Still Smokin’?

I spent 20 years smoking. I spent 19 years trying to quit. I don’t count my high school years where I smoked casually, having a few while I partied or sneaking a few from my mom. I would stop and start and never have any cravings. I met my first real girlfriend in my 20’s and she rolled her own Drum tobacco. Of course I thought that was cool. We smoked together like that for a couple years and when we decided to quit we went cold turkey and had no problem. For that reason I couldn’t understand how so many people couldn’t go without. My real problem came after she broke up with me. It wasn’t immediate but about 6 months later I was in the store and impulsively bought a pack. After that I couldn’t stop. I don’t understand why it happened at that point in my life. I had smoked a whole pack before.

My quitting cycle went like this: The patch, the gum, cold turkey, fuck this I’m not quitting. I did that over and over. The patch would work okay at first. That is because it replaced the pack a day of nicotine I was smoking. After 2 weeks they stepped me down to a lesser dose. That is when I would start smoking 5 cigarettes a day to get up to my normal nicotine level. They warn you against smoking while using the patch. I would stop and that was money down the drain.

The gum is a joke. It sounds like a good idea. You just chew a piece of gum when you get the urge to smoke. The problem for me was I always had the urge to smoke. The convenient thing about the gum is I could chew it indoors and other places I wasn’t allowed to smoke. My actual use of nicotine went up, not down. I remember trying it while I worked a job. I would smoke in the morning before I got to work and then I would chew a couple pieces while I was inside working. Then fire down a couple butts during break and back inside to chew some more. Oops, lunchtime, another two butts and back inside to start over again. Like I said the gum is a joke to me.

Going cold turkey was impossible. I would get a gnawing sensation in the back of my neck at the base of my brain. It was horrible. It wouldn’t go away until I gave in and smoked a cigarette. Most days I could only make it a couple hours until I broke and bummed a butt off someone or I could get to the store and buy a pack to replace the one I crushed and threw away because I was “finally done.” Sometimes I could make it a whole day without breaking down. I think the longest I went was 2 days. It was not in my head. I was physically and psychologically addicted. The only thing left to do was quit quitting. About 6 months later I would get disgusted and start the whole cycle again. Hoping it would finally work.

Finally the decision to quit came from outside. I had just gone on disability and I didn’t have enough money to support my habit. It was ridiculous to spend all my discretionary income on cigarettes. I think Chantix had just come out. I found out a month’s worth of Chantix costs about as much as a month’s worth of butts at a pack a day. I asked my psychiatrist if she would prescribe it to me. She said it had a danger of making me depressed. I told her I was already depressed and if it got worse I would call her. She relented. I took my monthly cigarette money and bought a box.

Chantix works by blocking the action of nicotine in the brain. You can smoke all you want and you won’t get the satisfaction, but it also eliminates the cravings. That is what I needed. I couldn’t live with that gnawing at my brain. They say to keep smoking regularly for the first week while you take the pills and then you should be ready to quit.

Should be. I cut way down but I still had that psychological addiction. At the time I was talking on the phone with a woman I met online. I would call her around midnight and we would talk for a couple hours. During this time I would have to smoke 2 cigarettes. She would always catch me because she could hear my lighter clicking in the background. I had no problem not smoking during the day but I had to have a pack on hand so I could smoke those 2 at night. That was my normal routine throughout my smoking career. 2 cigarettes before bedtime. I just couldn’t stop doing it. I had to break that habit because my prescription for Chantix was running out and if I still had that connection, I would be right back up to a pack a day.

You’ll be happy to know I did it. I was free from nicotine. I was so happy. That was about 10 years ago. The only time I broke down was when I escaped from the ER while they were deciding whether to put me in the psych ward. My mom picked me up and I just started chain smoking her cigarettes. I think I had 3. Other than that I never had an urge. I can sit right next to people smoking and not even think of it.

I don’t know if this will work for people who vape because that is a direct injection of nicotine into your bloodstream. But it blocks the action so I think it should be the same. I’ve talked to other people who said it made them depressed or gave them bad dreams. I had no negative effects from it.

If you want to quit nicotine I would recommend this. Especially if you have insurance. Doctors will give it to you so fast. They really want everyone to quit. I’m not sure how much it costs now but I bet it is comparable to a month’s worth of cigarettes depending on which state you live in. I had tried and failed at every attempt to quit but it was so easy with Chantix.

2 thoughts on “Still Smokin’?

  1. My mom took Chantix to stop smoking and it made her depressed and so angry. It was a bad combination. But she quit. And it’s been about a year and a half now. She totally feels it was worth it. Glad you were able to quit smoking!

    Liked by 1 person

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