Quitting Cigarettes Once Again: Smoking and Stopping after Years of Addiction
The First Time
Before I begin this diatribe, I wish to apologize to my readers. This is a tale of a cigarette smoker who is aware of the redundant nature of such a story-who expects reader disgust and the rolling of eyes. Actually, it's me I am aware of the most, and I am angry with myself beyond belief. I've been a smoker for 38 1/2 years, quit for 3 months, then relapsed. Damn.
I now realize that I was incredibly close to relapse when I wrote the hub below, but didn't take it seriously enough:
I mean, sure, I was a relieved and happy non-smoker, but addiction was hot on my heals and I did not see it coming.
The Mind Set
I knew I was going to smoke one evening sitting in an AA meeting. You see, I am also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. Thankfully, I have been clean and sober since June of 2008, but not from cigarettes. Smoking is so damnably dirty, I shouldn't even call myself clean. But if you understand addiction, you undoubtedly get it.
What happened at that meeting is that I was almost certain that I could smoke just one. HA! So I trotted off to my home and asked my husband for a cigarette. He questioned my decision, but relented. He had been trying to hide the fact that he was still smoking by doing so in our garage, but I'm not stupid, and knew exactly what was going on. He had quit with me weeks prior, yet couldn't-wouldn't-remain smoke-free. He works outdoors daily, and people smoke around him constantly. This is no excuse, but indeed it was a trigger for him, and for me.
The reason that I quit smoking initially was to have total hip replacement surgery which required me to be 6 weeks tobacco-free. My oxygen levels were fabulous and I healed quite quickly. Numerous physicians and psychologists visited my hospital room to discuss my history of smoking, most of them amazed at my ability to do such a thing. I was praised and enjoyed this thoroughly, who wouldn't? All the attention was addicting in itself, but didn't last long.
Now I am faced with the same surgery in February of 2010. The other hip is in poor shape, and I must quit these damned things once more.
In June of this year, I believe I quit with the help of a power within myself. An internal strength, if you will, that came into play one fine day at 5 o'clock in the morning. It was all so very surreal: I simply began putting away ashtrays, cigarettes, lighters, matches and the like in my garage and did not smoke again for 3 months. It was amazing. I had never been a light smoker, I smoked like that veritable chimney folks talk about.
Now in all my time in the rooms of AA, I have heard and considered the conception of a Higher Power, but I remain agnostic in my views. And so today it is incumbent upon me to summon this inner strength once again-consciously. I believe that unlike the first time, I must display the determination to quit this vile habit. I further do not intend to endure the panic attacks I suffered in June, rather, given the nature of planning this life-changing process, I have taken certain steps to ensure success.
Many things are different this time in my effort to quit smoking, the most important being my husband's new attitude toward his own health. He admits that he felt that quitting was of minimal consequence to him before-until he began again. He is now horrified at the racking coughs we both expel every single morning, and I do not doubt his change of heart. He has a plan in place to put "No Smoking" signs around his workplace, so that those triggers are no longer in his face.
I began taking a medication called Wellbutrin which theoretically reduces the urge to smoke. I was uneasy beginning this drug, however I am determined and have spoken to a number of pharmacists who swear by its effectiveness. It's been one week now, and I do in fact 'forget' to smoke occasionally. We shall see.
Another step my husband and I have taken is to set a 'quit date,' one that meets my 6 week surgery requirement. What else? January 1, 2010.
Finally, thanks so much for reading this tome, for I needed to get it-and cigarettes-out of my system.