Up in Smoke

It’s crazy to think that, two years ago, I stopped smoking to save that $4.25 a day I was wasting on my habit.  It’s crazy to think that the state of New York has been hiking the taxes on cigarettes with at least the justification that pricey smokes would discourage smokers.  And it’s even crazier to think that in a few months time, I’ll be paying $4.25 a gallon for gas.

It begins to look like the more sound financial decision is to drive less and smoke more.  Now, ain’t that some shit?

I’m Quitting: Day 365

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any updates on my attempt to quit smoking.  That’s a very good thing, because that means I’ve been able to break free of the smoking compulsion and it no longer occurs to me to talk about it.  But in speaking with my wife the other day, we realized that I must be getting close to the one-year mark, and so I checked the blog, and lo and behold, today is the day!

So, what does it feel like to be one year smoke free?  What have I learned?  I thought I’d share a few observations, once again, in the hope that someone else who is thinking about quitting might find this useful.  Don’t expect an Oprah-style miracle story, cuz it ain’t like that.

Nice Dreams? A Smoker’s Tale. . .

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on my smoking cessation, but I’ve been thinking about this a while and wonder if there are any recent quitters who’ve had the same experience:

It’s been a little over five months since I first quit smoking, and things have gone exceptionally well. Not only did I not fall off the wagon even once, I have been in quite a few situations where there was active, persistent temptation which I avoided without too much of a problem. This includes a few weddings and other occasions where I was consuming alcohol and others were smoking. It doesn’t get more tempting than that, at least not for me these days. In all of these cases, I have been able to resist the temptation to smoke as a first, not a last, impulse. That’s pretty amazing, given the driven – even defiant – nature of my former smoking habit, to which many of my friends can attest.

But I dream about smoking all the time. Not that the dream is *about smoking* but rather the dream includes cigarettes as a regular fixture much like they were in the waking world five months ago.

In the dreams, it seems I’ve decided somewhat earlier that I would “treat myself” to a pack of smokes, just for fun. The cigarettes appear in the dream when I notice that I have less than half a pack of smokes left, and the choice is upon me to either allow the treat to end or to buy another pack. No big deal, and I’m still going about the business I was originally, but the choice hangs over me quietly.

Whoa! Talk about dream science! What does that mean, exactly? That I still find myself at a crossroads? I don’t feel like that when I’m awake, certainly. But there it is in the dream: nicotine, holding my dream conscious in the same gentle but inescapable grip that it always used to.? It’s very strange, . . . .

I presume that this is whatever is left of the mental addiction to cigarettes manifesting itself, but why would I not feel more of a temptation when I’m awake?? Not that I’m not thankful for the reprieve, mind you, but dreaming about cigarettes has become a regular thing.? So much so that I don’t even think to comment on it to anyone, even my wife.

Comments, anyone?

I’m Quitting Day 6: The Enemies. . .

So, on Day 6 of my adventure, I am learning new things. For one, weekends are a killer for me when trying to quit. That is for two reasons:

  1. Downtime is plenty of time to think about smoking
  2. To avoid downtime, I work on the website, occasionally leading to frustration that up until recently was abated by smoking.

So, today is a real challenge for me, at least at the moment. Work through it! I’ll be fine as long as I keep going, and blogging on it definitely helps the cravings. I know that this is largely mental as opposed to physical for this reason: that writing helps cure the crave reminds me of how writing used to cure depression when I was younger. By writing down my feelings, I work my way through them and begin to realize how trivial they are, how avoidable.

I’m Quittin’ Part Dos

Well, it’s currently 4.5 of my efforts at smoking cessation, so how’s it going?? Surprisingly easy in ways.? Like I said in my previous post on the subject, most of the triggers are gone, and one that I forgot to mention in that last post was the culture of smoking.? Its just a thing: you’re freinds, you all smoke, and when you get frustrated with the job, you grab a buddy and say “wanna smoke?”? Nothing sinister about that, and your friends will leave you alone if you don’t want to smoke, too.? All alone, and then you feel left out.

But all that is gone at the moment, and unless I find my thoughts naturally drifting towards smoking, they just don’t go there.? But I am addicted, after all, and the mind wanders occasionally.

It’s a very strange sensation, or really, several strange sensations in rotation.? Sometimes, I feel just a little bit maudlin about not smoking: there was still a side of me that enjoyed it, but that side is quickly over-run by the fact that most of me did not enjoy it anymore.? Sometimes, I feel like I’ve been holding a brick in the air: it would be easier just to let go and have a smoke.? That’s a tough one to counter-act, especially since I have the money to just go get a pack any time I want.? Sometimes, it feels like I’ve forgotten to lock the door: you know the feeling?? That sinking suspicion that you’ve forgotten to lock the door, and the impulse to just turn right around and run back to the house?? Yeah, I get that feeling about smoking.? The sudden urge to turn around and run back to get a pack of smokes.

But in all of this, I have never once felt the physical addiction symptoms that I’ve felt in other efforts of the past.? How strange is that?? Perhaps, by slowly eliminating the triggers, I’ve also cut out the regularity of smoking to some degree.? Perhaps, by cutting out the regularity, the physical addiction ~ while I’m sure it still exists ~ has learned to be more patient because the mental addiction will always find and excuse to smoke.

But not this time, I’m determined.? I feel very, very good about what I’m doing, and the fiancee is very proud of me.? Things are going well, and they’re going to keep on going.? I’ll be around the bend and done with smoking for a week solid before long, and we’ll see how I feel then.

Thanks for reading!


That’s It! I’m Quitting. . .

I’ve decided that now is the time to quit smoking, and for what I’m sure are largely narcissistic reasons I will come to regret later, I have decided to share this experience with the blog. First, let me describe the circumstances surrounding my decision and those that led to the beginning of the end, so to speak: