I obviously live in China. I am an English teacher (originally from England, helpfully) and am in my third year here.
I have tried to quit smoking 7, 899, 002 times. I had completely lost heart and had given up giving up. Then I realised my life consisted of 1) going to work and then 2) going home because I was so ill and lifeless from smoking. I also had bronchitis for seven months. It was obviously time to try again.
I have to credit this website and the affiliated other one with not only my success thus far but, far more importantly, my complete change of attitude with regards to nicotine and smoking itself. On previous attempts, I pretended to myself that I hated nicotine and didn't want another one. On this occasion, I have genuinely grown to hate what smoking has taken away and from others. I also feel I understand the folly of having 'just one' more than ever before. I don't even really feel that I want another one.
Below is my diary which I have been keeeping since I quit. It is probably far too thorough and long-winded, but it is a record for myself too and I need to have a permanent reminder of what this is like.
I can't imagine anyone would read it anyway. There are loads on here!
I'm very much looking forward to getting to know members on here. Your posts have hugely encouraged and helped me through this. Thanks a lot. Michelle :)
I quit yesterday at 6.10 p.m.. That was when I had my last cigarette. I tried my best to smoke it consciously. The thing I remember most is a) how dry it was and b) how much it make me feel sick and queasy-(the nicotine headache). It tasted gross, and I wanted to finish it before the end (in fact I did).
I made a solemn vow to myself that however difficult or easy this time is, I will never smoke again. I am a non-smoker now. I have wanted this for a very long time.
I will not indulge of ‘should I?’ trains of through: what’s the point? They’ll make me crave and want a cigarette. And if I have a cigarette, I’ll become a smoker again which I don’t want to be. So if I even feel like I’m going down a ‘should I?’ road, I will remind myself that it is cigarettes that put myself on that no-win road in the first place. At the end of the day, it wouldn’t be just another cigarette or just one more puff. It would mean giving myself that fatal disease again which will kill me with lung cancer, emphysema, cervical cancer or I might have to have my feet/legs amputated.
It is nicotine addiction, that’s all. That’s all there is to it. Any craving thoughts are caused by the sneaky big/little monster conspiring to get their fix of filthy poison. Defeat them. They are trying to kill you. Listen to yourself and your health for a change.
So far, I had noticeable craving periods after about an hour and a half last night and then after about three hours. I had forgotten how unpleasant the insidious feeling can be. Regardless, it has been surprisingly easy to retrain my mind quickly into reinterpreting the craving as a sign of recovery. Today, my bad spell was when I first got up. I’ve also had a few trigger situations: when I had a meeting, when I got angry and basically about three/four times after I first got up which was definitely the most intense period.
There have been whole times during the day when I have not thought about it, like when I was shopping online and when I was teaching.
I wouldn’t say I’m enjoying it. I think I’ve failed too many times before to be completely confident of success. However, one thing I do know is I am taking this more seriously than any other time, I think. I want to quit. I want it to be forever. It can be a bit difficult at times to realise that craving will not be followed by immediate ending of craving by smoking. Can be difficult to think long-term. Christ, the nicotine monster is powerful. Must stay away from booze-definitely a good move.
I have done quite well today in not purposefully checking the time all the time; but I am kind of aware of how much has passed, having done this day many times before.
I am already kind of excited about life as a non-smoker. I am proud of myself for having courage and taking the leap. It wasn’t easy after so many failures.
Last night was ok. I had a few cravings, but overall, I see the progression that it’s getting better. The WhyQuit website has been such help. Strangely (or perhaps not) I never crave when I am on the website, and sometimes I am reading the articles for hours. I am finding scare tactics useful-but they’re not scare tactics-they’re reality.
I think I have realised something else more deeply than I have before, but not as deeply as I’d like. I realise now that smoking is fatal. If I smoked a cigarette (had ‘just one’), it could end up killing me. It would genuinely put my life in danger. I realise the importance of protecting my quit. Its maintenance has to take priority over everything else. If that means going to the pub less, cutting social occasions short or whatever, my quit has to take priority. I will do my best to do this.
Having been very worried about drinking and smoking (I haven’t drunk for 3 days-the longest time in I don’t even know when), I have been reading about this aspect of my quit in particular. I need to come up with coping strategies ([plans A and B) for when I do drink. I think firstly I’ll invite my best friend round and have a couple with her. Then I’ll go to the bar and have 3 there, then go home. Then I’ll graduate to being around smokers.
Not sure what to do yet re. my fiancee. I am not seeing him this weekend ‘cos I’m worried I’ll sabotage my quit. Ideally, I would go for a week without either drinking or smoking; I’m also very concerned that if I drink, I’ll just go ‘who cares’ and smoke, like I have done so many times. I really should not drink till Monday. Also, I read that for some reason, the craving peak hits on day 7. I’ll try find out more about that. The more time my quit lasts, the more concerned I’ll be about treasuring it.
Also found out about ‘3 minute rule’ when you get a crave. It ends after three minutes which I think is true but I have yet to actually properly time one. I actually think mine are becoming less and last less time.
I think this is definitely the easiest quit I’ve had since two Septembers ago.
Regarding improvements. Yesterday, I played the piano properly for the first time in literally ages. I’ve also cooked properly for two nights in a row which I haven’t done, again, in donkey’s. I enjoy both these activities. It’s nice doing them again. I’m looking forward to becoming a better cook and a better pianist (I am terrible at the moment). The last two nights I haven’t really felt tired till later than usual: usually I am going to sleep by tennish, but now I’m getting tired at elevenish. I’m sure I could taste my food better last night as well: I could really taste lots of flavours very noticeably. What else? I seem to be moving around quicker, particularly going up stairs faster.
Hacked up a couple of wodges of phlegm last night and spat them into a ‘spitoon’. I had wanted to see how much I hacked up over the evening cos I knew it would have given me satisfaction but that turned out to be it. Woke up this morning with no rattle. No throat clearing during the day or coughing, but a couple of sneezes. Can kind of feel a rivulet of phlegm at the back of my throat: is hopefully lungs preparing to clear out.
I think I was a bit constipated yesterday and felt bloated, but had ‘movement’ today. No cigs means everything has slowed down. I’ll be glad when this ends.
Very impressed with body’s healing power, and speed of it. Looking forward to seeing bags under eyes go, lustre to eyes return (I think they have a bit already) and getting roses in cheeks again. Also looking forward to exercising (will download programme tonight). Looking forward too to having more energy, and getting drunk of an evening and not being crippled the next day by a hangover.Think and hope will not get really drunk anymore, to protect quit.
Worst day so far. Think had slightly more and stronger cravings throughout the day at school. Was okay though; I noticed when a craving began I would immediately look at my computer clock and start timing the 3 minutes; it would disappear immediately.
Constipation made me feel huge all day and slightly vile. All movements completely arrested: not normal for me.
However, I finished school about three and went to to get some toiletries (on the plus side I seriously probably wouldn’t have even considered just ‘popping’ somewhere quickly to get something-even something I needed). I noticed when I left school that I was experiencing a strong craving, the strongest yet. It seemed it wouldn’t go away, tho I can’t remember what I did to talk myself through it, but I’m sure I tried something. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a clock.
While I was inside the shop, I think the craving kind of went because I was distracted. However, at some point quite quickly on the journey home it came back. I really think it might have had sth to do with the fact that I was worrying about whether or not to have a drink because I was worrying about whether it would dissolve my resolve; at the same time, I worried about delaying drinking. I was in a quandary; the more the craving intensified and the more physical symptoms I got (feeling that indeterminable physical longing in the middle of my chest, feeling light headed and anxious), the more I started to actually want a drink to calm down.
I thought it would get better when I got home. I did a relaxation for about ten which made a tiny bit of difference. Then, I drank some hot chocolate. I also drank a couple of glasses of water. Then, I listened to Joel. I made a plan of action: transform quit fuel lit. into shorter crib sheet, and devise a step by step drinking craving action plan. I felt better after I’d done this, I think partly because reading through all the reasons I should stay quit kind of helped.
I started crying while I was reading one of the pieces; I should never forget how much this all means to me. I think I was crying cos I was feeling so anxious and fed up of the craving. It also dawned on me, in a moment of clarity, that I was still seriously ill from smoking and how much cigarettes had screwed me up.
I really started to feel back to normal when I started searching for how I should prepare the mackerel for my dinner. That was the turning point. After that, I made an action plan for the eve: play piano, have bath and drink, join Freedom, then cook. I made a 2 drink limit which I broke by about a fifth of an extra drink. I can’t remember wanting to smoke at all while I was drinking which was great. It wasn’t like normal, but I am still in recovery.
I got a bit drunk, then cooked and went to bed feeling fine. I am now officially not physically addicted to nicotine! Well done me!!
I cooked again last night: I love cooking! Have not got takeaways all week-amazing! Prob healthier, too.
Having showers/baths when get home-cos can be bothered now: nice and relaxing.
Am being more organized, e.g. not just throwing everything into bag, but keeping money in wallet and make-up in bag, again cos can be bothered
Am getting ready quicker in the mornings cos not having morning fags.
Little things like can be bothered now to stand up in front of bathroom mirror to put on makeup.
Get tired later (not sure if that’s good or bad thing).
Think darkness under eyes has gone slightly. I had thought the puffiness was gone, but when I had a look just now they still seemed dark and puffy (maybe cos of crying last night). I think there may have been a very slight improvement.
I had roses in my cheeks last night, but that was prob cos was drunk.
My fiancée, R, said, ‘I might join you,’ when we talked about how well I’m doing. He is very proud of me. I want him to quit smoking too so much.
Had small coughing fit yesterday and was quite phlegmy this morn. Think will take it as sign lungs are clearing themselves out. No lung rattle at all now. :)
Finally, I really hope I am realizing the futility and pointlessness of having a cigarette again. I am trying to see the truth of it not being one, but a package deal including the cigarette itself, years of smoking afterwards, feeling vile again plus being completely depressed the quit has failed. It would be life threatening. I like the way Joel says yes, you do want that cigarette but if you are logical and think with your mind instead of your addicted mind, you won’t want the conditions and price it would come with.
Woke up craving a bit. I am still craving but the craves don’t seem to be lasting as long. Or rather, they start strong and then fade quite quickly. Having said that, I think I’m craving a bit now. I don’t really understand why. I think I’ll ask John at Freedom.
I had a few drinks last night, was def a bit drunk but am not hungover today. How nice to be able to drink without feeling terrible the next day. Because of unexpected relative ease of drinking the previous night, decided (with hardly any reservation) to go for drink that night.
Went to Worm. L and M there. Went inside. They now have no-smoking indoor policy which is extremely helpful. Sat down. Felt a bit weird and expectant. L asked if I didn’t know what to do with my hands-that was kind of it, but I think I was more just waiting to see how I felt. I ordered a drink; clocked a couple of people outside smoking. I could smell it, but it didn’t really bother me. Was weird as was chewing gum and instinctively when I sat down reached for an ashtray to put gum in without realising one wasn’t there which shows how far the Worm has come and how far I have yet to go.
We went and sat outside; a few others joined-all non-smokers apart from P. I thought it must be horrible being the only smoker-she must be feeling really embarrassed. It’s really hard when an established smoking friend quits and you’re still smoking. I went through it with L and S. You feel really weak and pathetic. I felt ok; at no point did I want to smoke tho I was thinking about it. I felt like I was looking at this bloke that was smoking, but I didn’t really want one myself.
I really felt like getting drunk, maybe because of how hard the week had been. I had promised myself I would go home after 2-5 (I kept changing the limit even before I started drinking), but I quickly realised this wasn’t going to happen. Because I wasn’t craving at all, I wasn’t hugely concerned about going over my limit. I was drinking wine and I ended up getting drunk.
P, L and I went back to mine. No craving. Drank more. Then we decided to go for an Italian.
When we were walking there I abruptly announced I was going home but the girls persuaded me not too. This might’ve been cos I was craving, so drunk or both. Once inside, I ate my food REALLY quickly and left after about ten minutes. L said I was snappish and she said she could tell I was struggling with crave. It could’ve been cos I was badly craving, or it could’ve been just I was pissed-or both.
Anyway, I went home.
Woke up about 3.30 am. Immediately was convinced had smoked as couldn’t remember all of walk home and could only remember craving episode. Searched everywhere in flat, bag and clothes: no evidence. Also no smoke smell on clothes or in mouth. Pretty sure didn’t smoke. I think I’d remember that if nothing else, cos when I’ve cheated before on quits while I’ve been drunk I can remember the feeling of the dopamine rush.
So got through that, but feel stupid for getting so drunk. Not just for putting smoking quit in danger; just stupid (and embarrassing) to get that drunk anyway. Will try not to from now on. The feeling when thought had smoked was horrible.
I know this day doesn’t reflect well on me at all. I considered leaving it out, but then it would have been a dishonest account.
Saturday was hungover mostly cos of uncharacteristic drinking of wine and mixing of it with vodka. However, not crippled. Couldn’t get back to sleep after 3.30 am wake up, freak out and house search. Felt wide awake so watched ‘The Street’ and ate some. Planned on what to order when Sherpa’s (takeaway service) opened (at 9.30).
Small craves during the day; nothing of note, but enough and frequent enough to be noticeable while at the same time not disturbing. Maybe cos of being around nic in Italian restaurant? Even though was hungover was not crippled. Managed to tidy/clean up though did stay in bed all day eating and watching movies. P told me she was coming round and gave me no choice in the matter. That was the worst part of the day craving wise; cos I felt so annoyed and irritated I started craving a bit. Phoned L and moaned. When P came round, it wasn’t that bad. She didn’t smoke.
Different to other hangover days when was smoker did not intermittently just sleep and eat. Only slept once at about 3 pm but this was understandable (3am wake up). Slept for a few hours, woke up again and watched more TV. Thought about going Worm to meet D’s parents but ultimately just couldn’t be bothered. Also, after ‘close-call’ of previous night, thought should give resolve a break.
Spoke to R and told him still hadn’t smoked. He said, ‘That’s it; you’ve done it.’ I have done well but I have a long way to go. The biggest and most reassuring difference between this time and last time is that I am thinking differently about cigarettes. I truly believe, as opposed to trying to force myself to believe, that nicotine is extremely dangerous and insidiously evil. The way it screws people up is unbelievable and disgusting.
Since forcing myself to face the realities of smoking by reading the journals by and testimonials to people who have died because of smoking/nicotine ingestion, I have become really worried about R. He’s 42. A lot of people have already died of smoking by that age. I must keep on with this. He needs to stop. I almost want to send him some of what I’ve read, but I don’t think it’ll help. He should come to it in his own time when I’ll point him in the right direction. But he’ll probably just want to try and to it on his own. I’ll just give him the website and he can do the rest..
I am disappointed with the fact that I am still craving a bit in the morning. The craves seem to happen a lot more and more noticeably. ‘A lot’ is probably a massive exaggeration, it just feels like a lot compared to other times. It is almost irritating me. I feel like I’ve gone through and given enough already and it should now be an easy ride!
However, no one said it would be easy. I am recovering from a fatal disease after all. And it is getting better (overall).
then had what felt like the most horrible craving episode that lasted for about
an hour/hour and a half (again, that could be exaggerated but there was no way
it was 3 minutes because I timed that). It felt like a craving but I (mostly)
didn't want to smoke. (This is taken to from post I put onto FFN): I never felt
like I'd go out and buy some cigarettes. However, the physical/psychological
sensations were very unpleasant.
It feels like the blood has rushed to and is rushing around my brain. I feel kind of light-headed and tingly. It feels almost like the physical symptoms of anxiety.
I am wondering why my recovery is getting worse. Maybe it's not getting worse; the first two days I was obsessing far more about cigarettes, but the craves were far more manageable. Now, they are less frequent, but really powerful. I don't really know which is worse. I kind of dread these happening as the physical feeling is so weird. I know it won't harm me, but I still don't like them.
Are these even craving episodes? Could they be linked to my brain receiving more oxygen?
After it started to die down (again while I was reading/listening to Joel’s Quit Library: coincidence?) I had a Eureka moment. I honestly think it might be to do with my caffeine intolerance. I remember one time before when I OD’d (exaggeration again) on caffeine and it was very similar. That also might be what happened on day three (though that maybe was more likely a bona fide craving, given when it was). Even as a smoker I was quite sensitive to nicotine (that was when first OD happened). Despite the fact that I only drink green tea, it still has caffeine in it and I might possibly be drinking more of it as kind of a replacement for smoking, though I am consciously trying not to.
Regardless, I have cut down how much tea I drink and bought some non-caffeine herby flowery tea (which is gross as it happens) yesterday.
Then I cleaned up for a bit and ended up kind of doing a bit of spring cleaning (again not done for ages) throwing out unneeded detritus in bedroom and bathroom. Both look a lot better. Other junk in flat also needs to be attacked. Then had nice bath. Have started having baths again cos can be bothered, cos they are so relaxing and cos mosquito season is ‘pon us and I like to be clean b4 put on spray.
I ended up going to L’s barbecue with hardly any misgivings about smoking. Felt fine whole time was there; even enjoyed it. Didn’t want to smoke once. Noone else there smoked either which prob helped. I’m lucky to be quitting when most others have!
After L’s went to supermarket to get stuff. Glad now have energy to do these things; before, it was like I could only do one thing a day and an activity like going to the supermarket was delayed, postponed and dreaded. Even though was feeling a bit sick from booze and food, still felt like going.
In evening phoned dad by mistake (was trying to Skype mum). Ended up having quite nice chat about wedding. Was drinking during call and again did not think about smoking except to reflect on the fact that I wasn’t thinking about smoking.
Realised at end of eve that, disregarding ‘crave’ episode of morning, nicotine/cigarette thoughts had not really bothered me at all day. It is definitely getting easier. I am doing it!
I’m sure my skin looks kind of more moist and translucent; it just looks healthier with a better tone
My eyes have more lustre; they are sparkling (to use a vomit-inducing cliché)
Nic stain going on finger but gross hardened skin needs to go too
Have noticed am periodically taking very deep gulps into my lungs-prob cos can for the first time in ages and lungs are taking advantage of getting clean oxygen
More energy means am:
Cleaning more (doing washing up esp)
Staying up later (a bit annoying actually but surely a sign I am less wrecked by smoking)
Getting up earlier? (not sure if this is actually true but I think am waking up quicker and not feeling tired when wake up; have woken up a couple of times b4 alarm 2)
Making plans/lists more
It’s great. My life is so much better already. Before I was so worried all the time about my smoking. I couldn’t do anything cos I basically felt so ill all the time, and lethargic. I am free of this now. Plus I am an example to R. Must keep on. Hoorah!