A year ago last night I smoked my last cigarette, tossed the butt into the campfire, and went to bed. The next three months were hell. I gained 25 pounds over the first four weeks mostly because I bought 3lb bulk bags of Rocket candies. I liked unrolling them from the cellophane. I liked popping them into my mouth, one at a time, and feeling them fizzle and melt on my tongue--tiny bursts of pleasure to replace the quick fix of a cigarette.
I dutifully continued my Champix prescription--the smoking-cessation drug that stole the pleasure from nicotine. Knowing that even if I did sneak a smoke it would do nothing for me, certainly helped keep me from temptation. Although I imagined (and often dreamed) about the relaxation,the stimulation, the comfort, the pain-relief that I'd get from dragging on a cigarette, filling my lungs, and exhaling—the reality was--I'd get no comfort.
Soon, Rockets no longer comforted me, either. The first six months were a continuous battle to find a replacement for cigarettes, a desperate seeking for something to fill that empty, cold, black hole in my gut, my soul, my life.
Excercising, forums/information/support at http://www.quitnet.com/ , pacing, eating, yoga, deep-breathing, family visits, phone calls, hikes, anti-depressants, bubblebaths, wonderfully supportive friends and family.
I create a website, learned to Tweet, began blogging, wrote novels, queried agents,and, yes, signed my very first publishing contract. “Schrodinger’s Cat”, a novella to be released by Wolfsinger Publications in both print and ebook format in 2011, is the fufilment of a childhood dream.
I’ve overcome my agony. I’ve learned, grown, stretched, cried, smiled and laughed. I’ve succeeded. All without the “help” of nicotine. There is a life beyond the butt. I still struggle with weight. Struggle with cravings. Struggle with the emptiness.
The best motto for me is that I can, at any time I want to, light up again. I don't, because I choose not to. That’s an important choice that others under control of the nicotine demons, don’t have. I’m free and intend to remain so.
I donated the first $1,000 I saved to the Haitian Red Cross earthquake relief and the second $1,000 to the Pakistan flood relief effort. It’s neat that so many have benefited from my quitting. It’s incentive for me to keep quit. Someone somewhere in the future is going to need monetary help and I’d feel pretty badly if I’d already wasted those needed dollars on a senseless harmful pleasure.
Thanks, guys for your unfailing support. Share with me in celebrating a full year free from cigarettes.
To join me in supporting the Red Cross Pakistan relief effort visit my personal Red Cross fundraising page http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=936168
Or visit my website http://www.eileenschuh.com/books-free-reads/ where I’m offering donors a free short story. Links to various charities precede “A Nepaterian Visitation”.
My Quit Smoking diary starts here: http://eileenschuh.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-addiction.html
Eileen Schuh,Canadian writer