Monday, June 16, 2008

T+111 Hours (or: Mickey Has To Do Math Now)

Calculating the running total of smokeless hours now requires using the skill of adding short columns of small numbers. Up through about 72 hours, most of us can do the conversion from memory without having to consult our second-grade columnar addition lessons. After that it gets a little trickier. But a few ticks on the fingers gives me 96+12+3.5=... 111.5 hours. So, in the interest of scientific method, here are a few observations. Maybe someone reading this is considering quitting. If so, maybe knowing what could be coming will help you prepare -- and deal.

The urges are still there. And they're still strong. Sometimes wicked strong. And more times than one I've been tempted to "just have one, just to take the edge off". Some people might be able to do that and get away with it. I'm not one of those people. "Moderation" is not something I'm good at, and it's been the "one to take the edge off" that's foiled all my other attempts in the past.

Behind the mask of withdrawal symptoms that make it seem like I'm not feeling any better, I can see evidence that I'm actually getting better. (And no, the two things are not interchangeable.) Exhibit A supporting this thesis is my first-thing-in-the-morning pseudo-walks with Tonka. I've noticed that the time I spend waiting for him to select just the right spot to pee no longer involves hacking up lungfuls of brown, gelatinous gaack to be spewed forth onto the lawn. This, I have to admit, is a positive side-effect.

Exhibit B is an increase in energy. But whether that increase is permanent or simply brought on by withdrawal is yet to be determined. I suspect that some of it may be permanent, but I'd really like to be able to harness the part that's making me unable to sit still. That, I'm pretty sure is a withdrawal symptom. And permanent or not, the excess in "nervous energy" is having some effects that aren't necessarily positive. It seems to have pushed all of my usual "drives" into "overdrive", and some of those I didn't really need to have cranked up.

I now know that all those reformed smokers were telling the truth about being sensitive to the smell of smoke. I can smell a burning cigarette a block away now. And I'm trying -- so far successfully -- not to be one of those hyper-militant assholes that used to get on my nerves so much. But I think I understand those people better now. Because to a recovering tobaccoholic, that smell is the perfume of the gods. And it triggers a lust unrivaled by any in my experience, save one.

New Trick: I'm trying something new today, just to see if it helps. Ricola Natural Herb Cough Drops (available at fine retailers everywhere). The idea here is to placate the oral fixation formerly satisfied by cigarettes. I picked these for a number of reasons, but mainly because it's damn near impossible to chew the things up. So they last a really long time. Certainly longer that the nearly full bag of Sun Chips I plowed through while watching Jeff Dunham's Spark of Insanity DVD yesterday. Ricola doesn't say how many calories are in one of those little pieces of herbal gravel, but I'm guessing it can't be so many that my clothes won't fit later. And, dude, they're all natural!

That's all I got for now -- Payce, I'm out!Stumble Upon Toolbar


tiff said...

"Herbal gravel." Stems and seeds, dude?


Good on ya for the continued quittage!

Cravey said...

Well done friend. I'm proud of ya'.

and "gelatinous brown gaack". .. that's some fine imagery right there.


Mojo said...

@tiff: Oh hell no. I got enough munchie-itis trouble as it is now. The Ricola's are just to keep my mouth busy. (There just isn't a good way to say that is there?)

Mojo said...

@JC: I was trying to think of a way to describe it and fell back on the old "What Would Cravey Do?" question. It has ne'er failed me yet.

mamie said...

I am still amazed that I can smell the smoke coming from the person killing themselves in the car in front of me at the stop light.

I want to say a word about the hyper feeling you have. For some people cigarettes are a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. For some, like me and maybe you, the two have an opposite effect. So when I smoked, I could quit crying, relax, etc, and when I drank, good god almighty I could sing and dance better than John Travolta and stay up all night looking like a fool doing it. Meditation has helped me be still and quiet and un-jittery.

And the cough drops? Good idea, and I drank out of a water bottle with the sucky-top (know which one I mean?) and it worked like a charm. I mean the whole dang smoking thing is the fault of my mother who had kids so fast she didn't have time to nurse us, right?

Anyway, keep up the good work!

mamie said...

Oh yeah, a PS - my brain didn't really function right for a while after I quit - couldn't seem to concentrate or read a book (and I read about 40-50 books a year normally). Fortunately, my brain is back to its normalcy whatever that means.

Mojo said...

@mamie: "Focus" has been a little tricky at times. Hadn't thought about the sport type bottles, though I have been through quite a bit of water in the last (consults watch and calculator) 116 hours. Not a bad idea...