Friday, October 15, 2010

Butt-head, Anyone?

I started smoking somewhere around the age of 14 or 15- yeah, I know, don't even start the lecturing now, please. I can say I wasn't 'addicted' until about the age of 17, when smoking just became a part of who I was. All of my friends smoked, my finance-turned-husband smoked, and, back in the day, when packs were $2 each, it's not like it was a financial burden at all. I first quit smoking, cold turkey, the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. Easy as pie, I had another life growing inside me that didn't need to be smoked outta my womb. I can honestly say that I don't remember when I picked up smoking again after she was born, somewhere in the 2 years between my daughter's birth and the pregnancy with my son, but once again, my new pregnancy helped me quit cold turkey and not look back. After my son was born, I can remember picking up smoking again as a means of weight loss/appetite suppression- yeah, probably the worst excuse ever, I know. Then, over the next few years my family moved -twice- I opened up my own store, started working at a tattoo shop- my stress level aided in me making it up to over a pack a day. I quit several times over those years, just woke up one morning and said 'No more!'. I would stay on the non-smoking train for a few months, then hit a bump in the road, and start right back up again like nothing happened.

So that brings me to the present. Considering packs are over $5 each now, and, well, I feel like crap when I do smoke, the time has come once again to quit smoking. This time, however, it's not easy as pie. My stress level currently is above normal (though I've been through way worse in recent history), but smoking has become a part of who I am. I've tried the lozenges (horrible, disgusting creations, those are- the person who invented those had obviously never smoked a day in their life), the gum (I can chew it for about 5 minutes before I'm sick to my stomach), cold turkey (still smoking, so we see how that's going this time around, not to mention I'm pretty sure the b*tch in me had me in the #1 spot on most people's crap list), and so far nothing's worked. I have, though, gone from smoking anywhere from a pack to a pack and a half a day, down to less than 10 cigarettes a day, most days around 5 or 6. But, that's just been out of not having cigarettes around.

In trying to remain positive about this, and maybe using this blog as a motivational spark for myself and possibly others, I should focus on what I've accomplished, and what I need to continue to focus on to succeed.
  1. I've cut smoking out a minimum of 50% a day, maximum of 90%, pretty much cold turkey. That's a positive fact that seems to remain, as I haven't ventured back to the pack a day in about 2 weeks.
  2. What's worked for me, so far:
    • Not smoking as soon as I wake up in the morning. That first cigarette of the day sets the mood for the whole day. If I can make it to about 2 or 3pm without having that first cigarette, then I'll end up only smoking maybe 3 that day. If I give in early in the morning, it's all over.
    • Not completely depriving myself. I spent one day restricting myself from all smoking. The cravings were absolutely horrible that day, and I turned into a b*tch so fast that I ended up crawling into bed and not speaking for 6 hours- literally. If a craving hits, I've found it's easier to give in, take a few drags off the cigarette, and the craving is gone. I go ahead and put the cigarette out after those few drags, instead of smoking the whole thing, and I don't feel completely horrible about giving in. If you tell yourself you can't smoke at all, all that does is create a little monster inside of you that wants to chain smoke- counterproductive, I think.
    • Suckers. Airheads makes lollipops now that are amazing. They are like crack to me. I just wish they made them in the white mystery flavor- my absolute fav.
    • Straws. Big ol' bendy straws will do, but if you opt for the smaller coffee/alcoholic drink stirrers, they are much more awesome for the whole oral fixation thing. I chew, bend, and twist my craving out on those bad boys- a friend of mine completely massacres hers. Guess her oral fixation is worse than mine.....
    • While I blasted it above, the nicotine gum can help. I get a craving, start chewing a piece, and the extreme dose of nicotine that has me wanting to throw up after 5 minutes, works perfectly if you quit chewing it after 3 minutes. (Yes, much trial and error went into that experiment.)
    • Keeping busy. When I get a craving, I do something else- blog, check my facebook, clean. We don't smoke in the house, so, keeping myself in the house and occupied helps the craving pass without you even realizing it.
    • Having an 8 year old that guilt trips you every time you want to smoke helps, too.

I honestly think, with me, it's the habit that has me still smoking. Not the nicotine, not so much the oral fixation, it's the routine that involved cigarettes so much. Cup of coffee and cigarette first thing in the morning, cigarette when talking on the phone, after meals, when hanging out or having a conversation, driving, last one right before bed at night... It's breaking that routine that's the key; developing a new routine that doesn't involve smoking at all. It takes 28 days to develop a new habit (or break an existing one), and I'm a week into smoking no more than 10 cigs a day (2 weeks into not having my own individual pack to smoke all of in one day), so, with perseverance and a little luck, I've only got about 2 more weeks of this, 3 at the most. Then I'll be a non-smoker.

Here's to a healthier lifestyle, a new routine, and making my 8 year old find other things to guilt trip me about!

1 comment:

  1. I know there is a whole lot more to this post but......
    Did you know that the "mystery flavor" comes from one batch running into another. The candy is made in sheets then cut and shaped into suckers and the mystery flavor is the part of the sheet that is connected to the next batch. It truly is a mystery because it is ever-changing.