Days Without a Cigarette: 43.547222
Days Without Nicotine: 0
Dollars Saved: $112.61
Time Saved: 61 hours, 42 minutes
I passed over several milestones a couple days ago that I didn’t even bother to mention on the blog. Six weeks without a cigarette, 1000 hours without a cigarette (thanks to Jeff for pointing that one out), and most importantly, step three on the nicotine patches.
The program starts with a big ass patch that delivers 21mg of nicotine per day, which is what they recommend for people who smoked more than twelve cigarettes a day. Apparently if you’ve already cut yourself down to half a pack a day, you get to start on step two. I very much had not, so I spent four weeks on that first step (as recommended by the manufacturer).
Two weeks ago I moved on to step two, which drops the nicotine level down to 14mg per day. And I’ve gotta admit, I didn’t really notice a difference when I made that move. I just didn’t have to dedicate quite as much shoulder to the patch.
Yesterday I moved on to step three, which drops you all the way down to 7mg of nicotine a day, and I fucking noticed. I’d been awake all of two hours before I had my first craving. That’s after two straight days of not having a craving until after dark. Within an hour, I’d had a second. And not only were the cravings coming more frequently, they were also much stronger when they arrived. Most of the recent ‘cravings’ leading up to that day were just me thinking ‘I want a cigarette’ followed by me thinking ‘no I don’t.’ But these ones had a distinctly “‘yes you do’ follow up” kinda feel to them.
So far, today hasn’t been as bad. I did have another early craving, but it wasn’t as strong as the ones I was getting yesterday. Hopefully in another few days, my body will have adjusted to this level. But it’s all been another great reminder the boss villain still awaits.
And ultimately, I think that’s why I’ve been doing this blog. As much as I appreciate those of you who are reading along, since the beginning I’ve been thinking of it as more of a diary than an outward facing document. I’m keeping everyone in the loop because that comes with bonus accountability, and so that other people who are quitting along with me or afterwards can find a sympathetic voice. But the real purpose of writing it is to remind myself what I’m doing.
I’m sure that some people in my position would want to stop thinking about cigarettes altogether, and the sooner the better. But that’s not how my brain works. If I’m not thinking about quitting, I’ll forget I’m quitting. And if I forget I’m quitting, I’ll forget why I’m quitting. And then, when I hit a bump in the road like the drop from 14mg to 7mg, I’ll be way more likely to have lost track of why I was putting myself through this ordeal. And while I’m sure I’d remember eventually, I’m not sure I’d remember quick enough to avoid fucking it up.
But keeping this blog forces me to reflect on not only what I’ve been through, but what I still have to go through. More than that, though, it forces me to think about the differences in my life. To track the dollars and see the hours and think about what it was like when I had to bundle up and walk out into the cold every hour and a half or so to suck down a cigarette; what it was like to feel enslaved by a goddamn plant; what it felt like to listen to random strangers lecture me about my health choices and know I had no intellectual recourse beyond “yeah, but fuck you.”
So – you know – apologies if you feel used.