Monday, October 15, 2007

Even Monkeys

Today is Smoke-free Day 119 - minus a "bump," detailed below.

My friend was here from Tokyo, and I went into it concerned about not smoking, considering having plenty of o-sake and plate after plate of delicious varieties of Japanese food and actually being around a dedicated smoker of menthol cigarettes that I once loved.

I did great with it until I didn't.

And then I smoked.


I'm even more convinced that a non-smoker is still what I actually am and want to be, so I am back on track heading down my path and considering it a little bump that luckily stayed little. I'm fully aware that this gives me no excuse to try the same in the future because I might not always be so lucky.

I could go back to the top and call this Smoke-free Day 1, and beat the living crap out of myself for my "oops," and maybe some will think that's exactly what I should do (maybe not), but, you know what? Each of those days took effort and cooperation on my part, and after much more thought about this than a normal person would care to give, like when I was supposed to have been sleeping, I've decided that each day still counts, and I'm not moving the number backward because I'm still moving forward as a non-smoker instead of giving up on myself over it as I've done in the past. It's been a bump in my path and nothing more unless I make it more.

Don't get me wrong. Telling Tom was really, really very hard, especially considering current stressful circumstances related to sorting out the getting by with one car for a long time issue (yep, no collision insurance on the clunker, and I know, I know, lots of people manage - we will figure it out, too), and he wasn't thrilled to hear that I'd smoked either. I feel bad. Worse than I'm saying here, if you want to know the absolute truth. Ultimately, though, it's done and can't be undone. Even if this post feels something like a walk of shame to me, it does me no good to beat myself up about it at this point.

Saru mo ki kara ochiru.
Even monkeys [and Maggies] fall from trees.

I've fallen, but I could get back up. So I did.


  1. I agree with you. I don't think you should have to set your quit meter back at all. This is quitting smoking - not candidacy for sainthood. In the entire universe of things that people (or monkeys) can do "wrong", I think this is fairly minor. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and cruise right back into that marauding-deer expressway.


  2. Ditto what Tasina said!

    First off, let me say you are still an inspiration! Your support here has been invaluable to me!

    Ok, so I read your entire post and you know what the most meaningful part is to me? That you smoked? Nope, not at all. This is most meaningful to me:

    "Ultimately, though, it's done and can't be undone. Even if this post feels something like a walk of shame to me, it does me no good to beat myself up about it at this point"

    Those are your words, so you should heed them, young lady! :-) well, except for that "walk of shame" crap! You have nothing to be ashamed about! The Evil Addict is bitch to just gotta shake harder, that's all.

    Yesterday is the past. Period. Can't change it, so don't waste precious time worrying about it. On the railroad of life, you just had a little, just get back on track and keep going. Toot! Toot! Full speed ahead!

    You are still a non-smoker...hey, the GetQuit site says if you slip up and smoke it doesn't make you a smoker again...and you know, if GetQuit says so, it must be true!! :-) Seriously, don't beat yourself about it, girl. And, don't you dare change your quit meter!

    Congrats, Maggie, on 119 smoke-free days!

  3. Oh Maggie, I am sorry to hear about all your bad news lately (smoking and the car).

    I don't think resetting the counter at the top of the page matters, continuing to stay smoke free is what matters.

    Keep trying, every day is a challenge that we have to meet (you know this) and just because we don't win one day doesn't mean we stop trying. Don't let this slip get under your skin and put you back into junkie mode.

    I am with you sister, it's a tough road to hoe, but you can get back on the branch (with the rest of us monkeys).

    Stay strong.

  4. Aaaaaw Maggie! Poor Maggie! Do NOT beat yourself up over this slip, you are still a non-smoker (there are people everyday that smoke socially even and consider themselves non-smokers) and no I'm not giving you the okay to be a social smoker :):).
    Keep moving forward and keep being the inspiration that keeps scores of other people from smoking. You will overcome this bump in the road.
    Do not reset your meter........I wish it were that easy to turn back my physical clock - hahahaa

  5. I can't thank you all enough for your support. I still feel like a ninny, but I'm moving forward, and I really do appreciate all the kind words.

  6. Dear Maggie,
    Only to say to you that I am giving up because of you. I am reading your blog a week ago. You are a trully inspiration to me.
    So please do not give up.

  7. You definitely don't need to beat yourself up over this one and there is no reason to reset your counter. Just remember you are a non-smoker;

    I am what like 10 days behind you on my quit? I have had 2 slips since I quit. I went to Boulder with my boyfriend a month ago and saw a show at Red Rocks.. ended up taking a couple drags of someones cig there and last week in Eugene at a show I did it again. I admit it made it tough not to do it again for a couple days but I am (and plan to remain) a non-smoker.

  8. Maggie is sad to hear about you falling I hope it didn't hurt to bad...One thing for you to remember is LEADERS do fall sometimes...but what makes the differnece is that they get back up....and I consider you a leader...and you are such an inspiration to us all...YES we all were in love with those darn cigarettes for many years...but walking away is very tuff but we can do this all from one monkey to another keep on swinging....

  9. Mary, I wish you the best of luck with your quit!

    Lakasha, so great to see you and hear that the quit can, indeed go on!

    MY, thank you. I'm swinging ;)

  10. Maggie girl, no biggie. I am discovering, though, that I think I will stay away from alcohol altogether for a WHILE. You should, too. I think that's the morale of what happened. I will not believe in the million years you would've smoked if you were sober!

  11. Hi Maggie.

    I've been watching your blog for a few weeks now and was sad to read about your slip. But it really seems like you're going to pick up your quit where you left off which is fantastic.

    However, I'm going to have a different vote on your counter.

    I say...set it back or create a new, additional one.

    I don't say it to be cruel, but because I've been there. I know for a fact that resetting that counter is painful. But it might help you. Since you've slipped you are going to need to be that much more careful going forward. So knowing that if you slip'll have to reset the counter again...might be the straw that keeps you on the ex side of ex-smoker.

    But like others have said, this is a difficult battle and we each fight it in our own way.

    Take care and try to keep the self-flaggelation to a minimum.


  12. Oh, girl, I blame myself for your slip. If only I hadn't been out of the country. If only I hadn't been without Internet access the past few days. If only I had been chanting, "Don't smoke, Maggie." 24 hours a day, you wouldn't have slipped up and the world wouldn't be spiraling out of control the way it is... wait a second, that's ridiculous. As is you beating yourself up over "The Slip."

    At 120 days, you are no longer a smoker. You won't do it again. If you do, you'll keep up the good fight. You're much too proud of winning the war to surrender after one lost battle.

    And I LOVE that Japanese saying. So, in a way, thanks for slipping so I could read that. ;)

  13. As for the reset of the counter - don't even think about it.

  14. Stan, I do think that alcohol and me in the same place where a cigarette is just too available is not the greatest idea for awhile.

    Pluck, I appreciate your way of thinking on the quit meter. Still, I really don't feel like I'm starting over but just getting back on track in the middle of my journey. I am glad to hear that you've been reading along - are you quit, or quitting or just found me randomly?

    Danielle, yes, all your fault ;) And you're welcome for the saying. I've always loved that saying.

  15. Maggie, this, too, shall pass. You are not a smoker because you had one tiny little slip while you were drinking.

    I have to admit... I really should address this on my blog. I am a writer. And... I went to school with a lot of writers, all of whom drank pretty heavily. I didn't drink with them. I didn't drink at all for years. Not that I had any moral objection to it; I just didn't like the way it tasted.

    Then someone introduced me to Mudslides and White Russians. *These*... I like. And to be honest, I have a drink before I go to sleep at night. Which is late. Because I'm a writer and an insomniac.

    I have been drinking a drink per night throughout my quitting months. While I take Chantix, while I stop smoking -- I'm still having that "good night" beverage. And perhaps as a result, I haven't had any unusual cravings for cigarettes if I happen to be in a social setting where my friends are drinking.

    I'm not sure how much of this is all Chantix, how much of it is all environment, or how much of it is all biology. These are things that must be figured out by smarter and more scientific minds than mine.

    But I do know this: You, Maggie, *you* are not defined by one evening's activities. *You* are an ex-smoker. And I'm still perfectly thrilled to know you.

  16. Hi again.

    I totally understand/respect your decision to keep you counter as is.

    I quit smoking almost three years ago. I started for a week with the patch and then just dove in cold turkey and haven't looked back. Ok, that's a lie...that's what I'm doing now, looking back. But my husband and I quit at the same time, but he never got past the initial withdrawal stage and he's been smoking ever since (which, I may add, made quitting that much harder).

    But he's trying again with Chantix. When he went on a drug I hadn't heard of, I did what I always do when dealing with an unknown...I googled. And that is how I found your blog.

    He's been on it for 5 weeks and is doing...ok. He was still smoking a bit up to 2 weeks ago, but hasn't been smoking at all since. The chantix has seemed to really work wonders for him. My excitement was a bit dampered by a conversation we had last weekend when he told me that he thought that he could smoke one or two occassionally now and be ok. That he wouldn't "ever" go back to smoking full time. Hogwash. But I'm trying to walk that fine supportive but not nagging line that we partners-of-quitters have to walk. I'm hoping that he eventually sees the light.

    See, this isn't the first time I've quit. This is my third real quit. Twice before I've gone over a year without smoking and had that one "slip" turn into a fall on my full time smoker face. I know how easy it is. And I also know how painful it is. Because you don't usually just go out and buy a pack. You start slowly and before you know it you are lying to people about it and dreading being home because that means being in constant withdrawal. I used to come up with excuses to get out of the house so I could smoke and I felt totally crappy about it. I don't want him to go through that. I don't want to go through that.

    Wow...I didn't mean to go on like that. I guess THAT's why I'm reading your blog. It feels a bit like I'm re-living my quit through his. And your insights are dead-on and well written (a rarity in blogland). So I hope you don't mind if I keep an eye on your progress and I hope you weren't put off by my suggestion about a second ticker.

    Thanks for reading this far!


  17. Bay, thank you! I held off on any drinking for awhile, then only in an environment away from cigarettes, so this was a stretch perhaps further than I was ready to try.

    Pluck, thank you so much for all of your kind words. I really appreciate it, and I do hope that your husband finds success with his quit. Like you, I've quit successfully in the past, so I definitely understand how easy it is to go backward and become a smoker again and why it's so important to do all we can to avoid it. No hard feelings here at all about your suggestion.

  18. Don't be too hard on yourself. You are human. I slipped up the other day also, and, I said to myself, "It's ok. Just resume being a healthy person."

    It's a subtle distinction, but, I'm not really thinking of myself as a nonsmoker anymore... or, at least I'm trying not to....... I'm going to blog all about this idea soon .....

  19. Maggie, you have been such an inspiration to so many of us! Please don't beat yourself up about this. My life motto is "I'm one puff away from a pack a day." I second the idea to avoid bars/alcohol for the time being. I mean, if you were on a diet you wouldn't hang out in a bakery, would you?

  20. John, glad we are both on the healthier track!

    Thank you, eother, and good point, too!


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