Funny story, I had a mini freak-out the other night. But I stayed strong though the ordeal, and only got a little panicked, but for good reason. I guess I need to mention two things (maybe 3) before telling the story, so I'll just start with those...
1) If you've read my other blog entries, you know I'm the kind of dipper that's one pinch away from a can-a-day habit. During the course of this quit I've realized that. Up until now, the two times I've tried to "quit" have really been me going through and substituting one form of nicotine for another while I pat the hell out of my own back about how tough quitting is. I'm just that kind of dipper. It's a part of me and it will always be. So, if I want this quit to last, there can be no exceptions. No cigars with the guys I was deployed with during reunions. No cigarettes with friends on summer Seattle nights down at the bars. I can drink, but I just can't have any nicotine.
2) My family and I go on one skiing/snowboarding trip each year to my wife's tiny hometown in Northeastern Washington over the long weekend in January. The kids have fun. My wife and I have fun. It happens one time annually, so the equipment doesn't get a big workout but once a year. I board with a small backpack so that I have hand warmers and chapstick and stuff for the kids. It stays in the A-bag I have my other boarding stuff in and it only comes out for air at this time every year.
2.5) My wife travels for work sometimes and she was gone last Thursday night.
So, there I was. Trying to be the good dad and get my own shit together before dogging all the kids to make sure they had hats and gloves and everything the needed for the ski trip next weekend. I keep all my equipment/clothing in one of my big military bags that can hold a surprisingly large amount of stuff. I was going through it making sure that I still had enough of everything and that all was up to date (enough bandaids, motrin, emergency vials of whiskey, etc.) and I found my boarding backpack. Just a small Camelback that my unit got for us all a long time ago that fits pretty well under my coat. It can carry everything I need on the slopes for a day. As I pulled it out of the A-bag, the backpack hit my helmet and made a sound. A solid, but metallic sound. A "clink" and a "thump" at the same time. It could only be one thing. Last season, I had always kept an emergency can of dip in the iPod pocket of this backpack just to make damn sure I wouldn't be stuck without a stash. I found last year's sealed stash last Thursday. My wife was out of town, so the self-discipline to do what needed to be done was entirely up to me. I didn't care that it was expired for 9 months. I mean, how healthy is that shit to begin with??? Does it need an expiration date? Anyway, I unzipped the compartment and a pristine maroon can of Skoal long cut straight slid out into my hand just perfectly. I grabbed the can in the habitual grip, gave it a thump with my finger and a well-practiced flick of the wrist. It sounded...perfect. I can still hear the paper seal tearing as I slid my fingernail around the familiar "open here to kill yourself slowly...painfully...and without any control" groove and popped off the lid. I held it up to my nose thinking that it would smell bad...that I wouldn't like it. I know reformed smokers who say that they now can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke. I think those guys are effing liars. It was glorious. My eyes were slightly watering as was my mouth. And I freaked out a bit.
I hadn't yet crossed the line into "nobody will know or find out" land, but I didn't want to get there. I immediately bolted for the bathroom. There was no fucking way I could ever throw this can away. I'd be digging that bitch out of the trash soon enough. It wouldn't matter if it were buried under used kitty litter, the can is sealed...it's probably fine. More drastic measures had to happen. I flushed the contents. Three times. Then, took the empty can to the sink and washed both the can and the lid out with soap, then put them back together, walked back to my 2nd floor bedroom window, and flung the empty can into the 4-degree night. If I had the damn thing in my room, there's a chance I would have smelled it for two hours before finally breaking down and heading to the store for another can and a refill for my Xyban...(which worked for me, by the way, for those of you thinking about using it). After that, I was satisfied at my exorcism of demons put on this earth to haunt me and was able to go back to what I was doing...getting my shit ready to take my family skiing.
The point of the story is this: cravings make zero sense. We all have to be strong and ever ready to take whatever drastic measures are required to violently stomp down cravings whenever they appear. I am at 66 days quit today. So I had been quit for 64 days when I found that year-old can in my snowboarding bag. I hadn't had as much as a single thought about dip for 72 hours. My last minor craving was when my wife went to the airport on Tuesday for her trip. Other then thinking in good fun, "She'll never catch my slip-up now" I didn't have a single thought about dip from that day until Thursday night at 11PM. But when it hit, it brought a fucking sledge. But, I fought back. I fought back in a crazy "I'm going to show up to your door with a hacksaw and a bag of lime" kind of way, but that's what it takes with this addiction for me. I can't pull any punches. I have to do whatever it takes. I'm not giving up on my quit. I'm proud of my 66 days, even though it may not sound like much to some of the guys on here. One day, it'll be 660 days, then 6600. And that won't change what I'm going though now and it won't cheapen my current fight later. I have a healthy respect for the strength of my addition...and I'm damn sure afraid of it. I'm not going to assume I have a craving beat, and I'm not taking chances. We're all in this together, but it's an individual struggle that we all must fight.
I'm going to keep going overboard, however crazy/funny/absurd the actions I take to keep the quit alive. I'm done dipping, but dip will never be done with me. I know that about myself and I fight that every day. You can do that too.
Reading stories from others, perusing the HOF speeches, and looking at all the information the site has to offer both inspired and strengthened my quit. There's no doubt that this site is reason my quit is successful. Writing this blog has also helped, in a way, to get my own thoughts down just so they don't cloud my mind. By writing them out, I get them out of my head and published to the only people who could possibly understand. It was also a form of coping with the withdrawal.
I've only missed roll twice in the 26 days I've quit, and one was due to being on a plane (which you can also read about) and the other was for getting distracted over the Thanksgiving holiday. On that day, I typed up my roll and then didn't hit "Post" before I got called away by the family to help with the "everything that goes with Thanksgiving" thing that was going on in my kitchen. I've been pretty good other than that. I'm amazed at the supporters that surf all of the Quit Groups and post encouraging messages even though they're 1000, 1400, or 2000 days in. It's an amazing thing to keep coming back to the site where they gained their freedom from the can to give others the strength to do the same. I can truly appreciate what they're doing. It helps my own quit. However, I'm not that dedicated an individual it seems. Sometimes I get busy. It's a lame-ass excuse, but it's all I got.
My intent when starting this blog was to have a daily entry to capture the thought process about whatever a reforming dipper thinks about as they're going through the withdrawal of a lifetime. I started out daily. Moved onto taking a week break between entries. Now I hope to just continue to take the time to record whenever I have a thought related to the quitting process. I had one of those today and I thought I'd share.
I've got two kids in middle school. They have a dad volunteer program. I signed up last year for a day for each kid, and have done the same this year. Today was my day with my 8th grader. I'll interject here that I was always one of those dippers who could hide it. Small sized pinch in the back of the left side of my very square and prominent jaw...no spitter required and the bump of the dip just disappeared into my face. I could run with one in. Drive cross-country with the family. Whatever was needed where I had to hide the fact that I was dipping while I absolutely needed to be dipping. Who's going to try to go the entire day surrounded by 1200 middle schoolers without a pinch of "Calmness In A Can"??? Not this guy! Anyway, last year I spent the entire day with a dip in for both days I volunteered. Nobody knew...or at least nobody said anything. Either way, I was fine with the way it turned out. Today, I had a several micro-cravings during the day spent shadowing my son around. Just things that reminded me of my experience last year made me want a dip this year. Things that were experienced with a small pinch of Skoal Long Cut Straight last year deserved an anniversary celebrated the same way, right? Science experiments in his lab class? That had dip with it last year...why not now? Because I'm quit now. I have been for 26 days. Then I would say to myself, "26 days is a hell of a good-looking number. That's awesome. Don't want to ruin the streak." and then the micro-craving would be gone.
That's what they've evolved into, for me at least. Micro-cravings. Things that last a second or two and then fleet away as soon as I give them a name. Dealing with the cravings has gotten to be pretty routine, and pretty easy. And that's the problem. I find myself more and more thinking that I could have a quick dip (less than 30 minutes) as a reward for my quit-ness and then get right back on the quit train. You know...using tobacco as it was originally intended. All things in moderation and good thoughts like that... It's in the middle of rationalizations like this when I realize that it's never going to be easy. I can totally empathize with the guys that have been quit for 3 fucking years that still get on here every couple days or so and post in shout box or get on other quit group sites as supporters. I think I'll forever be one of those tobacco addicts who even after 10 years of quit will be one pinch away from a can-a-day habit. That's what this drug is for me. It's a never yielding bitch that changes tactics to hit you where you're weakest. The cravings to get easier, the catch is that you have to be more vigilant to fight off the subtle craves than the killers at first. They're both hard to handle, and you can't get to the micros without getting past the beginning. God bless everyone on this site trying to fight their own stage of maintaining their quit. I'm not saying that I will be one of the guys posting daily with 3k quit days under my belt, but I respect the struggle and the guys that are winning it daily, no matter whether they have 3 hours or 3 days or 3 years.
That's the call to arms that resonates with me. Just win it daily. ODAAT.
I just shared this story with my quit group, but I wanted to record it here also. Such a small, strange world, full of surprises.
So I missed posting roll call yesterday, but I stayed strong. Knowing the guys in my quit group were on here really helped, but I've got the strangest story that I have got to share. On day 15 of my quit I mentioned to them that I was heading out to make my first flight without dip. I had a 2-week quit going, but somehow I still felt nervous about it. I had NEVER been on an airplane without dip, and I fly quite a bit. The flight was from Seattle to DC, so it was a full 5 hours in the air. Nothing to sneeze at. I got on the plane and made the trip there with no huge issues. I had a drink....or three. Chewed some gum. All good. I had a meeting Friday morning after the Thursday night flight, and then a flight back Friday night right after the meeting. It wasn't a pleasure trip, it was business. Anyway, it was on the return flight that things were...interesting.
I was feeling pretty good about myself from the flight out. I handled it pretty well. I had some cravings but I handled them with gum, breathing, and the knowledge that my quit was 2-weeks strong and that was not anything I was willing to throw away. I'm quitting for good this time. I was savoring the small victory. I was looking forward to relying on my quit strength to get through the return flight home. So, I make my way to my seat and I got stuck with a middle seat in the back of the plane. It was a last minute trip, and you kinda get what you get in last minute flight arrangements. I wasn't looking forward to being cramped (I'm 6'5") in a middle seat for a 5-hour flight with God knows what on either side of me. I had normally in the past just tried to catch up on work or reading during a flight while enjoying the dip that was going to be right there in my lip for the ENTIRETY of the flight...and the DC to Seattle trip? That's a 3-dip flight. Minimum.
So, who's my row buddy on the window side of me? A dipper. Not just a dipper, but a REAL dipper. A young, unashamed dipper. A dipper unabashed in his tobacconess. Not just an unabashed dipper, but a MY BRAND dipper. Not just a MY BRAND dipper, but a selfless dipper who was eager to share. I must have had a longing look in my eye, cause he offered me a pinch before takeoff. My exact response was, "I'm good..." That was hard. We talked for about 7 seconds. I said, "I'm good" He said, "Suit yourself, but it takes the edge off the flight, and it's a long flight." I said, "I quit a long time ago. Seriously, I'm good." And that was it. He took to spitting in a yellow Vitamin Water bottle (one of my personal fave's. Wide mouth bottle. Not much sugar. You can slam Vitamin Water quickly and get on with that bottle's true purpose...to be filled after being emptied) and I opened up my computer. My plan was to go online during the flight and make my roll-call for the day, but after that, I just couldn't. I watched a movie. I was caught in a made-up Catch-22 in my head. I don't have one of those computers that can't be seen from the side, so whatever I do can be seen by people sitting next to me. I wanted to sign in and make my roll-call and write this blog post then, but there was no way I was going to call out a dude sitting right next to me on what could have been a tough situation for me. He was sitting right there. I had some shit to say about him, but it wasn't personal to him. I was going to run into people who dipped my brand and this problem on this flight wasn't about him. It was about me. And I didn't want to be one of those guys that was like, "YOU GOTTA QUIT THAT SHIT!!!" or "I QUIT, AND MY QUIT BUDDIES ARE HANGING STRONG, BE ONE OF THEM!" or "QUIT FUCKER!!!!!" You can't say that...that ain't nice.
It simply was crazy... My quit is about me. Every dipper that's quit has their own reason. I can't push that shit on the poor fucker sitting next to me. He didn't know he hit the lotto with a dude that has dipped non-stop for the last 27 years. I've done some calculations and looked online. To the best I can figure, I've had plenty of days where I've ingested over a half a gram of nicotine in a day. A FUCKING HALF GRAM! A carton of smokes has about 200 milligrams. A can of Skoal Long Cut Straight has about 150 mg. So, if you go on a road trip where you smoke a carton of cigarettes on the same day that you burn through 2 cans of Skoal, congratulations my friends, you've crushed the half-gram mark. Hey...it happens... Hell, you can turn that into a game with your road-trip friends. But none of the math and my own bad personal decisions are grounds to lay a hefty guilt trip on the poor bastard who happened to draw the seat next to me. My quit is about me. I tried to quit for my wife and kids and job considerations and family and friends and on and on before. It doesn't work until it's about you. Where you, as the addict, reach your line in the sand. That's your reason. When you find it, your quit is successful. There's no breaking it. Now don't get me wrong, I still have plenty of times each day where i look to my wife, who's a source of major support for me in this ordeal, and say, "You know what time it is??? Fatty time!!!" or "Who needs a dip???" She just smiles and says to me, "Not you...Not yet." The bottom line is that I have my own reasons quitting as do all the guys on this site. It's not my seat neighbor's fault that he hasn't found his reason yet...and it's not my place to preach mine to him. It's my place to honor my own quit and stay strong.
So, I missed my roll call yesterday. I didn't write anything on the plane. I didn't want to call him out in front of him should he glance at my screen. I watched a couple of movies on my iPad and had a couple glasses of whiskey. I didn't dip. I'm glad I had the guys in the quit group to think about during that experience. I'm glad I have a wife that's supportive of my quit now and was understanding of my failed quits in the past. I'm glad I am where I am. It made me able to say that I quit a long time ago....which is complete and utter bullshit. I quit exactly 15 days ago. I'm not a HOF'er. I haven't "not-dipped" long enough to not remember the sweet/acidic flavor of a perfectly moist pinch. As a matter of fact, the simple thought of that makes my mouth water. But, I know myself. I'm an addict. I'm one pinch away from a can-a-day habit. I'm just making it one day at a time. ODAAT, as the supporters in my quit group put it. It all makes me stronger. Thanks to the fellas in my quit group whom I'm accountable to. Thanks to my wife who's okay with this not being about her or us or the kids...or that those reasons weren't strong enough to make my quit permanent in the past. That's not what this is about. It's about me deciding not to be a slave to the can. It's about me being fed up surrendering control to nicotine. I don't need that shit any more. I'm good...I really am. I'm good.
One week. End of week one. 7 days of NDT success. I feel like, in some way, that I've reached the part where some of it is downhill from here. I know that sounds absurd. "Hey _____! Get in here!!! This fuckin' Fish dude has a whopping single week of quit and thinks it's smooth sailing from here on out!" Well, when you say it like that, I'm abjectly and completely full of shit...however, I get to say I've done this once before.
The last time I quit (not a real try/read the previous blog post/blah, blah, blah) the perspective of having been there before never occurred to me. As a former military guy, all of my buddies and I were well-prepared to deal with whatever came along by replying to our shared misery with a hearty, "We've been through worse." Food? Had worse. Shitty bed? Slept in worse places. Hurt yourself? It's not even close to as bad as i've seen. Somehow, that mental toughness and resilience to stress never really applied to nicotine. The "embrace the suck" mentality never made sense when I was never, really, more than 2 minutes from being in a place where i could get a fix. Dip/cigars/smokes/whatever. It was always nearby, so there was never any reason to look a shitty situation in the eye and say, "Bring it!" That was before actually, genuinely, trying to quit the nic-habit for real.
Now, a week matters. There will be another Monday where I didn't have a craving that I beat the last time I had a Monday craving. There will never be another Thursday-night-say-an-early-hello-to-the-weekend event that I tackled without a pinch of long cut firmly in place between cheek and gum. If I EVER meet a day of the week where there's a craving, and I'm sure they'll be plenty, I can now actually say that I've beaten a (insert day of week here) before. It may not be the worst Monday I've ever had... I certainly don't think that I've built up enough quit days to say that my worst days are behind me. I can't say to future challenges that I've had worse. But, the small victory I get to claim today is that I've beaten each day of the week once now. There's been a precedent set, and it was set by me. Tomorrow will be the 1st anniversary of the Thursday I quit, and I'm going to look back on that first day from a better place. My cravings aren't nearly as bad though they're still nearly as often. Nearly. I'm good for one every 30-45 minutes now, which is where I was at the end of day 2. But I've grown in my quit. My quit is stronger by the day. The NDT mantra is still holding strong with me and still inspires. It's something to live up to with the rest of the guys on this site. Only now, this is NDT with experience.
I hope the guys on here find something funny/comforting/absurd about this entry. So far, I'm taking the win. It's a good excuse to celebrate.
Well, it's day 5. The majority of the "wandering around aimlessly while waiting for a merciless craving to just die during a period of time where I talk to myself thanking all that is holy my kids are at school" -style desires have passed. That is a good thing. I'm chewing plenty of gum and eating sunflower seeds and drinking a ton of water. That's also a good thing. The place where that left me today is somewhere where I was keenly aware of how much work my jaw was doing today... Chewing gum has both sides of my face feeling like I've laughed too hard for too long, but just not in a good way. It was in a worried way, which didn't come with the associated adrenaline rush that normally comes with laughter. The cinnamon/mint/fruit/whatever else I could find gum that I rotated through so as to not get bored with a perticular flavor has all the taste buds on my tongue inflamed. My teeth are sore. In general, my face hurts. it hurts all the way up to my ears. Unexplained earaches, coincidentally, are a sign of mouth cancer. I learned this today. And knowing, my friends, is half the battle.
My wife can't possibly understand, but she tries to console me when I tell her that a part of me thinks that it's too late and that the damage has been done. She, as I've mentioned before, is a nurse and shines a light around my face hole and tells me that I'm being paranoid. That's it's the nic-bitch calling. "If the damage is done, what's the point, right? Just go ahead and cave cause there's nothing that's gonna stop this train from rolling." I glad to say that I didn't cave today. I'm not going to cave tomorrow. As for the day after that, I can't really say. But these next two are mine. That's the mentality. Get through today by whatever means possible and have a positive outlook on tomorrow. Except for the cancer, that is. Hard to be positive about that.
I'm not sure why I'm fixated on it today, but I've thought about it a lot. I've felt the inside of my cheek more today that I have in my life. That may be due to the fact that there's not a fat pinch of Skoal Straight in there blocking me from doing so, but it didn't happen last week when I started my quit. The chips and salsa I ate made cuts. I feel those. The gum I'm chewing all day sometimes leads me to bite my lip/cheek/tongue that feel a lot like "Raised red/white bumps that won't go away." from the What-Does-Oral-Cancer-Look-Like Google search. Maybe I'm just facing my mortality for one of the first times in my life and it's all kind of coming together in one monster experience. Some of it is good. Some is bad. But it's my life. It's my quit. If I end up with cancer, there's nothing I can do about my exposure up to now, but there is something I can do about my continued exposure, and that, my friends, is the point of this entry. Water under the bridge. Move forward. Always forward.
I'm going to feel the fight with cravings for the rest of my life. I've read entries from guys who's quit is 1000 days strong who said that today, for them, was like day 2. They couldn't explain why today of all days set them off, but it did. They took to the website to read HOF speeches from guys who just hit the 100-day mark for inspiration and strength. Odd, huh? 1000 days experience without the monkey and it's still there, waiting for a chance to pounce. Up until now, I've entertained the thought of still being able to have cigars with the guys I was deployed with whenever we get back together. Probably not gonna happen. There's one guy that doesn't smoke, but it's because he doesn't like to...not because he can't let himself have a single slip or else falling off the wagon again. I fall more in that latter category. One pinch away from a can-a-day habit. That will still probably be true for me at 1000 days. It's just that much a part of me for that long.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm trying to not think about it, but I am making checkups to have it looked at. I was never worried about a mouth sore after a particularly heavy dip weekend fishing cause the coming week would allow it time to heal. I'm trying to keep that mentality, but have it come from a healthier place now. Trying to not be a hypochondriac, but still know the signs and symptoms I should be aware of that I've purposefully kept my head in the sand about up to this point in my life. Just because I may have it, it doesn't mean that I do. Just because I've increased my exposure immeasurably, it sure as hell doesn't mean that my quit isn't worth doing. Take care of the things I can have an effect on and let the rest roll on. It's nice to be able to write it all down...It helps me to compartmentalize it like that.
I really appreciate the Cafe, and wish more people would put in little tidbits. I know it's a bit hypocritical to write a blog about the Cafe when I could have posted in the Cafe itself, but it's something I wanted to capture in the blog. Just going through those postings helps me go through and gain perspective and appreciation of what this website is about. I just beat a crave that has been lingering for hours by leaning on the writings of men who've come before me and didn't know that they would give me strength. It's Day 4 for me today, so I know I don't have much perspective as this is my first real attempt at quitting and I've had that shit in my mouth constantly for 30 years. 30 years. Writing it out makes it sound so real. To say it it doesn't carry the same weight as seeing it written. I've dipped a long time. When I didn't, I replaced the Nic Bitch's calls with something. Now, there's a heaping helping of "Go Fuck Yourself" whenever I feel the urge rising. I've never had that strength before. It's nice seeing this side of it. I have no idea who or what I'm going to be without dip, but at least now I'm excited to see what that's like. I've been afraid of it up to now. Holding onto my roots and keeping me grounded to the blue-collar background I'm so fiercely proud of is no reason to stay in a choke chain forever. I don't need nicotine. I need time and distance. I'm excited for perspective. I'm glad I've got you guys. I appreciate the Cafe and the Shoutouts. Keep posting guys. It helps us all.
I know that the nicotine still hasn't fully exited my body. It hasn't had enough time. I've put almost 30 years of nicotine in me, it's gonna take a bit to go. In the meantime, having minute-by-minute reminders of what I used to use as an excuse to have a pinch is SUPER fun. Sitting at the desk. Having a phone call that I know is going to be slow and uneventful. Going to get more coffee. Eating. Breathing. It seems that everything around me is trying to get me to cave. The guys on the "Shout Box" have helped a ton. I've read a lot of HOF speeches today. Just trying to keep making it for just a few more hours. Get through today.
I like being able to go through and look at other entries from other quit groups and speeches. It helps cut through the fog. I can't seem to concentrate on much today, and thoughts are fleeting at best. My wife is doing her best to be supportive, but I really don't want to hear from anyone today. I love her to death, but I really just want to keep reading stories from people who've been through it successfully before me. I truly just want a nap. It would help things, I believe. I would certainly have an easy time getting through that hour. No cravings to speak of while sleeping.
The sooner I can get through the confusion stage the better off I'll be. Last night I woke up several times with two overwhelming feelings. 1) I already have cancer and it's too late. and 2) We need a dip! I know those things are counterintuitive. I know it doesn't make any damn sense. I have a nurse for a wife and she's providing a whole host of reasons why my body feels the way it does. I've not spit much over the last couple years dipping (mostly to hide the habit), so my stomach has produced more juice to deal with the dip I've swallowed. Now that I'm not doing that, I have pretty consistent indigestion. It's a perk. Next, I'm lightheaded all the damn time. Dizzy/unfocused/unconcentratable 😀 I like making up words. I've put my body in a state where the stimulant of nicotine constricted all my vessels. It's part of how nicotine causes high blood pressure. Well, when you set the stage for a new homeostasis where you're running on enough dip to choke a rhino, when you cut off the supply, the bottom kind of just drops out. My resting heart rate last night was 48. At 6'5", it's a concern. Headrushes to the point of temporary blindness when the ground is quite a long way away are things I'd like to avoid. Hoping to get past the withdrawal phase sooner rather than later. It'll be nice to be able to concentrate again.
I'm so all over the place, it's taken over an hour to write this. I keep drifting. I don't mind, I know this is all part of it. I've only quit once before in all my years dipping. I was in Afghanistan and we ran out. Pretty simple. The thing is that we were still smoking cigars pretty regularly, so the nic bitch was still fully getting a piggy back ride. In retrospect, I've never actually given an attempt to quit an honest try. There was always some bait and switch. Either nicotine replacement with patches or gum replaced my habit with dip. Or I would give up dipping to change over to smoking cigarettes or cigars (or both). But hey, I wasn't dipping, right? I effectively quit dipping. Yay me! The problem with that is when you can't smoke cigars/cigarettes (on a road trip with the kids) or you can't really justify the expense of nicotine gum any more, a tin is just what the doctor ordered. "I'm not falling off the wagon. I'm not dipping again full time. It's just for this trip..." The truth is that I never got on the wagon. I would argue that I never even been close enough to the wagon to smell it, much less fall off it. At best, I moved around the periphery of the wagon where I felt different. I felt better about myself because I thought that because I couldn't see the last location I stood, relative to the wagon, from my current position. That had to be better than where I was. I've thought about this a lot over the last day and a half...just trying to figure out why this time it feels different. The withdrawals are worse than anything I've ever felt, but I've not replaced any of the missing nicotine. That's the biggest thing. This is the first "real" try to quit. Hopefully this is the last.
To finish the original thought, there are times I'm so paranoid that I'm convinced, with all the weird feelings/symptoms I have, that I already have cancer. Other times, I'm surprisingly calm. I scan the inside of my mouth with a flashlight in the bathroom mirror trying to prove my diagnosis one way or the other. No words, just a quickening of the heart before making a mental note to talk to my doctor about it at my physical. Maybe sooner if I freak out more. Hard to say. The problem with all of that is I, a part of me at least, feels that one little pinch would make it all better. I can't get past that break in logic. I pride myself on my intellect, or my misperception of having one, and I just can't explain how this makes sense. I get scared that I have a cancer caused by something that, if I would only break down and ingest again, would cure cancer and make everything better? It's an argument my body feels good about, if I could only get my brain on board... I'm committed to not breaking down. To seeing this through. I just hope the fog lifts soon. The nonsensical can't remain entertaining for long...it'll ask me to justify some bad choices. Here's to staying committed.
Dizzy. Out of it. That's how today feels...and it's not even halfway done yet.
It's noon on a random Thursday in November and today is the day that I decided cutting back transitioned to quitting. I've had the Wellbutrin for a month now, and have been on it, off and on, for about that much time. No idea why today was the first nicotine-free day, but it is. Yesterday was supposed to be that day as well. Today I'm doing something different. Today I found this website and started this blog. I'm not certain that it's going to have much of an effect, but I like that I can get on here and say whatever I want...even the random brain droppings of someone who hasn't had any nicotine for the last, however many hours. Well, my last pinch was last night at 9pm, so it's been 15 hours. Wow, only 15 hours since the last time I had one, and I'm thinking about not much else right now. I'm certain that these words aren't making incredible sense, but I'm just trying to do anything I can to stave off the monster for today. Just today. If I can make it through today, I'll have one tomorrow. That can be the new mantra. I'll have one tomorrow if I can make it through today.
I do keep bargaining with myself. One little one... I'll only leave it in for 5 minutes. Go bum a single cigarette from the neighbor. No worries there.
I need to go to the post office and store, but don't want to be in my truck because of the trigger that driving is. Plus, the general feeling of not being able to pay attention to anything around me is telling me to stay off the road for a while. A nap is probably better...but what do we need to calm us down before a nap? That's right. A small pinch. I know that doesn't make any damn sense, that I need a stimulant to get some rest, but that's the way life has been for a LONG time.
I started dipping in college, and smoked in high school before that. I grew up around smokers, so I didn't think about any of the health effects then, and to be honest, I'm not thinking about any of the health effects now. There are some things that scare the shit out of me. My jaw muscles ache from TMJ that may or may not be aggravated by the clenching I do when trying to stave off a craving. Not gonna go into excruciating detail on the loveliness that is going to the bathroom, but suffice it to say it's a negative experience. Also, I have constant indigestion (heartburn) from the excess stomach acid that's not being constantly swallowed up by the ingestion of a constant river of tobacco juice. That one was unexpected. Quitting would cause heartburn. WTF?!? There were times when I ingested so much nicotine that it caused heartburn, but that wasn't a problem last week when I was still going strong. Now I quit and get heartburn? Awesome. The dizziness and lack of ability to concentrate and/or construct blog posts of any meaning was something expected. Detox is fun. My wife, trying to be the helpful nurse that she is, tried to make it better by saying, "It makes sense. Normally you're constantly drinking or swallowing tobacco juice that your stomach would be kicking out more digestive fluids that normal, and your esophagus would be numbed by the nicotine in that tobacco so maybe you wouldn't have felt it." I thought I was having a minor heart attack, headache, and lockjaw episode all at once, but if my wife says that there's some logic to the symptoms, I'm good. I love that woman, and I appreciate that she's supportive of my trials getting through this without ever having been the one to force me to quit.
That last sentence I originally wrote "try to quit" instead of just "quit". The fact I went back and corrected it makes me happy. The fact that I want to celebrate with a quick little pinch lets me know this is going to suck. But, I'm reading my ass off of HOF speeches and blog entries and everything else to keep my mind on the prize. Just gotta get through today.