Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fragile (and Psychic Update)

Today is Smoke-free Day 149.

Each day that I don't smoke is kind of like its own little miracle (again, with my cooperation). Even now, to some degree.

I say that because you all know that I had my smoking oops back in mid-October, and I've talked about having been quit in the past for anything ranging from 2 months to well over a year, only to go back to smoking again. I'm not alone. I'll let each person tell his or her own stories, but even the best and most determined among us are capable of lighting up again (debating on putting link here to blog of one of the most supportive folks that helped me and has had a little stumble, but not sure if I should, so for now, I won't unless I'm told to go for it - doesn't matter either way since it could be any one of us).

Within a day of hearing about a dear fellow Chantix blogger slipping/sliding/stumbling/falling from a tree/whatever it's called, John also happened to post about this article, and I agree with John's choice of words to say that for many of us, our quits are "fragile." I'll quote the same thing John did because it stopped me in my tracks:
more than 90 percent of people who quit smoking eventually return to this dangerous habit
I'm not sure on that statistic since it sounds really high (though it may have been specific to the Bahamas), but I am aware that lots of those who quit smoking do not stay that way. For a good while, I didn't.

Also, this:
Dr. Mintzer also warns ex-smokers to avoid second-hand smoke. Not only is it dangerous to your health, but, when you are with others who are smoking, the temptation to light up can be almost irresistible.
Believe me, I know. The one night I was drinking and cigarettes were available, I failed. That was about 4 months into my quit, and I do not feel much stronger right now.

Tom and I have a tradition of going to Reno every year in February. Two years ago, I ended a quit of several months there, and last year it didn't matter because I was a full-blown smoker again (though I think I'd attempted quitting in between trips). Back on Chantix Day 57 / Smoke-free Day 45, I wrote a post about it not being worth it to me to take a chance in smoky places, especially where alcohol is involved, because *I know how I am* and I tend to smoke in those places, but at that point I was sure I'd be ready for Reno. Today, as the date looms closer, I'm less sure. I'll decide in January.

Perhaps this sounds really silly to those who are able to be in those situations and not smoke or think that I'm a weenie because this far along (approaching 5 months) I'm still not feeling so ready. My dear friend J that told me about Chantix was out in his favorite haunts immediately (looking hip, slick and cool as a non-smoker, I'm sure), and even though I screwed up briefly the time I gave the same situation a try, he hasn't had a single puff. Not one. I've said plenty times, we are all different. I wear Hello Kitty pajamas and have eaten squid entrails (gross as it sounds), probably unlike most of you (though please email me immediately if that also describes you).
My triggers will likely be somewhat different from some of your triggers.

The important thing for me is to keep in the very front of my mind,
at least for the next while, however long that is, is what kind of situations would make me more likely to succumb and smoke, yes, even now, and either avoid those situations when both reasonable and possible (I understand that sometimes I won't be able to, nor should I hole myself up in my apartment with racks of guns in fear of smoking breaking down my door), or at least prepare my head before entering one of those situations when I want to or have to go anyway.

Someday, maybe, it won't be quite like this and perhaps such vigilance will not be required. Until then, this really isn't so bad. Honestly, for all the fear and fragile in this post, today I actually feel pretty darn strong because I will not be in situations that make it difficult for me. In fact, overall, I'd still say that it continues to be almost easy not to smoke, and more so every day that I don't smoke.

I just understand that I am not somehow cured or immune from ever smoking again, and I never, ever, ever, EVER want to have to go through this all over again if just a little vigilance and listening to what I know is best for me can prevent it.

If you are off track, get back on. We can all do this. Carefully.

Psychic update: Watched the episode of Aliens in America that I missed last night, and had to laugh at the timing considering the post I wrote today. Nutshell: Raja, the exchange student, lights up a smoke, and before long both parents (secretly from each other) start to re-kindle the addiction long since gone. Lies, secrets, promises to quit, anxiety while quitting - all of it back just like that. Boom.


  1. Hey there Maggie...
    Even though you feel fragile, I know you will make it through the day. I can do a lot of things for one day that I can't imagine doing for the rest of my life. I wanted to go to Vegas the other day and thought better of it. I mean, I wouldn't go to a crack house if I just got out of rehab...come to think of it, after being clean for 20 years I still wouldn't go to a crackhouse. Don't get me wrong, I have been to some insane places while trying to help people get clean but I know if I am feeling hesistant, it is best not to go or bring back up. I think my head was telling me a trip to Vegas would be good so I would have a reason to really "smoke it up" before I quit. I am glad I decided to stay away from the Casino. Maybe I can go another time. I hope you and your husband are able to go, if not there is always another spot to discover.
    Before I go, it is day three of no smokes. I feel awful. I have a headache and feel kind of wierd. I was definetly testy and on edge. How long before you felt good?

  2. Wow. What a post.

    My dad quit several times before he finally ditched it for good, and now just had his 10 year anniversary of not smoking. One quit before the final one lasted 7 months! Obviously, no Chantix was used or any NRTs. I guess I've been coming to peace knowing that I am still trying. That's what ultimately matters for us all. To keep trying, if we make a mistake. And it's not about quitting, I think it's about life in general.

  3. If we all keep going, we will all get there ;)


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