It seems that more of my posts start this way lately….
I was reading a post by the famous infamous wildly hilarious TJ (I seem to read a lot, if you hadn’t noticed). I’ll sum it up quickly. She is getting married. Well not just her there’s this guy named Phil invited along as well, but I digress. Anyhow, TJ (and this Phil I keep reading about) are starting a whole new life together.
Part of thier plans for this new life involve both of them quitting smoking.
Quitting smoking sucks.
Anyhow, she asked people for their experiences. Asked for advice, what to expect, that kinda thing. I decided to relate a few of my experiences. This started out in the comments box on her site, somehow it kinda morphed into a post of its own. No one has ever accused me of not having much to say.
I’ll try to keep this whole post in the “possibly helpful information” catagory and avoid the ” cigarette company scientists and executives are like that liquidy terminator in the second movie, only made of liquid evil” type thing that I actually feel towards them.
Oops, I almost went off on a rant tangent there. Back to the topic at hand, babbling about quitting.
The first and foremost thing I can say about it is that its worth it. I feel better, my food tastes better, I have more money in my pocket, I can sit through an entire event without having to head outside to smoke.
I like being where I am now, a reformed smoker.
That’s right, I am still a smoker.
I just haven’t had one in twelve years.
I could pick up a cigarette and smoke it now if I wanted to. If I did I guarantee the long napping part of my brain that got reprogrammed to be hooked on them would have me back to a pack a day within 48 hours. Trust me on this one, I’ve had it happen.
The first time I quit I stayed clean for two years. Then one night at a comedy club I got drunk enough to have “just one”. By the next day I was right back where I had been two years previously. Right back to square one.
For me the first thing had to be admitting that I am a smoker and will be till I die… I just have not had one in a while.
Now miss TJ has asked about different methods for quitting, as far as I know there are three methods. Well, four if you include dying. Somehow I don’t think that would be on her “to do” list for the wedding. We will just skip that one.
Nicotine replacement therapy is the first one. There are patches and gums that I know of, there is probably at least one more method that I have not learned of. Perhaps they have nicotine tipped bullets, who knows.
“The patch” as I will call it from here on out sports some science that shows it is more effective to be on the patch than to go cold turkey. Then again as someone who gets beaten about the head and shoulders by statistics every day at work I can tell you something about statistical data.
Any numbers person worth their salt can make a bunch of numbers say anything they want them to say. I’m sure that given enough time a really good statistics person could show scientific proof that left handed people prefer their coffee with two lumps of sugar.
That being said, my mom had pretty good luck with the patch when she was quitting. It worked for her, that’s the extent of my experience with it. One person I was directly involved with used them and they worked, must be 100% effective right? Well, the small print would tell you your mileage may vary.
The second is to simply go cold turkey. Thats it, no more smoking, simple right? Not so much really. I can tell you from experience that quitting cold turkey is a bitch. While it might be the the least expensive method that’s pretty much the only real bonus to this one. Probably the worst part was how pissed off I became. Seriously, I got so bad there for a bit that my lovely wife took to calling me Captain Asshole.
Actually she liked that nickname enough to keep it around. Now days it only refers to the suppressed evil I occasionally release upon someone who deserves it.
Generally this involves one of my kids having done something so monumentally stupid that I get a call telling me to start preparing them a suitable punishment. All Kelly tells the kids is “wait till your father gets home…”
Crap, I digressed again. Meh, I can only do so much in an office that ran itself out of coffee.
Anyhow, lets just say you are going to get “moody”. Think of a time that you were just really cranky for no reason you could put your finger on. Got it? Good.
That’s going to be you on a good day for a while. For me it took a couple weeks before I was not Captain Asshole full time.
Your chest will hurt and you will get a nagging cough. That actually a good thing, it’s basically your lungs recovering from a long standing case of smoke inhalation.
Robitussin DM worked well for me as I was hacking up all the damage I had done over my time smoking. Halls cough drops work pretty good as well. As an added bonus you can pop one when you get a craving instead of lighting up.
Speaking of cravings I have used gum, Altoids mints, cough drops, pretty much anything I had handy to keep myself occupied for those first few days. That phase only lasted a few days though, maybe five at most. Just stick with it, it’s worth it in the end.
The third and last method is not really a method at all. More like a circumstance. This is where you are in a situation where you can no longer smoke. You have not really quit, you just can’t smoke.
Boot camp was over two months long, I didn’t have one and didn’t miss it.
Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway quit because he was stranded on an island without any… kinda hard to get a fix.
My dad quit once his lungs were so badly shot that he could hardly breathe.
The Captain of my ship when I was in the Navy once banned the sale of tobacco aboard ship. He did it right after we pulled out of port for a two month long mission.
Did I forget to say he did not warn anyone? By the end of that cruise I was selling smokes for five bucks. That’s not per pack… thats per cigarette. Do the math, I was selling them off for $100 a pack.
The to long, didn’t read version:
- Quitting smoking sucks, but it can be done.
- No matter the method you will be cranky.
- The cough will go away in a few weeks, cough drops are your friend.
- The patch works, but is a bit expensive.
- Cold turkey works, and is cheaper (read as free), but is more difficult.
- Getting stranded on a desert island with Tom Hanks is rather unlikely, but would be an effective way to quit.
- If you can look yourself in the eye later on you can make a ton ‘o cash off of others when they are out of smokes.
Best of luck to you both.