Thursday, March 06, 2008

Either I'm a Chicken...

Today is smoke-free day 262, and either I'm a complete chicken, or I'm just determined with everything inside of me not to screw up this not smoking thing this time and not taking any extra chances just for the sake of testing myself without any other good reason to be in a smoke-filled room inhaling more deeply than I should (because that's the kind of goofy crap I might do - can't take me anywhere, sheesh!).

Here's the thing. Probably normal people who have quit for 8 months already can run around willy nilly going to bars and wherever else it is that people are even allowed to smoke anymore (awesome that I am no longer sure). In truth, I've told all of y'all before that my dear friend J (the one who told me about Chantix) was able to visit the bars the very night he quit, just jumped in with both feet how he does, and he's *still* not even had an oops, even if I did back in October. He's got to be coming up on a year. He's bold like that. Again, I say, different people, different paths, even where quitting smoking is concerned, hell, especially where quitting smoking is concerned. It's such an individual and personal thing saying goodbye to an old poisonous friend.

Why am I all wound up about this (again)? Well, back in August the Chantix GetQuit folks said something about taking a risk and being in smoky situations, and I went a little batshit about it in this post (and got some backing, too!) because it made no sense to me to deliberately seek out smoky places just to prove some point to myself. Having a legitimate reason to be in a place where there also happens to be smoking is one thing; seeking it out *because* it is smoky and time to take that risk really isn't the best thing for someone like me. Then, in November, I posted about feeling fragile and sort of revisited this whole smoky situation thing with my thoughts still intact about not thinking it was quite the right thing for me. There are a few reasons we wound up not taking our annual trip to Reno this February, and one of them was both of us being concerned that after a few days I'd either be going nuts or smoking. I mean, a few hours is one thing, but days? Perhaps we still would have gone, and perhaps (likely even) I would not have smoked, but I'm almost relieved that other factors made it so that we didn't go.

All that, and then today when I was invited to log into my GetQuit program thingy (about once a week now, I think?), it was talking about "Testing Your Past Triggers" and saying it was "time to take a peek outside of your safety zone."

To which I thought, nope, no thank you. I mean, true, while in Chicago I did wind up for a few hours in a smoky place because that's just where we were all going, but on my own, a smoky place would be my last choice unless there was a really big endless free latte with my name on it inside, and even then, it still just doesn't seem appealing (wow, progress). If I'm going to smell like an ashtray and inhale poison from the air anyway, I'd just as soon be enjoying and smoking my own favorite brand of cigarette myself. This is just how I am, which is why I'm better off doing as I am still mostly staying away from smoky places as much as possible while others do just fine.

If you are curious and don't mind me ruining the surprise if you haven't gotten to this topic yet in the program, here's the whole thing from the GetQuit site:
This Week’s Topic: Testing Your Past Triggers.

Hopefully, you’ve been smoke-free for many months. Now it’s time to take a peek outside of your safety zone.

Did you avoid people you knew would offer you a smoke? Some of them could be people you want to spend time with. Suppose there’s an upcoming event where you’ll see them. Maybe you love to hear live music, but the only place to do that in your area is at a bar that allows smoking.

Whatever your triggers are, make sure you are comfortable going back into that environment. Don’t try more than one at a time, and proceed with caution. Not 3 or 4 of your major triggers. Just try 1.

The secret to surviving any trigger as a nonsmoker is to be prepared. Think about the situation and what it was that made you want to smoke a cigarette. Then remind yourself that you’ve quit and you plan to stay that way. You’ve made the commitment to break free from smoking for good, and there’s no room in your life for cigarettes.

The best thing to do when an unexpected trigger occurs is to go back to what worked before. Here are some things that could help:

* Remove yourself from the situation.
* Call a Support Buddy.
* Use your Coping Skills, Craving Stoppers and Quit Strategies.
* Call the GETQUIT™ Cravings Hotline at 1-877-CHANTIX (242-6849) from 8AM - midnight Eastern Time, 7 days a week.
* Think about Your Inspiration and reasons to quit.

For just about every former smoker, lighting up even one cigarette is not an option. In almost every case, it can lead to smoking more. Did this give you a lot to think about?


  1. You were one of the first Quit Buddies I found Maggie and you inspired me (as I've seen you do for so many others). Your fuck up, oooops slip up back this past fall actually helped me to succeed, you showed me that you can be human and still quit.
    One of my biggest triggers thus far is still food, certain kinds of food and of course coffee (although that is lessening). I've gone into bars and I've been in small casinos on a cruise ship where people were smoking and I wasn't. At least during those times I was actually comforted by the smell of the cigarettes and didn't worry that I wasn't smoking. I love Vegas and Reno but have intentionally stayed away wondering how I would do.
    If I slip up and smoke then I'll get back on Chantix immediately and start again. I think we have to be ready for a slip once in awhile and not beat ourselves up about it all. Other people belittled me while I smoked and then I quit and now I'm worried about it all again - Screw that and Screw them! I don't want to smoke ever again but if I slip, I'll pick myself up, dust myself off and keep moving forward.
    I also loved to smoke while I was reading and on the computer, I've cut the computer stuff out but I'm not reading like I used to cause when I start, I want to smoke.................oh well.

  2. I don't think I really have a proximity problem. I've been in some pretty smoke-heavy situations since my quit with little difficulty. My problem is stress....when I get stressed out I want a cig badly.

    I think you're smart to gauge yourself and decide you're not ready...especially with the other stuff going on. You know best what you are able to your instinct.

  3. I got that same message awhile back and thought the same thing. For me, if I smell someone smoking, it smells good and tempts me. I'm just not going to do that to myself.

  4. I have never smoked, but I think if it doesn't feel right to you, you should go with those feelings.

    There is no generic normal. There is normal for you. There is no universal answer. You can only decide what feels right and works right for you.

    The very cynical side of me suddenly thought...this message is from the people who make Chantix, right? So maybe this is a way to get repeat customers...encourage people to take those risks, and then when they start smoking again, they will buy more Chantix. I know. I said it was the really really cynical side of me...

  5. Do what you want. i don't even read the get quit shit any who. i read everyones blogs and that's what helps me. they didn't even send me my first packet until I was half way through. Loved the drug hate the program. You will know when you are ready even if it's never.

  6. Thanks, MamaFlo! I'm content right where I am because sometimes my oops turn into years of smoking. Not worth the risk overall.

    Thanks, Tasina. You nailed it. My exact point was that people are different, so we really have to go with our instincts.

    Amen, Lynda! It's kind of torturous for me to smell it and not have any... I feel the same way about the smell of cookies in the oven. Or popcorn. :)

    Julie, I agree that what works is definitely not universal. I don't think the GetQuit folks are up to anything devious, though, because a lot of the topics have decent info, and this would be that for lots of people - the ones who are not me ;)

    freefromthechain, I'm one of those that really has liked the GetQuit program, even if it's not perfect. It's probably not fair that I tend to only bring up the topics when I disagree, but overall, most of the info has been decent or at least has made me think. I just signed up online and got daily email reminders, so I didn't have to wait for anything in the mail.

  7. Hey all fellow quitters!
    I am only chicken about certain things....I survived Vegas, the Pachanga Indian resort and clubs. I have really have wanted a cigarette BADLY the last week due to stress and I have been staying away from "slippery" places while I am in this state of mind. Stress is the biggest trigger for me and always has been. I am tapering off the Chantix and take one pill a day now. I went off of Chantix for like four days without tapering and it was too soon. I need to keep my security blanket for a bit. Speaking of cigarette smell, today, some kid at the school next door was smoking on the PE field and I could totally smell it and I wanted one bad! I yelled for the kids to put the cigarette out and my students walked me through my craving. Kids can be so cool sometimes! My students know that it has been difficult for me to quit and kept saying, "You don't want to smoke smells nasty!" It took me like five minutes after shutting the door and the cravings went away. I guess I will have to deal with temptation for the rest of my life. You guys help a lot!


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