No Smoking Field Report/part 8/3 months
Fun fact – the older you get, the more often you catch yourself talking, or in the case of yours truly – writing, about how fast time goes by. Or am I just thinking it a lot, forgetting that I have never written that before? I have no real clue, honestly, and I must leave it up to observant and dedicated readers with better memories than mine, to uncover this insignificant piece of truth. Fact remains, time goes by way quicker, seemingly, as you get older, in sharp contrast to the summers of childhood that seemed to last forever. The gap between birthdays seemed to be a lifetime, so you took absolutely everything in – today it’s like “al-the-fuck-ready??”, feeling like you’ve only just cleaned up the mess from the previous birthday and now you need to send out invites – again?!
You might wonder what that has got to do with the topic at hand, and in my vanity I would have welcomed a smart and super intellectual reason – but it’s pretty low practical: I feel like I just finished writing and uploading the No Smoking Field Report part 7…but it’s like…an entire month ago. We’ve had Christmas and New Year’s since then!
Having said that, it may come as no surprice, that I feel like I have nothing knew to add. Scratching the back of my head, sipping that freshly brewed coffee and re-reading my part 7 (although I hate reading former posts, because I usually spot missed typos or grammar flaws, despite of at least two proof reads) – I got a little wiser. Yeah, I have got something new to add, alright!
The very best word I can use for this is perservering. And it’s not that I want to strip you of courage and/or motivation, but do remember that I have just survived Christmas, the complete mess up of routines that this specific ramped up season brings, not yet in the clear of my seasonal affective disorder, which has also messed with my plans for exercising and eating better… I know, I am making excuses rather than reasons here, and I am sorry for not setting a better role model – but really? Can you blame me? The other day I saw someone on Instagram uploading a photo of a pack of cigarette and writing how these were a great comfort.
Talk about rubbing it in! Wax on, wax off, Karate Kid wannabe!
But of course I persevere, because although I can be pretty humble (may not always sound like it, but trust me: give me a little praise and I’ll be cringing my toes and feet, lowering my gaze with cheeks redder than a pluck-ready tomato) – I wrote some pretty damn fine reasons for sticking to the new smoke-less life. In fact, I still stand by those reasons to the letter, so I’ll just go ahead and do a copy-paste for the sake of repetition for old readers and clarification for new:
The 5 stupefying reasons to not smoke!
1) The things you miss, will make you smell. If you have come two (NOW THREE) months in, you now know EXACTLY how smokers smell like. You also know that you may have had an idea about it before – but now you KNOW.
2) Count the money you save – hell, put those money in a jar, if you unlike me can afford it and buy yourself someting nice after a month or two – something you’ll look forward to, something you’ve missed.
3) You might have realised by now just how much tar and nicotine was in the air, if you’ve washed down walls, windows or doors, since you’ve quit. Not only think about how easy it will be to clean those things, but also think about that the yellow layer you’re washing away – is practically the insides of your lungs. Or rather, it WERE. Now you are good – so stay good.
4) It’s abstract to think about, but as I said earlier; you are actually longing for that friend, who will smile and kiss your ass while you know he or she is plotting on taking you down. You want to invite someone home that will eat your food, trash your place and probably burn it to the ground – why would you do that?
Yours truly, No Smoking Field Report, part 7
5) If you have any love for your life, why would you chose to slowly kill yourself? In what world and dimension does that even make sense?
They are pretty good, right? I want to argue with them, but I can’t. So they work and they do their thing, the way they are supposed to do it.
So rest assured, that while I may sometimes succumb to using excuses, exactly the way I warned against in “Jane Fonda – On Your Left”, I am very well aware of the actual reasons:
Of course SAD can do something to your mood and energy levels, but I knew I wanted to get started and the only reason – TRUE reason – why I didn’t, was that I couldn’t be bothered to make the goddamn decision. I got pretty close and then it’s like the spirit left me, as if it was some reverse exorcism. Which can essentially be tied to my executive dysfunction due to autism, but organizing can usually help me there. And I didn’t – not until after Christmas, then I started to dabble a bit with some sheets, until I figured out how I could keep myself focused – but all of that, you find in the Jane Fonda – On Your Left – post.
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I am going to say something now, and I hope it won’t ruin things for you fellow quitters outthere or trigger anything (so I guess what I’m really saying is if you feel vulnerable in your smoke-less endeavor, maybe you should just skip this paragraph)….it’s just… and I know it’s the psychological addiction talking, but gaaawwdd sometimes I actually miss smoking. Not the taste. Not the smell. But the feel. Which is why that picture on Instagram probably triggered me so much. And it bothers me, that with my bloody “10 lane freeway in rush hour” kind of brain, I can’t seem to think of something to replace that. I’m usually never short of ideas, but I get stuck with the usual suspects: eating a carrot, drinking water and shit (“shit” as in “etc.” – I don’t actually drink shit!) – but it’s just not the same thing.
Not even remotely.
It doesn’t relax me because what few know (and now obviously, the whole world) I actually don’t like to hear myself or others chew, drink or swallow and sometimes I don’t even like the feel in my mouth. I can get immensely annnoyed in a workplace cafeteria and even in smaller settings, I need some background music or at least for a conversation to take place (but do not speak with your mouth full, please, it’s disgusting!).
So here’s the conundrum, that got to me as I was re-reading part 7 and contemplating new epiphanies:
How is it, that – with my dislike for the sounds and occasional feel of food and liquids – I replaced smokes with eating? Mostly bad foods like chocolate and cake and the lot. How is that? I mean, yeah, it’s called comfort eating, but seriously guys, I went from an addiction, that completely relaxed me, to one that can set my teeth on edge. In what logical sense, setting or brain is that a good trade? And it made me gain even more weight, than I had already gained from the medication (scoff).
So while this makes me crave for just one little whiff of a smoke, it also makes me adamant and obstinate that the planned changes in my life, in which I will start to take proper care of my body, must proceed. I regard this illogical substitution as a sign that whatever controls addictive feels in the brain is temporarily damaged – and logically better foods (nutricion) and exercise should clear a path as to why exactly that is. I mean, beyond the reason of replacing a smoke. Why replace a smoke? Why food as replacement? Why does food work and, say, making a puzzle, doesn’t?
You should not be worried about my smoking coming back though. I am pretty stubborn that way and besides, I have my 5 reasons. In fact I had the odd “pleasure” of walking behind some stranger smoking the other day, wind in my direction. And the smell… at some point I caught myself thinking that I’d rather she’d farted…!
Beyond the nosetip…
In Denmark, we have now reached a point where the cigarette packs must be hidden at the counter, with curtains or cupboard doors shielding that they are there (this is to prevent kids from beginning to smoke in the first place).
I actually love and welcome this. Because contrary to previous stop attempts, whenever I do the grocery shopping, I am not confronted with them (reminded of addiction), thereby minimizing the risk of getting “caught” on a day, where I’m lacking the spine to resist the temptation.
The price for a pack is still very low, compared to other countries and for some reason, politicians are hesitant changing the law about this.
This in spite of numerous smokers actually wishing they COULD stop and that they hadn’t started in the first place.
I am one of those.
I am very well aware, that every crave I get – it is all on me. I started it, back when I was 17. Actually, it started when I was 10, the first time around! It would be awesome if it could be recreational, like occasionally giving yourself a facemask or lying in the bathtub. But in my case, my system is too addictive. I tried narrowing it down to recreational. Suddenly every day was about recreation!
But a) it would not have started, if I hadn’t been introduced in the first place and b) I was too shy and introvert to go to some specialized shop, so had cigarettes been there, rather than in the supermarket, where I went often with my mum – well… I know, it’s speculation, but well founded. Even today, I keep out of stores I don’t know, unless someone takes me there the first time.
And here’s another “fun” fact for you at the finish line:
…how is it even possible (legally), that something we KNOW to be so damaging AND addictive to our bodies, that we can just go to the nearest drugstore or supermarket and get it, no questions asked? How about pharmacists took over that part, so every single time you bought a pack (and you could only buy a certain amount at the time, like 1 or 2 packs), you would get advice on how to quit, a free nicotine gum or they’d hold group meetings for quitters, that you’d get an invite to. Plus, how many kids go to the pharmacist alone?
I mean, they stopped selling pills in massive containers to avoided suicides – but everyone above 18 (and often younger) can go buy cigarettes (that are also known to cause lethal medical conditions) – no restrictions, besides age (which doesn’t work), no questions asked, no ways offered to get out. How does that make sense?
All the restrictions, law changes etc. so far has reached those that were able to quit by themselves or by actively on their own seeking help to do so. For a long time the number of smokers were gong down. Recently I heard it was going back up: then they shielded the cigarettes in the store and kudos for that.
But I think we have underestimated how much children learn from grown ups. And if one parent with two children smokes, we have – like it or not – the potential of future increase.
It’s actually pretty simple math.
Which is why I believe that the next wave of changes should reach out more, rather than punish and judge.
Remove cigarettes entirely from drug- and grocery stores where children are often brought by their parents (to protect the children and the future adults) – move it to specialized stores, like a pharmacist, where they can professionally guide on health care, and make sure that every single sold pack of cigarettes comes with a brochure on reasons to quit, a free nicotine patch or maybe a pack with 12 pieces of nicotine gum (this would need cooperation from those companies) – some sort of aid – and good health care advice! Not to remind on how dangerous the smokes are with pointed fingers and judgements or scare campaigns, because smokers already know that part (they are addicted, not dumb!), but to constantly being given the option to get help.
We can’t all ask for help.
We can’t all make the first brave move on our own.
And some of us take some time to build the courage even when help is offered.
I am willing to bet that a lot of current smokers have tried to stop more than once. Isn’t it time, we did something new? Something outside the box that will help them succeed? I am not saying my ideas are the golden path – I am saying that we need to approach the next part of the journey with a different mindset.
And that concludes my 3rd month-off-the-smokes-post for you! It got a little political, but I do believe we need to address this – if not for ourselves, then for the children we bring into this world.
I’ll be back on the topic of not smoking next month at my 4th month of being smoke free. You can read all the “No Smoking Field Report”‘s right here. Remember to check the sidebar for the nearest upcoming posts.
Luv ya –