So in my previous post (below) we covered the basic concept, divorcing ciggies not nicotine or even all smoke for that matter. I endorsed the nicotine inhaler as the best and most natural feeling way to transition away from cigs because it satisfies many of the actions related to smoking, you have a little box, it feels good in your fingers and you hold it like a cigarette when you inhale that beloved nicotine.
That’s just the start though. I don’t know about you, but smoking for me was tied with many everyday activities like driving, drinking beer, partying, hanging out, having conversations, going to the bathroom, after eating, talking on the phone, breaks at work etc. That’s a lot of stuff that’s going to happen when your former best friend (cigarettes) are going to be sorely missed. I honestly believe that this is the real trouble zone for people trying to quit, more so than nicotine addicti0n because you can have that all you want. What I’m saying is that real determination is required, and more importantly a murderous level of will power. we are talking about a huge lifestyle change that affects almost every part of your life.
If you are sensitive or easily offended skip this section because I’m going get realer than real deal about smoking. If I offend you I’m sorry but you have been warned.
Smoking makes you look stupid. This is 2009, the studies are in, and Native Americans never smoked Marlboro’s around the campfire. Smoking is incredibly irritating to non smokers making it anti-social behaviour. Nobody is saying this to you as a smoker, but they are thinking it. Your skin is all wrinkly and loose. Your cough is disgusting. That phlegm rumble that you cough up and then swallow (if you don’t spit out) makes peoples stomach turn. You know what it looks like, that grey thing you hack up in the shower… You’re eating that! So fucking vile!! You are a slave to an evil industry that is killing you for profit, yet you feel rebellious for smoking. You’re not. In fact what you are doing is the opposite of rebellion, you’re a corporate conformist of the worst kind and non smokers know it. You smell. You have bad breath. Did I mention how gross the coughing is?
Sorry about that, but it had to be said. I smoked for a long time so I am guilty of all that as well. This kind of goes back to my first point of inspiration, it’s actually quite satisfying to have a whole class of people that can be legitimately looked down upon. Human nature I guess…
Once you have committed to the nicotine inhaler for a week or so the initial grief and pain and feeling at a loss begins to subside and a sense of accomplishment eases in. steady up though, this is the danger zone when you feel you are in control and can have a puff or two. This is where it often ends for most people. Even three weeks in you are probably still not totally over smoking and this is when real focus factor is needed.
Cut drinking straws into cigarette length size and hold in your hand when out at bars, even fake smoke on them. Nobody will notice of care and as long as you are cranked out of your mind on nice clean smoke free nicotine this technique provides a nice distraction and satisfies the tactile interaction of having a cigarette in your hand.
Meditation and breathing are part of this. I’m not talking about sitting lotus position with a turban on or anything, I’m talking about becoming more aware of how good it feels to breath, and accepting that we all need “quiet time” that cigarettes allow us. Isn’t smoking meditative? It was for me. But then again smoking was everything to me, it was my life. when I was given a box of nicotine gum shortly after beginning my quitting regimen with the inhaler. The box of gum came with a cassette that featured a sort of radio play of a group therapy session for quitting smoking. The therapist was voiced as an Asian man espousing simple concepts about breathing exercises and the various stereotype session attendees chiming in was funny. You have your truck drivin’ tough guy, a grandma, etc. and honestly I found the tape very helpful, if not a bit corny and funny. I have a tape deck in my car so you might want to get a CD like this. They’re out there for cheap and like this blog entry are 100% here to help you quit smoking.
And then gum.
After a certain time period, I’m sure it’s different for everyone, the nicotine inhaler starts to feel redundant. The work involved in loading the nicotine pellets into the inhaler tube, the crack as you twist and break the seal, the “fake” smoking (for lack of a better term) seems excessive. This is when it’s gum time. I’m not a big gum chewer but whatever. The gum is tough and I seem to remember it being bitter, but you know what, that’s OK. Smoking is harsh. All the heat and combustion, maybe even a bit of sulfur in your nose from a match… Smokers like it a bit harsh. So the gum’s not awesome but it’s sort of minty and if you love nicotine like I did it’s good stuff. Chew the gum all day and night until you just don’t want to chew anymore and that’s hopefully when you are a full blown ex-smoker. Time to revel and start gloating at the suckers.
Truth is, and I knew this going into smoking, it’s never over. I often smoke cigarettes in my dreams to this day. I know people that have fully quit smoking for years and then go back. I still love to smell a fresh unlit cigarette or bury my nose in a bag of rolling tobacco. There is no denying some of the pleasurable aspects of cigarettes but you don’t need me to tell you why it’s bad. I just did that in over a thousand words in two parts.
Good luck and everyone relapses before finally putting down the smokes. I will say that I honestly tried and failed quitting about five times over ten years. I can’t say it enough, the inhaler was the system that did it for me, that and a burning anger at the industry that I threw money at for years and years. Get mad about it and I know you can quit. This may sound stupid but it is one of my passions in life to influence people to quit smoking. My grandfather who I never met died of lung cancer from smoking and I know how tragic that was for my mom to watch her dad die slowly and painfully, just wanting to breath. Until he just couldn’t anymore.
I’m not going out like that and I hope you don’t either. That’s all I got as far as the technical side of things but I will write more on this in terms of my relationship and history with smoking because I think it’s pretty interesting, not your typical peer pressured kid wants to be a bad ass kind of thing at all… Next time.
Good luck. You can do it.