Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Addiction is a funny thing. We all have our addictions- some more serious than others. Some of us are addicted to sugar or foods, others to drugs or alcohol, and some are even addicted to sex. And I don't think any of us realize how serious our addictions are until we try to give them up. I have been addicted to a drug for ten years now. It sounds weird even saying it. I have let a substance control my life for a decade.

I started smoking senior year of high school, thinking I could quit any time. If I had known that I would be still be smoking at 28, and that it would so completely take over my life, I absolutely would never have started.

Cigarettes control every aspect of my life. I can't sit in long meetings, not just because of the ADD, but because the thought of not being able to have a cigarette makes me panic. I worry when I only have one pack of cigarettes left. I hate when people bum cigarettes off me, not only because they are being cheap, but because I worry that I won't have enough for the day/night. When I ride in someone else's car and they are a non-smoker, I can't relax.

I don't think non-smokers realize just how controlling this addiction is. I can't tell you how many times someone has said, "those things are so bad for you. you should just quit." Non-smokers really have no idea how difficult that is.

Which is why I am now trying to quit. I'm down from a pack a day to about 6. I'm not a cold-turkey type of girl. I had no idea how much this addiction has taken over my life. Now that I'm not smoking as much, it is on my mind constantly. I had multiple panic attacks at my desk yesterday. I literally was freaking out, thinking about the fact that I had to wait 2 hours before I could have another cigarette.

It doesn't help that the product I am using (Commit Lozenge) makes my mouth burn and makes me nauseous. But, from what I've heard, it's the most effective, since it keeps your mouth busy.

So wish me luck. And if any of you have successfully quit smoking (real smokers, not you "I smoke when I drink" types), please let me know what worked for you.


allan 9/06/2006 09:37:00 PM  

Good luck! It sounds like you are taking a great approach. Gradual change is the best way to change a behavior, whether it is dieting, exercise, or quitting smoking.

Keith Olbermann has an excellent site called I Quit, with a lot of tips:

KassyK 9/06/2006 10:42:00 PM  

Good luck a pack a day smoker for YEARS...the only thing that truly worked for me was self control and cold turkey.

I did go slowly---went from a 15 a 10 and then lower and lower. It has been a year since I have touched a cig.

Its hard but its worth it. I still miss it every day--but its really getting over the inital real withdrawal and then dealing with the emotional withdrawal.

I gained 20 lbs almost and then had to take it off (its gone yay!!) but that was hard. My dad did accupuncture and it worked for him.

GOOD LUCK!! And PS-I hear you on the social smoking thing...people that is NOT smoking--its being bizarro. :-)

Red 9/07/2006 05:13:00 AM  

Best of luck to you!
I smoked a pack a day and started around the age of 13 so I smoked for about 20 years.
Everyone is different but for me I really couldn't stand the smell and it hit me that I in the dating arena quitting was a must and I didn't want a smoker.
At first I stopped buying them. I would then feel guilty bumming them off people because I felt as you did about people borrowing off me. Sometimes I would go outside with the smokers but not smoke. I found my addiction wasn't as much the nicotine but more of the act of smoking.
The person I got cigarettes from the most was my Mom but after 10 months of not buying cigarettes Mom got real sick and was put on oxygen. Her smoking history had elevated her pneumonia and she was hospitalized for over a week. She was forced to quit and so was I.
A smoker wasn't the person I wanted to be.
I haven't had a cigarette in almost two years. It is a great feeling to say "I'm a non-smoker". The cravings aren't as bad as they sound. I smell better and I smell everything now, which isn't always a good thing. Haha
My daughter now calls me "The Nose".
Here is one more thing... the wrinkles! Look closely and you will see them because smoking brings them.

Skipper 9/07/2006 06:00:00 AM  

No offence to smokers, but I really don't see the point. It stinks, and I don't know about anyone else but it makes me feel ill inhaling other's smoke.

Good luck in quitting. It'll improve your life loads ^_^

JoJo 9/07/2006 07:04:00 AM  

I know how hard quitting can be. I quit only cause my father passed away from lung cancer.

Best of luck!

DrunkBrunch 9/07/2006 07:43:00 AM  

Here's to Day 3! I'll check back to see what your readers suggest.

And you're so right: now that I'm not smoking, it is always on my mind!

This is really, really hard. I've been smoking since I was 17, so yeah, it's been 10 years.

Johnny 9/07/2006 09:10:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Johnny 9/07/2006 09:14:00 AM  

I've known so many people who quit smoking, and it is very difficult. People get really irritable, but in the long run, it's so worth it to feel so much better. And spend less money! We might have our differences but good luck for real.

The Husband 9/07/2006 09:23:00 AM  

i think its great that you are taking the necessary steps to quit a tough habit. i hope you stick with it!

if you find you have a real oral fixation let me know and we can work something out...just kidding.

Ashburnite 9/07/2006 09:57:00 AM  


allan- thanks. yeah, I don't think I could just go from a pack a day to nothing. And that site is great! thanks!

kk- ick.,..I don't need to gain any wieght. Ugh...that's going to be tough.

red- yeah, the smell is one of the major reasons I'm quitting- I absolutely hate that smell. I'm glad you've been successful- the more success stories I hear, the better.

skipper- like I said, you can't understand it unless you've been through it. It's a drug. We're addicted.

jojo- wow. Sorry to hear that. I made this decision because I'm starting to get freaked about that- it hurts when I take a deep breath. And the thought of having to tote around an oxygen tank is scary.

db- yay! day 3! it does help to go through this with someone else, so hopefully we'll be able to help each other.

johnny- thanks. and the irritable thing? yeah, I almost yelled at a co-worker, then almost cried about it. It's 100 times worse than pms.

carl- hehe. thanks. although, I've always had an oral fixation.... ;-)

Tara 9/07/2006 10:32:00 AM  

I wish you the best of luck in this process, Ash! Just think of the money you'll save by not buying those things. Then with that money you can become a shopaholic. :) Seriously, though, good luck to you! I know you can do it.

minijonb 9/07/2006 10:33:00 AM  

i smoked from age 14 to age 28... that was half my life!

i tried the patch... it was horrible and made my skin itch.

i finally quit when i started using the nicorette gum. it was a life saver (literally). i had to use it for many months, and it was a tough process, but it worked.

seriously... once you're down to only a few cigs a day, buy the nicotine gum and use that for as long as it takes to break the habit, then use less and less of the gum. you can always keep an emergency piece of it in your pocket or purse.

i don't know anything about the Commit Lozenge... but anything you use while you smoke sounds fishy to me. replace the cigs with the gum.

i'm with you on this. you can do it.

Sweet 9/07/2006 12:28:00 PM  

Yes we all do have our fair share. Good luck! I'm trying to stop doing Coke (the soda, not the drug, hardy har).

Ricardo 9/07/2006 12:45:00 PM  

Yikes! I have seen people get all jumpy over their smokes. They have to be putting some serious stuff in them to get you and others so hooked. I hear it's very hard to go cold turkey but it sounds like you're making progress. Now if we read that you had a crate of GPC Full Flavored 100's or Pal-Mal's shipped to your door in the next month or 2, we'll know things have gone from bad to worse.

Rachel 9/07/2006 03:10:00 PM  

I used to smoke between ½ to 1 pack per day of cigarettes. The day that my son got one out of my pack and tried to light it I was done. I quit cold turkey.
There are still times that I actually crave a cigarette after not smoking for over 3 years. When I crave it I go and take a deep whiff of a dirty, overflowing ashtray. When I am done gagging, the craving has disappeared.
Good luck. The mental withdrawl can be much worse than the physical one.

DrunkBrunch 9/07/2006 03:13:00 PM  

By the way, I just talked to a smoking cessation counselor. He said to BE INDULGENT the first couple of weeks. He suggested giving yourself rewards, like buying a DVD every day, until you feel adjusted.

That so justifies the three chocolate bars I've eaten this week :)

Cody 9/07/2006 08:08:00 PM  

I could have swore I left a good luck thing earlier. Maybe I'm the one who needs to stop smoking.

Anyway, good luck with the stopping smoking.

Brunch Bird 9/07/2006 09:36:00 PM  

Try thinking about quitting as a way to simultaneously outfox and flip the bird to the cigarette companies who helped you get addicted in the first place. I wish you the best of luck on this!

team gingerbread 9/07/2006 11:45:00 PM  

Ash - I found Nicorette worked for me, but I was pretty much keeping myself busy as hell until I kicked it.

I took so many workshop type classes, from pottery to cake decorating to keep my mind off of it

Good luck to you

team gingerbread 9/07/2006 11:47:00 PM  

@Johnny - Yeah, I'm pretty irritable as it is, so I hardly think anyone noticed when I quit, lol

emily 9/08/2006 09:18:00 AM  

I can't imagine how hard it is. My friend just found out she's pregnant (a good thing) and has quit cold turkey - but is struggling.
Another friend told me that quitting cigarrettes cold turkey was harder than quitting any other drug he ever did. And he did many. But he did it, and hasn't smoked in 7 years. So good luck, you can do it too!

Aliecat 9/08/2006 09:56:00 AM  

Good luck! I wish I could quit, but I don't know what I would do with my hands for the next 50 years (especially since I'm single, haha!).

Ashburnite 9/08/2006 10:19:00 AM  

tara- thanks, but I already have a shopping problem. Maybe now, though, I'll actually have the money to spend on shoes :-)

mjb- yeah, I can't take the patch- it literally burns my skin. You (technically) aren't supposed to use Commit while still smoking, but I'm cheating. I'm using it in place of most of the cigs I normally have. It's just a few cigs that I can't cut out yet (on the way to work, after lunch, and on the way home).

sweet- hehe. I had cut way back on Coke, but since I'm trying not to smoke, I'm craving sweets like crazy, so I've been chugging cans of coke.

ricardo- there will be no crates of cigs! I am starting to get more confident in my ability to kick this.

Rachel- yeah, I think seeing my kid (if I had one) trying to light up would scare me into quitting as well.

Anonymous,  9/08/2006 10:23:00 AM  

Hello, I was wondering what you thought of the slim fast pills? Do they raise your heartbeat dramatically? Any side effects? Do you find them to work?

Ashburnite 9/08/2006 10:24:00 AM  

db- I guess it justifies the big bag of lollipops and the 12-pack of Coke I've consumed then :-)

cody- thanks. by the way, what is it you're smoking? ;-)

bb- thanks. and very good point. although, I don't blame them- I was well aware of the risks when I started.

gbread- yeah, I have to try like hell to keep myself busy this weekend- the weekends are going to be the hardest for me.

fw- thanks!

emily- thanks. I think it probably is tougher than quitting (some) drugs, because it's something you do all day, every day. It becomes such a part of your life. And I am definitely happy to hear another success story like you're friends. thanks

aliecat- yeah, hehe...I'm trying to find a solution to that one as well.

Ashburnite 9/08/2006 10:26:00 AM  

anon- do you mean the SlimQuick pills I'm taking? If so, yes, they do increase your heart rate (until your body adjusts to them). And they definitely do work- although, they aren't really working for me at the moment- the fact that I'm quitting smoking is making me eat like crazy.

slloww 9/08/2006 01:35:00 PM  

Good luck to you. I smoked about 2 packs a day for over 30 years and tried to quit several times. I finally quit cold turkey when i was diagnosed with cancer in my mouth. That obviously worked for me but I wouldn't recommend it to

Freckled K 9/08/2006 01:54:00 PM  

I need to quit (again), and plan to take up knitting, so that I keep my hands busy. For me, it's not the nicotine, but the "action" of smoking.

I've quit three times. After a few smoke-free months, I would begin to rationalize smoking, thinking maybe I could have one occasionally, when I drink. Or, I'm stressed, upset, whatever...I really need a cigarette. Just this once. And that's how it starts. Once you've quit, don't think that having a quick drag off a friend's cig will not do any damage. It will.

nicole 9/08/2006 09:58:00 PM  

SO PROUD OF YOU for cutting back.

Sounds like you're already on the right track if you got yourself down to six a day.

And I've never smoked but I can totally understand what you mean about cigs constantly being on your mind once you try to quit. It's because your brain is constantly processing the idea that you can't have a certain thing. Which makes it the only thing you can think about.

I don't think that made ANY sense.

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