The hardest part about quitting for me, is acknowledging that I really like smoking. If nicotine weren’t addictive and if smoking didn’t cause me to wheeze when I walk and cough when I talk and it didn’t cause me puffy eyes; I would never, ever quit. The reality of smoking is that the associated pleasure is immediate and the ill-effects are cumulative.
My challenge is to remember my long term goals in the midst of a short term craving. I don’t know if craving is even the right word, because I think I am long past the withdrawal from nicotine. And I have the exact same problem with chocolate and other sweet goodies that people bring to the office to share. Girl Scout Cookie month is especially problematic.
The fact is; there is no direct substitute for smoking. Sure, I have done the tricks to get over a craving; breathing techniques, and sucking through a straw, and gum, and mints, and every other type of hard candy on the planet; and they are but a grim reminder that we don’t smoke anymore. I find the suggestion to eat veggies instead of smoking particularly hilarious advice.
There does come the time in a quit (and I am there), where substitution is untenable. Nothing fills the same void as smoking. I accept this as true for me. My challenge is to determine if that void really needs to be filled. I remind myself that I have felt a void every time a really good book comes to an end. I feel that void after the Christmas holiday and every vacation trip. I even felt a void when I finished my master’s degree and realized after twelve years of school I was finally done.
The void is a fact. It is also a fact that the void fades. (If I ever write a book, the title will “The Void Fades” because how awesome is that phrase???). So when I get that itchy “something is missing” feeling I can remind myself that this is just the void. Yeah, it’s itchy. Yeah, I don’t like that feeling. But it will fade.
Keep the quit