I’ve quit smoking.
The concrete difference being – last time, I think I probably said, “I am quitting smoking.” This time, I have quit. It’s not an event in the future.
It stinks. Really stinks. I’m ridiculously tired, have had two minor panic attacks, my throat is scratchy, and I feel generally terrible. I joined the NYQuits whatever it is thing. There’s a quit plan, an online forum and such. Hardly anyone posts to it. Kinda useless. I put in my phone number and information, and it said a counsellor would call me. They never did. (Your tax dollars at work.) Meanwhile, there’s evidently some local public-funded smoking cessation program in town at the college. Despite the days of internet searching I did, asking around town, and visiting my doctor for a consult, this program’s information never turned up anywhere. (Your tax dollars at work.)
No matter. It seems to be okay. I think I was just ready. And I think you have to be ready. I deep breathe cold, clean pine air a lot. That helps too. I’ve been posting my progress to Facebook and talking about it as I go about my day, and that has been helpful. Very helpful. I was going to seek out a busy online forum or something, but I think I’m okay with just friends.
Encouragement and talk from former smokers has been very valuable. Very very. Suggestions from health nuts (bless ’em) and people who have never smoked have not been valuable. At all. They have irritated me and actually made me want a cigarette. (Humorous, but true.)
I mean to say, I’ve had a few “Why don’t you get healthy all at once?” suggestions – combat the urges and psych symptoms by taking up running or climbing, eating completely healthy. I dunno. Not for me. One Earth-shattering life change at a time. I refuse to do this without cookies and unlimited nap time. Following getting this under control, I’m looking into a treadmill and/or the local pool.
As for current smokers being supportive … what a mess. A few friends, sure. “I should quit too. Maybe I’ll follow you.” That sort of thing.But overwhelmingly, a disaster. Here’s a story – I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a week or so the other day who had been following my quit via Facebook. This person made fun of the fact that I was having a hard time, called me a pansy (that’s a quote), said I needed to stop hibernating and just get out there and tough it out, and concluded with, “I quit for twelve days once, and I didn’t get sick.” And this person was standing there smoking a cigarette.
People tell you some of it, give a you general “that’s going to be hard,” and usually that’s about it. Most often,you don’t hear about the ugly stuff. I’m going to tell you the firsthand truth, just like my friend Koka has been telling it to me – this quitting thing is a lonely, shaky business, and the quitter is probably going to be alternately panicked, weepy, proud, scared, tired, and perfectly fine.
If someone you know mentions quitting, please encourage them. It’s helpful. Tell ’em it’s terrific news. Bring them a cookie. If you have firsthand experience in this arena, offer your experiences. It’s very helpful. Don’t preach. Just support. If it’s a partner or family member, take up some of the slack and make things a little easier on them for a while.