Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adios, sweet Marlboro Lights, may flights of Bloombergs sing thee to thy rest

Tonight, Fat Tuesday, I will enjoy my last night of intimacy with my longtime companion.

European cigarette packs are subtle.

I've agreed (along with a friend) to give up cigarettes for Lent. So that's 40 days until Easter, when technically I'll be "allowed" to smoke again. Thing is, I can't really see myself returning to the sweet tobacco product if I can make it that long.

I've wanted to quit for some time now, so this seems like as good a plan as any. I have no idea what my willpower will be like, whether I'll hold up a day, or two, or a week, or maybe even make it all the way. I may find the physical withdrawal too difficult. Maybe the best move for me would be to taper, as opposed to cold turkey. I suppose we'll see.

I've actually cut down quite a bit these last few years, from a clear pack-a-day habit to now only about 3 or so a week. I pretty much don't smoke at all anymore unless I'm drinking, which, unfortunately I do a little too often.

I look forward to an overall healthier lifestyle. After 11 years of inhaling tobacco regularly, obviously there will be lingering effects (if not worse), but I figure the best step forward there would be to quit smoking, right? So there's that. Plus I'm starting to get back into shape. (Anyone else ever tried this 100 Pushups thing? I'm two weeks in, and it feels great so far, though I still can't see how I'll be able to do 100 straight in such a short time period. We shall see.)

I won't smell like ass when I come home at night; neither will my bedroom or living room or half my wardrobe. So that's good too. I can start to reverse the yellowing process of my teeth, which will inevitably lead to my bedding Blake Lively, which is nice. Also, it'll be nice not hacking up a ton of blackish/greenish/brownish phlegm after particularly heavy-smoking nights.

Oh, and the money too. At about $10 per pack, cigs eat into one's paycheck. Pretty soon I'll be able to afford that 5th Avenue apartment I've always wanted.

All in all, that sounds pretty good.

But then there's the scary part. I really have no idea how well I'll be able to handle the inevitable cravings. Smoking has become wholly entwined in at least two major areas of my life: drinking and writing. I'm probably even more intimidated by the prospect of writing without chain-smoking. Writing is something I do alone, with no one to support me when all I'll be able to think about is how bad I want to light up. Whereas with drinking, I can at least bitch and moan to someone about what a silly decision I made and how it would be so easy to have one, just one little cig.

Any advice from any former smokers is welcome, though I get the feeling that quitting is a process unique to each individual.

So if you're interested, I'll be living up Fat Tuesday tonight by watching Lost and chain smoking myself into a hacking, wheezing mess.

But hopefully for the last time.


Evan said...

I went from: smoking (too much), to not believing I could quit, to quitting (about 8 years ago). I think you’re right, it’s different for each person. For me, I used Nicorette Gum, which was so nasty it was kind of Clockwork Orange conditioning.

Back to the point, my advice. The only advice I can give is don’t make deals with yourself. I think this is true for smoking, diets, whatever. You can’t make a deal with yourself, like I’ll only smoke after I drink, or I’ll have one tonight and none tomorrow, etc… You need to not smoke, under any circumstance, no exceptions, no deals! Do not have one because as soon as you give in a little, it’s an ongoing struggle to ever get back on track. For me, whenever I wanted a cigarette I chewed that nasty gum.

Never make a deal with yourself! Good luck, it’s not easy!

ChuckJerry said...

I don't have any specific advice, but I think it's a good idea. I think you can probably do it.

Open Bar said...

@Evan--that sounds about right. It's either all or nothing. No deals. And as weird as it sounds right now, I think every opportunity to say no will only strengthen my decision -- as long as I actually do say no. That will just make it harder to say yes each subsequent time.

Again, I don't know how my willpower will hold up. But I think my trump card is that I actually do want to quit. I'm not doing for anyone else, not to prove anything -- it's just what I want.

Hopefully that will be enough. In a few days, I'll know more.

Thanks for your advice.

Side Bar said...

Good. It's about fucking time.

Kathy said...

Not being particularly religious, I too have decided to use Lent as an excuse to get healthier. I'm giving up all beverages except for water. I did this last year too, and I was pleased that I was able to do it, I didn't think I could. Anyway, I'm sure it is infinitely more difficult to quit smoking, but I'm also sure YOU CAN DO IT. I'm so happy you're going to! I think it would be a good idea to wean yourself off with some nicotine replacement products. Good luck!

Amanda said...

How's it going so far?

Open Bar said...

Going well so far. Sure I'd love to have one from time to time, but the vast majority of the time I'm completely happy with my decision.

On to week 2...