Posted by: chiarraigrrl | September 15, 2011

Thursday thanks – Nearly two months and counting… #smokefree :)

In about a week’s time, I’ll have been #smokefree for two months (is it just me, or did that just fly by for anyone else?). I don’t want this to turn into a stopping-smoking blog, but as a colleague is also giving up smoking (again) this week, I was thinking about the things that seemed to really help and seem to have made this quit successful (so far, anyway), so I thought I’d share them.

First, though, another language-related note: a couple of my co-workers keep referring to it as my “first time” quitting. Yeah, I keep thinking, first, last and only. I know they’ve found it difficult to quit in the past and have had to try a couple of times themselves, but assuming that it’s my “first time”- meaning I’ll have to try a few more times before I’m actually off them- starts off with the assumption that I can’t do it. Argh! (of course, stubborn and contrary creature that I am, this makes me even more determined not to smoke again. So um, thanks for all the support and motivation, co-workers.).

Anyway. There were several things that were pretty key in keeping me off the smokes once I decided to quit, not least of which is my stubborn independence – once I decide something, that’s usually it, and I’m not interested if someone wants me to do something else, though fortunately none of my awesome friends attempted to tempt me into joining them for a cigarette – sadly not the case with my coworker, it would seem, which is a shame.

The most important thing I think was replacing the time spent smoking with time spent doing things I really enjoy. Now first thing in the morning instead of grabbing that coffee and going out for my nicotine, I get my coffee and sit down to write for 10-15 minutes – and I’ve found I am actually getting up a little bit earlier so I can have more time writing, and I really look forward to it in the mornings (which also means dragging myself out from under the duvet is less of a challenge these days). In the evenings, instead of getting my Earl Grey tea and dashing out to the balcony for a smoke, I bring my tea over to my armchair and do a row or two of knitting (nothing fancy at this point- single color garter-stitch scarves are my forte at the moment), which also means that I have something that I really like to show for the time spent. I thought the hardest thing would be my coffee breaks in the mornings at work – where would I go? What to do? – but I’ve discovered this has quickly become another favorite moment during the day, when I bring my coffee back to my desk and catch up on any new posts on my favorite blogs (and if there’s nothing new up, have a snoop around the interweb and see if I find new blogs to follow). I’m enjoying these things so much that it would be really hard to imagine giving them up to go back to smoking – which is a fantastic development, in my opinion.

Another really great thing that was a huge help has been the vocal support from my hella awesome friends and the Good Hoomans on Teh Twitter Machine, who have been incredibly supportive and great motivators. My awesome friends and d’mammy (my mom rocks) have cheered me on at every milestone, and if I tweeted about the temptation to grab a sneaky smoke, I’d immediately have a reply from one of the good folks on twitter reminding me of how well I’d done so far. So thanks for all the support, y’all – I really appreciate it.

Of course, it also helped that I had a couple of jokes stuck in my head about people trying to give up the cigarettes (I knew all that time hanging around comedy clubs would come in handy someday!) that would pop back into my head during the first couple of days I was giving up whenever I’d have a craving, and I’d immediately giggle and the craving would disappear. It helps to realise that you’re going to be cranky the first couple of days- any time I’d start to feel irritable, I’d step back and think about whether I was actually genuinely annoyed or if it was just that I was in withdrawal and could disregard it. 99.99% of the time, it was just lack-of-nicotine crankiness, which you can just ignore (or at least not act on) if you consciously decide to.

Then (icing on cake of things-that-helped-me-quit) of course there was The Look. Several weeks ago I was at a bit of an event where one person involved was leaving the country, and it was effectively their last night in town. They were arranging for photos to be taken when I had gone out for a cigarette – and when a guy I sort of know came out to get another acquaintance, he gave me a look that seemed to be a mixture of revulsion/disgust and disappointment. I don’t think it was intentional, or even something that he thought about or paid any attention to at all- but it bothered me, and I knew I didn’t want to get that look from him again. It also made me realise that when I was outside having a cigarette, I was missing out on other things that were going on, and I don’t want to do that. Remembering that, in addition to everything else, has helped in staying smokefree… 🙂

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