Tag Archives: quitting smoking

Dear Body, You Suck.

3 May

You know how sometimes you think you’re fine and then you’re really not?

Yeah – I thought I was ok. Kind of. Today that theory was proven as wrong. Kind of. I don’t know. I just know that I hate my body.

I was feeling kind of out of it today – but all around ok. At least I was being productive. Getting the site for my business up, editing my showreel.

Then I started bleeding again. And well – it all went downhill from there.

I thought I was done. I have had only light brown spotting on and off for like, three days. I even told squish on the phone today that I think the bleeding is done with.

Two hours later I’m in the bathroom and we’re back to bright red.

I was planning on going back to yoga today and since I was still feeling ok I figured I’d go. If you remember – my yoga instructor has been made very aware of my situation in general with the miscarriages.

So I admit – I was dreading going in there today. Telling him that we had another one. Before leaving the house I put on my yoga clothes and looked at myself in the mirror. I think I’ve gained at least 5 pounds in the last two weeks. I feel bloated and fat. I think I may be back to 160 pounds. I’m afraid to weigh myself to fine out.

Just the act of getting in the car made me cry. Then I ran through the conversation in my head. I cried some more.

I paced back and forth in front of the studio. I cried.

I went in and of course he was awesome as usual. I told him what happened and he set up a mat for me in the farthest corner of the room, so that I could cry if I needed – or whatever I needed. He said to do what I could.

During the class he was extra sensitive. Turns out there were some early preggos in the class today. But he didn’t say “for the pregnant women” when giving his instructors. He said “for those worrying about an extra person.” I know that was meant for me. He came by a few times during the class just to check on me. Make sure I was holding it together.

And I was. But the thing is that toward the end of class I started cramping again. I felt a gush (sorry for the TMI). I went to the bathroom and it was like the red lady had shown up. Only I  know that’s impossible. My betas were at 83 five days ago. So this basically means that I’m in the midst of the miscarriage that refuses to end.

I left the studio crying. I went out and of course smoked a cigarette.

I came home crying. I bawled and bawled to shmerson. I told him how much I hate my body. How all this hard work that I’ve been doing for the last 6 months has officially gone down the crapper. And what’s the use of it anyway? Because we keep miscarrying.

And I don’t get how he can deal with being with me since I’m damaged goods basically on every single level.

I love my husband. He managed to talk me down. I’ll be going for a beta tomorrow morning. I hope to spaghetti monster that I’ll be down to zero, and that today is just my uterus catching up with my hormones.

Look – I know the logical side of things. Shmerson gave me a huge lecture on this: You shouldn’t be taking care of your body just to have a baby. You should be taking care of your body for you. And if you take care of your body “to have a baby” then each time you fail- heck – each time you succeed you will fall back on old destructive habits.

He’s right. I know. I get it.

But logic is hard to see when you look at yourself in the mirror and feel helpless in front of the broken body that you see in front of you.

How can you treat something with respect when it has betrayed you?

If anybody has an easy answer – now’s the time to give it.

What If

15 Mar

First – an update. The woman who I posted about yesterday gave birth to yet another healthy baby boy. I officially clicked “hide” today on her profile. Don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner. She has gone from “I’m not crazy about her” to “I hate that woman” in the course of 24 hours. Yay her.

Thanks for everyone’s lovely and supportive comments yesterday. They really did help.

But yesterday sucked – on a lot of levels.

However, today, some of the sources of that suckage were revealed with my monthly visit to Dr. Happy Pills.

Yeah – turns out my whole “let’s lose the patch” plan – well – not so much with the smart.

I had my first uncontrollable crying fit in months last night. And it was terrible because Shmerson is away at reserve duty and I was feeling particularly alone (luckily, Court was there to talk me down from having a cigarette and squish was there to talk me down in general). Today, when I entered Dr. Happy Pills’ office, exhausted and puffy eyed, he said: get yourself back on the patch. Now.

Then came the barrage of “me knowing betters” that included “but the nicotine is already out of my system!” And “I don’t want to get re-addicted!”.

His answer: Get the lower dosage patch but get yourself back on the freakin’ patch.

See- turns out those cigarettes were medicating my anxiety issues even more than I thought. Now that I’m clear headed (back on a lower dosage patch) all of the sudden, the last few days – the crying fits, the disconnection, the over eating, the not going to yoga, the not handling anything with even an iota of rationality – well, they’re all making much more sense.

Yeah – nicotine plays on the same exact places in the brain that happy pills do. This means I have to WEAN MYSELF OFF SLOWLY or go completely batshit – (see the last few days as an example of me going batshit. Though what you read on the blog was tame compared to what was raging in my head).

So – I am now back on a low dose patch. I will wean myself off of it slowly. I will listen to Dr. Happy Pills properly from now on. No more “me knowing better.”

(You’d think I’d have learned that lesson by now, wouldn’t you?)

The thing is, with the emotional rollercoaster of the last week or so, going from doing the happy dance to rock bottom in the course of hours, having a constant internal dialogue with myself about smoking versus non-smoking, a lot of fears have started to creep back in.

On a lot of levels today’s appt. with Dr. Happy Pills kind of sealed the deal regarding TTC again. Along with my regular prescriptions, he also gave me a script for a less effective, but preggo-safe anti anxiety med to start taking as soon as I get a BFP instead of the xanax. All areas are now covered.

So it’s official. I’m a non-smoker (now with more regulated mood swings!). I’m down to a single glass of caffeinated something per day, I’m getting stuck with needles once a week, I’m taking folic acid, and I own my very own yoga mat. I’ve got my bases covered. I’m ready to become a baby making machine.

But…. What if…?

Let me stop here and share with you an excerpt of a draft of something that I started writing a few days back. This is a post about re-framing traumatic experience, which I will most likely publish in the next few days, but with all of this stuff omitted, since you’re reading it here, and it turns out it has no place in that other post. So, here you go:

Take my next BFP – lord knows I’ve had enough trauma with pregnancy to last a lifetime. And I’m in a rather precarious place. It’s going to be a third pregnancy. If this one doesn’t stick that means that we have to start pulling out the big guns. Thinking of plans b, c, and d.

If I miscarry again, that means that in the eyes of every single doctor I turn from “repeated aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

I’m a third time offender. In California that’s a life sentence right there (ha ha I made a judiciary funny).

I’m not dreading pregnancy (well, duh). I’m not even dreading those first few weeks, which I know will be hell on so many levels. The fear. The anticipation. The worry. Did I mention the fear?

But I am determined to make this entire process of going back to TTC a  better experience.

I’ve quit smoking. I’ve tossed the OPK’s. I’m letting go of control. I will have fun having sex with my husband like any other normal couple should.

And once I get that BFP – oh my are things going to be different. There will now be a doctor that I like and trust (already made sure of that). That doctor will be forced to give me an emergency contact number, so that if something goes wrong, I will be going to him to get the bad news, and not be subjected to the humiliation of having a stranger tell me the news.

I will not spend my next pregnancy in denial. I will count the pregnancy from day one and not wait “until I see a heartbeat” or “until the 12th week” to make it count and appreciate it.

Yes I will be scared out of my wits. But I’ll have you guys here with me the entire time. And if I miscarry. If something, spaghetti monster forbid, goes wrong? If I officially make it into the three-timer club……?

This is where I got stuck writing the post. All of the sudden I found myself without an answer to that particular “What if?”. I was so sure I had it all figured out. I was so sure everything was in place. But I forgot about that last “what if?”.

What if I make it into the three-timer club?

What if all of this hope, all of this optimism, all of it gets shattered?

I’ve had all the tests that you’re supposed to have at this stage of the game. As a two-time offender.

That doesn’t mean everything’s ok. It means that everything that’s been tested is ok. There’s still a battery of highly invasive high-tech thingamabobs that have yet to be inserted into my uterus because I haven’t made the transition from “repeat aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

This is what’s been haunting me for the last few days. The possibility that this saga has just begun. That with this next BFP, despite every heart-wrenching step I’ve taken, it still will not be enough. I will still cross the threshold from “repeat aborter” to “habitual aborter”.

It’s that “what if” that is scaring me right now more than anything else.

It’s that “what if” that brings on the self destructive thought of “what’s the point of all of this? what if it won’t make a difference?”

And now – I have no choice but to just wait and see, and push that particular “what if” aside as best as I possibly can.

But I know that this “what if” is what will be haunting me for the next few months. And what sucks is, there’s really nothing I can do about it.  My inner control freak is currently having a serious temper tantrum.

 

You Know What Really Pisses Me Off?

14 Mar

There’s this woman, who is a friend of a friend, who I made the mistake of adding on facebook a few months ago.

Two years ago, at the age of THIRTY FIVE, this woman got pregnant by her boyfriend BY ACCIDENT.

SHE ALSO SMOKED AND DRANK DURING THE ENTIRE PREGNANCY AND GAVE BIRTH TO A PERFECTLY HEALTHY BABY BOY.

A few days ago she happens to pop up on my news feed with a belly that’s 7 months along. At the age of 37. Without a hitch. And I bet she’s still smoking.

And today, i go out to lunch with my mom and a friend of hers. Her daughter, who is 34, is now 15 weeks along with her second child. No complications all is well. What was supposed to be a pleasant day was spent cooing at pictures of this woman’s one year old grandaughter and talking excitedly about how “she hopes this next one is a boy” and how her “poor daughter just feels awful physically”.

At that point I wanted to yell at her: So fucking what? At least she made it to 15 weeks. Now shut the fuck up before I throw something at you.

Then we drove past a store with maternity clothes and I wanted to cry.

I want a fucking cigarette.

 

Nicotine Monster Rears its Ugly Head?

13 Mar

Don’t worry! No relapse!

But yeah – today sucked.

So the last couple of days I’ve been waking up and kind of giving it a long hard think before applying the patch. Waking up has been easy and the patch has made me kinda nauseous, not to mention that it’s been leaving red blotchy marks everywhere I applied it.

Today I woke up – and looked at that box of patches. I said to myself – nope. You’re done with this poison.

Of course, a few minutes of googling confirmed that I was in the clear. I’ve already broken the habit for the most part – now all I had to do was get through the nicotine withdrawal.  Piece of cake! (at least according to alan carr).

Well. Alan Carr LIED.

Ok. I admit – I’m actually not sure this was all due to lack of nicotine.

In fact – most of the day was spent in a pretty laid back way. Yes I had a few more craving than the previous days – but all was well.

Then – out of the blue –  I transformed into an evil monster.

Context: Shmerson is leaving for reserve duty in about four hours. He’ll be gone till Wed. Like I do each time he goes away for this (it happens usually about twice a year) I cooked him a yummy dinner, complete with a yummy dessert. All was well.

Until he asked me a question about something (after dinner) and I didn’t know the answer. And he made kind of an off-hand cynical comment.

Which in turn – made me turn into a shrew for the next hour or so. Yelling, saying really mean things, just plain bitchy. I was being terrible. And to make matters worse I knew I was being terrible. And I started hitting shmerson with lovely lines like “See? You knew I was going through nicotine withdrawal why did you have to act that way? it’s all your fault!”

And when he actually tried to apologize, well of course, I yelled at him some more.

About two seconds before he went to bed I stopped him and finally said I’m sorry I’ve been to terrible. I don’t want you to leave like this. I’m sorry I was such a bitch. It’s because I stopped the patch.

Then he said “no – actually. You always pick a fight with me when I leave for reserve duty.”

“I do?”

“yep.”

“Oh. Why didn’t you mention that an hour ago! Then maybe I wouldn’t have wanted a cigarette so badly!”

“would you have listened?”

No comment.

Yeah – so apparently I get so worried about shmerson when he’s gone I try to pick a fight with him so I will miss him less. Aren’t I healthy?

I guess the nicotine withdrawal just aggravated the situation.

Let’s just hope I’m past the worst of it, because I hate it when shmerson’s away, so the next few days are gonna suck.

Ahh well.

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.

You Are Now a Non-Smoker

8 Mar

Dear Me,

You have spent the last 5 months working hard to improve your life. It was hard at times, but today, you feel better than you have in years. You have finally become sensitive to your feelings, and to your body. You are taking care of yourself. You are calmer, and happier than you have been in years. You are moving your career forward at an amazing pace, with a newfound sense of motivation.

You are at the final hurdle. The one final act that will make you come full circle. No – things will not be perfect – life never is. But if you succeed in doing this one final thing – if you never smoke another cigarette in your life – you will officially be on the path to true health.

Whenever you want a cigarette from now on – please read the following reasons why you quit in the first place, so that you don’t fall back into the trap of this disgusting addiction, which has taken too big a part in your adult life.

  1. Heart disease and high cholesterol run in your family. You already have high blood pressure as a result of your pack a day habit. You want to live a long healthy life. If you never smoke again – that is far more likely to happen. Within a few years, the tar and poison will completely leave your body. You have yet to do permanent damage. But if you return to smoking – you just might.
  2. You spend more money on cigarettes per month than you do on your therapist. When you and Shmerson wrote out your budget a few weeks ago – that is the exact amount of money you were missing. Now you will break even. And with the newfound energy that you have, you will soon be earning more.
  3. Your anxiety is caused by nicotine, not relieved by it. Just the mere thought of quitting has brought you to near panic attacks in the last few days, when you hadn’t had one in months. You’re afraid of dying? Here’s a way of assuring it will happen sooner rather than later: Keep on smoking. Oh? You don’t want that to happen? Ok. Take a xanax and shut the hell up.
  4. Remember right before your wedding? You went to the dentist and asked him to bleach your teeth. He said there was no point in doing that, since you’re still a smoker. Now you look at your wedding pics and feel terrible about your yellow teeth. In a few months you can go back to the dentist, get your teeth whitened, and this time it will stick.
  5. Remember that period of ten months where you were a non-smoker? Yes – the first couple of weeks were hard. But – do you also remember how much easier it was for you to wake up in the morning as a non-smoker once that crap was out of your body? How much more easily you slept? How shmerson complimented you on your complexion? And there were stressful times in the middle of that period. And you got though them just fine, thank you very much.
  6. You have had two miscarriages. There is a good chance that the reason for your second one was, amongst other things, your smoking. Do you remember the guilt you felt? The pain at the thought that your filthy habit may have in some way contributed to your loss? You may miscarry again. If that happens – and you are a non-smoker – you can be assured that this will not be your fault. You will not have to deal with endless hours of guilt and self-flagellation.
  7. You want to get pregnant. And soon. this means that you will have to quit anyway once you get a BFP. Do you really want the stress of quitting to come right along with the stress of early pregnancy? Of course not. So go do some sun salutations and get over yourself.
  8. Don’t think for a moment that you will go back to smoking once you give birth to a healthy baby. First of all – you want more than one – and do you really want to put yourself through torture again? Second of all – you are quitting not only because you want to have a healthy pregnancy. You are quitting because you are finally learning to respect your body. You deserve health. Yes you do. Don’t argue with me on that. That little panic you’re feeling? That’s that little voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough. You are. Get over yourself.
  9. Plus – don’t forget that children of parents who smoke are more likely to become smokers themselves. Just look at yourself. Both your parents were at one point smokers. Your mother still is. You and your brother would give them hell when you were kids. Now you are both pack-a-day smokers. Don’t do this to your future children.
  10. How many times have you taken a drag of a cigarette and had that creeping feeling: “you’re killing yourself slowly” you’ve felt it thousands of times. You will never have to have that feeling again.
  11. How many times have you felt uncomfortable about lighting up? Most of your friends are non-smokers. You will no longer feel the need to apologize for your filthy habit.
  12. How many times has Shmerson wanted to kiss you passionately and you pulled away – because you knew your mouth tasted like a filthy ashtray? This will never happen again. Isn’t that awesome?
  13. You are publishing this. Everybody will read it. If you fail – you will have hell to pay from the amazing women who come on here and support you every day. Don’t disappoint them.
  14. Shmerson loves you, and wants you to stick around for a very long time. He hates that you smoke. It hurts him. He is an amazing husband. He does not deserve to be hurt in this way.
  15. You are strong. This may be hard. But only for a few days. Maybe a couple of weeks. You’ve been to hell and back this past year. This is nothing compared to that. Remember to keep that in perspective.
  16. You’re quitting! Do you know what this means? This means that you can try to have a baby again! This is amazing news! Rejoice in it! Embrace it.
  17. As I’m writing this, future me, I am smoking a cigarette. It smells bad. I have a headache and it’s not making it any better. I’m coughing. It tastes terrible. You don’t need to smoke another one to prove that to yourself. You now have it in writing.

Tomorrow morning you will wake up a non-smoker. You are scared – but that is just your addiction talking. The other half of you is rejoicing. Embrace that.

You will be a non-smoker.  You will be a non-smoking mommy. You will love and respect your body. Because you deserve it. Whenever you have a weak moment – shut your eyes and think that a year from now – you could be holding a beautiful baby in your arms. And this is your first step. And even if that baby doesn’t come as fast as you’d like it too – you know you have done everything possible in your power to make it come. You will be guilt free, because you are smoke free.

Good Luck!

Love,

Me

Life Is Happening

7 Mar

Me: Hey! Over here! It’s blogging time!

Me: Wait! I’m watching “Top Model”

Me: What’s your deal with reality TV? Don’t you think you watch just a teeny-tiny bit too much of it?

Me: Shut up! You watch it too.

Me: Fine.

Me: So what are we blogging about?

Me: Good question.

Me: a) since when do you pay me compliments? And b) aren’t you supposed to be the one with all the answers?

Me: a) Shut up. and b) Shut up.

Me: Wait – wait – you’re bitter too? This is new.

Me: I’m not bitter. I just don’t have all of the answers all of the time. So what would you like to blog about?

Me: Dude, I don’t know. Nothing much happened today. Can we blog about how bad Tyra Banks’ French accent is?

Me: Um – sure – but that would take like – one sentence and you just said that. Don’t you have any more practical ideas?

Me: Since when am I the practical one? What’s up with you? I mean – not that I mind or anything – this indecisive version of you is rather intriguing. Definitely more fun. Hey! Whaddaya say we ditch the blogging and go chain smoke and eat junk food?

Me: Don’t push your luck.

Me: Darn it. I knew I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

Me: And why chain smoke?

Me: Cause we’re quitting tomorrow.

Me: Yes and…?

Me: Well – I’m freaking out about it!

Me: Chill. it’s for a good cause.

Me: Really? if we want it so badly – why did we almost have a panic attack just at the thought of it today?

Me: because it’s scary. It means LIFE IS HAPPENING

Me: Yes. And I would much rather crawl into a ball and watch stupid reality tv while chain smoking and chomping down on cheese fries. Mmmmm…. Cheese fries….

Me: I am not letting you win. We got over the potential panic attack today and we will get over it again tomorrow.

Me: *lights up*

Me: enjoy it while you can.

Me: oh we’ll see who wins this one. *puff*

Me: Dude – it ain’t gonna be you.

Me: don’t use that folksy language with me. You know you can’t pull it off.

Me: Fine. My dear self, you are going to be on the losing end of this battle. In 24 hours we will smoke our last cigarette. Ever. That’s it. Done. Over. Finite Incatatum.

Me: *puff*

Me: *cough*

Me: *takes a drag*

Me: yeah – I think that’s enough for tonight.

It’s Almost Quittin’ Time

5 Mar

Yep. I said March 7th. What was I thinking? That’s two days away! I’m freaking out!

Alan Carr – the quit smoking guru – said that most smokers don’t quit out of fear. He claims it’s fear of stress, of coping, and of withdrawal pangs. For me, it’s fear of failure.

I’ve been smoking since the age of 14. Yes, you read right. 14. I went up to a pack a day by the time I was 18. That means I’ve been a pack-a-day smoker for the better part of 12 years. Basically, my entire adult life.

Now non-smokers won’t understand this – but cigarettes are a crutch for me. Let me explain:

For a teenager, I was doing very “adult” type stuff. I was a night club promoter, I worked on the community TV show, I managed my local Rocky Horror Picture Show cast. Now, that last one doesn’t sound like much, but Haifa is a small city in a small country – so setting up screenings, and getting money for props, make-up, etc. was a huge challenge.

The two adults I usually talked into giving us money and setting up screenings were both smokers. I was a scrawny 15 year old kid. The way I made myself feel more equal to them was by lighting up.

I know they didn’t care whether I smoked or not. Logically, they probably just saw me as a feisty teenager. But that cigarette in my hand made me feel like I could play in the big kids’ sandbox.

My reliance became even worse once I started to direct. The thing with directing is that once you’re on set – you don’t have a moment’s worth of peace. Everyone has questions, everyone wants and needs your input and opinion. It can be overwhelming at times. And sometimes you just NEED A MINUTE to get your head straight and your thoughts together. You can never (especially as a woman) say that you need a minute to figure things out. Your cast and crew would never trust you again. So – “I’m gonna grab a smoke and be right back.” is the perfect excuse.

Plus – the “film biz” is full of smokers. Especially in Israel. You’re surrounded by them. The temptation is always there.

Cigarettes are my crutch. They are my confidence prop. I know it’s bullshit and they’re poison. But feed your brain with a lie for long enough – eventually you start believing it.

In the 16 years that I’ve been a smoker, I’ve attempted quitting several times. Most of them have been in the past three years, since I met shmerson – who is a non-smoker.

  1. Attempt number one was at the age of 16, when i stupidly thought I was just a “casual” smoker. Six hours later I was sucking on a butt taken out of an ashtray, and knew I was in trouble. It took me several years to attempt to quit again.
  2. Attempt two was an utter disaster. It was at the age of 23 (yes! it took me that long to try again! stupid me!). I tried acupuncture. I was also going through a tough time because I had recently lost someone I loved in a suicide bombing. This attempt lasted exactly 24 hours.
  3. Three was actually my first success. It was four months into me and shmerson’s relationship, and I wanted a dog. And he said we could get one if I quit. And we had just moved in together. And he was a non smoker so I was hating myself for smoking. I decided to surprise him. I bought Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, read it in one night, and the next day, I smoked my last cigarette. This time it lasted 10 whole months. The first three weeks were hell, and I had panic attacks more often (yeah – turns out the nicotine is also a way of me self-medicating), but I made it (I also gained 20 pounds). I finally failed when I started a new high pressure job, in an office where everybody smoked (including the boss). I was having a hard time fitting in, and at the end of my first month there I started panicking at a meeting with him and I felt the need to prove myself. The first thing I did was bum a smoke from him. One week later I was back to a pack a day. I was also promoted to his second-in-command shortly thereafter. Talk about a pavlovian response.
  4. This one happened a few months before the wedding. I had heard of this place which supposedly miraculously cures people of their addiction. I even heard some success stories. I shelled out a LOT of money, to have a guy put 2 crystals in my hands and do some weird shit with my aura or something. The I spent the next three days eating. I started to panic. I wanted to feel pretty on my wedding day. I didn’t want to gain weight and be a whale in a white curtain. Shmerson and I made a deal that I would quit smoking after the honeymoon.
  5. This one was right after my first BFP (right after the honeymoon). It was tough. I did the crystal thing again (they let you come back if you fail), and I had plastic cigarettes. it worked alright, but I felt like shit the whole time. Then I started bleeding, and got the blighted ovum diagnosis. The first thing I did – before breaking down and crying, before calling my mother – before anything – was buy a pack of cigarettes and light up.
  6. This was after my second BFP. I managed to cut down – but I was in so much denial at that point, and having nightly panic attacks, that I made a deal with myself to completely quit once I saw a heartbeat (studies do actually show that smoking leads to damage primarily starting in the second trimester – kind of like alcohol). I  was down to two cigarettes a day when I started bleeding. Obviously, the heartbeat never came.

So that’s it – a total of 6 times in 16 years. Each one ending in miserable failure. And guilt. And self-hatred.

I’m praying to the giant spaghetti monster in the sky that I won’t fail this time. I’m hoping that I’ve set myself up for success as much as possible. I know that the cutting down method will never work for me (see try #6) so I have to go it cold turkey. This time I’m trying it with the patch – under advisement from my shrink.

So here are the ways I’ve set this up so far:

  1. I went to the pharmacy today. I bought the patch. I also bought folic acid and pregnancy tests. I needed to balance out the purchase with a reminder of what I’m doing this for.
  2. I will be keeping my fridge stocked with carrot sticks. This way, I have something to do with my hands and will hopefully not eat a lot of high fat foods.
  3. I bought a yoga mat for myself yesterday. My plan is that each time I want a smoke, I do 5 sun salutations instead.
  4. I will quit before bed. This means – technically, that it may be March 8th. But this way, I smoke my last cigarette, destroy what’s left of the pack, and start the next day smoke free. This worked during my last semi-successful quit attempt.
  5. I will change my morning routine. Instead of a cup of something caffeinated and a smoke, I will start the day with 5 sun salutations and tea.
  6. I will try to keep myself busy – but not with high stress situations. I will paint. I will most likely go to yoga every night. Yeah. I’m really counting on this yoga thing.
  7. I will not be afraid of panic attacks and I will remember that my new friend xanax will be there in case one sets in.
  8. While smoking my last cigarette, I will write a long, detailed post about the reasons why I need to quit, and how much I hate myself for smoking, and what a disgusting habit it is. I will go back and read it each time I feel the urge to smoke.
  9. I am sharing it with the world. Yes. I’m counting on you guys here. If I feel like a smoke, and nothing else works, I will blog about it, and I will need you guys to talk me down. Deal? Deal.

So – that’s it. 2 days, and probably something like three packs to go. Cross your fingers for me!

 

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