I Am A Quitter.

...that's the plan, at least. I promised not to whine, but I am going to talk about it here. I figure this is one of a couple of good ways to keep my hands occupied. I also figure that since 78% of my life isn't quite as sunny as I'd like it to be, I might as well get with the zeitgeist and go for pure, balls-out misery.

The server time is funky, of course. That means that today is the day I decided to quit, since I wrote "yesterday's" daylog this morning. So today I smoke up a storm and prepare for the worst.

I've received a ton of support from several great people already, some of whom tell me to take it easy on myself with this quitting thing. I think that's good advice, so I am upping my allowed dosage of cigarettes per day from three to five. That will give me one after each meal, one while I write, and one while I proofread what I write. That should work out okay.

Well, I mean, as okay as it can be. Besides, there's an E2 precedent that's already been set. If HE can do it, by god so can I.

Special thanks to one JohnnyGoodyear, who encouraged me to fight the good fight; to Chiisuta, who reminded me that cigarettes are not only stinky but spendy; and to allseeingeye, who shamed me into this in the first place.

When you get right down to it, smoking doesn't make a lot of sense. I mean, I'm basically paying a large, faceless, evil corporation to blacken my lungs, smoke up my hair and clothes, and make me distasteful (literally) to over half the people I might one day want to have relations with.

I got my stash of quit materials together today. To wit:

  • One (1) carton of Nicoderm CQ transdermal nicotine patches, 21 milligram strength
  • Two (2) large bags butterscotch candy discs, sugarless
  • One (1) Val-u-Pak Dentyne Ice gum
  • Two (2) giant packs of pre-cut, pre-washed baby carrots and celery pieces (along with a giant jar of my favorite all-natural chunky peanut butter for dippin')
  • One (1) of those really neat-o feeling squishy balls that are filled with goo and other smaller squishy balls, (so I have something to do with my hands while I'm reading)
  • Two (2) Extra-spicy sandalwood scented candles (one for computer room, one for bedroom, as yummy-smelling alternative to yucky nasty cigarette smoke)
  • One (1) extremely gross printout of a dead smoker's blackened lungs (which I will hang up tomorrow by my workstation but that I currently have hidden under some envelopes because I am smoking tonight, by god)
  • One (1) plane ticket. This is a special item. Last spring I got bumped during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, so the airline gave me two free tickets to anywhere in the continental US. I gave one to my sister. This one's for me, and it's hanging on my bulletin board looking all fetching. When I want to smoke, I will instead research a kickass destination to visit once I've been clean for three months. It's my REE WARD. (Note: I am currently taking suggestions for said kickass locale. My trip will be around Decemberish, if all goes well, so think warm and preferably beachy.)

If anyone thinks of other things I might need for quittin' time, feel free to message me with ideas.

I have also pared my extensive ashtray collection down to one lone, ugly ceramic ashtray, which I will ceremonially toss into the Snake River by the light of the full moon later this evening. It is an ancient ritual that I just made up. Plus, ceramic is biodegradable.

From now on, the five daily cigarettes I am allowing myself to smoke until my birthday (henceforth referred to as Q-Day) on September 5 will be snuffed out by tossing the butts into the toilet. No more ashtrays for Ashley. I've willed all my lighters to Mom, so if I want a light after tonight I'll have to meekly go to Mom or Dad to ask for one. How demeaning.

I anticipate the most difficult obstacle will be ignoring my parents, both of whom smoke rather constantly. I tried, with not a whit of success, to charm my mother into quitting along with me. She laughed a throaty smoker's chuckle and told me, very gently, to pack sand. (She and Dad are in full support, though, and my bet is that they will do their best to smoke outside while I'm around.)

Speaking of outside, the sun's working up to a nice set, and that gives me about another hour and a half to smoke a little more. Time to go outside, reflect a bit, and plan where I want to toss this lumpy old ashtray.

I think I can...I think I can...

In ten days, Sam will be 36.

I am still six days younger than he is. I am also going to be a non-smoker. I think that means I win.

Hello, I take Zoloft. I am so gloriously mentally ill! You will love me, yes?

A couple of weeks ago I started talking with her again, and it seemed like things were going well at the time, in that we were managing to just be friends and get to know each other again after our 6 week separation. It's funny that a month and a half can seem so long sometimes, I often go that long or longer without talking to some of my closest friends or even my parents and don't even notice it. But when you are used to talking to someone every day for hours on end, it can seem like an eternity. I'm not sure exactly what happened, but last week she decided she didn't want to talk to me anymore. I think ultimately the reason was that she decided we would both be better off not being friends, or that we couldn't be friends. And maybe she is right about that, I really don't know how I could deal with seeing her being in love with someone, or even being interested in someone, but still, hearing that from her in such a blunt way really hurt. I spent that night wandering around DC. At one point I looked over the William Taft bridge, just south of the Woodley Park neighborhood, and considered, in a somewhat academic way, if jumping off of it would be sufficient to kill me.

I realized that night that this is not a healthy way to be. This afternoon I went to a psychiatrist in Bethesda who had been recommended to me by a couple of people. She seems easy to talk to, which I guess is hardly surprising considering she is a professional psychiatrist, but it is such a rarity to meet someone that I feel that way about that I still consider it notable. She thinks she can help me and I am hoping she can. Obviously after only an hour of talking to someone it's hard to say anything for certain, but she said that she is considering diagnosing me with obsessive compulsive disorder and/or hypomania. However on the sheet that I'm going to use to file a claim with my health insurance, the DSM code that is listed is for "anxiety disorder non-specific", presumably since she is unwilling to make a firm diagnosis at this point.

She wants me to both start regular cognitive behavioral therapy, which I am planning on doing, and wanted to write me a prescription for Zoloft or Wellbutrin, which I refused. While I have nothing against psychiatric drugs (and indeed, have several close friends who have been helped greatly by them), I want to feel confident that taking such drugs will actually help me rather than simply mask the symptoms of an underlying problem. I suspect that eventually (that is, in a month or two), I will start taking something, but I want to be able to feel certain that it the right course of action. It is somewhat amusing, even to me, that I am unwilling to start such a regimen of drugs but am perfectly happy self-medicating with large amounts of marijuana. That is something the doctor is specifically unhappy with, and she asked me to try to cut down as much as possible so as to make it easier to determine if what I am dealing with is being caused or exaggerated by heavy drug use. I don't believe that to be the case, as my most recent emotional train wreck started before I started smoking weed again, and whenever I stop it gets much worse for me to deal with things, to the point where I am feeling crippling fear and guilt. But still, I am paying fairly exorbitant sums to talk to her (hopefully my insurance will cover most of it, but even still, we're talking a few bucks per minute), so I figure I should follow her advice as best as I can.

I really don't know how this is going to turn out. But from what I have read of cognitive behavioral therapy, and of the success rates of it combined with drugs for the sort of things I seem to be dealing with, I do have hope that in time I'll be able to be relatively happy with my life and with who I am.

The only single piece of mind I can give is Dont give up, and cheers to you if you could ever tell me how to do it. I've tried to quit on a multiple of occasions,unfortunatly I found myself "craving" for just one cigarette, about twice a day. The real crime of not smoking isn't addiction, -its the boredom that ensues: Waiting for your food at a restaurant/phone anxiety/"family outings", and the ever so prominent 'camelot' where everybody's quest will sure to lead them time and time again---The Bar!!! (not a bar, but THE bar 'mind you.) How Cruel and how so Habitual drinking and smoking have become.I guess you have to tell yourself not to have a good time,or show restraint, which i am good at neither.

The squishy balls are a nice touch! It sounds like you are off to a great start. -Find someone you can encourage not to smoke, and be eachothers motivation.

Good luck to you


--((((( I have currently been out of cigarettes for 46hours & had no intention to quit at all this week))))))---

As I slowly adjusted my eyes to the bright light in the room, trying to focus my thoughts and simultaneously get rid of the throbbing pain in the back of my head, I knew that something wasnt right. A quick look back at the alarm-clock only served to alleviate my fear. It was 11.30 in the morning, I had missed all my morning classes.

I have overslept before but never on a day that I have morning classes. What is rather disturbing is the fact that this deep sleep was induced by a rather long marijuana smoking session that lasted well into the night. The only thing that I do recollect now is me stumbling back into my room and managing to turn on the alarm before I hit the sack. But wait, another quick look back later and I know that I had conjured up the part about switching the alarm on, an activity that has almost become a ritual ever since I joined college.

So just when did these smoke sessions turn from a great way to unwind after a hectic day to an addiction that is now slowly taking its hold on me. It seems that now I need a joint every alternate night. There is enough to keep me occupied during the daytime but it is only at night when I suddenly find myself free that these urges kick in. I have been an on-off cigarette smoker for the last couple of years but since I joined college not a day goes by without atleast 5 smokes. This coupled with the marijuana is taking its toll on me, both physically and mentally. I convince myself every time I light up that I could give up smoking anytime so what's the harm. After all I do have it under control, dont I?

Seems to me that I am hiding from the truth once again....

Also, after what seems an eternity I used Yahoo instead of Google for a general search. Life has just not been the same ever since the advent of Google, GMail and Google Scholar.

Just returned from the University of Virginia, where we dropped off my younger daughter. She begins her first year studies on Wednesday.

Life moves too fast. It was only yesterday, it seems, when we four would gather round the dining room table, the three of us (father, mother, and older daughter) at the one end of the table, and R. at her end. We would move her food about an arm's length away from her because of her disconcerting willingness to face-dive into her plate of food. R. was without peer in her ability to make us nervous at the table. She would grab plates of food, hot beverages, cold beverages, anything that slid, really, and pull it off the table. She would do this joyously and then look at us with a triumphant smile. We responded by putting her plates of food further and further away from her, like the food that surrounded Tantalus. We weren't teasing her. It was merely to inculcate into her the importance of table manners.

My wife repeated crucial lessons on our minimum standards of table manners over and over again with R., who was a tough nut to crack. But my wife's constant lovingness and her unfailing good humor and laughter won the day. She bore R's abysmal behavior with good cheer. Slowly R. changed from a temper-tantrum-prone devil child into a human being.

R. thought life moved too slowly. I recall her term for most people she met when she was in first or second grade, reading three or four grade levels ahead and doing pre-algebra problems in her head. She called them "The Stupids." We laughed. R. liked roaring through life. She still does.

I invited my older daughter to climb a mountain with me when she was seven. J. was all for it until the actual day, when she had a change of heart. R. heard her older sister bail out, and with her little voice piped, "I'll go with you, Daddy!" I looked at her. R. was four, still not over her baby fat. She was still wearing J.'s hand-me-down My Little Pony sneakers. I said, "Are you sure? It's a lot of walking." She had all her gear packed in five minutes.

She walked up Mary's Rock without complaining. Her stamina impressed me and all the other hikers who saw her. The page-boy bowl haircut she used to favor made people laugh. (She truly was a funny funny kid.) She was fascinated when she saw me hang up our food from a branch so bears wouldn't sniff by. She loved sleeping in our tent. I can still feel her warm breath by my face and her hand on my neck.

She invented her own little language when she was in kindergarten, then taught her older sister the rudiments. At dinner time if they wanted to make fun of Mom and Dad they'd shift into alt.language mode and babble away, laughing slyly. R. usually had food in her mouth, which was sprayed across the table. Many was the evening she'd be sent to her room for her table manners. She didn't care. Sometimes she got mad, but mostly she just laughed at us. J. would sneak food up to her, with Mom's blessing.

Her zest for life never left her. We may have bent the branch slightly, but we were careful not to break it. She pitched full tilt into any activity she embedded her self into: sports, academics, socializing... it was never too much for her. She ran leaning forward.

In eighth grade we were a bit surprised when she asked us for a ride to a test. What test are you taking, dear? To get into Jefferson, she replied. That was the highly regarded science & tech magnet school in our region, thought to be among the best public schools in the country. Ooookay... We didn't want to discourage her. It was a difficult school. She made the first cut, then she made the second cut, then she got her junior high school teachers to write letters of recommendation, and then she was in. Among the high school crowd, this was like getting into Harvard or MIT.

A miserable two and a half years ensued. She went from being the best in her class to being a middling student. She thought about bailing out twice. Jefferson was just plain hard. Every evening was spent studying: calculus, literature, biochemistry, genetic stuff I never learned about. Her parents said, if that's what you want to do, we're behind you 100%, but it's your decision. You got yourself in, you can take yourself out.

She stuck with it. (I knew she would.) She graduated in June as an 'athlete-scholar' one of perhaps a hundred seniors to earn that honor. She was the co-captain of two varsity sports teams.

For one so young, she has been to the funeral home far too many times already. She can't remember her uncle dying, but she's heard all the stories. A classmate of hers in junior high committed suicide. In her first year at Jefferson, on September 11, the young man sitting in the desk ahead of hers lost his father in the airplane that kamikazed into the Pentagon. R. saw the plane crashing while on a PE run, and saw the cloud of smoke rise up from the flames. A fellow Jeffersonian died of a brain aneurysm on her way home from college.

I don't know how she has survived all of the hardships and tragedies that have touched her life, but she has. This father is very proud of her.

She's all grown up now. The page boy haircut has been replaced by long brownish-blonde hair. She dresses like her stylish older sister. It takes your breath away to look at her smile. She's grown into womanhood quite well.

And now she's off to her next adventure. I don't know how this story will end, but it's been a great adventure so far. Keep going, R. Keep leaning.

unperson sez: "Touching node, although clearly a fabrication, as it does not reveal you to be the hard harded autocrat we all know you are. ;-) "

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.