A Day Without Cigarettes

The Preparation

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.


It's Monday

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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Comments 42 comments

Rafini profile image

Rafini 18 months ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

. Congratulations!

Sounds like motivation and circumstance worked together for you.


FatBoyThin profile image

FatBoyThin 18 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

It's a struggle for most people who try to give up smoking. I tried many, many times, but it wasn't until I made two very specific changes in my life that I eventually managed to stop - I started a new job where no-one smoked, and I moved in with my partner who also didn't smoke. Not having all those fellow smokers around me was all I needed. Great Hub. Voted up.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 5 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Jamie, I believe you will when the time is right. The trick is to make the decision to quit without pressure and for the right reasons. Do it for you, when you're ready.


jamiecoins profile image

jamiecoins 5 years ago from ireland

oh i wish i could give up :( iv tried so many times and can relate with this hub


Rafini profile image

Rafini 5 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Hi Maria,

Thanks for the comment - I smoked for 25 years even though my mother quit when I was 14 due to health issues. I was quite surprised...I quit as easily as she did, but before my health became an issue.


Maria Cecilia profile image

Maria Cecilia 5 years ago from Philippines

looks like a real struggle but I hope you are adjusted now. Smoking is not good for the health and hygiene as well. I don't smoke, I just don't like the smell it left to the one smoking. My parents were both smoker but obviously I did not inherit their habit, father stopped earlier and my mother only stopped when she was becoming very sick. I will let friends read this


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Good luck CBlack. Just remember smoking is a habit to be broken and the nicotine is an addictive substance to flush from the system.


cblack profile image

cblack 6 years ago from a beach somewhere

I am also struggling to quit smoking. I wrote a hub about electronic cigarettes. They have helped me so much.

http://hubpages.com/health/ElectronicCigarettesThe...


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks Lahoriamplifier, and thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.


lahoriamplifier profile image

lahoriamplifier 6 years ago from Lahore

Congratulations rafini


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Alison - I'm doing great, although I admit when I get aggravated or annoyed to a great degree (like I am right now LOL ) I do wish I could have a cigarette. But, I tell myself it wont help, it'll only make things worse and I have to learn to deal with my stress without smoking.

The idea of changing brands came to me one day when I went in to buy cigarettes for a friend who smoked a different brand than I did - the main purpose of it is to get out of the habit of buying the same cigarettes, saying the same brand name every time you go into the store. If you can't remember what you're there for (cuz it's a different brand) then what's the point in buying them? lol

Cutting down by half is a Giant Step - Congratulate your husband for me, okay? Any kind of improvement is a good thing. :)


Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK

This is so great, thanks for sharing your experiences - can we have an update on how its going? I am going to get my husband to read it - I am trying to get him to quit pipe smoking, I worry about his health - he has managed to cut down to half, I think I'm going to suggest he tries a brand of tobacco he doesn't like so much, like you did with changing cigarette brands - thats a neat idea!


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Hey Faybe :) I guess I thought you had seen this one lol, I had responded to a forum thread about Smoking Cessation a few weeks before I quit...can't remember now who else posted, but it didn't seem like very many.

Anyway, we all deserve a pat on the back! Quitting smoking ain't easy!


Faybe Bay profile image

Faybe Bay 6 years ago from Florida

Rafini, I am sorry I missed this! I think you and Lorlie and I all went through the same thing at the same time! We should have started up a forum thread. That might have helped, at least having someone to support and be supported by!


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Good luck, raisingme. In case you haven't seen it, Faybe Bay has an excellent hub about how to quit smoking.


raisingme profile image

raisingme 6 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

I am going to read this over and over and over again...until I've quit too! Thanks for this post!


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks lorlie. It's been 2 1/2 weeks and I'm still doing great. I even feel ready to 'mingle' with smokers for a short time.

The odd thing with the meds is, my dr gave it to me cuz I'm still recovering from depression so it was supposed to 'kill two birds with one stone'. I finally talked with my dr about Hollistic medicine & natural remedies but he didn't have anything to recommend (or didn't know much about it - like me!) Anyway, I started taking St. Johns Wort about a month before quitting, and it did a much better job for me than the anti-depressants. I'm switching back - I want to get better. :)


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Rafini-I just read in the forums that you are having a bad reaction to the medication your doc gave you. I clicked on that link because I was curious if that was generic for Chantix, which I'm currently taking.

They're not the same. Well, what I'm trying to say is that I'm on my 3rd day now and feel absolutely fine. There are lots of warnings about weird changes when taking these drugs, but other than a few strange dreams, I'm okay.

Wow, I really hope you can work this, I REALLY know how hard it is.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Me neither, lovelypaper. lol

It's hard to understand even for smokers, why we smoke. I mean seriously, it does so much more than cause cancer - smoking alters your sense of taste and smell not to mention the 'aroma' that seeps into your hair, skin, clothing, home, and car! Now that I think about it, it disgusts me. lol

Thanks for reading & commenting. :)


lovelypaper profile image

lovelypaper 6 years ago from Virginia

I don't understand the addiction to cigarettes. But that was a well written detail of your quitting. Great hub.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks for stopping by, prasetio30, and for leaving a comment. :)


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

I am not smoking. So, I agree with you that everyday should free from cigarettes. We get fresh air without pollution from smoking. I hope so... good work.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks dinkan53 for the comment & congrats for quitting ;) I'm surprised how I can smell smoke in the air (at some places) even when there isn't someone there smoking, the smell of smoke just lingers....ewww lol now I understand why non-smokers complain! lol


dinkan53 profile image

dinkan53 6 years ago from India

I quit smoking 2 years back and now even the smell of smoke from the cigarettes gives me nausea


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Still doing great, only problem is I am once again suffering from insomnia - thought I had that problem solved years ago! lol

I'm taking a 15-20 minute walk up to a few times a day, just to remind me why I wanted to quit smoking (to be healthier!) I am surprised at how often I 'forget' I've quit and tell myself "ok, after dishes (or whatever) are done you can have a cigarette" I smile and laugh to myself, how silly! lol I've quit! I'm no longer worried I'll stop and buy cigarettes (I forced myself to go to the store last week, just so I could say "no") but I'm still worried about being around people I know who smoke, so I'm holding off for a while.

Thanks Lynda :)

Rafini


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

So -- how you doing today? Is it getting easier? I read somewhere that the hard spots come in 3 -- 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months. I can't remember well enough to say if that is true or not. It was all a blur of nervous energy -- that much I can recall. Hope you're doing well -- and hang in there.

Soon, you will start to feel better and in a few months, you'll feel so good you won't believe it.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Deborah - Thank you for your comment - Great suggestion, too. :) 5 days and I'm doin great! I'm impressed with how fast the urge to smoke went away, and how fast I was breathing easier & had a better sense of smell.

I am thinking of being healthy, right now, in this moment... -Thanks!


Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 6 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

Congratulations on following through with your desire to be healthier. One thing that works for me, is to only think about being healthy right now, in this moment. If I start looking at the whole rest of my life, it seems like a very long time. Just be healthy right now. Worry about the next hour when you get there. Good luck.

Namaste.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

lmmartin - thanks for checking in, that is very sweet of you. :) My prize, today anyway, was going for a 15 minute walk and not being out of breath when I got home. lol

Georgiana85 - You can do it! After one day, the rest aren't so difficult. :)


Georgiana85 6 years ago

Hi, great hub, you managed to pull me through all the stages...I'm trying to quit for so long but my will was not strong enough until now. You inspired me to try again, I just want to get by a day, just 1 day without smoking...But I can and will, anyway Thank You and good luck.

Peace!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Came by to see how you're doing. Looks like you're doing just fine. Drink lots of water -- it helps. Three days without a cigarette -- Rafini, give yourself a prize.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

My reply went missing...strange. anyway, it was day 2 when I replied, doing well while working towards the crucial 72 hour mark. Now it's been 3 days - still doing good. Occasionally my brain tells me I have time for a cigarette, but then I smile - cuz I quit 3 days ago. :)


Karanda profile image

Karanda 6 years ago from Australia

Good hub Rafini, still a smoker myself so I'm always keen to learn how others have managed to overcome that horrible addiction. Can't wait to see how it all turns out so please do keep us posted.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Mind over matter, that's the way to go. Thanks for the comment and reading, fits4life. :)


fits4life profile image

fits4life 6 years ago from Richmond

Very good and congratulations. I've heard of one day at a time, but this is one minute at a time. Its amazing what the mind can do. Good luck.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thank you Lynda (and congrats to you!! for quitting) - I just got done with the site. It is a great one :) One thing I remember from the last couple years is I can't taste much anymore - I'll be excited to have healed tastebuds! I also noticed I'm not as thirsty (did I mention that?) but would have had lots of juice around if I'd known about it. One more day and I'm homefree....:)


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

http://ffn.yuku.com/topic/22938/t/Welcome-We-39-ve...

Here's a link to the website I told you about -- a great one, chock full of great information and insights into nicotine addiction. I highly recommend a visit there, and I love their no nonsense, no sympathy approach. Best of luck, Lynda.


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks Lynda. Day 2 is going much better. :) The arm isn't pulling the brain anywhere today, and the nicotine isn't screaming throughout my body, either! lol

But, I do have a bit of a headache....


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

Best of luck to you Rafini. I went from two packs a day to zero years ago, and so glad I did. It was possibly the hardest thing I every undertook -- but I made it. You can too.

When I get the chance, I'll forward you a link to a great site for quitters which will give you real insight into addiction and how to deal with it. Back to you soon. Lynda


Rafini profile image

Rafini 6 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from Author

Thanks for the comments. Some people can go cold turkey, others cant. My mother did - after the doctor gave her 5 years to live (she lived 10) I did once before for 3 days but it was unintentional as I hadn't planned on it - I just stopped buying cigarettes, so it felt like I wasn't serious (I can quit anytime I want to!) I was hoping to eliminate the majority of the nicotine fits by switching to light cigs, I think it helped. Thanks again for the comment & congratulations on never being a smoker. :)


RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 6 years ago from Illinois

Anyway, good luck with quitting! I resolved never to start smoking because of my grandma, she died of lung cancer because of many years of smoking...


RachaelLefler profile image

RachaelLefler 6 years ago from Illinois

I never smoked, but I grew up with a single mother who was going cold turkey on the things ever 3-4 months or so. My mom was great in a lot of ways, don't get me wrong, but I learned to be very, very, good when mommie was having a nic fit... :)

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