Diary of a Smoker/Non-Smoker Part 2
I have learned many things during the last few weeks of nonsmoking. I have learned that the patch makes my skin itch. The instructions say that you should choose a different part of the body. There is a good reason for that; skin irritation. When I first put it on I get a severe itching reaction for a few minutes. But since I’ve done this before it doesn’t last long. Another thing is that the skin has to be really clean otherwise that patch will slip off faster than it takes to light up a cigarette. You should also put it on a part of your anatomy that will not be moving much. I stretched and off it came. Sweat doesn’t help either. That bad boy will slide off your arm when you’re not looking.
The thing is that you should NOT smoke while on the patch. People think that a puff or two is all right but there is the possibility of nicotine poisoning. Not many people hear about that during the process of quitting. So here is a quick Nicotine 101.
Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, and rapid heartbeat are a few of the symptoms. Nicotine is a drug. It is a dangerous drug. Like many drugs it is addictive and hard to stop. Over the decades I’ve been smoking I pulled the line “I can quit any time I want”. This is now followed by “I’ve done it lots of times”.
When you chose a program to quit smoking, it’s important that you do it right. Talk to your doctor. He/she is the best person to help you pick the best program for you. I’ve tried quitting on my own without success. I’m also on medication for depression and anxiety which could react badly with the patch or other medications. Don’t think you can smoke, chew nicotine gum or anything else with the patch. This is a very bad idea.
Okay, enough of the facts. How am I doing? I’m so glad you asked. I’m doing better than I thought I would. I’ve quit before using the patch and I knew it was the best way for me to go. The gradual weaning off the nicotine-demon has worked before. I am/was what is considered a Habit Smoker. I smoke as a habit to deal with stress and other things.
That first cup of coffee in the morning with the cigarette to start my day. That last cigarette before I go to sleep. A cigarette after a good meal. A cigarette after sex. A cigarette while drinking alcohol. And the big one, smoking while writing. I spend a lot of time writing. I often will sit back and smoke while thinking about how to write the next paragraph. During the process of weaning myself off cigarettes I discovered the other times I smoked. I would light up after exercise. I would light up after doing some house keeping. I would light up after walking the dog. When I get stressed out or anxious I would light up. I had lots of habits I had to break in order to stop smoking and it’s still a struggle.
First change: No smoking in the house. At all. By anyone. Even guests. That was tough. The smoking area is allowed outside or on our side porch.
Second change: When I get the urge to reach for a cigarette I reach for something else. Sugar-free hard candy has become my best friend. It required a little trick to make it work. I took my usual ashtray and gave it a thorough cleaning. Then I put the candy in it. So the reflex to reach for a cigarette while sitting and watching television became a candy break.
Third Change: I keep a running tab on how much I’m spending. A carton of cigarettes compared to going through this program with patches and candy. How much I would have spent versus how much I am spending.
Just for fun I’m going to put it up here.
Week Old Me New Me
1 35.00 38.00
2 35.00 3.00
3 35.00 38.00
4 35.00 3.00
5 35.00 38.00
6 35.00 3.00
7 35.00 38.00
8 35.00 3.00
Totals 280.00 164.00
This is a ten week program and we’re already seeing the difference. I’ve saved over $100 since I started this. Financial was my number one reason for quitting and I’m seeing a difference already.
I will also say that I miss the enjoyment out it. Smoking was a pleasant rush like any drug addiction. It was how I handled stress. And yes, it did suppress my appetite. I used to light up after writing and posting a hub. After my last hub on the subject I had a serious urge for a cigarette. I didn’t smoke but I was grumpy.
Now I think it’s time for a piece of candy. It’s getting better. Jolly Rangers ™ are great.