Friday, January 20, 2006

Another reason not to smoke ...

You never know when you might need a face transplant:
The world's first face transplant recipient is using her new lips to take up smoking again, which doctors fear could interfere with her healing and raise the risk of tissue rejection.

Monday, December 26, 2005

384 days, 16 hours, 21 minutes and 46 seconds

I've been tinkering around with my blogs this holiday weekend, which prompted me to look up my quitnet gadget stats. A year and 19 days! Not a single cigarette since I stubbed out the last at the stroke of midnight on my quit day.

I do still want a cigarette now and then -- but I'm so afraid that even a single puff might start up the whole addiction machinery again that I just don't do it.

I have to say it's worth it. There's a lot of freedom in not feeling compelled to go have a smoke every hour or two -- I feel like I've been let off a very tight leash.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Eight months

(and three days)

Yee haw!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Six months!!!


Yay, me.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Out of all the non-smoking aids I collected prior to quitting, the one I still reach for, now and then, is a little book of "meditations" called Out of the Ashes.

I like to open it at random, and then read and think about whatever passage I've found.

I just did that, opened it at random and landed on this:
Cravings ...

Part of being an adult means accepting life's limitations, and developing realistic goals and expectations.

If I buy a lottery ticket expecting to win, the chances are very high I'm going to be disappointed. And to repeatedly buy tickets with that expectation is to live in misery. On the other hand, if I buy the ticket knowing the odds are a zillion to one against me, I can treat the bet as a game and not be disappointed.

If I expect stopping smoking to be effortless, I will be disappointed when it isn't. If I look at stopping smoking realistically, and know there are going to be ups and downs, I will handle the downs much better, and be happier.

I'm well beyond the point where I feel intense physical cravings -- those went away very quickly, and were mostly gone after the first three days of the quit -- but I still feel urges to smoke, now and then. So it does help to keep in mind that this is not effortless, even after five months. If I expected it to be effortless, I would be disappointed, as the authors say. And not only disappointed, but frustrated. And frustration is a huge smoking trigger for me! So it's better all around to expect difficulties, to make room in how I think about this for difficulties.

This reminds me of a line that comes up sometimes in political discussions -- the perfect is the enemy of the good. It's good not to be smoking. My life is better in a lot of ways. But if I demanded perfection -- if I expected never to miss the cigarettes -- I could become so frustrated and unhappy with the quit that the quit itself might be jeopardized.

Five months


Sunday, April 17, 2005

131 days

Hey, that's a long time!

Haven't had a single ciggie since my quit day. It's hard, sometimes. The beginning of the quit was exciting. It was something new! A project! I got lots of attention! And I could blame everything on the quit. That was great. If I was feeling irritable or sensitive -- oh, I could say, that's because I just quit smoking. If I didn't want to do something -- I could say I had to protect myself from the anxiety doing the task would stir up because I had to make the quit my top priority. If I had a sudden urge to eat a pint of ice cream -- anything for the cause of the quit!

Now, the novelty and accompanying excitement is gone. Invoking "the quit" no longer works as an all-purpose excuse.

So it's harder to stay motivated.

What I have to do is consciously remind myself of the ways my life is better without the cigs. How I have more energy. How I don't feel so guilty about messing up my health (a guilt that I repressed while smoking but that I now see had always been there). How I don't have to plan how I'm going to make my getaways to go have my smokes -- and how I don't have to suffer withdrawal pangs when getting away isn't possible. How I can walk up the hills without getting winded! That's a signficant perk, considering I live in a hilly city without a car.

These are good benefits, even if they're not as flashy as the ice cream, attention, novelty, and sense of accomplishment of the early days. They should be enough, right? Then why does this quit feel so unsolid?

Maybe that's just the way it is. Maybe I'll never feel certain. I would rather feel sure of myself, would rather believe that I will never smoke again, but if this is the way it's going to be from here on out, I guess I can live with that.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

The idiots versus the dummies -- and the idiots win!

A while ago, I read "Quitting Smoking for Dummies." It was ok. Then last night, I was browsing in a bookstore and spent a while flipping through The Complete Idiot's Guide to Quitting Smoking. It was a lot better than the Dummies book. In fact, I was so impressed with it, that I would say that if someone were to read only one book to guide them through the quitting process, the Idiot's book would be a great choice. I wish I had read it before my quit. The psychology was just right, acknowledging up front that people DO get something out of smoking (take that, Allen Carr); the information was accurate, thorough, and detailed; and the tone was encouraging and even at times funny -- and if there's one thing I've found out during this quit is that it really helps to be able to laugh!

"The Insider" on 60 Minutes tonight

Jeffrey Wigand, the tobacco company whistleblower whose story was portrayed in the 1999 movie "The Insider," was profiled by Mike Wallace on tonight's "60 Minutes." It was strange. The movie had revealed to the world how Mike Wallace and "60 Minutes" had betrayed Dr. Wigand when he first blew the whistle. Perhaps Mike Wallace is now trying to make amends, to make things right before he retires?

Tonight's story briefly touches on the earlier one, and then goes on to show Wigand's current work, trying to keep kids from smoking.

40 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes and 19 seconds

So far, so good.