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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

10 Days Without the Little Monster...

Quit smoking 10 days ago (Sunday, Feb 11th, 9am Grenada time), after smoking for most of the last 20 years.


Funny thing is, it wasn't that tough! After years and years of never buying cartons of cigarettes, hoping I would quit soon, and knowing that any impetus to quit would run into the road block of having 5 packs of cigarettes left. So let's just say quiting has been in the back of my mind for 15 years or so.

Browsing through Amazon about a month ago, I found a book called "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking", and using Amazon's "Look Inside" (nifty feature), read one page where it said that smoking isn't a habit, it's an addiction, and to stop, you need to deal somewhat with the physical withdrawal, but mostly undoing the brainwashing, cultural and autonomic.
Looked interesting / different enough to pay the $12 for it (less than 3 packs of smokes), and let it sit on the night-stand for a few weeks. I like to think that it was because I was busy, and / or was into the book(s) I was currently reading. But, brought it to Grenada with us on vacation. Delayed not reading it on vacation for about a week, but finally cracked it open and started to read.

Good book - somewhat repetitive, with lots of little examples / discussions on the all the arguments you might have on a given statement or so. Interestingly, it tells you to *not* stop smoking / cut down while reading the book. Mostly because it wants you to finish the book, and think through everything it wants you to think through, before you quit. Logic is if you think you're ready half-way through and quit, and it doesn't work, you're not as likely to go back and read the whole book, thinking it didn't work. So, I read the whole book - usually an hour at a time, smoking a cig or two while reading it.

One of the big fallacies it exposed for me was the "smoking helps me relax". This is part of the cultural brainwashing, and the autonomic - my brain tells me smoking helps me relax. In truth, (a) smoking is a physical addiction, and (b) a short time after you stop smoking, you start going through some withdrawal pains - usually within 30 minutes or so. That "relaxing" feel you get is from feeding the addiction (the little monster) - you were OK, you started going through withdrawal, and you gave your body the drug it was missing, which feels a lot like relaxing. Except that the "relaxed" state you get is how relaxed you'd be if you never smoked - you're not any more relaxed than a non-smoker in that situation, just more relaxed than a junkie who needs a fix.

That worked for me. 10 days w/o a smoke - only had 4 or 5 urges for a smoke, and they only lasted a few seconds before my brain reminded me about all the BS (no, it doesn't taste good, you think it does cause it feeds the little monster; no, it doesn't relax you, you think it does cause it feeds the little monster; no, you can have a break without having to feed the little monster).

Cross your fingers, but pretty soon, I expect to have the epiphany where I say to myself, "Self, you're not a smoker anymore". (with credits to CherkyB for 'say to myself, "Self'...)

14 comments:

Nava said...

Incredibly proud of you, despite my spontaneous shameful response...

Anonymous said...

John,
What great News! Keep it up, 10 days and counting, just Awesome!!:)
Jacquie

Rhonda said...

Very impressed!!!

CherkyB said...

I heard you were moving to Colorado. It's good that you quit smoking. They don't let you smoke here anymore.

Blueberry said...

Congratulations! Hope it sticks!

wife of CherkyB said...

Good Yoib! Now you won't stink. Or at least as much. I'll bet there is a huge market for self-help books utilizing that same philosophy applied to all sorts of things .... HMMMMM ....

It's windy here.

JohnnyB said...

WifeyB - I don't know if they have Self-Help books for your wind problem!

Have you tried just telling him that sometimes it'd be nice to just have some peace and quiet, and no witty comments for an hour or two?

:)

wife of CherkyB said...

I thought you were talking about his other end. Which end that is is up to the reader to decide.

harpwales said...

hi john, congratulations on your tussle with the evil weed. i started to write a comment but it got out of hand and ended up as a post on http://isthetruthoutthere.blogspot.com/

if you're interested.

peace and love

Lorraine Larson said...

Well I am impressed. I had no idea you wanted to quit because you seemed like you were comfortable with being a smoker. The best thing is now you don't have to leave the room and miss the conversations - the worst thing is that Nava and I won't be able to talk about you while you are standing outside in the freezing cold smoking!!

Nava said...

Also, how will you ever be able to talk about the Maldives without a cigarette in hand? :-)

MichaelBains said...

OK. My own 20+ attempts at quitting are jealous.

Run with it John! Don't let that monster convince you that "just one hit" is all you need.

Curious George said...

How's it going?
You still fighting off the little monster?

CherkyB said...

And did your statcounter find me?