I hang my head in shame. I'm pretty smart, active, often athletic, but I have a foul habit deeply imbedded in my psyche. I've been a smoker for (oh god, deep breath) 32 years.
I'm trying to quit.
This has led to a lot of thinking about who I am, as I am trying to redefine myself as an adult who does not smoke. Never known myself w/o a cigarette nearby.
Why am I posting this story here? My reasons:
- Trying to quit has made me aware how 'asleep' I've been, and how much fear I travel with. I am hopeful that this action will stimulate courage in other parts of my life, especially political/social arenas.
- I want to share my experience with the medication I'm taking for those who are interested.
- and this is a shameless way to get some support.
I'm near the end of day two.
I'm okay. Not freaking out, not weeping, not searching through the garbage for an old butt. I'm also holding my breath a bit, not wanting to fail, yet slightly craving a smoke. That goes away pretty fast.
I've tried to quit before; many, many times and methods. This time I am taking Chantix.
Day 5. Still okay. I weigh 10 pounds more than I'd like, so I bought carrots last night. I'm not beating myself up about my weight - I actually look fine, just want to get back down. I also went for a long jog/walk with my most patient dog. It felt good to get some of the heebies out of my limbs.
I found sitting at the computer makes me a bit stir-crazy, so I'm doing this in episodes. Feeling at times courageous, at times weepy. Overall - I'm excited to be moving on from something that has hung over everything for so long. Funny thing, though - I'm embarrassed to talk with my friends about this . Only one friend knows I'm doing this. I guess I'm afraid of failing and ashamed of my weaknesses. Wow - get over it!
Chantix - let me describe my experience.
My sister recommended it, several of her patients had some success. Unbiased studies show a higher success rate than the patch or Wellbutrin. Afraid of smoking lectures, I haven't seen my doctor for a couple of years, so I asked my sister to write me a scrip. It's not cheap (about $100 for the 1st month), but I ran to the pharmacy as soon as her letter arrived. I took the first pill the next morning. You ramp up the medication dosage in the first week, while you are still smoking. As the drug builds up, smoking becomes really unappetizing. Nausea is typical, but I also felt a bit headachy. Reading the other reported side effects, I will admit to vivid dreams and increased flatulence. Damn, I'm glad the gas isn't my fault. The medication binds to nicotine receptors, and thus blocked, smoking a cigarette doesn't reward you any longer (okay, I know it never did...).
By the day you are supposed to quit, about 7 days in, you are taking a full dose, and at least for me, smoking was no longer pleasant. There is a website as a guide and resource, and you are supposed to take the drug for about 3 months.
This was easy, if I may say so. I am not allowed to tempt myself, and I really do want to quit, no matter how good I am at sabbotaging myself. I did time the quitting to glide between stressful events - a few papers due last week, and Xmas is often a mess.
I'm tired of my own excuses. My 48th birthday is next Monday. Enough!
About accountability. I can only speak for myself here, but I often only give things lip-service. Kind of makes me sick. I know I can't solve all the problems, I can barely take care of myself. But I do care, I am competent, and I do want my efforts to have an impact on some level. Facing my ugly, dirty habit, peeling back some of my internal lies, replacing them with reasons to live, and live healthier, takes me a bit closer to the level of personal accountability I respect in others.
Smoking gets in my way, on so many levels. It's time for me to move on, clear out the debris, and get to work on what is really important to me.