling of total excess nervous energy.

I also have a friend who has quit several times in the past (currently he is smoking again). What got him, he said, was real trouble with persistent insominia. I'm not contending with that - it abated after the first week and my sleep patterns pretty much returned to what they had been. What I DO deal with, however, is pretty consistent low-grade headaches, even now, nearly three weeks in (sigh). I can live with it, but I'll be happy when my energy levels settle down (they range between frantic and exhausted) and when this mild but persistent headache lets go. :-D

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Day 16

Well, I feel kinda normal today. No doubt I'm hopped up on coffee, though. I had a 7am breakfast meeting this morning and have been up since 5am. I'm not a morning person so the caffeine infusion has been imperative. ;-)

So far I've done the following things right:
  • Watched my diet like a hawk. My typical "day of food" is as follows: Breakfast is coffee. Always coffee and then a bit more coffee. Lunch is enormous. If I have a day without lunch meetings, it's a big, organic salad with very little fatty stuff and lots of omega 3 stuff. No bread with lunch. Dinner is not really dinner - it has become low-calorie low-fat low-carb rice cakes (7 of them at 35 cals., 0g of fat and 8g of carbs) and some kind of carb-conscious meal replacement bar. Before I go to sleep I always always always drink 2% milk.
  • Exercised on schedule. I work out four days a week and the workouts are an hour a piece. Three days is kickboxing aerobics which is a GREAT workout combining heart-rate work, stretching, and isolation floor work. The four day is an hour of advanced floor pilates focusing on arms, abs and legs. I haven't wavered with that. When I get jumpy from lack of smoking I walk around outside for ten minutes.
  • I still go outside. Before I quit, outside was always social/relaxing etc. but involved smoking. Now I still go out - talk to neighbors, bring my laptop out and sit on the front porch, etc. I just don't smoke.
  • I chew LOTS of gum. LOTS and LOTS.
  • I haven't played golf. That will be the challenge - I haven't had any trouble yet when singing with the band, which brings me into direct contact with smokers and cigarette smoke. I'm not and never have been much of a drinker, so that's not an issue. For me, golfing and smoking go together. I won't be playing until Labor Day weekend when, hopefully, I'll have enough time under my belt to fight the smoking demons.

I have been irritable and intermittently (and sometimes severely) depressed. I've substituted a little kick of caffeine when that happens.

Here's a secret - my goal, when I quit, in addition to staying quit, was to actually see if I could lose a little weight. I don't need to lose any - I'm only talking a pound here - but I wanted to prove to myself that I could use quitting to reinforce dietary and exercise discipline. So far I'm succeeding.

Thanks for all the feedback!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Two Weeks Today

I've hit two weeks. I'd be thrilled if I weren't so jangled.

Just a sidenote, here, for everyone who has been reading and has been supportive and what have you. I have not only been dealing with quitting smoking - that's quite enough, thankyouverymuch, to cause my stress level to skyrocket. I have also been dealing with life issues, centered around my stepson and around my husband.

On the husband front, I worry about his health a bit - I wish he would take better care of himself. If you've been reading the blog you know that we had to take him, via ambulance, to the emergency room about a week and a half ago - he would like to view the whole incident as the exception and not the rule, and I would like to embrace that. But the fact is that he'll be 49 in November and I wish that he would eat better and get some exercise. Both of his parents have died this year (that's a whole different story) and the mother of close friend of ours just passed as well as a contemporary in the Washington DC music industry. There comes an age when your parents start to dwindle and then the next age where your friends start to dwindle - he's now dealing with that. Because I see him dealing with that it makes me think of him and wanting him to guard his health carefully. It makes me worry.

The second issue is stepson related. He's utterly and totally adrift. I won't go into the details but he has definitely had his problems in the past. He's gotten through some of them but his propensity to lie or, at best, to omit the truth is getting taxing. He's 20 years old, will be 21 in March, and has NO prospects, gumption or drive. That's disturbing enough - he has lived with us for nine years now - but my husband, because he loves him, wants to make excuses for him. We worry and we fret and we try to coordinate in compelling a change in the stepson but my husband always relents. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that relenting isn't doing the stepson any favors. It's just frustrating - and another constant worry - because I've been here before and I know that the whole situation is speeding towards some dramatic and complicated flare-up that will take my time, effort and money to correct. That's the way it always goes. So I stand between the two of them, trying to work with EACH side to see the right path (or at least the right steps to the right path) and I don't always make much progress. Again - frustrating and stressful.

So that has been added into the quitting smoking thing. It hasn't helped, I'm sure, but hopefully the quitting smoking thing will get easier and leave me more room for all the other things.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Day 13. Ugh.

I have been remiss in posting. Truthfully, there are a few reasons for that.

Let me start by saying one of the reasons is NOT that I've fallen off the wagon - I haven't.

I have, however, been in a foul, shitty, depressed mood. I'm tired. All the time. I don't understand why that isn't going away.

I haven't laughed much or smiled since I quit. I don't understand that, either. While I know that this is a ridiculous thing to say, I'll say it anyways: am I a naturally sour person with a shitty disposition and NOT having nicotine or cigarettes has caused that to finally assert itself or ...? You understand the question. I am so not myself that it's troublesome.

I just... I don't feel up for anything. I didn't get things done around the house the weekend, things that I would normally ensure happened. I wanted to nap - or sit - or whatever - but I wasn't productive at all. There are three things I've kept together, and that's work, my diet, and my exercise schedule. Other stuff (like housecleaning, yard work, washing my car, etc.) I just don't seem to have the energy for and I would have always attended to that stuff whether I wanted to or not.

So I haven't blogged because the tenor of my posts have been SO bad that I didn't want to depress everyone.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Day 9 - Observations and Responses to People Who Have Emailed Me. :-), a support and resource site that many of you kindly referred me to, says the following about my quit:

Your Quit Date is: 8/10/2005 7:40:00 AM
Time Smoke-Free: 8 days, 3 hours, 7 minutes and 9
Cigarettes NOT smoked: 122
Lifetime Saved:
22 hours
Money Saved: $24.00

Let's see... that's one more day to bitch and moan (almost) and about half a tank of gas. Not very exciting!!

Today I feel ok... Not great, just ok. The tired thing is kicking my ass. I'm a pretty high energy person, so feeling overly tired for an extended period of time takes an emotional toll on me. I don't know if I would call my symptoms physical - I mean, theoretically, at Day 9, if I went and got blood work done there would be no evidence of my ever having smoked. But does that mean that withdrawal stuff is gone, too?? I don't think so... I'm still struggling with mild headaches (intermittent), nasty irritability, and insomnia. Can anyone out there farther along than I tell me how much longer I'll be tired and kind of out of sorts? I just want to know - having it seem indefinite and indefinable is really depressing.

A LOT of people wrote me after I sent out an email indicating that the blog was fully updated a week in. Here's an excerpt of something from my Dad:

"The only concern I had was your statement to the effect that "smoking may kill
me but stress will kill me". I would argue that stress can be harmful but you
can do other things to mitigate it. Whereas, there is no mitigation for smoking
other than stopping. "

Understood - just so all of you know, I don't consider there any choice in the matter and it occurred to me that it may have sounded that way. In other words, I do believe that, overall, stress is a more pervasive and dangerous condition than smoking. It affects so many systems in your body - for me, my skin and brain and stomach and breathing. However, I do NOT think that there is a choice to be made between smoking and stress. Nicotine, I think, lowers stress levels - but so does heroin. That doesn't make it right, now does it?? So don't worry Dad - I won't talk myself into smoking again for the sake of stress. If I fall off the wagon it will be only from pure weakness, not some silly rationalization.

My Godmother wrote me as well:

"Anyway -- you GO GIRL! It is not only your commitment to this but your
commitment and strength in everything that makes me so proud of you. You
are ONE STRONG person. You are brave to take this on as you start a new
job. Or, it might be the best time to do it."

There is never a good time to do it. But there's also never a good time for cancer. I just chose my date and stuck with it and planned for it.

I went to a solidarity vigil for Cindy Sheehan (the mom camped outside of the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas) last night. It was nice - about 400 people with candles and signs lining Reston Parkway (my hometown in Virginia). Lots of people were smoking, though. I longed but I wouldn't call it an actual craving.

So there you have it. Let me know what types of things those of you who have quit smoking are experiencing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

One week down

As I type this, I am sitting on my front porch with my wireless laptop in hand. I have just finished an hour of advanced Pilates. Last week I came out here after mypilates workout and lit up. My post-workout cigarettes were always the most satisfying - isn't that sick?? Also last week I got halfway through my smoke and just decided that I was done. Thus ensued the great smoking QUIT of 2005. ;-)

I want to thank each of you who has been so diligent in stopping by the blog to see how my progress (or lack thereof) is going. Even though I am quitting by myself, I am not by myself because each of you check and give advice and encouragement and just pay attention. It means the world to me and believe me - I definitely feel responsible to each of you. It's helping more than you know.

Here are the bad things so far:
1. Jumpiness
2. Shorter fuse than usual
3. Insominia
4. Crying jags
5. Tired tired tired

Here are the things that I thought would bother me and haven't:
1. Giving up that morning cigarette.
2. My overall ability to cope is much better than I thought it would be.
3. I have been around other smokers (while they were smoking) and didn't really crave.

I'm an exercise and diet fanatic. My typical day's food intake is a monstrous organic salad at lunch (lots of stuff on it - it's really quite balanced) and then a litght but nutritious snack at dinner (typically some fruit OR Balance CarbWell OR some pretzels, etc.). I know that doesn't sound like a lot but I have to stick with it for the next month. If I feel conident I can manage my weight I'll make it through this with flying colors.

I work out pretty hard four days a week. As a substitute for smoking, I have also taken to walking in ront of the house when I would have normally gone out for a cigarette. So far so good with that. I also am fortunate in that I gave up snacking over a decade ago. That will help me immeasurably.

FARfetched mentioned "The Boy's" excuse for smoking - that it calmed him. It is true. Valium is calming also - that doesn't mean you should take it. I know that. But there is a concern for me - I'm not a good stress manager. I lose hair from stress, I have panic attacks from stress, I have stress-induced migraines. The exercise helps - but I definitely feel notched-up since I quit. I just hope it's an adjustment and I'll go back to managing stress effectively (more or less) the way I used to. Smoking could kill me - no doubt - but stress will kill me so I have to watch it. It's a chronic thing for me.

So there you have it. I'm pretty calm. I will say also that I was grumping and grouching about being tired... tired... tired... even when I had a good night's sleep. I logged into and there was my daily tip, asking if I was "feeling tired". Turns out I may have another week of tiredness and mild fatigue but it also said that exercise, even a ten minute walk, really helped mitigate it. I'll put the walks into effect immediately.

So there you have it. One week down. ??? weeks to go! Only God knows. ;-)

Goddamned Day 7

Ok. What I would like to know is why I feel like shit. Shouldn't I feel better? My diet is awesome - always has been - I exercise regularly - always have done. I'm not smoking - no poison into me or anything like that. I'm drinking lots of water. I'm paying attention to the things that need attention. It's been a week. Why don't I feel better??

((sigh)) I did sleep much better last night - within the boundaries of what I would consider "normal" for me. I'm just so... irritable. I'm high strung to begin with, a person who has had to really get a handle on stress and anxiousness for health reasons. About six or seven years ago I wound up in the hospital, unable to draw a deep breath. I thought, of course, that there was something physiologically wrong with me, but there wasn't. I needed to let off some of the stress - thus ensued the exercise. And I can't lie, here. There's a certain immediate calming effect to smoking a cigarette. Since I've quit I've been much more likely to have shallow breathing (though nothing like before) and I'm a tad concerned that I haven't planned for how I will deal with increased anxiousness due to decreased nicotine. Suggestions, anyone??

I'm sure the whole irritable-snappish-pissed off-frustrated thing will handle itself - I'm just interested in what I can do, non-medically (e.g., I don't want to take medication) to relax and not be so anxious.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Today has SUCKED (Evening, Day 6)

Oh my God. Today has just fucking sucked (pardon my language). I'm not sleeping - it's not that I can't fall asleep, either. I'll fall asleep fine but then jerk awake, freaked out, not knowing what day it is or what time it is or whether or not I need to get up, etc. like every one to two hours. For the uninitiated, I don't do well on lack of sleep. At all.

And I FEEL LIKE SHIT. Aren't I supposed to feel better? I have a headache. I'm very mildly nauseated. I'm mentally and physically exhausted. What the fuck?

((sigh)) I don't even have what I need to post anything more than a bitch-fest.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Afternoon, Day 5, and REALLY INTERESTING Recap of Day 4

And the story continues

Sorry for the interruption, but life was calling. ;-)

I talked about the found "temptation cigarette" and about throwing it out. I talked about us having a gig yesterday. What I didn't get to was the day from 4pm forward. I arrived at the gig - at a racetrack in Manassas, Virginia - ambient air temperature was 101 F yesterday with 90% humidity. It was oppressive. If you can picture an auto racetrack, there's the center section - where all the cars and tents and pits are - the track itself, the outer section, a gate, a walkway, and then bleachers. Our band set up in the outer section, behind the fence, on a stage that was uncovered. It was hot - like Africa-steel-molding-lava-running hot. I was fine. The other band members were fine. We were staying hydrated. We didn't like it - it was uncomfortable - but we were physically fine.

My husband was not. During the gig, it was obvious he was hot bordering on overheated - but he seemed to function fine, was drinking and pouring water on himself, etc. He plays the drums - when I wasn't singing I would go behind him and put a paper towel filled with ice on the back of his neck, etc. After we finished, he seemed... not right. I usually leave right after a gig ends and everyone is paid, but not yesterday. He just didn't look right and I hung around. He would put a few things away (there is a TON of stuff to pack up) then sit. He'd wave me off when I would ask if he was ok. Finally, I didn't see him and found him on his back in the grass over by his truck. The way he was lying down was unnatural. Like he fell. He kept asking for water, which I brought him, but he poured it on himself rather than drink it. He stopped doing even that. He was conscious but couldn't answer my questions and, all at once, ALL of his color drained from his face, neck, arms and chest. All these things happened in the space of 10 seconds - it was very fast. I ran over to the track manager and told him I needed the EMTs right away. They stopped the race for an EMT on foot to get across the track. He came and evaluated my husband, and recommended to me strongly that I allow him to transport him in the ambulance. They stopped the race again - the ambulance came over. They got him all settled and took him (and me) out to the race track where they gave him oxygen and got his information from me. They had called an ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulance to transport him to the hospital. Those folks (the transport ambulance) hooked him to IVs and heart monitors and a ton of shit - I was scared shitless.

I did, however, have the presence of mind to take my car so that we would have a way back from the hospital when the time came...

Long story made not quite so long - he had heat exhaustion - a pretty severe case. The danger of heat exhaustion is that it can quickly and unexpectedly become heat stroke, which is a serious and threatening condition. He was pretty much in trouble before I even got to the gig - he had been there since 1pm and hadn't had a thing to drink or eat. At any rate, heat exhaustion is characterized by hot body temperature, profuse sweating, nausea, fatigue, and a general lack of mental clarity. When it becomes heat stroke is when your body stops trying to sweat to cool you down. You get hotter and hotter and aren't sweating it off. They couldn't tell, because my husband had been pouring water all over his skin, if he was able to sweat and his blood pressure was very low, so they played it safe and transported him. 2 litres of fluid, a ton of tests, and four hours later they released him.

He actually woke up this morning feeling better than he has in months - they took great care of him and opened his eyes to simple things he can do (hydration, nutrition) to feel better all the time. I'm thankful for that.

Oddly, although this whole thing was stressful, I didn't think too much about smoking - as I followed the ambulance to the hospital, I called my mother and asked her to look up both heat exhaustion and heat stroke on WebMD to give me some information (I don't like having to trust on blind faith). She asked if that had made the no smoking thing harder - I hadn't thought about it until that point. About halfway through the hospital stay I had to go outside to use the phone and there were two guys smoking by the entrance... I kind of longed for one right then and even made the comment that I picked a helluva time to quit. ;-) By the time we were headed home I was so exhausted I didn't give a shit about smoking!!

I did, though, wake up this morning and dream I was smoking but I'm telling you - it's getting easier to be a non-smoker with each hour that passes. I think it's helpful also to resolve not to smoke today. Just not today. Tomorrow, resolve that again and see how you do. It's worked for me so far.

Morning, Day 5, and REALLY INTERESTING Recap of Day 4

Well. Yesterday was more interesting than I thought it would be on a variety of levels, both smoking-related and not smoking-related (but therefore related, because it's all related to trying to quit, right??).

A little bit of background - for those who don't know, my husband and I are both musicians (though we have "real" jobs) and we have a band. He runs it and plays drums, I sing and handle the finances. We live outside of Washington DC and yesterday we had a gig. It wasn't supposed to be a bad gig - we were to play for an hour and a half at a race track in the Virginia suburbs. 5-6:30. The band is great, so it was a pretty easy outdoor gig. Hold that thought because I'll come back to it.

So my husband goes to gigs way before me because he has all of this equipment to set up. I'd say he got there at about 1pm. I left our house to head there at about 3pm. I had a bunch of stuff to bring - some equipment, a cooler full of ice and water, etc. I had to move my car seats around to maneuver some of the things in. As I'm moving one of the seats, I find a cigarette. A whole, unsmoked, unblemished cigarette that has clearly fallen out of the last pack I had. I picked it up and looked at it. I put it on my center console in the car, where I could see it, and left for the gig. I drove for like 15 minutes, looking more at that cigarette than at the road and was really torn as to what I would do. Finally I just asked myself: "What's it going to be? Shit or get off the pot." I tore it in half and threw it out the window. Man I wanted that fucking smoke.

There is more story to tell as the day progressed, but that will have to wait until I'm back from running errands...

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Some housekeeping items

First and foremost, I've added links to my blog. Dirtroad (from dKos) has linked to my blog and given me a nice front-page pimp on his and it's interesting... check it out.

I have also included I can't remember who originally recommended it at dKos, but EleanoraMT took the initiative and started a club over there. Follow the link, sign up for a free account, go to 'Communities' and then 'Clubs' and search for Kossacks Quit. We're all trying to support each other and I do really recommend the whole site and service.

The Quit Meter is a neat little gadget that runs telling you how much money you've saved, how many cigarettes you haven't smoked, and how many hours/days/months etc. you have been quit. It even has a way to measure a "backslide" cigarette. Just something fun to engage you in quitting.

The American Lung Association - that's a biggie. I recommend strongly that we all take whatever we can give and give to the American Lung Association. They are underfunded. There seems to be this kind of "they brought this on themselves" mentality to the funding of lung cancer research. I aim to help them out a bit so it's there as incentive for the rest of you - no pressure at all. :-)

Morning, Day 4

I was just too tired to post anything yesterday, which was also my birthday. The Board meetings at the office really took it out of me... They were good, though, and kept my mind off of the whole quitting smoking thing.

A few observations - I didn't really feel craving to smoke while we were in the meetings. This is a new company for me and the opportunity to learn was abundant, so I was quite focused. But at the end of each day, as I was packing up my laptop and stuff and heading to the car, the urge would be nearly overwhelming. It always got followed closely by irrational thoughts of "how am I going to drive home without a cigarette?"

Another thing - at about 10pm on Thursday night, two days into quitting, I got really emotional. Now yes, I am a woman. But generally speaking, outside of hormonal spiks, I'm not the emotional type. My overall disposition could be characterized as "one of the guys". Further, I am not in a hormonal time period. I specifically planned quitting to be as far away from any PMS or anything like that as humanly possible.

Thursday night, as I was contemplating going to bed, I just kind of cried for a bit. I HATE that. I HATE crying and I mean it. Friday morning I got up very early - I didn't wake Mr. RenaRF because he did NOT have to be up early. I left to go to the offie - by about 9:30am I realized Mr. RenaRF hadn't called. This was my birthday, remember. I called him and asked what he was doing, and he told me he was getting ready to walk out the door to go to work. He had been up for some time and hadn't called me on my birthday. I just rang off with him and cried AGAIN, in my office, where no one could see me. At 11:30am Mr. RenaRF came TO my office with my cards, gift, and a dozen long-stemmed roses. He had planned it all along. When we took a break for lunch I felt like an asshole and cried yet one more time.

Crying crying crying, mixed with irritability and a shortening of an already short patience level.

But I haven't smoked. ((sigh))

The numbers:

Cigarettes I haven't smoked: 61. Money I've saved: $12.20.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day 2, later

Not much later, either. I think it's about 10pm and my last post was 9pm or so. My husband came upstairs to talk to me about something he would like to buy - we never argue about money and, frankly, he doesn't ever ask for "big ticket" items. Tonight's conversation was about a big ticket item he would like to acquire whenever we can. It can be months from now - he just wanted to talk about it.

I just found the conversation overwhelming. It's like I couldn't deal with the questions or the whole subject or anything. Very unlike me. When he left the room I started to cry. Jeezus this sucks big time.

Day 2

Today was a bit more difficult. Let me set the stage a bit.

I took a new job in July of this year. So, I've had the new job for slightly over a month. I really love it. It's a more responsible position than I've previously held and it's at a company that truly has a soul - you aren't just as good as your last meeting, etc. and so forth. At any rate, today and agian tomorrow we have our semi-annual Board meeting. I'm a part of it. It's interesting, frankly, but makes for a long day in a conference room.

Today we started at about 9 and broke at about 5:30. We took regular bio-breaks but no long breaks - it was a long day with a lot of nervous energy piling up. It was also the first day I really felt any withdrawal symptoms.

A few hours after lunch, I got nauseated. Just slightly - like my stomach would kind of turn over every so often and my throat would get tight. Further, I had a dull, persistent headache the whole day. I don't know if those were withdrawal symptoms or not, but I sure felt like poo.

When we finished, as I was heading to my car (I had to shrug off dinner as I felt that poorly) I realized I was kind of absently digging in my purse - I realized in a few moments what it was I sought - my cigarettes. Of course, I don't have any. I readjusted my hand-grope to find my sunglasses (my keys were already in my hand). But I knew in that very moment that I would sell my soul for a cigarette - a nice, long, leisurely-smoked cigarette.

I'll say this. It would have been really easy to go and get one, to bum one even, and no one would have been the wiser. But I didn't. I just lived with that soul-selling urge and the mild nausea and the headache. I'm safely home - it's just before 9pm. The soul-selling urge has receded and the nausea is completely gone. A hint of the headache remains, but that's about it.

I've lived through day #2.

The count:

I have NOT smoked 31 cigarettes. I have saved $6.20.

Day 1

I don't know why, but I think it would be really useful to others out there for me to keep an occasional diary of how I feel as I try to quit smoking. Quitting seems to be different for every person - how they approach it, what they need to accomplish it, etc. seems to vary by individual. I'll add my voice and experience to the others out there who have given theirs. I really believe knowledge IS power.

Let me back up just a bit - when I decided to get serious about quitting I did a LOT of research on the internet. Most of this was done quietly - I didn't share with my husband or parents how seriously I was thinking about it. I wanted to have a sense of what I needed to do and how I would go about it before taking that step.

I saw that a great deal of literature recommends setting a "quit date". I chose mine - My birthday, August 12, 2005. 20 years after first picking up the habit.

If you're astute you've picked up on the fact that I've posted this on August 11 2005 -- I'll explain that in a moment.

At any rate, I bought into the "quit date" mentality, set my quit date (which was still several months out at the time) and resolved to gather information. I talked to our family doctor. I talked to my OB/GYN. I searched on the internet - I looked up medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. I read about weight gain and why it happens in some people. I evaluated my diet and determined how best to make a few minor adjustments prior to quitting to pretty much negate any weight-gain effects.

In short, I was anal retentive in preparation. That's my process - I gather information, arm myself with knowledge, and start talking about the new facts I've learned in order ot assimilate them. It works for me - it may not be the process for someone else.

Back to my quit date. Peter Jennings died of lung cancer this week. His announcement in April of this year was my impetus to seriously begin thinking about quitting. I informed my family members and friends a month later that I had set a quit date... When he died, it hit me really hard. I was smoking on Tuesday and I just looked at the cigarette, about halfway finished, and as much as I love it, I just decided I was through. I didn't tell anyone just yet but the next morning, early, I gave my unfinished cigarettes and all my lighters to Bobby (my husband) and told him to get rid of them and not in the house. I didn't want to be reduced in dignity to the level of digging through our trash cans at a weak moment. ;-)

And with that, I quit. Cold turkey.

Yesterday, my first full day of not smoking and the longest I've gone, awake, EVER in 20 years without a cigarette, really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I definitely had a lot of nervous energy - you know if you read the first entry in this blog, the one about my history of smoking, that I don't smoke in the house. As such, though, the trips outside become habitual in and of themselves. It's not just the smoking that's difficult to give up - it's the habits around how you smoke and when you smoke that are difficult, too.

I haven't given up the going outside things. I'm keeping pretty much the same schedule - I need, for now, that seeming normalcy. I bought a shitload of gum and I take it outside with me, chew it for ten minutes, then get rid of it and go back in. I took my coffee out this morning and read the newspaper like I always do. I just didn't smoke.

Last night, a little bit before 11pm, I must have had a look - Bobby wanted to know if I was freaking out. I was feeling a bit jumpy though I couldn't put my finger on it until he asked. He wanted to know "what it was like" - specifically, he wondered if I thought about it or had the shakes or had a headache or whatever - I told him that two things stood out as odd for me.

1. I constantly, constantly thought, all day yesterday and, so far, every waking minute today, of how goddamned GOOD just one deep drag of a cigarette would be. I can almost feel the calming wave it would cause. I can't stop thinking about it.
2. Here's the weird thing - I said above that it's not just the addiction to the cigarettes that's hard to break - it's the habits and habitual things you do around smoking that requires adjustment as well. For example - it was pretty typical for me to just kind of pop outside once every few hours to smoke. Yesterday, when I'd feel the urge, I would think "I have nothing to do." Of course, I have a TON of things to do. And a similar thing - I was at the Giant picking up a prescription and I needed, after Giant, to walk to the pet store for some kitty litter. The pet store is about halfway down the shopping center from the Giant. I would normally light up while walking. I found myself thinking, yesterday, "why would you walk there? You have nothing to do while you walk." It's this bizarre feeling of being somewhat at loose ends. I know it doesn't make any sense but that's the way I've felt.

So I've been kind of anxious, but overall I haven't really (yet) had headaches, felt nauseous, my diet was exactly the same (and will remain so), I didn't feel the urge to snack, etc. I just felt adrift at frequent periods of the day and obsessed with how good just one drag would be. I'm obsessed with it now.

So, I'll post more later - thanks for reading and feel free to comment.

My Smoking History

Well, I finally quit smoking. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my smoking history and/or fuzzy on the details, I'll do a very brief background.

I'd say I started smoking right around my 18th birthday in August 1985. I don't remember all the reasons I started but I know that a big one had to do with my weight - I thought smoking would help me get it under control. In fact, while I was a large girl when I started smoking, over the following two years I would become even larger. So much for the "smoking helps you lose weight" theory.

When I started I smoked clove ciagarettes... I eventually migrated to Marlboro Lights and finally landed at the brand of choice, Virginia Slims Lights 120's. I think I've probably smoked those for at least fifteen of the twenty years but I can't remember.

For about the first four years that I smoked I couldn't smoke in the house where I lived - I shared a townhouse with non-smokers. In 1990, after moving to Centreville with another roommate, the no-house-smoking rules was lifted. I smoked a lot in the house and probably continued that until about 1994 or 1995 when Bobby and I moved in together and began to plan to get married. He didn't want to live in a smoky house and I didn't blame him... It seemed a very small thing to ask. When I bought my first car in 1996 I (pretty much) stopped smoking in the car as well. At least that curtailed it.

However, I still smoked. I wouldn't characterize my habit as "occasional". Some days, if I was very busy, it was a quarter pack - others it was a half pack. It hovered in that general area. There were, of course, times that I smoked WAY too much in a day and I could feel it. It didn't happen very often. Suffice it to say that, consistently, a quarter to half pack a day is definitely a smoking habit.

Sidenote: The only way to lose weight (if you're overweight) and to maintain it once you're where you need to be is diet and exercise. I have had my doctor tell me what my ideal weight range is for my age, height and bone structure, and my goal was a sustainable weight within that range. I've been at that weight with very little fluctuation for six straight years. I'm not worried about putting on weight from smoking - my eating and exercise habits are too good to be undone by losing a smoking habit.

My next entry will be a reflection of the first 24 hours without cigarettes and nicotine...