The No More Tobacco Blog



Thursday, February 23, 2006

48 Days and Counting....

Wow! I was just checking out the quit track over at QuitSmokeless.org, and it informed me that I have now gone 48 consecutive days without tobacco!

It's actually a little difficult to say how great it feels to hear this news. It makes me think of all the times where the idea of going a day, or an evening without nicotine seemed like just absolute torture. I can even remember days where just a few hours without dip would seem impossible, and I'd resort to rummaging through all the finished cans in my apartment, hoping that there would be enough scraps of tobacco in those cans that I could collect the remnants and combine them into one one single pinch of tobacco to get me through the next few hours.

It even got to the point where I could accurately estimate how much tobacco I had left in a can simply by holding it and feeling it's weight.

Now, that I am almost 50 days quit, I cannot even begin to tell you just how amazing, how liberating it is not to have to worry about that shit anymore. As cliched as it sounds, the only way to describe this feeling is to equate it to having a tremendous burden suddenly taken off your shoulders.



Quote of the day

I thought I would take a minute to share with everyone here one of my all-time favorite quotes:

Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight

This is from the song "Lovers in a Dangerous Time" which I believe was originally done by Bruce Cockburn and then later covered by the Bare Naked Ladies. To be completely honest, I am much more familiar with the BNL version, and only learned that it was originally done by Bruce Cockburn a few moments ago.

One of the things I love about this quote is that it, at least in my opinion, it almost perfectly sums up what the experience of quitting chewing (and I presume, quitting smoking) is all about - that you need to keep fighting until you get the results you want.

All too often, and I know this because it has been my experience, I think people tend to throw up their hands and accept the status quo, rather than fight for what they want, or perhaps more accurately, fight for the life they want. Once you make the decision to change, it is going to be difficult, and you are going to face challenges, but you have to keep kicking and fighting until you get what you want.



Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Anger Management

I know you are going to have to take my word for this, but I am generally known amongst my friends and relatives for being a pretty easy going guy; the kind of person who generally gets along with everyone and doesn't get angry often, if at all.

I think that has been one of the things that have made this quit attempt so challenging for me is that I'm constantly shocked at how my personality has changed - easy-going has transformed, in many ways, to perenially pissed. Many of the things that, when I was chewing, used simply roll off my back now are just making me more and more angry, sometimes almost to the point of rage.

I can't even begin to tell you the number of times I have flipped people off in the last month or so. I used go months between instances like that, now I find myself doing it several times in the same commute!

As I continue this quit attempt, one of the things that I am going to need to learn to do is effectively deal with my anger. Luckily, it hasn't gotten to the point where I have said anything I regret or hurt the feelings of anyone I care about, but there have been times where I have come close. Luckily, I also recently joined a gym, and I cannot even begin to tell how much that has helped me burn off a lot of this excess anger.



Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What a Weekend.....

What a weekend! I have to say, for what little it is worth, last weekend was probably the closest I came to 'caving in' on my quit attempt in over a month.

For those that don't know this, I've been using the NicoDerm nicotine patch for this quit attempt, and Saturday represented a milestone of sorts because it was my first "step down" day, moving from the 21mg patch to the 14mg patch.

While that certainly wasn't the cause for almost caving in, it is pretty easy to see that that was the thing that got the ball rolling, as the slight decrease in nicotine was enough to put me into a pretty good nicotine craving that went on for about 18 hours or so.

The craving got worse as the night progressed; I was at a wedding Saturday night, and the combination of a couple beers with the rich food just shot my craving through the roof. At it's absolute worst, I remember sitting there at my table, fully planning on driving home with a big fat chew in my lip. What's worse, just the idea of driving home at night spitting tobacco in a coffee cup seemed just so damn satisfying. The image was vivid enough where I could actually hear in my mind the soft sound of the tobacco juice hitting the styrofoam of the dunkin donuts cup.

Now, I imagine that many of you are reading that last statement and thinking "what the fuck is the matter with this guy?". Honestly, I kind of wonder that myself - what could possibly be so enjoyable about sitting alone in a car in the middle of the night, spitting brown tobacco juice into an empty coffee cup? It makes no sense at all and it's completely illogical, but I guess, in some weird way, it's the nature of the addiction that I suffer from.

As bad as those cravings were, I am happy to say that I didn't cave in to that nasty little voice in the back of my head. Looking back on it, I still can't say what kept me from craving; whether it was simply a lack of opportunity, or an expression of willpower. All I can say is that I am happy that I managed to get through the evening and get home and fall asleep without having put that shit in my face again.



Wednesday, February 15, 2006

There are assholes everywhere

I got this comment in the quitMail yesterday, courtesy of a man called "David":

"Just browsing the blogs and ran across this one. I didn't even think about lighting one up untill now. I think I'll have a smoke. You know, if there were less pricks around trying to decide what other people should do with their lives, the better off we would be. If this is all you have to worry about, get a life."

Now, in the sake of full disclosure, when I first saw this message, I got really pissed, and my immediate impulse was to simply delete it and move on. I figured that David was just another in a long line of those sad, self-proclaimed 'certified bad asses'; people who are so dissatisfied with their opinion of themselves and their manhood that they put on tough guy act comment in blogs and forums the things they'd never have the stones to say to someone in person. Quite frankly, I was going to be damned at first if I was going to give them a medium to perform their little tantrum.

Why the change of heart? Well, after thinking about our friend David's little rant, something occurred to me. In addition to proving yet once again that blood relatives shouldn't be allowed to have children, David's missive provided a valuable example of another fact of life when you're trying to quit smoking or quit chewing:

There are assholes everywhere.

Now, I can only speak from my experience, but in every quit attempt I have ever undertaken, there have always been assholes, for lack of a better term, that either intentionally or un-intentionally threatened the success of a particular quit. A bitchy ex-girlfriend perhaps, maybe some jerk at the store, somebody on the radio, a bratty kid, or the prick who cut you off in traffic.

In the past, thanks in large part to nicotine, it was relatively easy to either ignore their bullshit or let it roll down your back. But that was in the past. At some point in time, in order to be successful in your quit attempt, you're going to need to be successful in dealing with all those assholes in the world without grabbing a smoke, or throwing in a lipper. Just don't let the assholes get you down.

David's thoughtful note also brings up another point that I'd like to touch upon briefly. There is only one good reason to quit, and that is because you don't want to chew or smoke anymore. Having had the benefit of talking with a lot of other people who have chewed and smoked and successfully quit, the one theme that has been common to most of them is that they chose to quit for themselves, not from some outside pressure. So, if and when you choose to quit smoking or quit dipping, make sure you're doing it for the right reason.







Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Link of the Day, 2/14/06

Here is an interesting article from South Florida where some people are using laser treatment to help them quit smoking.

Bonus Link of the day:

I have to say, I didn't know it, but apparently, this week is National 'Through with Chew' Week.



Happy Valentine's Day

If you're anything like me, chances are that you think Valentine's Day is a phony holiday invented by the greeting card companies. My feelings on the subject have always been that, if you need Valentine's day to make your special someone feel, well, special, you need a lot more than one day.

Anyways, I digress. As much as I dislike V-day, I must admit, it does provide a special opportunity to many of us who are trying to stop using tobacco. Whether you're trying to quit chewing or quit smoking, chances are, there is a special someone, a girlfriend, fiance, husband, wife, and so on, who is helping you and supporting you through your quit.

Thanks to the effects of nicotine withdrawal, chances are high that you have been a total asshole to that person. I know from my own experience that there have been times when I have been an absolute prick to the Quit Gal - and bless her, she doesn't let it faze her and she continues to try and help me and support me anyway she can.

So take advantage of this Valentine's Day and make an extra effort to make it special for that special someone who is going along for the ride with you as you kick your nasty habit. I think you might be surprised how far your efforts could go.

What if you haven't quit yet? What better gift could you give the person you love than to tell them you are going to kick your habit and spend some more time on the planet with him/her? It is literally the gift that keeps giving.