I’ve been trying to quit smoking. Why I’m doing such a thing should be obvious: health, cost, general nastiness. Seriously, paying some morbidly obese, belly-laughing tobacco executive $50 a week to give me a slow, stinky death is pretty high on the list of Things You Shouldn’t Do. I’ve tried quitting before, and even succeeded for two months, but it’s tough to send the monkey packing forever.
This time was a little different though, and encouraging as hell even though I’m smoking again.
I had my “last” cigarette at 2:20PM on Tuesday. I went 67 hours–until Friday morning–before lighting up another one. And through that entire time I didn’t have a single craving for a smoke. Not one. Also, the first two days were really weird.
Most people get cranky and difficult to be around when they try to quit. Me? Those first two days found me happy, full of energy and just so goddamned cheerful I was getting sick of myself. I’m sure the great weather had something to do with it. I’m more sure finishing my novel was a contributing factor. Either way, it was far cry from the “Linda Blair in the Exorcist routine” I was expecting.
That is, until Friday morning.
I knew something was off the moment I woke up. I was angry. Pissed. There wasn’t a single person, object or sound that didn’t irritate me. I awoke to birds chirping outside my window and prayed for an avian apocalypse to take them out. It was an unnerving rage and I was totally at a loss to explain it.
Around ten in the morning I sat out on the porch and tried to wrap my brain around why the hell I was so pissed off. Everything was going great, I had high hopes for the future and there was nothing at all I could see in the immediate past to account for the feeling. Then I thought about cigarettes and how I was “supposed” to have been feeling since trying to quit.
And let me repeat this: I wasn’t craving a smoke at all. In fact, the smell of the things around me (I live with smokers) had started turning my stomach. Psychologically, I felt more done with them than I ever had.
I sat, I pondered, then got up and lit up. I felt right as rain in five minutes. Then I wanted another one.
If this weekend was going to be me flying solo, I would have just sucked up the whole rage thing. I would have handed out a few pre-emptive apologies, asked everyone to kindly leave me the hell alone for a while, and toughed it out.
Instead, I have my daughter this weekend and I decided having a great time with her was worth having to start the quitting process all over again.
Sunday she goes back to her mother’s place and I smoke my last cigarette again. If I run up against another inexplicable mood like the one that gripped me Friday morning, I’ll head over to the store and try the patch again, since it seems pretty certain I’m dealing with the chemical dependency of these damned things.
Did I mention I paid for this?