My Quitting Journal

Day 1: They told me that it would help if I kept a journal, so here I am. I begin my long lonely journey into non-smokerdom today. I tossed out my pack of Lucky Strikes, and I haven't had a cigarette for 20 minutes. Not bad so far. It's not like I was chain smoking or anything, but here I am 31 years old, and I've been smoking since I was 14 years old. That's more than half my life, and more than $25,000. It dawns on me that that's a senior in high school and a fully loaded Ford Escort. Well, it ends today. All I have to do is keep a positive mental attitude, and find a healthy substitute. When the cravings get too bad, I'll have a piece of fruit or maybe exercise a little bit, or maybe work on my website. This is going to be a cake walk.

Day 2: Wow! Do I ever want a cigarette. It's been over 24 hours, and I think I'm doing okay. I have cravings from time to time, but that's to be expected. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill after one particularly intense craving, and do you know what? It worked. I didn't really think it would but it did. After about 5 minutes of running, cigarettes were the last thing on my mind, and it reminded me of why I'm quitting. I was pretty winded after 5 minutes and slowed down from a run to a brisk walk. When my lungs get clear I should be able to run for 20 minutes without even thinking about it. I almost can't wait.

Day 3: I know what withdrawal is all about. I can feel it. I was expecting nervousness and irritability, but nothing like this. It feels like there's a psycho in my brain trying to slash its way out with a hatchet. Positive Mental Attitude... I have to remember that. I'll get through this. Back to the treadmill.

Day 4: Why the fuck am I doing this to myself? I can't breathe. Do you fucking understand that? I CAN'T FUCKING BREATHE. And about 4:30 yesterday afternoon I started coughing. I've been smoking for 17 fucking years, and I've never had a hack like this. My goddam back hurts from coughing so much. I thought I was supposed to feel better. I feel like I have bronchitis. This sucks.

Day 5: When do I feel better? HUH? Tell me that you fucking anti-smoking nazis? You all wanted me to quit so fucking bad, and you said that food would taste better, and I'd breathe easier, so when does it start? All I know is that I feel like a fucking Rhinosaurus Rex did the watusi on my chest and some asshole hit me right between the shoulder blades with a sledgehammer. AND WHY IS MY HEART DOING THAT? The bitch feels like it's konking out. Is that one of the benefits? IS IT? IS IT?

day 6: Feels like it's day one fucking thousand. My fiancee tells me that I seem to be irritable. Fuck her. What does she know? She's one of the ones that wanted me to quit in the first place. I'll bet she's one of them. Her and my whole family. Why did they do this to me? They hate me. that's the only explanation. They want me to die. But I'll show 'em.

DAY 7: Treadmill my ass. I ate 3 tubes of Pringles. Wanna make something of it?

Day 8: She begged me to smoke today. That's right, BEGGED me. But I didn't cave. I haven't had a cigarette in over a week, and I feel like a mother fucking champion. I ran for a solid half hour on the treadmill. I had to do something after I ate 5 twinkies. I thought I was going to puke. I like to have coughed up a lung after about 15 minutes of running, and I almost wish I did. I would have stomped that black and tarry bleeding bitch right into the conveyor belt if it had the nerve to come up. My body is turning against me. They say the physical addiction should be over by now, so how come I still want a cigarette so bad I can taste it. Tell me that mister smartie pants.

Day 9: I bought patches today. Seemed to help for a little bit. The fucker wouldn't stick to me because I was sweating so bad. I'm shaking too. I've gained 12 pounds in the past 4 days. Every time I see a commercial from I want to punch every one of those assholes right in the face as hard as I can.

Day 10: Still coughing, but I give up. I threw out the nicotine patches that I bought yesterday. They made my skin break out in hives, and they didn't reduce the cravings. The good news is that my heart has stopped playing the drum solo to Inna Godda Davida behind my ribs. That scared me. I heard that heart palpitations are one of the myriad side-effects of quitting. Funny how they mention that food will taste better, and you're breath comes easier, but they don't mention that you want to eat the entire contents of your refrigerator, you cough your lungs raw, and it feels like bugs are crawling under your skin. Lying bastards.

Now, how long before I can check the non-smoker checkbox on my insurance policy?


Much later:

It's been over four years since I wrote this. I fell off the wagon twice since I wrote it.

Once during an incredibly stressful period of my life, and once because I thought I was gaining too much weight and thought smoking would help me reduce that.

It's been almost two years since I've had a cigarette.

Quitting smoking has probably been one of the smartest moves I've ever made. And I'm proud to say that I haven't become one of those ex-smokers. I don't judge anyone who continues to smoke, nor do I feel sorry for them. Everyone's gotta die from something. But I think that it was definitely the right choice for me.

March 20, 2006

Happy New Year!

I've decided to continue my day-logs despite some passive-aggressive protest by certain demons.

The past few days have been immensely cathartic. The dark thoughts that are becoming familiar again have been understood. The things is, I didn't do this alone. I am grateful.

For the past two weeks, I've been talking to this new person in my life, bearing my naked soul to her, sharing the most deepest and intimate thoughts I never would have fathomed. I pushed away all my preconceptions and risked everything - especially mockery. Five hours of chatting through the internet does wonders to the soul. And now, I find myself renewed indefinitely.

An apartment, she says?

(Even though what she owes me is high, I've already figured ways to adapt. I won't worry much. She can't even do road lust gracefully. Karma will get her. But again, I feel immune to this. Onto the real subject.)

It's because, today is a miraculous day! (Even though the time says January 5, 2002, and this particular event happened on the Friday, I will hold true to the time of my declaration.) She said it to me. I said it back. The miraculous part was that it was through the phone, not the Internet.

Her voice and her words, although seemingly calm, wreaked havoc in her stomach and her nerves. I shared the same ailment at that instant. Nervousness throughout and barely having to output the words from my mouth of what I was feeling. Shyness consumed both of us the instant our voices met over the phone. That paralyzed us. It was like we were in high school again.

The words sing calmly in my head as I replay it over and over again. She tells me she does the same and we agree that each of our voices are warm, sexy and daunting. The more I replay it, the more permanent the feelings.

Need I say more about this? I'm pretty sure most of you can figure this out.

What I can divulge is that I will be away in the near future and that this journey will probably be the most important one of my life.

You will be seeing me from time to time, but it probably won't matter much since I know only a fraction of the users here. What I can say at least, is that I thank those who facilitate the means (here) to allow us to communicate almost as free as our flowing thoughts. I'm hoping someone will find inspiration to these logs of mine and perhaps learn a little about human behaviour. Yes, I probably seem a little too textbook in some instances.

So, the journey begins...

Alea iacta est. The die is cast. Now there is no turning back.

There it arcs, in the air, not to touch the ground for a few months. It could roll anything. That's better then boring sameness here. But I am committed now. This is where I am heading. No more of this rut for me.

I have the ticket here. Flight BA 58 Leaving Cape Town (there’s only one airport in Cape Town) Thursday 7 March 2002 2040, arrive London Heathrow Terminal 4 0635 Class of travel: World Traveller (Sardine class) Status: confirmed Flying time 11Hrs 55Mins (I have made this journey before: though as a night’s sleep it sucks, as a an air trip it’s not to bad – the direction is close to due north, the time difference is only 2 hours) Special meal request – Lacto-ovo veg meal.

No longer am I “thinking”, “planning”, “considering” heading north, I am doing it, going, flying on the 7th of March, back on 12 December. Eight months in the Northern Hemisphere. A new life.

"Some travel forever in hope and are serially disappointed. Others, slightly less self-deceiving, come to accept that the process of travelling itself offers, if not fulfilment, then relief from the feeling that they should be feeling fulfilled."
- Iain M. Banks, "Look to windward"

I must say, wow.

I had a wonderful night last night. I remember, I used the word wonderful a lot. I need to acquire a larger ready vocabulary...

Ricky took me out to eat, then we walked around the mall, then watched Lord of the Rings. I was impressed from the start, but enjoyed the time with him more and more as the night went on. And he likes me too...

It was, again, truly wonderful. I know I will be spending a lot time with him from now on.

The flowers he gave me--nobody ever gave me flowers before--are standing now, properly, here on the kitchen table. But just because life can be like that, I took a picture; it'll last longer.

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