Days Without a Cigarette: 29. 77569444
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $65.16
Time Saved: 42 hours, 10 minutes
The decreasing frequency of these posts is probably a good thing. The fact that I have less and less to say about quitting is a good sign that I’m not thinking about it as often.
Since the last time I blogged I’ve passed a couple of important milestones. I’m on an eight week, three step program with the patch, and as of Thursday I moved to step two. I’m taking in 14mg or nicotine per day now as opposed to the 21mg I was taking in for the first four weeks. I started on the smaller patches yesterday and didn’t notice any difference in the strength or frequency of my cravings, which is a good sign.
And regardless of the patch change, I think that four week mark was a pretty big milestone all by itself. I mean, strictly speaking it isn’t. Making it twenty eight days is exactly one day less impressive than making it twenty nine. But I’m allowing my brain to embrace the “nice round number” fallacy in this instance because I need all the milestones I can get. And “four weeks since my last cigarette” sounds pretty fucking impressive. It also means we’ve reached the point where I can (more or less) start measuring in months.
But I think the most important milestone I passed was one that I almost didn’t notice. Last night my wife and I watched a movie where the main character basically chain smoked. This is not a first. I’ve watched several movies with smokers in them over the last four weeks and my diminishing responses to these representations have been a good metric of my progress. For the first couple of days, I didn’t allow myself to watch TV or movies at all for fear of seeing a cigarette. When I finally did dip my toe back in the water of popular entertainment, every time I saw a cigarette I had to clutch the sides of the couch and breath like I was in labor.
That went away pretty quick, but it was replaced with long internal monologues about how awesome it would be to be an actor who could at least theoretically get cast as a smoker. After that subsided, I found myself simply envying the characters that hadn’t made a commitment to quit smoking and got to just do whatever the fuck they wanted with their lungs.
But last night was different. When I saw the character onscreen light up, I wasn’t envious. I didn’t find it making me crave a cigarette. Instead, I just kinda felt sorry for him. My first thought wasn’t how great a mouth full of cancer smoke would be, I thought about all the shit that poor bastard was gonna have to go through to quit. I watched a person smoke a cigarette and thought to myself, “Man, that must suck for you.”
In a lot of ways, that feels like the biggest milestone I’ve crossed. I quit smoking because I didn’t want to smoke anymore. Along the way, I’ve lost track of that from time to time. And that’s no surprise, I suppose. There are only so many times a day you can tell yourself, “No, you can’t have a cigarette no matter how much you beg” without losing track of the fact that deep down you don’t want one. But that thought came to mind unbidden last night.
It’s like all the various voices in my brain are starting to fall into harmony. They’re not there yet and it’s still a pretty awful cacophony inside my head, but you can’t just start to make out the tune they’re going for.