For any of you starting your quit journey, does the thought of the first week intimidate you? Will it be filled with constant internal discussions and battles? Will it be hard, trying and exhausting? Probably. It is all of that and then some – and worth every second. Here’s a glimpse at my first week quit – the following are excerpts from my journal.
Thursday, 12/1/16: This is it. I am going to finally quit smoking. I will try to quit. No, that’s not right. I am going to quit. Tomorrow is my day. No, wait…… I can’t – I will be at the legion on Sunday cooking all day for the vets, and…….. Beer. Yeah, I can’t quit tomorrow because there will be beer on Sunday. That’s a recipe for disaster. OK. I will quit after the legion. No, on Monday morning. No, no – Sunday night after the legion so that I have hours under my belt when I wake up Monday. Deal. I am going to quit.
Do I tell Mike? What about the kids? My friends? Why do I feel embarrassed? I might cry. What in the world?!? I hate to cry. My heart is beating SO fast right now! What if I fail? What if I am mean? Should I really do this? WAIT!!!! This is a really bad idea. STOP overthinking this. I am going to quit. But I might still be embarrassed, which I just don’t understand. I am going to quit smoking. It’s over.
WAIT! I don’t have a patch, or lozenges, or … HEY! I know… I will vape! Yeah… I will… NO. That’s not quitting. I have to go 72 hours without nicotine to get it out of my system. DUH. No cheating, if I am going to quit, I have to really quit. Ok. Cold Turkey. Mike did it three years ago, and I am stronger than he is. Most of the time. Well. Not really, but I can still quit. Fake it ‘til you make it. OK. I am going to quit smoking.
Fast forward three days. December 4th 2016 8:42 pm – last cigarette. Throw away all ashtrays, lighters and cigarettes –no sign of smoking anywhere. This is now a non-smoking household.
Monday morning, 12/5/16. I DON’T SMOKE! This is so exciting!! Yay me! I don’t even WANT one. Ha – maybe this is going to be easy. <snicker>
Coffee….. Oh boy. How’s that going to go? Ahhhh – no issues. Fantastic. Uh, oh… will I ever “go to the bathroom” again? If I don’t go, that could kill me. WAIT!!! Which is less painful? To die from smoking or from not pooping? Imagine the epitaph. Maybe this was not such a good idea. Maybe I should just smoke – nope, I threw them all away. Crushed them, too. Dammit. 10 minutes later…... Much better now – morning potty is not an issue. Whew!
Time to head to the office. No smoking in the car now, which is fine. If going to the bathroom without my first smoke of the day is not a problem, driving to work won’t be either. I am back in control. Turn up the radio – it’s a beautiful day! I quit smoking!
Day 2. Oh my – there are a lot of smokers at work. I can smell them all. I am like a predator with a heightened sense of smell. I think there is a smoker in the building next door. I can smell him or her. How did I ever enjoy that? God, it’s gross. I am going to stay in my office and avoid all the people. I really don’t like them right now anyway, and the smokers stink. Thank goodness I brought my trident gum. I need to look on the internet for some distractions. Google is my friend…… I will find some websites that will help distract me.
Quit.com is cool. Lots of info there. Why Quit is also good – very interesting stuff. Become an EX – I like that name a lot. Let’s sign up for that one. My creativity is dead, but I have to tell someone what I am feeling here. I think I will BLOG! BOOM – comments. WOW! Giulia… what a lovely name. Italian, right? I wonder how often she has to spell that for people. Isn’t that also a car? Jonescarp. What an odd name. C2Q. Silverstar. Is there some “don’t use your name” secret code here? Oh, Jackie – a real name! Terrie – isn’t she nice! Mike.n.atlanta – how clever. Ok – why not…. I will stay with Become an Ex. I need the support. I am a real renegade and registered with my given name. Sigh…. I might be a bit crispy. Better make sure my blogs stay happy. Maybe even a little funny. We need to laugh so we don’t cry. Ummm… who’s “we?” Lord, I am clearly losing it. Fake it ‘til you make it.
Day Three. Day Four (no more nicotine!). I am tired. I am so tired. I am too tired to smoke even if one was in front of me. And I am a big fat liar. I am not through this yet. My legs are jumpy and sometimes I feel like my skin is crawling. I am drinking so much water. That’s what they tell me in the comments on my daily blogs. I have to blog – if I don’t, I might scream. Or smoke. Blog, Susan. Keep blogging.
Mike and the kids are so supportive, but I think I growl instead of speak. If I smile when I do it, it doesn’t count, right? I am going to bed. I might just move into the bed. Who needs to adult, anyway?
Day 5. Ok, better. Back to the legion for meetings after work. I actually WANT to leave the house. It’s so nice to see people. I only think about smoking once every 7.78899666 minutes. That’s real progress.
Day 6 and 7 – nicotine haze is easing, and I feel like myself again. Cravings come, but they GO, too – they never stay long. People tell you this but you don’t understand it until you experience it. There is no way I would jeopardize my quit now, because I don’t want to do this week again. It is almost hard to believe that I used to smoke.
That was (mostly) my first week. While some of it was tongue in cheek, ALL of it is true. Every time you read the word “WAIT” in the above, it was my addiction talking. It pushed back, and it pushed back hard. After all, my addiction was well cared for and well fed for 30 years.
I put out my last cigarette at 8:40 pm on December 4th, 2016. There was no fanfare. Trumpets didn’t blare, angels didn’t sing, and my husband simply said “you can do this, baby." That was more than enough because the key all along was in me; I dug deep and found my commitment.
It’s ok to not know what you will experience. It is not ok to continue to smoke and slowly kill yourself because you are too afraid of your first week. That just is not ok, because the first week never killed anyone – smoking kills people every hour of every day. Let that sink in.
Yes, there were lots of moments where I wasn’t as nice as I could have been, or as ladylike as I should have been, but through it all there was humor, dedication, amazement and pride. I am proud of myself and for any of you who have quit for one hour, one day, one week, month, year or decade, you should be proud too.
Don’t try. Do. Don’t give it a shot, give it your all. Don’t wonder if you can, think about how you will. It’s all up to you. The commitment, the answers, and the grit – it’s all in you.