A Day Without Cigarettes
It was back in January when i realized I wanted to quit smoking. I had just finished writing out my goals for the year and noticed, quite plainly, that I hadn't really reached the goals I had set for last year. Last year's goals were simple: make healthier choices. Okay, so I did start ordering the Grilled Bacon Ranch Chicken Salad a little bit more when we went to McDonald's, or the Fruit & Yogurt Parfait. And I did walk out on a job where I had felt threatened and abused on a weekly basis. But, seriously, my goals had specifically stated to make healthier choices - not a healthier choice here and there! So I wrote in my journal about it.
My journal entry concluded with my determination to be healthier this year. I realized I did make healthier choices last year, but it wasn't enough. I wanted to be healthier every day, not just believing I was healthier because of once in a while improved choices. It was on that day that I decided I was going to quit smoking this year. I felt calm. There was no question in my mind that I would be able to quit this nasty habit.
The next time I went to the grocery store I bought a couple packs of sugar-free gum. I had already told my sons I was going to quit smoking, so neither one of them gave me a questioning look when I asked for something unfamiliar to be added to my cart. The next carton of cigarettes I bought was not my usual brand. If I'm going to quit smoking I may as well get used to not buying the same cigarettes every time! I began timing the intervals between cigarettes. First 30 minutes, then 35. When I made it to 45 minutes between the end of one cigarette and the lighting up of another I knew I was a winner. I paced myself out to an hour for the next one. My next carton of cigarettes was not full-flavor. Nope, I bought lights. On the 30 minute drive to pick my son up from his dad's I chewed a piece of sugar-free gum. I refused to light a cigarette until the fresh taste was chewed up, and the gum was out of my mouth. The next carton of cigarettes I bought was the cheapest light cigarettes the store had to offer. The very next day I called the doctors office and set an appointment. I heard about electronic cigarettes and thought I would give them a try. I bought a package with the next carton of light cigarettes. I am impressed by all the interesting flavors. 4 weeks later I go to the doctor.
Sunday at 3:30 pm
Last Thursday I go to the doctor. He gives me the number for the quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and phones the pharmacy with a prescription for Buproprion. He tells me to start the medication the next day.
On Friday I take my first pill. At the end of the day I am surprised - I smoked almost half of what I smoked on Thursday. By Sunday I was on my last pack of cigarettes. At 3:30 pm on Sunday, I extinguished my last cigarette. I had no worries. This was a choice. I didn't have to quit. I want to quit. After I dropped my son off at work at 5:00 pm, I searched through my cars ashtray for any cigarette butts that might be long enough to smoke. I found 5. I laid the 5 butts on my kitchen table and proceeded to go about my business. When I had a strong pull for a cigarette, I picked up a butt and lit it. I took a drag and crinkled my face. The taste of ashes stuck to my lips and I laughed knowing I would remember this. I went to bed after putting away my household ashtrays. I didn't need the reminders first thing in the morning.
Monday morning I get up, take my dose of medicine and head into the shower. When I step out of the shower I notice the smoky smell of the towel. I get dressed in fresh clothes - yesterdays clothes go into the hamper! I start my day by checking my email and reading the hubs of my favorites.
I can feel my arm pulling my brain toward the location on the table where I kept my cigarettes. I force myself to refocus on my laptop. I have a muffin for breakfast - I don't want to gain weight due to not smoking! I return to the computer sitting on the table. I read, I comment, I send an email or two. My eyes dart frantically around the table. Nicotine is calling me.
I jump up and walk around my home. I eat a few crackers. I drink a glass of water. I chew a piece of gum. At 11:00 am I have to go to the bank. I go into my bedroom for my shoes and tell myself I need to wash my bedding - I don't need it to smell like smoke when I go to bed tonght! On my way out to the car, and while driving, the nicotine addiction chose to battle with the willpower of creating habits. I could stop and buy a pack of cigarettes, you know. But I don't want to! I could ask someone for a cigarette. Nope, don't want to do that! If I'm going to have a cigarette, I'm going to buy it. Too bad I can't buy just one cigarette, or a dollar's worth. No cigarettes! Just as an alcoholic cannot have one tiny sip of alcohol, you cannot have even one tiny drag off a strangers cigarette! Maybe I could ask someone... Get it out of your mind!
The bank tells me the signature guarantee that I need can't be done without a copy of the statement I received in the mail. Great! I tell you, I'm going to call that company and give them a piece of my mind! Why didn't they tell me this when they told me to go to the bank? I get home and can't find my statement - I probably threw it away back when I thought it was a cruel joke.
I sit in front of my laptop again, I have an article to write. I get the first paragraph done, it sounds good. The second paragraph, however, is not what I want. I highlight and delete the unwanted section and start again. My arm starts pulling my brain in the direction of the missing cigarettes. I slap my hands together and delete the second paragraph again. I have a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch and open my first Pepsi of the day. I hadn't noticed my lack of thirst today! The Pepsi tastes artificially sweet. I can feel the syrup glide between my lips and down my throat. Wait a minute, do I really want to drink syrup? I go to the cupboard and get out a glass.
I drink a glass of water to rinse the syrup from my mouth and throat. I return to the laptop and write another paragraph for me to delete after reading it. I remember I want to wash my bedding and rush into my bedroom, pull off the sheets and blankets, and rush into the laundry room. My cats run behind me, trying to catch the corner of the sheet that is being dragged across the floor.
While the bedding is being washed, I sit at my laptop typing and deleting with the occasional hand slapping because I can't find the right words to say what I am thinking. I jump up to eat a few crackers and drink a glass of water.
After supper I get down to business. I am going to finish this article no matter what! I type word by word and examine each line and sentence for the meaning of what I am thinking. When I am satisfied, I move on to the next. By 10 pm I am finished. I save my work, shut down the laptop, and look around me for what I should be doing next. By 11 pm I am in bed.
I lay awake for hours, my mind running in all kinds of directions at once. My leg jumps, my brain jerks for nicotine. I turn over and stare at the ceiling. Smoking is a habit to be broken. Nicotine is the addictive substance that will withdraw from the body after the habit of smoking is broken. I close my eyes and lay on my side once more. My mind races through my scattered thoughts, my legs and arms jump for attention. I don't want a cigarette. I want to be healthy. Two hours after I go to bed, I hear the dishwasher begin. Soon the swish swish sound of the dishwasher puts me to sleep. I made it through my first day without cigarettes.
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© 2010 Rafini
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