SRS I turn 25 tomorrow. Maybe I should stop smoking now.

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by deusexaethera, Nov 1, 2007.

  1. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Yeah, it's another quit smoking thread.

    I've been smoking since I was 19, so it'll be about 5 1/2 years total. I've never smoked a hell of a lot (at max a half a pack a day, on rare occasion), but it's been long enough that I'm well-hooked at this point. I mountain bike, and I always figured that would counteract the short-term effects, but they're starting to catch up with me anyway: poor circulation in the skin, a persistent dry cough, poor short-term memory, etc.

    That's not what's got me worried, though. (Perhaps I haven't been smoking long enough to get really scared about dying of some nasty disease, I dunno.) The two things that have me worried are so:

    1. I know I can quit, but I don't really want to stop. I like getting a buzz off a cigarette, and I don't want to sign off on never getting a nicotine buzz again, and I'm not sure if I can really quit the habit without never smoking another cigarette in my life. (It's like the scene from that movie with Iggy Pop and that other guy: "Go ahead, say you quit." "Okay, I quit." "There, you see? Now you can have a cigarette.")

    2. I honestly don't know what I'll do with the extra time. See, I can blow an hour at a stretch smoking a couple of cigarettes in a row, because I've always smoked the $7/pack kind with the fancy names and the slow-burning "real" tobacco in them. And the couple of hours of free time I'll suddenly have will be entirely in the evening, because I don't smoke when I'm at work. My two main hobbies (in terms of time spent and money spent) are biking and wrenching on my car; I'm already about maxed-out on how much resources I put into them. I used to play videogames, but I work on computers all damn day now and I just don't feel like sitting that much more every day. There isn't much on TV that I give a shit about, so I'm not likely to do that either.

    Smoking has filled a void in my life for the past few years, both in terms of a quick buzz that doesn't leave me waiting for it to wear off (as opposed to alcohol or pot), and also something to do without doing nothing. I suppose I can live without the quick buzz, at least 99% of the time, but I really have no idea what else I can do that's both low-effort and un-boring.

    Ideas? Encouragement? (I don't need pre-meds jumping in and telling me how my lungs reek of tar and I'll die of cancer if I keep it up, I already know all that.)
     
  2. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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  3. Sybill

    Sybill New Member

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    On Thanksgiving Thursday it'll be 4 months of having quit for me. And yeah, the extra time/boredom thing... it'll happen. I did just about anything to fill up the "edgy" time when I was tempted: played video games, surfed the net, went for a walk, whatever. Best thing is, it passes. It really does. As for the scary thought of no cigarette ever again, don't do that to yourself. I just said no cigarettes today. And I said that every day but it did help; kinda like, if it gets horrible tomorrow, I can always smoke.

    Absolute truth: I hardly even think of smoking now. It does get easy. Do it.
     
  4. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I understand the bit about "no cigarettes today" as opposed to "no cigarettes ever again." The problem, the crux of my addiction you might say, is something I very recently figured out -- so recently that I'm still testing it to see if it's valid, but so far it's holding up:

    I don't want to do anything I can't finish in 15 minutes.

    As a little kid, I was fidgety and I had a hard time focusing. (Maybe it was because I was a little kid, maybe it really was ADD like my teacher thought, maybe it was just the way I was.) Now I'm an engineer; I've learned, through conscious effort as a result of getting sick of never accomplishing anything I could be proud of, to shut the fuck up, sit down, and work steadily. I'm very good at it now; I've got various projects that I work on, some of which have taken me years to complete, and I haven't lost track or lost interest. Not surprisingly, a lot of those projects are work-related, since paying for food is a worthy goal.

    But at the same time, the fact that I have so many long-term projects requiring intensive planning and analysis, means that I really don't want to use my brain for anything when I get home, and I don't want to get wrapped up in anything that I can't stop doing (without consequence) the instant I want to walk away from it.

    That's not to say I don't still do those things. When I come home from work, I'll sometimes talk myself into going for a bike ride, or calling a friend from college, or playing a videogame, but if I really don't want to commit to anything meaningful whatsoever, I'm left with these options:

    - Watch TV;
    - Browse the internet;
    - Take a nap;
    - Smoke.

    (even whacking off doesn't fall into the category of "totally meaningless AND easy to stop at a moment's notice.")

    But I don't like TV, and I can only kill so many hours online, and if I sleep early I'll wake up in the middle of the night with plenty of time on my hands. So I'm inevitably left with the urge to smoke.

    I actually feel it right now; I haven't smoked all day, and I swear I'm trying to convince myself that I've gone long enough and I can reward myself with a single cigarette before bed.

    So it's a twofold problem - one, I still want to smoke, and two, I need another hobby that I can just pick up and leave off at my whim, without having to start over from scratch.

    Maybe I need a good book. That would at least knock out one of the two problems. Got any recommendations?
     
  5. Sybill

    Sybill New Member

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    Yeah, all tha ^ totally resonates with me. Stupid as it sounds, try playing Jewelquest... mindless, won't require much mental effort or commitment, yet fun enough to keep your mind of smoking.

    As for a great book, get Mary Doria Russell's "The Sparrow." If you like it, there's a sequel.

    I guess what I always tell myself when I get the urge to smoke is that after I had that "one" (yeah righ) cigarette, in 30 minutes or so (depending on where I am and what I'm doing) I'll just want another. And as soon as it's finished, the boredom would still be there.
     
  6. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I unfortunately got in the habit of smoking two or three at a time, once or twice an evening, instead of evenly spacing them out. So I got my body used to having a big shot of nicotine all at once, and then letting it taper off for an hour.

    I wonder if it's harder to ignore the absence of nicotine for an hour straight once a day, or for five minutes every couple of hours? It's like a little kid who annoys you every few minutes, versus a little kid who throws a temper tantrum once a day.
     
  7. Sybill

    Sybill New Member

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    I really don't think it matters. I noticed that when I was flying somewhere, I always smoked like 5 cigarettes in a row before going thru security because I knew I'd be deprived for several hours. Well, it made no difference. I still wanted one after about 1/2 hour or 1 hour. So really, I don't think it makes a difference whether you spaced them or chain-smoked them. But I can say that after 3 days you really don't crave them anymore. You still want one for psychological reasons but you don't have those killer nicotine craves. I got thru those first days by saying, not now... later; not now, maybe tomorrow, blah blah blah. It worked lol.
     
  8. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, it's (technically) thursday now; if I make it to Thursday night without smoking it will have been a week since I quit. I did have one cigarette on Sunday night, after a four hour drive from my mom's house to my house. So it's been three days since I lit up, and before that it was another three days since I quit. I guess that's something.

    Not surprisingly, it bugged the shit out of me at first. I decided to substitute calling my friends in place of smoking, since I do both of them while walking around outside in the evening. It's worked so far.

    Right now I want to smoke, even though it's past midnight and it's finally a reasonable time for me to go to bed. The thing I think I'll miss long-term is, as I described it once to someone who acted like I might as well be eating babies when they saw me light up, "it's like inhaling a warm fuzzy blanket." You know that feeling of laying down on a...well...warm fuzzy blanket, in the middle of the winter? That's what cigarette smoke is like, except it's on the inside.

    And to top it all off, I just made meatloaf and gravy and I can't eat any of it tonight because it's tomorrow night's dinner. The whole house absolutely reeks of roast beef and rosemary, and I can't have any and I can't smoke a cigarette either. God damn it!
     
  9. Sybill

    Sybill New Member

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    Yeah, really well-put and I felt the same. Just the thought of missing my warm fuzzy blankie made me hyperventilate. But you know something? I really don't miss it at all. It's amazing. And yeah, it's really something that you haven't smoked in all that time (well, except for that lapse)... keep going. It gets so much easier. But you shouldn't torture yourself with denying both the roast beef and the cigs lol.
     
  10. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, there's a good amount of truth to that. I want to quit, but I don't really want to stop. I have all the normal reasons for wanting to quit: I don't want to die of cancer, I don't want to be on an oxygen tank when I'm 65, I don't want to breathe hard when I climb a couple flights of stairs, etc. But I don't want to rule out ever smoking again either.

    That said, I'm not a kid. I know I can't have it both ways. If I make it okay to smoke one now (especially this early in the game, after smoking for so long), then I'll make it okay to smoke one the next time I happen to feel like it. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't habit-forming.

    </lucidity>
     
  11. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Okay, time to check in again. On the evenings of the 11/8, 11/9, and 11/12, I had one cigarette each. Not perfection, but a hell of a lot better than I've been doing; 1/2 pack a day to 1/60 pack a day is a pretty good drop, and I'm not getting regular cravings anymore.

    I have discovered one unpleasant effect of quitting, though. What nobody tells you is that when you quit, your chest is going to hurt constantly for days -- possibly weeks, I dunno at this point. (Either that, or I'm special.) Then again, since I can imagine the aching being related to my lungs detoxing themselves, I can use it as proof that something significant is happening as a result of my decision -- good thing too, because I don't really have any other short-term goals associated with wanting to quit at this point.
     
  12. Sybill

    Sybill New Member

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    I got this from a smoking-related site:

    "80 percent of smoker who quit usually experience some withdrawal symptoms. These may include headache, light-headedness, chest pain, nausea, and diarrhea. Psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, short-term depression, and inability to concentrate, may also appear. The main psychological symptom is increased irritability."

    So it seems like it's pretty common. Most likely your body is trying heal itself. I know the first to recover are the cilia in your lungs, which were basically paralyzed and useless while smoking.
     
  13. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It's kinda funny, actually; knowing that what I'm experiencing is right on par with the norm reinforces in my mind that what I'm doing is actually working -- that I'm not just engaging in some pointless exercise for the sake of something to do.

    EDIT: On the other hand, feeling like I got kicked in the chest still feels like I got kicked in the chest. Good old Tylenol.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2007
  14. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Ow...

    My chest still hurts. I took 1000mg of Tylenol at 9am today and it wore off by noon. I took 1000mg more and it had no effect at all. Someone at work suggested Aleve and that seems to be working better for now. Hopefully this is as bad as it gets, because I'm gonna have to go to the doctor to get anything stronger.

    Before anyone thinks I might be a pussy about it, I'll tell you exactly what it feels like. You know when you have bronchitis, and it's still alive, and you have to cough? You know that feeling for a few seconds afterwards, like you just tore a chunk out of your lung tissue? That's what my chest has felt like, constantly, for the past three days. I couldn't get any work done this afternoon because I was just staring at the computer screen and cringing.

    And they say only clove cigarettes have a numbing effect. If only I knew just how pissed off my lungs were, while I was still smoking. They're sure letting me know about it now.
     
  15. icedGREENtea

    icedGREENtea New Member

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    if you want a book to help you quit i recommend Alan Carr - The Easy Way to Stop Smoking.

    Read it with an open mind, it's about 200 pages of probably the best advice ever.

    I quit Cold turkey after reading this book, I don't crave, my chest doesnt' hurt anymore, i don't wake up sounding like shit, I didn't gain weight, I didn't substitute with anything like chewing gum. I used to have a smokers cough, but now it's gone. All the worries you have about quitting. this book will help you get over them.

    I'm so happy i quit and i'm pretty sure you will be too.
     
  16. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Cliffs: Taking vitamins helps with quitting.

    Thanks for the book recommendation.

    Well, I took some of my own advice, after having forgotten about it for some strange reason. I felt like crap all day; frazzled, achy, and waiting for someone to give me a reason to punch them in the face -- i.e., not my usual self. So after dinner tonight I took a triple dose of my favorite multivitamin and took a nap. When I woke up, I felt fine -- clearheaded and without the days-old burning in my chest.

    The key here, for people who don't know, is that Vitamin B3 (aka Niacin) is chemically known as Nicotinic Acid. It binds to nicotinic receptors in the brain and throughout the central nervous system. Without something attached there, you basically go nuts. I don't know why, but I'm sure someone somewhere can explain it. Anyway, nicotine is useful in the narrow role of attaching to that neuroreceptor, but not as a vitamin in general -- so among the many things smoking can hide is a Vitamin Bx deficiency.
     
  17. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Well, I've succeeded in quitting. Which is to say, while I still have a few cigarettes left, and I have been smoking them slowly, I no longer get antsy if I don't at least have a smoke after work, after dinner, and before bed. I didn't even realize it until I actually climbed into bed tonight that it hadn't even crossed my mind to go outside and have a smoke at all this evening. That, combined with feeling just a little dirty if I light one up, means I'm in the right state of mind now -- no more "it's been three days, it's okay to have a smoke" bargaining crap anymore.

    Next step will be to see if I really come up with anything better to do with the $50/month I'd been spending on smokes.

    Progress!
     
  18. infinite97

    infinite97 I don't like plain water. It makes my stomach quea

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    that's scary that your chest was hurtin bro. I quit 6 days ago and I smoked for over nine years and didn't feel shit this last week...I woulda went to the doc asap!

    congrats, keep it up.
     
  19. lauren

    lauren Active Member

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  20. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    It had me worried, that's for sure. I was expecting some amount of pain, but not to the point that all I could focus on was how much it hurt.

    Anyway, after my chest stopped hurting, the pain spread to my shoulders and hips, then to my elbows and knees and neck, then to my hands and fingers. That tells me I was pretty damn well addicted to the chemicals. I guess that's not too surprising; my mother smoked when she was pregnant with me, and for several years afterwards.
     
  21. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Pain radiating from your chest is a sign of a heart attack....especially when it radiates into your arms. However, it looks like it's been a couple of days but I would sure have that checked out.

    Also, to help with cravings, use the patch. It kicks ass.
     
  22. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I bike regularly and I've never had any cardiovascular issues, so I'm not worried about a heart attack -- not at my age, anyway. It wasn't a tightness in my chest, it was a very distinct feeling related to irritated lung tissue -- if you've ever had bronchitis, you'll know the feeling.

    Cravings are gone, so the patch isn't necessary. And you can't build strength leaning on a crutch, anyway. Crutches are only good to help you cope until you can limp around on your own, and I was never that bad off.

    Yay me. :hs:
     
  23. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    Don't think that you can't have a heart attack at 25...you can even if you're in good shape and haven't had any family heart disease issues. My step nephew had one at like 23 or 24 and almost died. He was on the golf course and was in good shape. He collapsed and they had to rush him to the hospital but he's just fine now.

    So don't be so convinced you are as bulletproof as you think. :)
    Ok well good. For me, it took a lot longer for cravings to leave and the patch is only temporary. Crutches can be vital to ones proper healing....afterall, when you're sick, your focus should be on getting better not building strength. You build strength when you're healthy.

    But anyways, enough of the analogies....the patch works and it works very well and it's only 6 week kind of thing.
     
  24. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    I'm surprised anybody needs a six-week patch. I don't know a single ex-smoker who had cravings after the first week. (Including myself, now.)
     
  25. Coottie

    Coottie BOOMER......SOONER OT Supporter

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    I needed the patch and I'm not ashamed at all to admit it. I did manage to cut 2 week off of using it.

    I've been smoke free for about 8-9 years now.

    Smoking is hard as hell to quit and stay quit. Whether it takes a 6 week patch a 6 month stop smoking course or quitting cold turkey people should do whatever it takes to get off these horrible things.
     

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