Random Observations: Week Two

Blog Post created by Bdwallhau on Mar 15, 2018

Just a few random observations from the second week of my quit. What are you experiencing at this point in your quit journey? 


ENERGY LEVEL  My energy level is through the roof. I was so low-energy before I quit. Take Tuesday, for example. Tuesday marked the 2-week point of my quit. Prior to my quit, I never felt up to doing anything at the end of a workday. I'd come home, make our dinner, and then hit the couch for the evening, completely drained. On Tuesday, I found out I needed to be at meeting at 6 p.m. at my kids' school. So, I rushed home from work, made skillet lasagna and a salad for the kids, saw that it was 5:40, and decided I had enough time to walk to the meeting. What?! Granted, it's only 1.7 miles from my house to the school, but the notion that I could walk instead of drive would NEVER have occurred to me before the quit. But, I did. And I was only 5 minutes late! (The husband was kind enough to pick me up afterwards.)


IT'S AWESOME TO TELL YOUR DOCTOR.  I had an appointment with my primary care MD yesterday. I couldn't wait to tell her I'd quit and that I had 2 weeks under my belt. When I did, she was so happy. Watching her face light up and have her repeatedly congratulate me was just lovely.


0XYGEN. My oxygen saturation at the MD appointment was 98. I hadn't hit 98 in years, normally hitting 95 or 96.  Plus, I could feel a marked difference in my breathing within just 24 hours, and this is after 27 years of smoking. To me, that's just incredible. Two weeks in, and I'm breathing deeply without discomfort or coughing. 


COLLATERAL PERKS (or, THE GOOD-FOR-YOU RIPPLE EFFECT).  I gave up a number of other things when I quit that "went with" my addiction to nicotine and that were, in themselves, terrible habits. I loved coffee drinks with cigarettes, so I always stopped at a fast food place on my way to work EVERY morning, got an iced macchiato with whole milk, and typically added a breakfast sandwich. When I quit smoking, I also quit coffee, which meant that I quit the fast food ritual, too. I also often left work at lunch and grabbed fast food. This gave me extra time to smoke. So, that ritual is gone as well. Oh, and cold, fizzy drinks went hand-in-hand with smoking for me. In a nutshell, I quit smoking, coffee, all fast food, and all sugary drinks, all at the same time. The new ritual is to have a cup of hot tea in the morning, nothing but water the rest of the day, and I cook all our meals and take leftovers for lunch. 


FITNESS. When one can breathe, one can move   How nice to be able to walk every evening for 30 minutes, and not have a single coughing fit or even feel terribly winded.  Or, to be able to breathe deeply during meditation without triggering a cough. I'm already entertaining notions of training for a 5K. Crazy. 


NEW CRAVINGS. I can't remember who at the moment, but one of you mentioned new cravings that emerged when you quit. Coconut seems to be mine. Those Almond Joy Easter eggs are loaded with it, and then I discovered Ben & Jerry's Coconut 7-Layer Bar Ice Non-Dairy Cream. I have died and gone to coconut heaven. 


WEIGHT. Given the collateral perks I mentioned and the fitness I'm involved in, you'd think the weight would be great. Not exactly. I've gained 3 pounds in 2 weeks. SEE ABOVE. Damn you, coconut!


DEPRESSION.  This is maybe the most important change for me: life-changing, game-changing, huge outcome. I struggled with low self-esteem and general depression for years, and I wasn't sure what it was all about or where it came from. But, as I told my doctor yesterday, the most lethal thing about addiction, in my mind, is that it slays, mercilessly, your self confidence. When you no longer truly have control over your own life and well-being, when you know that you've sacrificed that control to the addiction, when you can't trust yourself to do what's needed to reclaim control, it is devastating to the psyche. My depression was really, I think, about not feeling able to reclaim that control and confidence. I know that the physical fallout is truly and directly lethal, but the first fallout is confidence & control, and all the other fallout really stems from that, in my mind. When you lose your confidence and you no longer feel you're in control of your body, mind, and life, you are losing your humanity and dignity. That's a recipe for deep, abiding, soul-crushing depression. AND . . . I am so happy to report, that it comes back. Now that I'm in control, my confidence is back. It's the most joyful feeling, as if a heavy, dark fog has finally lifted.


ANXIETY.  What a delightful surprise to learn that the addiction was the SOURCE of my anxiety, not a way to cope with it. Now that I am not controlled by my addiction, I feel so free. With that freedom comes much less anxiety. I still have worries, but they aren't crippling.


SLEEP.  Apparently, the process of the brain pulling away from an addiction can do bizarre things to the sleep cycle. Sleep was fine at first. Then, early in the 2nd week, I began waking up all through the night. I fall asleep quickly and easily, but I'm awake within an hour. It's like that all night, and I'm very lucky to get 2 consecutive hours of sleep in a night. Two nights ago, I had a pretty good night. I was hopeful. Then, last night, I was awake every hour again. I posted about it and got good tips, so hopefully it will end soon. I'll admit that this frightens me, because rest is key to being strong and able to continue the quit journey. I've armed myself with lavender bath stuff, chamomile tea, and a relaxing routine at night. Let's hope it does the trick eventually. 


I'd love to hear the observations from others, no matter where you are in your quit journey. Which ones are the most noticeable for you and really grab your attention? Were there some that surprised you? Were there things you were told to expect, but they never happened? Things you didn't dare hope for, and there they were?