I found this while looking for topics to post for the NML weekly check in. I did not copy it word for word and changed some things around, but I certainly cannot take credit for writing this piece. It really resonated with me as I approach 300 DOF.
The Icky 3's
Let me start by telling you that a dear friend who is doing wonderfully well with his quit asked me about the "ickies". I wrote a letter to him. I decided it was worth sharing.
Day 3 –
A lot of folks who quit seem to experience some real negativity on the 3's. Day 3 of quitting does not bring the euphoria of getting through the first 2 days, reality sinks in and it's just another day of slugging it out with the NICO demon. I think for most it is the toughest day for cravings and emotions really set in.
Week 3 –
Week 3 seems to bring the brain fog. This is usually explained away as your brain and body are getting oxygen that's been deprived during our smoking years. It's hard to remember things, hard to define our senses, we don't feel like our normal selves at all. Now for me, this was the true beginning of the brain retrain. I was beginning to really regain some sense (but certainly not all) of smell and food was starting to taste entirely different. I could literally taste the air I was breathing. Smoking masks so much physically and emotionally and as we begin to awaken as non-smokers it's somewhat overwhelming, ergo the brain fog.
I found the taste and smell came back much sooner than at the 3 weeks mark, but the brain fog was certainly real at this time.
Month 3 –
Now for the 3 month mark. A lot of non-smokers report a bluesy feeling, a sense of general malaise. Quitting is no longer new, it's been incorporated into our daily routines and we have experienced the hours and sometimes day or two without even thinking about smoking. We've been on a non-smoking high. That's the point where the demon is going to try to seduce us back into her stinking and lethal lair. We now have the tools to kick her to the curb but it occurs to us that we really are not going to smoke ever again, smoking is not an option. We embrace this concept in our newly retrained non-smoking brains but there's still that residual part of us that is really pissed off that we can't have even a puff if we want to remain smoke free.
These blues do pass, normally it takes about a week so if you're going to pamper yourself and do a reward for not smoking; this is a great time to reinforce your quit with something special and just for you.
Sometimes it takes a lot longer than a week or so which is why NML is months 2, 3, 4, and 5 of a quit! The feeling doesn't always magically go away and can come back from time to time which is why we all need to keep our quits precious!
300 Days – Not so Icky anymore
Once this passes (and it will, I promise) the peace that comes with not smoking begins to settle in. It's not an overnight event, but an awareness of being comfortable in a non-smoking skin begins to happen. You begin to look back on your journey to freedom and realize you truly have travelled some distance and NOTHING will make you want to go through those first few hellish weeks ever again. I told you a while ago that quitting smoking is not an event, it is a process. It's also an amazing learning experience as we let go of an addiction that takes everything from us and begin to embrace new behavior patterns which consequently bring to us new awareness and new confidences. The physical changes that come with not smoking are terrific but for me it's the spiritual growth that just keeps happening as I become more empowered that will keep me on this non-smoking path and reaching out to others who want to seek this path keeps my own quit strong.
This happened to be long before 300 days, but everyone is different. I don't ever want to go through Day One again. Generally speaking, my quit journey have been happy and full of quititude. I am closer to the 6% Club than further at this point and I am still as strong in my quit as I was on my first Day WON!