Sunday, January 15, 2012

Smoking Update

I've put this post off for a while now for two reasons, I think.  First off, it is a self-examination post which is always a bit harder to write, and also I wanted to wait until it was closer to my anniversary of quitting cigarettes, sometime late January two years ago.  I have been cheating, however, so I should actually say I have not been addicted to nicotine in the past two years after smoking cigarettes for 26 years before that.

First off, 2 years ago in early 2010, I told my doctor that I wanted to quit and what I've tried and failed in the past.  After discussion, he gave me a 3 month prescription for Chantex that finally got me to quit.  I know others who have tried that drug successfully, another that didn't stick with it (not ready to quit yet), and yet another that got the nasty side effect of depression and suicidal thoughts, so it may not be for everyone.  Then I had a bit of a rough time of it.  I broke my leg* at the end of August 2010, then had the usual holiday stress on top of that rehab.  I finally had neck fusion surgery in March 2011 that I had needed to deal with arm and nerve pain I had suffered from since about 2 months before I broke my leg.  And then, while only days after recovering from neck surgery, realized and soon had confirmed, that I needed another surgery on my lower back, which would happen in July, 2011.

It was in that period of time after my neck surgery, and realizing that I would have to have back surgery again soon, that I was at my wit's end with all the medical stuff I had already gone through and all the pain I had dealt with in that short period of time.  I had been sneaking some of my wife's cigarettes here and there, always a partial thanks to cigarette snuffers.  But I was weak willed enough to almost go back to smoking.  Then I did go back somewhat, but I did not want to ever get addicted to nicotine again so I sought out clove cigars (it's illegal to call them clove cigarettes anymore**).

That's what this post is about, really, I confess that I smoke clove cigars now.  A bit every day, but on a work day that is about 2 a day at home thanks to the snuffers (I don't smoke at work at all).  I can go out briefly up to 5 or 6 times on 1 clove cigar or I can linger, if engaged, and smoke more.  Mostly it is my old psychological habit coming back that makes me go out to smoke, even now that it is cold again.  I used to laugh at my wife a little bit last year when she would put herself through getting all bundled up to go out into the cold to smoke.  I used to do that, then didn't for a season, and now find myself doing it again when I know I actually don't need to.

The difference now is minimal.  I have been inhaling more than I should and have been getting that early morning smoker's phlegm again.  While that should be enough to make me stop, I have only been trying to cut down and consciously not inhale so much lately.  Now that winter has made it's late appearance that can only help keep me from stepping out to smoke.  Stressful situations, such as a high stakes playoff game, will keep me stepping out on commercial breaks, but maybe a second consecutive Super Bowl win by the Green Bay Packers would finally take the edge off...  I can only hope!    Go Pack Go!

*Saying simply that I broke my leg seems to diminish it.  I really effed it up!

**Same size and shape as a cigarette, it's just that a recent law says, essentially, that they have to be called cigars now, or cannot be called cigarettes.  Whatever.

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