A takeoff on the blog Bjmarks wrote entitled “ the junkie in me” from Aug 10, 2010:
Okay, quick math lesson: I ‘was’ quit for 79 days at which I never had a smoke when I drove. Started up again for 58 days at which I never had a smoke when I drove. Started a new quit 20 days ago at which… gee- u guessed it... haven’t smoked whilst I drive! Can we agree on a solid 157 days of not smoking whilst driving?
In my car I have placed a pack of gum where my pack of smokes used to reside. Very intentionally, I’d start a stick of gum when heading out of the drive instead of a cig.
So here I am, driving to my dojo as I do twice a week and as I’ve been doing for the last nine years as a smoker. One hour drive one way and in the past I would have 3 cigs during that time. Specific land marks would cue me into “It’s time for another smoke”. After 157 days of NOT smoking thru these cues…. I found myself driving past one of these land marks and opening the ashtray, rolling down the window and grabbing my pack (of gum), putting a stick in my mouth and actually saying to me “this smoke tastes funny”. The Pavlov dog in me did it without my consciousness even knowing about it.
Finally realizing that I subconsciously “grabbed” what I considered ‘normal’ … yet not really normal. Had I had an actual pack of cigs in my car; I would have been smoking before I even knew what I was doing. This was a disturbing realization that what I have, of not smoking, is a precious gift I’ve given to myself. Sure I laughed that my cig tasted like polar ice but in reality it brought home that even after 157 days of deconditioning, I personally need to keep my guard up… we all need to keep our guard up. Everybody’s quit experience, triggers and withdrawals are unique so this may not apply to everyone. But it brought home a reality to me that every moment I do not smoke is precious. And that I should treasure and rejoice in that moment. Like Pir8fan mentioned in his blog: “every day is a celebration and milestone”. I think every moment you do not smoke is a means for celebration.