I have now been six months free from nicotine, tobacco, and generally inhaling anything except sweet baby atmospheric mix and whatever hound scent is made of. This is just a quick update post for those who may be following along (or folks who want to see pics of dogs).
Like the last post, I’m not writing this for slaps on the back or encouragement, it is for other people who might be quitting or thinking about quitting and want to know first-hand accounts of what others experience.
I detailed what happened in the first six weeks already in an earlier post. Revisit if you want a refresher on my personal hell. The previous 4.5 months has been decidedly better…mostly. Plus, I’ve saved around 600$ which is almost a case a delicious scotch!
Bottom line, I feel great. I can breath so much better that it has spurred me to exercise. I gained a few pounds while quitting, which is to be expected, but I found it very easy to lose that weight since suddenly I could walk up hills without breathing hard. Also, now that I don’t smoke, I seem to give a fuck about my body again. That’s kind of nice.
While I still like the smell of cigarette smoke, especially my old brand, I don’t feel the tug to smoke when I smell it. When the aroma hits my nose I think “cigarettes, I remember those.”
I don’t get physical cravings to smoke and I no longer feel a hungry beast needing to be fed inside me. One thing that is interesting is that the little devil and his little voice still live in my head and come out at predictable, and sometimes unpredictable, times.
When we went on vacation in August it entailed a ten hour drive. The drive was fine without smokes–which kind of surprised me, but once we got to the vacation house the little devil was like “Hooray. We have arrived. Time for a smoke!” and I found myself patting my pocket absently, then I caught myself and started smiling. This voice has no teeth anymore. No power at all.
Also, I find myself really enjoying some of the little aspects of not being a smoker. This little dude hangs out in my office a few times a week. He wasn’t even born when I quit smoking. He’s fond of grabbing onto my fingers. I still sometimes reflexively worry that my hands smell like smoke, then I realize they don’t. That simple thing brings a pretty stupid amount of pride. Smokers will understand what I’m talking about.
I’ve talked to many others who have quit after smoking more than a decade and the pattern seems to hold true. That voice never really goes away, but instead slinks into a corner. One of the unpredictable times it came out was when I had a terrific sales day in the woodshop. The sales were piling up and Mindy and I were celebrating. The little voice peeped out and was like “Hooray. Let’s smoke.” My response is always to laugh and ignore…sometime I tell it to eat a bag of dicks, depending on my mood. I never feel an actual craving to smoke. It’s just like an odd subconscious tug. Sort of like when you try to put your seatbelt on after it’s already on and you think “why would I do that?”.
The ‘mostly’ part I mentioned earlier came in the form of a terrible cold that tore me down and laid my soul open for people to poke at with sticks. Seriously, that’s what it felt like. Bender took full advantage and had his soul pokin’ stick handy. It was no good. I wondered a little about the severity. It was around five months, maybe a little less, after quitting. Then, a few weeks ago I had to see a doctor for something else and I mentioned it to him. He just chuckled and said that it is VERY common to get hit with something really shitty a few months after quitting. He didn’t have any hard and fast answers and admitted that it was just observational data, but the first cold and flu season for someone who has quit that year typically leaves a few bruises. You have been warned. The sort of awesome thing is that, as a non-smoker, your recuperation time from the sickness is way better than it would be otherwise. Your lungs are actually regaining the ability to expel things rather than just wallow in their own tarry filth.
Like all things, that illness came and went and I got better. Like a true saiyan I believe I got stronger because of it and I expect my hair to burst into yellow flames any day now. Any damn day now. But I digress.
The other point I want to clarify is that after six months I am not angry with people who choose to smoke. I don’t understand why some people get that way. An ex-smoker understands perfectly why those people are smoking. I have friends that smoke, they are not jackasses about it but I have told them they don’t need to alter their behavior on my account. If others want to smoke, knock yourselves out. I understand the attraction, trust me. If you’re one of those folks who quits and now rails against anyone who smokes and also fights to make the entire world ‘smoke free’…lighten up….maybe have a smoke…you’re clearly not over them.