Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Quitting Smoking...129 Hours In

The good news is, I still haven't smoked.

The good news is, it feels like it's maybe getting a little easier.

The bad news is, it still is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  I almost feel like time has stood still over the past six days.  I'm not kidding -- time has never crept by so slowly in my entire life.  While this is good in the sense that I have a lot of work to do, it's a really strange feeling.  I am having a bit of trouble concentrating also, but not too badly at this point. 

I figured after the nicotine got out of my system on Sunday morning that would make things a lot easier.  It certainly has been easier to not have the gnawing physical craving.  However, the psychological habit is really unbelievable.  It almost feels like a physical craving to my body, but I know it isn't.  It occurred to me that I am trying to break a 20 year habit.  (Roughly, not counting the few months here and there where I quit in the past.)  Twenty years of having a smoke after a meal.  Twenty years of smoking when I have a few minutes to kill.  Twenty years of smoking when driving somewhere, and calculating in my head whether I had time for one last cigarette.  Twenty years of smoking after finishing getting ready.  Twenty years of smoking right when I get up in the morning.  Twenty years of "one last smoke" before bed.  Twenty years of cigarettes with my coffee.  Two and a half years of a cigarette while walking to and from the train each day from my house.  Eight years of smoking at lunch, smoking after finishing a brief, taking smoke breaks every few hours or so at this job.  Twenty years of having a smoke whenever I happened to go outside.  You get the idea. 

Mornings are getting easier already.  I don't miss the smoke while walking to work because I'm enjoying so much more not having to worry about smelling like an ashtray when I sit down next to someone on the train or cram into a crowded el car.  Ditto for actually being able to still smell the shampoo in my hair at the end of the day.  I still am having the spontaneous thoughts about having a cigarette when I finish this or do that.  Not surprising, really -- it hasn't been that long.  It's going to take a lot of time for those to go away, if they ever completely do.  It is getting easier to remind myself that no more cigarettes are the way to go, although the creeping thoughts about "no more cigarettes EVER" are still there, which brings me down a little.  I'm hopeful that after I've been smoke free for six months or a year that won't seem like such a horrible way to live.  (It isn't a horrible way to live, is it?  It certainly shouldn't be).  Another positive thing is that I'm getting a lot more done.  I never realized how much time I killed by just smoking a cigarette.  Now, rather than do that, I do something else.  I'm getting to work earlier and everything. 

I also don't know if I'm imaging it, but I feel like I'm breathing better.  I never realized I wasn't breathing well, but something feels different.  I'm coughing up phlegm here and there, and can almost feel my lungs clearing out all the gunk.  Even my mouth feels cleaner.  It's weird.  Yet good.