As I write this, I am on DAY NINE without a cigarette. It feels amazing to be able to type that.
As I've mentioned, this is my third quit and I intend to make it my last. It has by far been the hardest one initially, both in dealing with triggers and cravings in general.
I guess I would have to say that my quits have been a little more difficult each time, and that's some pretty good motivation to stay quit for good.
All of the hazards and roadblocks that I've read about but never had to deal with during previous quits have come up this time. The sudden cravings out of nowhere, weird emotional reactions, insomnia and stress. However, I do believe that you never really know how strong you are until you have to be, and I'm finding depths of strength I did't know I had.
I never really thought before that cigarettes calmed or soothed me, but this time I am paying a lot of attention the situations and surroundings that triggered me to smoke.
I've learned that the deep breathing exercises endorsed by Dr. Andrew Weil are not the silly "you are getting sleeeeeeeeeeepy" type I always thought they were. Those deep breaths have served me well in a few situations when I wanted to smoke. Like waiting on a train, driving with the window open and after a meal. If you want to know the technique, it's something like this: breathe in deeply and slowly for a count of five. hold that inhale for a count of three. While slowly exhaling to a count of five, say the word "relax." Rinse and repeat until calmness ensues.
I don't think Dr. Weil's method includes saying "relax," but I combine his method with the one provided by my quit coach, and it works well for me.
My car smells awesome, by the way. I'm starting to get a sharper sense of smell and a better sense of taste.
I'm glad that I have always been a fan of word games and puzzles, because those things are quite helpful as distractions, and the art that I like to do helps there as well.
I've been trying to learn to play mandolin for quite awhile, and that's another good distraction when I want to smoke. I've never quite been successful at learning to play an instrument, primarily because I don't have the patience to practice. My husband gave up on me a long time ago, in that arena.
I remain dedicated to my decision to quit and stay quit (if that 'stay quit' terminology sounds weird, blame 1-800-QUIT-NOW), and as of today I have saved $64.35. I have a trip to Seattle in the works for this fall, so having some extra money will come in handy.
I have gotten some really nice and supportive comments about last week's column, and they are very much appreciated. It's been like having my own cheerleading squad, many thanks to everyone commenting.
Gimme an "N!"
Gimme an "O!"
Gimme another "N!"
Gimme an "S!"
Gimme an "M!"
Gimme another "O!"
(I can hear you cheering in my head as I type this)
Gimme a "K!"
Gimme an "E!"
Gimme an "R!"
WHAT DO THEY SPELL?
Now.............Gimme another few years to be alive, gimme a good hike in the woods without wheezing and gimme good health, good breath and yet another reason to love life.