So. I have been a nonsmoker for six days. Of course, that makes me an expert. Nevermind that I quit smoking for both my pregnancies and breastfeeding and for 2 random years somewhere in there. I've never been a chain smoker. Probably a pack a week. And never in the house. But I have been smoking since I was 15 years old.
Yep. Six whole days. I'm pretty sure you guys are just chomping at the bit to get some sage advice from the guru, yes?
First thing you should know about quitting. From the expert who has been a nonsmoker for six whole days. The physical nicotine withdrawal is fucking miserable. Straight up. Miserable. It sucks balls. Like you would not believe.
But. It only lasts 3 or 4 days at the most. Don't use pills. Don't use gum. Don't use patches. You're only prolonging the inevitable. Just do it. Just throw the rest of your pack in the trash, put on your big girl panties, and suck it up. It will end.
The psychological dependence is another thing entirely. It doesn't suck, really. It's not physically miserable, truly. But it's that thing that fills the gaps in between your conscious thoughts. Out of nowhere, you think "back porch time!" And then you remember.
It's that friend whose feelings are now hurt because you won't be his friend anymore. You are going to miss him. You are going to feel sad that you will never see him again for the rest of your whole life.
You will find that your brain will try to convince you that you are bored and lonely. You think that you must find something to replace your "break time." You remember that article you read that says women, on average, gain 8 pounds while quitting. So eating to fill the gap is out of the question.
That's when you start updating your blog on a daily basis. Desperately trying to find clever and useful things to say in order to reconfigure your misfiring neurons. But you wind up only sounding like a huge fucking tool. But at least your mind is occupied.
I've read all sorts of great things. Like taking a walk or going on a run whenever you get a hankerin'. Jesus monkeyfuckers! If I do any more running, my hamstring is gonna wind up popping me in the face like one of those denigrated rubber bands you find in a box in the attic that was last discovered in the 1970s.
Hmm... snack on healthy things! You can only eat so many 'healthy things' until you hit that wall that says "calories are calories despite from whence they come!" Which adds more ass to my fat.
Or, I could chew gum. Which is exactly what I do when I smoke. You wanna know WHY? Because I hate the way cigarettes taste. Yeah. How screwed up is that? That I have been smoking for 20 years but hate the way it tastes so much that I cannot smoke without chewing gum. Yeah.
Thinking and writing and reading are really the only things I've found that truly work to hold my attention. I am totally caught up on my Earthly current events. I've watched a couple movies. Almost finished chapter 2, although all of this "thinking" bullshit is threatening to take my story in an entirely different direction.
Yoga helps. It really does. Surprisingly so. But I can't sit around in lotus practicing nostril breathing all damn day, as enlightening as that might be. So, once again, I'm back to the big girl panties and sucking it up thing.
The suck will end, I am sure of it. My neurons will reconfigure themselves. My attention will refocus and all of those good and wonderful things.
In a way, I kind of wish it had affected my health a lot more than it did (at least recognizably), because it would really give me a confidence boost to see how much better I feel. But the truth is, I've not felt that. I haven't had any magical runs that magically make me feel magical. I feel the same. Never had any trouble breathing during runs before. I've never had frequent colds or a smoker's cough. My times haven't increased by some magical number. Maybe I need to be patient for those things. Perhaps. Maybe not.
I am grateful for my job, though. In the medical field. Listening to medical histories and courses of illnesses and treatments and followups. The health effects, for me at least, are not some untouchable propaganda or something I can brush off out of convenience so that I can continue smoking, having convinced myself that it's "not as bad as people say it is." That shit is all up in my face every day. Smoking is bad. It is as bad as people say it is. It kills people. Much earlier and in much more painful and scary and devastating ways than life simply having run its course.
"We're going to die anyway."
"Life is a terminal condition."
"We're dying from the day we are born."
To the smokers who say those things to lull themselves into a sense of comfort, I ask you right now to go throw yourselves in front of a speeding 18-wheeler while listening to the song "Sheena Is A Punk Rocker."
You're dying anyway, right? No big deal.
(That's me being annoyingly self-righteous for a nonsmoker of 6 whole days, by the way).