Well Being

Quitting Smoking, Week 1: Not Totally Terrible (Maybe Because I Cheated?)

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American Spirit yellow packSo here we are: One week after I vowed to quit smoking. One week down with no—er, few—cigarettes. Yeah, I failed at ‘cold turkey.' I'm still calling the week a success—with only six cigarettes smoked, that's less than one per day. I'll take it. While trying for less this week, of course …

Why do I even still have cigarettes lying around, you might ask? That's a good question, and one I've been asking myself. I left a half-finished back with my friend in Chicago after my ‘last night of smoking,' on New Year's Eve. But then I got home and remembered I had an unopened pack of American Spirit lights in my backpack. Yeah, I should've thrown them out. No, I didn't do that. I will not buy another pack after this one is finished.

But with my (basically) one cigarette per day, the whole endeavor didn't seem too bad. Whenever my boyfriend mentioned to any of our friends that I was quitting smoking, they said things like, “Oh, good for you!” and “Oh, that's great!” To which I would respond, “I guess. I kinda hate it.” Because I do. I wish there was some magic way for smoking to be not terrible for me, but there isn't and I'm accepting that, I swear. But I'm gonna sulk about it just a little bit.

Really, though, it hasn't really been totally terrible. Maybe because I knew I was allowing myself that one cigarette per day, I didn't feel too angry about spending most of the day nicotine-free. I think it also helps that it's January—no outdoor patios or long walks which always trigger wanting to smoke, just the cold Indiana winter air which makes the idea of going out for a cigarette much less appealing (I don't smoke in my apartment). A glass of red wine always triggers wanting to smoke, though, and I don't know what to do about that. What do I do about that? [I guess not keep any cigarettes in the house …]

So that's week one. I talked to a doctor and got a prescription for bupropion, a drug prescribed as both an antidepressant (Wellbutrin) and a quit-smoking aid (Zyban). I took it the one previous time I tried to quit smoking, and found it helpful in somehow making cigarettes less appealing. I'm not sure how to explain it—and doctors aren't sure exactly why it works at reducing tobacco cravings, either. It doesn't work in the same way nicotine-replacement devices, like gum or patches, work. But it's supposedly not related to the drug's antidepressant abilities, either. You're supposed to begin taking it 1 to 2 weeks before quitting smoking, and take it for 7-12 weeks after you totally quit, for up to a year. I just started taking it a few days ago, but I'm kinda hoping it works like an insurance policy against my failures of willpower.

Oh, and right now? Apparently, my bronchial tubes have relaxed and my energy levels should increase, according to this Blisstree post on what happens to your body such-and-such hours/days/years after you quit smoking. My blood pressure should already be decreasing, my sense of taste and smell getting stronger and my chance of heart attack going down. So there's that, I guess.

Photo: GiantRobot.com