December 07, 2005


The time has come. I'm just about ready. This time, I not only want to succeed, I need to succeed. Rather than wait for the New Year as an excuse to go after this goal, I'm starting now. Well, the first couple of steps anyway.

I'm talking about quitting smoking.

When I was a little kid I thought smoking was disgusting, vile and made fun of adults who did smoke. One time, when we were on vacation at Walt Disney World, I hung around with another kid and distinctly remember standing in line for the "Grand Prix" with him. There were two adults in front of us, puffing away on their cigarettes and I and the boy started mock coughing and choking behind them.

I smoked some when I was about 16-17 years old for the simple act of rebelling. I smoked approximately one cigarette a day, five days a week until one day, I don't know why, but I went to the movies one Friday night and another kid I knew offered me a smoke. I remember looking at that pack of Marlboros and feeling sick to my stomach. I denied the cigarette and did not smoke again until I was 18 and in the military.

There I picked up smoking again, and again it was to rebel. In basic training they take "total control" and you can't even have a fricken M&M if you wanted one. We took to buying Luden's Cherry Flavored Cough Drops as our candy and one girl always managed to sneak a pack of smokes with her purchases from the PX. I would bum one off of her once in awhile and we would smoke them in the showers. Doing it this way was smart because the steam from the hot water would cover the smoke, we immediately washed off the stench of smoke and we flushed the cigarettes down the toilet or down the shower drain. No evidence at all.

Of course I didn't smoke very much during training but when I got out, I took to smoking like a starving dog to garbage. I found myself smoking a pack a day and starting in on a second pack until I decided that was getting out of control and cut down. By the time I left the military I was smoking about 15 cigarettes a day. Some times more, some times less.

I went to college and cut it down to 5-7 a day and didn't think I had much of a problem. Yeah. Right. I never smoke more than a pack a day and most days I smoke about 10-15 a day and I told myself that by the time I was 30, I would have stopped smoking.

Well, that day has come and gone and I'm still fricken smoking. In fact, all this talk about it makes me want one. I have quit a few times in my life, as you can see above and also trying cold turkey. The last time I tried cold turkey I had a different site and I talked about it. I quit for 5 days. At the end of that five days I was the angriest son of a bitch you would ever come across. One of the steps to quitting smoking in a 12 step program is "tell your family and friends, co-workers that you will be quitting smoking and you will probably be in a bad mood." HA! Bad mood makes it sound like child's play compared to how angry I was. I was yelling at my pets, I was pissed off by the sounds of traffic, I hated everyone in the world and glared at the poor souls, I fricken hated!

I know now that cold turkey is NOT the way for me to quit. It does not work for me. The gum doesn't work, the patches don't work, I have yet to try the inhaler but it's prescription only and I'm lazy and cheap and don't want to spend all that time in the doctor's office just to have them deny me that remedy. So I'm going to cut down, taper off, as they say, and eventually be done with the damn things.

The first thing I have to do is figure out when I smoke and why. That's easy. I smoke when:

I drive
I drink
I am at the computer
I am talking to someone in person
On break at work

When I don't smoke is when I'm not on break, sleeping, in bed watching t.v. (that's a big rule with me, I refuse to allow myself to smoke in bed. I think it's disgusting, (yes I know how that sounds to non smokers), and I don't EVER want to fall asleep with a lit cigarette in my hand), when I'm eating, first thing in the morning and when I've found something else to do with my hands, usually creating something. (Although writing on my website doesn't fall in to this.)

When I first wake up, when I'm eating and when I'm in bed, I think smoking is disgusting. I think it's gross when other people do it. One time, I had a job in a hotel and on lunch break one of the chefs used to eat and smoke at the same time. I'll never forget one day I was eating some spaghetti and the chef came in with a plate of food and sat down at my table. I was absolutely mesmerized watching him take a bite of food and then dragging on his cigarette. I thought it was absolutely foul. I asked him why he did that and his excuse was that he didn't have enough time on break to do both individually. !!!!

The reasons I smoke are simple: boredom. I'm fricken bored. Yes, even when talking to someone at length, they tend to bore the fuck out of me so I'll smoke. Now, when I talk to someone I like, it has become habit to practically chain smoke while carrying on a conversation.

Now obviously if I was that angry after quitting for 5 days I do have to admit that I am addicted to nicotine, (something I denied for the longest time), in addition to knowing, this whole time, that what I'm more addicted to is the actual act of smoking.

The best way to change that is to change the habit. In the military I had a Lt. who told me that he quit by writing down every time he did smoke, over a week's time, and then started to smoke at the times it was inopportune for him to do so. Example, he would get out of the shower, half way through and force himself to smoke a cigarette. Well, to me that takes just as much willpower as going cold turkey and that way has not worked for me. It worked for him, fabulous, maybe it will work for others but not me.

I have to do the taper off method. I know exactly when I smoke throughout the day.

I have one just before leaving for work.
I have one somewhere along the way to work.
I have one when I get to work.
(This is all pscyhological mind you. In my mind I say to myself I have to smoke as many as I can since once I get to work I can't just up and have one whenever I want, I have to wait until my appropriate break time.)
I have one on my first break.
Two on lunch. (I used to have three.)
One on my last break.
One on the way home from work.
Depending on what I do when I get home, I may have anywhere from 3-7 cigarettes. If I decide to sit down and read other people's sites or play games on the internet, I'll smoke a lot. If I tell myself to crawl in to bed and watch t.v., I may only have one when I get home.

So what I'm going to try to do is not have the one before work, not have the one on the way to work, right now I'll stick with having the one before work, the ones on break and try not to have any on the way home from work. Doing this will cut down three cigarettes alone. To any non smoker that doesn't seem like much but to anyone who does smoke, they'll understand.

I don't drink much anyway so that will be easy. Just continue not drinking. Talking to others...well, there goes my social life. I will have to refrain from calling certain people, (hi Sail Girl), and will have to cut down on the time I spend on the internet. I've already been doing this and it's a hell of a lot easier to do now that I'm on dial up again. So, in a sense, Not the Pacific Ocean, the Other One Broadband did me a huge favor by being lazy, piss poor customer service people. Going back to dial up, while really not too bad, makes surfing the internet not nearly as fun so I tend to find other things to do now.

If I cut down my internet surfing, I'll cut down another approximate three cigarettes. That's a total of six cigarettes I'm not smoking every day. Again, non smokers may not understand how big that is. But that's almost reducing half of what I smoke now. To me? It's completely doable and not going to be all that hard.

Now then, not smoking on breaks at work? OY! THAT is going to be hard. However, because I have a different position at work these days I can pretty much take a break when I want to. Sort of. So what I'm going to try to do is start pushing my break back. I'll start by a half an hour or so. Maybe 15 minutes and work my way up until I just quit taking breaks altogether. (Except lunch where I am forced to clock out.) If I get it to just lunch time, that means only two cigarettes all day until I get home.

Get home, have one or at the most two and I've gone from 15 or so a day to four. By the time I get to this stage, I hope to be able to cut down the lunch to one cigarette and one at home. From 15 to two.

Two cigarettes a day. I am positive I can do this in at least two month's time. Then to totally quit is going to take a hell of a lot of will power. It will mean telling myself I can NEVER do it again. That's going to be hard. I hate denying myself things because as soon as I do, that's all I crave and that's when trouble starts. (Even if you are a non smoker, think "dieting" and what you go through. Same kind of thing with the denial of what you crave.)

Why do I want to quit smoking? It's not expensive. That isn't it. Cigarettes are cheap here. I spend about $500 a year on smoking. All at once that's a large amount of money but really, it's not that much money. I want to quit because I hate the smell. I smoke and I hate the smell. I'm disgusted when other people smoke. I'm already a hypocrite and I smoke. (Usually people who have smoked become hypocrites after they quit.) It causes serious health problems and I never want to have a voice box or get cancer or emphysema or all those other problems.

I'm too desensitized with that really. I've seen the pictures. In Canada, (I used to live very close to that country), I could get a pack of smokes and they would put photos of blackened lungs or something on the side or back of the pack. Didn't really phase me. I've seen the pictures elsewhere. It's trying to imagine MY lungs or heart or whatever looking that way that will motivate me to stop altogether. That's hard to do in this day and age where we see so much shit happen to other people. We all have to admit that we ARE desensitized. We just are. Every once in awhile something can shock us but even after that we grow complacent again until the next huge shocking thing happens.

Sooo, there it is. That is my big plan and I'll probably write about it a lot because it's important to me, I want to track my progress and maybe my journey through this will help any others who are thinking of doing the same thing.

Best of luck to me!

Posted by S. Faolan Wolf at December 7, 2005 10:19 AM | TrackBack

I hear it's hard. Good luck. My wife had to quit before she moved in with me because she couldn't stand the idea of having to leave my apartment every time she wanted to light up.

Yes, I am that much of an asshole.

Posted by: Maine at December 7, 2005 10:55 AM

Good for you! I'll be following your journal & cheering you on!

Posted by: sande at December 7, 2005 04:52 PM

Good luck! Have a great Christmas - I'll drop you a line shortly.

Posted by: Ruth at December 12, 2005 06:18 PM

Ok..I understand. I no longer smoke inside my house (kid) or in my car. I hate the smell. I've limited it to only smoking in social situations or while on the phone(which I always do outside.) SO, if you don't call me...I'll cut down too!!! Plus, it's not sunny and warm here. 7 degrees kinda puts a cramp in the smoking.

Posted by: SailGirl at December 15, 2005 02:54 PM
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