Days Without a Cigarette: 5.630208333
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: -$10.19
Yesterday I was filled with hubris that I mistook for confidence. I noticed that day four had been easier than day three. Then I noticed that day five had been even easier. So I assumed that I was over the worst of it.
But I just learned that wasn’t true. And I should’ve known it.
See, as I’ve already mentioned on this blog, I’m really easing myself into this. Yes, I cut the cigarettes out completely and all at once. But I eased myself back into life from there. I took a couple of days off of work, and when I came back, I had half days and light workloads. I made my life as easy as I could make it for a few days because I knew I’d be dealing with this non-smoker shit, and I didn’t want to add anything else to my plate.
But eventually, you have to go back to the real world. And in the real world, all the triggers are there.
Before I went into this, I already knew what my biggest trigger was going to be. It wasn’t gonna be finishing a meal or waking up or driving or smelling cigarettes or anything like that. It was gonna be frustration. And this morning was just chocked full of that.
It started off when a two month clusterfuck between our bank and our bookkeeper lands at my front door (literally) with a bunch of checks I’m not supposed to have and none of the ones I am supposed to have. So I’m in the middle of sorting out bank stuff (my least favorite part of the job), falling ever further behind on the writing I need to do today, and I get a notice from the online publisher demanding I take care of a misplaced comma in one of our ebooks right the fuck now. Which I barely remember how to do. I’m waiting for the bookkeeper to get back to me, so I start working my way through that, then I get a message from one of my partners about something that somehow became my job when I wasn’t looking; which also requires me to navigate a series of website menus designed to confound a Minotaur. And throughout this, my wife is texting me from two towns over asking what I want to get so and so for Christmas because holy shit is that just a week away? And just in case I was insufficiently stressed, my phone is beeping every few minutes to let me know about yet another severe warning issued by the National Weather Service for my area. (Tornado Watch, severe Thunderstorm Warning, High Wind Warning, Local Flooding Warning… so far).
And then I completely fucking lost it.
I have a temper. I get angry. Sometimes I can channel that anger, and when I can, I get paid for it. But sometimes I can’t. And when I get there, I need a fucking cigarette. I need to step outside and take three deep breaths (get over the coughing fit that deep breaths incur in a 30 year smoker), then light a cigarette. And by the end of that cigarette I can walk back inside and deal with whatever shit life has splattered on me. I might still be angry, but it’s an angry I can channel at that point.
But today I couldn’t have a cigarette. So I lashed out at my friend and coworker, I screamed into an empty room, and I threw myself back into a chair and said – aloud – “I can’t do this.”
And then, five minutes later, I got up and went downstairs. Because there are kittens down there and it’s really hard to be pissed when kittens are involved. And I called my wife and I told her I was losing my fucking mind. And she talked me down. And then I went back up stairs and got to work.
Yesterday I felt like I had this shit pretty much on lock. I knew I hadn’t crossed the finish line by any means, but I felt pretty confident that I could. And today I feel like I couldn’t have done it on my own. Without a wife who loves me, all of you to talk to, and a very understanding coworker who will ultimately forgive me for being an asshole, I would’ve lost today. I’d have broken down, gone to the store, bought a pack of cigarettes, and ripped off this fucking patch while the cashier was finding my brand.
So, quick addendum to what I said yesterday. People keep telling me I can do this. And that’s true; but it’s not because I have the strength to do it, or the willpower, or the resolve. If I succeed at this, it’s gonna be because I have the help I need. Maybe there are people strong enough of will to do this alone. I don’t think I’m one of them. But luckily, I don’t have to find out.