i feel like a beached whale….one of my biggest concerns about quitting smoking was gaining weight, and it’s like a nightmare come true….i’ve gained 7 lbs in 10 days, and i feel fat and gross….i knew it was a possibility, it’s always been one of my biggest objections to quitting, actually, not that i’m proud of that but it’s the truth…so i went back to WW today, and still managed to eat myself thru half of manhattan….and i don’t know why….i’m full and i keep eating….am i bored? antsy? lonely? what is it? it’s like a compulsion, like i know i should stop and i don’t…it doesn’t make me feel very good, so why do i do it? i feel ashamed of myself in class because everyone has noticed that i’m packing on the lbs…one girl even used me as an example of yo-yo dieting to my face….”i mean talk about yo-yo…Rose goes from thin to average every other month!!” and that made me feel like shit. i don’t wanna audition because i feel so fat and embarassed that i can’t get this under control….with weight gain it’s like everyone in the world can see that i’m a failure, and that makes me sad….i wish i could just naturally settle into a happy weight, but i think that will never happen for me…i even avoided my favorite dance teacher for the last month because i know how dissapointed in me he will be….a few months ago, when i was 15 lbs less, he told me how great i looked and how proud he was that i finally got my weight under control, and i was so happy about that, i felt so great about the way i looked, and now i feel like an ugly failure, and a joke…..why is it that i can quit cigarettes, but not get a handle on my eating? why do i insist on sabotaging myself all the damn time? it’s like if i get one thing really right, the other things in my life go to shit….and i know i am the one in control….so why do i feel so helpless and powerless here? right now i’m so ashamed of my body, i don’t even want to leave my house….and every minute that i stay here, i hate myself a little bit more…what do i do? how do i get a handle on this? i hate looking in the mirror and crying…….but most of all i hate feeling like at every turn i let myself and all of the people who believe in me down…..
ok kids, i have officially turned into that ex-smoker i have alwaqys hated…“you know, it really wasn’t that hard to quit, i mean i barely had any cravings, and i forget for large parts of my day that i ever WAS a smoker” and “eww, that smoke smells sooo disgusting…excuse me, miss? would you mind blowing your smoke in the other direction?” in truth i am not quite that bad….i have promised all of my remaining smoker friends that i would not become The Horrible Ex-Smoker….but i do notice that the smell of smoke makes me gag, and i miss the action of smoking, but not smoking itself, if that makes sense….even a month ago i would have never believed it possible that i could this easily become a non-smoker…and like it. God bless Chantix, it must be some kind of miracle drug!! i have never tried to quit without it, and don’t even want to ponder one moment on how tough that must be…but i feel like personal commitment and resolve must be a part of it too…and i just decided…I’m a non-smoker.….and so far, with the chemical help of Phizer Labs yet again (sorry Dad;-)…that seems to be that. I noticed in class yesterday, that my chest wasn’t tight in the places in barre and warm-up that it usually was…get this, i had actually danced so long with various breathing issues, i just assumed thats how everyone felt, but in just this week i can already breathe deeper and dance a little harder, and i love that. my voice teacher already noticed a difference too, and i am sooo excited about the possibilities that are going to open up for me vocally, that already ARE opening up for me and my voice…i can’t believe all these years i didn’t think i could do this, didn’t think there was any way i could see life without cigarettes. i knew all the risks, but the idea of living day to day without that crutch, that friend, was soo terrifying to me i really never entertained it until now…and all of your supportive texts, emails, blog responses, phone calls etc are the other secret of my sucess…i feel so much love and encouragement from all of you, that it helps me float thru those few minutes a day when staying quit is hard, so thank you so so much. i had a huge triumph last night…i was tidying my house, and straightening up the phone books on the fridge when a brand new pack of smokes toppled out from beneath the tome where it had been hiding, followed by a lighter, no joke. for a second i must have looked like someone suprised to find a scorpion in their chocolate mousse….“what the hell?!!” i thought, “are you kidding me? i threw everything out so i wouldn’t have to confront this very situation, grrrr!”….but after the initial sting wore off, i picked up the offensive poison, and the lighter, and walked them to my trash shoot and threw them in. I was only tempted for a second, and i think it was more out of habit then genuine desire…and i’m really proud of that, and i’m proud of this week that was unfathomable to be even a month ago…..the only thing i don’t like so far about quitting is that i have no vices with which to annoy my neighbor that i hate….i really did enjoy a perverse satisfaction knowing how much my smoking bothered her while i did it, as she has been a thorn in my side since before i had even moved in!!!….but hey, on the bright side, i may live ten extra years with my soon-to-be healthy and pinl longs, plenty of time to come up with another way to make her life hell;-)…..kidding! kidding!! now i can be a better neighbor weather she deserves it or not….and a better dancer, singer, friend, daughter, teacher, lover…all of it. i bet i’ll be better at everything now…and i’m looking forward to this new and overdue beginning…..
5 days….and most of the time it isn’t hard…but tonight sucked!! i was stressed and upset and lonely, and i just lost it! bawling on my bed like a child with a broken heart…and i hate to admit it, but as horrible as cigarettes were to me, i feel like i’ve lost a best friend. the kind i can turn to when i’m hurt, angry, scared and alone, who will be there for me no matter what’s going on in their lives, that i can count on in any situation to be there to make me feel like i’m not so alone, like it isn’t me against the entire world….. people are fallible. even the best of friends can be unreachable in times of emotional distress, or busy with their own stresses and lives….but cigarettes were always there (i know cuz I bought ’em)…it made me care less that i was alone with whatever hurt or mad i was dealing with…i felt like i was ok by myself because i had this crutch to lean on….sure it was killing me, but at least it was there…and i don’t trust a lot of people so easily, and it automatically set up this wall between me and everyone else that i was comfortable with, it helped create space and a protective barrier for me i think……..
now it’s just me, in all my imperfect humanness, with every ounce of my overemotional, oversensitive nature looking back at me in the mirror, with all my strengths and all of my achielles heels…and i just don’t feel like i’m enough of anything standing out here on my own like this… not good enough, strong enough, smart enought, talented enough….it’s like without the smokes i’m suddenly staring my every fear and insecurity in the face…..it’s really hard, and scary. i don’t know where to put all of that yet. so i’m just sitting with it, warily, like adversaries on neutral ground, each with our finger on the trigger….and waiting…..and today waiting like that, having a serious cry or two, and not smoking over and over again is the best i can do
Do you know how very odd and surreal it is to be at a 12-step meeting? i hope you don’t, for obvious reasons….but i went to my first one on thursday night and…Wow. it IS just like it is in the movies! i went to Nicotine Anonymous (not kidding, it actually exists on an international level now as yet another spin-off of the AA program), and is run the same way with the “Hi My name is and this is the junk i’m addicted to…” part, and the catchy slogans and prayers part, and the telling your story part…..now i am not knocking the program AT ALL, it has done wonders for millions, however, i don’t think it is a good fit for me.
i felt like i was in this moldy church basement with actors playing parts, it was so much the way you see in movies with the assorted people from every walk of life who were just a little….off…..it didn’t seem like it could be real…i felt very uncomfortable there. I had no idea what was going to happen, and in what order, and what to DO….there are no introductions, explanations, instructions…all of which makes me itchy!! don’t tell my dad, but i secretely love order and rules… (Mom! i said DON’T tell dad….what, you thought u were the only one with eyes in the back of your head?) i was hoping to just hide out in the back of the basement and get some idea of what was going on when they ambushed me with a direct question… “how many days?” and i said “how many days what?” and they answered “how many days sober?”….umm, What? i furiously looked around to find a sign to make sure i was at the right meeting, because the meeting in that room the hour before had actually been AA so i thought maybe i was in the wrong place or something…but no, they call stopping smoking “Sobriety”. now i get that is the way they refer to all addictions, and holy moses, i totally get that cigs are more addictive then Heroin…but c’mon…isn’t “sobriety” a wee bit dramatic for smoking? until i found out that everyone else in the room was practically a career 12-stepper (not to be confused with career High-stepper…completely different).
they would say their names and then go thru the laundry list of junk they had been shooting in their veins, pouring down their throats and jamming in their mouths….Booze, Pills, Gambling, Coke, IV Drugs…u name it, somebody there had smoked it,tried it, used it, snorted it, etc, and was totally comfortable telling us all about it……. i felt so absurd being in the room with these horror stories that i started to nervously giggle in the middle of someone giving “testimony”…i.e. telling their story.
the individual in question was on the other side of the room, a very large and middle aged woman talking about “n then i los ma baby to the welfare n hadda been done gone d’th’clinic, n ’em had tol me i got the Heppamatitus from mah IV Drrrugs.”….yes, i feel like an absolute jerk and total snob because a giggle escaped my shaking sholders. i’m probably going to hell….but i was NOT laughing at the woman’s cleary very real and painful struggle, i was laughing at the fact that i couldn’t tell if she was speaking english or alienese for the first few minutes, and that this poor lady thinks she has some disease that sounds like Hippopotamus! I half expected someone to do an interrupt-share (not supposed to do that..)about how they only got a Camel or maybe a Pack-Mule from their drugs…..
needless to say, i don’t believe i will go back…. but it’s not because of the Hippopotomous lady…..the people were all really interesting, and their life stories facinating in a very voyeristic way which i loved, but it IS Nicotine Anonymous, so eventually the person would get around to talking about cigarettes, and every mention of the word made me wanna light up! i think one person used the words “smoke” and “cigarette” about 50 times in a four minute period, and it felt like reminding myself of what i couldn’t have so i said to myself “fuck this. i’m goin to DD for some coffee….” and i did.
nights are the worst…i loved talking on the phone and smoking, reading and smoking,….pretty much everything that i had mentally designated as the “relaxation” portion of my day is the hardest to get thru now….but it’s been 54 hours now…2.5 days about, the longest smoking cessation of my life…and some minutes i even forget i ever Was a smoker, which is kinda crazy, but an exhilerating feeling….so i’m doing it, choosing hour after hour NOT to have that cigarette, and i’m doing it!….One Day At A Time……
I did it…24 hours and counting with no cigarettes…that is the longest I have gone in my adult life without a smoke….some minutes were easy and some weren’t…I went to a Nicotine Anonymous meeting (yes, like AA, they actually have them for smokers now), had a root canal, went to the gym, did laundry, and dealt with two conflicting job offers and other assorted drama, and i feel like shit!!! I feel tired, sad, naseous, lonely, angry, ashamed, stupid, depressed and generally over-emotional and like a big fat mess and like my whole life is falling upside down and i don’t know how to cope with ANYTHING….and like i am so very very alone….i’m going to NOT smoke and go to bed and hope i feel better tomorrow…
the last cigarette of my life was at 11:59pm, January 23, 2008. it was disgusting and made me cough…i was trying to really enjoy it, being the last one and all….so i was taking deep and long drags…and it just made my throat hurt and my lungs burn…and it smelled horrible…and i put it out and wondered….at what point was that fun? i remember in the first year that i smoked, i wasn’t addicted, sometimes i went days or a week between cigarettes…did that acrid, dusty smell all over everything, and the hot burning down my throat, did that used to do something for me? I don’t think i’ve ever felt more like a drug addict, i mean isn’t that what addicts do? something horrible and yucky and destructive and painful that is actually no fun at all…but they just keep doing it over and over and over again?
i figured i had better come up with an immediate game plan, for the time after THE LAST ONE until the time i went to sleep or i would lose my mind, so i decided the first thing to do was get rid of all the smoking paraphenalia….which incidentily ammounted to half a carton of cigarettes, 9 lighters, 6 ashtrays, a small garbage can, and a very nauseating assortment of butts….i don’t know if its the Chantix or what, but stopping for a second in this cleaning frenzy to actually smell those cigarette butts, i almost had to run to the bathroom and vomit, it was awful
so i wonder, how have i missed that all these years? did i just selectively ignore that penetrating odor, and how incredibly hypocritical am i? i wash and moisturize and deodorize and purfume, powder and body spray myself to high heaven because smelling bad is a phobia of mine…but i was willing to wrap myself in that stench?! that my friends, has been an insult to the olefactory genius of the Houses of Dior, Gucci, and Serge Lutens, respectively….one for which i deeply apologize.
my room, the site of that final fag, still smells gross. i tried to go down to my laundry room to wash my sheets and pillow cases to get rid of it, but it’s locked for the night…maybe i should put Vicks Vapo Rub up my nose to go to sleep, like the medical examiners do in the crime thrillers i like to read….just kidding…mostly. i just want the smell to be gone, it’s making me anxious!! oh well, going to turn up the air purifyer and watch some t.v……and wait…..
In four hours and 23 minutes i will be having the last cigarette of my life. I am soo excited and abjectly terrified at the same time….i actually hate smoking….people think that’s funny because i smoke sooo much, but it’s true…i hate the taste, the smell, the cost, the shame that comes when you are WAY too smart to smoke, ya know it’s slowly killing you, and you STILL go outside in a blizzard to puff away at death.
I’ve never tried to quit before…i was watching Oprah yesterday (shut up, you know you love Oprah…) and she had that Dr.OZ on talking about quitting smoking…(actually he says you shouldn’t call it quitting smoking, you should call it Breathing Free because even saying smoking will make you want to, and put the thought of smoking in you head…so i guess i’m getting ready to Breathe Free…..)and the stats were pretty shocking…no, not the ones about death and disease, i mean i’m not stupid, i know all of that stuff, but about how insanely addictive cigarettes are….did you know that cigarettes are harder to quit than Heroin? it’s a fact! look it up, i’m not kidding…..and that cigarettes are the ONLY product sold in the U.S. that if used as directed will kill you….and that something like 90% of people who try to quit smoking fail….multiple times before they actually are free….i really hate failure…i mean nobody likes it but it makes me itchy just thinking about failing at Breathing Free, or my career or even one of those stupid online tests….i finally WANT to quit, which is a first for me…but i am so scared…i really don’t want to disappoint all the people that love me and want me to quit…but i feel kinda like i’ve been dropped on the side of a mountain with a hunting knife and some raisins and been told, “well, good luck! hope you make it back to camp!”…….
while i got ready this week with my Chantix and preping for the Big Day, i found myself crying a lot…losing cigarettes is almost like losing a friend…well the kinda friend that talks bad about you behind your back and tries to sabotage your every move but is always there for you when you are scared or hurt or angry.
i know that smokes are not my friend, i’m not a looney….but for the last 12 years, they have been my favorite crutch for dealing with icky or enormous feelings…and if you are reading this you have met me so you know that i don’t do feelings in a small way, i feel every single one, good and bad, from my toes to my hair in all their big fat glory…but now, i’m a little lost and bewildered as to what i’m supposed to for the hard ones…..i’m not too worried about straight up cravings…that’s what the Chantix is for…and i have a game plan (workout, read, take a shower, knit, Sudoku, etc….), and happy and silly are easy without smokes, but i’m talking about the I’m-so-mad-i-wanna-scream times, or the i-feel-like-my-heart-was-just-ripped-out times…what do normal people do?
i have always been self-destructive…and i want it to end with this. i’m so tired of hurting myself all the time….i think i’m a pretty great person now, i have an amazing life and the best family and friends…i don’t see myself the way i did when all the self destruction made sense anymore, and i feel like if i can get off of this shit, i will finally be free….
my mom quit smoking over six months ago….i am soooooooo proud of her! she smoked for nearly sixty years…i had a pretty kick ass childhood, and my memories of my mom were linked to her smoking, my dad too until i was 11….it is NOT their fault that i smoke, so don’t blame the parents, but i think that is one of the reasons why i have always turned to smoking for comfort…it smelled like my mom, and home…and whats more comforting than that? But now mom smells like soap and flowers, and i’m the only one who smells like an old ashtray….
Lori quit years ago…so did Miranda…my Dad…all the important people started quitting so the allure of that comfort in community addiction was gone….and the whole markus thing. god, he was/is a total chain smoker…so when i missed him, it was another way to link to him to feel connected…thankfully his chapter in my life is over, and finally with my mom quitting…..there is no one left in this hell but me….so it’s time to get out.