Stopping Smoking- The Preparation

I got the American Cancer Society booklets in the mail today.

Book One-- Lame. Like I can't figure out all the reasons to quit on my own, especially with society bombarding me with the messages about what a foul, evil person I am? DUH! Tossed that one aside after dutifully reading it from cover to cover. One important point: Set up a Quit Date. Did that when I called for the info. Check.

Book Two-- This one's all about getting ready to quit and setting yourself up for success. Helpful, but clearly written for the Lowest Common Denominator intelligences in our society. Here's the summary in a simplified nutshell.

1. Know what your trigger situations are that cause you to smoke. For me, it's stressful situations, sitting here at my desk (Yes, I'm jonesing right now, in case you're wondering), and while watching TV with the hubby at night. I already arrived at a solution. I keep my cigarettes out on the back porch, where I have to stop what I'm doing to go satisfy the craving. By making it inconvenient and uncomfortable to smoke, I've already cut down to half my usual consumption of cigarettes.

2. Know your Four D's-- Deep Breathing, Drink Water, Do Something, and Delay Lighting up. You know, they work too. I've been delaying having that smoke for about 15 minutes, and the craving is slowly easing. The others work too. I deep breathe/meditate when I get stressed, I'm keeping a steady supply of non-caffeinated beverages right here within reach, and if I concentrate on my typing, I often don't even notice the passage of time.

3. Use NRT (Nicotine Replacement Therapy) of some kind. That's a no-brainer, isn't it? Then why am I jonesing? Because the blasted things cost the equivalent of two or three cartons of smokes. I'm saving up, and looks like I'll get a box on Friday. I've chosen the patch, because I tried the gum once. Blech! I wasn't expecting great taste, but puh-leeeze! Can we try another flavor than eau de sweat socks? Not interested in the nasal spray kind, but if I get desperate, you betcha!

4. Have an emergency friend or success coach standing by to call when you need a distraction or encouraging words. There are a lot of buzz kill "friends" who can't seem to grasp the concept of encouragement for their own personal reasons. I'm teaming up with my daughters. Most days I can reach one or the other.

5. Have a Bag of Tricks ready. This makes extreme sense. I packed my bag of distractions and aids with a deck of cards to play with, gum, faux cigarettes I made from drinking straws, and a rainbow-colored stress ball to toss back and forth between my hands when I get really, really stressed. Later, I'll add some NRT's. Oh, and I cleaned out a pretty glass ashtray to sit on my desk to hold my faux cigarettes, tap them, and do all the things I would do with a lit cigarette in my hand. The ashtray also holds some loose change, something I'm not likely to tap real ashes on if I fall off the wagon. That ought to keep the bugger clean and ready. LOL!

Well, I've managed to last a whole three hours so far. Yeah, I know, not much as far as non-smokers are concerned. They'd love it if I just put down the smokes and walked off, never to touch one again. Well, O Sanctimonious Ones, I am addicted just as surely as if it were crack coke. My addiction just happens to be legal, despite your serious attempts to enact Big Brother and legislate morality. (Can you tell I'm just a little grumpy?)

Three hours of zero cigarettes is a big deal to me. I once was early chain-smoking working up to a 40 cigarette a day habit. I managed to rein myself back in a bit to averaging a 25-30 cigarettes a day, but it's been a struggle. Do the math, and don't forget to subtract about eight hours for sleep, plus an hour or so for times when you can't smoke like in the shower. I was smoking two cigarettes an hour, on average. That means I've managed to do without 6 of the smokes I usually have, with more to come. If I have my way and keep my willpower up, I'll probably smoke less than a total of 10 cigarettes today.

I'm almost at my fourth hour now, and the cravings aren't going away quite as easily now. Soon I'll have to feed the monkey on my back. But no matter. I'll starve the demon into submission yet.

Three Days to Quit Day. Wish me luck.


I'm proud of you for doing this Lena. When my mom quit after 20+ years of smoking, I was scared for her that she'd relapse. She did but because it was my sister's wedding. Then she quit again for good. Sometimes we have to know we're ready for this.

I wish you health, success and I know you can do this!
Lena Austin said…
Thanks, hon. That Bag of Tricks is helping. LOL!

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