Yep. You should. I know I am. I’ll tell you why.
Cigarettes are probably just about my favorite thing. When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is grab coffee and smoke my brains out. I usually have 6-8 cigarettes before I am ‘awake’ enough to start my day. I then proceed thru the day and smoke at least another pack. I work at home doing CSR over the phone, and should I be working that day I will smoke a whole pack just on my shift. So work days are actually almost two packs a day.
Some other reasons, if that is not enough, is putting it at 6-8 cigs in the morning with my coffee is a mild estimate. Often it is much more than that, depending on the amount of time. My point is I smoke so much in the morning, I pretty much feel completely like shit by the time I’m ready to start my day. In fact, most days after about three hours into the day I just want to crawl back into bed again. I know this is the cigarettes. They are sucking the life out of me.
Another reason is the cost. At just twenty grand a year in income at this time, I can ill afford my habit. Last I checked cigs cost 5 – 7 dollars a pack. The reason I say last I checked is because at the last price hike on cigs I switched to cigarillo’s. These are a blend of cigar and regular tobacco, look just like a cig, and are only 1.25 a pack. They are pretty damn strong too and last a long time. When I switched to them I was only smoking less than a pack a day, which was great because they are only 1.25 a pack. Now I am smoking 1.5 to 2 packs a day, and really feeling it in my chest. For the first time in 30 years of smoking, I’m getting a hacking cough. Not good. That hack is the first sign of progressive lung disease. Meaning even if you quit, your going to have continuous degeneration of your lungs, and in the long run, it’ll be what you die from, although not as bad as if you just smoke till you drop. In that scenario, you will die with an oxygen tank strapped to you. In fact, I know several people that have. Or lung cancer, after several lung removal operations.
Still, at 1.25 a pack, its hard to quit. That amount of money is hardly a reason to quit. I am amazed at the amount of people in my income bracket who spend 75.00 a week on cigs. I just couldn’t do it. Quitting smoking in that situation would equal a pay raise of 1.87 per hour based on a typical 160 hour work month. Think about it. If someone offered you an additional 1.87 an hour, how fast would you take that job? Right.
And its just plain nasty. If you are a smoker, you smell. Period. You may not realize it, but trust me you do. Sitting in a car smoking on the way to work, or smoking during work as I do, you just reek like old tobacco smoke. You will walk into a room and everybody will smell you from across the room (oh boy, here comes Charlie). I know this because I’ve quit for a year. One time. In 30 years of smoking.
And it wasn’t that hard. I was patch and nicotine free in 13 days in fact. Within a month I stopped thinking about cigarettes a thousand times a day. Within three months all cravings were gone and I was thinking how easy it was and how stupid a habit. I started again because I was invited to week long Halloween drinking bash, and bombed out of my mind, decided I could start and then quit again later. Which I’m doing, actually. But at the time, ‘later’ was next week. Its now almost 5 years ‘later’.
And I was pretty pissed at myself, too. I mean, I PRACTICED partying without cigs. This, in fact, is necessary in order to quit successfully. One has to identify where smoking is most tempting, and do practice runs. Each time you successfully get through it it reinforces in your mind you can do this without cigs and, after 20 or so runs, you don’t even really think of cigs. First time around I would go out and have maybe just a couple drinks and leave. After a while I was ok. It was hard, drinking and smoking were made for each other for me, but yea, I was at a point I didn’t even think about cigs after a while.
Of course, I didn’t plan for that traditional Halloween camping trip we all did where we just constantly partied for at least minimum 4 days (some years it’s a week). Yup, it got me. After a year of nicotine free.
So, now ‘later’ has arrived. I am going to quit the same way I did last time. If you want to join me or try it later, cool. I will give you the steps and post every day, although I don’t guarantee I will post as long as this. As I mentioned, I’m at home CSR. I sit at this computer 10 hours a day, four days a week just for work. I hate this thing, lol.
So how do I do it. Well, patches suck, but I use them. They burn and itch when you put them on, and you will dream the most screwy dreams you ever had when you wear them (And yes you wear them to bed too), but I use them. But not for 3 months like they recommend. I mean, come on. They are to help out at first, but the object is nicotine free. Dragging it out that long to me was just torture. I just wanted to get it over with.
So, its big patch 5 days, medium patch 4 days, and tiny patch 4 days. That’s it. I also have to read my Forever Free books.
Forever Free is a series of 8 booklets on quitting smoking published by somebody out there that really helped me quit. The object is to set aside time each day to donate reading to your effort to quit smoking. The series of booklets total 116 pages, I spread it out 8 pages a day. This got me through every day with the patch on and 4 or 5 after the patch was off. You can find the booklets here.
What I did, and what I’m going to do, is read my 8 pages every day during coffee time in the morning. This works out perfectly. Because I am still sleepy, I read more slowly and absorb more. It also gave me something to do when I had my coffee in the morning to replace the cigarettes. For example, instead of 10 cigarettes and three cups of coffee in the morning out on the deck, it was 3 cups of coffee and read my eight pages at the computer. Works great.
Just a note, another thing I did was not change my habits. As with going out to party with friends, if you have 3 cups of coffee in the morning, don’t change your habit. While the booklets say to do so to avoid temptation, if you avoid the temptation, it will always remain a temptation. You must learn to have coffee, drinks, and eat food without having cigarettes involved. The only way to do that is PRACTICE, as I mentioned earlier with the partying. First 10 times or so it is hard, but each time you do it without cigs you are mentally LEARNING how to do it. It gets easier each time. Hit around 20 (or some things maybe 30) times, and its no longer really a problem. But you have to learn how to make it happen, avoiding it is just not the way to go. As long as you commit an hour a day to reading the booklets, which reinforces your determination to quit, you should be alright.
Do want to mention two things. You might be nicotine free in just 13 days, but you’ll have your moments all the way to the three month mark. Be very careful. Know this – if you start again, ‘later’ can be years away. If you find you are having tough moments after you are done with the series of booklets, there is a TON of information on the web on quitting. Just start spending an hour a day reading some other stuff to reinforce your determination. You’ll be fine.
The other thing I wanted to mention is weight. When I quit smoking I went from 178 to 230 pounds!! Hahaahahahaha.
Yes my friends, you will gain weight. I didn’t go long enough for it to happen, but half of what you gain drops off after a while, according to everything I’ve read. However, I would like to mention it up front that after that three month mark, you might want to replace your reading sessions with just a walk around the block. Or 2. Or 3.
Also, I had the benefit of being covered to see a nutritionist. This person advised me to eat 3 salads and 2 pieces of fruit every day and I can eat pretty much anything I want. Seems all the vegetation, in addition to other health benefits, reduces your desire for fattening stuff. It works too. After a while, you want fruit or salad more than you want, say potato chips. Not a bad thing.
So, I start tomorrow. That means patch on right before bed. And word of advice, either take a really hot shower before you put it on or at least wash the area first with a really hot washcloth (shower is better, it also pulls a lot of poisons out of your skin). Failure to do so will result in the thing falling off. Join me if you will. Or do it later. Either way I will post every day how I’m doing and read my Forever Free books.
Wish me luck!!