Smoking…again :(

I thought I had kicked the fags for good. I started smoking during my divorce over 10 years ago. I quit the first time about 6 years ago during a hiking weekend. It was raining and my packet of cigarettes fell on the wet ground and I decided not to start again on a new pack. That lasted until my wife went into labor with kid #1. I was totally stressed out and back came the nicotine craving. When my kid was about 18 months old I quit again. And now, about 3 1/2 years later, the damn habit is back. I had forgotten that coppery taste in the mouth and tingling at the end of my fingers just as the cigarette is nearly done. Those tingly fingers especially. Unlike marijuana, the cigarette buzz lasts only about 20 seconds or so. Then, it seems to be a craving to find that tingly feeling again and it is a fruitless effort lighting and smoking that second one. So, I wait a few hours, light up and there it is again, the tingles.

Yesterday, I almost quit again. I walked outside and told myself that that was it, finito. But then, that devilish voice whispered in my ear, “But it’s New Years and you are going to a party with tons of smokers. Bad moment to stop, just keep going and we’ll stop next week.” Famous last words I suppose. Actually, I still have quite a bit of residual stress that will probably not subside for another few weeks as some loose ends are tied up. So, that little devil on my shoulder will still be there whispering to me. It must be similar for addicts to, say, heroin or meth I suppose. In some ways, it reminds me of Walt on Breaking Bad who, once in the life of crime, just can’t let it go as it starts spinning out of control. Or perhaps, like Nancy on Weeds. “Don’t worry, one more batch (for Walt) or sale (Nancy) and it will all be over”. I especially hate the fact that I don’t want my kids to get the image of “daddy smokes so it can’t be all that bad”. Ok, they are still young, but that is no excuse because kids do have long memories. My parents both smoked packs a day and I never had the urge to follow them in this habit until my aforementioned divorce so I guess that that should give me a small measure of hope. So, is tomorrow the day that I quit for the third time? It is so depressing to hear colleagues and friends say that they restarted after 5, 7, even 15 years or more. You ever listened to that wonderful k.d. lang album “Drag”? It is a great play on words and contains 12 songs all about smoking. So, I think my song tomorrow should probably be “My Last Cigarette” off that album. What do you think?

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About Michael Finocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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6 Responses to Smoking…again :(

  1. Keith says:

    Fino,
    Never give up trying!
    It took me ten years and several unsuccessful attempts before finally succeeding.
    You have to dig deep inside yourself to find the rebellious spirit, that anger at being held captive, a hostage, unable to stand on your own, independent of the craving. After each failure you will recognize that you have to dig deeper inside. You can prevail, but it will change you, as a person, when you find your inner strength and succeed.

    It takes several days or weeks to get the nicotine out of your system, but it can take years to overcome the psychological need, and an in determinant amount of time before you stop flicking the ashes off of a pencil, that you find yourself holding between two fingers. The muscle memory for such actions can last a lifetime. I know from personal experience.

    I smoked for ten years before realizing the powerful hold it had on me. I had a vision of my future, however, and it did not include a dependence on tobacco. My wife was a non smoker and I successfully quit two years before we were married. I remain a non smoker after 35 years.

    Good luck and never give up, just think of it as losing a skirmish, not the war.

  2. Keith says:

    Here is something that may help. I found that stress was a trigger of the craving for nicotine but there are substitutes that you may be very familiar with as a coping mechanism. Exercise is a good stress reliever for the nicotine craving as well as depression. Showers also work. I also learned how to crochet, to keep my idle hands busy. Ran any marathons lately?

  3. James says:

    OK, great piece Michael … no easy answer – and I know the feeling (though not with smoking per se!). One of the things that works for me is to remember ‘fall down 7, get up 8″ – in the end the only thing I really have control over is persistence – but important to be gentle with oneself too, I can only do what I can do when I can do it.

    “七転び八起き: This Japanese proverb reflects an important and shared ideal: “Nana korobi ya oki” (literally: seven falls, eight getting up) means fall down seven times and get up eight. This speaks to the Japanese concept of resilience. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you get up again. Even if you should fall one thousand times, you just keep getting up and trying again.”

    http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2011/03/fall-down-seven-times-get-up-eight-the-power-of-japanese-resilience.html

  4. Erik Spierenburg says:

    Keith nails it: ran any marathons lately? Replace the habit with another, healthier one. It could even be tangerines. Another advice someone gave me “do not give up smoking, become a person that doesn’t smoke”. Otherwise, don’t stress out about it either. That just makes it more difficult to stop.

    And be prepared to get all sorts of crappy advice :). Good luck!

  5. Julien says:

    C’est nul Fino de reprendre !

  6. Pingback: Quitting Smoking: Causes of Addiction and Some Advice | Fino's Weblog

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