in which I talk about quitting; or- this entry is more for me than it is for all of you

If you’re seeing this post, it means I made it to my one- month quit mark.

I quit smoking. I quit smoking while deployed, which is one hell of a story, really, and added incentive to stay quit: no one quits smoking while deployed. Hell, some perfectly healthy and presumably sane adults take it up just for deployments.

I cheated, of course: I took Chantix. I still had two bottles from the last time I tried to quit- funnily enough, last fall- and took that until I couldn’t stand the cigarettes any more. It really is a miracle worker, but the trick is staying quit, particularly after you’ve gone off the drug.

My last cigarette was 1 October 2008, and I haven’t cheated so far, but even if I do, it doesn’t make me a smoker again; it just makes me someone who slipped up.

The capering, cruel, addicted part of my brain works against me constantly. I’m stressed, it says. One cigarette will make it better. Because really, failure is a stress relief, right? Stupid. I hate the idea of using anything as a crutch to manage my emotions. I can be stressed without that.

Another favorite: Chantix works by making smoking a negative experience, so I should have a cigarette right now in order to re- enforce my quitting. The idea there is that I can actually smoke myself into becoming a non- smoker, if you can believe that. The logic works if you chart it out, I suppose, but it’s all bullshit.

I still go on smoke breaks; I just don’t smoke. I drink water and talk and think to myself that I should turn these into knitting breaks, although I haven’t yet. I haven’t gained weight yet, and I hope I won’t, but I’ve lost a bit and besides, I’d rather gain weight than smoke. Hell, I can run that off. I can feel the difference in my lungs, despite being in the middle of that awful purge/ detox that happens after a quit, and that helps keep my motivation, too.

The last time I quit, I picked it back up to manage dealing with a good friend moving away, an incipient deployment, interactions with my mother and a death. I can’t say it really made any of that easier to handle, to be honest: it still sucked. Smoking was comforting, but it didn’t do me much good overall. I’ve long kept a superstition that my quitting was bad luck, that it actually brought on all the horrible things that always seem to follow an attempt- my mother’s heart attack, Sam’s stroke, Bess dying- but of course, that’s silly. Am I the only one that thinks that? That might be Smokers’ Lore, actually, up there with luckies and three- on- a- match. That sort of thing- death, illness, all of it- it just happens, and when it happens, I want a cigarette.

The idea of being dependent on a thing- something I can buy- to get through a difficult time is really repellant to me. The tobacco industry is repellant. Choosing to screw up my health is repellant- I’ve already made it through enough illness, I should think; I should know better. All of it, it’s crap.

And yes, I’m sure it is an extention of my OCD to exert this sort of control over a physical desire; I’ve always been drawn towards that- control and denial, pushing myself, defeating physical cues through brute will. It can be pushed in positive directions, which is good to know; it’s what made me a good distance runner, and it can make me good at this, too. Next, we cut out some more chemicals from my diet, but that may be getting ahead of myself yet.

So here I am: don’t drink (well, not this year, at least), don’t smoke, don’t eat red meat or pork. If it weren’t for the caffeine and the cursing, I’d have no vices at all anymore. What the hell? How did that happen?

Here’s hoping it sticks.

  One thought on “in which I talk about quitting; or- this entry is more for me than it is for all of you

  1. teresa
    November 2, 2008 at 11:14 am

    i used to have the willpower.
    i was a vegan.
    i didn’t smoke.
    i didn’t drink.
    i even hated coffee.
    now, i adore cow.
    i am no where near ready to quit smoking (although i know i should)
    i purposly set aside money from my paycheck for martinis & tarot card readings at Tisane
    and coffee? i’m never without it.
    i hold on to my vices like life vests..

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