I never knew what a drug addict must feel until tonight.
I know, thats a strong statement. Let me explain. I’m in Orlando right now for a conference. As I had mentioned earlier, I had decided to start today to quit smoking.
Disney is very much non-smoking at this point. When I checked in, the person checking me in asked me if I smoked. I said “Not as of today”. She said “no matter what you do, don’t smoke in the room”, pointing to a policy Disney has of “room restoration fees” that total quite a bit of money per day.
I was OK though. See, I started the patch last night at bedtime. A friend told me that starting the patch at night would help me with the first morning cravings I might have. It didn’t – what it really did is make it so I couldn’t sleep at all. I was so wired 5 minutes after going to bed that it wasn’t even funny. There were no great dreams, no vivid dreams. I would wake up – and just lie there, hoping that I could go to sleep.
I woke up this morning, and sat down at the computer to check email. My usual routine is to wake up, start coffee, go out to the garage, and smoke. I started the computer, checked email, started coffee, and then said to myself “Self, time to go to the garage” – to which my always irritating self went “nope, not today”.
My brain literally locked up. I didn’t know what to do. I guess that is what habit is about.
I finished packing and headed out to the airport. I knew it would be hard to drive in the car that I have been smoking in for – not 3, but six years and it was – but no so bad.
I breezed through security (no lighter on me) and spent some time in the airport talking to Jonna over IM and checking email. It didn’t even bother me that I could not go outside or that I had not yet had a cigarette for the day. I even mentioned to Jonna that I was shocked that I was OK, I had no cravings whatsoever.
I checked into the hotel and it started hitting me. I really wanted one. Bad. Keep in mind this was about 4-5 hours later. I talked to Jonna and a few of my co-workers as we were out for drinks this evening about the hard time I had sleeping last night and really wanted to put off putting another patch on until tomorrow morning. I really wanted to sleep tonight.
The more the night went on, the more uncomfortable I felt. Jesus, I really want to smoke. On my way back to the room, I saw a few guys smoking outside (in a non-designated area mind you) and I really wanted to walk up to them with the “can you spare a square” routine. My pride got in the way and I walked on.
Then I got to my room. I was going nuts. I did not bring cigarettes with me – and I’m not sure where to buy them at all. I decided at my wits end to put another patch on.
I unwrapped the patch like Sid Vicious cooking his heroin. And literally, within a few minutes, I felt OK.
Did you ever see someone on TV get their fix? How their eyes roll in the back of their heads and a complete look of relief comes across their face? Ok, it wasn’t that drastic, but it was comparable.
This stuff really does work. What I know right now is that these things do not last quite 24 hours. But that initial shock to the system will probably be enough to get me through the next four days.
Soon after writing this, I got this message from Andy, a former boss and long time friend via Plaxo:
I seem to recall a good way to motivate you in the early days was to tell you that you couldn’t do something. Hey, Ron… Betcha can’t stop smoking….
He knows me so well.