Full disclosure: it will be three months by next week, which means next week I will have hit that 12 week mark where I should be more comfortable with my new lifestyle.
Just this evening, I was jogging home from my local CAPS meeting and I surprised myself. I was able to run 4 blocks to my house and not be out of breath. I didn’t feel tired, or as if I was going to pass out, and I couldn’t hear my heart pounding loudly in my ears. My mini-run put me in such a good mood that I couldn’t stop smiling for at least an hour. My smoking cessation hasn’t been all peachy, however. I will admit, I’ve had a couple of incidents.
The first incident:
I don’t know if you can call this a relapse, but a couple weeks ago I was eating lunch with a friend, and I had a drag of her cigarette. I asked for a drag because I wanted to see what it would taste like. I was feeling pretty confident in my abilities; I hadn’t had a craving in a couple of weeks, and I just wanted to try it. Maybe it wasn’t a good idea, maybe I was testing myself, but either way, I hated the drag I had. I actually coughed. I was disgusted. And then I felt proud of myself, for feeling that way. I felt proud of my body for reacting so negatively to the cigarette smoke.
The second incident:
This incident is actually an ongoing process. Lately in my dreams, I am smoking a cigarette. It is not every night that I am smoking a cig, but I would say it has happened at least 5 times in the past 2 weeks. At first the dreams worried me, because I thought I would start smoking again because it was “on my mind”… but now I wonder if it is a warning to myself, and a reminder that I am trying to change, and be a new person, and I can’t relapse now. It is common knowledge that our brains don’t stop developing until we are 25, so if I spent the last 6 years of my adult life addicted to nicotine, my brain chemistry would have developed with a place for nicotine. Now that I no longer feed my brain nicotine, is there a chemical hole in my brain? Has my addiction harmed my brain chemistry?
“Brain skills come online with the onset in adolescence,” Caldwell said. “It’s a work in progress. It’s learning every single day.”
As teens learn to bridle their emotions with reasoning skills, Caldwell said, alcohol and drug use can be counterproductive.
“Addiction is related to experiences of learning, memory, reward and the motivation to go back to the substance, despite consequences,” he said.
via GazetteXtra.com “Alcohol, drugs slow teen development“
And while I know the article quoted above is about drugs and alcohol in teens, couldn’t it also apply to nicotine? Could this explain why I am still so ruled by my emotions? If I had never started smoking, would I have a different personality? Scary thoughts…
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.
Yes, I realize this space is not for me to share personal experiences, but I thought I would share with my fellow T/Sers my struggles. This is also a ploy to get some cyber sympathy, some pats on the back and words of encouragement… so please leave them below. I need them.
I started smoking when I was 16 because I thought I was a bad-ass, and I was rebelling against my parents and my catholic school institution. I don’t think I got addicted then, it was more “let’s go to Central Park after school and smoke cigs before we go home”. In college it was a different story as access was easy. I was 18, and shopkeepers could not refuse my requests. My health deteriorated over the years, my clothes began to reek, and I lost my sense of smell. Read the rest of this entry »