As of October 27, 2012, I am a non-smoker.
So far so good. I’m using the patch/gum combo and the tried and true waiting-it-out technique. It’s been both harder and easier than I thought it would be – the cravings were few and far between, and over the past 2 days I’ve only had to chew 5 pieces of gum. Not bad. But that was the weekend…it’s Monday now, and the true test of my willpower began at 7:30 this morning when I climbed in my car, coffee in hand, work on the horizon. I might’ve traded my soul to the devil for that first morning smoke; if I’d had a pack stashed away somewhere, I probably would’ve lit one up and relished every drag while mentally chanting ‘I’m just having one; just one; just one…’. Fortunately I’ve had a lot of practice quitting, and I know better than to play that game and pretend that one won’t lead to two or three or ten. So I popped a minty gum in my mouth, chewed it four times, tucked it in my cheek and started driving with the radio turned up.
The cravings are definitely worse here at work. I’m on gum # 2 as I type this, and it’s only 10:40 am. I learned long ago that stress is a huge trigger for me…besides the fact that I just bloody well love smoking. I love the smell of cigarette smoke, the taste of it, holding a cigarette between my fingers, watching the smoke curl around my head. The experts say that nicotine is both a stimulant and a relaxant, and for me it’s also a social event and a way to release pressure, especially during the workday. By nature, I’m a horrible workaholic who gets so involved in my job that I’ve missed important life events as a result. For five minutes here and there throughout the day, the need for a cigarette forces me out of my black hole and allows me to take a mental break. And gawd, it tastes good with a coffee!!!
I’d like to say I’ve quit for very altruistic reasons, like my future children’s wellbeing or even my health. Cigarettes are a carcinogen. They cause emphysema and have been linked to infertility and heart disease and a host of other dire medical conditions. Mr. Right and I plan to start a family within the next year or two and I know for sure that I don’t want to be the woman with the belly out to China smoking under the glare of perfect strangers. More importantly, I don’t want to be forcing toxins on my innocent, unborn child, nor do I want to be a cigarette-toting role model for my children. I want to have the best chance I possibly can to get pregnant. I want to be able to run again without stopping to catch my breath, and not get colds that instantly lead to bad coughing fits. It’d be nice to stop having to listen to rude people who feel it necessary to comment on my smoking habit, and respond with subtle, sarcastic quips. And I sure won’t miss standing outside in -35 degree weather freezing my junk off for a temporary fix!
No, the real reason that I became a non-smoker this past Saturday was for the money. I don’t have any. Thanks to some unexpected expenses that have occurred since I purchased my house, I am officially on a strict and extremely tight budget for the next few months that doesn’t allow me to spend over $300/month on cigarettes unless I sacrifice something important – like heat and electricity. I like my disposable income and am willing to trade this vice in order to have that financial stability back, because at the end of the day I like money more than smoking. I like purses and shoes and books much more than cigarettes. I like a working hot water tank and a new furnace much, much better than putting another nail in my coffin. So, though it may seem to be a shallow and trivial reason to quit something that could, say, give me cancer one day, it’s still the best reason I’ve got. And it’s going to have to be enough.
Because man, I want a smoke.