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: 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.


Confessions of a Soap Opera Addict

I must wean myself off the damned things. My DVR is starting to fill up, and hubby and I have a lot of network shows that we tape. When your bedtime is 7:30pm you tape everything.

EyesI do love my soaps! I got addicted all over again when I moved in with my mom last year. After she passed away, I moved back home and set my DVR to tape every episode. Watching them without mom was not as fun, and I should have quit then. But really good stuff was happening and I couldn’t let go yet. After they solve the mystery , I’ll stop taping them I told myself. And wouldn’t you know it, some other “can’t miss” exciting stuff started up before the mystery was over, so I had to continue on. ..

Pocket WatchI tape and save, but don’t watch them. Well, I do watch them when hubby is working on his shop (a.k.a. man cave), or before he gets home from work. But today I watched 2 days worth out of 30.  I am starting to stress over how many I have to watch to catch up. I wonder what my therapist would say about that. Never mind. I know what she would say, and she would be blunt about it too.

I decided that I will turn off the auto recording of the soaps. I can watch the 28 days worth at my leisure. Then go back to checking in with them on the occasional holiday or sick day when I’m home during the week. But no more recordings!  I will just have to put up with the advertisement breaks every 7 minutes.

I’m glad that quitting soap operas will be easier than quitting nicotine. Nothing in this world is tougher than giving up cigarettes. Nothing.