Smoking History
Prep & Lead Up
Week One
Week Two
Rest of Month One
Month Two
Month Three
And So Forth

Week One

10/01/00 - 6:50 AM

My Quit Day. Rubber. Meets. Road. OK, so I'm pretty much already insane. Not with desire or craving yet, but with junkie thinking. I snapped awake at 5:15 AM (my usual weekday wakeup time, but this is Sunday.) Of course, I went to bed with junkie feelings. I still had almost  a full pack of cigarettes left...which I should have destroyed last night...but last night I was still a smoker, so I didn't. There they were, out on my porch...calling me at 5:15 AM. "Hey, Dick, it's time to start smoking." "Hey, Dick, grab a cup of coffee and a smoke" "Smoke us...just one this morning won't hurt, come on..."

Believe me, they might as well have actually stood up and started singing...like cartoon cigarettes. Man, it would have been a lot easier if I had gotten rid of them last night...like everyone advised.

But, I didn't smoke. Not one of them. This is so surprising to me, I don't even have a way to feel about it yet.

What I did do was reach outside, grab them and walk over to my sink. I tore the pack wrapper halfway off and grabbed all of them by the filters. My little friends for 40 years. And I ripped their little heads off. Then I stood there for a second, laughing at myself. I threw the filters in the garbage, looked at the headless smokes in my hand, said "fuck you", and reached over to soak them in water. And stopped again, as a pal's phrase (thanks, Bob) popped into my brain...so I said it out loud: "Fucking's too good for you, piss on you instead."

So I did. Literally. And laughed.

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10/01/00 - 5:20 PM

Wow...this has been the longest I haven't smoked in at least 35 years. I feel very spaced out...probably an oxygen overdose.

I went to the gym at 9 AM & worked out for about 90 minutes. Pretty normal Sunday as far as exercise goes...although everything is extra hazy. If I remember correctly, I used to pay good money to feel like this back in the late 60's. I hope I had a better time then.

Several people have asked me if I'm crabby yet. I wonder if screaming "What the fuck do you think?" at the top of my lungs is too strong an answer?

I am not using the patch, having decided to take bigger lumps for a shorter period of time.

I had to perform several specific tasks during a couple of hour period earlier, including driving both a boat & a car, plus it was necessary for me to be polite and hospitable at the same time. I have no idea whether I pulled it off...at least I didn't sink the boat or wreck the car.

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10/02/00 - Noon

What a great idea smoking is! About every 5 minutes right now I'd kill you (that's right, you!) for a cigarette. But I am NOT smoking.

Had a horrible night of sleep...every hour on the hour I awoke completely. It's like my body and/or mind was going, "OK, you're just kidding about this no-smoking thing, right? Hey, get up and go get us a cigarette. Circle K is open, just up the street....Come on, let's go!" I could (and did) turn over and go right back to sleep, but every hour?

Craving-wise, today is worse than yesterday. Since smoking is not an option for me, and I'm secure in that, it's interesting (vaguely) and amusing (well, sorta) to sit back and watch another part of my brain engage in an amazing level of junkie tap dancing...

Today is my 53rd birthday. I've had considerably better birthdays, on the swell fun scale. However, assuming I pull this quit off, I don't think I will have ever been better to or for myself on any birthday.

I just keep reminding myself that of a long list of bad habits I might enjoy developing, e.g. 23 year-old hookers, 71 year-old First Growth Bordeaux, a long list of hard drugs, an even longer list of fast cars, etc....of all of these, none of them will pump money into the pockets of the Republican party at the level that smoking does. Or smell as bad. (As either smoking or the GOP.) Or be as stupid. (As smoking or Dubya.)

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10/03/00 -- 12:30 PM

"They" say that the 3rd day is the worst, implying that it gets better after the 3rd day. I will be really, really happy if "they" turn out to be correct.

The good news is that I am smoke-free for 2 days, 12 hours, 16 minutes and 18 seconds as of this moment of typing. But who's counting... That's 87 cigarettes not smoked, saving $17.58. Supposedly, I have gained an additional 7 hours, 15 minutes of life. Thanks, I'll take it. I can use it for therapy once I'm able to leave my house.

I did work out at the gym both yesterday and today. It helps.

Yesterday I was fooled and kidnapped for a birthday lunch by 2 stunning women. Since I seem to have lost at least 50 I.Q. points in the last 3 days, I wasn't that hard to fool. The kidnapping? Hey, even missing 50 I.Q. points I'm not stupid enough to turn down lunch with funny & beautiful women... I think I even managed to behave fairly well.

Cravings are hot and heavy today. But I'm fascinated by something that turns out to be true: Each of the cravings go away after 1-3 minutes. A smoker just smokes...and the craving is satisfied. An ex-smoker can just sit it out. I had read about this before I quit, and hoped it was true...but in the back of my mind I was sure I'd be writhing around for days in the grip of a narcotic-like withdrawal hell. It turns out that, while not any fun at all, the physical withdrawal doesn't hold a candle to cold turkeying off serious drugs. Not, of course, that I've had any experience with serious drugs...

Physical changes? Yes. My toes and fingers are tingling all the time. This is because the carbon monoxide is almost completely out of my system, so good circulation is returning to extremities. My blood pressure is up a little bit, probably due to the anxiety of quitting + possibly a side effect of the Zyban. Amazingly, however, my resting pulse rate has dropped by 33%. It's lower than it's been in years.

Massive sleep disturbance continues...not the least bit surprising, since I assume my body can't quite believe what I'm making it give up. My mind sure can't...

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10/04/00 - 3:45 PM

I hesitate to say this, since Day 4 isn't over yet, but from a craving standpoint it is way better than Day 3. Still lots of craving, but not as often & not quite as strong.

I seem to have another personality developing...I'm not sure whether it's permanent or not. It is running side-by-side with my same old personality. It's meaner. And edgier. And way dumber. It's the personality that when confronted with the question, "Do these pants make my butt look fat?", answers honestly, "Honey, your butt is fat, and those weird black baggy pants make it look really gigantic." My real personality knows that the answer to that question has always been and will always be, "No way, Sweetie. You look great! Hey, are those pants new? Really? Wow, are you losing weight?"

I'm going to have to find a way to kill this new personality...or I'm going to be a very lonely ex-smoker.

I didn't go to the gym today...hardly any sleep last night combined with flu-like body aches kept me home. Yes, I feel guilty. I'll be there at 6:30 AM tomorrow, sleep or not.

My entire existence seems to have contracted down to NOT SMOKING, exactly as my pal Paula predicted. For right now it's who I am and what I do and all I seem to be able to do or think about for very long. I suspect that's exactly where I need to be...

Current #s: Smoke free for 3 days, 16 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds. 128 cigarettes not smoked, saving $25.68. Life saved: 10 hours, 40 minutes. I am amazed...

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10/06/00 - 8:15 AM

OK, I see now...I should have posted an update yesterday. Judging by my email, more people are paying attention to this log/screed than I was aware of...

Here I am -- beginning of Day 6. The #s?: Smoke free for 5 days, 8 hours, 14 minutes and 26 seconds. 187 cigarettes not smoked, saving $37.40. Life saved: 15 hours, 35 minutes. I continue to be amazed, mostly by detachedly watching me not smoking. (See, that extra personality is coming in very handy.)

Yesterday I had lunch with my Dad. He's 91 and living proof of what moderate eating habits, physical activity and not smoking will buy you if you're lucky enough to live much past actuarial predictions. He's in fine shape, walks every day, and except for the fact that he's still a quite conservative Republican, is mentally very sharp. He quit smoking when I was 10 or 11 or 12, in an effort to get me to quit. It was the not the first (and won't be the last, I'm sure) of his many disappointing failed experiments in the field of RKW behavior modification.

I went to the gym twice yesterday, once at 6:30 AM and again at 7:30 PM. Shockingly, they don't let you smoke in the gym, so it was a fine place to be...both times. My body aches & weirdness continues...I assume I'm detoxing like crazy, after 40 years of forcefully pumping the 4000 or so chemicals in cigarette smoke through my system. Have I mentioned just exactly how smart cigarette smoking is?

Cravings have diminished considerably, both in number and strength. They are still there, in force, but compared to days 1-3, yesterday was easy and today is starting out just fine.

Every exit is an entry somewhere else. --Tom Stoppard

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10/07/00 -- 10:00 PM

I have had weeks in which I was beaten that were more fun than this one that's just about over. In the QuitNet world it's known as hell week...aptly named. Next week is heck week. The week after is weak week. A little too cute, perhaps...

Speaking of QuitNet, it has played a huge part in my being able to maintain this quit. Reading other people's stories, watching over and over again as they fail, fall off their quits, cheat and hate themselves for it, and on and on and on. Somehow it actually got through to me that it would be way easier to just stick with it, putting up with whatever hell it offers along the way. Working so far.

Today was easier than yesterday.

Took yesterday off from the gym, and had an extra long workout today. A fine workout, in fact. It's almost, but not quite, as hard to believe that I'm working out regularly as it is to believe that I've quit smoking.

#s?: Smoke free for Six days, 22 hours, 9 minutes and 39 seconds. 242 cigarettes not smoked, saving $48.46. Life saved: 20 hours, 10 minutes.

When the way comes to an end, then change -- having changed, you pass through. I Ching

Next week, starting tomorrow, a new page!

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