Diary of a Nicotine Addict: Month 5

October 20th, 2011 – 5 months clean

Dear Diary,
I am losing my mind. I can’t get cigarettes out of my stupid head.

Addiction Poster
The Bitch

Lately I think about smoking often throughout the day. The Bitch (my addiction), has been relentless and I feel my stamina eroding. Month 2 was not this bad. I started feeling sorry for myself a couple of weeks ago. Now I’m becoming resentful and bitter. Such fun to be around me.

I have been down this road before and I recognize the self-destructive thoughts and behaviors that come before a relapse. No matter how stubborn I am, no amount of “will-power” is going to save me. The only reason I have not bought a pack of Virginia Slims Menthol this week is not wanting to smoke around my granddaughter – she would not only nag me, but tattle on me as well. There are also a lot of folks rooting for me that I don’t want to disappoint.

I could enjoy one and I’d be able to focus… One with my morning cup of coffee to clear my head… Just a couple drags won’t be a big deal… No one will have to know…

In the substance abuse world, those thoughts are called “romancing the drug” and I have been brought down by their lies before. I can fight back with the STOP technique and remain fairly sane.

What I fear the most are the darker thoughts that come when my defenses are weak and something upsets me: To Hell with this… I can’t fight this anymore… No one gives a shit about what I do, unless they don’t like it…

The official term for this is “having the fuck-its”. (My doctor uses this term so it must be official)  It is the most dangerous emotional state of mind for anyone to be in, but it can mean life or death to an addict.

If you arrive at the fuck-its take action immediately! Stop thinking and call a friend, get out of the house, take a break from work. Stay home in your jammies and read a good book or watch soaps. Pamper yourself. Sleep. Meditate. Pray. If you’re hyperactive (like I am) take advantage and clean your house, cupboards, something. Anything but give up!

I know this is easy to say, and nearly impossible to do, when you are pissed off at everything and tired of fighting with yourself and your addiction. I have personal experience with the fuck-its. I relapsed back into a pack-a-day habit after being clean for 10-years. 10 years!

I am not trying to frighten or lecture here. Only want to pass on what I’ve learned in case it could help someone else. And of course to vent, whine and dis The Bitch while I’m at it.

😉

Diary of a Nicotine Addict: Phase III

August 5th, 2011

Dear Diary,
I know I said goodbye at the end of June. I also said I wanted to move on to other topics because I was bored, blah, blah, blah.

Addiction Poster
The Bitch

The truth is I needed to stop blogging about quitting because I was thinking about smoking all the time. I needed to break away before I drove myself crazy or to the liquor store for a pack of cigarettes.

I recently figured out that the hardest part of the journey has begun, and it would be down right selfish of me to not mention this last phase that is the most important one of all – Phase III: Maintenance.

In other words, staying quit. Watching out for my addiction (a.k.a. “The Bitch”) because she lurks and patiently waits to catch you in a weak moment. You know it’s her when a craving smacks you right between the eyes, and you weren’t even thinking about smoking. The sudden interruption of your thoughts is jarring, and upsetting because it’s been x many months now, damn it! Withdrawal is over! You want to throw a tantrum like a little girl.

Take immediate action. STOP THINKING!  NOW!. Before you start to rationalize. Before you justify (to yourself), why it’s OK to have a cigarette. You deserve one. Or two… The longer your mind travels this destructive train of thought, the more logical your thinking seems to you.  But it’s not your thinking anyway, it’s your addiction‘s thinking.

A psychologist, I know personally, taught me a technique called “Stop Thought”.  It sounded too silly to really work, but in the spirit of cooperation, and the fact I knew no other techniques, I gave it a try. (I used to try reason. But that Bitch is SO  unreasonable.)

“STOP!!” is the simplest and fastest one. I visualized the word STOP in bold, bright red and font-size 14K, as I screamed (very loudly inside my head) “STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP! STOP!” . Very cathartic .And it works. Your brain switches over to defensive mode and your only focus now is slamming the door in the Bitches face.

Other Stop Thoughts that help me are: “GO AWAY“, “UP YOUR NOSE WITH A RUBBER HOSE“, “CA-CA“, “KNOCK IT OFF“,  andNOT TODAY

And don’t be shy – throw that tantrum like a little girl if you want, by stomping (as loud as you can) in circles, flailing your arms about, with your fists tightly balled up. Then you add in shrill whining and hiccuppy* sobbing. If you are the adventurous type, try the rolling around on the floor version. I’m too old to do that anymore, but I think the vertical tantrum is more fun anyway.

OK. You slammed the door against your Bitch. So what now?

You can do whatever. Continue on with your day like nothing happened. Good News: Cravings only last one or two minutes and you handled those minutes beautifully.  There will be other minutes down the road. Some worse than others, but do not be afraid of them. You don’t have to listen to the Bitch’s lies anymore.

You know what to do  😉

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* Hiccuppy [hick-up-ee]; adverb. Multiple hiccups accompanying an activity.
Taken from The Words That Should Exist Dictionary