Quitting Smoking  My Diary


 

 

 

 

 

 


OMG, I don't want to be inside this right now.
Best I quit smoking to delay it.

Introduction

The following account is a documentation of my journey from being a smoker to becoming an ex smoker.

It spans a period of nine years.

For a number of years I kept a diary. This diary often misses great chunks of time but that doesn't detract from the story it tells.

My Diary begins here:

Day 1- 15th June 2004

I'm quitting smoking today.

Day 8 -  23rd June 2004

I've been far too miserable to even consider writing anything here for the past week. Good god, how can giving up smoking make you feel so depressed?

Today I had cravings almost immediately on rising. Itís awful when you wake up and know you have another day of suffering in front of you.

I watched a documentary on people with autistic children last night. I think of these people with autistic children.  Crikey, giving up smoking is nothing compared with what they are going through, day in, day out for the rest of their lives. I tell myself I am lucky. I am only giving up smoking and one day there will be an end. These poor people can see no end in sight. Iím sure their suffering is far, far worse than mine.

I run through my mind people I know who have died as the result of smoking at an early age. George Harrison, Barry Sheen, Keith Berry, Jim Bacon, Joy Davies, Yul Brynner and Fred Hollows.  I donít want to be like them. I want to learn a lesson from them. Each of them would love to be alive again even if meant no cigarettes. Their loved ones would want them to be alive again. Trouble is, once you are dead you are dead.  You canít change your mind then. So itís best to change your mind and attitude before you die. I am doing that now.

 

The people listed below died prematurely as a result of smoking.

George Harrison - An English rock guitarist, singer-songwriter, actor and film producer who achieved international fame as lead guitarist of The Beatles. Died age 58
Barry Sheene - British World Champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Died age 53
Keith Berry - My brother-in-law
. Died age 56
Jim Bacon - Former Premier of Tasmania
. Died age 54
Joy
XXXXX - Patient at the Medical Centre where I worked. Died age 52
Yul Brynner - Famous Actor
. Famous quote - 'Whatever you do, don't smoke'. Died age 65
Fred Hollows - An ophthalmologist who became known for his work in restoring eyesight of indigenous people of Australia and third world countries. It has been estimated that more than one million people in the world can see today because of initiatives instigated by Hollows
. Died age 64


Itís not easy. I get cravings most of the day. At times it makes me very irritable. Sometimes I think if I just had a cigarette it would fix it. But I know that is crap because fifteen minutes later I would feel the same again and would need another fix.

Today at times I could go about an hour without thinking about smoking. Other times it was really bad and I constantly craved. I would take deep breaths and try to ignore it.

Nicotine intake is not zero. Today I had 3mgs using Nicorettes.

Day 9- 24th June 2004

Crappy day. I had worms in my stomach nearly all day. It just goes on and on and on.  George Harrison, Jim Bacon, Barry Sheen etc etcÖ donít forget!

I think today was just as bad as day 1.  I had about 4mgs nicorette.

 

 

Day 10- 25th June 2004

When is it going to get easier?  I woke up about 6.15 and had my first crave at about 6.30.  That kind of sudden crave comes on frequently throughout the morning but at work it doesnít bother me so much. The afternoons are much worse. I take my second Zyban at about 3 o clock now. I donít reckon they are doing any good. Itís just that Iíd be scared to stop taking them. If it is this bad while I am on Zyban what the heck would it be like if I stopped taking them.

Day 12- Sun 27th June 2004

We had a day in the park today for Maddyís 2nd birthday. It was a really good family day with everyone there.  Most people there were smoking. The only exceptions were:  ME, Bob, Barry and Babs. 

Hmmmm, Iím the only one who doesnít start with a B! 

Actually, today wasnít so bad.  Iíve chewed on a few nicos, but today was pretty alright. I had my usual wave of cravings but soon got over them. The great outdoors must be the cure! 

 

Day 25- Sat 10th July 2004

The cravings still keep coming. Itís funny, the cravings come but somehow I donít associate them with having a cigarette. I seem to associate them as being a bloody nuisance. Mind you, there are many times when I say, oooohhh  I wish I could have a cigarette. But I know that I donít really wish that. What I really wish is that these cravings would just go away for ever. I am going to a hypnotherapist next Friday and I am really hoping that he will be able to help me. I know one hundred percent that your body can override your cravings. When you are sick there is no way you can smoke a cigarette and you have absolutely no cravings for one. Your body is telling you not to put this poison into yourself. You donít even think about it. 

All you need to do with a hypnotherapy session is to make your body go into this state.

At work today, (I work in a Medical Centre)  A patient named David XXXX came in. He has just had a laryngectomy. I once saw a woman on RPA (A reality Medical TV program) who had this procedure also. I would not like to go down that road. A big hole in your neck. Put your finger on the hole to talk in a burpy voice.  No way would I like that.

Day 36 Wed 21st July 2004

Well, I have mixed views on the hypnotherapy. It cost me 200 bucks so it should work but I canít say Iíve noticed much difference. I may need to listen to the CD he gave me, I just havenít had any spare time yet.

Iím not feeling much betterÖ  Still craving. Afternoons and evening are probably worst.

It sucksÖ.but Iím going to do it this time.

Peter XXXXXX  had a mini stroke and is in hospital. He has vowed never to have another cigarette

Day 46 July 31 2004 

I had a puff. Now Iím doomed to fail.

Day 48 Aug 2 2004

 Had a cigarette.

Day 49 Aug 3 2004

Had a cigarette in two halves. Do not have one tomorrow, just to prove I can go without.

September 4, 2004

I said I was doomed and it was true. The reason I havenít been writing here is because I have begun smoking again.

-----------------------------

Day 2 Jan 11th 2005

Well, that was a long silence. Yup, I started smoking again, right back to where I was. Yesterday I once again decided to quit. Well, after I had my first one of the day. Then I had another one when I got home from work at about 4.15.  Then another at about 7.30.

Today I have done worse. I didnít have one until 1pm then had four more before the night was out. My mind has been playing the usual little tricks on me and tonight I told myself I wonít smoke in the daytime, only at night. The trouble is I like these little tricks

April 4, 2005

Well that last little episode was a bit of a farce. 

Now I am about to try again.  Iíve got some nicotine patches this time. This first week Iím not going to stop completely. This is the practice weekÖ LOL, the tricks Old Nic (the talking nicotine demon in my brain.) plays on me. He comes up with all manner of scathingly brilliant ideas not to give up smoking today. Actually Iím hanging out for one now. The one Old Nic has told me I can have before I go to work.

Day 1 May 11, 2005

That last little try didnít last even one day. I couldnít go one day without a smoke. The nicotine patches are still in the cupboardÖ.That's
sad.

Today Iíve given up smoking for ever. I extinguished my last cigarette a 10.30pm last night. I have been reading Allen Carrís ĎEasy Way to Stop Smokingí  I recommend every smoker should read this book. Inspirational!

CrikeyÖ day one wasnít very frigginí easy I can tell you.  Had a shit of a day at work, very frustrating. I felt like screaming and crying all day. Worked a long 12 hour day.  Feel just the same now I am home. Think Iíll just go and take my misery to bed. At least when Iím asleep I wonít think about it.

Allen Carr (Get the Book!) says that I am not giving up anything. I am escaping, and he is right. I am going to escape from Nicotine. He says I should rejoice at the withdrawal pangs, they serve to remind me that I am escaping from this awful addiction after all these years.

As I was writing this I was overcome with terrible withdrawal symptoms. I ended up crying and feeling so absolutely terrible. I went in the bedroom and cried. What a silly thing to do when I should be joyous about escaping. I just wanted to feel better and old Nic kept telling me to have one so I lit one up. Iím not silly. I know I will feel just as bad in ten minutes time so I put it out.

Allen Carr says if you mope about what you are giving up (which is nothing!) then you wonít succeed.  You have to be happy that you are escaping the addiction. There, I just smiled.  If I keep on smoking I wonít be happy, because all the time I think about giving up smoking.  Best be unhappy not smoking than unhappy smoking.  NO! thatís not the right attitude. I am so HAPPY I am escaping. It doesnít come at no cost. I have to bear some uncomfortable feelings to achieve it.

Iíll take the book to bed and read it some more. Thousands of people have escaped the evils of nicotine and I shall be one of them.

I must get a walkman and play my CD I got from the hypnotherapist when I go to bed.

Iíll ask Bob if he has one.

Talk again tomorrow. Tomorrow is a public holiday and Iím looking after the kids.

 

 

Day 2 Thursday 12th May

Oh joy Oh joyÖ. Iím a non smoker. (Alan Carr tells me to remind myself of this)  I have escaped the nicotine jail. Now all I have to do is make sure I donít fall for Old Nics tricks to entice me back there. Iíll give him credit, he keeps trying to get me back there by dishing out some horrible feelings.

Day two was pretty difficult. I had Katy and Maddy here most of the day which kind of helped me keep my mind off the big N. I had a couple of episodes where I just couldnít moveÖ just couldnít do anything but stand and stare straight ahead. I felt like crying and tears did come to my eyes but I didnít have an outburst like yesterday.

I felt very bad late afternoon and just wanted to go to bed and finish the day but instead I got out my hypnotherapy CD and played it. Well, I must have been hypnotized or else I dropped off to sleep because I remember him saying ĎIíll count to seven and you can wake upí  When I did wake up I still felt awful so I put a movie on, I thought that would take my mind off of things. I watched the movie for about half and hour and then suddenly felt better! So I hopped up and began preparing dinner.

The evening was bearable up to a point. At about 10pm my resolve weakened and I had 1mg of nicorette.  Bugger.

Day 6 Monday 16th May

Joy oh joy and all that crap. Yes I have escaped.

Iím very very irritable. Iím almost too irritable to write here.

Bad withdrawals today. Itís only 4.15 but I wish I could go to bed.

I feel like crying. Iím very down at the moment. I should go and do something to take my mind off of things but I canít get motivated.

Allan Carr said to enjoy the withdrawal symptoms and let them serve as a reminder that you have escaped! I havenít quite mastered doing that yet.

Iíll take the dog for a walk.

Day 9 Thursday 19th May

Itís still early. 7:40am.

Day 22 June 2, 2005

This is the day after I am supposed to be free. The day you are free is 3 weeks after you quit. (According to bloody Alan Carr)

Itís a long and lonely road, which takes you to who knows where.

Added later. I donít know what happened to that attempt. Obviously it failed.

I know there were many undocumented attempts to quit smoking between 2005 and 2008 but I didnít record them. Itís obvious to me that they were failures and were too inconsequential to add to this journal.

Day 10  September 4th 2008 

Iím reading my past writings because once again I am quitting. You canít say I donít keep trying. Its funny reading all the things I said in the past because Iím saying them over again now. I thought this diary would give me some inspiration and maybe I could learn where I failed in the past. This time I am trying a new drug called Champix.

When I first started taking Champix I thought it was going to be easy this time. In the first few days it really reduced my cravings and I was only smoking a few a day. When you start Champix you are supposed to continue to smoke 14 days. Well I couldnít wait because I was so excited about finally quitting so I stopped smoking on day 4.

I canít say that itís been easy. Itís day ten and I donít feel any less cravings than I did on day one. (hmmm. Iíve read that somewhere before) Never mind, Iíll battle on.

This time I was determined not to have any nicotine but I have to be honest and admit that I have succumbed on four occasions. This has been late at night and Iíve had 2mg of nicorette gum.  Note to me. NONE TONIGHT!!! OKAY ARE YOU LISTENING?

Iíve read Allen Carrís book again and Iím going to try to teach myself to enjoy the cravings and recognize them for what they are.

Dianeís sister died a couple of weeks ago. Lung cancer. I wonder if that will inspire Diane and Richard to quit. Also I should mention that our sister in law (Ianís wife) Ann, also died just before Christmas last year. Lung cancer.  I mentioned David Holmes earlier in this diary. Heís dead too. Throat cancer.

Wendy my daughter quit one week before me. I think she is doing better than me, not battling as much as I am. Well, when I say battling, Iím not really battling because I have no intention of lighting up a cigarette. I think I crave for nicorettes more than a cigarette.

I read that the cravings last only 3 to 5 minutes each. Thatís not how it is with me. Today it has been one long craving. The feeling hasnít gone away once. I just went to the shop and bought a few different lollies (Candy, Sweets, depends where you come from) to see if they would help.

Later: I said I wasnít going to have a nicorette tonight but I did.  2mg.  Iím weak.

Just before I quit this time I had an awful pain in my chest and it felt like it was in my lung. It was also causing a cough. I thought to myself, yeah, thatís right, Iím quitting smoking and now Iíve got lung cancer before I even start. Well, it was either lung cancer or an infection. The pain persisted until yesterday when I asked Doctor David for some antibiotics. Amazing, I have only taken two days of antibiotics and already the pain and cough has gone so hopefully it is an infection and not cancer.

I have been trying to follow Allen Carrís advice to embrace the cravings but despite all the practice Iíve had I still canít quite get my head around it. Itís just a mental thing and I will keep on trying. ĎOh thank you for this horrible feeling I am experiencing. I will embrace this feeling and use it to my advantage. It will remind me that I am escaping the nicotine prisoní Oh joy, I am free.

Day 11  September 5th 2008 

Hallelujah!  Today wasnít as bad as yesterday.  It wasnít terribly easy this morning and got worse towards midday. I decided to take myself off to the movies to see Mama Mia. It was a happy feel good movie that took my mind off cravings. After the movie I came home and played some music to make me feel good and my cravings were very minimal.

Easy evening with no cravings.

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Day 2 September 25th 2009

Yes, 2009 not 2008.

I see I didnít write much on my last attempt. Only up to day 11.  I canít remember the details but I think I began smoking again some time in November. The Champix really did help but round about week 9 they started to make be feel very nauseous. It was a weird sensation, not like normal nausea. Very hard to describe. Anyway it got to the point where it seemed it was only the nausea that was stopping me smoking. You just canít smoke when you feel that ill. Eventually I could not bear the thought of taking another tablet because I knew how wretched I would feel for the rest of the day.

I began smoking again. Just one or two here and there and of course then I was doomed.

So here we go again. This is supposed to be day two but it has become day one because yesterday, after suffering all day without a smoke I gave in and had one or two after Bob went to bed. Anyway, weíll just ignore that small technicality. It wonít matter in 2 years time.

Iíve got some left over Champix. My old ones and Wendyís. I have periodically in the time since I last tried to quit tried to take them again but have felt that overwhelming nausea feeling again. I have been coughing a lot and had pains in my back so once again I have diagnosed myself with lung cancer. I had a chest xray and apparently from that I am not yet afflicted with cancer although I think maybe I need a CT scan to confirm this.

The bottom line is once again I am concerned for my health if I continue to smoke so I decided to try the Champix again even though there are not enough left to finish the recommended course. I took one yesterday and felt nauseous within 5 minutes but fortunately the sickness only lasted an hour or two. Today, I was reluctant to take another one but the cravings became so bad at about 4 o clock that I bit the bullet and took one. I was amazed that it didnít cause any nausea at all. It didnít do much else either. The cravings were still bad and I have had to resort to nicorettes. God knows how many milligrams of nicotine I have consumed today. Iím not countingÖ.. just trying to not light up a fag.

Day 5  September 29th 2009

All the miserable memories of quitting have come flooding back to me. The cravings that wonít leave me alone. They eat at me relentlessly. They are rotten little bastards that eat and eat and eat at me until I want to scream out ĎGO AWAY Wonít you just leave me alone' Ö. But they donít listen to me. They come back several times a day.

Day 6  September 30th 2009

Perhaps it would be easier to consider dying of lung cancer than to go through this crap again. Just kidding. In my sensible moments I realise what a stupid comment that is. Today hasnít been easy. I really canít even bring myself to think about all the sensible things. Actually, I canít think of anything. I am so overwhelmed at the moment with these awful cravings.

I took a Champix today at lunch time. I probably need one now but at 10.30pm itís probably not a good idea. I donít want bad dreams.

Iím trying to think of George Harrison, Barry Sheen, Keith Berry, Jim Bacon, Joy Davies, Yul Brynner and Fred Hollows but it is not working. They are just dead people to me right now. GodÖ. How powerful this drug nicotine is!!!!

Day 11  October 10th 2009

10.27pm. I just had a cigarette. Stupid I know. Waste of time really. I donít feel any better than I did five minutes ago. I want another one straight away.

Itís bloody pathetic. The need for a cigarette has been with me since day one. Now I have done it, it hasnít made any difference. I still want one. I think Iíll always want one.

Day 6  January 6th 2010

Well there we goÖ a two month break from this journal. What does that tell you?  Iíll tell you whatÖ that I have been smoking again. I tried my hardest to limit it to just a few a day and I was successful up to a point. The point, even if it is pathetic is that I never did go back to full scale full on smoking. But, it began creeping up again. It always does. Five a day in no time turns into ten a day. Once again I had trouble breathing and had a shocking cough. Phlegm? I could write a book about Phlegm. So gross. LOL

I decided that New Year was as good as time as any to make a resolution to quit entirely. So here I am on day six of no fags. Iím taking Champix again. It still makes me feel nauseous but not nearly as bad it did in week 9 of my previous attempt. More often than not I only take one dose in the morning. I hate to feel nauseous in the evening.

I am looking forward to a future that is not ruled by a craving for nicotine.

Day 35  February 4th 2010 

Iím into the second month of the year without a fag. Actually Iím feeling pretty confident this time. I still take Champix when necessary but only half a tablet. Iíve found that half a tablet doesnít cause the nausea. I donít take them all the time, only when I need a little help. Last week we went on a 7 day cruise up to North Queensland. For two days I didnít have any bad cravings at all and I didnít take Champix and didnít chew any gum. But then the cravings came back.

I feel I am doing a lot better this time.

Later: I wrote that early this morning it is now 9.30pm. I just want to say that today has been a difficult day. Iíve had cravings nearly all day which is quite unusual.

Day 59  Monday March 1st 2010

Most of the time I feel OK. It has been mid morning recently that the craving strikes. If I am busy and doing stuff I donít give it much of a thought. Well no thought actually until things start going wrong. One slight feeling of stress and the cravings rise again.

Now I have to reveal my most darkest secret. But Iím not going to do that until tomorrow night 

Added April 5 2010 and out of sequence

What was that Ďmost darkest secretí ???  I never revealed it the next night as promised. Now I have forgotten what it was. Bloody hell, itís even got me intrigued and this is my journal.

Day 83  Wednesday 24th March 2010

I have almost completed three months of the year 2010 without a cigarette.

I still have cravings for nicotine. Often quite serious cravings.

My overall health has improved. The smokerís cough has gone completely and Iím pretty well down to zero phlegm. God, I hate that word. I hate the word phlegm and everything to do with it. I can do almost anything now without getting breathless. I will confess here right now that for so many years while I was smoking I had to have a ventolin puffer.  I tried to keep it hidden away and I tried not to let anyone know that I had to have a few puffs of it most days just to breathe easy.

Just in case anyone ever reads this diary I will mention the benefits I have felt since escaping (notice I didnít say quitting) smoking.

I can breathe easily.

There is noÖ oh god.. I can hardly type the wordÖÖÖÖÖ.phlegm.

I do not cough my guts up in the morning.

I do not have so many thoughts about dying of smoking related diseases and feel that I may have a future. I am actually planning for my future instead of planning for my death which was what I did when I smoked.

Many people who escape the nicotine devil report that food tastes much better. For me there is absolutely no change in the way food tastes.

Day 105  April 5th 2010   

Bloody hell, I can hardly believe it. Iíve made it into another month. Here it is the fourth month of the year and I still havenít had a cigarette this year.

Itís still a battle everyday. Some days I feel bad but I tell myself that this type of feeling bad isnít as bad as how I would feel bad if I had lung cancer.

A note about my dad. He is 84 now. He quit smoking when he was 80. He was scheduled to have surgery for his cataracts a couple of years ago and the doctor told him he had to stop smoking three days before the surgery. He did and hasnít smoked since. He was a very heavy smoker all his life. He smoked about 50 a day until he was about 72 when he cut down to about 25 a day. I asked him last night if he ever missed smoking and he said, Ďno not at allí He also commented that he didnít realise it would be that easy to quit.

He said that smoking left him with a bad chest though. He has emphysema, so I guess that qualifies as a Ďbad chestí

 

 

Day 138  May 8th 2010 

OMG. Iíve made it to May.

I know I havenít overcome the nicotine addiction yet but I really do believe I have quit smoking for ever.

I wish I could have done this thirty years ago. But I didnít so no use dwelling upon it. Iíll have to take my chances as to what damage I have done to my body.

Iíll tell you a little story. Some time ago I was waiting in a doctorís waiting room. Waiting with me were a couple of other people including a very talkative woman who wanted to share her life story.  Iíd guess she was in her seventies. She told us that she was a widow. Her husband had died 10 years previously and she was very angry that he had died and left her alone for all those years. She told us that he had been a smoker and had eventually quit when he was 59 years old. At 69 he died of lung cancer. She said for so long she had tried to get him to quit but he left it until he was 59 and that was too late. He had already done the damage.  Hmmm.. Iím thinking now. Iím 59.

Day 188   July 7th 2010

Over six months now without a smoke. Iím not over the nicotine addiction yet.

Iím just reading back on my previous journals and notice that I never mentioned that I stopped taking Champix.  I canít remember exactly when I stopped taking them. I think I only took them for a couple of months.

Health benefits from quitting abound. Well, to be more precise breathing benefits abound. I never want to go back to the awful feeling of having such difficulties of breathing.

Day 342  December 8th 2010 

Havenít been here much have I?  Truth of the matter is that I have quit for good. I will never smoke again.

Even though it has been almost a year I still get cravings occasionally

January 2nd 2011

Amazing. I have gone a year without a cigarette. There is not a chance in the world that I will ever smoke again.

I still get cravings but I can deal with them.

May 12th 2011

One year and five months. Good god. Is this me we are talking about? HeyÖ I think I really have quit smoking.

 I wonít ever smoke a cigarette again.

As I drive past places I see people out on the footpath smoking. Their workplace obviously does not permit smoking within their grounds. Itís sad that these people are  ostracized by their addiction. If their addiction was heroin they wouldnít be sent out to the footpath.

March 14th 2013.

OMG. I quit smoking over three years ago.

You can too.

January 2014

4 Years free. You can't say I didn't keep trying.

January 2015

5 Years free.

Quit now. Don't wait as long as I did.  It's not easy but if I did it anyone can.

January 2016

6 years free. I wish I could persuade everyone to quit smoking.

 

 

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