100 Days of Writing – Day Forty-Five

Smoking cessation – Day 36

I’m continuing on my quest to be a long-term nonsmoker. Today is day number thirty-six and although I’m still using nicotine lozenges, I haven’t found it necessary to light up a cigarette in five weeks.

I’m realizing there were distinct reasons why I chose to smoke,,,up to a pack a day. First of all, nicotine is an addictive drug and there is that physical craving to keep it in my system. The nicotine replacement that I get through the lozenges has helped squelch these cravings and my eventual goal is to not have to use those to do so. It’s definitely one day at a time in that respect.

Another reason that I continued to smoke for so long, even when I knew it wasn’t good for me, was that it was a habit. It was something that I did at specific times of day and after certain activities. I would always have a couple of cigarettes upon first waking in the morning. A friend explained my body was going through withdrawals since I had been sleeping and that’s why the urges were so strong. After meals was another time that I would almost always feel the need to have at least one cigarette. Then of course, before I went to bed I would have at least one because I knew I wouldn’t have one for at least six hours or more.

The final reason I chose to smoke is for psychological/emotional/mental release. If I became anxious or nervous at any point during the day, I somehow felt that smoking cigarettes would help calm my nerves. And even though nicotine is a stimulant, my brain felt at least partial relief from my worries. The only problem with this way of viewing things is that it may have been a very short-term fix, but the anxious thoughts would return soon thereafter. The only way I figured to help with those returning anxieties was to light up yet another. Needless to say, long-term this was not a good solution to my mind’s way of thinking.

So five weeks into my latest attempt to stop smoking, I’ve learned to examine my thoughts and do something constructive to help squash them. I’ve started diverting my thinking to something more productive, doing some activity (change a thought, move a muscle type deal), talk over my cravings with someone, and try to use all my tools to slow down my thinking.

It’s still one day at a time. My QuitNow app tells me that I’ve avoided smoking 728 cigarettes and that’s really mind-blowing. You don’t realize how much you smoke cumulatively when you’re just smoking them one at a time. May the odds continue to be in my favor as I continue this happy road.

David Lee

Published by David Lee Moser

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

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