Smokeblogging: Smoking Update for March

I’ve been having a really rough time over the last week keeping myself from smoking. I still haven’t, but it has been a real struggle.

What is worse though, is that when I mention this to people I get a response a lot like this tweet from Chris Jones via Twitter:

@rbieber ugggh dude i relapsed after 3 years 😦 (of no smoking)

I hear this a lot. People relapse after a really long time of not smoking. I’ve heard from 3 to 9 to even 20 years.

So Chris is not alone. So obviously I start to question.

Isn’t life too short to worry about things you “shouldn’t” be doing? Do I really want to spend the rest of my life obsessing about something like this, only to know that its inevitable that I go back? If the ultimate result is failure, than what is the point?

Its really tough for non-smokers to get this – but every smoker (or ex-smoker) understands these questions.

This is definitely a hard habit to break and there is a lot of evidence of failure all around you.

Miscellaneous Updates for February 2008

I’m doing an extremely bad job of keeping the site fresh over the last few months or so. I figured I’d give a quick update of things going on.

I’m Still Not Smoking

I finally started the Step 3 of the Nicoderm CQ program. This one has been rough. This is where you really start physically feeling the consequences of nicotine being removed from your system. I’ve been completely exhausted for the last week. Apparently, that there nicotine is one powerful stimulant and really screws with your metabolism. Your body takes some time to equalize itself and get itself back to where it needs to be naturally. I’m hoping mine gets there soon – because I’ve not had a good time over the past week.

The interesting thing about these “stop smoking aids” is that they defer you dealing with the real issue until you have so much skin in the game that you can’t start again without feeling an intense feeling of failure. Brilliant, but I can tell you that first step gives you an overly simplified view of what it takes to quit smoking. It starts getting a little harsher at step 2 and now at step 3 you really start PHYSICALLY feeling it. The only thing worse will be when Step 3 is over and my body starts eliminating nicotine all together.

Like I said though, I have too much skin in the game now to restart – I think.

New iPhone User

Address Book on iPhoneJonna bought me an iPhone for our anniversary, and I have to say that aside from the GPS she got me for Christmas, which allows me to go out by myself and still be able to get home, it is about the coolest thing for me from a productivity perspective that we have added to my highly disorganized life.

I’m finally able to get all my contact information in one place where it is accessible at any time. I can take notes, I can look things up on the web and I can check personal email. From a browsing perspective, I can get to things that are a part of my life but are blocked at the firewall at work (which is great as well). I feel free.

Now, it hasn’t been without its problems. The 1.1.3 software that came with the phone dropped a lot of calls. It wound up pretty frustrating and I kept my work supplied cell phone so that I could actually hold calls without them getting dumped. The 1.1.4 update took care of this though and now it works like a real phone.

I love the contact management included in the phone. Support for multiple numbers per contact and custom labelled information (including notes) lets me keep track of all the information I could ever want about someone. I can even attach a picture. Integration with the Mac Address book allows me to keep my contacts up to date without having to type into the phone.

And speaking of typing into the phone – I love not having to type on a standard phone keypad. The automatic spell-checking sometimes gives me a run for my money, and more often than not makes me sound retarded, like this little exchange with Jonna:

Trouble With Abbreviations

<Insert large sigh from Jonna because I don’t listen or read>

Overall though, I think between the GPS for Christmas and the iPhone this month, I’ve received the two most useful (and really most used) gifts ever.

As an aside, for those who are obsessed with not scratching or smudging their iPhone or other Apple products, Jonna also picked up a skin called Best Skins Ever for both Kelsi and myself, which we applied a couple of weeks ago. Kind of scary at first (you need to use water to apply it), but they really are the best skins ever. You don’t even know they’re there. I’m definitely going to pick up one for my iPod, as soon as I get a round tuit.

Well thats it from the Labs for last month. I’m sure as the weather starts to warm and the nicotine continues to seep out of my system, I’ll have more energy to blog about useful things.

SmokeBlogging: Day

Andy asks in a recent comment:

So…. how is this project going?

and then I realize I really haven’t been blogging much.

I just started Step 2 of the Nicoderm CQ program today. For those that aren’t aware, Step 1 is four weeks long, Step 2 another 2 weeks, and finally Step 1 – another two weeks. 10 weeks in total before you take off the training wheels and start trying to keep balance on your own.

I suppose the question I’ve been asked most has been “is it getting any easier”. The answer is no. It is not as hard as I built it up in my head to be, so thats a good thing – but it hasn’t really gotten much easier for me either, except that I am no longer counting days. It’s just something I’m determined to do – and that kind of keeps me going.

So, I just keep on keeping on. So far, so good. Unfortunately, I’m not as disciplined around blogging updates.

SmokeBlogging: Day 18 (or Iteration 2: Day 7)

no-smoking-sign-125x120I’ve had a few people email me asking me how I’m doing and realized I just haven’t posted for a while. No smoking so far. Just that one tiny infraction on Thursday (day 11).

As I said in that post, I’m glad that happened. It strengthened my resolve to quit.

Now, thats not to say that its been a piece of cake since then. The urge to smoke is strong, even using the patch. But when push comes to shove, if you have the patch on, you know that the urge is psychological – not physical – so you can deal with it a little easier.

I remember both reading Tony Robbins Unlimited Power and listening to tapes years ago, where it was mentioned that people think smoking relaxes them, but what it actually does is cause you to use a different breathing pattern. Its amazing the things you remember but this has popped into my head multiple times over the past week – as well as was mentioned to me yesterday by someone and thats really what I’ve been doing. Deep breathing makes it a lot easier to get the urge to go away.

Some other interesting things that have been going on. I think I have super powers. Most noticeably, I can tell when a smoker has been in an elevator – or where there is smoking going on in the vicinity. This is something I really have never noticed before but I now know how strong (and unpleasant) the smell of cigarettes are. I think this part has been the most interesting to me and I finally get the “Friends” episodes where every time Chandler takes a puff of a cigarette Monica knows.

I’ve also received some feedback like “you should get your car detailed” or “you should get a new car”. Yeah, not so much. I am not SO confident right now that I’m going to drop the money to have my car detailed (or worse buy a new one) until I’ve got at least a few months under my belt and I’m sure I’m not going to go back and ruin it. It’ll give me something to work for.

So thats the update so far. Things are going well. Even with the Day 11 relapse, this is still the longest I’ve gone without smoking since I started – so I know I’m doing something right.

When I started this I thought there would be way more to talk about it. There isn’t. There are definitely times when I am irritable – but I haven’t really had major mood swings much. So far, its been pretty uneventful – almost a non-event to blog about.

So those of you thinking about quitting – think about that and quit putting it off. In the least its an interesting foray into the psychological workings of addiction without having to start heroin …

SmokeBlogging: Day 11 – Almost

Some words of encouragement from my Committed Quitters Plan:

Dealing with Relapse

Withdrawal symptoms or weight gain shouldn’t be used as an excuse to start smoking again. Staying completely smoke free is your best chance to prevent a relapse. But if you slip and smoke a cigarette or two, don’t be discouraged. Your first cigarette did not make you a smoker to start with, and a slip does not make you a smoker again. Stop immediately and get back to the program.

If you have already relapsed and started smoking heavily again, remember that it sometimes takes a few attempts to quit for good. And remember, one slip or relapse doesn’t mean that you can’t be a nonsmoker. Learn from the attempt and try again.

Done. Forgotten. No excuses. Time to move on.

It’s easy to feel bad when you screw up, but I’m not going to. I’ve ridded myself of the remaining cigarettes that we had in the house (remember, I didn’t throw them out because Jonna was going to take them to work?) and I’m starting over.

I am calling this ‘Iteration 2’.

What I realized after this is that I really do want to quit. I’m still not sure its for the right reasons, but now I’m kinda digging being a non-smoker. The shitty thing is that no matter what your resolve, the habit still nags at you and for some reason you still think you want to smoke.

So here’s the way I’m going to treat this little infraction. I went back and it winds up that I feel even stronger afterwards that I should quit – no matter what the discomfort. Given this – I don’t feel bad. I’ve confirmed to myself that I want to move forward.

One thing I have to reconcile with myself from talking to friends who have quit – is that deep down that urge will always be there and I’ll probably always miss the way I think it makes me feel. The reality is much different than the imagined effect.

So this afternoon was another day – tomorrow will be another one. The chain is broken and I’ll just have to start a brand new one. I think I’m up for it.

Keep those fingers crossed.