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No enthusiastic post for today. That means that I wasn’t able to remain smoke-free today.

I woke up around 8 am with my husband and son and took a potty break. Instead of reaching for my coat and heading outside (which is a habit whenever I get up and go to the bathroom), I promptly headed back upstairs and went back to bed. That was a positive thing.

Then I got up around noon and went downstairs for something to eat. I was feeling on edge and my hands were shaking. I could feel that the craving for nicotine was taking over my body now that I was fully awake. I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and watched some TV. A little bit later, I cleaned up in the kitchen and then made myself a bowl of cereal.

I sat down and placed my gum on the side of my bowl while I ate my cereal. My son couldn’t figure out what the pink blob was on the side of my bowl and asked me what it was. I snapped at him. I don’t know why…he asked an innocent question for a kid. My ugly craving-for-nicotine self came out and I hate it when that happens. I finished my bowl of cereal and that was it. A little after 1 pm I went outside and had 1/2 a cigarette.

As I smoked that cigarette, I could feel the effect on my body. I felt my heart start to race and I could feel my vision going fuzzy. I was getting the buzz that was so common when I started smoking. Dang it. That was it. I didn’t make it.

When I came back into the house, my husband looked me right in the eyes and told me, “Look at how long you made it without a cigarette.” He’s always been pretty supportive of me trying to quit even though I have put him through H-E-double hockey sticks while trying to do it. He’s never smoked in his life, but he knows how much they have a hold on me. He’s been with me when I’ve tried the patch, the gum, as well as Zyban. He knew I was disappointed in myself for not making it through the day.

As of this moment, I’ve had six cigarettes today. I probably will end up having one more before bed so that will make it seven for today (but I’m still going to try to go to bed without having a cigarette first). My usual amount is 20/day and on real stressful days that can be more. I wasn’t able to go smoke-free today, but at least I had a minor victory with reducing how many I smoked. There’s still tomorrow as well…and the next day…and the next day. Even when I do have a smoke-free day, I am going to be battling this for the rest of my life.

And since I am a little bummed about not making it without a cigarette today, I needed a little confidence booster so I paid more towards our credit card debt and put more into our savings. Updated totals are to the right and I am pleased that our savings is now over $2,000.

Thank you everyone for your words of support. I didn’t make it today, but there is tomorrow.


38 Comments

  • Reply Making Cents |

    Don’t be too hard on yourself! You are taking on a big challenge and it takes time to get over that hump. You’re going to feel great and think of all that money you’ll save.

  • Reply Mrs. Micah |

    Well, you cut down on them by 2/3, which is excellent! Breaking an addiction is terribly hard, but it’s also possible. Kudos for wanting to break it and for having the guts to try again and again!!

  • Reply Nine Circles |

    Six cigarettes is really a lot better than twenty. I’ve never been a smoker so please forgive my ignorance, but I’ve never understood why people always want to go off cigs cold turkey. Wouldn’t it be easier to wean yourself off of them? If you did six today, what if you kept at that level for a week and then cut to five a day for a week, then four, and so on? Wouldn’t that be easier on your body, your state of mind, and your family?

  • Reply HS |

    Don’t keep cigarretes in the house! or ligthers or anything smoking related!!

    I smoked for 10 years and I got up one morning and said no more, I am done, no patches, no gum, nothing, the day you are ready to quit you will know.

    Good luck.

  • Reply Kathryn |

    Wow! From 20 cigs to 6-7.

    You sound upset with yourself … don’t be, celebrate the success you had and work to build on it.

  • Reply Law Student |

    Don’t concentrate on the fact that you will have to battle this “every day” for the rest of your life. First of all, I imagine that it would be easier to take this day by day — at least, that’s how it was for me when I first went on a diet. Secondly, it’s not necessarily true. My mother gave up smoking 30 years ago and probably missed it for awhile, but once she won the initial battle, she never looked back. Now I can’t imagine her as a smoker.

  • Reply DM |

    I quit smoking on March 16, 1999. On that day, I threw out my favorite zippo and everything else related to smoking. Naturally, it was tough for a couple of days, but once I truly decided that I no longer wanted to kill myself slowly with cigarettes, it wasn’t too bad. Now, eight years later, I wouldn’t consider having a smoke. It doesn’t sound good to me. Every former smoker that I’ve ever talked to has said the same thing. Smoking will no longer have a hold on you.

    And most important to your debt reduction efforts, you’ll no longer be lighting your hard earned cash on fire. (At $3.00 per pack, you’re throwing away .15 with every smoke.) Further, your health care costs will decrease over time.

    You should congratulate yourself for your efforts so far. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply still paying |

    Tricia: I believe that when you are ready, you WILL stop. I quit “cold turkey”…that was 24 years ago. I missed it for a while but not for too long. My brother went to a smoking cessation clinic (class) that did it for him (20 years ago). It IS hard, but it can be done. As far a staying in bed….no no no!! Whenever I felt the craving (which was constant the first few days) I drank LOTS of water, little caffeine and took brisk walks. It works, good luck and don’t beat yourself up…. you’ll get there!

  • Reply Another |

    I quit smoking about 10 years ago. Cold turkey* was how I quit in the end, but I did find it easier to cut back for a while before quitting altogether, and so did my husband who also successfully quit smoking over 5 years ago. Another thing that helped us both was a total change of scenery–I quit on a business trip that melded into the holiday visits. Getting out of our patterns was as hard as the physical bit.

    I know you can do it. Yesterday was a huge step towards your goal.

    *to the previous commenter who asked why cold turkey, well, I think it works best because it is a sneaky and gripping addiction. While one can cut back before quitting, if you are truly addicted, smoking “just a little bit” worsens the problem. IMHO of course.

  • Reply bluntmoney |

    I think you’ve done well so far. If it helps, remember that every hour is a new hour. You don’t have to go day by day, take it in shorter time frames and celebrate each one. I’ve never smoked, but I was addicted to caffeine in the same way you’re describing here. I quit, twice, the 2nd time for good. And I quit cold-turkey right in the middle of a can of Coke. I got up and poured it out. It was a struggle, but I did it. And I know you can too. It really does get easier with time. It helps to replace your addiction with something else that you physically do. (Like I drank a ton of water.) Maybe you could go send a dollar to your debt or something every time you crave a cigarette but don’t smoke. It will also be easier if you get the cigarettes out of the house, and stay away from others who smoke.

  • Reply Law Student |

    You could calculate how much you spend on cigarettes each week (and how many packs you smoke) and for every pack you avoid smoking each week, you send that much money towards your debt.

  • Reply Erik |

    Just wanted to offer a bit more moral support here. I quit smoking a few years ago and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s actually scary to feel how the chemicals can change the way you think.

    I was up to close to 2 packs a day at my worst. I read somewhere that clearing the hurdle of physical cravings only takes something like 4 days, but the psychological dependence on the act of smoking is what really does you in. I tend to believe that. It sounds lame, but even now, years later, I still kind of miss having something to do all the time.

    That said, I have to agree with HS… it’s all about making the decision to quit on your own. Everyone who smokes knows that they SHOULD quit. What matters is that you WANT to quit.

    I wish you the best of luck. You can do it!

  • Reply Ms.Blue |

    But look at how far you DID come today! Fewer cigarettes … longer interval before lighting up. These are NOT small accomplishments!

    The cliche about Rome not being built in a day really does apply.

    Don’t beat yourself up. You need all the positivity and energy you can muster up. Today was better than your typical smoking day–much better. My hat is off to you.

  • Reply Lucy Lastic |

    Even though you didn’t stay smoke free, I find the amount you cut back to encouraging, and the comments you’ve gotten too. You’ll get there one day, and so will I πŸ™‚

  • Reply fathersez |

    Hang in there.

    You are doing great.

    Just recognising that we should stop putting this stick in our mouths and set on fire 10 – 20 times a day, is a small victory.

    I am impressed that so many people who have kicked this nasty habit are cheering you on.

    Keep trying. That’s all we can do for now.

    Good luck and I pray that you will make it and be an inspiration to those of us who are too cowardly even to try.

  • Reply Kathy |

    Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things I have ever done. My advice to you is to never quit trying to quit. I did not do it the first time or even the second time or even the tenth time. I actually lost count of how many times I actually tried to quit. You will do it when you’re ready. The mental olympics I went through for at least ten years leading up to quitting was worse than actually quitting. Every day is a new opportunity. Godspeed!

  • Reply Family Man |

    Quitting is also one of the hardest things I ever did. It can be like breaking up with a friend that you have been with for years. I actually quit 3 times in my life. Each for a few years at a time, and finally the last time about 3 years ago. Why do i say the last time? Becasue now I have children, a baby on the way, and I want to make sure they never have to care for me becasue of my habbit. It’s hard, but have faith and you will get there. One thing that helped me was similar to your situation. Where you only smoked a half, I would smoke 2, and would feel TERRIBLE. It actually helped. I am pulling for you!

  • Reply Fecundity |

    Well done. I’ve never smoked myself, but I have worked in health care for many years and know how hard an addiction it can be to beat. Every cigarette you don’t smoke is a step in the right direction and money you didn’t waste on a bad habit. Keep up the good work and you’ll beat it eventually. Your husband, your kids, your health and your finances will all thank you when you do.

  • Reply Mike |

    I just need to ask this: How come there were any cigarettes available to smoke? If you’re quitting, why not crush the remaining smokes you have so you don’t have a chance to regress?

  • Reply thisisbeth |

    Way to go cutting down the number of cigarettes! That’s a huge start.

    In perspective for a PF blog: if your debt went from 20,000 one day to 6,000-7,000 the next day, wouldn’t that feel *great*? That’s just what you did with cigarettes. You didn’t go from 20 to 0, but you did a lot in one day. If it goes up tomorrow, well, keep working on bringing it back down. You can make it down to 0.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Quick update: Saturday I ended up having 7 cigarettes. Sunday I had 8.

    Wow. It’s great hearing from so many people who have quit the habit. It’s very encouraging.

    Mike – good question. From past experience, if I don’t have cigarettes around, it stresses me out that they are not there. I’m taking a suggestion from my mom. She quit cold turkey and she had a pack of cigarettes with her after she quit. Because she had them, they were there if she wanted one. But she is a very strong woman and she beat the addiction.

  • Reply Ms.Blue |

    Tricia,
    While I think not one size fits all, and hesitate to tell you to definitely do this or definitely do that, I’d like to reiterate that when I finally quit (it took me more than one try!), I was kind of like your mom in that I felt I had to have something that gave me a release from the all-or-none pressure. Your mom kept cigs around; I did not — but I did tell myself I wasn’t necessarily quitting cold turkey; I told myself I was just going to take it bit by bit, hour by hour, and see how long I could go without breaking my record. A little game I played with myself. After a while, I didn’t want to mess with my no-smoking record.

    Also, I think I did stay in bed, for a long nap or something, when the first pangs hit me. So I am not happy at you being told you definitely should not be in bed. After all, you are not staying in bed forever. It’s not a black-and-white deal. If napping or bundling up in a blankey for a while helps you get over a hump, that’s great — it’s just a temporary tool.

    I know you already know all the money you’ll save when you end up quitting for good, so I won’t remind you of that now. The main thing is to just take it a little at a time, and recognize how far you have already come. And you have!

    No doubt about it, quitting smoking was the hardest thing I licked.

    Good luck.We’re all thinking of you and pulling for you every step of the way!

  • Reply Qcash |

    Tricia

    One of the keys is to drink lots and lots of water while trying to kick an addiction (any addiction).

    If you are able, try to reach for a glass of water rather than the cigarettes.

    Good luck, you are already on the right track.

    Also, although the weather is going to cooperate for much longer, each time you feel the need for a cigarette, go walk around the block.

    The exercise will help counteract the physical reactions from the nicotine withdrawal AND it is good for you. (If you walk around the block 20 times a day you will be smoke free in no time).

    Good luck and God bless.

    Q

  • Reply Toxic Money |

    Hey, you have managed to turn your financial life around, you can manage to quit smoking. Try not to think of it as something you need… how about a cost-cutting measure? Just think about how much money you’ll save and how your savings will grow!

    You can do it!!!

  • Reply angiebaby |

    keep up the good work – you can do this! Take a walk everyday – take 3 walks a day, or 5 walks a day – get up and walk every time you want to smoke. Your lungs and your pocketbook will thank you! I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Mark |

    A very close uncle of mine had smoked for 25 years, and then one day he just STOPPED, that is it, no patches, pills, gum, etc. He said that was the only way that worked for him, and after a few days the thought of a cigarette disgusted him. GOOD LUCK, if anything, do it for your son, that is all the motivation that you need.

  • Reply steve |

    I used the patches, just stopped totally. That was about 7 years ago. I’m not sure cutting down is really a good way to go.

    Smoking is two parts, the habit and the addiction, use patches or one of the others to feed the addiction and work on the habit first, change the situations where you smoke. When you have broken the habit the addiction becomes much easier to fix.

  • Reply Pleasant Peninsula Gal |

    How about taking some of that life insurance money and trying Chantix? Most insurances do not cover it and it costs about $100 a month.

  • Reply Tricia |

    I’ve looked into Chantix and I knew of someone who used it and had success. But, I am hesitant to use it after reading more about it. From their site (I added emphasis):

    “Based on research, it is believed that CHANTIX helps keep nicotine from reaching key receptors in the brain.”

    To me, that says that they are not exactly sure how the drug works. I’m a little uncomfortable with that, so I think I will try to do this without aids, but if I can’t I may look into it.

  • Reply Pleasant Peninsula Gal |

    I wouldn’t let the “believed” portion dissuade you from trying Chantix if you think it will help. I think, if you read up on a lot of mechanisms of action for different drugs, you will find a lot of similar statements. I looked up a couple.

    If you read further, you will discover that it is KNOWN that chantix binds with high affinity and selectivity at alpha 4 beta 2 neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors – basically, it blocks the receptors in your brain where nicotine would normally bind and produce pleasure. You smoke, but don’t get the same “reward”.

    If you read up on Zyban, you will find similar documentation. “The mechanism by which Zyban enhances the ability of patients to abstain from smoking is unknown. However, it is presumed that this action is mediated by noradrenergic and/or dopaminergic mechanisms.”

    Or how about Prozac? “The antidepressant, antiobsessive compulsive, and antibulimic actions fo fluoxetine are presumed to be likned to its inhibition of CNS neuronal uptake of serotonin.”

    Anyway, your comment piqued my curiosity so I googled a few popular drugs.

    If you can quit on your own, more power to you! It will be better for the wallet and definately won’t have any side effects! πŸ™‚ I wish they made a chocolate patch …

  • Reply Tricia |

    I’ve tried Zyban in the past. I took one pill, got a headache and that was it. Overall, I don’t like medicines and I only take them when absolutely necessary. I’m even one of those types who doesn’t like to take Tylenol. I’m not sure how I became this way. The only thing I can think of is my days of going to the dentist. I had to take these huge pills before my visit and after. In all, I took around 10 pills “just in case.”

    We’ll see how it goes. Right now I am having a hard time coping with thinking and not smoking. If I get stuck thinking about something, I’d go outside and smoke. 8 times out of 10 I figure out an answer to what I’m thinking about. It’s my quiet time out there.

So, what do you think ?