Confessions Of A Quitter: Prologue And The First Week
November 8, 2008, 11:05 AM
Filed under: Addictions, Journeys and Expeditions, Mental Torture | Tags: , , ,


Last Week Sunday, I decided to throw in the towel on cigarettes.  I’ve tried this before, and I’ve only made it about 24-48 hours.  This time, I thought, would be different.  Of course, I was wrong, but it did make for an interesting experiment.  Funnily enough, I wrote the title before the rest of the post.  See how it says “first week” instead of “only week?”  Yeah, that was my obnoxious optimism clouding my reality…again.  Regardless of the outcome, I am proud that I went this far, but in all fairness, I’m elated to be smoking again.  Call me morbid, I guess.

One way I figured I could help fight off cravings was by writing this post, day after day, and adding new material every time I felt the need to have a cigarette.  This blog, in fact, aided me a lot more than I expected it to.  And even though it felt like my conscience was rebelling against my body (complete with torches, pitchforks, andthe inevitable Guillotine), I was able to find solace here as it went to town on my happiness.

Day One-November 2nd, 2008

Today was my first day of quitting smoking.  My first serious attempt at never picking up a cigarette ever again for as long as I live.

That sentence alone makes me want to cry.

It hasn’t been so bad, but I think that’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve been high on weed all day.  Instead of having a cigarette at the bus stop how I normally do, I decided to have strange daydreams.  I dreamt I was a couture model whose stomach began to expand during her most important photo shoot, as if my unborn child was sucking Miracle-Gro through the umbilical cord.  And I was informed by Tyra Banks that I was not America’s Next Top Model.  Strange.  I mean, I’ve had that daydream before, but I never went home.  I usually just took “fierce” pictures and flung dollops of pistachio pudding at the jealous girls.

I’ve also started to develop a list of activities I already do andenjoy that I can replace with smoking.  They’re broken down into two categories:

A. Responsible-practicing flute, reading, cooking, composing, knitting, learning to change a car tire, volunteering, exercising, gardening, hop-scotch.

B. Irresponsible (More Fun)-drugs, sex, booze, gambling, downloading music illegally, prank phone calls, playing in traffic, prostituting.

While the first set seems more wholesome, it’s been almost a full day with out a cigarette, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’d start working the corner before planting alfalfa sprouts.

On my walk back to my apartment, I had a quick jolt of optimism, which died almost as soon as I saw someone light a cigarette.  It was all okay until then.  As soon as I saw that person lighting that…delicious stick of delicious, I was fuming.  I looked at the woman’s face, it oozed superiority.  The expression seemed to say, “Hm, can’t smoke?  How unfortunate.  How pedestrian.”  I wanted her to get hit by a minivan.  Not so that she would die or get hurt, but so that maybe in the collision the cigarette would fly out of her hand and magically land between my lips, so that I could smoke it and then, quite easily, convince myself that it was a total and complete accident.

I’m pissed, and don’t have much else to say.  Tomorrow will be fine.

Day Two-November 3rd, 2008

Without a morning cigarette, I feel kindof useless in every department of my life today.  It’s funny how one little tube of paper stuffed withpoisonous shit can make you feel like you’re worth something.

I had my first nicotine-deprivation-induced overreaction of the day.  My roommate sent me an e-mail asking me to buy my own food.  The inconsideration here is obvious: he toldme to eat his food, andnow I can’t any more?  The response I gave him wasn’t necessarily flying off the handle, but I didn’t need to be so snappish either.  I called him both “rude” and “patronizing,” andwhile he can be, those are things I tend to keep from roommates and instead just blog about later.

I’m a little worried that I won’t swap my cigarette addiction for heroine or ten-dollar back-alley boys, but for something much, much, MUCH worse: junk food.  I’m told by some pretty honest sources that after you quit smoking you can gain almost 20 lbs.  20.  In a last ditch effort to keep myself from blowing up like the Michelin man, I’ve decided to start looking for a healthy eating diet plan, just so I can avoid certain foods that will taste almost as good as a cigarette feels.

Foods I can no longer eat because of  quitting smoking:

1. Pizza (This blows, do you know how much pizza I eat?)

2. Ice Cream (I’m trying to convince myself that low-fat frozen yogurt will be the same, but my mind know that’s not going to happen.)

3. Bagels and Cream Cheese (That includes JUST the bagel or JUST the cream cheese.  This may seem strange, but I have one of these almost every morning.  No more.)

4. Specialty Coffee Drinks (Absolutely delicious, but not worth the double chin I might unleash upon the world.)

5. Chinese Food (I might as well just jump off a bridge.)

Why the hell am I punishing myself so profusely?  Good question.  Maybe the lack of nicotine has made me a masochist.  I guess at this point I’m just short a riding crop and a 300-lb man named Spike.

The fiasco between my roommate and I has escalated to the inevitable, “Maybe I should just find another roommate, huh?!” I’m hoping that one of us will be able to be the better man and back down in this situation, but I’m going to predict that of the two of us, it won’t be me. 

These cravings are kicking ass and taking names, but I’ve gone this far before.  And tomorrow will be a new day. 

Provided I don’t buy a pack and smoke it all in record timing.  Time to hide the debit card.

Day Three-November 4th

I went out last night.  All I had was one drag of a cigarette, and I felt like crap for doing it.  It was a careless mistake.  So seriously.  No more smoking.  Not even a puff.

It’s November and 72 degrees outside, yet I’m cold.  I’m already wearing a wool sweater, black pants, and I’m thinking about breaking out the ski mask and down parka.  I haven’t made it 72 hours before, so if I had to make an educated guess, I’d say the shaking and freezing body temperature would all be symptoms of physical withdrawal.  I don’t know when this ends, but on the bright side, it feels nothing like how I thought it would.

Yesterday and today, I’ve eaten almost everything on my not eat list.  This includes a small pan pizza, two specialty coffee drinks, a bagel with cream cheese, and a Dove bar.  I could use a good old-fashioned fad diet right about now, like the Cookie Diet or the Amputation Diet.  If all I have to do is cut off my left arm in order to stave off 20 extra pounds, then that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

My irritability has also increased.  This morning when I was ordering one of those calorie-ridden coffee drinks I specifically told myself to ignore, I could feel myself getting agitated, even though I was just standing there holding out my Visa and being asked if I had a Border’s rewards card.  I never did have it on me, and yet they always ask.  Can’t they take the hint?  If you call 5% off a book about the history of rubber bands a reward, then I want no part in it.

A co-worker and I always come in here during our morning break for coffee and bagels, and since this new employee Jasmine started working at the coffee shop in Border’s, there’s been a lot to complain about.  Lumpy, congealed cream at the bottom of your cup, not filled to the brim, an unidentified hair floating amongst the espresso: take your pick, these were all pretty familiar scenarios to us.  But the worst was the milk.  Everything that girl made tasted like warm milk.  It was like when I said, “I’ll have a Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha with skim milk,” she was so happy to comprehend the words “skim milk” that she forgot about the rest of the drink.  No raspberry, no white, no chocolate, no mocha.  Just milk.

Not today.

I went back after tasting my drink and slammed it (well not slammed, it would have made a mess) on the counter.  She looked at me, slightly alarmed, and I tried to explain as calmly as possible what the problem was.  I didn’t sound calm at all, I sounded irate and psychotic.  “I’m not drinking this.  It tastes like milk.  I want a new one.”  Normally I would go up and sweetly tell them that it didn’t taste right andask if I could bother them to make a new one.  “Oh, pretty please!” I’d squeal.  But that was the C.J. withnicotine, the “nice” C.J.  The C.J. without nicotine was different.  Cross him, and you’d be dealing with a well-dressed version of Arnold Schwarzenegger on Prednisone.  “MOCHA NOW!”

The good news is that I get to vote today.  The bad news is that the lines will be long and I’ll be thinking of cigarettes the entire time.  Doesn’t matter, tomorrow will be much easier, I’m sure of it.

Day Four-November 5th

We have a new president, Barack Hussein Obama.  I tell you, I’ve never been more proud to be an American.  This election is historic, but so is the change it promises to bring.  Thank you, America, for following your heads and your hearts, and for believing in that immortal phrase of hope: “Yes We Can.”

With all of the excitement, I had a cigarette.  Well, two actually.  Okay, fine, three.  I figured I owed it to myself.  President Obama would have wanted me to, andwho am I to argue withthe President?  When I was having these cigarettes, my friend’s boyfriendstarted telling me stories of dreams that he had when he quit withthe patch.  Apparently, in this dream he slept with Julia Roberts.  If nicotine patches would give me that same dream, then I think I’d prefer the gum.  George Clooney, on the other hand, would be a different story.

The problem is that I keep justifying the smoking.  I have to realize that just because your candidate wins an election doesn’t mean you get a “Get Out and Smoke” free card.   

My “quit diet” is a complete bust.  I’ve decided that since I’m miserable without cigarettes, I need food to cushion the blow.  Even if I end up gaining weight, it doesn’t matter.  I’ll die alone no matter what.  We all do.

Today isn’t winding up too well.  Cravings have subsided, although I did share one with a co-worker early afternoon.  Maybe I can kick cigarettes as a habit, but it seems downright impossible to remove them as a hobby.  I guess I just have to keep moving.  These setbacks don’t make my efforts futile, it’s all just fuel to get across that finish line.  And tomorrow will be better.  YES I CAN!


Day Five-November 6th, 2008

Okay, I can’t.

I had another one around 10 today.  The strange thing is that I didn’t really need it.  I wasn’t having a craving or anything.  I just had one because I felt like it.  And this time I couldn’t use the sweeping Obama victory as an excuse.

I ran across this site called Metrosexualo.  It’s a clothing store for men withmetro taste.  My bank account is going to need physical therapy after I’m done with it.  What’s great about this though is that I can now use the money I would have spent on cigarettes towards Metrosexualo clothing!  So hopefully that’ll motivate me a little more.

Well, get this: I bought a new trench coat from Metrosexualo AND a pack of cigarettes.  It appears as if I can have my cake and eat it too.  Even if the cake is cancerous.

Day Six-November 7th, 2008

Not even clothes can motivate me.

I have officially failed.  I didn’t really think I was going to…I honestly thought this time would be different.  I know why I failed.  I have yet to completely convince myself that there’s something wrong with it.  To me, smoking is cool, and against all my better judgement, I find them a necessity to function.  I talked to my friend Gloria about it.  She had some great words of encouragement: “Well, that’s the longest you’ve ever gone.  And next time it will be longer!”  She’s right.  Next time it will be longer.

When will next time be?  Don’t hold your breath.