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Monday, March 21, 2011

Wherein I Remind My Brain That I No Longer Smoke

I was just one day away from seven weeks into the Great Smoking Cessation of 2011 when I had a full-on, mouth-watering, brain-seizing urge for a smoke.

It was, truth be told, the strongest craving I’ve had so far, a powerful impulse that drove out all other thoughts and left me feeling small and, somehow, chilled.

I stood in the maelstrom that is compulsion and swayed.

Not that I haven’t had the urge to light up before, but to find myself wanting a cigarette almost exactly seven weeks from the last time I lit up, well this was rather unexpected.

Maybe it was the fact that Mary was smoking.

When in doubt, blame Mary.

Dagnabit it, Mary!

The words formed in my head of their own accord. “Hey, gimme me one of those, why don’tcha...”

But it didn’t sound right.

“Got another one?”

No, no, no.

“Hey, how ‘bout you…”

Somehow, none of them struck just the right tone.

And worse yet, not one of them would’ve convinced Mary to give me one.

She watches me out of the corner of her eye, you know. She’s been very conscientious about smoking around me, going so far as to leave the room for the first couple of weeks, leading to shouted conversations that include descriptions of gesticulations and the sound of one or possibly both of us doubling over in laughter and falling off the furniture.

I watched her watch me. Could she tell what I was thinking? Was it possible that I was drooling? I self-consciously wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, swallowed and then licked my lips.

So let’s say, just for laughs, that I bum a cigarette. Then what? I quit quitting and buy a pack? Take up carrying cough drops and little perfume spritzers again?

Nah. Like I said, I don’t smoke anymore.

And so I suffered. A small suffering, in light of all the possible ways to suffer, there’s no doubt about that. I let the desire wash over me, climb up my pant legs, fill my pockets, soak my shirt, cram into the gaps between my ears.

It tasted like ashtrays and late-night coughing fits.

And then the craving went away.

Hi. My name is Pearl, and I’ve not had a cigarette for seven weeks and a day.

65 comments:

Ponita in Real Life said...

Yay! You didn't give in!!! I am so proud of you, Pearl. You go, girl! :-D

Pearl said...

Thank you. It completely sucked. :-)

whatsupwiththat said...

Congratulations! I have pretty close to the same feelings over cookies and worse yet a husband who always, ALWAYS comes back to the couch, from the cookie jar, with 4 cookies. 2 for him and 2 for me. And his timing is such that I have usually just gotten over the tremendous urge to go to the cookie jar myself and eat them all; so when he offers just 2 aren't I being so much better than I had just envisioned? This weekend he actually had the presence of mind to ask, while still at the cookie jar, if I wanted some (cookies that is). So much easier to say no, before they are in front of my face, being offered.

laughingmom said...

Way to go Pearl! That is a major show of strength and will-power, you didn't have to remind your brain - it reminded you!

haphazardlife said...

Congratulations Pearl! Keep it up!

- Jazz

Mandy's Kidding said...

Congratulations! I know it isn't easy. It's been 3 1/2 years for me.

Sioux said...

Keep it up, Pearl! Don't give in. Think of all the money you can spend on chocolate instead of cigarettes. (Oh, sorry, Dolly!) I mean, think of all the catnip and kitty treats you can buy with what was formerly cigarette money!

Linda Myers said...

One day at a time, Pearl. This too shall pass.

Oilfield Trash said...

Yay on the 7 weeks of no smoking!!!!

Willoughby said...

You would hate my husband. He was one of those people who decided, one day out of the blue, to quit smoking. He just threw out the rest of his cigarettes and never picked up another. It never bothered him and he never had cravings. How annoying is that??? He had been a smoker for about 12 years at the time.

Jeannie said...

Good for you!

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Fantastic! I can't imagine letting the feelings wash up and over and not give in. I am weak, weak I tell you. Good for you!

SparkleFarkle said...

*virtually BIG pats Pearliegirl on the back* You're gonna make it, kiddo!

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! That's a huge deal, well played. As a non-smoker, the closest anology I can think of is giving up pizza, or chocolate, or bacon sandwiches. All at once. It's hell. Kudos. Indigo x

Joshua said...

You will make it. And it'll be hard, whether it's 7 weeks like you, or 10 years like me. Good days and bad. Take them as they come.

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

I still get those cravings, four years later. Occasionally I've given in if there is someone around who is naive and trusting enough to enable me and let me have a drag.

The few seconds of poison is never worth the burning lungs, the dead taste in my mouth and the utter sense of disappoinment in myself.

Keep up the good work!

Susan in the Boonies said...

Oh, my! How hard it sounds!
Ya done good.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Way to resist--it's got to be one of the toughest things to do, not cave in to the cig craving.

Simply Suthern said...

Kudos to you hun!!

I know its a difficult thing.

Proud of you.

Vicki said...

The last time the husband gave in and let me bum one, I made myself smoke the WHOLE thing through. The dizziness and nausea finally broke me--I will never, ever smoke another. This from someone who smoked until she was 48, quit for 3 years. Relapsed on the very, very down low for a couple of years and NOW considers herself completely rehabilitated at 55.

Camille said...

Bravo Pearl! Way to go.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Good for you! It's hard to be around someone who is smoking and not (a) really crave a smoke or (b) gag at the smell of what has now become intolerable. At least that's what happened to me, eventually. Hang in there!

Louisiana Belle said...

Congrats, Pearl! Huge achievement. Hang in there. As bad as the suffering is now during your battle, you will win the war. The price of your health is too precious. One day you will loathe the smell of cigarette smoke and wonder how you ever had such a nasty habit. I speak from experience. 20+ years smoke-free!

Eva Gallant said...

Good for you! That is awesome.

Patricia said...

Way to go, quitter! It's not easy, but SOOO worth it!

Raine said...

Congratulations! The cravings do get easier over time. You showed this one whose boss

vanilla said...

Good for you. You are stronger than the habit!

lisleman said...

Of course you know that giving it up is even tougher when you are with a smoker. Good for you to stay the course (Dana Carvey as Bush - points of non-cigarette lights).
Do you think your quitting will get Mary to quit too?

Pearl said...

THanks for all the encouragement, everyone. :-)

I am actually hoping that Mary will quit, of course. The people in one's life who truly make you laugh, who inspire you to try harder and be the best possible "you" are few and far between; and when you find one, you want them around for as long as possible.

Flea said...

Congratulations, Pearl. You need all the encouragement you can get. Maybe Mary can go to Cigarette Smokers Anonymous with you.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Well done! I've watched people quit with all the longing and craving and pacing and eating and I know it's not easy. But I think you get to earn smug points and gloat over the expansion of your bank account. :) Congratulations on seven weeks! And a day. Of course!

jenny_o said...

You are strong!

And inspirational!

Good going.

Leenie said...

!!!!!!!!!!Yay for Pearl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pale Rambler said...

Keep up the strong front. And remember, as badly as it might have sucked, at least you're not trying to kick whatever substances half the other people riding public transportation with you are trying to kick, assuming they are even trying.

WrathofDawn said...

GOOD FOR YOU!!! You keep fightin' the good fight, Pearly-girl. Eventually, the cravings do stop.

W.C.Camp said...

That's a great story. I think the urges will get further and further apart until nothing. Congrats on hanging in there. Very impressive! W.C.C.

lesinfin said...

YAY!!! Congrats, Pearl! That's wonderful!
Happy Monday!
xoxo

Pat said...

Good on you! Keep it up. I hated it when I dreamed I was smoking and woke up in a cold sweat.
It's been 34 years - just done the math:)

Grant said...

I quit smoking some years ago. I've found that heroin takes the edge off the cravings, plus helps you lose weight.

Charlotte Ann said...

That's how you do it Pearl! It hits me at almost e.xactly 2 weeks into my quit. I usually end up in tears....
The second time I quit smoking..and the last time...the one I'm currently on I knew what to expect so when it happened, I did my cry and knew I would survive. Whew...over 2 yrs now for me....and occasionally I will still get a small urge. I just laugh now..and go "neener..neener..neerer" to my brain. You (brain) will NOT win on this one. I refuse to give you that dopamine you crave this second! neener, neener, neener!

Cake Betch said...

CONGRATS Pearl!! That's awesome!! Keep up the good work :-)

SeaD said...

Pearl, I LOVED that post!!! Loved, loved it! So proud of you and your nonsmoking status. Also, I very much admire the way you put things into words. KUDDOS to you, Kiddo!!

Caleb said...

"I quit smoking some years ago. I've found that heroin takes the edge off the cravings, plus helps you lose weight."

Epic, Grant. Nice work.

Pearl- you'll hate me, but I took up smoking (which I totes love btw) early last year just to get addicted so I can quit. I'm that guy who will throw his pack out and just be done with it. Watch.

First I got to get good and hooked though...

Did I mention I smoke AND exercise (no, like, super-duper exercise) every day? Yeah, that's a pain in the ass.

Oh well.

Caleb

Sweet Cheeks said...

*HUGS*

That's my Girl!

=]

Macy said...

AAAK You've just reminded me I WANT a CIGARETTE.
This nicotine stuff is fooling nobody...

Pat Tillett said...

Congratulations Pearl!!!
Keep it up...

Gigi said...

YAY you for overcoming that craving. I can tell you with overwhelming certainty you will experience those types of cravings for a long, long time. I quit for 5 years. FIVE WHOLE YEARS. And then caved to one of those cravings. Don't do it.

Hilary said...

Good for you.. the cravings always do pass.. usually pretty quickly. It's been almost 30 years for me and sometimes I still dream that I've smoked. And then I wake up feeling very guilty.

Tim Riley said...

I quit in '97, and there were a lot of times in those first few months when it was really hard to fight off the cravings. Just keep telling yourself you're not a smoker, and you'll make it.

becca said...

way to go girl you beat that craving

ThreeOldKeys said...

Hey, your blog smells great! Tobacco-free! Just thought I'd let you know.

That Janie Girl said...

Oh, Pearl! I'm so proud of you! That takes super strength.

you go, girly.

you freakin' so-smokin GO!

HermanTurnip said...

That's like me with Abba-Zabas. I can't stand not to have one waiting for me at my desk every day. Not even the loss of a cap to that taffy and peanut butter goodness is enough to dissuade me from partaking in that sugary elixir. Bad for me you say? Food of the Gods I say. Food. Of. The. Gods.

Some might say that I have a problem, but I can stop any time I want. I just don't want to...

Lazarus said...

Congrats Pearl, we are all rooting for you, keep up the great work!!! And get Mary on board with the quitting process, she should too!

On My Soapbox said...

Yeah!! Good job, Pearl! One day at a time....

John said...

Hey Pearl you have indeed made a huge achievement by staying so long away from smoking . Keep it going ! It's great you'd let the strong craving subside on it's own and the fact that you did not give up your promise is a triumph of a kind.
Secret Desire!
Are you willing to cross the line for some extra thrill?
http://www.3smartcubes.com/pages/tests/desire/desire_instructions.asp

Vicus Scurra said...

It seems as if I got here just in time.
Please be reassured that all will be fine now that I am watching over you.
Wanna score some dope?

hoodyhoo said...

You go girl! I know that exact "how do I get me one of those when everyone knows I quit" feeling... congrats on fighting through it!

UBERMOUTH said...

Good for you for not caving in.

Sandra said...

Hurray Pearl!
The next time you get a small nic-fit, write me a note. As a nurse, the majority of my very very sick patients are/were smokers. I can get you to lose that craving so quick, you'll be begging me for red licorice to puff on.
But hurray! Seven weeks is huge!

Casey Freeland said...

You don't need to hear this again. But, whatever. Congratulations. I know from which you struggle. I will just say that you are stronger than this guy. (Pointing at myself with two thumbs.)

Cheers to you!

Casey

JCMurray said...

I know when I quit, it took a long time to quit absent-mindedly reaching for my shirt pocket. It's the one way that we used to be able to take a 5 minute break from work and not look like we were slacking. I had dreams where I was smoking for years.
It takes time to break the nicotine habit, and it takes time to get rid of the physical, something to do with your hands habit.
And the first time I went to a bar, had a beer, and no cigarette - the wierdest feeling ever.
Hang in there, it gets better.

beaux said...

Congrats!
It will be three years for me this May. I still get that urge to reach over to my coffee table and grab one, and then I realize - oh yeah - I'm not doing that anymore.
It's tough. My wife and I both quit at the same time and we still get that craving.

John McElveen said...

Pearl! AWESOME! You can do it!

J

The Retired One said...

So, so proud of you Pearl!