Smoking & Quitting - What It's Like - Part II
Haven't read Part I? Click Here
It is Day 5 -
So here I am. It is day 5 and according to my Android app, "Quit Now!" I have made several achievements. I am now to the point where I have:
- not smoked 100 cigarettes.
- I have saved almost $35 USD.
- I have saved almost 10 hours, and I have been able to spend those hours doing things more productive.
- Co and O2 levels are back to normal
- Sudden Death risk has been lowered
- Taste and Smell senses regained
- Standardization of Respiratory function regained
- 70% elimination of physical dependence on nicotine
Oh yes, plus I have been hacking up tar for the past 5 days. Sorry, I know it is disgusting, but it is part of the process. Your lungs want all the junk out of them. I've gone through this before, and it is not pretty. This app is really helping me through. I thought I would be a complete grouch with my family, but I have been able to tone it down, somewhat. They have also been quite supportive of me. They know that I am suffering at the moment.
So did I really quit?
I cannot answer that at this moment. I have no idea if I truly quit or not. Remember in my last story, or the comments below it, I mentioned that I have smoked on and off for a period of 20 years? The longest period of time that I have achieved is a little over a year. I was so proud of myself, but after a year, and a few drinks at a party... Well, let's just say that one puff turned to a cigarette, and that cigarette turned into a 20 cig a day habit, or rather... ADDICTION.
So I am not sure yet if I have quit or not. I am trying, and I am trying very hard. It is a lot easier today for sure than it was on day one, two or three. But...
Are you worried at all?
Yes. I am terrified. Especially of tonight. Friday nights my wife and I have a few drinks. It is the time when we unwind. We get away from work, a teenage girl's (daughter) attitude, a 5 year old boy's (son) craziness, college, traffic, and anything else we have had to endure during the week.
We spend about 4 to 5 hours together on Friday nights, and we have fun. We find it relaxing, and we find it rejuvenating. It also keeps our relationship fresh. Sure, 4 or 5 hours is not that much time, but when you have kids, a job, and college to manage, then those hours are a luxury.
So why am I terrified? Because when I drink, I like to smoke, and I love to smoke a LOT. I can smoke almost an entire pack on Friday nights. So what will I do tonight? I don't know. Am I going to fall off the wagon? I don't really know. As I mentioned earlier. I don't know yet if I have quit or not. I am an addict, and I cannot honestly and truthfully answer that question, yet.
So what is it like now?
It's a struggle. It is a major struggle. For someone who has never smoked, it is impossible to see or feel what this addiction is like. For those who have had or have an addiction at the time, you know exactly what it is like to be an addict.
There is the denial first of all. "I can quit whenever I want, and I just don't want to right now, I like doing this". How many times have you heard that or said it yourself? I know I've been on both sides of the spectrum. I think though, I have come to the realization that I cannot quit anytime I want to. This is not admitting defeat by any means. This is just me coming to the realization that it takes a major struggle to try to quit.
So you want to know what it is like? Quitting an addiction is like waging a war against yourself. At the point where you are saying, I have to quit, the struggle begins. At first, there are negotiations of peace. The addicted you negotiates peace because it does not want to become an exile. Your addicted side will compromise with you even. It will say, look, we do not have to part ways, right now, you smoke 20 cigarettes per day, that's one pack. If we can compromise, I will only smoke 10 cigarettes per day. That is so much better for you and me!
The side of you that wants to quit, will most likely sign that treaty. There will be peace, for a while anyway. Of course that is until the addict in you breaks that treaty and goes back to smoking another pack per day. There will be sanctions, just like the United States has sanctions against North Korea. You will try to punish yourself. At times, you will ignore the addiction because it will become violent against you.
One day, you can take it no more. Your lungs hurt. Your chest hurts. Your blood pressure is so high it causes head aches for an entire month. You have been diagnosed with diabetes, and your cholesterol level is in the 900s.
At this point, you wage full on war. You throw out the last of the cigarettes. You become angry with the tobacco manufacturers, and you say, that's it!!! I'm quitting!
But it's not that easy. You will have to do this several times before it is effective. When you wage a war, you need an army. You cannot go to war on your own. You will need friends and family and in my case, an app to go along with it. It is now an emotional and technological war against the addict in you.
Will you win? Will you lose? I don't know. Only time and will power will tell.
Comment below. If you are thinking of quitting, or are in the process of quitting, we can probably help each other. Did you fall off the wagon and smoke one today? It's okay. You are not a failure. Remember, this is a WAR. A war is made up of many battles. You win some, you lose some. Just try to win the WAR.