I smoked my very last cigarette on 12 October 2011. After 18 years of smoking I am once again a non smoker. I had so many reasons to stop, the greatest being that I want to live as long as possible in order to see my daughter grow and have a happy life. To be a part of her life for as long as possible.
I'm sure I will come back to the many reasons and the how around stopping at a later stage, but for today I want to briefly discuss my physical reaction to nicotine withdrawal, and what you may experience, or can expect.
I'll try to avoid the obvious but the first 3 days were pretty hard. I survived on gum, stubbornness, coffee and water. I ate a lot as well.
I felt hazy unfocused, and my mind was all over the place. For three days it felt like I was walking in a dream world still half asleep, except every time someone would talk to me when it felt like I could just bite their heads off. I kept wanting to scream " LEAVE ME ALONE".
For almost the whole of 18 years I used smoking as a way to wake up in the mornings.
So I increased my caffeine consumption and chewed a lot of gum. I guess I was luckier than some that drinking coffee didn't make the craving worse but seemed to cheat my mind into believing I had a smoke with the coffee, while I didn't really.
Occasionally I just went to sit outside in my normal smoking spot and breathed deeply, this helped a bit when it got really bad.
Because I had often sat there reading while smoking it also helped to just sit there and read. It was hilarious how easily I could fool my body into thinking it was getting it's "fix"
The hardest part other than waking up without a smoke, was stopping eating. for 18 years my body thought it was only finished eating after having a smoke. Once again I was lucky that I could replace my "end of meal que" with a cup of coffee. I did myself a favour and bought decaff for the first time ever, as I didn't want to have to struggle with an unbreakable caffeine addiction later.
For anyone doing this, all I can say is take it one minute at a time. Find ways to beat your own mind games, and persevere. it gets so much easier.
Next time I will go into the connections I discovered between smoking and depression, and how I ended up back on Anti Depressants after 5 years off them.
....this is for Robin and Lynette who had their first smoke free day today