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