Life My Smobriety: One Year Out
posted by January 8 at 14:09 PMon
It’s officially been one year since I quit smoking.
For those who’ve arrived on the Slog since January ought-six, last year, I quit smoking, and Slogged a daily record of how I felt. I did this because I thought that my pain and humiliation would be thrilling reading. I was totally wrong. Quitting smoking turned out to be a dull enterprise, and not difficult at all, except for the frequent colds that took hold in the open-sore petri dishes of my lungs. I had images of Leonardo DiCaprio-like moaning and rolling around on the floor, begging for another hit, one more hit, drooling on myself and other kinds of rampant overacting. Instead, it turned out to be more like waiting for a bus that never comes. I haven’t had a cigarette since, not even a close call, or, really, a craving since the first three days. This includes the many times I’ve had drinks with smokers—I am the Party Crasher, after all. I’ve never asked for a drag, or asked people to blow smoke on me, or any of those weird, longing ex-smoker’s tricks.
In fact, if I’d always known how easy quitting cigarettes was, I would’ve quit years before.
For those who are thinking about quitting smoking, or who are interested in what the first year of smobriety feels like, there is a fuller accounting after the jump.
I started out using Wellbutrin, an antidepressant, but I quit that as soon as I felt speed-y—about four days in—and then I went cold turkey. Two other friends quit with me: "Dick," who sporadically used the patch, and "Tim," who bought nicotine gum but never opened the package. "Tim" hasn't had one since, but "Dick," about six months in, decided to try a cigarette "to see how stupid I used to be." Within a week of that first cigarette, I caught him having another cigarette when he got drunk. I proceeded to mock him to the point where he nearly took a swing at me. This is why we decided to quit in a group, and "Dick" hasn't had one since then, either.
There is a downside, of course, besides the sickness. Between the three of us, we've probably gained a healthy toddler's worth of weight. After the weight gain really started kicking in—about five months in, by the way—I decided to give myself a year to let my metabolism calm down. So now I'm going to try to lose the weight, and, no, I'm not going to Slog about that: You're welcome.
So, if you're looking to quit smoking, here's what I'd advise:
1) Quit with friends. And I mean the kind of friends who you're willing to punch.
3) That's it. Really. Be prepared to gain some weight, and be prepared to have your sense of time and space stretched out for the first month. Be prepared to get sick, too. But eventually, there'll come a point where you smell somebody who smokes and you'll realize that you smelled like that all the goddamned time, you'll see that cigarettes cost six bucks a pack and realize that you used to spend money on that every single day, and you'll feel, retroactively—12 years, for me—like the biggest idiot in the history of the world. And gradually you'll start to feel better.
And if you don't smoke, and someone you love is a smoker, please: Stop nagging them. I honestly think that, for every minute that you nag a smoker, they'll continue being addicted for two more minutes, just out of spite. I don't think that it's ever helped. If you want to buy the Alan Carr book, then buy them the Alan Carr book. Just leave it somewhere where they'll see it. When they want to quit, they'll quit, and then you should be as supportive as possible. But, for Christ's sake: lay off with the momminess, really.
I think that that's it. Sorry that I don't have any moments where I climbed a mountain and breathed in the air and saw an eagle flying and felt like Chuck Norris, but, at least I have whole days, entire weeks, where I don't even think about cigarettes anymore, and frankly, that kind of freedom is enough for me.