Thursday, August 11, 2005

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.


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