It’s the bane of my fucking existence, smoking.
On Sunday night, I promised Blake, my husband, that I was quitting and that the pack I had in my possession was my last pack ever. But then Monday was a snow day, so my kids were playing with the neighbour’s kids and I had to go over there twice to deal with them and they’re heavy, pushy smokers, so I smoked the two they offered. Still, I thought I was doing good, I went from half a pack a day to two on my first day of “quitting”, even if they were those nasty full-bodied smokes from the local reservation that probably have 10 times the carcinogens of regular cigarettes and at least twice the nicotine of my usual brand.
Then on Tuesday, I inexplicably went next door again, with the intent of bumming “just one”, which ended up being “just one” that I smoked with the neighbours and one to take home and smoke later. This one I took home to smoke later ended up sort of being two as I smoked half of it and then smoked the other half an hour later.
Then today, Wednesday, it was a similar scenario, but there’s a bit of a backstory before I get into why I bought a pack tonight.
See, my neighbour, Wayne, ran into some trouble with the law a week ago. Without spilling the details of their personal lives, he got busted for a DUI and lost his licence for 90 days. He works nights, leaving for work around 1:30am, and Judy, his girlfriend (common-law wife, whatever), has to get up with him and drive him to work. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, but they have an 8-year-old daughter who they have to wake up in the middle of the night to take with them. So, being neighbourly as I am, I offered to come over and stay with their daughter so she could keep sleeping since I’m always up at retarded o’clock anyway. I made this offer on Monday.
For some reason, they don’t seem to want to take me up on my offer, even though every day this week they said they would. So every night around 1:30, I put my cell phone in my hand and wait at the window to see when they’ll turn their upstairs hallway light off because that should, theoretically, be the signal that they’re ready to leave and that they’ll call…and that I can bum “just one” smoke from them.
But, for the past 3 nights, they’ve just left. No call.
I don’t really care that they’re not taking me up on my offer (again, even though they said they would), but the thing is, from noon until 1:30am, I’m going through mental torture and nicotine withdrawl. I’m not just seeing this as a neighbourly thing to do, I’m looking at it as an opportunity to smoke, which, the more I think about it, isn’t really “quitting” at all. In fact, it’s pretty goddamn pathetic.
So today when I was over there, they said they’d give me a call tonoight to come over and stay at their house while Judy drove Wayne to work and all day I was literally counting down the hours until it would be time for that to happen. But when I saw them from my living room window back out of the driveway, I had a moment of both weakness and stupidity and the next thing I knew, I was brushing the snow off the car and driving to the store, where I bought a small pack of cigarettes.
The whole way home I felt like shit, but it’s not like I could take them back. I felt like shit because at that moment I’d broken a promise to my husband, something I’ve never done before and there was nothing i could do to take it back. Truthfully, when I was in the car on the way home, before the pack of cigarettes were even opened, i was in tears and at that moment, I didn’t even want them anymore. I contemplated throwing them out the window and pretending like it never even happened, but I thought Blake would be even more mad at me if I wasted the $6.66 that way instead of smoking them.
I’ve written him a letter, while outside smoking, promising that this is the last pack, even though he has no reason to believe me because I made a promise three days ago that I ultimately broke tonight by buying this pack in the first place.
I don’t know why I’m having such trouble quitting this time around.
My first attempt at quitting was January 1st of this year and my method was the patch. This went well and I did the 10-week program and was fine until some stressful situation happened in April and I began smoking again for that month. Then I read “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr and was blown away by the book. I quit immediately and stayed quit until a month ago when Blake and I had a huge fight, and my mental health became questionable.
I tried reading “Easy Way” again, except it obviously hasn’t been as effective the second time around. Maybe because I already knew all of the information contained in the book, I dunno. I also tried reading his second book for relapsers called “The ONLY Way To Stop Smoking”, but I got to the chapter about how our designer didn’t want us to smoke and the dude totally lost me. I threw the book in the garbage and just continued reading “Easy Way”.
I know that the key to my success is to make it three full days and nights without any nicotine in my system and after that, I’m laughing, but thus far I haven’t been able to achieve that.
Since it’s obvious that, for whatever reason, Wayne & Judy don’t require my babysitting services, I’m mentally withdrawing the offer and will now be avoiding them like the plague, at least until I have this under control. Right now they are my weakness, my obstacle…which is only half true, I guess *I* am my biggest weakness by going over there to bum cigarettes to begin with, but my point is that if I’m going to quit smoking, period, I’m going to have to stay away from them and stop finding excuses to go over there, knowing full well that they’re going to offer me cigarettes and knowing full well I won’t be able to turn them down.
In “Easy Way”, Allen Carr talks about nicotine addiction as having a little monster inside you that you have to feed approximately every 45 minutes and that when you’re quitting, the nicotine cravings are that little monster dying. It takes three days, give or take, for “the monster” to die completely and for all of the nicotine to be out of your system. This is why I think that if I can go three days without any nicotine in my body, I’ll be good to go. The thing is with this week, and why I ultimately failed, is that I had all of these false starts, I didn’t allow the nicotine monster to die, I fed it, albeit very little, and that just created even bigger cravings, it caused the monster to be a big one instead of a little one and it made it scream for more instead of whimper.
I know I can get a hold of myself. I know I can do this. I just had a moment of weakness tonight and it didn’t help that I wasn’t in the right headspace to begin with. I was “quitting” instead of QUITTING. I was making exceptions, like, it’s okay to have “just one” smoke with the neighbours, it’s okay to take one for later, it’s okay if I’m not buying them etc etc etc. The thing is, that just doesn’t work, that leads to a situation like tonight.
So, I’m going to smoke this pack of cigarettes I bought tonight, but I’m going to do it purposefully and carefully at the same time because this is the LAST PACK EVER. This is the last my body will ever know of nicotine no matter how bored or stressed out I get. Like I said, I’m going to avoid my neighbours like the plague, my offer of babysitting, since they’ve kinda fucked me over in that respect for three days in a row and have made it obvious they don’t want my help, is now null and void. It also helps that it’s getting very cold and snowy outside and thus, smoking outside or walking next door is getting harder and becoming more of a pain in the ass.
Now, in all of this, I’m not dissing “Easy Way”, in fact, I still endorse it wholeheartedly, quitting with it the first time was as pleasurable and effective as advertised, but what I’ve had to learn the hard way is that Allen Carr is DEAD SERIOUS when he says at the end that you can never have another cigarette as long as you live. It’s not so easy to quit the second time, although I haven’t quite figured out why as his advice and allegories are spot on. Smoking IS stupid, it’s like banging your head against a wall because stopping feels so good. You only get pleasure from smoking a cigarette because it removes the anxiety of withdrawal you feel from the previous one. I GET ALL THAT. But applying it the second time around is harder, I wish I knew why.
I think my plan for the next three days is to just throw myself into art and try to keep myself busy. Wish me luck.