Days Without a Cigarette: 40.5680555
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $91.01
Time Saved: 57 hours, 28 minutes
Today, I was reminded once more to stop bragging about all these unhatched chickens I have. Over the last few days I’ve been pretty impressed by how infrequently I’ve wanted a smoke. Yesterday, I didn’t really think about a cigarette until late in the evening, and even then it was a passing thought more than a craving. Which is why it felt so weird this morning when I realized I’d had two legitimate cravings within an hour of one another.
It wasn’t until after that second one subsided that I thought to myself, “what’s different about today?” and realized I’d forgotten to slap on a nicotine patch this morning. I normally wear them overnight and use yesterday’s patch as a reminder that I need to put on today’s, but the one I wore yesterday wasn’t sticking well, so at some point in the night, I pulled it off, folded it up, and stuck it in a bedside drawer so that my cats wouldn’t get it. Then, when I’m going through my morning ablutions, it totally slipped my mind. But holy shit did my mind catch up fast.
I’ve gotta admit, as much as I’ve known all along that it was coming, it’s depressing to be reminded that I have to quit again. I’ve been putting “Days Without Nicotine: 0” at the top of each entry as a reminder to both of us. As important as the psychological end of this is, there’s still a physical addiction at the core of it and I can’t risk overlooking that.
I have to imagine this is a weak spot for a lot of people. After eight weeks without lighting up a cigarette, it’s gotta be pretty easy to break out the party hats and the sparklers and borrow that “Mission Accomplished” banner from George W. Bush. And to reach the end of all of that only to discover that you’re still as addicted as I realized I was this morning has a very “your princess is in another castle” feel to it. In fact, one of the ways I’ve beaten back temptation is to remind myself that I never want to go through the process of quitting again. It was too miserable to invite back into my life. But realizing I kind of have to do it again anyway is pretty demoralizing.
I’m lucky for this fuck up. I picked up my last box of patches this morning. This is step three, the lowest dose of nicotine. Two weeks on that one and then I get to start moving that “Days Without Nicotine” counter forward. But it was good to be forewarned while there’s still a couple of weeks to go.
When I was still a smoker, I saw people get through programs like this and pick cigarettes back up at the end and it seemed inexplicable. People would say stuff like “Yeah, I was fine when I was taking the Chantix, but as soon as I stopped, I went right back to smoking”, and I didn’t understand that. I figured that once you’d done all this heavy lifting to get over the daily routines of lighting up the momentum should be enough to carry you the rest of the way. But now I can see why it isn’t. I had a feeling this morning like I’d lifted a lot of heavy shit, but all the heaviest stones were still to come. And my arms are tired.
Hopefully the fact that I can see the obstacle will be sufficient to avoid it. But if I get to the end of this road and find that I don’t have enough will power to resist these new nicotine-less cravings, the fallback isn’t to start smoking again, it’s to go buy another box of patches and rethink my strategy for a couple more weeks. And to say ‘fuck’ a lot more. That seems to help.