A Thousand Times

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Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times. ~ generally attributed to Mark Twain, but seems to be in question. I’m gonna give it to Mark Twain, because I like the guy. And I think y’all know better than to take my word for who said what to whom ever. I have selective hearing.

I’m at it again.

I have quit smoking so many times my insurer at work has imposed a lifetime cap and will no longer cover smoking-cessation products. I have used a number of methods: cold turkey, Allan Carr, the patch, Champix and Nicorettes. Currently, I’m trying the Nicorette inhaler in combination with the new edition of Allan Carr’s book geared specifically for women.

I’m kind of digging the inhaler. It’s a pretty efficient delivery system, and you get a satisfying drag off it. There’s no vapour, so I miss the visual stim, but – gets the drugs into the system. Only partway through Allan Carr’s book. The last edition really worked well, though – I quit for five years at one stretch.

See, I have to quit prior to my surgery in January – surgeon’s orders. Can’t have muscular abdominal surgery and be coughing up a lung, because it’s not going to heal properly. Okay, I can accept that. Also, better to lose the weight prior, as muscle-on-muscle heals better than muscle, fat and mesh. Okay, I can accept that too.

Here’s my problem: when I quit smoking, I gain weight. I have never in my life been BOTH slim AND a non-smoker. Carr’s new book claims it can be done. As you know, I’m super-nutrition oriented now, and a daily workout devotee. HOWEVER, my new physiotherapist says I’ve got to back off the cardio, cut from 5 – 7 days a week down to 4 – 5, and “mix it up” more, so there are fewer repetitive motions.

Also, I’ve always considered food a reward. You didn’t smoke today? You deserve some chocolate, girl. I’m hoping I’ve change my relationship with food enough over the last year and a half to prevent that kind of thinking. Problem is, food just tastes sooooo much better when you quit.

I also have a tendency to blame other people for my own lack of control/coping mechanisms. “You’re giving me a hard time about something? Fuck you, I’m going to have a cigarette – and it’s all your fault.” See what I mean? I know it’s not your fault how I cope with criticism or unkindness. However, it’s a lot easier to blame you than to blame myself.

So, I’ve got some challenges ahead. Suggestions and encouragement are welcome. Criticism and nagging are most definitely not.

I may gnaw my own arm off by the time I’m done with this. It’s Day Three today, though, and no one’s dead yet. I even held my temper a few times when I probably should have spoken up (mostly for fear of flying off the handle like a complete nutbar). I’ve got a lot of Christmas knitting to do, too.

And as someone pointed out to me the other day, even though I have quit so many times, I only have to quit one more time than I start up again. Maybe it’s this time, right?

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8 responses »

  1. GO GIRL!!! The food as reward thing can be a good strategy. But as you point out, the “side effects” of that really bite. How about making a list (mental or with pad and paper) of things that aren’t food to reward yourself with? Then look at your day and intersperse them at different time-points (maybe when you otherwise might have taken a smoke-break). So for example: if you make it to 10am without a smoke – you take a break and knit for 10 minutes. If you make it to 1pm without a smoke, you get to read an article you’ve been saving… or pay yourself! determine a cap $ amount, then divide it into increments to pay yourself in installments throughout the day – at the end of the week you get to go to Vinnies or somewhere else that is fun and rewarding.

    I don’t know, now that I write it down it sounds kinda lame….

  2. How about something else with a ritual attached to it that isn’t food? A tea break when you might have had smoke break in the past. You get the satisfaction of the boiling, the steeping, the sniffing, the sipping–and no calories and some cool flavours you can taste now that your tastebuds aren’t dead.
    Fuzzy water is prickly on the tongue and might distract you from other sensations.
    Just thinking out loud and wishing you ALL the best.

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