Saturday, January 08, 2011

Almost 5 Days

This has been a tough week for me. Don't mistake me, it was not tough at work, or no more than usual anyway. Nor was it tough at home But it's still been a tough 5 days.

I have now gone over 4.5 days without smoking!

Late last year I finally made the decision that as many times as I tried to quit smoking on my own, that I was never going to be successful at it without some help. So at my physical in December I asked for a prescription for Chantix. With the Chantix program, you spend the first week taking a reduced dose and continue to smoke. From what I have read about Chantix is that it "covers" the receptors where nicotine would normally attach, effectively blocking the brain from getting it's nicotine fix. So goodbye nicotine buzz.

What I found effective about this is that since you no longer get the buzz, or any other perceived benefit of smoking the things you begin to notice are how bad it tastes, the impact on your lungs, and to be honest, the time it takes away from doing anything else. So I'm smoking, outside in the cold - since I don't smoke inside the house - not getting high, just sucking in this stuff that tastes bad and my make my lungs feel really bad. I couldn't help but think this is an absolute waste of time. It sort of starts prepping you and motivating you in the lead up to the quit date.

And it's just one thought that I come back to now that I'm actually battling the urge to go by a pack of smokes.

My original quit date was going to be January 4th but I ended up having my last cigarette at 10:20 on the 3rd which is when I smoked the last cigarette of the pack. I simply moved up my quit date/time to avoid buying another pack. At that point I was forcing myself to smoke, or so I thought anyway. I was to learn differently starting the next morning, but at the time it felt like I was forcing it.

The other good thing about taking Chantix is that you take it in the morning and the evening, but you need to take it on a full stomach. Friends have told me that they got very nauseous taking it on an empty stomach. So for that first week while I was still smoking, the first thing I would do when I woke up was to make myself some oatmeal, eat breakfast and take my Chantix. Then I would have my first cup of coffee and cigarette of the day.

What I didn't realize what was happening at the time, but not that I have quit smoking I do realize, is that process of making breakfast and taking Chantix the very first thing was a start in breaking my first habit of every day - having a smoke and coffee before anything else. And for the most part, that's been one of the easier habits to break since I have a replacement (Breakfast and Chantix).

January 4th was also my first day back at work after the Holidays. And this is where I found out about a whole bunch of "triggers". The first was one I was expecting even though knowing about it didn't make it any easier. Many people have suggested that I try a different route to work, but the reality is that sometimes you gotta take things head on. And any other route would take me an hour or more to get to work. I enjoy watching my hand, like it has a mind of its own, reach out to grab some (non-existent) cigarettes. Over the week, the amount of times my hand has reached out has significantly reduced. However, W. 98th Street exit on 90 seems to be a consistent trigger still.

I won't commit to posting every day about my effort to become a non-smoker, but it does help to air some of this out so I probably will.

For what it is worth, here's my stats at the time of this posting:

Days without smoking: 4.62
Cigarettes not smoked: 92.5
Dollars saved: $28

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