Diary of a Nicotine Addict: Why We Can’t Quit

Author’s note: I’m usually trying to be humorous, or sarcastic, but tonight I am trying to pass on information that I discovered during my journey with nicotine addiction. I am still learning!

SmokingOneFullWithSurgeonGeneral

I can go weeks without ever thinking about cigarettes. Then plans get messed up,  a medical emergency happens, or I can’t find something important and dammit, I want to smoke. Like that is going to help my plans, my health, or my brain. After nearly two years of being smoke free you would expect me to no longer be addicted to nicotine.  You are wrong.

Sure, my body is rid of the nicotine and other chemicals from inhaling cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, my brain won’t let go completely. Nicotine in my blood-stream would reach my brain and “light up” sensors that made me feel good. My brain remembers this (or the sensors do). I’m not even thinking about smoking, but my brain has those sensory memories stored somewhere. Waiting.

When we are stressed, our mind works overtime to find a way to get us back to a non-stressed state. Why doesn’t my mind find a different solution? Like a cup of tea or a nice long bath? Probably because I never used those things to calm down. I would always light up a cigarette.  I thought that inhaling the nicotine calmed me down, when in reality, nicotine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure. I only felt calmer because I satisfied my craving for nicotine.

That’s how they get you. The Tobacco industry. Their products supply you with nicotine, your brain starts to need the nicotine and you end up smoking to satisfy those greedy neurotransmitters begging for another nicotine fix. If that isn’t bad enough, the cigarette you just had is setting you up for the next one. Because the sensation of withdrawal is uncomfortable, and the only way to stop it is another cigarette.

No wonder the industry can make billions of dollars – and we can’t stop smoking.

Non-addicts believe that if you just used some will-power, you could quit. HA!  You can’t break addiction with will-power. Why? Because the brain, neurology and psychology are inter-twined around your addiction. The Bitch owns you. You need professional help, but you don’t want to ask for any, because the thought of you never smoking again terrifies you.

I heard that heroin addicts have less trouble getting the monkey off their back, than smokers. Don’t believe that? I didn’t either – until I asked a recovering heroin addict. She opened her purse and showed me her cigarettes. So, I guess that meant yes.

Scary.

Diary of a Nicotine Addict: The Party’s Over?

A Christmas tree inside a home.Yikes!  It’s the holiday season. Again. Already.

Most of us (addicts) associate holiday parties and family get-togethers with our addiction.

  • Using nicotine (or alcohol, Oxycontin, fill in your drug of choice), was a large part of you having fun or not.
  • Using “helped” you deal with holiday stress.
  • You “had” to use, to put up with your crazy and dysfunctional family.
  • Everyone else will be using their drug of choice and having a great time.
  • You can’t relax and be yourself without using.

I had all those reasons and more. Anything to defend my addiction. Because the terror of having to QUIT was unbearable. My life would not be worth living if I couldn’t smoke.

Are you nodding your head about now? Do you dread this time of year because of the cravings?

You can blame The Bitch (a.k.a. Addiction)  for causing your turmoil.  She wants you to start using again, and she will try to seduce you.  She will put ideas and excuses into your head.

You must fight with everything you’ve got. The Bitch will tell you “Having just one won’t hurt anybody.” OR “No one will know.”

Oh really?  Well, guess what?  The Bitch lies.  Having “just one” will hurt your recovery. And everyone will know, even if you sneak it, because you will reek. I know that’s harsh, but reality often is.  I promise you – if you do have “just one”, The Bitch wins.  Every damn time.

What can we do to get rid of our addiction?  Unfortunately nothing. However, we can learn to ignore The Bitch’s siren song. We can practice the “tools” we learn in recovery, until they are engrained within us. Change behaviors that trigger cravings.

A counselor in my Quit Smoking program once told me that even if you spend the holidays munching on cookies, pies and other fattening crap,  it’s healthier than taking a drag of a cigarette.

Good to know.   😉

Diary of a Nicotine Addict: Remembering Why

Locked Up Memory
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Let me say up-front:  The Bitch has been up to her wicked ways, but she has not been successful. ♥

With major life changes going on, retiring and moving from a city to a small town in the Sierra foothills, I have dealt with stress and emotions for weeks now.  I am wanting to start-up smoking again to relieve some of the pressure and strangeness I’m feeling.

Soooo, it’s time to remind myself of why I quit AND  why I need to stay quit. I should remind myself of the perks too.  Yes, believe it or not, there are perks!

Because I have not come up with the box that has my medical info and original list of reasons to quit inside of it, I will do my best to recreate it here.  If you are recovering from any kind of addiction, I invite you to make a reason list along with me. You also have reasons to stay clean. Who knows?  We may even share a few of them…

Jodi’s Reason List:

  1. Both of my parents died young of smoking related illnesses.
  2. I have chronic health conditions that are bad enough without being worsened by smoking.
  3. I don’t want to be the source of 2nd hand smoke anymore.
  4. Always had to interrupt whatever I was doing to go have a cigarette, because I just had to have one! (Perk: I won’t be standing outside in horrible weather because I have to smoke)
  5. Two words: Ashtray breath   (Perk: My gums are healthier and not receding anymore)
  6. It embarrassed me to be the only one at work who smoked (Perk: People stopped giving me crap about it)
  7. Was tired of being smelly (Perk: I can wear perfume and smell wonderful now)
  8. Sometimes I would chain smoke until I was nauseous (Perk: I make a lot of baby blankets)
  9. I hate the lying & conniving  tobacco industry, and I don’t want to support them anymore.
  10. I hate paying all the taxes when buying cigarettes. (Perk: I’ve saved $$$ )
Blogging All Night Long
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How many can YOU list???