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Monday, March 23, 2009

I Do Not Want A Cigarette

Well, I haven’t had a cigarette since Tuesday.

The inability to draw a full breath without coughing until you expel your own eyeballs will do that to you.

And you know what? I’m feeling okay about it.

Look, Ma! I’m minty-fresh!

Of course, I’ve not had a beer, either, which is the trigger to such antisocial and counter-productive health behavior.

Honestly, I can’t trust me.

Oh, sure, sure. I could quit drinking beer, too, but is that the answer to everything? To just quit?


I could do like Max did. Max held on to his last cigarette for, I swear, three-four months. He held on to that damn cigarette, never lighting it, until the filter was an unappetizing mess.

It was quite a conversation piece.

But I don’t think Max has had a cigarette in a good 15 years now, maybe more.

I don’t know why – it’s between Max and that dirty little cigarette – but holding on to it the way he did worked for him.

I don’t think I could do it like that.

Maybe I could do like my Dad did. My Dad quit a two-pack-a-day habit cold turkey. Didn’t even tell anyone. And the weird thing about it? No one noticed! Dad never smoked in the house anyway, so no one noticed he quit until he was more than two months into it.

Come to think of it, he had seemed crabby there for a while…

Just don’t do it.

Maybe that’s how it’s done, huh? You just don’t do it anymore, and you just don’t do it long enough that it becomes some weird non-habit?

This is too complicated for me.

I want to know: When you know you shouldn’t do something – and you’ve reached a point where it’s no longer cool to just do it anyway – how do you keep that promise to yourself fresh?


Lisa said...

god its so hard pearl.
i have never been a smoker but i take too many headache tablets at times and KNOW i would be better off not doing it, but i still do. My mum gave up a heavy smoking habit overnight and then did the same with alchol- amazing i think- hope you find an answer that doesnt drive you spare xx

Charlotte Ann said...

Today is 3 weeks for me! I had to have surgery..went into the hospital and used the Dilaudid that was "on demand" via a pump for those first three days without a cigarette. If I can get through the first 3 days, then I can maintain for a while. I'm hoping this "quit" works this time.

The Retired One said...

It would be SO awesome if you could make this your "cold turkey" incentive.
And besides, you can use your crabby moments for some mighty funny blogs and stand up comedy readings, no????
Stay healthy and get the rest of those nasty things OUT of your house, your purse, your car and all those secret hiding places we know you have them at...
Best of luck!

Beth said...

I feel for you. Maybe this will be the worst of it. Good luck!

darsden said...

"You can do it" Yes, you can and just say no thank you...get a lot of gum or beer...your choice there but, you can do it...yes I just like to saying - do it ;-)

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I just found other things to do with my time usually spent practicing my vice. Which led to an unhealthy obsession with Civilization III.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Pearl, it's hard to give up something that you love, and something that has a hold on you...but don't let cigarettes have a hold on your heart, shortening your breaths and your life, please?

I slept downwind of my mum's smoker's cough (2/3 packs a day, and a smoker since she was 14 - She never made 57), and that made me never want to start, that and the smell - And just look at 50 or 60 year old smokers - All those wrinkles on face and lips that even Botox will never erase - You must know someone you can look at and think - I don't want to end up like that - Keep their pic in your wallet, and keep your promise fresh that way - Just a suggestion.

I haven't all the answers, or else I'd weigh nine stones and be a supermodel!

Scrappy Doo said...

Stay strong! Cigs are now 5.89 a pack here so Critter and I are there with ya!
Scrappy Doo

Jodie Kash said...

Sickness is how I quit 9 years ago or so (maybe 10). A cuppa green tea when you have the urge and cardio until you feel little icicles knifes piercing your lung will keep you on track.

Your “urge” question completely brought to mind this quote I read from my boy Bono recently:

"…a phrase that's close to sacred for Bono, "vision over visibility." Bono: ‘It's like Martin Luther King's speech, the moment when you see the place, but you can't see yet how to get there.’"

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

I suck at it.

I merely replaced my Haagen Dasz habit with a hoppy micro-brew habit.

Keep strong.

CSY said...

Oh, honey! I KNOW first hand what you're going thru! I too am trying to quit a smoking habit that I shouldn't have started. You'll get thru this, no if only my children can...

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

hey! Congrats on taking the first step! You must be proud of yourself!
My rule is that anything..ANYTHING... in excess is bad. So I think you can get away if you do stuff in moderation. Smoking, of course, is debatable but yeah, cold turkey is brutal....maybe start off with cutting your supplies 50%, supplementing with all those nicotine subs and see how it goes!
In the end, its not what other people tell you to do that's important, its what you really want for yourself!

Ms Sparrow said...

Good for you, Gal! Hang in there!

Aria said...

God Bless you ~ you're not in jail for nicotine-withdrawal-induced-homicide... so you're in great shape!

Ria~ said...

I agree with the "just don't do it" approach. I've never been a smoker so I in no way want to minimize what trying to quit is like. But whenever i'm trying to break a bad habit I simply set small goals for myself. Saying you won't do something forever is just a lot. So its already been a week, you could start small and try not to smoke for the rest of the month. If you get there treat yourself to something nice and set a new goal of maybe the month of April. If you keep taking it little by little and reward yourself for the accomplishments that might make it easier. Eventually the cravings will subside.

Good Luck ;-)

powdergirl said...

You know the people that say things like " I quit 104 years ago and I still crave them." ?
Don't talk to them.
Who wants to hear how you'll spend the rest of your life wanting something you can't have.
My best friend is 4 years clean from a 3 pack a day habit, signs of a aging reversed, smells nicer and says she doesn't miss it at all.
Good luck and good health !

Under the Influence said...

If it was as easy as "just don't do it" I would stop snacking and weigh ten pounds less than I do! :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Pearly Q!

Never been a smoker myself...but I'll support you when you're having a breakdown and want one, just e-mail me and I'll yell at you...or Liza Bean could hook you up to one of those zappers and give you negative reinforcement therapy. Each time you reach for one...ZAP! It might work...

Cheeky Kisses~

underOvr (aka The U) said...


I won't tell you what you already know about squares.

But I will say hurry up and get well.


Kavi said...

Thats well begun. And you know what they say about 'well begun'...yes..half done !

Now, that you have done one half, seems worthwhile to complete the other half too !!


Anonymous said...

You've come this far, why go back? It's a very hard habit to break - I did it over 20 years ago and I still get the urge - but don't indulge.

If the want is there, you'll overcome the need.

Not The Rockefellers said...

That there is the battle my friend.

I know this is cliche and straight from any 12 step program but really:

"One Day At A Time"

And I'm not talking about that 70's sitcom, although watching that would keep your mind off of the ciggies...:)

It's tough, Pearl, but if you are really committed to quitting you'll do your best to stick to it.

Best of luck, Pearl!

Peace - Rene

Kevin Musgrove said...

My dad had to be frightened into giving up by his first angina attack.

On the other hand my mum woke up one day, looked at the packet and thought: "oh I can't be bothered."

Both were 30-a-day smokers.

Good luck!

naperville mom said...

Pearl, each time you feel like taking a puff, maybe picturing all those things you love to do, and your adorable son, would help:) Why spoil a good thing? All the best.

Douglas said...

I quit 38 1/2 years ago. On the day my son was born. You have to want to stop. Until you do, you won't.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

Plastic spoons, straws, and a heavy duty rubber band.

Place the rubber band on your wrist and snap the sh*t out of it when you feel the urge. Painful but useful distraction.

Suck on a straw or a spoon if you need to. Innocuous substitute for a bad habit.

Go Pearl go!

Anonymous said...

Well, I shouldn't tell you that today I was blipping songs (blip.fm) about fire and smoking then, like "Smoking in the Boys Room." That probably wouldn't help, would it? ;)

Michelle said...

Pearly-Q I've got nothing except I never keep any promises to myself. Like not running on a broken toe. I am running on a broken toe. So who am i hurting? Not you. Not anybody out there. I am hurting myself. So, perhaps think of it that way. You don't want to hurt yourself right??? And I don't want you to hurt yourself. I care!!!

Eskimo Bob said...

You pose an interesting question: How do you keep the goal fresh? Or rather - how do you keep your desired outcome desirable.

There's a model that I use - draw yourself a triangle:

At the top (above the point) put your desired outcome or goal.

This is what you want to accomplish - it has to be important to you.

Inside the Triangle write: New Learning. This will be new things you will need to learn. Whether it's about yourself or academic in order to achieve the desired outcome you will need to learn and apply something new.

Below the base of the triangle draw a rectangle - inside of that write: Self- Defeating thinking. This is also an exercise to find out what is really holding you back, and what is blocking your Drive.

Below the rectangle draw either another box or an arrow in the direction of your desired outcome - fill that in with Drive. Why do you want to accomplish the desired outcome.

That's all for now. In case you get a craving for cigs - have some cinnamon toothpaste and mouthwash/gum handy - the cinnamon should counter-act the crave.

Pearl said...

Lisa, my father gave up smoking and alcohol the same way… He drinks again, now, but not like he did…

Charlotte Ann, hmm! I wonder where I can get a hold of some Dilaudid?!

Retired One, you’re right. I don’t have any in my purse or the house. It’s almost entirely an out-of-the-house kind of thing. I’ve never smoked at work, so breaks aren’t an issue. With beer and after writing. THOSE are the triggers.

Beth, thank you. I think it’s time.

Darsden, you said “do it”. Heh.

iNDefatigable, “Civilization III” sounds suspiciously like a video game. Is it?

Woman of No Importance, that’s a very good point, and one that resonates with me. I do not like the wrinkles around the lips: years and years of puckering around a cig. Ick. The smell, too. You’re right. I don’t want to smell like that.

Scrappy Doo, they’re 5.50 here now. Shoot. I remember my dad sending me to the store with 35 cents and a note: “Please sell Pearl a pack of Pall Malls for her Dad”.

Jodie, so the sickness thing works! I like the “vision over visibility” statement, too. It’s the “vision” that I need to keep in mind.

Prefers Her Fantasy Life, Hoppy Micro-Brew! I like the sound of that. Sounds like something I should send out greeting cards for…

CSY, I just need to focus on the freedom. I’ve never liked to be “held” by habit and it irks me that those stupid little things have got me…

Roshni, thank you! Yes, I need this for me. There’s no need to hurry my own life along in such a foolish way, and the cost has become prohibitive as well. If I could have two cigs at a party or something, that would be fine, but my lungs are not the strongest part of me to begin with, so it’s doubly foolish for me to play with them.

Ms. Sparrow, thank you!

Aria, not yet, I’m not! No, I’m not the type. My fear though is that I will haul off and eat a bowl of brownie mix or something.
Please note that I did not say that I’d eat brownies. No need to cook them! I’ll just eat the batter straight out of the bowl…

Ria, I like that idea very much, especially the bit about a small reward!

Powdergirl, I like that, too. You’re right about hearing from people how much they miss it. I think I’ll claim not to miss it, whether I do or not. Not everything needs to be examined closely – if I say I don’t miss it, then I won’t.

Under the Influence, oh, shoot. That’s next. Because you know what sounds good? A big bowl of brownie batter…

Sweet Cheeks, oh, Liza Bean would love that, wouldn’t she?! Dang cat. Then again, she quit over a year ago, and her singing voice has never sounded better.

U, oh, I’d almost forgotten that term: squares. Thanks for the memory-nudger!
And I’m getting a little better every day…

Kavi, would you believe that I’ve never heard that? Well begun is half done. I like that. I’m very attracted to the practical, and that’s a very practical way of looking at it!

Lisa, more good advice! Man, I knew you guys would know what’s what…

Rene, I was with you until I realized that it was NOT about that 70s sitcom! No, of course, you’re right. I don’t have to quit tomorrow or next week. I just have to quit today.

Kevin, I do not want to be frightened into it. Everyone wants to leave the party under their own power, ya know what I mean?

Naperville, I find that if I can get past the urge, it goes away – until it comes again. It’s just getting past the urge…

Douglas, I want to, because I want to breathe. Not breathing is a tedious thing.

J’Ollie Primitives, all good ideas! I’m picturing my new rubber-band bracelet. As a neutral, it should go with everything!

Unfinishedrambler, how about “smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette”?! Remember that one?

Michelle, I think that’s kind of where I am now. I’m hurting myself. I’m too smart for this kind of crap! Why do I keep hurting myself, Michelle?! Why?! Good God, I think it’s time to grow up!

Pearl said...

Eskimo Bob, well done! I'm gonna do it, right now.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother gave up a 3ppd habit when she started having serious nosebleeds. The doctor told her the smoking caused them, and the next could well kill her. She was 80 and lived another 6 or 7 years. She never smoked again, but she also never stopped complaining about being forced to quit!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Perhaps you need another vice to keep you occupied?

Chocolates, chilis or firemen.

Jeanne said...

I don't smoke, but I weigh more today than I've ever weighed in my life, including when I was nine months pregnant -- and I crave sugar like it's heroin. I hope you figure out what works -- and then tell me!

fingers said...

Pearl, I've found that when a promise (like giving up ciggies) goes stale the best course of action is just to cave in completely, abandon your whole belief system, feed the disgusting habit and then make a new promise.
That way the promise stays fresh and current...

Anonymous said...

good for you. don't be surprised if you wind up getting kind of sick for a while as all the damage works itself out.

i need to quit again. sigh.

Joanie said...

You can do this, Pearl! If I can quit, you can quit! I've been smoke free for 17 years, 2 months, 3 weeks and 3 days (but who's counting?) I quit cold turkey with my husband. You can do this!

Gadjo Dilo said...

"how do you keep that promise to yourself fresh?"... You just adapt the promise to current circumstances. I quit 4 years ago, but was so desparate for a conversation at work the other day that I bouhgt a packet of ciggies and went out on the balcony - horrible taste, great conversations, and haven't needed to smoke since then.

Pearl said...

Citizen of the World, nosebleeds? That’s a new one! Enjoyed the idea, too, of your grandma complaining ‘til the end that she’d had to give up cigs.

Kevin, chocolates, chilis, and firemen. If that’s a reference to something, it’s lost on me; but if you came up with that yourself, I’m telling ya, it’s early Tuesday morning and it really amused me. Yes. All three, please, but I’d like the fireman first…

Jeanne, I remember reading that Greta Garbo never ate sugar. Said it was “poison”. Perhaps it is, in a way. I have an acquaintance who has put on a substantial amount of weight in the last year and a half or so – all sugar.

Fingers, a new take on it, and one I’ll likely employ!

SassySundry, I’ve heard that, that you get sick. Considering I’m now on antibiotics for bronchitis, maybe this truly is time for me to cut it out completely.

Joanie, that’s really good! I love all the different schools of thought here.

Gadjo Dilo, that sounds like something I’d do… Today it has been a week, and I do not miss it yet. Of course, the inability to breathe properly is key… If I’ve still not had a cig by April 16th, I’ve promised myself a new pair of pants and a new shirt. It’s been a very long time since I had a new pair of pants…

Jess said...

Usually when I am done with something, I am just done with it. Smoking I am not done with yet...but I am starting to notice that it is effecting me more these days. I guess I have been smoking continuously for about 7 years now...but gaaaahhhh do I love my beer and cigs...I DON'T WAAANNNA!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Yes, Civilization III is a video game.

But, scoff not. It taught my daughter how to read the word "civilization" and what it meant.

It also taught her that the Babylonians were pure evil and worthy of only our disdain.

Pearl said...

Jess, see?! There is where I am with it. Beer and cigs are just so good together!

mjenks, it's good to learn early that the Babylonians are evil. She's going to be way ahead of the other kids in her class.

Suzy said...

My quitting story is a little disturbing so I won't put it on your blog cuz people will get scared, but thanks for remndng me of it, I'll blog about it one day. I won't lie, it took me 2 years to quit and 1 year not to miss them.

Good luck! I feel ya kiddo.

Anonymous said...

Um, no, I don't remember that song "Smoke, smoke, smoke your cigarette." I may be old, but not that old...ooops, don't tell me you do remember that? ;)