- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
The Cigarette Diaries I: How to Quit Smoking
While beating my brains out for a proper title for this hub, I came up with "The Cigarette Diaries 1: How to Quit Smoking," perhaps as a subconscious tribute to an author I have long respected and followed. Jim Carroll wrote "The Basketball Diaries" in 1978 when he was still a child. It is a tale of his addiction to heroin, sexual antics and participation in the sport of basketball beginning at the age of 12. His diary recounts these experiences from 12 until he turned 16. It is a troubling read, but well worth the time and effort. Mr. Carroll died only last year and it is my hope that he would welcome such title 'piracy.'
My intention here is to communicate my struggles with my drug of choice, tobacco, which have been ongoing since 1972. I've been told that the addiction to tobacco is harder to quit than heroin, but since I've never taken that drug, I can't say. What I do know is that I have smoked cigarettes since the age of 15-39 years now-and was able to quit only once during this time. For 3 months, and under extreme duress from my surgeon. He wants me to be healthy while under the knife, you see.
In the tangle of the supermarket
my love of this drug
arches it's back with rage
extending, recoiling from reason.
You see, I was not successful at quitting these damnable things at the first of the year, and thus had to put off my surgery. If that isn't insanity, I don't know what is. This may turn into a rambling hub, my friends, because I am in the same situation again and must be tobacco-free in 2 days. Yes, 2 short days. My addiction is screaming in rebellion against this necessity, but I'm in need of another new hip in a month. I have absolutely no choice.
Impossible to describe, my reluctance to repeat last year's events is overwhelming. I do believe that ignorance is bliss in this situation, and I am loathe to relive this operation. And the recovery is a special kind of hell. However, I must admit that my present inability to walk comfortably has convinced me to reschedule this damnable cutting and restyling of my very skeleton.
The Chantix Factor
Despite countless warnings from friends and frightening disclaimers from Pfizer, the manufacturer of this drug, I have decided to use the medication Chantix as chemical support in my effort to stop smoking. My love of smoking is so strong, so intimate, that I am willing to risk suicidal tendencies, violent outbursts, and other behavioral changes. Smoking itself is a slow suicide, so I will proceed. My 'back-up' is in place; my entire family is aware of the possible side effects and, believe me, they are watching my every move. And so am I.
I have been taking this medication for 5 days now and have felt none of these alarming changes. My family senses nothing different about my behavior. I will smoke my last cigarette tomorrow night. Pfizer recommends that the smoker take one week to contemplate and plan such a change in lifestyle, and I have found it to be a comfortable amount of time to become a non-smoker. Chantix also has 7 day support in the form of the "GetQuit" program, which combines online and telephone support. I am taking advantage of this and am finding that my 'urges' to smoke have been relieved to a great extent.
However, I have not quit yet. My smoking has been reduced dramatically, but I still turn to it when bored, stressed, happy, uncomfortable, and on, and on, ad nauseum. So it is with some hesitancy that I admit this drug seems to be working. I am actually slowing the smoking down.
Chantix contains no nicotine, so I plan-per my doctor's advice-to use the Nicoderm patch as an adjunct to the pill. The patch contains nicotine in varying milligram doses, to fool the body to some extent, thus rendering the withdrawal less agonizing. I used the patch last year and found it incredibly helpful, beginning with a 21 mg. dose. I have been a very heavy smoker for most of my life; this is the highest dosage for a patch. God knows I need it.
I did not intend this to be a commercial piece, however, quitting the cigarette habit requires me to use products. Some courageous souls can quit 'cold turkey,' but I can not. Thanks for bearing with me as I struggle through the flotsam that surrounds this process.
- The Tobacco Diaries II
The Bishop city noon siren just blared, meaning it's been 5 waking hours since I last smoked a cigarette. I'll not count sleep since that seems like cheating. HELL YEAH! Pardon my outburst, but I am mighty...
- The Tobacco Diaries III
To some, this may be a presumptuous move, but I would like to dedicate this piece to a woman who has written her heart out and in turn, touched mine. Her name is Anne Lamott, and her books, "Bird by Bird,"...
I'll most probably get fat. I will undoubtedly act the ass. Anticipating total hip replacement tends to stir my nerves. What a time to quit smoking. "Whine, whine, weep, wail and moan," was the lament of the vaccuum cleaner, Kirby, in the film "The Brave Little Toaster." Self-pity is spectacular in its exhausting monologues. I really do apologize.
I'll return to deliver the news of my progress in "The Cigarette Diaries II: How to Quit Smoking." I have no idea what or who will prevail, but I must keep writing.
Or I'll smoke.