Smoking & Quitting - What It's Like
It is day 3.
My mind is racing through a pool of mud with the consistency of pudding. There are times when it skids up above and it is immensely fast. Most of the past three days have been sluggish. I can barely move. I can barely think for myself. I find myself angry with my wife, kids, co-workers, and complete strangers. I find myself extremely hungry, and at times so ready to just give up.
So why did I quit?
I quit because I have been smoking off and on since I was 18 years of age. More on than off, of course. I have quit countless times, and each time I quit it is the most difficult time yet. It does not get easier. It is not something that once you have the experience, then it becomes a breeze. No, it is nothing like that.
What it is it like?
I feel empty. I feel numb, and as I mentioned above, I feel as if I am swimming in a pool of pudding or mud. Nothing much matters to me right now. My only goal is to get a fix. One quick fix would do the trick. It would fill my lungs with that hot sweet smoke, and I would feel the rush going to my head. I would feel dizzy, but I would feel calm.
As the buzz would begin to dissipate, and my calmness would begin to fade, then I would feel guilt. It would not be very long lived though. I would rationalize it somehow, and possibly go purchase a pack of cigarettes and give myself another week to let it go. I do know though, that once I have stepped into that realm, there is no going back. At least for a few more years, there will be no going back.
The addiction is so strong. It is so strong that when I am outside, smoking a cigarette, and my 5 year old son wishes to speak with me, I drive him away. I tell him to go back inside. I don't want him to see me smoking. I don't want him to see me this weak. He knows though, and he has pointed it out to me.
What is it like you ask? It's embarrassing, shameful, pitiful, satisfying, calming, destructive, oppressive, deadly, and depressing all rolled into one sweet calming cigarette that is perfectly wrapped and controlled by a filter. In my case, a filter that gives off a Mentholatum flavor.
This is what it is like, and I am not happy about it. I am 37 years old, and I want out.
You've quit before, what happened?
I have quit in the past. I quit 5 years ago when my wife was pregnant with our son. I quit for an entire year. After he was born, a few months later, we went to a party, and someone offered me a cigarette. I accepted, and that is where it all began again.
I quit 2 or 3 more times after this, but it was only for a week or a month at a time. This is how addictive smoking can be. I have had people tell me, that they have not smoked for a decade, but when they smell the smoke, they want one immediately. This now becomes all about self control. With that self control, it helps if there is someone there by your side to support you as well.
No one is really up for that job. No one wants the responsibility of keeping an addict from his/her addiction. It's difficult, and almost impossible. You become the bad person. You're the one that tries to keep me from feeling good. How could you do that? I thought you were my friend. I thought you were my good wfe, husband, brother, sister, daughter, son...
I don't want that job, and neither does anyone else. We all have our problems. No one needs mine too.
But if you can find someone who is willing to go through hell for you, then hang on to that person tight.
So makes this time so different?
It's not any different than any other time. It has only been three days. I could break down in the middle of writing this and go buy a pack of cigarettes. I could stay off for 8 years, or it could be a couple of weeks. No one ever knows with a smoker. They all go back eventually, or at least most of the ones I have seen.
It starts out in secret. We will start buying gum, or Listerine mouth fresheners. We will constantly wash our hands. We will hide a pack of smokes somewhere on our bodies, and then eventually, you will bust us doing it.
When you bust us, we won't care. It will be too late then, and once again you become the evil person keeping us from feeling good.
Will it ever stop?
I don't know if this will ever stop. I will say though, that living in a city where it is illegal to smoke in restaurants, bars and even public parks, makes it easier to live without cigarettes. I'm tired of being a slave to the tobacco companies. I am tired of giving away my hard earned money, but what I am tired of the most, is giving away the precious time I should be giving to my wife and kids, to Philip Morris, or RJ Reynolds.
For now, consider me a quitter. Consider me in therapy. Consider me a non-smoker.
To my family, consider me a father, and a husband. I am coming back to you.