I've never, ever managed to make as long as 24 hours before. I'd end up at the store buying cigarettes, hating myself & so relieved at the same time. I'd feel wracked with guilt, be cursing myself for being such a weak coward & yet be delighted to be smoking. The world of Not Smoking seemed too alien to me & frankly, I didn't feel deep down as though I DESERVED to be a healthy non-smoker. Have I mentioned I have profound self-esteem issues? LOL
And here I am - thank you, Champix. The first 4 days, I even used a patch WITH the Champix & kept an inhaler in my pocket. Dire, desperate? YES! But this time, I was determned to quit successfully. The added patches got me over that hump.
Frankly, I don't remember much of the first three days. I know I was a gibbering wreck. I barely ate - I was afraid to eat because a full stomach brought strong cravings. Face it, EVERYTHING brought strong cravings. I spent most of those three days huddled in bed, clutching my oldest son's old bear & whinging. I got through it. I got through Thursday where I had to do a total of 17 hours work, much of it around smokers. I got through my first weekend. Then next thing I knew, I'd made it through my second week.
Physically, the withdrawal was very bad. Nausea, sleeplessness, shaking, I was stumbling when I walked. Nothing in my body seemed to work right. I kept telling myself this would pass, it would eventually end; there are different phases to a Quit. It was exhausting.
There is a STRONG addiction gene in my family. Various family members have problems with drink, drugs, gambling, shopping; most smoke & heavily. Knowing that & having watched some quit their demon, I knew it would be tough. I also knew it could be done. My two sons & step daughter thankfully, don't smoke. They've always hated the fact that my better half & I smoke. At time in the first week or so, when my courage flagged, I'd summon up thoughts of them. It helped.
I won't lie - there were some awful hours & many tears shed. Many have mentioned that empty, flat feeling. Oh boy, can I ever relate. I know that's part of addiction & part of recovery is learning, OVER TIME, to fill that hole, that emptiness, with saner, healthier, fulfilling activities. That will vary with each & every one of us & that one bad habit - smoking - may need to be replaced by several activities. Until I find those activities, I have to accept that there will be dull, drab days & lots of flat in my life. When it comes down to it, that's infinitely better than smoking. It may be boring but it's healthy.
I had tried to prepare for my Quit as best I could. I saw my doctor for a complete physical 2 weeks before my Quit Date. I hadn't had one in over two years. I was very, very lucky - although some of my results weren't ideal, overall, my health wasn't bad at all. The doctor told me she saw no reason I couldn't make an optimal recovery from smoking if I put as much effort into my Quit as I had into smoking over the years.
As well as a physical, I started taking daily multivitamins - I know smoking can deplete certain ones & the stress of quitting can also deplete your body nutritionally. I've always been a walker - I began walking more. I tried to make sure I went into my Quit as prepared as possible. You're never going to be as prepared as you think you are - each Quit brings its own surprises but some preparation is better than none.
I went back to my doctor today for a follow up. The timing was perfect because I woke up feeling flat & empty - not able to really derive any satisfaction from 14 days+ of successful Quit. My blood pressure has dropped 10 points - it was formerly 'high normal' & bordering on high. That was important to me - LOTS of heart disease in my family. My resting pulse rate IS down & she tells me my lungs sound much better. The doctor asked about my breathing & I told her I feel I can breathe so much better. She told me over the next few months, that would improve even more. My blood work was good. Smokers tend to have a chronically, slightly elevated white cell count. Mine has already returned to normal. My cholesterol counts are good, I'm far from anemic & all my nutrient levels are where they should be.
I finally feel 'safe' eating - if that makes sense. Life is no longer a constant craving. Until a few nights ago, every time I slept, I dreamed about smoking. I've failed over & over in my sleep & woken up crushed & sobbing, convinced I'd really failed. It's been a very rocky road, scary; downright terrifying at times. My addiction was so straong, I was afraid to do anything for fear it would trigger a strong craving. Frankly, most things did but I got through them.
Over the last 48 hours, the cravings have faded to something far more manageable. I can go over an hour without one, sometimes a few hours without a craving & when I experience one now, I know what it is & I know it will fade within a minute - they're no longer all consuming & overwhelming. I've started getting proper sleep again although I feel as though it will take me weeks to catch up on sleep...LOL
I started jogging right after the first few days of quit - I'm taking that slowly; I'm 51 after all but it's helping temendously. I only jog 3 days a week so I'm still doing a lot of walking. With winter well on its way, (I am in Canada!), there are going to be periods of time when jogging is very difficut - too icy & I'll not run during heavy snowfalls!
If it were the right season, I'd be in the garden - my landlord lets me do largish perennial garden here but everything is frozen solid. Wrong season though so I've got a few piles of books to go through * a thoughtful friend offered me a few skeins of wool * a crochet hook. I've also liked the IDEA of learning to crochet & with some doanted supplies, I get to try it without the financial committment.
I'm trying to be good to myself. I'm a wife, a mom, product of a very dysfunctional childhood home & as mentioned, my self esteem is lacking. I've always put me last. It feels odd to be doing nice things for myself but the longer I get into my Quit, the more I'm noticing I'm holding my head higher, literally AND figuratively. We've not got a lot of money but I can do simple little thigs like buying myself nice soaps & lotions rather than dollar store offerings.
I stopped at a running store today, mentioned I wasn't buying today but was looking to see what I might need for better trainers as I get more into the running. The minute I mentioned it would be a reward to myself for quitting, the staff fell over themselves helping me out. They were brilliant. They assessed my gait & pointed out several reasonably priced options for me. And yes, I've started putting aside some of the money saved & putting it aside for ME.
I read all the posts here & am so encouraged. So many ways to successfully quit, so many experiences bravely shared. Some days, my highest respect goes to those who've had a slip or blip & who have the courage to not only own up to it but explain WHY they tripped up. There's more to be learned from problem situations some days than there are from people not having an issue.
I'm so glad everybody is here & willing to share. I was determined to make this a successful Quit regardless but reading here has taught me there are many rocky shoals ahead, many tough days remain & having the benefit of the experience of others is priceless.
Thanx everybody & Keep on Quitting!