Secret #5 – Stop Smoking

Twenty years have come and gone since I picked up my first cigarette and smoked it. I like it you know.
the taste the feel, the way it filled my lungs and how it circled upwards twirling into the air once exhaled. It has always visually entranced me…

About three years ago I stopped smoking indoors. Yes, the amount I smoked decreased somewhat but that’s not the fucking point. And yes,
I’m somewhat grumpy
somewhat heaving
somewhat lazy and mourning
and saying good bye to a companion whose been by my side
for two
decades

The fallacy of smoking is that it’s wonderful for a person like me who moves from one extreme to another… the harder it is to do something the more I’ll find a way to continue doing it
braving sub-zero temperatures…

72 hours ago I put out my last cigarette.

And for all you Etsy sellers and yes this is on my mind you demonizing little forum writers… not all smokers, smoke inside and not all smokers touch their artwork with smokey hands. I am/was diligent with washing my hands and keeping myself clean.

And maybe I’m lashing out right now. It’s been so quiet. All I want to do is cry but all that does is make me sad and want to curl up into a little ball and sleep. My focus sucks. My creative energy has all but gone into the fog that’s rolling in from the bay outside. My chest feels heavy and I know it’s only because for once I’m getting adequate amounts of oxygen into my lungs. But you know what I want that vile cigarette.

I bought a house this week! Happy! but here I am crying like a baby about a cigarette. Why today is it bugging me so much!

I quit in 1997 for 13 months after my appendix ruptured and was literally rotting inside me. I had morphine to cope with withdrawal so smoking didn’t really matter when I could pump drugs directly into my blood stream.

I quit in 2003 for 19 months using Zyban. Mmm what to say about that except Zyban mentally can mess with your psyche pretty bad. Be for-warned.

I quit for 2 days in 2006. On the third day the DEA raided my office in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Yeah, so I relapsed and began smoking again. Fuck that I said. I want my crutch and I want it now. Those men have rifles pointed at me and there arresting my friends.

so here we are in 2009.
72 hours into quitting and I’m honestly fine.
Are you reading between those lines?
I read a book called “Allen Carr’s EASY way to quit smoking”.
I think it slightly hypnotized me. Needless to say I’m damn lonely right now.
NOT one of my closest girlfriends is a non-smoker.
THEY ALL SMOKE! 90% of the females aged 25 to 45 where I live, smoke.
And guess what!
The men don’t unless they are aged 45 to 65.
WTF?

I’ll tell you though… physical withdrawal from nicotine is NOTHING! It’s a wee little blip in time. It can’t even kill you.

It’s nothing compared to the wee seizures, bone chilling shaking extremities, skin eruptions, low blood pressure, hallucinations and psychosis from GHB withdrawal that can actually kill you dead.

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25 thoughts on “Secret #5 – Stop Smoking

  1. I’ve had this feeling and I’ve talked with others that say cigarettes are like a really good friend they are always there. A poisonous friend but…. Your doing good girl. I have the hardest time getting through PMS without one but I’m on my fourth month of getting through without my monthly pack :) And congrats on the house you have some changes going on ,good changes. And I can’t stand it when people are judgmental of smokers grrrrr….. Keep on being good to yourself you deserve it :)

  2. I just passed two years not smoking… the withdrawal is nothing, it’s the habit that was hard for me. I have to push away ashtrays in bars still.

    Hopefully this time is the last time around for you on quitting, eh?

  3. hang in there Jessica. Quitting is hard, but you deserve a healthy body. Just think of all the money you’ll save? Such an expensive habit.
    Did you really buy a house? Wow, that’s awesome girl!
    Take care, karin

  4. Hey Jessica, I’m sorry you are feeling lonely. It is hard to quit smoking, but it’s hard to be a smoker too. I quit in 1992. I was a pack to a pack and a half a day smoker for 11 years. I hated the social outcast aspect of it then, but it’s even worse now. The city I live in won’t even allow smoking in bars anymore – it’s crazy!

    When I quit, I sometimes sat by smokers on purpose to catch some second hand smoke. I know it’s probably cheating, but it helped take the edge off. I had achey lungs for a long time but eventually that went away. I missed smoking for several years. Not like a “longing” kind of thing, but just moments when I’d think “you know, a cigarette would be really nice right now”.

    When I first quit, I kept asking myself “what the hell do non-smokers do with all this free time?” I was mad too. It irritated me that I loved to smoke and I felt like I needed to quit. Why shouldn’t I be able to smoke? It was my only true friend. The one who got me through everything. But I quit and had quit a hundred times before. When I quit the last time, I kept telling myself “if you really want to go back to being a smoker, you can at any time. Maybe you could try going without for awhile.”

    Hang in there girl, there is a reason you stopped. Stick to it and in 17 years you can be writing unsolicited “wisdom” on someone else’s blog who is trying to quit smoking. :)

  5. Just a quickie cos busy. But..

    I gave up in 1995. I had smoked since I was 14, I had smoked cannibis from the age of 19 to about 33, that’s a long time. I gave up on May 5th 1995, it was easy..unbelievably though!! I had spent years and years worrying that I would never be able to give up, and then when I did, it was a piece of piss!. If only I had known how easy I would find it, I would have done so earlier. My Father tried again and again and failed, despite being left with the use of one lung after pneumonia. It was only after having a cancerous tumour in his bladder (due to smoking, nicotene build up in his urinary tract), that he finally gave up. I obviously don’t carry the ‘addictive’ gene (my pet theory)

    Anyway, point it..once I had it licked it CHANGED MY LIFE!!!
    This is what I was able to achieve once I stopped.
    I took up mountain biking, and cycling off road.
    I took up Karate.
    I learnt to play the Flute (and I became good!)

    None, and I mean NONE of these things were I able to do when I smoked.

    What stopped me?

    I watched a programme about smokers of cannabis who had had face and throat cancers. Horror. Also, I worked as an adminsitrator in a Nursing home and had to face the ex smokers who had this horrific trachy devices strapped to their necks (basically they had had chunks of their throats removed and or voice boxes and had permanent ‘holes’ in their throats), the site of this horrified me.

    Anyway..the point of this rambling disjointed post is…don’t give up. Please don’t. I am roughly ten years older than you, friends are dying. Everything we do comes back to haunt us. You are in your mid thirties, this is the BEST time to give, don’t leave it any later. At this point you are young enough for your lungs to recover virtually competely. Also, by giving up now you increase your chances to conceive at a later date (and don’t rule it out because I gave birth to Orla just before my 43)..

    So, enough from me. I am proud of you for trying, and you wont regret it. It’s hard at this point, but this is the decisions that change your life.

    Love
    Lorrie
    xx

  6. Good for you. I quit smoking two years ago, and am amazed every day by how wonderful it is to be a non-smoker (even though I never disliked smoking, don’t feel guilty for having smoked, and really didn’t believe life would be nearly as pleasant without cigarettes. So glad I was wrong).

    I read that book, too, although for me, it was Wellbutrin/Zyban that worked, plus the replacement of anticipation. Like Heather said about cigarettes being a friend who’s always there, they also give smokers something to look forward to. Smokers ALways have something to look forward to, no matter how horrible things are, or what tragedy is happening. So I made sure I always had something to look forward to. First nicotine gum, then I replaced that with a soda here, or fruit juice there, or a trip to the art store, or whatever. And for me, it worked, even though at first, these things seemed like pale substitutes. Eventually, I just started looking forward to everything.

    The best thing about quitting smoking for me, even more than things smelling good (things smell so gooooood! clean towels smell good, cut grass smells good, the flowers three houses down smell good!), and the whole health thing, is that now I can appreciate the littlest things – seriously, the tiniest, littlest, most obscure details of the world – a lot more, because half my brain is not occupied with the thought of my next cigarette.

    Anyway, sometimes advice and encouragement and been-there stories are really annoying, when you’re making any huge change, but especially quitting smoking, so I hope this is not, but if you need the encouragement, I wish you the very best.

  7. You can do it! I’ve smoked off and on for 20 years. I’m 35 almost 36. I’ve quit a couple of times and end up coming back in times of stress and significant mental weakness. (I ended my last smoke free period when I moved to california – you drive across country with 2 dogs, your boyfriend, room mate, no job, no apartment, and see how you feel:) )

    You got off GHB so you can do this too.

    Think about WHEN you smoke, it will help you change the behavior. the last time I quit, I used to just walk outside like I was going to smoke and stand there for a few minutes after meals and in the morning, I would stick gum in my mouth anytime I wanted a cigarette.

    Now – I travel very long distances for my job – 12 -1 6 hours on a plane some times – and I SWEAR I couldn’t do it without a nicotine patch. I don’t even want to smoke. My old boss wore a nicotine patch everyday instead of smoking, which means he’s still an addict, but not a smelly one 😉

    You have to want to quit for you, not for anyone else, but for you.

  8. You can do it! I’ve smoked off and on for 20 years. I’m 35 almost 36. I’ve quit a couple of times and end up coming back in times of stress and significant mental weakness. (I ended my last smoke free period when I moved to california – you drive across country with 2 dogs, your boyfriend, room mate, no job, no apartment, and see how you feel:) )

    You got off GHB so you can do this too.

    Think about WHEN you smoke, it will help you change the behavior. the last time I quit, I used to just walk outside like I was going to smoke and stand there for a few minutes after meals and in the morning, I would stick gum in my mouth anytime I wanted a cigarette.

    Now – I travel very long distances for my job – 12 -1 6 hours on a plane some times – and I SWEAR I couldn’t do it without a nicotine patch. I don’t even want to smoke. My old boss wore a nicotine patch everyday instead of smoking, which means he’s still an addict, but not a smelly one 😉

    You have to want to quit for you, not for anyone else, but for you.
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

  9. I stopped smoking the wicked weed 1.5 years ago. I was rolling my own here in Norway, sans filter, so you can image the nicotine quanta that was coursing through my system. 25 years of bad habit. As an artist-sort-of-person I can tell you that the cessation of nicotine intake can be quite a mind fuck. As if you didn’t know. You may also consider – all those breaks you take while working. You have been drawing/painting for an hour or so and you nip out on the balcony for a smoke. You look at the stars as you take a couple of pulls on your red wine and you burn that cig. Suck it in, pull it up the nose. Let it linger as your mind wanders.
    Truth is, cigarettes, tobacco and nicotine suck big time. Demon tobacco takes more than it gives. Much more. It’s the artistic lie. As Ibsen says – a livsløgn. “Tar De livsløgnen fra et gjennomsnittsmenneske, tar De lykken fra ham med det samme.” Hold on, hold out – in retrospect you will be astounded that you subjected yourself to such unrewarding self-abuse.
    Otherwise – congrads on the house! Now you are moving in the direction you want to be . . .

  10. More power to you for quitting the sticks.

    But… what are Secrets #1 – #4?

  11. Heather – I feel like I’m missing an old friend… I keep telling myself I despise this old friend. I think more than anything I’m feeling the withdrawal from Pepsi (caffeine and sugar) intake more so than than the nicotine withdrawal.

    Best thing I’ve found for PMS is to drink loads of water, switch from using tampons to a Diva cup and lower your salt intake.

  12. Candice – congrats on passing two years! I hope to be there in two years to. I keep coming across lighters or matches in my purses and it’s making me cringe… *hugs*

    Hopefully this time is the last time around for you on quitting, eh?

    Yes, this is the last time. I’m at 5 days now :) YAY!

  13. Karin – thank you. I did buy a house… which sadly got overshadowed by quitting smoking. I feel pretty good except for some acute anxiety that comes in waves…

    Thus far I’ve saved about $40 since quitting 😉

  14. I’m quitting too. I’m a little farther along than you (months)–maybe–because I slip up about once a week. Taking Chantix makes it just seem like a silly habit–none of that relaxation and relief at finally having one of my old friends–but, oh, to give it up completely is like giving up a part of myself–a part I miss so much. I understand how painful it is and wish you success.

  15. Laura Pugh – I know about the time issue. I have more time now and feel distracted but determined to not smoke and be happy with my choice. Creatively I’m having a tough time.

    I used to go outside and smoke then come in wash my hands grab some paper or begin typing or digitally drawing. It was routine. That is the hardest things for me right now. Writing seems to come easily so I’ll write to my hearts content until I’m able to draw again. Even washing my hands is a weird trigger for me.

    “if you really want to go back to being a smoker, you can at any time. Maybe you could try going without for awhile.”

    That’s a brilliant line… your wisdom is very much welcome to my ears right now :)

  16. Lorrie – you have become a dear friend over the months since we first met online. I’m glad you are here right now and thank you for sharing your truth with me. I’m 5 days in and feeling pretty good most of the time. I get weird anxieties that come and go.

    I remember once living in Vancouver and visiting the doc. My regular doc was out on vacation and in her place I had a male doctor who basically told me that if I didn’t quit smoking, smoking would hard-wire itself into my brain and I wouldn’t be able to quit.

    That thought never left me and i don’t know if it impeded me or aided me. It made me mad, then scared. Soon it was just fear itself that frightened me. Now I’m going to cry again LOL! We women are funny creatures aren’t we? xo

  17. The Doctor was just recounting a pet theory, they all have them, and to some degree or another it may carry some weight, but I don’t think it holds true all the time and certainly not in every case and scenario, and really it’s a fact that what we understand about the human brain can be written on a thumbnail compared to what we don’t know.

    As for my past? Haha, if you only knew the half of it. Suffice to say, I have lived two lives, and am in fact two very different people, the ‘other’ I left behind a long time ago mid thirties, and in truth, she should be dead by now. The day I gave birth to Orla my parents said to me it was the proudest thing I had ever done because for much of my life they didn’t think I would make ‘old bones’.

    So, in essence we can all change if we really want to. Son of Incognito hit the nail on the head. Smoking sucks aways time and the will. Though I try not to have regrets, I am now left with the feelings of anger, regret and fear. Anger at how much time I wasted, regret at how little I achieved in those ‘years’ and fear…real fear that that life may catch up with me and I wont live long enough to protect and care for the one thing I love more than life itself..my little girl.

    I have seen people die from smoking, and I don’t mean cancer necessarily, and it aint pretty. My Aunt died last year from emphisyma (sp?). Her body just packed up and she died fighting for every last breath. Incredibly protracted.

    So, for every day you don’t have a drag is a day gained in which you can achieve the incredible, bring happiness to many, experience the wonderful and remember the joy…

    Lorrie
    xxxx

  18. The woman there in your age range smoke more then the men? That’s odd. I quit in 98. It was hard, but I think I had it easier then most. Even after a decade of smoking it had never become a part of me. I know you can beat this though, which is odd since I only know you through this odd little virtual interaction, but I still know you are a thousand times stronger then a few leftover chemicals and their ghosts. Having said that, the cravings never truly go away completely. But as they are more out of habit then “need” as your habits change they will come less.

    You’ll beat this and you’ll feel better for it.

    As for the etsy anti-smoking nuts. I will testify to anyone that your artwork is crisp and clean and without the hint of a breath of smoke on it.

  19. Wow, it’s like we’re at the exact same place…we (my husband and I) just quit smoking and we bought a house. The only thing that keeps me from lighting up is the fact that the money we saved by quitting almost pays our entire house note! I also find it comforting that I can go back to being a smoker if I need too, I hope I’m strong enough not to.

  20. I hope you are keeping up with not smoking. I commend you for not giving in that night despite how badly you wanted to. I have been in that situation and caved easily. But I smoke radically less now than I did this time last year.

    Anyway, good luck :)

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