Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Quitting Smoking My Adventure

Last pack of cigarettes and photo bomb by Otie.

What this post is NOT going to be; this is NOT going to be a "Hey look at me and what I am doing, you should do it too. This post is NOT going to be preaching that everyone who smokes should quit. This post is not going to be anything except me sharing what I go through as I quit smoking and my thoughts on the subject.

I have smoked off and on for a very long time. Here is the kicker. I like smoking. I enjoy the flavor, the smoke slowly fading into the air, the quickening of the pulse, and calming of the nerves.
If I like smoking why am I quitting? Several reasons. 

1. I don't want to be a hypocrite. If I  am teaching self-reliance I should not be dependent on something I cannot control.

2. Saving money. Even where I live cigarettes are $4.00 a pack for the cheap ones. I normally smoked between 1/2 to 1 pack per day. That adds up.

3. Principle. I do not like the fact that I am using my money to support a company that adds flavor enhancers that make their products more addictive. I also do not like the fact that tobacco is taxed so heavily. The government claims they tax the product so heavily to discourage people from smoking, but when people start quitting tobacco they have to search for another money stream.

4. The most important reason I have decided to quit; my baby asked me to. My wife is a respiratory therapist and she sees what some people go through. She asked me to quit. I will succeed.

Don't get me wrong. I believe I am invincible. I can get hurt, but I believe I can live through anything. I am not weird in thinking that way. If you don't think like that you know someone who does.

I am quitting "cold turkey". I have tried the gum and the patches in the past. Neither program worked for me. I am unwilling to take medication. I just do not want to have the side effects of some drug especially when one of the side effects is thoughts of suicide. 

Now for the day by day breakdown on how I feel and what I go through quitting. If you have quit smoking you will understand. If you are planning on quitting, count this as a heads up for what you might go through.

Day 1: "I can do this. Little on edge but I can handle this." Some stressful moments.

Day 2: "Just leave me alone. I will stay quiet and we will all get through this together."

Day 3: "What the Crap are you thinking?!" I hate chemicals that drive you crazy when you don't have them. "Just breathe. Why does sugar help? I swear I smell chocolate. Either my taste-buds are changing or something is different about this hot dog."

Day 4 : Very high energy and louder than normal, which is saying something, I am loud anyway. The filter that is normally between my brain and my mouth is either broken or very weak. Don't ask my opinion unless you are sure you want to hear it. Why are stupid people allowed to breathe? Why am I so hungry? If I grow my own tobacco it won't be as bad for me right?

Day 5: High energy, high frustration first thing calmed down quickly. Sense of smell increased I can smell a lit cigarette at 300 yards, still want one, but it is okay. Chewing gum is my friend. Everything tastes different. Somethings better some things worse. Really rough afternoon. I am going to make it.

Day 6: I really thought I would be over any effects by now. There are certain times that I want a cigarette more than others. Today has been really bad. I think it has been bad because up till now I have been able to stay busy. Downtime is the most difficult part.

Day 7: Still want a cigarette. I can deal with it. Not a very nice person right now. I am much too quick to say whatever comes to mind. I have not been very social. I have read a temporary personality change is NOT uncommon and can last a month or longer. It is tough, but I am doing it.

The most difficult times for me are driving and riding. 

What Helped Me

Set a date and stick with it. I started on a Monday, admit ahead of time that it is going to be difficult. Don't put off trying.

Stay busy. For me the most difficult times are when I am not active. I didn't realize that smoking was part of my quiet time routine. Actually I used smoking when I was relaxing, thinking, stressed, worried, happy, sad, well you get the picture. 

Let people know. If your experience is anything like mine, people are going to need to know in advance. As your body us cleaning out the nicotine, you may not be as nice as normal. I know I wasn't.

Reward yourself. Set small goals and reward achieving them. I only smoked a pack a day. The reward could be a movie, a snack, anything small that you enjoy.

Chewing gum is your friend. Part of the habit is the motions. Replacing those motions help.

Have a plan to celebrate. I know what I want to spend the money I am saving by not smoking on and when I get there it is going to be great.

If you fail don't beat yourself up. I have tried several times to quit. It is NOT easy. If you start back just get ready to try again.

You can do this. At the time I am writing this I have saved $28.00 and it has only been a week. Depending on where you live you could save a lot more than that in a week. Will I be able to maintain? I am going to try, but it is tough.

Have you quit smoking? Did you go through the emotional rollercoaster like I did? I would like to hear your story.

P.S. I am still thinking about growing tobacco. Talk about a powerful barter item.

Don't let an addiction get in the way of your 
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes.

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