Day Twenty Five

Days Without a Cigarette: 24.66597222
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $72.25
Time Saved: 34 hours, 56 minutes

I got a tough lesson today in just how little progress I’ve really made.

They say these patches are water proof and that you can wear them overnight and they’ll stick. And sometimes they’re right. But other times they’re not. And I worry a lot about the patches popping off overnight because they’re really dangerous for my cats. The amount of nicotine on even a used patch is plenty to make a cat deathly ill, and I’ve got one that just eats just about any damn piece of trash he can get his paws on.

Now, you have to move your patch around day to day. According to the instructions, you shouldn’t put a nicotine patch back on the same part of your skin for at least seven days. That means that sometimes it’s on my shoulder, sometimes my bicep, sometimes my back. And along the way, I’ve learned which of those places it tends to stick to overnight and which ones it doesn’t. When it’s on one of those spots that isn’t as easy to cling to, I generally take it off overnight. Which is what I did last night.

Technically, you’re not supposed to do that. That being said, a lot of people get really fucked up dreams when they wear a nicotine patch overnight, so even in the little booklet that comes with the patches, it allows for this. It recommends that you leave them on overnight if you can so you don’t wake up dying for a cigarette, but it does concede that if you want, you can take it off overnight.

So when I got up this morning to do my normal morning routine, I just forgot about the damn thing. Normally yesterday’s patch is still hanging off of me somewhere as a reminder, but it wasn’t there today. So I just finished my ablutions and headed to work, and I didn’t even realize I’d forgotten it until eleven o’clock.

At that point, I had a ‘well fuck it’ attitude. I was feeling fine and I had been all morning. I was actually pretty proud of myself. I’d gone almost twelve hours without nicotine at all. And if I could do that, maybe I didn’t really need the patches anymore. Hell, maybe I could save myself the eighty bucks it would cost me to get the rest of the way through their recommended program.

Well, as it happens, that was stupid. And I realized just how stupid it was a couple hours later when a very slight frustration snowballed into apoplectic fury in the blink of an eye and I found myself shouting into an empty room when the microphone wasn’t even on.

I realized right away that I’d made a mistake, so I hauled ass down stairs and slapped on a patch. About thirty minutes later, the anger and frustration started to ebb and I was able to move on and get back to work.

Up until that moment, I thought I was already through the hard part. I knew that at some point I’d stop using the patches and have to go through an additional trial, but I assumed that one would be far easier than the transition away from the psychological habit. And based on my experience today, I’m pretty sure that’s wrong. I’m pretty sure the hardest part is still in the future.

Of course, the nicotine patches account for that. It’s a stair step program that weans you off if you do it right. Starting on Thursday of this week I’m scheduled to start using a smaller patch for two weeks, then an even smaller one for two weeks. By then, hopefully the transition will be significantly easier than what I experienced today. But even significantly easier could still be really fucking hard.

To be clear, if I hadn’t had the patch, I doubt I’d have made it through the afternoon without throwing in the towel and lighting up. Not to shit on what I’ve done so far too thoroughly, but I haven’t quit using nicotine and I haven’t quit smoking, I’ve just quit smoking nicotine. And as herculean as that’s seemed from the inside, it’s really not very much. It’s certainly not the same as quitting.

I’ve joked about how I need to add a little more suspense to this blog. But I think today’s lesson is that I’ve gotten too damn cocky and I need to recognize that the finish line isn’t right around the corner. I need to treat these patches like antibiotics.

All that being said, I did go fourteen hours without nicotine today. Mistake or no, it’s still an accomplishment.

Published by Noah Lugeons

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

7 thoughts on “Day Twenty Five

  1. Noah, all my best as a smoking quitter but still a nicotine addict after 6 years (vaper). Chewed Copenhagen for over 40 years, then picked up a cig quitting chew, then the vape. Anyway, I’ve tried it all and even quit one year one time.

    Anyway, for fun- have you heard of the redneck patch? You get Copenhagen snuff pouches, get one wet, then tuck between your big and first toes, put on your socks and shoes and go about your business. I tried it… another fun interlude of failure. BTW, I’m 22 years clean and sober also- left pot behind first. Thankfully AA helped lead me to atheism! Don’t GAF about other’s use of recreational enhancements.
    Hang in there, you’ll make it. Appreciate your podcast empire!
    Dave in New Mexico.

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  2. Hi, Noah. This compulsive overeater just lost a great deal of weight and I’m still a work in progress. I sure wish there was a food patch. LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ann: Me, too! I just started a weight loss effort after three years of Trump-related-stress-induced comfort eating that has caused the number on my scale to balloon up to a number larger than I imagined I would ever see… I’ve done this before so I know how to do it, but damn, it sucks! It especially sucks that at a time that I’m congratulating myself for discovering that I can successfully eat raw vegetables instead of fries and not kill anyone, I really don’t appreciate his having ignorantly blundered into starting a war. If he’d done that before I’d started this effort, I could have self-medicated with a pint of chocolate chip ice cream covered with half a bottle of chocolate sauce and pecans, or a vat of french fries. Instead, I have to take long walks, or find some music to dance to for 20 minutes or something. Gaw!

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  3. You’re doing just beautifully my friend. To continue with the video game analogy a bit, each new level’s boss requires different tactics. This time, you successfully used a patch power-up. Eventually, you will need a different weapon. There are many emotional management techniques, and I’m not qualified to say which will work for you. But it’s what I’m *not* hearing from you that makes you sound like the successful quitters. I’m not hearing any regret over quitting.

    Can’t wait to see y’all in California in February to congratulate you in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Dude, the best thing in the world happened to you!!! “..when a very slight frustration snowballed into apoplectic fury in the blink of an eye and I found myself shouting into an empty room when the microphone wasn’t even on. I realized right away that I’d made a mistake, so I hauled ass down stairs and slapped on a patch.” You recognized the problem and you solved it the right way. You DIDN’T say fuck it and light up. That’s a fantastic victory!!! I’m so proud of you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always likened the sensations of quitting to standing close to an electric fence: that little jittery feeling on the outside edge of your skin. And then all of the irritations of the world have their volumes turned up, just a little.

    And, fuck fuckity fucking worth it. It is horrible to go through, but I think you’ve got it. Keep going… if you slip, go back to quitting (my *only* advice I’ll give on the subject).

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  6. When I used the patches the different strengths were all the same price. To save money when i leveled down I bought the full strength ones and cut 1/3 off to use for the final session. Seemed to work for me.

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