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All People > TomW5.15.17 > TomW5.15.17's Blog > 2017 > October

Out on good behavior :)

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Oct 30, 2017

I haven’t posted anything for a while because I’ve been in prison since Thursday afternoon.  Well, not constantly.  My team would leave around 9pm to sleep in a nearby church gym, and then return at 7am each day.  I’ve been with this volunteer program for 13 years now.  We put on a retreat in April and October, and follow up with the participants weekly every Wednesday evening.  So, while I have mentioned many times here that I have quit 6 times before, that isn’t exactly accurate.  In addition to those 6 attempted quits, I have stopped smoking 26 times for 3 and ½ days in the last 13 years.  And every single one of those times, I tried to make up all the cigarettes I missed on the following Monday.  Even though I didn’t think about smoking the entire weekend, I was pretty sure today would be a trigger.  And it was big time.  But I got thru it, and I’m fine now.


It’s weird how all those prison weekends were bearable for me.  It was similar with the 2 times I’ve been hospitalized for a few days, or when I travelled overseas.  If I was in a situation where I knew I could not smoke, I could bear it as long as I had a time certain that I would be able to smoke.  During that 2nd hospitalization, the doctors began talking about possibly keeping me for 3 days rather than 2.  I started panicking, because I was mentally prepared for 2 days, not 3.  Even though I had survived plenty of my 3 and ½ day prison weekends at that point.


Last night, one of the newer volunteers asked me how I got started in this ministry.  I explained that I had volunteered in nursing homes for many years until I just couldn’t take it anymore.  He asked what I meant by that.  I told him I got tired of getting so close to someone, only to have them die on me.  So I looked for some other way to volunteer my time, and just sorta fell into this.  I was thinking about that conversation when I got on EX this morning, and saw that apparently, 3 more of my recent friends here seem to have disappeared.  With all my failed attempts at quitting, I certainly can’t judge anyone.  But it still saddens me greatly every time I notice someone drop off.


My boring dentist

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Oct 17, 2017

Last week, I finally had my first visit with a health provider since I quit.  It was my regular dental checkup and I was so looking forward to it.  I assumed that my dentist (who I’ve known for 30 years) would give me all kinds of praise; that they’d close the office to have a big party in my honor; and that they would give me free checkups for life.  Well, OK, maybe not those last two things.  But all I got was a “If that’s the case, we may be able to save those 2 teeth I’ve been telling you are goners”.  He just said it so matter-of-factly, with no hint of praise or congratulations.  Hmmmf!  I’ve been stewing about it for a week.  I should have figured.  My wife and I refer to our dentist as Mr. Cantwell (for those of you too young to remember, he was Kevin Arnold’s science teacher on “The Wonder Years”)  So, the deal is, I’m being fitted for a “Night Guard” that will keep me from grinding my teeth in my sleep.  No guarantee, but he’s fairly confident my teeth can be saved that way.  I asked why we hadn’t tried this before, and he told me the smoking would have made it a waste of time.


So today I had my fitting.  My dentist came in and asked how the “no smoking” was going.  I assured him I was still quit and planned to stay that way.  His assistant (who was new, and the one who does the real work of the fitting) broke into a huge smile, told me she quit 3 years ago, and congratulated me over and over.  We began excitedly trading stories of our quits and were having a grand ole time, when my Dentist finally interrupted us and asked, “Am I needed here?”  We told him no, and continued to have a great conversation throughout my fitting.  She walked me out to the reception to set up next appointment, and told all the staff out there about my quit, and the congrats began all over again.  Still no free visits offered, but paying this morning sure wasn’t as painful as it usually is


Old habits

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Oct 16, 2017

I picked up a home window that I had repaired, put it in my back seat, and started to drive away on more errands.  Then I thought, "Darn, I can't smoke with that window in my car.  It will get smoke film on it.  I should have had one in the parking lot before I drove away". 


Then I remembered I haven't had a cigarette in 154 days.  Then I realized I wasn't even craving one, nor had I in weeks.  Geesh!


First smokemare

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Oct 10, 2017

I was feeling bad about not being on the site as much lately, and decided to get on yesterday and post something.  I saw the Slip or Relapse?  post by rollercoaster831  and thought that would be a good one to weigh in on.  Except nothing ever came to me.  I started to reply several times throughout the day, but finally gave up realizing I just didn’t have any strong feelings about it one way or another.  I could see both sides of the issue.  I tried one more time before bed.  I started to wonder how many puffs it would take to feel like you were addicted again.  Just one?  Several?  Maybe an entire cigarette or two?


I fell asleep thinking about this.  Soon after, my smokemare began.  I was pondering this question of when the addiction kicks back in.  I thought, if we knew the answer to that, then we would know whether it is appropriate to re-set our Quit Date or not.  And then I decided I just had to find out for sure.  So I walked out to my car to get my cigarettes and start smoking.  Because this was a dream, it didn’t even occur to me that I had not been in possession of any cigarettes in 5 months.  And sure enough, there was a pack in my car.  So I lit up and had one.  After each puff, I waited to see if I could somehow sense that I was now addicted again.  I didn’t feel like it, so I had another puff.  I finally finished, didn’t feel anything, and wondered if I should light up another.  Then I realized, I won’t know if I’m hooked again unless I start craving a cigarette.  And I don’t usually crave a cigarette until an hour or two after my last one.  And this whole experiment is flawed!  What if I am addicted again?!  What have I done?!  I started screaming and running into the house… and woke up.  It was so real, it took me several minutes to decide if I had really done that, and had just come in to bed and fallen asleep.  I literally held my hand up to my mouth and breathed out to see if I could smell cigarette smoke.


And just like that…

Posted by TomW5.15.17 Oct 7, 2017

That’s a favorite saying in my household about how fleeting life is, and things in our lives can be.  I was looking at some of my old blogs, and realized I was blogging nearly daily for the first 4 months of my quit.  I desperately needed to do that to protect my quit.  Then I saw that it has been 12 days since I blogged.  Not so coincidentally, that is how long it’s been since I’ve had regular cravings.


When I first joined EX, I was following several people like gregp136  and dwwms  who were a couple months ahead of me, and I identified with them.  Then they got more comfortable with their quits, and blogged less and less.  I understood, but still felt a little letdown.  I vowed I would continue to blog daily no matter how my quit was going.   And then…. just like that….  the craves stopped, and so did my need to be on this site daily.


It is soooo nice not having to fight/ignore/deal with those cravings on a daily basis anymore.  I thought I would be so happy when this time finally came, but somehow, I’m feeling melancholy about it.  As awful as those first few months were, at least I had a purpose in life and something to be proud of.  Now I'm just not sure what to do with myself.


Weird huh?  Feeling wistful about those “good old days” of misery