It’s this or cigarettes. Or, possibly, shaking my child.

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

I’m sitting down to write a blog post for the first time in ten days because the alternative is to have a cigarette.

And the only thing I want more than a cigarette right now is to not have a cigarette.

Yes.  Again.  I’m quitting again.  We – Jared and I – are quitting.

Again.

It’s hard to tell people that you’re trying to give up smoking again.  There’s only so many times you can expect people to believe that this time will be the time.  The truth is, it gets harder and harder to tell yourself that this time will be the time.

We’re trying to do things differently.  We’ve been taking Chantix for a week now, spending as much money on pills to quit smoking as we do on cigarettes to keep smoking.  They say it will make it easier.

There are two half packs of cigarettes on my back patio right now.  They’re leftover from yesterday and last night we fell asleep before remembering to throw them away.  I want to throw them away, but not as badly as I want to smoke them.  I’m afraid if I put the pack in my hand, I won’t be able to resist putting a cigarette between my lips.

And so I’m writing this blog post instead.

I know all of the reasons to quit.

I know about the health risks and the smell and the money and the time.  I know.  I know.

But I know, too, about the subtle look among strangers gathered around an outdoor ashtray, the one that says, “I’m not perfect either, and that’s OK.”  I know the sense that something is missing inside me right now.  And that something may be toxic and poisonous and deadly – but all I can feel right now is the gaping hole left in its absence.

But I want to do this.  I need to do this.

One of the reasons I started Body for Life 6 weeks ago was to prove to myself that I could, but I also did it to be a better parent, to have energy to play with my kids more.  I know that quitting smoking will, ultimately, make me a better parent, too.

I’ll have more energy.  I’ll have more time for them.  I won’t be exposing them to secondhand smoke or telling them to “go over there” in some sick effort to protect them from it.  And while I can’t promise that quitting smoking will grant me a long and healthy life, I can at least show them that I want to spend as many years as I can with them.

For what it’s worth, my son is in his room throwing a five alarm fit at the moment, including cries of “Why me?  WHHHYYYYY MEEEE!?!?” because he got himself grounded.  The easiest thing to do right now would be to go outside and have a cigarette, just so that I don’t barge through that door and demand that he knock it the hell off now.

But I’m not doing either of those things.

Instead, I’m just writing a post.

  1. Avitable says:

    Maybe writing a post with one hand and strangling him with the other would work!

    I’m really happy for you that you’re doing this and proud of you for trying so hard. I know you can and will do it.

  2. Darla says:

    When I used to throw a 5-alarm fit, my dad would sit outside and watch the birds. I used to think that was THE stupidest thing EVER. Until I had a ‘tween (now teen). Believe you me, I’m looking for a deal on a LARGE LOT of birds these days.

  3. Grumble Girl says:

    Awesome. So very proud of you.

    The void? It’s created by the smokes – non-smokers have no such void, see? It’s all good, Sugar. You can do it. It’s just a little addiction that will be gone from your system in a few days. YOU CAN DO IT!!

    4.5 weeks down, so far… not white-knuckling it at all. :)

    PROUD, I say. xoxox

  4. Lojo says:

    Keep at it! You get extra Heaven Points for the efforts! (I think double if you resist those half packs on the back porch). Deep breath. Deep breath. Ooooooooooooooommmmmm.

  5. thetutugirl says:

    I think its amazing that you’re doing this. My friends whose parents smoked talk about how glad they were when they’re parents finally quit, and how happy it still makes them. (I’m not trying to guilt you, just trying to give you one more thing to help get you past those moments when you want them the most.) I know its going to be really, really hard, and I think its great you took that first step.

    What about getting Devin involved? Kids love tattling on their parents or lecturing them, so he’d be an eager beaver in keeping you away from them. And maybe when he’s no longer grounded you could have him pick up those half packs (with supervision, of course) and toss them out for you. Might as well grab all the cheerleaders you can!

  6. Miss Grace says:

    Good for you Britt.

  7. Karen says:

    I quit at least 20 times over the years before pneumonia made it work. Not that I recommend that route! Go to whyquit.org for some tips like drinking fruit juice cuz your blood sugar will drop.
    You can do this. xoxo

    • Miss Britt says:

      @Karen, I am using the GETQUIT site that comes with the Chantix prescription. I figure if planning and support has worked for diet and exercise, why not actually do it with quitting smoking, right?

  8. Kathryn says:

    You and Jared can do this. I know how hard it is, GOD people who don’t smoke just don’t get it. I think I wrote a post last year (or whenever the last time I quit was) titled “Bereft”, because that is so it. There are days when you feel lost, and you feel like you’re grieving, and it’s really hard not to light up a cigarette on those days. But it passes.

    And you can do it. I’m going to do it again soon, too. I’m gearing up, not taking Chantix but will use the patch, which has always helped me tremendously. In fact if the Chantix isn’t helping like you thought it would, throw on a patch, too.

    It’s hard. You will be so proud of yourself, because you know it’s so damn hard. And I so know the feeling of wanting to light a cigarette every time something stressful happens. So…commiserating. You both rock, keep it up.

  9. Lee Brookes says:

    Go you ;)

    I’m sure this time we be it!

    You have the strength because your powerful and you know it :)

  10. Kris says:

    Sweetie, is there anyone who can come and throw those smokes out for you without you having to see or touch them?

    All ashtrays, lighters, and smoking paraphernalia should be removed. Trust me. It makes things easier. And you probably already know this, but something for your hands to play with (ahem), and something for your mouth (koff, koff) like gum or carrot sticks or something (big wink), and if you routinely have a martini with your smokes, switch to lager.

    You can do this. Right now it might feel like you can’t, but you CAN.

    As for the kids – duct tape works wonders. So do extra chores.

  11. Grammy says:

    Papa and Grammy smoked longer then you are years old and we quit together (or we would have probably killed) I know haw hard it is but the end is worth it. Papa knows he would not be alive today if he hadn’t quit even though he is showing some bad effects of it. He is on oxygen at night and the way the dr. talked a month ago he will never get off it. hang in there honey and pray and I will pray for you. Papa said every time he wanted a cig he said a Hil Mary.
    Love you

  12. Lisa says:

    Quitting is SO hard, but you can do it. It took me several tries to make it stick, so don’t even feel bad about telling people you’re quitting again. For me, once the initial few days were over and the actual chemical addiction had left my system, it became a mind game. Just remember that right now is the hardest part, and if you can get through this part you can make it through the rest. Call if you need a friendly voice. I know you can do this!

  13. gemini says:

    Hey Britt

    I just hit my 1 year mark. I wont tell you that it is easy. It’s not. It’s still not. I see people smoke and I want to go and hang out and have one two and then I remember that I don’t smoke anymore and I kind of feel left out. :(

    What I will say is that the longer you go you can look back and say wow I made it a month with no smoking. If I have one now it would be like all the suffering that I just went through was for nothing.

    So you keep going.

    Eventually you get to a point that you are amazed that you are doing it. I see those people that unintentionally made me feel left out and think. “Eww their cloths are going to smell and I smell like my Laundry soap,hair product, lotion.. etc.” I am better off. :)

    You want to do it for all the right reasons, but remember you really need to want to do it for YOU… :) Keep telling yourself you love yourself enough to keep up the great work. <3

    • Mrs Dreamer says:

      @gemini, I’ll hit two years in August, and I still want to step outside at the bar when my friends go out to smoke, just so I don’t look lonely. There are still little trashy bars that allow their patrons to smoke where I am, and I hate going there to throw darts. Get in my car smelling like an ashtray, and in the dead of January, I had two windows down and the heat cranked just to air it out.

      You do keep going. When you smoked, it didn’t really dawn on you how much one spends on smokes…until you try to quit (Miss Britt, I took Chantix as well. Awesome shit.) and you spend the amount you would for a couple of cartons all at once, it’s a bit overwhelming.

      There are days when I want to say “Fuck it” because I’ve had an insane day at work or someone royally pissed me off driving home, but then, like you, I think of all that hard work I put into quitting and the money and the ‘ohmigodIjustwantoneciggy’ and realize it’s definitely NOT worth it.

      Keep it up, Miss Britt and Gemini. I’m behind you :)

  14. metalmom says:

    This summer will be three years for me. I used to smoke a pack and a half a day. I did it without Hubs’ support. The fact that Jared is in this with you is such a huge plus! I took up needlepoint just to have something to do with my hands. Now I have more than a few bitchin’ pillows!!

    Good luck, Britt. You and Jared can do it!!!

  15. Dory says:

    I quit on Dec 31st. I’ve fell off the wagon a few times, but I climbed right back on. I noticed one of my triggers is heightening anxiety so I told my doc about it and he gave me a rx for buspar yesterday.

    I admire you so much for all the work you and Jared have been doing together to make yourselves better physically and emotionally. You guys rawk.

  16. Jessica says:

    I know how hard quitting is! Keep with it; you’ll be so happy that you did.

    Great job!

  17. Angel Smith says:

    Screw the health benefits. The next time the smokers hightail it out of the group to kill themselves slowly, you get to stay and hang with me. :-p

  18. I feel your pain. Well, kind of. I’ve been on a diet for 12 weeks and while food is not nearly as addictive (so they say) as nicotine I am dying for some bacon, nachos and potato chips.

    If I can do it (which only time will tell) so can you! Because, hot damn, I’m watching people eat cheese fondue on tv. Because apparently I’m stupid.

    Is it wrong to lick the tv?!?

  19. neena says:

    my husband quit with chantix back in october and he’d been smoking for a good 15 years. You can do it!!!

  20. Finn says:

    Tie a knot babe and hang on. You CAN do this.

    I’ve heard brushing your teeth helps. Or maybe chew some sugarless gum. Or go for a walk. Or read. Or scream into a pillow. ;)

  21. Rick says:

    I used Chantix to quit four years ago. Worked like a charm, technicolor dreams and all. But I was twenty years too late, diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer six months ago, might live another year. Shoulda saved my money.

  22. Kelly says:

    Good luck!! I had “breaks” in smoking for a few months to almost a year before this past Oct when I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant – again. DH kept smoking and it gnawed at my every nerve that he got to go out and “get away” from the kids when he was frustrated. I didn’t dare for fear that I would snag one from him and have to start the dreaded process all over again. I’m glad I did so far, it’s just so expensive. I’m determined to not be “one of those” ex-smokers, but right now the smell makes me so sick.

    I’m hoping that when the baby arrives in June that we’ll both be able to manage not running out the door to the store the minute we feel too stressed.

  23. MB says:

    YAY! I’m so happy you’re quitting. I promise it will get easier and easier until you turn into one of those people who won’t want to even walk behind a smoker on the street.

    Sounds like we should be getting swamped with new posts from you soon.

    I’m so proud of you. Keep up the good work!

  24. Oh, the very best of luck to you. I am not where you are at the minute but I really want to give it another go this year. I smoke about 6 on a calm day and 10 on a shitty day and then if I am drinking alcohol it goes up x10. I hate everything about it, I wish I never ever started. I dread giving them up because its so hard. I really really hope you do this and give me the kick on the ass I need to quit.

  25. Corey says:

    My husband was not a smoker, but he is 38 and has used dip (Copenhagen) since he was 11. (yeah). He quit several months ago using nicotine lozenges. He goes through them like crazy, but I don’t care. Nicotine doesn’t kill you, it’s all the other poison (literally).

    You can do it!

  26. Sunny says:

    You can do it!!!

    One thing I tried now and then when I was trying to quit was electronic cigarettes. They’ve come a long way and helped when I had the urge to hold a cigarette. I’m almost to a year now, since I quit (for like the 10th time).

  27. fiwa says:

    Ok, I’m coming out of lurkdom for this. I know we all hate people who give ass-vice, but this worked so well for me that I thought I’d tell you just the same. I recently went to a hypnotherapist for help losing weight, and it as worked like a charm. The reason I bring it up is that the same guy also does classes for smoking – and he said all it takes is one class. He himself had been a smoker for 30 years, went to one class, stopped that night and has never smoked since. He was so enthralled by the way it worked that he went to school to learn how to do it himself. On the weight loss part – after one meeting I suddenly felt so different, I don’t constantly obsess about food anymore and I catch myself thinking, “no wonder everyone else is skinny if this is the way THEY feel all the time.” And it’s easy for me now. Anyway – good luck, I know how hard it is to change habits. I’m pulling for both of you.

  28. Headless Mom says:

    Good luck. Send your good vibes my way….HD and I are going to try to quit next week. Ssssshhh! Don’t tell!

  29. Kim Trimble says:

    I imagine it must be hard. My dad quit cold turkey in 2000. It wasn’t soon enough but he did it.

    I have struggled with whether to post this comment or not, but it has nagged at me for a few hours, so I am. I’m sorry if this sounds harsh or it’s too “out there”, I’m sorry if it makes you mad, and I’m sorry if it ends our friendship, but reading this post made me want to say this to you.

    Please quit. I have several good reasons. You, your health, Jared, his health. But most of all two very good reasons.
    The very worst moment of my life, even exceeding Gregory’s death, was hearing my mother screaming and my brother and I running in the room to find my Daddy had died from esophogeal cancer, as a result of smoking for so long. I will never forget laying in that bed with my brother and holding my daddy, both of us crying begging him not to go so soon. It was the most pain I have ever felt in my life.

    I don’t want that for you, but especially, for Emma and Devin.

    I hope you can do it, and if you find yourself wanting a smoke, take a walk, call a friend, write a post, jump in the pool. Do anything but that.

    : ) Thanks. I’m with you 1000%.

  30. SweetAngel says:

    I keep telling myself I need to quit, I really do,,,but hem, and I have no excuse, my kids are grown and have flown the coop, ok, maybe I do, men drive me nuts.

  31. Michelle says:

    I quit approximately 27392370 times before QUITTING 4 years ago. And I did it cold turkey. And my husband did it too, he still struggles to this day. It was the hardest thing either one of us has ever done. For me something just clicked to make it work, I don’t know what it was.

    Now what keeps me going is the fact that I never ever want my son to think it’s anything but a filthy disgusting thing to do and never pick up a cigarette in his life.

    You can (and will) do this.

  32. RW says:

    Betcha can’t do it. Betcha you’ll lose. You can’t do it. It’ll never work. You’re weak. WEAK. Meh, I’ve heard it a million times. Right. Uh-huh. You won’t make it.

    This is reverse psychology, not me being a prick, just so you know :-)

  33. Judy Haley says:

    I don’t know how many times I quit before I quit for keeps, but I did it. Believe it or not, it does actually get easier over time. best wishes.

  34. i’m crazy proud of you for quitting and fully support you. i don’t care that you tried before, i am just thrilled that you are doing it now because those times didn’t stick.

    there were a few ways i was able to become a nonsmoker. feel free to ignore or use:
    brush your teeth after eating instead of smoking, then don’t go to your normal smoking spot.
    don’t drink your morning coffee in the same spot you would have your morning cigarette.
    give up alcohol for a month so that you have given yourself more than the 21 days to make a new habit (it is just too damn hard not to smoke if ya drink…brutal!).
    when you do have an adult beverage, hold those little straws in your hand and chew on them or have plenty of wild bill’s beef jerkey for the hand to mouth habit. pretzel rods also work (all these years later and sometimes i catch myself tapping my pretzel rod above an ashtray).
    if jared is around and either of you get the urge to smoke, share a passionate kiss. seriously. kissing is much better for you and i’m sure the kids would rather see loving parents than smoking parents. sure, you might be making out a lot, but it’s fun and harmless!

    love you so much and i am so thankful that you are doing this. yay for not smoking!!

  35. Keep strong! I am sending good vibes your way.

  36. Eric Vorlage says:

    Ms Britt. Its tougher than kicking heroin. I smoked for 37 years. one early morning my body had enough, I’ll show you pal, how about a little heart attack..But this isnt supposed to happen to me, this only happens to someone else. I earned a couple stents 99% blockage in my coronary and 88% blockage in my decending. Doc’s told me if you dont stop you’ll be back, and we may or may not be able to help you. Talk about a wake up call.

    The prior year, i tried the chantix for 6 mos, pills ran out i started smoking again. This time on chantix for two months, but with all the other meds, my body was in revolt. So chantix was first to go, but i made up my mind to stop, so i’ve been smoke free for 10 months, do i still crave it…yep, so i put a pretned cigarette to my lips take a puff, and let it out. Ahhh, but no smoke, no smell, (after 3 weeks of not smoking, you’ll really smell it on others ..it really does stink…bad!). Throw out your ashtrays, matches, put lighters in a drawer, throw those cigs you have away (i know its hard, i was obsessed to have them but was over it in a day) if you keep them you WILL smoke them.
    After the third week, you’ll forget you smoke, your habits will change, (get some atomic fire balls, when you crave, they’re so damn hiot, you wont want to put much else in you mouth!) Also, get on a treadmill, yeah as much as the “E” word pissed me off, after a few weeks, i crave the excercise, AND i can take a deep deep breath without coughing.. andf i feel good!

    Youll be glad you did. Hell what i spent in cigaretts makes half of my Harley payment! If you both quit….there a whole payment…and its damn hard to smoke on a motorcycle.

    Throw them away! Now…if you cant bring yourself to do it, sit down right now and chain smoke them until theyre gone…then wrap your clothes in a plastic bag…quit, after 2 weeks open the bag and takre a whiff.. wow!

    Hope this helps…you can do it! Good luck.. Eric

    • Bonnie B. says:

      @Miss Britt – this is a comment from my friend Eric. I asked him to comment on your blog because I know he’s been through trying to quit also and I knew his words would carry SO much more weight than my own. He’s the best guy ever, and I hope sharing his experience helps in some way.

  37. Sheila says:

    I fell off the wagon for a week but I went (mostly) smoke free for three weeks.

    I don’t think I could do Chantix because I’m afraid of it making me crazier than I already am.

    I’m back on the patch but I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I have two emergency cigarettes sitting in my purse for *just in case*.

    The patch pretty much eliminates all cravings and I can even go on smoke breaks with my smoke buddy and not rip her throat out.

    The habit of it is the hardest to break so I am avoiding those situations in which I smoke the most….long soaks in the tub, reading before bed and facebook are my chain smoking triggers.

    Sadly, the hardest times are when I’m at home with my kids on the weekends because my gosh do they drive me freakin’ crazy.

  38. You can do it! Quitting was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it was worth it. Stay strong!

  39. Do it for everyone you love, but most of all for you.
    Hang in there.

  40. Faiqa says:

    MY GOD, you are an amazing person. So proud to be your friend. Keep it up.

  41. Jennifer S. says:

    You can completely do this. I have been smoke free for almost five months with only one small set back in there & that was when we were out with friends. The next morning, not happy with myself. Anyway, as stated above…throw all of it out. It will get easier after the first two weeks. You will notice a complete difference in your workouts as well. Keep it up, keep it up!

  42. Robin says:

    We have to keep trying and keep trying till the end. I keep saying I’m going to buckle down and figure out how to lose weight and I keep falling off the path (sounds better than failing) but if I don’t keep trying how will I ever get healthy? I’ve known my SIL for 10 years now and since I’ve known her she had tried to quit smoking. Over and over again she and her husband tried to quit and went back. She quit again over a year ago and has stuck to it, I knew she could do it.

  43. muskrat says:

    Maybe inject the nicotine? That way you don’t have to worry about secondhand smoke and bad lungs!

  44. Poppy says:

    I am familiar with the idea of quitting things that I was undiagnosedly addicted to (all that freaking back medication they told me to take when I was injured…) so I understand a smidge how hard it is to do this, but I know that I will never understand how hard it is to specifically quit tobacco. I’ve seen people in my life conquer it by making threatening statements to each other (my mom and stepdad did that with each other, they have a pact that if they go back to using certain substances they get divorced), I’ve seen people quit cold turkey (my brother just decided one day to stop), and I’ve seen the other extreme where people I adore have tried to quit but they didn’t have the support system in place to stick with it… (and I don’t think I need to say who I mean inside these parentheses :) ).

    Ya gotta take it one day at a time, and use your support system, and if you don’t have one then FIND one.

    And figure out what dealbreaker consequence might maybe work for you to stay with quitting. Health of your children? Health of yourself? Health of Jared? The money you save? The freedom from addiction? The ability to focus on what it is that drives you to smoke in the first place?

    Dunno, that’s for you to figure out, but I’m sure if you put the time and thought into it you can conquer this.

    As many times as it takes.

  45. Honey, it doesn’t matter if you’re quitting for the first time or the umpteenth time. I’ll still “Rah! Rah!” you all the way. :) I’m proud that you’re both trying it, proud that you chose writing over lighting up, and proud that you’re trying again. Any time you need to write/tweet rather than smoke? I’ll read and listen.

    I got your back, girl. WAY TO GO!

  46. Kelly says:

    I thought, with Chantix, you were supposed to keep smoking until you didn’t WANT to anymore? I’m supposed to start it next week and I’m feeling just like you do about it – I need to, I want to, but DAMMIT I don’t want to give it up. I’ve been smoking for close to 20 years (OMG???) and it feels like it’s just part of who I am. My doc said to keep smoking as much as I want to for the first 2-3 weeks, that it will eventually click in my head that I don’t WANT to smoke that cigarette. Best of luck to you both with this, Britt, I hope this is THE time that works for you!!!

  47. urbanvox says:

    sometimes blogging is the best medicine… I know it helped ME a lot…. :)
    good luck and good will!
    xxx

  48. joeinvegas says:

    Maybe chocolate instead? (but then your butt may look like that in those jeans)

  49. mel says:

    I had to check my reader twice. I miss your writing.

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