I have been nicotine free for over a monthPosted: March 7, 2010
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 ….