I quit smoking, again

I have quit smoking so many times in my life that I have honestly lost count.  I have tried everything too.  The gum tasted like I was chewing on a burned out butt.  The patches gave me horrendous nightmares and skin rashes.  The lozenges tasted like I was sucking on a burned out butt, and for over a year I smoked these herbal cigarettes from a health food store.  Those were pretty weird.  Nothing had ever lasted long, and I have always gone back to the cigarettes.  Not because I enjoy smoking, but because cigarettes have just always been around me.  My father smoked, my siblings all smoke, my husband smokes.  Each time I reach for a cigarette after I have quit I can hear Jackie boy whispering in my head “Nobody ever really quits. A smoker’s a smoker when the chips are down. And your chips are down.” I feel haunted by them!

Over the past 10 years smoking has become socially unacceptable, and that only turned me into a closet smoker.  Where Monday through Friday I smoked only after I was home, and I would only smoke in my garage.  I kept all of my paraphernalia hidden, and I tried to mask the odor on me with perfumes, hand sanitizers, lotions and gum.  I never wanted anyone to know about my dirty little secret, and all of my shame.  I never wanted my children to know that Mommy was a smoker.

I have always encouraged my husband to quit smoking with me each time I have tried, but he always gave me the same excuse.  He is an adult that enjoys smoking, and had no desire to quit.  What am I even supposed to say to that?  I suppose that he may be right.  I mean if that is how he wants to live his life, then who am I to tell him otherwise?  But I am afraid all of that changed once we had our children.

I think the new anti-smoking campaigns are great but this commercial on television that shows you the truly ugly side of cigarettes had our oldest son worried about Dad and his smoking.  He came to me crying one night that Dad was going to die after he had listened to a commercial where a woman with a tracheotomy described how she has to now avoid drowning in her shower, thanks to cigarettes.  I was not trying to guilt my husband into quitting, but I decided that I have had enough and I was no longer going to shelter him from all of this guilt that I carry.  I never gave my husband an ultimatum, but I asked him to quit with me because he’s never even tried, and to my surprise he agreed.  I let him choose the date, and it came and went without any progress.  I decided to try another tactic.

We were out shopping one day when I asked him to stop at a Vape Shop.  We had both entered the shop skeptical because Marlboro had been sending us free coupons for the new E-cigs, and neither one of us liked them.  An hour later we both left with a new Vape pen, juice, coils and a punch card.  I am proud to tell you that today it has been 37 days since we started Vaping and neither one of us has picked up a cigarette, yet.  The chips have been down a LOT lately too, and to my surprise The Vape has been enough!  My kids see me puffing on this electronic device and exhaling a cloud of vapor so I had to open up about my addiction and explain what I was doing.  I am thankful for the opportunity to explain things to my oldest, and I can only pray that he will remember our struggle if he is ever offered a smoke or considering to try one.  I told him with all honesty something a grown up never told me about cigarettes, and that is once you start you will no longer have a choice, you WILL end up addicted.

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To be continued…..

28 days later

According to a widget on my cell phone I have already saved $110.17.  I no longer have to carry tissues in my car for my M-F 5-minute hacking ritual during my commute home, and the sharp pains in my chest have completely disappeared.  So why doesn’t 28 days without a cigarette feel any better than this?!!!  I think I really had expected to be completely over it all by now.  I think I had imagined a healthier and wiser me looking back at my former addiction right around day 15 with a friendly smile and wave, almost feeling sorry for it.   I think this was terribly silly thinking!

I had lunch with a friend last week who has been exactly where I am right now.  She told me something that I really needed to hear but it took a few days before I allowed myself to listen to her advice.  She said to me “It is going to take you at least a year to do everything you have ever done as a smoker now as a non-smoker.”  When I heard her say those words out loud I immediately dismissed them and I think I even audibly let out a PFFSTT in protest.  I didn’t let the words escape me but I carefully cataloged that statement in a compartment in my brain where I could later recall it when I was prepared to listen without judgement.  Why do I have to be so stubborn all of the damn time and Why do I always have to be so different and Right all of the damn time?  All that I ever seem to end up with is disappointment and letting my own self down.

In conquering my addiction I am also wanting to discover who I really am and I am struggling to love myself.  I am trying to discover how to learn who I am, accept who I am and love who I am.  This really is the longer road ahead, and the one I am trying to stay focused on for now.

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What is that Smell and Where is My Mind??!!

Today marks Day 19 without a cigarette.  This is after 23 years of smoking and quitting cold turkey.

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What is that Effing Smell and Where is my Mind?!?!?  This smell is all around me now. I can best describe the smell as a large bucket of gray dirty mop water that has been left behind in a closet for weeks! This entire building just reeks of this stench and I can’t seem to escape it!  I can even taste this stink now!  Was it always here? and why doesn’t anyone else seem to be bothered by it?!

I hate Monday mornings but what I hate even worse is being asked “So how was your weekend?” It shouldn’t be taking me this long to even recall what I was doing on both Saturday and Sunday, but I am frozen. I quickly lie and spat out some lame details about the city library, the public park and costume shopping….since those were all things I should have been doing with my family. Now I can remember. I am already back at my office when I remember very well what I was doing on both Saturday and Sunday. There is no way in hell I am admitting to anyone that I had spent both of those days in bed like Ewan McGregor’s character in the movie Trainspotting. That I am still in detox from my nicotine addiction after quitting cold turkey. How today I struggled to even get out of bed because the thought of starting an entirely new week without any emotional and/or physical progress is disheartening.

Today I almost forgot my wedding anniversary.  I can tell you my last 4 home addresses and home phone numbers but I can no longer hold a single solitary thought in my head.  I was preparing to make my family a dinner on Saturday afternoon when I discovered a tray sheet in my oven covered in already cooked french fries.  The tray and the fries were cold and I started to wonder just how long they had been there.  Uneaten cooked french fries were left abandoned in a cold oven.  Was this me?  I know for certain that I am the only person in this house turning the oven off and on.  So who could have done this?  When did it happen? and How? and better yet WHY?!!!!!

It’s now 1:30pm on this Monday and I am still no closer to solving the cold french fry in the oven mystery, and the air still stinks.

Cheers to HOPE!

Hoping that I find on Tuesday it will get a little bit easier with time.

…and hoping that Fry’s will have some Buffalo Bill on the shelf tonight!

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