So the amount of advice out there, products out there, and warnings out there for quitting smoking are endless. There are sites online, doctors, apps for your phone, studies, and a million different ways to try. As well as those people who have quit themselves who are always willing to offer advice, non-smokers who are willing to push you to quit. And there are a million reasons TO quit. Money, health, health of family, appearance, smell, money, oh, and did I mention the money you would save? So, you want to quit smoking? There are bound to be a lot of different people who will help you do it. But honestly – they can’t. There are products out there that tons of people use to quit – and sometimes they even work. There are plenty of chances to quit – which many of us don’t take. Or we set the date, get all revved up to do it, and then don’t. We play tricks on ourselves and others. We lie about it – to ourselves and others. We think we will cut down. We think we can set all kinds of goofy rules. You know those rules if you are trying to quit. I will only smoke every other day, with my left hand, outside where no one will see me. Or I will never smoke in the car with the kids. Which often lasts until the next jerk cuts you off in traffic and you get stressed. I will stop smoking inside the house. Which lasts until the first rainy day or the temperature drops. Where do we come up with some of these idea for strange rules we will follow? That we follow for a week or two. Or until we hit a bar and have a few drinks. Have you ever noticed that no matter what you do to quit – a few drinks and it’s all down the drain?
And have you noticed that no matter how helpful people try to be when you are quitting, you really want to kill anyone who just even mentions it? I know they are trying to be supportive – but the person who stands there and even speaks to you is looking to be killed. The one who says “You are doing so great” – yeah? You think this is great? It would be great to see you try this. “I’m so glad you are doing this” – oh boy, you are? I’m not. I want to go have a smoke. “You will be so much happier” When? When do I stop wanting to break things? “You will have so much more money” – Yeah? I’m going to need it for a defense attorney after I kill you.
May 1st I quit smoking. Not for the first time. But I believe for the last. I quit cold turkey. No patches, no medications, no gums, no cutting down, no rules, no anything. I just did it. I put out my last cigarette at midnight and said no more. I’m done. Here it is 45 hours and 49 minutes and 32 seconds later. And I think I’m doing pretty good. I haven’t actually killed anyone yet. I am not a violent person. I am not an angry person. I am sweet, loving, and gentle with my words. Until you take my cigarettes away. Then, I become a vile, nasty, bitch. I will threaten, I will yell, I will throw things, kick things, spit, cuss and generally hate everyone. I will picture violent scenes in my head, I will want to act them out. I will be mean even when not deserved. Don’t ask me to pass the butter. I will throw it at your head. Don’t ask me what I want for dinner – I don’t want dinner – I want a cigarette. I am hanging in there though. They say the first three days of detox are the worst. Hmm. I am hoping. Because at this going rate, I’m going to end up running tourists down with my car just out of sheer madness.
But, honestly – let’s look at this from a realistic standpoint. What is happening for real? I’m trying to beat a very, very strong addiction. I have had drug addicts who were addicted to crack say it was easier to get off of crack than it is to quit smoking. So that is saying something. So, I’m going through withdrawal. My body is craving something and I’m not giving in. My mind says I want it, my body says I want it. But I am saying no. I am shaking. My heart is racing. I have a headache. My stomach is upset. My mouth is dry. I feel like I have bugs crawling under my skin. The addiction to cigarettes is physical. But it is also mental, emotional, and whatever else you want to say it is. It is something that will kill you. But when you quit cold turkey, you stop caring about that. You think – it wasn’t so bad when I smoked. It’s okay that I had to sell off my first born child to afford a pack of cigarettes. It says something when you are looking at your monthly budget and it’s going to be tight. So, do you cut down on the cigarettes? Nope, you will cut food spending, you will cut gas spending, you will even call a bill and tell them it will be late in order to have enough money to get your smokes. There is something seriously, seriously wrong with that.
So, friends and family. It has now been 46 hours, 2 minutes and 45 seconds since I smoked my last cigarette. I am hoping that some time soon I will stop counting the seconds, stop thinking about it all the time, stop wanting to kill everyone I speak to. I hope that in the next few hours, days, weeks, months, and years, I am healthier, happier and going to live longer. But in the mean time – if you call me and I bite your head off for asking me how I am doing – forgive me and know I still love you. I’m just trying to quit smoking.