Do I get a chip for 72 hours?

72 hours.  No cigarettes.  Some second hand smoke, when I’m a super creeper and follow people down the street.  Or sniff the clothes of questionable strangers on the T.  72 hours.  No first hand smoke.

And I feel like I would stab someone for a cigarette.  But getting a cigarette would not require stabbing someone.  It would require going to the convenience store across the street.  Shelling out eight dollars and fifty cents.  Asking for matches, because I no longer carry a lighter.  Walking to a side street where I could light up in shame…and peace and quiet.  Unperturbed by judgment and jealousy and “Can I bum a smoke”s.  Writing this paragraph is the most focused I’ve been in 3 days.

I can’t pay attention to anything.  Except the time.  And the dull ache in my head.  The anxiety permeating my whole body.  Restlessness in my fingers.  I haven’t stopped eating.  I need to switch out these muffins for carrots next week or I’ll be spending money on new clothes to hide my growing muffin top.  Quitting is supposed to save me money.  Today, the third day, is supposed to be the worst day.  I don’t know if it is the worst day because I read that and I’m focused on it, or if it actually is the worst day.  Either way, it sucks.  Here’s an idea of what I’m going through – thanks to wikipedia, the source of all knowledge.

I haven’t really told anyone.  That I quit.  Because I don’t believe it myself.  And I don’t want to talk about it.  No one knows how hard this is.  How I am in physical pain.  How I am legitimately depressed.  Today, I’ve only cried twice.  That’s an improvement.  My eyes well up for no reason.  And I want to lay in bed, sick, watching Lifetime movies, reading the Hunger Games and eating cheesecake.  (Note to self: buy a cheesecake before the self-imposed diet on Monday!)  (Better yet, make a cheesecake!  That will be distracting, time-consuming, AND delicious.)

No one understands how frustrating this is.  I LOVE TO SMOKE.  WHY CAN’T I SMOKE?  Why do I have to quit?  Why do I want to quit?  I don’t know the answers to these questions.  Respect?  Validation?  Approval?  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

This is starting to read like open mic night at a poetry slam.  Are those even a real thing?  I think I’ve only seen them on TV.

This whole thing isn’t fair.  It’s not fair that cigarettes aren’t like cigars, in the fact that I could just enjoy one once every few months when I’m drinking, for a special occasion.  It’s unfair that cigarettes are gross and not healthy, and so goddamn delicious.  It’s unfair that I am addicted to them.  That I am crying and shaking and eating constantly.  That I can’t control my own actions.  It’s all unfair.

Then why don’t I not quit?  I don’t know.  But I’m not going to quit quitting.  I’m just not.  I can’t.  I said I was doing this.  So I am.  I’m supposed to have a list of reasons.  Maybe I should have wrote those down, because I don’t remember them…It’s embarrassing.  That’s one reason.  That may be the only reason.  I’m embarrassed to be a smoker.  Of course it’s unhealthy, it smells bad, it ages me, etc. etc. etc.  Those aren’t reasons.  They are positive side effects of quitting.  Extra things I get from doing this.  My only reason is that I don’t want to be embarrassed (maybe ashamed?) anymore.

Why is it working this time?  Willpower.  Did you know you can “work out” your willpower “muscles”?  You can.  Over the summer I trained for the Spartan Sprint.  It was pretty awesome.  And difficult.  And exhilarating.  And training SUCKED.  But I worked out more, and more consistently than I ever have in my life.  Then I took the GREs.  For those I had to study.  Even though I procrastinated a lot, once I started studying, I dedicated myself to it.  I think these two things and the hours and months of preparation that came before them, prepared me for this.  Quitting.  72 hours.


Umpteenth time’s a charm?

Okay, so the title of this post was just an excuse to use the word “umpteenth.”  It comes up as an answer on crossword puzzles all the time and it’s a ridiculous looking and sounding word.  What’s not to love?

Aaannndddd back to the point of this post.  I rejoined the Become An Ex website.  I’ve wrote about it before…2 years ago, actually, and said I was going to join when I got back from vacation, but never did.  Well, I’m going on vacation, again.  September 12th.  So, I have set my quit date for September 21st.

Yes, I have a QUIT DATE!

(if I knew how to make a terrified emoticon, that’s what would go here)

Step 1 – Track your cigarettes

I tracked my cigarettes on Thursday through Sunday.  I am surprised and embarrassed by the results.  I’m smoking more cigarettes in a day than I ever have before.  I can’t even bring myself to say the amount, let alone write it down.  It’s fucking disgusting.  The reasons and times that I smoke have completely changed since the last time I did this 4 years ago (maybe that’s why this time is more difficult?).  I smoke most of my cigarettes at work (I used to not smoke at work at all) and the least on the weekend (except when I’m drinking :-/ ).  Most of the time the only trigger for me to have a cigarette is time or place.  “Oh, it’s 10AM, I think I should have a morning break,” or “I have nothing else to do while I walk to the T.”  They aren’t exactly triggers I can avoid.  People who are strongly urged to have one when they have coffee will stop drinking coffee for the first few days, switch to tea, or even drink coffee at a different time/place.  I don’t have this option.  I can’t stop walking places or going to work.

I Need A Life Coach

Seriously.  Or a therapist.  I’m not sure which.  I think the life coach would be most helpful.  Someone part therapist, part drill sergeant.

I am by far the most indecisive person I know.  From relationships to eyeshadow.  Maybe it’s because I’m a Libra.  Although, I’m not quite sure how much stock I put in astrology.  Anyway, the point is that I need someone to tell me what to do.

This is the advice that I would like to have the willpower to heed:

  • Don’t buy things you don’t need.  Even though food is a need, JP Licks and Indian take out are not necessary sustenance.
  • Quit fucking smoking already!  I’m down to 3 a day.  At least one of those, I don’t even want.  It’s just that that’s when I have a cigarette, so I do.
  • GO TO THE GYM!  If you’re not going because you’re tired, then go to bed earlier.  TV is not that important.  Especially when you have a goddamned TIVO.
  • Don’t break down when you’re having a bad day.  It’s unprofessional.  And, quite frankly, it’s too ladylike.  You’re never going to move up if you cry every time something goes wrong.
  • In addition to the above, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve.  I was feeling overwhelmed in a meeting the other day, and my direct supervisor apologized afterward and asked what she could do to better prepare me.  My director had no idea I felt overwhelmed.  That was because my director was sitting next to me and couldn’t see my face.  My supervisor, on the other hand, was across from me.
  • When you make a to do list, give it a reasonable deadline and follow through.
  • Don’t eat dessert for breakfast like you do every day (chocolate croissants are my weakness).
  • Don’t analyze every decision over and over and over.  Find some compromise between your head and heart.

Is it fall forward or fall back?

This post is pointless.  I just realized that I haven’t written in awhile.  It will drive me insane if there is no post for the month of September.  I like patterns, routines.  I like tying up complicated problems into neat little boxes.

This is one problem that I can’t explain away.  I can’t defend it.  I can’t find a simple solution.  It’s messy.  There are so many reasons that one person is addicted to smoking that it is virtually impossible to identify and mitigate each one.

I’m smoking now more than ever.  My job is more stressful now more than ever.  If I had to tie a neat bow on the little box, that’s what it would be.  But, it is more than that.

I just don’t care.  I don’t care to smoke and I don’t care to quit.  I haven’t had time to actually care about anything except holding onto my sanity and finding the very small pockets of the day where I don’t think about work.  Those pockets are not very often.  Unchecked tasks have woken me up at night.  Walking to work, I’m planning what I need to do when I get there.  Walking from work, I’m lamenting everything I didn’t get to, yet.

Smoking is just something that is.  And quitting is just something that isn’t.