Mourning the Loss of My Inner Smoker

10 Mar

First of all – thanks to everyone who’s been supportive to me over the last couple of days, both in the comments and in some great personal emails, skypes, and phone calls I got from some of you cheering me on. You are all awesome.

So – progress report – it’s been about 48 hours since my last cigarette. Day one – which was in the past the hardest for me, was surprisingly easy.

I credit this mostly to the fact that I had a solid plan – and I had the patch. That thing is truly a miracle. I don’t know why more people don’t go for it.

It took a huge burden off of me in terms of the chemical addiction, which allowed me to handle only the issue of breaking the psychological addiction.

Well, guess what? The psychological addiction is truly the real bitch here. Yesterday I was ok. With the exception of having a bit of trouble concentrating throughout the day I can count the amount of times I wanted a cigarette on one hand. This was a miracle.

Also – the fact that I went to two yoga classes straight (yes, that means three hours. one and a half of soft vinyasa followed by another hour and a half of fast paced ashtanga), tuckered me out enough that it got rid of the urge for the most part.

Today, on the other hand, was a bit tougher. I had kind of a weird sleep schedule. I woke up early to get some stuff done. I got it done, and then had about 3 hours to kill before my therapy session. I was exhausted and my back was hurting like a mofo (yeah – maybe three hours straight of yoga was NOT the stroke of genius I thought it was), plus it was raining like heck outside. So I grabbed the puppy, cuddled up, and went back to sleep. I put on the alarm for 11:30 and wouldn’t you know it? I turned it off in my sleep. I was supposed to head out to my therapists at 12:30.

Guess when I woke up? If you guessed 12:30 you win a virtual cookie!

Yeah. Not good.

See – usually when this stuff happens to me, I jump out of bed, throw on some clothes, grab a bottle of a caffeinated beverage, and chain smoke all the  way to the place I need to go so that I will be fully awake when I get there.

And allow me to remind you – that my plan for a peaceful wake-up  involved about 45 minutes of tea drinking and sun salutations. This was not an option today.

So –  I jump up, stick on the patch, and grab a few sips of coke zero (mega-healthy, right?) before hopping in the car. The whole way – jonesing for a cigarette, and in the meantime having a rather stressful phone convo with my dad. Here’s a tip for those of you quitting smoking: don’t do any of these things while on the patch.

The result is that I arrived at my therapist’s office 10 minutes late, and according to her description – rather manic.

Yep – I talked her ear off WAAAAY too energetically – all the while feeling rather spacey  since I hadn’t completely “woken up”. If I had called my psychiatrist at that point – he would have told me to come into his office asap so he could give me a tranquilizer (and mind you – I had taken my morning xanx -which makes all of this all the more disturbing). Yeah. Fun times.

Then I went to the Harley Hottie for my weekly needle sticking – and at least he managed to get my jitters down to a minimum, which was good.

But then I got home – and it was still cold and rainy. so what did I do? Why – go to sleep, of course!

Shmerson showed up about an hour into my nap and I cajoled him into joining me for a cuddle.

He had made dinner reservations for 8pm to celebrate my quitting (isn’t he the best shmerson ever?) but we both slept until 7:45. One look outside and I told him to cancel the reservation and let’s just order something in and cuddle.

And through all this, well, today I craved cigarettes. A lot. And at one point during my manic therapy session I managed to voice why.

Every time I’ve quit smoking in the past, there was always, somewhere in the back of my mind, the thought that it was temporary. That I would eventually go back to smoking. Even during my long quit it was there. Even after my first BFP I kind of thought to myself that after having the baby I may go back to it.

This time I’m going in it for good. I have to convince myself that I will never smoke again. I absolutely have to. Because I can’t go back. I can’t do that to myself again. Smoking is the most destructive habit in this world. It’s just as bad – if not worse than most drug addiction because it will kill you slowly. And I don’t want that. I really really don’t. So this time I need to keep it in my head that I’m quitting for good.

Now I know you all think this is a wonderful thing. And it is. On every single possible level it is.

Except in my own effed up mind. In quitting smoking, I am giving up a huge part of my identity.

Yes, it’s a self-destructive, poisonous part. But still – it’s a part of what makes me – me.

I love pictures of myself directing on set. I always look like shit in them, with my baseball caps and ratty clothes. But – nonetheless, I love them. I look badass. I look professional. I look like a “big girl”.

Guess what? I can go through a 100 pics of me on set. And in 99 of them you would find me with a diet coke in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

Of all of my friends – only three of them have known me as a non-smoker. Those are the ones who I’ve been in touch with since elementary school. Everyone else in my life, excluding my immediate family – knows me as a smoker. It’s part of who I am. Chain smoking through deep conversations. Lighting up after dinner. Grabbing a bottle of caffeinated something and chain smoking in the car when I’m running late. This has been me for almost two decades.

And now – I’m replacing that with tea and yoga. ME. The hard-assed chain smoking bitch is becoming a froofy mommy wanna-be who does yoga and drinks tea with fresh mint.

Now mind you – this hard-assed chain smoking bitch is not a person I liked very much. In fact, she’s anxious, usually miserable, almost always overweight, and has had two miscarriages. She’s the person who had a complete and total mental breakdown less than six months ago. I don’t like her very much. I’m very glad to be rid of her on so many levels.

But – me? A froofy yoga-practicing tea drinker? I don’t know. I guess it’s just weird.

My friends who are reading this get it – this thoughtful sensitive mommy-wanna-be who write this blog is not who they’ve known for the past decade and a half. She’s a relatively new invention – a person who has risen from the ashes of the old me. The old me that most of the people who have found me here on the blogosphere don’t know about.

The old me that curses like a trucker (yes – much more than I do here. Especially when I spoke english, up until a few months ago I would use the f-bomb instead of “um).

The old me that tore down everything in her path to get what she wanted (that person disappeared about two years ago after I fell into my post Grad School X depression). The person who once she got what she wanted, destroyed it in a heartbeat without looking back. Over and over. Fearless. Destructive? yes. But fearless. Due to a repressed anxiety disorder that she was ignoring? Yes. But still. Fearless.

The old me that was a chain smoking, caffeine drinking, fuck-it-all bitch.

Now mind you – I hate the old me. The old me led me down a slippery slope that ended in my life being shattered. I like the new me quite a bit. The one that listens to her feelings. The one that hates herself a lot less. The one that wants to be a mommy and is embracing her inner mommy each day more and more through teaching, through this blog, through being a better friend. Through being a better wife.

But still – i feel like with this one final act, I’m killing that part of me. That self-destructive, stubborn self-hating bitch. And well, she’s done some good things too, so it’s kind of hard to say goodbye to her. I think I spent most of today missing her – just a bit. Trying to hang on to her on some level.

But I didn’t have a cigarette. I didn’t let myself get back to her. I stayed strong.

And tomorrow I will go back to the tea and sun salutations. Hi there, new, froofy yoga-practicing-tea-drinking me. Nice to meet you. Please stick around, ok? Cause that other bitch is trying to elbow her way back in. And I don’t know if I want to be friends with her anymore.

7 Responses to “Mourning the Loss of My Inner Smoker”

  1. Wannabemom March 10, 2011 at 03:09 #

    Look up the stages of grief. People go through them when they stop an addiction.. because it is a piece of you… like a friend. So you must grieve the loss of that friend.

    Good luck!

    • mommyodyssey March 10, 2011 at 19:48 #

      I actually took your advice and googled it. Found some really helpful info. Thanks!

  2. Marie March 10, 2011 at 09:32 #

    Ok, so you know I am a huge anti-smoking advocate, right?

    There is a version of me, a younger version who also happened to write poetry, who smoked (socially, not addictively). And I sometimes miss her like crazy too. She had inappropriate affairs, too, with men who were involved with other women, or with the best friends of other men she was fucking. I miss that – the uncertainty, the self-righteousness, the excitement and drama.

    Now, I am boring. I do not smoke, I do not go out and party, and I am monogamous. And most of the time, that’s ok. But I think there will always be a part of me – like there will always be a part of you – who misses that other chick. Try to turn your feelings of loss into fond memories, and see how you do.

    Because you can’t go back. None of us can. So now we just have to do our best at moving forward.

    If I wasn’t so damn tired after four days of waking up before dawn, I would email you a LOT more stories, and words of encouragement, and reassurance that, yeah, I get it. I even get this.

    But does it help a little, to know I used to smoke a little?

    • mommyodyssey March 10, 2011 at 14:50 #

      oh yeah it totally does. I expect you to email me those stories as soon as you get some sleep!

  3. me0me March 10, 2011 at 18:37 #

    I’ve been hoping and waiting for this emergence for a long time, and I see it more like (pardon the slight gruesomeness) a snake shedding off its skin.
    I think the bad-ass bitch was a hard outer shell, put on to deal with difficult people. I think that (a small) part of the reason you’ve been going through what you have been is- you don’t need that rough skin anymore. You have enough going for you, resume-wise and true-self-esteem-wise on many levels that you simply don’t need to pretend that you’re something that your true inner being isn’t anymore.
    I think we’re all softies in our core. Some of us have pointy spots, sure (so nicely demonstrated in Lady Gaga’s Born This Way makeup), but at the end of the day, we’re all human beings trying to connect to one another and make each other’s lives better. And it’s always been clear to me that that’s your core.
    So congrats honey, on finding the courage and space and want to let go of the pseudo-real part of you that you don’t actually need anymore!
    In therapy yesterday, at one point I was telling my therapist about my old rooftop in Rishon (Squish, if you’re reading this- it was while we were analyzing the dream), and I felt a freedom that I hadn’t felt in a long time. She asked me to go into this feeling and tell her about it. It had to do, more than anything I think, with disregard for social norms that I have since adapted- the need to ‘look busy’, to ‘be doing stuff’- on a few different levels. I look forward to joining you with an emergence from the parts of us that represent our walls, our pretenses, hiding our true selves and repressing our inner freedoms and creative selves.
    We can do this.

    • mommyodyssey March 10, 2011 at 19:49 #

      I love you. that is all. 🙂

    • bodegabliss March 10, 2011 at 23:10 #

      I couldn’t agree more. This new Mo is going to be even more badass than the last one. How can she not be?

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