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lazarus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-16-05 02:11 PM
Original message
8 years without smoking so far
after 15 years of smoking everything that could burn.

I have a theory about why smoking is so mentally addictive, especially my preferred form of smoking, the pipe:

It speaks to the caveman that still lurks in the deepest recesses of our brains. To the caveman, fire was a powerful, mystical thing that one tried to control. And how much more intimate with fire can you be than when you're holding it in your hands and controlling its burning with your own breath?

It's a subconcious grip that still gets me. I don't miss cigarettes at all, although I was 1.5 packs a day when I quit. I don't miss cigars, although I'd smoke 2-3 a week. Don't miss pot, it'd been years since I smoked because I have a pathological fear of jail. :-)

But I miss my pipes. I miss the smell. I miss the ritual beyond everything else; I may be a skeptic/atheist, but I acknowledge the power of ritual to ease stress. And the ritual of cleaning the pipe, loading it, tamping it, lighting it, retamping it, then lighting it again....I can actually feel a calm come over me just thinking about it 8 years later.

I don't miss: not being able to breathe well; not being able to taste or smell things properly; smelling like an ashtray all the time (even though I didn't know it); hacking crap up out of my lungs every morning; having a nasty taste in my mouth all the time; being a slave to the damned tobacco.

Here's how I quit, if anyone wants to try my method. I stole it from Robin Williams' character in the brilliant film Dead Again.

Roughly paraphrased, he said, nobody's trying to quit smoking. That's a copout. You're either a smoker or a non-smoker. Decide what you want to be, and be it.

I extrapolated that out. The brain is a lazy thing, really. It doesn't want to work. Quitting smoking is an active process. When is it ever over? It's like the war on terra or the war on drugs, it's a never ending process.

So, don't say you're quitting smoking; simply quit. Done. Pick a day. That's your last smoke. You're now a non-smoker. Go through your house, dump everything that reminds you of smoking. The neat ashtrays you have (I gave away a gorgeous crystal pair to a buddy). The lighter you've hung on to since college. I threw several hundred dollars' worth of pipes out the car window the night I quit, because I knew I couldn't sell them in time to keep myself from starting up again.

If possible, put yourself in a position where smoking is problematic the first couple of days. I stayed at my mom's. It helped that my 5 year old daughter looked up at me with those big eyes and asked, "Daddy, would you quit smoking for me?" I looked at my cigarette, took one last drag, threw it out the car window, and told her that was it. (Except for one nasty tasting puff 3 weeks later, that was it, too).

I stopped at a store I always bought my cigs at, and made the critical decision. I reached for the big bag of locally made beef jerky, instead. MMMmmmm. Good stuff for that oral fixation. Went through pounds of it.

I told myself I was a non-smoker. I would have to talk myself into smoking again. Why would I want to start that up? I'd have to buy ashtrays, lighters, pipes, explain to my family why I started smoking - note, not failed to quit, but started - and it was just too much.

I went to the non-smoking breakroom that week at work, and found I had a ton more time for our short breaks. I had to come up with things to do with my extra time and money. Never a bad thing.

Anyway, this is just rambling on a lazy afternoon. Good luck to those of you fighting this battle.
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-18-05 10:10 AM
Response to Original message
1. Thanks, Lazarus.
I need all the encouragement I can get. I quit 11/6/05. I am sicker than a dog. I have flu. At least my throat is so sore that I don't want to smoke.

This is weird, because I never get sick. I have a cold about every 5 years.

Someone told me that it can be described as system shock. My body is spending all its time repairing the damage I did to it by smoking. It probably thinks a cold and flu are unimportant in the scheme of things, compared to lung cancer, emphysema, heart problems, etc., etc.

Anyway, your post is encouraging. I hope I feel human again soon.
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lazarus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-20-05 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. You will
BTW, Alka Seltzer cold and flu works miracles for me. :-)

It'll be a few weeks before you really start to feel the effects. By Xmas, though, you should be able to smell things you didn't realise you were missing.

Stay strong. Remember, you're a non-smoker now.
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