100 Days of Writing – Day Thirty-Two

Smoking Cessation – Day Thirteen

I’m entering day thirteen of my latest effort to quit smoking and although the cravings and urges are still there, I’ve not found it necessary to light up a cigarette since July 18th. The nicotine lozenges have been a real asset to curb the craving for nicotine, especially when first waking in the morning and after meals. I’m also trying a prescription medication for my ADD, which I started taking five days before my last cigarette and I feel this has also been helpful.

I know there is a physical component to quitting smoking, the addiction to nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes. Still, there’s also the psychological component, which has a lot to do with a mechanism I’ve used to curb anxiety and stress. I’ve also realized it’s just a habit,, something that I’ve done in the past, especially at certain times in the day and I’ve found many times I don’t actually have a craving for nicotine, but think of smoking just because it’s “what I do.”

I’m continuing to use the “QuitNow” app on my phone, which helps me chart my progress. It tells me this morning that I’ve avoided 265 cigarettes since I first stopped and saved a little over $77 from not buying cigarettes. It’s a true revelation when I see the number of cigarettes I haven’t smoked. When you’re smoking one at a time, a pack a day, the numbers seem low. But when you see the cumulative count, it’s quite mind-blowing.

I’ve also noticed some of the side effects of smoking have lessened or gone away altogether. While I still cough quite a bit when first laying down to go to sleep, overall the respiratory effects are much less. I’ve also started becoming aware when there’s someone around me who has been smoking, smelling the odor on their clothing. Just another reminder of what others may have experienced when around me before I took my last puffs.

I’ve also used my twelve-step program to help with my cessation from smoking. I play the tape forward and ask myself, “What’s activating this desire to pick up a cigarette?”, “In what way is my smoking selfish and self-centered, as well as being inconsiderate?” There are also others in my recovery groups who have kicked the habit as well and sharing my experience with them has also been helpful.

It’s still one day at a time at this point. I’m proud of myself for taking the measures to get healthier and extend my life. Perhaps the fear of what could result from continued smoking is the best motivator of all. Getting a “clear” result from my CAT scan and knowing I can’t change my past consumption, but surely can work in staying stopped is a key.

David Lee

Published by David Lee Moser

I am a sixty year old semi-retired elementary science teacher.

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