Day Eight (Part Two)

Days Without a Cigarette: 7.85625
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $5.61

Tonight would have been the perfect night for a cigarette.

So here’s the story – here’s the astronomical confluence of events inviting me to smoke tonight: My house is old. Shit doesn’t line up just right. And if you don’t latch the deadbolt, it’s easy to think you’ve closed the front door when you kinda haven’t. So you close the door, you take a step, the door pops back open.

Now, when you notice it popping back open, it’s just inconvenient. But when you don’t notice it, that’s when it becomes a real pain in the ass. Because I have four cats, and they’re all indoor cats. At least, to the extent that we can control that. Loki’s lazy ass isn’t gonna bother going outside when he knows there’s food inside. And Peekaboo and Binky just got the hell out of that outdoor life and aren’t in any hurry to get back to it. But Lilah is always up for a rousing game of “chase me around the yard in the dark for forty minutes.”

So I’m heading downstairs for a drink and I see my wife frantically poking around the bushes with the flashlight on her phone and I know immediately what’s happened. I hop in, grab a better flashlight, then come back out to help her herd a cat. And yes, this is a synonym for a frustrating undertaking. And yes, frustration is my biggest trigger.

But it’s also one of those guilt free cigarettes, right? Because I’m already walking around in the yard anyway. I’m not taking time off of work to smoke a cigarette, I’m taking time off of work to get the cat. The cigarette is just to keep me calm while this fat fucking klutz of a cat suddenly turns into Barry Sanders every time I pin her down by the Azaleas.

But here’s the thing: As I’m doing this, I’m reflecting on what a perfect time this would have been for a cigarette back when I was a smoker, but I didn’t really want one. The noteworthy thing about it is that it didn’t overwhelm me with temptation. I observed it almost like I was some outside anthropologist trying to build up suspense on a nature documentary. But it never even rose to the level of a craving.

I did have cravings today. I kept track. There were five of them, and two of them were really strong. But there were only five of them. After dealing with three hundred and sixteen a day for a couple days, that’s a pretty easy gauntlet to run.

I’m cautioning myself against hubris because that kicked me in the balls once already, but if I had to put money on me, I’d finally be confident throwing my chips on the ‘never smokes again’ square.

Published by Noah Lugeons

Noah Lugeons co-hosts a bunch of podcasts: The Scathing Atheist, God Awful Movies, The Skepticrat, and Citation Needed

9 thoughts on “Day Eight (Part Two)

  1. I like it that you named one of your cats after Death’s horses.

    Really enjoying reading your journey in this. Having never been a smoker, outside the couple you do under peer pressure when you’re a kid, it is very enlightening and helps me understand what people go through.

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  2. “I observed it almost like I was some outside anthropologist…” Very analogous to the process of losing religion – if I may cast my mind back nearly fifty years. There were few moments that qualified as real epiphanies, but the closest were the times when I was able to see myself in the context of my denomination’s shitty apologetics, and realize that I no longer felt compelled to be *that* guy. The intellectual part was long done, by dint of a thousand cuts in the preceding couple years of STEM education, but the emotional realization that I was not married to my previous identity came as a series of small seismic shifts, and was inarguably more relevant to change than the previously garnered knowledge base.

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  3. I have 5 of the furry demons. Only two have an interest in being outside, and both of them just saunter over to the nearest patch of grass or pile of sand — sand must be rolled in, and grass must be eaten so it can be barfed up artistically. Neither run when I come after them, and thus can be scooped up easily. One will head for the door at any loud noise, which I have used to my advantage more than once. I’m guessing that Lilah is immune to the temptation of treats. For years I kept a plastic container of assorted treats, which I could rattle to summon the hoard. It even worked for the occasional cat on walkabout.

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  4. Yay on the not even being tempted and the reduced cravings! That’s fantastic! And good for you, realizing that you’re still WAY early in this process and hubris is waiting around to kick you in the balls again. It will. For me it was things like being alone for a prolonged period, away from my home or office where the thought that I could “easily get away with it” would pop into my brain. And who would care except me? Not easy to remind myself, *me* that *me* is who I’m supposed to care about being accountable to.

    Re the cats: I have a dozen (at the moment). The ferals in the area figured out we were a soft touch and with the exception of one, are all now “formerly” feral. They remain “outdoor” cats, free to roam, free to come and go wherever/whenever and do whatever the heck they want but they also have beds and shelter and a consistent food source. The only reason they’re not indoor cats is that we have two large Australian Shepherds with herding instincts who think “herding cats” is not an exercise in futility — it’s great fun. They also enjoy putting a foot down and holding in place any creature that is smaller than they are (cat, small dog, possum, lizard, snake, rodent…) Also, they bark nonstop, announcing either the desire to play, or their duty to protect my husband and I from the quite probably murderous intent of the adorable cats and kittens. Fortunately, we live in a beautiful area and we both telecommute, so we can spend a lot of time outdoors catering to the demands of the terrorists as well as indoors, being protected and slobbered on. It’s the best of all worlds.

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  5. I put up a cat fence around my small yard (kitty fence at critterfence.com), hope you got the kitty in without losing too much of your blood. I must say that your blog is a brilliant walk-through for future ex-smokers. You are very diligent about recording things and noting that over 300 cravings a day has gone down to about 5 is bound to be one of the many details that convinces some others to quit. Hang in there and in another two weeks you may start noticing the lung improvement and smell/taste improvements as well. You’re awesome!

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  6. At the risk of jinxing it, congrats on this milestone. I was a smoker for 25 years and tried to quit so many times. A few years ago I finally cracked it, and this sensation you describe – being able to cooly see that this is a time you’d have a cigarette without feeling like you’d disembowel someone to get one – is something that only happened to me on my successful bid for freedom. So whatever you’re doing, keep it up. I believe in you.

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  7. It’s been 2 years 1 month and a few days since I quit – utilising nicotine patches for all they were worth, by the way – and I still occasionally dream of suddenly arriving at the durrie-pit and lighting up a dart. These have slowly tailed off over time, but I do still get them.
    Hang in there, mate. Things will get better.

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