I have been nicotine free for over a month

Antarctica: Marlboro Reds

You disgust me, cowboy killers! Image by elisfanclub via Flickr

As the title suggests, I have not had a cigarette in over a month, and all cigarette smoke is now disgusting to me. I attribute my success to the rigid control I exerted on my environment, but let it be known that the subliminal messages I got from TV shows were also helpful (both 30 Rock and Community had “quit smoking” references during my worst pangs).

My cessation of cigarettes was a multi-month long operation that began a week before the new year. I’d been talking about quitting smoking for years, … but I was “waiting” for the right opportunity.

Maybe I was just making excuses in the beginning, but the opportunity to quit smoking presented itself around Christmas . My “Quit Smoking” operation began while I was visiting family in the motherland, and my first move was switching to the European equivalent of Virginia Slims.  Once I ran out of cigs,  I made sure to switched brands with every pack.  What was also wise about my cig choice was not only did these elegant and thin lady cigs have a lot less nicotine (nicotine levels are displayed right on the pack overseas), but as a general rule tend to taste atrocious. I even smoked menthols to further disgust myself.  This plan of switching to different brands has been trumpeted by many “Quit Smoking” websites and I found it was most effective.  The biggest help, though, was the fact that I was away from home and outside my normal comfort zone.

When I came back to the states in January I fell back into my old smoking routine, but I craved less smoke breaks and the Marlboro Reds I used to love were just too strong for me. I couldn’t finish a whole cig… the buzz was overwhelming and I felt like a nicotine virgin again. It also helped that my boyfriend was leaving for a month. I had planned my smoking cessation to coincide with his absence, because I knew that quitting with someone else still smoking around me would make the whole endeavor much more difficult.

Once he was gone, and my cigarettes ran out, I just didn’t buy more. I holed myself up in my apartment and tried to keep to myself as much as possible, which I realize is not a feasible plan for many people.  I knew hanging out with friends who smoked would complicate my “operation”, as would  putting myself in stressful situations, so I avoided everyone and any thing that I could think of that would make me want to smoke. If I had to go out, I took gum and lollipops with me.

I found gum and lollipops worked with my oral fixation, though this is not a very healthy option and probably explains why I was still tired (sugar high, followed by a sugar crash). Today, I think I am finally getting that energy boost, but I have engaged in fits of hyper-activity (like cleaning my closet out) and I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Have I hit puberty again?

I wanted to say that I didn’t gain weight from smoking cessation, but that is unfortunately not true. I added 3 to 5 pounds…. and I don’t know how this happened. I did not eat more than I usually do  and in fact, I made sure to eat less because I did NOT want to gain the weight.  I exercised multiple times a day. If I was walking to the train and found myself craving a cig, I would jog the craving away.

As for moodiness, I have found I am more prone to crying over angry, irritable bursts (not like in my last post). An example; I’ve read White Fang  multiple times, but  the other day I started bawling when Beauty Smith beat White Fang until he couldn’t get up. Why I would cry at this 15th time I read it and not the first, I don’t know. No “are you going to  ride the crimson wave?” jokes please…..

I don’t know if this is because I made a decision in my life that was for the benefit of myself (a rare occasion), but since I quit smoking I feel different. I don’t want to say “more mature”, but I certainly do feel more level headed. Epiphanies don’t happen often in life, but when they do, you remember them clearly. People say that you lose yourself when you start smoking because it changes everything about you. Not only are your moods impacted, but so are your eating, sleeping and exercise habits.

Now that my body is getting accustomed to this nicotine -and-chemical-free physique, I have to remember what I was like before I started smoking. For me, that non-smoking person was a 16 year old and I have forgotten how that person operated. But wait, do I even want to be like my teenage self? All impetuous and  wild and crazy (that hussy ke$ha STOLE my trademark hairstyle)?

I am told it could take 8 – 12 weeks for me to be comfortable in my own skin again. I hope it doesn’t take that long ….

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9 Comments on “I have been nicotine free for over a month”

  1. jazzland says:

    Congratz to you Fruzsina.. The worst part is over. Now breathe again!

  2. stushea says:

    Keep strong. I’m proud of you!

  3. johnny6 says:

    Unfortunately it’s going to get harder before it gets easier. But if you can make it another month without smoking then I’d say there’s a good chance that you will quit for good. Distract yourself, do something, anything as long as it’s not smoking. Most importantly you need to just find a way to hang in there!

  4. Pat Weldon says:

    More energy
    Within two to 12 weeks of stopping smoking, the circulation improves, making all physical activities, including walking and running, much easier. The boost to the immune system from quitting will make it easier to fight off colds and flu. And the increase in oxygen in the body makes ex-smokers less fatigued and less likely to suffer from headaches.

    I got a upper lung infection after I quit again , it has helped me not smoke for sure , but it is misserable , i will feel a lot better by spring with some freash new air , hang in there

  5. dougem says:

    It is so cliché but so true: you never are truly nicotine free once you’ve been addicted. The last time I quit I was successful for three years and then wham! It was way too easy to start again. Stupidity? Yes of course but I prefer to think of it as an unfortunate accident. That kind of gets me off the hook. I won’t go into then blood and guts of it but it was truly stupid.
    Quitting takes a lot of energy and it’s taken me I don’t know how many years to get the energy to try again but here I am in my second week. Fruzsina, if I remember correctly, after about six weeks all is well. You become a dormant smoker but it’s also the most dangerous period because you tend to let you guard down more easily. My only advice is to pay attention and stay strong.
    This time has been much easier for me because cigarettes are virtually illegal in Maryland and that helps a lot. There isn’t much second hand smoke to deal with so the habit is not in the front of the brain very often.
    A few days into this adventure I was looking around the Internet for some help. All I found was angry facts and figures: day one blah, blah. Month one blah, blah. I needed a human face on the situation when I ran across your first article. It was cool to find somebody that is willing to share the journey and not just spew scientific facts. That article and this one have helped me so thanks and good luck!

  6. Caitlin Kelly says:

    We are all proud of you and you MUST not let us down.

    Stay ciggy-free and I’ll come out to Chicago to buy you a drink to celebrate.

  7. I am Steve Meister and I was smoking for 12 years. My neighbor showed me his electronic cigarette and I haven’t gone back to cigarettes. I was concerned about the safety of the ecig as I heard there wasn’t any testing done. I came across a website called http://www.truthaboutecigs.com and got alot of good information and science reports. inLife LLC, a national electronic cigarette distributor has created a website called TruthAboutEcigs.com (http://truthaboutecigs.com/ ) that presents solely the facts and science behind this quite amazing new technology. There are groups that are heavily funded by Pfizer Corporation (the maker of the nicotine replacement therapy drug Chantix that our sales would and are eroding), specifically Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) and the American Legacy Foundation whose fiduciary responsibilities lie as a stated mandate to oversee and protect the public’s health in this case are acting inversely to the science that has already been completed on our products. It seems what foes of our technology are most strident about and have written: “e-cigs contain dangerous chemicals and are being inappropriately marketed to children, and that their makers have no evidence to support claims that the product is safe.” In factual rebuttal to that statement, the FDA and five other completed lab tests have found no toxins and no carcinogens in the e-cig at ANY levels that are harmful to humans. Also, inverse to the statement that we have not provided evidence to support our products safety, the FDA and all other entities that are reviewing this product have not found a single case of harm (that we are aware of) from use of the e-cig. With well over 800,000 e-cigs users with over 240,000,000 uses of the e-cig in the US and millions globally, if there were ANY single incidence of harm or logically if there were scores of Americans being harmed by this product do you not think there would be governmental and media alarms resounding? Please refer to TruthAboutEcigs.com for all relevant science on this truly fabulous technology.

  8. […] You can read about my first 10 days here, and my status update after a month here.  […]

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