My Journey To Quitting Smoking, Once and for Ever… Week One
Paradigm shift, can I do this…? Can I actually quit smoking? Have I ever really given it an honest effort? Let me tell you, unless you’ve tried to quit smoking before, you are in for a huge surprise. You will come to grips of what a HORRIBLE addiction cigarette smoking really is.
It’s almost as if these things are chemically engineered to be next to impossible to quit. People liken tobacco addiction to Heroin addiction and I don’t really know but one thing I can say, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do! I remember that day clearly, 17 years ago, how ignorant I was when I first took that puff of a cigarette. I truly thought that I was master of my domain, I was in control… There’s no way I’d get hooked… Right? Wrong.
The world began spinning around me, I literally felt sick to my stomach and my body was giving me every sign that this was the beginning of a horrible mistake. I at the time was thirteen years old, in grade 7 and felt that need to fit in. I sometimes think to myself, how bad of a serious drug addict I’d become if it ever came to that, I mean if cigarettes can control almost every aspect of my life like they had been for the last 17 years, imagine if I had gotten “hooked” on heroin. I mean I can see cigarettes for what they are now but the truth is that I LOVE cigarettes
So, as I begin writing this all that pain keeps flooding back and I find it hard to contemplate what exactly is happening to my body post cigarettes. You see, my entire world has become flipped upside down and I’m thinking that I’m really going to have to re-learn how to cope with life. In fact, I know that I am. Here I am before you professing my one-week (7-days) without any cigarette. Not even ONE puff. One thing I’ve learned throughout this week, so far, is that in order for me to be successful, there is absolutely no way that I can even allow just one puff. That’s right; I realized THE ONLY WAY is to never look back.
In my quest for finding information about quitting, i keep hearing the same worrisome thing… Cut out the behavior cues that would lead to smoking. However, I LOVE coffee.. and how the hell can I justify biting off more than I can chew and quitting more than one addiction at a time. My advice is to take it hour-by-hour and day-by-day.. Don’t look at the bigger picture and focus on each individual smoke free day.
So here I am, I can breathe… I may spend 99% of the day thinking of cigarettes, and have (almost) physical neck pain (although probably from restless sleeping habits, but I do wonder…) and all I can do is hope it gets easier soon. So, does it get better? Well, I have hope! Most people say relapse is normal, but I’m not listening to that because that just sets me up for failure, right from the get-go. I know from experience that giving in just that one time will be the nail in the coffin for me.
So more advice, it is not OK to ever smoke again.. Make sure you get this point across to yourself. Think of all those years you smoked and how it took this long for you to get fed up enough to give quitting an honest try. Remember all that pain, hardship and progress goes away with just one puff. Worse off, you might die before you give quitting another try. I mean if it took me 17 years to actually get to this point, I might not have that much time left to finally hit that POINT OF WANTING TO QUIT AGAIN. Go figure, day 7 and I am having the worst craving… Go figure the same morning I’m talking about, I didn’t even grab my e-cig this morning.
Be strong and join me in never having another puff, ever again. Life is too short for bull-shit like this.
Who would have known that this journey of quitting smoking could lead to so many self-discoveries? Smoking for as long as I have, I find that I really have no idea how to deal with anything, because my response has always been to light up a cigarette. I am the most vulnerable person right now and that I have to accept. I have to wonder whether things will get better, or if this is life now. Maybe, because I’m an animal, I have this primal urge to always be on guard and feel as if punching someone or flipping out is a right course of action. Maybe, this is life now, maybe smoking has only really been covering up my true nature.
I wonder what I’m addicted to here, is it the escape from reality that smoking provides, or is it the addiction to the nicotine, or, maybe rather it’s one of those other 7000 chemicals? Who knows, remind me again, and why are these things still legal? Smoking has always been there for me… It was always my very best friend. There through all the hard times and the best times. So, I smoke therefore I am and if I choose not to smoke
So congrats to me, I’ve been 13 days without any smoking. Man it feels great. I am having a few issues though and figured I’d take a moment and share what is going on with you guys. So, because I’d spent so much of my life smoking (started when I was 12 and am 32, so 20 years) I really to put it basically, didn’t really get to experience life to its fullest.
Turns out, I really had no idea how gross some of my favorite snacks actually were. Now that I can actually taste these foods, yuck. I used to really enjoy some foods like pepperoni, beef jerky and now I can’t stand these foods. Even chocolate milk I find tastes horrible and this was my longtime favorite brand that I had enjoyed for years. I will stop complaining and believe me that there is really little to complain about in retrospect. I actually feel really good and can tell that my breathing has already improved.
One thing I’m now noticing is I’m having that quitter’s flu; it worried me at first because I had not smoked but still was coughing up this phlegm that consisted of black speckles. Consulted a plethora of internet knowledge about said issue and was surprised to find this a normal reaction to quitting.
So to go into a bit more detail.. Turns out when we smoke tobacco or anything otherwise carcinogenic, our lungs and throat lose the ability to clean themselves out. Turns out, this is due to the cilia or small hairs that function to clean and remove impurities that we breathe. The small hairs usually operate like a wave in the ocean, sweeping foreign material upwards to be coughed up easily.
Smoke renders these cilia or “small hairs” useless. They become paralyzed and are unable to perform their job. This phlegm as it would turn out, is a very good sign that my lungs and throat have begun the healing process. Yay! Be aware that this should not last too long and if it persists with you, maybe you should consult a doctor. So the greatest win so far, is that there is hope and I’m seeing some great improvements (and some not so great).
As it would turnout, quitting smoking for me has also been a great journey of self-discovery so far. I feel like I’m in the process of learning how to live again, this may sound strange, but that’s how bad of an addiction this was for me. I am learning a lot about my triggers also. Driving takes the most patience now, because I used to chain smoke driving. It has been especially hard. I still drink coffee and love it; will work on caffeine addiction later…
I think biting off too much right now, would not help me in the long run. I will conquer smoking before I move on to other vices and will use this experience to empower positive change in the future. One thing is for certain.. Us ex-smokers I believe can conquer anything post smoking.
So, until my next update.. Hang in there and remember NOT EVEN A PUFF, ever again. Seriously learn from MY mistakes and realize that it is counter-productive to go back, for even just one puff….
I’ll keep updating this journey as time goes on.. I want to hear your comments and experiences ! Good luck and keep motivated