Friday, August 14, 2009

According to the Internet

This could have gone one of two ways:

I'm an idiot, how could I even contemplate quitting smoking during my move? That's like adding insult to injury. The stress of getting everything done, not leaving priceless heirlooms to the mercy of the neighborhood children who were ready to break down my door and scavenge the second our car pulled out added to the stress of not smoking? Definitely an idiot move right there.

This is friggin' brilliant! I'm a genius. I'm going to be so consumed by the whole moving thing I'm not going to even notice the not smoking thing. Sure there will be times a cigarette would be nice, but I'll just be too busy to have the kinds of cravings that, in other circumstances, would lead me to violence against others.

Turns out I chose wisely. According to the internet, the nicotine is out of my system now (or at least out of my bloodstream). Would it be nice to be smoking while I type this? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Am I gonna? Nah. This was way easier than I expected. I've been smoking for real, for true, for sixteen years. That's buying my own packs and smoking them throughout the day smoking, not I'll have one with a beer and sometimes on the weekend smoking. And while I would certainly rather be having a cigarette than not, I am frankly amazed by how not traumatic quitting has been.

I have some theories, none of which has ever held water with others, but since this is my corner of the internet I can expound on them at will. I think the physical habit was always more important to me than the chemical one. I remember thinking this very early on in my smoking career. I liked the action of smoking; the nicotine was a secondary thing. This manifested itself in my not freaking out over long periods of time when I couldn't have a cigarette. Yes, when the plane landed I was right in line with the other addicts, but it was the action of lighting the cigarette and bringing it to my mouth that I was looking forward to, the feel of it in my hand, and not necessarily the nicotine. Call bullshit at will.

I also experienced the ill-effects of smoking less strongly than the people around me. Devoted partner would frequently cough and hack as smokers do, whereas the only time I ever noticed anything was when coming off a cold; it would take another day or two longer than normal to get over it. But I didn't wake up in the morning with phlegm, I found it no more difficult to run up stairs than I normally do (when we did that thing in science class that the Apollo astronauts had to do with blowing through the tube to keep the ping pong ball suspended, I failed spectacularly; I had no lung capacity before I started smoking; and as for the out of shape thing, well, one major life change or two at a time).

Last year when I interned in the kitchens and was afraid to take a break to pee, much less to smoke, I routinely went 10+ hours, four days a week without a cigarette, and I neither attacked my chefs with knives, nor collapsed crying in the corner. I'm not saying I plan to take up heroin, but since everyone says quitting smoking is harder than quitting heroin...

So is this bragging? It is and I'm sorry for that. But for all my bravado, I'm actually surprised that the past 6 days have gone as they have. The house is making it's way towards livability, and I'm not smoking - neither of those things has been true in my life for quite some time. I know I finagled a caveat into my quitting, that I could smoke on vacation, but I know it would be foolish to smoke during my next vacation, whenever that may be, as I should let non-smoking me get used to things for at least a year before tempting fate.

But it is possible I have replaced one addiction with another. Is it normal to go through a box of dishwasher powder in four days?

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