Old Habits and Introspection

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  August 14, 2014 — 7 Comments

The bad news: I started smoking again. The good news: I quit again already. Smoking is one of those things that nothing good can come of, and yet I really do love it. If it weren’t so disgusting and dangerous I’d never quit. I gave up smoking in 2010 and to this day I count quitting among my greatest accomplishments. Once or twice a year since I’ve shared a cigarette with a friend, but it was overpowering and made me wonder why I’d ever loved it.

Then a few people in my life started using electronic cigarettes and I thought they were the best thing ever! They were less powerful than tobacco cigarettes, but almost as fun. I picked up a disposable e-cigarette (equivalent to a pack or two) once every couple weeks when I was feeling feisty or planning to spend my evening at home with a glass of wine. Then we went on vacation and I wanted an e-cig but couldn’t find an inexpensive disposable at the beachside gas station. So I bought a pack of Camels, figuring it was okay to cut loose a little on vacay. Over the next few weeks I started craving cigarettes more and more and before I knew it I was up to half a pack a day.

Smoking is frowned upon no matter what, but I felt especially ashamed to be smoking now that I was a mother. I knew I had to quit. I waited until a week when I was scheduled to work every day, since I’ve never smoked at this job before. Being in a different environment really helped, but I couldn’t have done it without nicotine gum. I used the gum to quit back in 2010 and it was a lifesaver. Because while smoking is a habit, it’s also a chemical addiction. You know how sometimes when you’re thirsty, it’s not necessarily because your throat is dry or any other specifically identifiable issue, but you just want something to drink? Your brain is just telling you, hey, give me some water. That’s what craving a cigarette feels like. I want one like a thirsty person wants water, even if I don’t want the stink, chest congestion, and carcinogens that come with it. A piece of nicotine gum can help me satisfy that craving and then it’s easy for me to slowly back off the gum. I haven’t smoked in a week but just writing about it is triggering a craving–good thing I’ve got a few pieces of gum left!

So why did I start smoking again? The nicotine got me hooked, of course, but why did I start in the first place? I’m not sure. I smoked through most of college and grad school and a lot of people I loved smoked when I was growing up. Despite knowing all the risks I have a lot of positive memories associated with smoking. Maybe at 29, with my career well established and an ever-more-independent toddler at home, I’m a little restless. I’m craving some adventure. This weekend I’m heading to Atlanta to visit my best friend from high school. It’ll be the first time I’ve traveled on my own since Jack was born and I think it’ll be good for me. I need some quality time to myself and despite my distaste for driving long distances I think all those hours alone on the open road will give me plenty of time to think.

Even though Nick is a very involved father this will be the first time he’s had Jack all to himself for this long. He keeps calling it “Guys’ Weekend” and talking about all the fun they’re going to have. Hopefully I won’t miss them too much! Fingers crossed that I come back feeling more relaxed.

If you stumble, make it part of the dance

Have a great weekend, y’all.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap

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7 responses to Old Habits and Introspection

  1. Congrats on quitting! I know you can keep it up :)

    And… Now I’m craving a girls weekend also. Have fun!

  2. Great post! Sharing this may help you in quitting too! I find sometimes I’m more apt to stick with something if I admit it in public, haha.

  3. Good for you for quitting again, and have a blast this weekend! :)

  4. Best reason to quit (well, one of many many good ones) Picture Jack at 13, saying
    “well, you smoke, why shouldn’t I?”
    Do you want him to have any good associations to cigarette smoking?
    Congratulations on quitting again. For the last time!

  5. Bridget from Cali August 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Good for you to nip that habit in the bud again — and to explore the reasons why it was appealing to you. My parents were chain-smokers, so that was never my addiction. Food tends to be my downfall. Potato chips and starchy foods in particular with periodic sweet treats are my stimulant of choice. Nothing is as tasty or comforting to me, but I had to cut out the former and ruthlessly reduce all of the latter. It’s made a huge difference in my weight. I drink a lot of water and ice tea now –not because I am thirsty– but it keeps me from over indulging my appetite. I like your graphic. It’s an excellent mantra.

  6. Congratulations on quitting again. I have never smoked, but I have seen how addicting it is by watching my parents. I never wanted to start. I remember being a little girl at a picnic at the lake with all of the family. Your grandparents, my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Jerry were probably there. A storm was coming up suddenly and I just remembered all of the adults scrambling to find their cigarettes. It seemed like such a bother. I decided at a very young age that smoking was too much trouble, so it was lucky for me. I was 22 when my Mom died of cancer at age 46. Her cancer was directly related to smoking. My Dad still smoked for years after that until he had a stroke scare. I was too young to lose my Mom and she was too young to go to heaven. For Jack’s sake, don’t start again. Proud of you for admitting that you smoked and proud of you for quitting again.

  7. Good for you – what a great introspective post to share. I’m one of the lucky folks who can smoke on occasion and not get hooked. Not sure why. Yes, you’ve gotta be around (and healthy) to raise that gorgeous little boy of yours. I send a hug any time you get a craving. Hang in there!

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