I haven’t had a cigarette in 19 days. Impressed? Probably not, since you may not even know that I was a smoker. I never officially “quit” but I just stopped smoking and stopped buy cigarettes and now here I am 19 days later. I’ve quit before and it has always been a struggle so this time I just wanted my body to naturally release itself from the need for nicotine. Oh heyyy, it worked! I think quitting caffiene first was helpful, and changing my diet into one with mostly fruits and vegetables helped to stabilize my mood. I have learned that all the things I love too much in recovery: sugar, caffeine and nicotine (the “safe” substances) tend to mess big time with my state of mind. You don’t notice it until you give them up completely.
Without caffeine I sleep better. I don’t have any less energy during the day unless I eat a heavy meal – that makes me feel sluggish. I miss the taste of Coke Zero and Iced Coffee, and I do miss the initial “I’m awake!” feeling with the first sip of the day, but other than that I’m OK with being off caffeine. I know what you’re thinking… “Clarissa, you could have caffeine-free versions of those beverages.” Yes, that is true, I could. Except decaf coffee still has caffeine in it and caffeine free diet soda is not really in the cards for a healthy lifestyle. My disease is really testing me though – this morning I saw a sign for Kahlua Iced Coffee being served at a restaurant around the corner from my office. REALLY? Why didn’t I ever try that when I was drinking?? Sigh. I think I drank enough Irish Coffees in Europe to make up for it though.
So, back to the no smoking thing. I smoked a few times a week in high school because I thought it was cool, and I loved the rush of escaping off campus to have a few butts with my “badass” friends – smoking was illegal at school. Also, I wasn’t really 18 yet. In college, I didn’t smoke much. Please, I was an athlete. But when I got clean my 3rd year in college, I started smoking half a pack a day. Giving up being on drugs and drinking all the time was incredibly hard cold turkey. I needed a vice – just one last thing that I could have to calm my nerves down. Over time I was just smoking maybe 5 a day, and then when I started working it was down to 2-3 a day, more on the weekends. For the past year I had gotten down to 1-2 a day and then when I got serious about fixing my headaches a few months ago I was at 1 every other day and now I’m at zero. I can’t say that it’s helped my headaches at all, but it definitely cuts out the remaining moodswings.
Leo hated it when I smoked, but he also hated my moodswings more, so it was a toss up. I quit three years ago for about 6 months. But I quit for Leo, which was not a smart idea because I ended up resenting him for it. Recently, I stopped smoking for myself. I want to get better more than I want that 5 minutes of calm at night. My digestive system has righted itself again too. That is not to say I don’t want to smoke. The past few nights I have contemplated bumming one off a friend, but I haven’t. I’ve decided not to buy my own packs anymore, but if I bum one from someone I’m not going to scold myself. It would be great if I didn’t smoke at all, but I’ve gotta be easy on myself. I’ve already given up so many other things in life – I’m not going to be a source of my own stress. So I haven’t “quit” I just have “stopped” if that makes any sense. Either way it means I’m not smoking, but for me it’s less stressful than saying I have quit.
Have you ever smoked / tried to quit?