Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Everybody’s been on my case—how come you haven’t put anything on your blog in a long time? I’ve been waaaiting for a new story. What do ya say? Com’on, give it to me baby… Grown-ups acting all discombobulated and stuff because they want to hear some more about things like cow dung and Pearl’s homemade pies. They act like they’re jonesing for goodness sake. I’m the one who’s jonesing. Which is why I haven’t put anything up in a long time. I’m still not smoking.
I know, I know, thank you. For all of you who know me, it’s an absolute miracle. I’ve been trying to quit smoking for years and quite frankly, all my friends are sick of it and have lost all faith in me. I never make it. But this time I’m doing it. It’s been one month, five days, eleven hours, fifty-seven minutes and four seconds, oops, five seconds, wait, six seconds, oh stop it, time flies and I want credit for every second, but let’s hurry up and say almost fifty-eight minutes as of this writing so I can spit it out here and get on with the story.
It’s a miracle all right but I’m not going to say it’s easy. I’m often on the verge of relapse. I’m at the point now where blocks of time pass and I don’t even think about a cigarette. I’ll feed the horses and clean the whole barn and I don’t even think about smoking at all until I’m done and I’m triggered by end-of-activity time. Or I’ll have a whole conversation on the phone with a girlfriend and I don’t think about it. But then when I do remember, the cravings are almost stronger than they were in the beginning. I don’t know why. You’d think it’d get easier. It’s longer in between but it’s harder.
It’s not physical cravings for nicotine that’s making this so difficult because I’ve also been off the nicotine for over a month. That happened by accident. I’d been planning on using an NRT. That’s what we call patches and gum and stuff like that in my online quit-smoking support group, Nicotine Busters. NRT is short for nicotine replacement therapy. Anyway, I had the whole shebang all ready. I had the Nicotrol Inhaler, the patch, a stray lozenge someone gave me and a box of the gum, highest strength I could get, all ready on the kitchen counter. I was going to use it all this time. All at the same time. I didn’t care! Blow this damn addiction right out of the water! Hit it with all my guns! I wasn’t taking any chances.
But for some reason that morning, I didn’t use any of it. Not one little square of gum. Not a single patch. I didn’t need to. It wasn’t that bad. All right. It was bad, but not unbearable. I kept looking at the Inhaler, which is my favorite NRT. Should I take a suck? Well, I didn’t really need to. I scratched my head. Huh. This was odd. I kept looking at the stuff. All day passed. I rested my chin in my hand and tapped my nose, thinking. I thought, let me see how far I can go. Evening passed. The eleven o’clock news came on. The next day came and went. Then, before I knew it, weeks passed. Suddenly I found myself having gone cold turkey. Me, of all people, having gone cold turkey!
I returned the unopened package of gum to Wal-Mart. The clerk said, “Change your mind?”
“Nope,” I beamed. “I did it without it.”
The clerk whistled.
“Yeah, I think I’ll go and buy something crazy like blue nail polish and pistachio nuts that somebody else took out of the shells because I can afford it now since I don’t smoke!”
I couldn’t believe it. Something came together here for this quit. All the pieces fell into place. Maybe the timing was right. Maybe it was divine intervention. I don’t know. I did make a promise to God that if my chest X-ray came out clear and he gave me a second chance, I really would quit this time. And you know, I went to Catholic school. If I break a promise to God, lightning bolts will come down and strike me dead faster than the cigarettes were killing me. I’d be crapping in my pants if I went back on my word to God.
Whatever it is that has kept me going, the nicotine has long been out of my system and so these cravings are not physical but mental. And why not? I quit doing something I did every fifteen minutes for almost 35 years. I don’t know what it’s like to live without smoking. I can’t remember a time before smoking. I guess it’s going to take more than a month to get over it.
In the meantime, I’m sitting here with a straw in my mouth, cut in half because I go through so many of them, looking forward to supper because I live for my meals nowadays—don’t interrupt me when I’m eating because I might bite your head off…or your hand if you dare reach for my drumstick. And I’m trying to write something new for you to read on my blog but the only thing that’s coming out is how everyone annoys me and how I want to smash things to smithereens. I’m cranky. But I’m not smoking.