Diary of a Quitter
No, this post isn’t about Sarah Palin’s emails. It’s about the end of my 30+ year addiction to King Tobacco.
Today marks the one month anniversary of kicking butts, and it’s not that I’ve been counting the days – I have been remarkably free of cravings, due in large part to my crutch, the electronic cigarette – but I have been keeping a daily savings log and running total of how much I haven’t spent on cigarettes since quitting. It has turned out to be the best strategy for the quit. Once I got through the first week and saw the amount of money I had saved, there was no way in hell I was going to buy any more cigarettes! Add to that the health & other benefits that I started noticing after that first week – no more waking up in the middle of the night coughing, no more hacking up foulness each morning, no more morning sinus congestion every day, no more getting winded from walking more than a few minutes or climbing stairs – I’m never going back to smoking. I’ve managed to pretty much clear the smoke smell out of the house already with little dishes of apple cider vinegar, though the car still smells like an ashtray. At this point, I’ve cut back on the use of the e-cig and I’m stepping down the level of nicotine, so soon I’ll be free of it as well. It’s all good.
One weird thing I’ve noticed though – I’m having strange dreams pretty much every night. I’ve always been prone to strange dreams, and mine are stranger than most. I had one while we were at the beach that involved going to a Persian stylist named Aslan – he had an assistant working on my color, and I continued pressing until I found out that she was going to do me up as a dirty blonde. Not happy with that idea, I confronted Aslan, who told me that they did ALL their clients up as dirty blondes, because according to him, it’s classier, and if I didn’t like it, I could go somewhere else because I wasn’t going to get anything different at his salon. So I left. His salon was on the second floor of a downtown Little Rock building, and it just so happened that I was parked on the side of the building opposite the stairs…though fortunately, one end of the corridor opened up to the street, no wall, window or railing, and I could see my car right below…so I decided to just jump down to the sidewalk. I jumped, and only then noticed that I was at the back loading dock of the Federal Reserve Bank. There was an armored car idling at the curb and piles of cash on the loading dock, completely unattended. “Great,” I thought, “now they’re going to come out and see me here and assume I’ve ripped off some of the cash, and it’s all THEIR fault for not keeping a watch on it.” And sure enough, here comes a female guard pointing a gun at me and demanding I submit to a search.
Then I woke up.
What was so odd about all this is…well, a lot of things. For one thing, I don’t know any Persians, named Aslan or otherwise, and I’ve never read the book Lyta told me about where one of the characters is named Aslan (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?). Also, there is no Federal Reserve Bank in Little Rock, no downtown building with a second-floor salon that I’m aware of, and certainly no building where it would be possible to just jump out of the end of a second-story corridor. Also funny – in the dream, it never occured to me to actually try to take any of the unattended money – my sole concern was that I was going to be blamed for doing it when I hadn’t even considered it. That’s not so much strange since I’m not a thief, but still a bit odd to have such clarity of reasoning in the midst of a crazy dream.
The weird dreams are continuing though none have been quite so memorable or strange as that one – and even that one pales in comparison to the weirdest ones I’ve ever had, which for some unknown reason always seem to feature German breeds of dogs, the most infamous being the Weiner Dog Dream. I’ll save that for another time, though it certainly would fit in with current events.
Last, I’d like to credit the various other quitters from over at Sadly, No! for helping me in this endeavor. I’ve tried to quit numerous times, many times being quite a bit more desperate to be free of the habit than this time, to no avail. For whatever reason, seeing tsam mention that he had made it through a week spurred me to finally quit. exford legs related his 2 + months of smoke-free experience, and a day or two after I joined the club, bbkf climbed aboard the bandwagon. All of us have successfully kicked the habit, though to my relief, I seem to be having an easier time with cravings – I’m simply not having them, at all, and haven’t caught myself thinking about lighting up or trying to reach for a cigarette for 3 weeks now. This is a done deal. If you’re reading this and are a smoker, don’t give up hope of quitting. If I was able to do it, anyone can – up until a month ago, I had never gone a full 24 hours in my adult life without a cigarette. I’ll refrain from telling you how to go about it, since different things seem to work for different people. For me, the key was having the e-cig as a crutch, knowing that some other folks were navigating the hellscape at the same time I was, my daily savings log, and perhaps most important, I laid in supplies so I wouldn’t have to leave the house for the first 3 or 4 days, knowing that if I did, I would probably not be able to resist the temptation to stop by a store and buy more cigarettes (and there’s a store right down at the end of the block). That’s what worked for me – your mileage may vary. The important thing to keep in mind though, is that you’ll be able to do it too, when the time is right and you’re ready. So, good luck whenever that time rolls around! And remember – every pack of cigarettes you buy is a contribution to the Republican Party. They’ve been carrying Big Tobacco’s water for as long as I’ve been alive. If nothing else works for you, maybe keeping that in mind will help.