Posted by: mew | August 16, 2009

my non-addicted self is turning 21

21 days, that is.  As of about 9:00 o’clock tomorrow night.  I don’t have much to say about it yet.  It’s still too raw.  I still romanticize the cigarettes, and I still sometimes daydream of lighting up.  It would be so easy, and I still occasionally want one bad.


Real bad.

But I’m holding on.  I want some things more than the momentary pleasure I get from inhaling.  Honestly, the distant idea of those things would not be enough to fight off the cravings.  What’s been helping is solidarity (with F.) and filling my time with other things.  Actually, it’s been amazing to discover just how much time I have that I didn’t have before.  All those little 5-10 minute increments for a smoke break during the day add up.  Big time.  (Who knew?)

And I think I have pretty well disproven the notion that I need a cigarette in order to write.  I started two blogs on the wagon, and I’ve had a pretty steady output now for several days.  And I’m back in gear with the Morning Pages.  I’d pretty much dropped them on our Quit Day, because they were associated with sitting outside on the porch with a steaming cup of coffee and a steady stream of cigarettes first thing after waking.  I usually consumed four in the time it took to complete three pages of longhand writing.  I’d been writing them for almost nine years now, with few breaks.

And it wasn’t just the MPs.  Even writing a postcard, I smoked.  Writing = smoking for so far back, it was difficult to pick up a pen once I didn’t have a cigarette in my other hand.  Many times I wasn’t even pulling on the damned thing.  I just needed it lit, the lazy plume curling away from the tip, dangling from my fingers, in order to keep the pen moving down the page.

Especially once I stopped the nicotine replacement therapy and things went a bit cracked around here, this was a problem.  I hated the way the gum was making my throat feel stripped and scratchy.  Plus, it made me rather nauseous.  So I quit the Nicorette on day three, cold turkey.  It was rough.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything.  I was bitchy and jittery, and I didn’t dare sit down with the notebook, for fear of triggering a massive breakdown.  (Which came anyway.  I needed anger management even without the nicotine withdrawal.  I was bound to lose my temper at some point in this process.  The smoking has always been a form of self-medication to control some of my mood swings.  I knew that.  Sigh.  Now I just have to control myself some other way.)

But now things are settling.  I can concentrate enough to write blogposts that are almost a thousand words long.  I can get through three pages of writing every morning.  During this time, I put the finishing touches on 7 ATCs for a good friend’s birthday, and wrote her a huge, rambling letter to go in the package — without a lit Marlboro Light in my left hand.  It’s going to be okay.  I just have to hold steady.

Happy quitting milestone to me.



  1. I keep moving away from destructive or unproductive means of dealing with my mood swings. I have them-and while they are less than they once were, I think it continues to be a process for awhile. And while you don’t know me, I just want to say how PROUD I am for you to quit smoking. You are doing an awesome thing-for yourself and those you love.

  2. Thanks, brandi, for the encouragement! Some nights I really need it.

    I’m proud of me, too — and annoyed at me for ever starting. But now it’s part of my life experiences, it’s all grain for the artistic mill, and I can chalk it up and move on to a new era.

    Well, I hope I can!

  3. Nicotine is a monster that you can definitely live without. Congratulations on the three weeks.

    Man Alive

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