Day Ten

Days Without a Cigarette: 9.70347222208333
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $16.41

At this point, every day is still a milestone and every activity is still an accomplishment. When I got off work last night, I went downstairs and got about halfway through dinner before it occurred to me that I didn’t even crave a cigarette after work. Hooray me. Today I finally went Christmas shopping and I walked right by two people smoking outside the mall. First time I’ve actually seen real life cigarettes since I quit, and I didn’t even want one. Kudos Noah!

And at this point, being a nonsmoker is still so novel that each of these occurs to me and I take time to congratulate myself for them. Every day is worth celebrating, and every new experience is worth applauding. But it won’t always be that way, and that’s what worries me the most now.

At some point, it will all become routine. Eventually, I’ll go a whole day without craving a cigarette and I might not even notice. I’ll pass my six thousand one hundred and third real life cigarette. I’ll reach day 139. And even though, in the long run, that’s every bit as important as reaching day 3 or day 7 or day 10, I’m obviously not going to celebrate it the way I’ve celebrated those much smaller milestones.

At a certain point I won’t blog about it. I won’t talk about it. Nobody will pat me on the back for making it this far. I’ll just be a nonsmoker and me not smoking cigarettes will be expected rather than lauded. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I could probably still toss out a post that says “This is my 3,336th straight hour without a cigarette” and get a bunch of likes; but it’ll be impossible for me to maintain the enthusiasm I have now for months or years to come.

Of course, the plan is to be over the addiction by then. I don’t need to stay at peak motivation forever, I just need to be a little more motivated to quit than I am to smoke. And hopefully I can maintain that balance. But will my enthusiasms wane in conjunction? That’s what I worry about. I know far too many people who have quit smoking for months or even years just to wind up back where they started. I know it happens, so I feel like a big part of my job at this point is figuring out why before I have to face whatever demons bested them.

Published by Noah Lugeons

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

6 thoughts on “Day Ten

  1. The thought will occur to you on one of those “good” days, “I could have one cigarette. It wouldn’t be any big deal.” It will happen when you meet up with an old friend who smokes. It will happen when you’re on a long drive. Or it will happen when you’re all by yourself with nothing particular to do. And if you believe that thought, and give in to it, that’s when the rubber band will snap right back to where you were at the start. “I can pick it up and put it back down whenever I want,” is the most dangerous thought on this road. Don’t believe those rogue neurons when they speak up 5 months or even 5 years from now.

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    1. Virginiadawn put it perfectly. You have to implant into your personality that you simply cannot every have a cigarette again. I think that’s why addiction treatment lends itself to religious behavior, you have to “hand your choice” over to “a greater” thing. Those used to the religious way of thinking naturally look to a god for this. You’ll have to see it more abstractly, but I think most of us have to actually accept that we are permanent addicts and be aware there is never going to be a “safe” time or a “safe” amount of those substances for us.

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  2. Just as an example, I was a few months shy of 10 years when I met y’all at VA Beach. And still, when Heath offered me a cigarette there before platinum night, I had that thought. And I almost gave in.

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  3. Hello Noah, just wanted to send my congratulations to you for doing this, and to offer my sympathies to your fellow co hosts. Keep it up, you’re doing great!

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  4. I thought you were on a nicotine patch or something given your screed on Scathing (?)

    Because I just wanted to be sure you knew that, while nicotine patch/gum/vaping is a lot better than smoking, make sure you eventually get off nicotine altogether! Although there is a massive disinformation campaign to the effect that nicotine is harmless, it is really bad shit. This is likely funded by the same scum-sucking weasels who are getting kids hooked on vaping, but it is entirely false.

    see

    https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking-tobacco/how-smoking-and-nicotine-damage-your-body
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363846/

    and hundreds of others.

    Thanks to this misinformation campaign a significant portion of the population, especially high school students, who would never have started smoking are getting hooked on nicotine. This will result in a massive increase in nicotine related health problems 20 to 30 years from now.

    Good luck and thanks for the show(s)!

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  5. I’ve just passed the two year milestone (after 25 years as a smoker), and in my experience there’s still times when I pat myself on the back. They’re just more low-key than they were at the beginning. For example, it was several weeks after my 2yr anniversary before I realized that I had missed it entirely – the anniversary itself wasn’t a big deal, but that feeling when I realized it had passed of “huh, its been two years and I don’t want a cigarette. Cool.” was pretty awesome.

    Maybe what keeps you going is not the excitement of being a non-smoker, maybe what keeps you going is that you genuinely don’t want a cigarette. You might want to not be frustrated, or to have something to do during an awkward pause in conversation, but you don’t actually want a *cigarette*. As long as you remember that there’s a difference, you’ll be fine.

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