Category Archives: Quit Smoking

Let’s talk about my failed attempts to quit smoking

Knocking the Fags on the Head – Pt 4

Previously on Place of Stuff…

The date is the 18th of March. Tomorrow morning I get to put on my final nicotine patch. So, Tuesday morning I will be flying solo. I did it. I quit smoking.

Quite odd really, when I began this on January 15th, I was determined to succeed, but also sure that I wouldn’t. How’s that for self esteem, eh? I think that, cunningly, quitting has coincided with either a bout of hay fever or with something else, so my breathing hasn’t improved and, if anything, I’m sleeping even worse than before. However, I’m going to make a doctor’s appointment to see if there are any problems. I can do this now because i don’t have to feel guilty when the question “Do you smoke?” comes up.

Stage 2 is to join the gym and to get some of that energy and general fitness I keep hearing about. I think I’ll kick off a new series on that one, so you can all follow me while I struggle to lift weights and the like. :toot:

Looking at it, I know I have done the right thing by quitting now. Nanny Blair would have forced the issue in a few months anyway, but I know that I wouldn’t quit just because him and his Scottish banker say so. Incidentally, and off topic, because of the aggressive building schedule him and Two Jags have started, Kent is no longer the “Garden of England”. Way to go govingment!! Anyway, come the summer I would have likely ramped up my smoking just to show the government that they can’t regulate every area of my life no matter how much the thought gives them all wet dreams. Rant over.

So yeah, I have quit and, while I miss it when I am especially tired, I can’t see me going back to it. I did it and, if that’s what you want, so can you. Pick a method and stick at it, just remember my tips:

  • There is never an optimal day to quit – every day is either too stressful or too quiet.
  • Pick a day and do it – just grab a day at random and say that that’s the day. Trying to pick a special day won’t work, they are all special or not special.
  • Don’t try to avoid smokers, it’s not that easy and just puts extra pressure on you.
  • Tell people when you do it – not so they can give you pressure or so they can back you up, it’s so you can remind yourself that you are doing this and need to stick at it.
  • Don’t give up giving up just because you feel a bit stressed – every day has it’s own stresses, don’t wimp out
  • Do it because you want to – if you quit because someone else thinks you should, you will fail
  • Feel positive and good about doing it – you are doing something worthwhile, any smoker who has tried in the past knows how hard it is, don’t listen to people who have never smoked and tell you how easy it is. It is easy, but there are hurdles that non-smokers don’t appreciate.
  • Just because your first method doesn’t work doesn’t mean that no method will work – I tried cold turkey and failed, the patches worked. There’s also gum, lozenges, plastic cigarettes, mouthwashes and many other methods
  • So yeah, I’m off them now. The only way this series will get another update is if I take up smoking again. And that’s not going to happen.

    Is it?

    Knocking the Fags on the Head – Pt 3

    Previously on Place of Stuff….

    Ok, at 7am on Monday I will have officially been cigarette free for 2 weeks.  Not bad going, but the end is still a little way away.

    Just thought I’d update to say that I have passed the first major hurdle.  I went out last night and got absolutely plastered.  Many newly ex-smokers will tell you how hard it is to drink alcohol and not smoke.  But, truthfully speaking, I can say that it was very very easy.  I had a few times where I fancied a smoke, but they passed in seconds.  Most of the time I didn’t even think about it or want one.

    I feel very very successful.  I woe up this morning with a splitting headache (pro-tip for younger drinkers: the hangovers get much worse as you get older – drink lots and lots of water when you get home from the pub.)  But, on the other hand, my throat wasn’t raw and my mouth didn’t taste lie an outside toilet.  So I think that that is a great win for me.

    I think I’ll skip the third week of the stronger patches and jump straight onto the second stage patches.

    I’m feeling good without feeling smug, so I’m still nice to be around. :w00t:

    Knocking the Fags on the Head – Pt 2

    Previously, on Place of Stuff.. ..

    You may recall (and if you don’t, scroll down a bit or click the above link) that I had decided to cease smoking. My original plan was to use methods found in the book Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking – since the book had the magic words “easy way”, it seemed the ideal way to stop. Well, I am sorry to say that it didn’t work for me. I’d like to emphasise that last bit, it didn’t work for me. This does not (and should not) mean that it won’t work for anyone else. In fact, as I said previously, it worked well for a colleague and she has been off them for a few weeks.

    I lasted the grand total of 12 hours. Noon on Saturday 20th January until midnight the same day. Throughout the day I was snappy, bad tempered, grumpy and just generally awful to be around. A real caricature of someone coming off the smokes. To be honest, it was the absolutely worst experience I have ever had giving up anything.

    Time to talk about the system (though not in too much detail – I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who is wishing to try it) I think and why I think I failed at it. Firstly, I followed my usual trend and didn’t quite believe the hype. This is a bad thing in this case because, as it’s a self help book, failing to believe it fully meant that the messages didn’t sink in. I also failed because I kept very very quiet about what it was I was trying to do – this meant that I just seemed to be very bad tempered without reason. If I had shared my intentions, I would have had some emotional support as well as some space. I believe that I should have read through it in one sitting and maybe gone back over it – I went the other way, read it once over a few days. Unfortunately, I felt it working less as I progressed through the book, and that is my failing.

    Having returned to smoking throughout Sunday, I was determined to give it another go. Cold turkey was obviously not the answer and so I have turned to nicotine patches. This works in an entirely different way. Obviously. It takes a 3 stage approach over 3 months. Smokers who are on 20 or more a day get to start with Stage 1 – this is the strongest patch and needs to be worn for 3-4 weeks. Not the one patch, of course, one box has a week’s worth of patches and they are to be changed daily. After 3-4 weeks, you go to Stage 2, a slightly weaker patch. And after a further 3-4 weeks, you go to Stage 3, the weakest patch of all. 3-4 weeks later, you are off both the patches and the smokes.

    I have been wearing one since 7am, it is now 8pm (GMT) and so I have had it on for 13 hours. I don’t have a craving, as such, but I feel the absence. Especially now when I have eaten and would normally settle down with a book, with the computer or with a programme I wanted to watch. These are the times to watch myself. Since I have spent £30 on the patches, I will feel especially bad if I stop them and return to smoking. So I am likely to have them on for 2 weeks. Or a fortnight, whichever comes first.

    I am also trying to change other habits: I now drink far less coffee (if you feel comfortable taking 12 hours worth of data!) and am planning to take up exercise in a gym!!  I have even drunk green tea.  This is how seriously I am taking it.  Next stage of that is to drink more water to help flush my system through.
    So there we have it, the ambitious all or nothing approach failed miserably and I have high hopes of this method.

    Next: events and other happenings!!

    Knocking the Fags on the Head

    This title may or may not have caught your attention. This title will mean one of two things depending on your country of origin. As I am English, it means giving up smoking. The fun part is that this title may just overwhelm Drew’s bandwidth – sorry Drew 😆 I may even get Dugg and vilified. But hey, two countries separated by a common language, and all that. No homophobia here.

    Incidentally, that title and first paragraph may well contain enough keywords to bring random people here, rather than you regulars. Feel free to be elitist pricks :biggrin:

    I have been smoking since I was a teenager and there are a few reasons as to why I want to quit (in no particular order (like the Ten Commandments)):

    1. This year I turn 35. I would like to have some of that energy I hear about so much.
    2. I get chest infections which last longer and longer and have started to hurt.
    3. All my usual smoking partners have quit one by one and it’s lonely being outside on your own.
    4. My daughter has been nagging me for ages (though, as anyone who knows me will tell you, nagging does not work with me – quite the opposite).
    5. With all the government regulations in the UK (Blair again wanting to be like the Americans and do as they do), there are fewer and fewer places one can smoke.
    6. It’s costing me a fortune.
    7. My smoking rate has risen – I’m up to about 30 a day and when you smoke Marlboro (and not the Light variety) you feel it in the morning.
    8. To be able to keep up with the dog when I’m out walking him. And not to feel exhausted when I get back.

    My reasons for not giving up are (again, no order):

    1. I like smoking.
    2. Non-smokers – not the people who simply don’t smoke but non-smokers: the people who, when you light up, get a face on them that’s like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle (thank you Frank Skinner :cool:) and cough ostentatiously and wave their hands around like they’re trying to get a plane to land. Those people. :angry:
    3. I’m gonna get fat.

    Not a long list, but a persuasive one. At least, for me.

    Now, I have tried before (“do or do not, there is no try” – Yoda) to stop, but my body has beaten me every time. The first time was around 11 years ago, I was doing really well until I stood at a bus stop and lit up. Thing is, I had no recollection of going into a shop and buying the cigarettes and matches. Very weird.

    The next time was about 4 years ago, I was in the middle of The New Forest and should have been unable to get them – but the cravings grew so bad that I made the effort. In between times, I’ve tried the lozenges and gum, but the cure is far more disgusting than the disease, I’m afraid.

    I had planned to do this as a New Year’s resolution. But the stats on people who break them are depressing. I stopped making them years and years ago because I never ever keep them. Or remember them until the following New Year. But I decided to do it.

    My original plan was to load up on patches and follow the regime. I may still do this, it’s in reserve and could well turn up in an update. However, while chatting to a colleague (who gave up around 3 weeks ago and can see no signs of starting again), she mentioned that a book got her to quit. This piqued my interest – I am very sceptical of self-help books. Really sceptical. But she said that a friend told her about it and it worked for that friend, so she tried it and it worked. The book cost me £8.99 ($17.75/13.69euro according to XE) – though probably cheaper in your own country – so, why not? I drop more than that on other books very regularly. The book is Allen Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking. “Easy Way” eh? Where do I sign up? :ninja:
    The blurb on the back of the book says that:

    If you follow my instructions you will be a happy non-smoker for the rest of your life.

    Apparently, simply reading the book does it. No drugs, no meditation (I think), no meetings, no nothing. Just reading. Well, I can do that. It does sound too easy, but with my colleague’s recommendation I can see no real reason not to try it. Even better, the book says that you can smoke while reading the book and then at the end you won’t want another one. Sounds good to me. I think that an RFID chip in the book alerts the publisher when you finish it and then they send some goons round to beat you up and steal your smokes, but I’m willing to risk it for science. :angel:
    Anyway, I am posting all this for a few reasons:

    1. The first is that by doing it publicly I am committing myself to making an honest go of it.
    2. Maybe someone will read it and be inspired to at least consider it. Though please don’t consider me an evangelist on this, if you want to continue smoking please do so. Quit when (or if) you want to.
    3. I get to post stuff here for a while and don’t have to come up with great ideas if I don’t want to – you can’t make me, you’re not the boss of me :tongue:
    4. You get to see what works and what doesn’t. Or, at least, what works for me.

    Incidentally, if this book does do it, this will be the shortest blog series in the history of the web (2.0 or earlier, not compatible with later versions). Though there will be a few weeks of me saying “I tested myself, still don’t want one” I’d imagine.

    Part of me is worried though. As a child, I used to chew pencils to destruction. Will I go back to that? Also, I do enjoy smoking – that first one after a big meal, the early morning smoke, knowing that I just have to finish [this job] and I can reward myself with a smoke. All that will go and I will miss it.

    With the fatness bit, my aim is to get enough lung power back that I can start an exercise regime and not be a fatty. Having an office job (and working from home a lot) means that my once flat and muscled stomach is now pudgy and soft. But I will get it back.

    So. Wish me luck.

    Step One: read the damn book. Updates and book review next!