email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Trying To Quit Smoking

Well, as the joke goes, "quitting smoking is easy, I've done it 100 times"!  It isn't of course.  I have quit for months on occasion only to fall back into it.  The saddest time was in the 1980s while on a camping trip to Canada with my former friend.   On our last day of camping, he was down to his last 2 cigarettes and said he was quitting and did I want to share 1 of the last 2.  I know now it was astonishingly stupid, but I felt immune immune.  It tasted GREAT! 

You know, I've actually wondered since then if my "friend" did that deliberately.  At the time, such a thought would never have occurred to me.  But these days, I consider the possibility.  He DID frequently mention how envious he was that I had quit when he couldn't...

When we got back to the Park convenience shop, he immediately bought a carton of cigarettes.  I stole several and smoked them stealthily.  We drove back to NY City where he lived at the time (and yes, I had done all the driving in my car).  But I had to drive back to MD from NY and I suddenly couldn't face the long boring New Jersey Turnpike without  smoking.  And there I was smoking again. 

I've stopped a few times since then for a few weeks at a time.  But then I face a long drive, a stressful event, or a long night at the computer and I give in again.  I wish the damn things were illegal.  It's just too hard to stop smoking when they are available 24/7 on every street corner.

I'm convinced I'm habituated to the "process" of smoking and not the nicotine.  I think that because sometimes I don't light a cigarette for several days at a time and it doesn't bother me.  And because I've been "vaping" an e-cigarette for 2 days which provides nicotine but is not in any way psychologically satisfactory. 

The e-cigarette is completely unsatisfactory.  It's a ceramic rod that is way too heavy, unwieldy, and (in spite of best efforts of designers) just doesn't work like a real cigarette.  I admire that it provides nicotine (in gradually reducible amounts), the appearence of smoke (its water vapor), and none of the carcinigens of actual cigarette smoke. 

But they just don't quite work yet.  They need to be as light as a regular cigarette, have a paperlike feel to the "filter" end,  and provide a better fake smoke.

And don't wish me good luck for stopping.  Between the 5th and 6th paragraphs, I drove to the nearest convenience store and bought a new carton of real cigarettes...  ARGH!!!  I just CAN'T be on the computer and not smoke... I need a better fake cigarette.


Jeannette in CO said...

I don't know if this would help, but I "made" a pacifier by taking an empty ball point pen shaft and inserting rolled up paper (to impede the draft). If you need the papery feeling for the filter, let the rolled paper to extend out the mouth end. This allowed me to have the pause that a cigarette provided. I also did the patch and was ill enough to make going out to buy more unpleasant. But it worked and that was 15 years ago. Good luck to you!

Megan said...

Well, I'm going to congratulate you on striving to give up. That in itself requires strength.

I wonder if there might be other processes that could occupy your hand/brain while you're at the computer, given that e-cigarettes don't work. I'll give it some thought and let you know if I come up with anything.

Sydney, Australia

Katie Isabella said...

well, I despaired 10 years ago of ever quitting. I have always had a very very high pressure job to say the least with frequent debilitating OT. I smoked like a factory One day, too long a story so I will cut to the chase..I left for a 13 at least, hr. shift at midnight shifts time and left them behind here at the hose knowing full well I could not get any again till the next day. I did it on purpose...and never smoked again. Cold turkey. Never looked back. Never touched them again. But I know that siren call Mark, all the times I tried before.

Katie Isabella said...

HOUSE...not hose. sigh.

Katnip Lounge said...

I've never smoked but I HAVE quit a nasty illegal substance addiction. My advice is to change your habits when you decide to quit. Use the computer (and whatever else triggers you) in a new place or gotta change your "friends" to quit.

The Cat From Hell said...

Quitting smoking is the MOST difficult thing I have ever done in my life!!!
I had the patch, took the drugs AND chewed the gum, all at the same time! I was homicidal (and I am not an angry person). It took me 6 months to finally quit. And, yes I have had a few since, but mostly they make me feel dizzy or sick.
Keep trying,it will get easier to go longer.

Megan said...

Mark - is there any merit in trying to cut down gradually? It's not an approach that you hear discussed much - so perhaps it's been shown not to work. But I would imagine that going cold turkey would be horrible - the mental battle, all day, every day, consuming a lot of nervous energy, whereas, if you set out to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoked by, say, one or two per day this week, and another one or two per day next week etc, you may find that you can achieve greater success.

Sydney, Australia

Ramblingon said...

Cold turkey is best. And know that every 20 minutes they say is when the urge comes to smoke. S-Do something else and keep on trucking'. I just quit with no urges. It was amazing after smoking all of those years. It can happen with the right mind set