It is now 5 days after quitting smoking and it has been an interesting journey so far. I’m going to let it all hang out here today and tell you exactly what is going on for me.
So please excuse the potty mouth and the way I say things. It won’t all be pretty, but this journey has not been pretty!
If you are considering quitting smoking and want to know what it feels like, here is the uncensored truth!
So the first thing I want to say is Oh My God, I haven’t had a cigarette in 5 days!
I just can’t believe it. After 22 years of smoking a box of cigarettes a day I have made 5 days without smoking a cigarette. I honestly never thought I would be able to make it this far.
First Day of Quitting Smoking
So my first day of quitting smoking was really hard. I was angry, I could not concentrate and I felt completely dissociated. I felt like I was not in control of my body, it was like I was outside of my body and watching from somewhere else. Somewhere far, far away.
I didn’t enjoy this feeling at all. Another problem was that it was a Thursday, a work day! I could not concentrate and I was jumpy all day.
Every now and then for no reason I screamed “Fuck It!”.
Strangely enough this helped quite a lot, so I highly recommend you try this!
By lunch time I made a decision, I was not going to even attempt working any more. I needed to be busy, but with my hands. I left my laptop and started cleaning (yes strange things happened!) and then preparing supper for my family. Peeling vegetables was strangely soothing.
The day got a lot easier when my hubby came home from work. He quit smoking with me and it was easier to be distracted with him and the kids at home.
That night was terribly hard though. I think children are programmed to know when something hectic is going on, they pick up on something and react in the worst possible way!
I have bipolar and I have had trouble sleeping all my life. For this reason I am on Seroquel at night. It helps me fall asleep and it helps me stay asleep. This makes life just so much smoother. If I am going through a tough time I chat to my doctor and he lets me increase my meds for a little while.
So it made sense for me to double my meds for a few nights. I had visions of lying in bed, awake all night craving cigarettes and I couldn’t think of anything worse than that.
I went to bed nice and dozy, ready to end the first 24 hours… and then both my kids woke up. We got them to sleep, went back to bed and yes if you are a parent you know exactly what happened! The little buggers woke up again, and again and again. Literally all night.
It is one thing being woken up all night when you are tired and miserable and craving a cigarette, but when you are on meds that make you sleepy it is something else entirely. I think I made the most noise that night out of everyone in the family and the person I really felt sorry for was my husband! Well no, not at the time, I didn’t give a shit to be honest. I was blotto on my meds and thinking only of myself.
In the morning when I got up I felt bad and sorry for him because I honestly behaved worse than the children the whole night!
Second Day of Quitting Smoking
I found day 2 a little easier than the first day. I had already made a decision that if I found trying to work too hard I would go for taking some time off, instead of risking smoking. I worked for about 2 hours before I felt terrible. I called a friend and we went out for a few hours.
As it turned out she is an ex smoker, she quit 9 years ago so that certainly helped me and she showed loads of support. She also didn’t mind me in my zombie-like, dissociated state which I appreciated. Going out for most of the day was a good decision, it really took my mind off the smoking.
The evening was a little bit rocky. There was an AA rally in our area on the weekend which I went to on Friday night, but I forgot about the “smoking club”! You know how all the smokers hang around outside and chat? Well now I wasn’t one of them anymore. I arrived and I didn’t know where I fitted anymore. I felt like I had lost a best friend. As I walked in a few of my smoking buddies greeted me and I didn’t slow down. I shouted that I quit smoking and I couldn’t stop till I was inside.
It worked. I got inside to the meeting without having a smoke! After the meeting when I would normally stay and have a cup of coffee and a smoke I made a run for my car instead. I wanted to smoke more than anything, the feeling was starting to get really uncomfortable now!
Third Day of Quitting Smoking
My hubby turned to me and asked me why I just shivered… I explained to him that I was struggling with the feeling of craving. I start to crave a cigarette and then I feel like there is a huge empty hole in me. I am determined to not smoke so my addict mind tells me that is fine, how about some cocaine? A shot of Tequila? No? Ok then what about some tik (speed) or a little joint?
That is when the shiver goes down my back. I can’t handle this feeling. I know this feeling, I have been here and I hate it. Maybe I should just have a fucking smoke? Am I risking my whole recovery here over a cigarette? Am I at risk or is it just my nicotine addict trying to trick me?
I start wondering where I could buy drugs in this area, I have never used here… I know where the bottle stores are, that is easy. Will it be easier hiding drugs or alcohol from my husband? I have no idea because I met him when I was a few years clean and I have not relapsed.
What the fuck am I thinking about? No ways am I going to use drugs or drink. I will not smoke either. I am stronger than this.
I grabbed my daughter and I went back to the AA rally. We ran past the smokers outside and into safety. I shared with some people how I was struggling with not smoking and it was making me really edgy.
The funny thing is that the cravings are less than before, they are shorter and there is more time in between carvings, but when they hit they HIT. I feel like I am just sitting happily minding my own business and suddenly a craving comes and gives me a massive punch in the side of my face. Then it is gone and I am left wondering what the fuck just hit me?
I can make all this go away, I can buy a box of smokes and it will be gone!
4 Days after Quitting Smoking
My hubby tells me that he is struggling. He tells me that if I start smoking again so will he (is that a pleading look of hope in his eyes? Does he want me to start smoking?). I start giggling, I know this manipulative addict. It lives in me too.
I tell him I won’t be responsible for him smoking. If he wants to carry on smoking he can do that, or he can carry on with the quitting journey. His choices have nothing to do with what I do.
He doesn’t look impressed with me at all. I’m not feeling great either.
I start wondering if he starts smoking can I get away with smoking and placing the blame on him? And yes I have just laughed at him for trying this!
So this craving comes and smacks me again. I go to the shops and buy “some” snacks to keep me busy. I vowed not to do this.
I have memories of sitting in a hot car with my mom and my sisters after school. My mom is eating Fruit Pastilles sweets. They are sticky from the heat and it makes me feel sick to the stomach. My mom gave up smoking and all I remember from this time are sticky sweets… lots of them.
So my “few” snacks are: 1 pack of Red Velvet Cake Fingers, 4 rolls of Rollos and 4 packs of Chocolate Sponge Fingers. This is going to last me a LONG time. Just a few little things to take my mind off smoking.
5 Days after Quitting Smoking
It is Monday, so now we are back to needing to work. I am behind with everything because I barely worked on Thursday or Friday. I need to get back to the real world. Life can’t come to a complete stop while I get over my smoking addiction.
Maybe I can just have a little puff? Maybe there is a stompie (cigarette butt) in the garden and I can get just one drag out of it?
I turn on my laptop and make another cup of coffee. It is my 4th cup this morning and I am starting to feel shaky. I open a pack of Chocolate Sponge Fingers. Yes, it is 8am and too early for cakes BUT remember I used to have a line of cocaine first thing in the morning. What’s one little piece of cake, right?
I check my emails and I get whacked with another craving so I pop another Chocolate Sponge Finger in my mouth and carry on working. A few minutes of successful work goes by. Another craving hits and I instinctively reach for another cake. What the fuck? There are none left!
Some asshole must have nibbling on my snacks and I am pissed off. I go to the cupboard to grab another pack. Yeah you guessed it, there are none left. It is only 9am and I am not in the right space of mind to do anything except pound the walls. I do a little bit of pacing around and it doesn’t help at all. I feel like I could climb the walls.
I slowly start calming down and I look back at my desk. I’m not sure why I thought some “asshole” (ie my loving, wonderful husband) ate all my cakes. The evidence is all there, the empty wrappers are all over my desk. Damn I am becoming my mom with those disgusting sweets!
Ok really not all bad, she quit smoking and is still a non-smoker.
I lost 7 kgs in July when my tonsils were taken out and I had a long stretch of bad health. I am now 55kgs and my perfect weight is 60kgs. I can certainly eat a few cakes without feeling like a failure, actually I can eat 5kgs of cakes before I have a problem.
Can I Quit Smoking without gaining Weight?
Who knows, I have only been 5 days without a cigarette! The people I know that have quit found that eating really helped with cravings. Of course this can lead to weight gain which might be problematic for a lot of people.
I am very fortunate, I am not one of those people that put on weight easily and if I do put on a bit of weight I can lose it quite quickly without too much effort. Because of this I am also not too concerned about my weight.
That said I have eaten so much in the last 24 hours that I feel sick. I feel bloated and terrible. I don’t advise this route if you can help it. It makes me feel better in the moment, yes it takes the craving away. BUT I can’t pop a piece of cake in my mouth every time I have a craving. Perhaps chewing gum, peppermints or biltong (beef jerky) would be a much better alternative to cake?
The truth is why worry about a little weight gain when you are thinking of quitting smoking. Smoking is dangerous and will kill you. Once you have quit smoking you can lose the extra weight right? When you die from smoking… well, you’re dead so nothing more to worry about. I think a few extra kgs is nothing to worry about in the bigger scheme of things.
So what does a cigarette craving feel like?
I get a sudden feeling of euphoria, a feeling that suddenly says “hey Lynne, something fucking A is on the way! It’s a …. cigarette!”.
I get a deja vu feeling, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and often I get a shiver down my spine.
The next thing to come is the empty feeling, the loss of smoking, such disappointment. Nothing but a cigarette (or drugs/ alcohol) can fill that emptiness. I feel angry and annoyed. It is whirlwind of emotions and feelings. A lot of it is very physical too.
At times these cravings are like a roller coaster, coming fast and furious without relenting. Other times it is like being in a little boat on a pond. There are ripples of cravings coming but they are gentle and easy to ride out.
The hard part for me is that I never know what type of day will come tomorrow. What I have seen the last 5 days is there is no pattern with it getting easier by the day. It is up and down and all over the place.
All I do know is I want these uncomfortable feelings to go away! I can feel my nicotine addict chipping away at my determination.
I know this update doesn’t sound great, but 5 days is a huge achievement for me and for any other smoker! I hope this is just the start of my journey and I can share more success with you soon.
Have you quit smoking? I would love to hear about your experience.