Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Quitter’s Diary: Week Two/Three/Four :)

A fact before I let you guys in on my second week of a smoke free life.
  • With this post, we equal the amount of posts we wrote the WHOLE of last year. Smoking at least had a positive effect on the blog. That’s right we wrote seven posts last year and I’m surprised that we managed even those seven. And I should stop saying we. It was I who wrote those seven so whatever applause there is should go in my direction.

Alright now I’ll get to the topic I want to gloat about and the one you want to hear about. The bullet points below list the positive after effects of quitting smoking. Against each point are my comments or what I experienced with regards to those comments in a colour that should not hurt your eye.

After 20 minutes:

  • Blood pressure levels and pulse rate becomes normal. I really can’t say about this.

  • Body temperature of hands and feet increases to normal. I think this is true. I feel a little weird in these places.

After 8 hours:

  • Carbon monoxide in your body drops. I really can’t say about this.

  • Oxygen level in your blood increases to normal. Nor can I say anything about this point.

After 2 days:

  • Sense of smell and taste will improve. You will enjoy your food more. This is true. And being the foodie that I am, I have begun hating the food that I used to earlier love eating. For example, sea shells made in any form were the only sea food dish I could/would eat, but after quitting smoking, they have become unbearable. There is a tinge of fish smell to them. And yes I can smell better. EW won’t get away saying that his farts don’t smell.

  • Your risk of heart attack begins to decrease. I really wish this is true.

After 3 – 4 days:

  • Bronchial tubes relax and your lung capacity will have increased, making breathing easier. I can’t comment on this one. But I do have a suspicion that it is true.

After 2 weeks:

  • Blood flow improves; nicotine has passed from your body. Well, I can write a long letter to the cunts who predicted this about this being so fuckin’ untrue.

Within 2 weeks to 3 months:

  • Circulation will improve, making walking and running easier; lung functioning increases up to 30%. I played football last week and didn’t go this week because no one was going to play. So I really don’t know. I do not get that fatigued though at the end of the day. So it is a big plus.

Now for some of the negative effects. Some of which are associated with the first few days of quitting but these have stuck around for two weeks now and has got me a little worried.

  • I'm cranky (still)
  • I get irritated for the smallest of reasons (still). I get pissed at Emily and make a face that she now calls my hate-face. I'm not sure if it resembles malice or even hate it is just plain irritation. But you can't explain that to a woman. It's towards the end of the fourth week that I have uploaded this post and the fights have increased exponentially. They are extremely stupid and my theory is that my subconscious mind wants to smoke one and will try and hurt my near and dear ones so bad that I reach out for that smoke. Not succeeded thus far and I hope it never will. But its getting increasingly difficult on both of us. I hope she hangs in there.
  • I have recurring dreams that I have started smoking again. In those dreams I keep promising myself that I'll quit tomorrow.
  • My sleep patterns are disrupted. Totally fucked up. It was that bad when I had just quit. Those days I was sleeping like a baby. Now, I count my self lucky if I have dreamless and peaceful sleep.

At the end of this week, it will be a month since that night I smoked last my last cigarette. It feels nice and most of the people are proud of me and have have started telling my story to their friends for inspiration. I quit after 12 years of non stop chain smoking. I'm sure there are others who can quit too. Week three (in fact week four/a month) is over and I haven't smoked. I just wish I could update you guys on a regular basis.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Quitter’s Diary: Week One – Actually Day 10

Sorry people for not keeping my promise of writing at the end of week one. Typical I hear some one say. And I agree. Anyone say nothing beyond that because I don’t want to get pissed of. Emily calls me the Hulk because of my anger and tantrums. I’m sure they are getting too much for her to bear. It iday 10 of being smoke free today and here is today’s tweet:

Day 10 of my #quitsomking resolve. Extremely irritated. Co workers are advised to saty away. I may kill you for no reason at all.

The urge somehow is at its peak today. It compares to the ones I had on the first three days – really strong.

The first week, excluding the first three days, was smooth sailing. I drank, without smoking. I went and played football, didn’t smoke before, during, or after the game. I have been drinking water much more than before. I can taste and smell better. I feel a little healthier. But I do miss not having a smoke. It is getting more and more difficult to resist the urge. It maybe a trick my brain is playing with me. But I know that I have to fight it, come what may!

The urge today, on day 10 is surprisingly strong. Extremely strong! It’s taking a lot out of me to resist and I’m irritated as hell. Like my tweet said, I feel like killing everyone around me and I’m just pissed at anything that talks or moves. There are a couple of people that I met thanks to twitter that say that it is a passing phase and I’ll be alright in a week or two. They went through the same it seems. I hope they are right or I may want to hunt them down and kill them too. Just kiddin! Or am I?

Anyway, I need to buzz off right now. I’ll meet you guys next Monday or before that if any thing comes up. Maybe I’ll follow this post with our time in Goa. I won’t promise that because of my inability to keep it but you never know. Take care and have a #smokefree life.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Quitter’s Diary: Day 4

There is nothing much happening on my front. The intensity and frequency of the cravings has drastically reduced and my body has begun to forget that I used to smoke. The only fuck up is that my mind doesn’t want me to forget. I keep being told to reward myself with a smoke because I have gone these many days without a smoke. Thank God that I can think clearly and refuse the demands of my own body.

Tweet for the day was:
suffer internally or eternally? Looks like eternally it is for the time being. Day 4 of the #quitsmoking movement. Oh the craving!

Anyway I have now decided that there isn’t much to share because the craving is reducing and hopefully I can get my brain to stop tempting me. I’ll keep you guys posted on a weekly basis. You will see a consolidated post on Sundays, as that’s when I complete the first week of being smoke free. Thanks to all those who supported me, prayed for me and even to those who made fun. Without you guys, I would have never got the strength to go through this pain. See you guys on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Quitter’s Diary: Day 3

I slept for just 5 hours but not grogy at all for same strange reason. People who know me will vouch when I say that I get cranky due to lack of sleep but I just woke up fresh. Amazing! But the first pang of craving hit me when I was in the loo and then it was all downhill. “Can’t smoke at home anyway!” I laughed to myself fitting myself in to a shirt, then trousers (I'm a strictly jeans guy) unwittingly. To top it off, I wore sports shoes on that combination. I ridiculed a lot at work. On the smoking and craving front, I was pretty normal in office say till about 3:30 – 4 in the afternoon. You can read that through this tweet.

Day 3 of the #quitsmoking movement. Much better than yesterday. The cravings are less frequent and last for a lesser amount of time.

After that, the urge just got crazy. My head hurt to the point where my body could walk up on its own to smoke a cigarette. One part of my brain wanted it desperately and would kill me, if it were possible, to get to the vendor and smoke one. Notice that there are no more voices. I felt like they had collectively formed my fuckin’ headache. Anyway, I’m not going to give in. That’s a given for now!

The cravings are back and with a bang! A thousand hammers in my head all saying one thing in unision: Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!

I did not smoke though. However, I did go out for a drink with Emily and the cravings for a smoke there were practically non existant. Need to stop drinking next. That's for another day. For now, I'm eagerly awaiting Day 4.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Quitter’s Diary: Day 2

Day 1 was a Sunday. When I woke up on Monday, the thought of going to work itself was eating me inside, the thought of not smoking the whole day, while at work was far worse and enough to trigger a craving that lasted for more than a minute.

When I reached work, I was absolutely irritated. I think the traffic, the noise and just the sight of so many people triggered that off. I plonked myself in to my chair and my friend, Jesubhai calls out to me asking me to accompany him for a chai and smoke. I tell him I quit (this was a better way of saying it, in retrospect, because earlier I would say “I’m trying” and nothing would come out of it). Quite funnily he asked whether I have quit smoking or quit having tea. I wanted to laugh but didn’t. I didn’t want to go with him because the thought of seeing him smoke might tempt me too. But nothing of that sort happened but by mid afternoon, my cravings were getting bad. Some of my twitter (follow me) posts are witness to that:

Tweet 3: A million ants are crawling in my veins. The voices in my head are urging, demanding for just one. One sane voice says NO! #quitsmoking

Tweet 2: Let's kill the bongs! Let's kill the bongs! Let's kill the bongs! Let's kill the bongs! Let's kill the bongs! Let's kill the bongs!

Tweet 1: 36 hours in to not smoking. Stay away! the voices in my head want to kill you!

The chant of let’s kill the bongs began when the two Bengali women around me began talking. Fuck I couldn’t stand them when I was smoking. Being patient with them at that particular moment I just wanted to kill them with a blunt object so that they hurt and I’m in bliss.

But as tweet 3 suggests, as the day went on, it was getting increasingly difficult. I started reading about people who have quit and how they went about doing so. Twitter had a search #quitsmoking that was helpful with links and testimonials. I never thought that the internet and social networking sites will help but anyway. The work day ended well. Craving were there, I was hyper, fidgety and couldn’t stop shaking my leg, just as EW does after a couple of drinks. But I was grateful that I did not kill, yell or torture anyone or in any order.

When I reached home, my mom commented on the amount I smoked because of the smell my body was emitting. I went like “WHHAAATTT!!!” I calmed myself to tell her that I had quit and it would be 48 hours at quarter to 12.

I had difficulty getting sleep. And I fell asleep at around 2 in the morning after retiring to bed around midnight. Will tomorrow be another day of struggle, I questioned myself.

The Quitter’s Diary: Day 1

It’s the 10th of January. The previous night and all trough the day, I had this terrible fight with Emily regarding my addictions. Readers of this blog and most of my friends know the excess I believe in. I can’t stop at one drink. Hell, I can’t even stop after 10. I can’t stop at one J (I’m doing weed and hash sporadically – it’s even less than once a month) nor can I stop at one cigarette. At the end of our conversation, I decided that this will be the last day that I smoke. I checked the packet, there were three in them. I smoked one on my way to her place, one on the way back and left one for home.

I reached home around 10:30, and I was to sleep around 12 because I was supposed to visit my uncle’s place the next. My cousin’s getting married you see. I smoked the last one left in the packet at quarter to 12 and then went off to sleep.

I got up in the morning without feeling a thing. I knew I wanted to quit and the good thing is that I can’t smoke in front of my mom or relatives because of some weird factor. I still don’t know what it is and if I get through this, I will not care. Anyway the get together at my uncle’s got over by 5 and we were back home by 6 in the evening. That’s when the withdrawal hit me. I had an argument with my brother. My mom who was pointing at my mistake got a good telling off from me for no reason at all. I left in a huff to meet Emily. She was late and I was standing just next to the cigarette vendor. All the voices in my head were collectively urging me to buy a cigarette. One won’t do you any harm they said.

I reluctantly agreed and started walking towards the cigarette vendor. Something happened, and I snapped out of it and ended up buying a packet of chewing gum instead for the same amount. The voices were not happy and the craving was just getting worse. Luckily Emily came by and I was distracted.

We went out for dinner and all I could think of was that smoke. Oh! How badly I was craving for one. A reward for not smoking the whole day wouldn’t be bad. But the reward came in the form of a drink. It was ironical, I usually smoke a pack and half when we sit to drink but today, it was a smoke free drink session. I finally called it a night earlier than usual because my body is tuned to not smoking at home.

Sleeping was difficult but I managed through 24 hours of being smoke free. I thought the next day would be easier. But…

The Journey

It was ’97s Holy Saturday (the Saturday before Easter) when I smoked my first cigarette. I was challenged to be a man and even though I “mouth-fagged” the first few, I was glad that I proved to my friends that I was a man and even happier that I had my first cigarette. I puked my insides out after about three cigarettes but I didn’t mind. I felt like a man. No, I was a man.

Cut to 2010. As per my calculations, it is 13 years now that I have been smoking the cancer stick. I think it is exactly 12 years and 10 months if you think about it. I have had three failed attempts before and one of the voices in my head has a wager that this time it will be no different.

Attempt number 1 was in Manipal when I decided upon a date, threw out all the ashtrays, matches and cigarettes in the room the previous night and woke up the next day smoke free. I didn’t touch a single stick for three whole days - The number I am at right now, which is why it is scary and which is why I have decided to write down a small memoir about my journey to either a smoke free life or a relapse in to a smoke filled one. On the third day, I did about three nitros and had already downed three pegs of whiskey when someone was passing cigarettes around. I sheepishly accepted one, thinking to myself that it will be harmless and I’ll stop after that one. I woke up the next day with an almost full pack of 20’s and it was another three to four years till I decided to quit again.

Attempt number two was a part of a New Year’s resolution and I had the support of two women from my office who decided to quit with me. One started within hours of meeting us and the other within a day in to the New Year. As for me, I went three whole days again!

Attempt number three came the next New Year where I went a week (yes a whole week!) without smoking. But here I was lying to myself. I had not quit, in fact I had cut down because I was smoking a cigarette after work. In order to avoid that, I began buying “Nirdosh” cigarettes that are totally herbal (not marijuana or hashish) and nicotine free. I forgot the pack one day in the office loo and couldn’t find any at the medicals so I went ahead and bought one from the paanwala and then the relapse began.

So now, after 12 years and 10 months, I have decided to quit again. The decision was not mine entirely, my girl, let’s call her Emily here for purposes unknown even to me, was absolutely pissed and psyched with the amount I smoked and drank that she simply broke down. I couldn’t bear that and decided to quit the next day. I did not, as suggested by many, bid farewell to a faithful friend. A friend that has been through thick and thin, through our fights, good news, bad news or even no news at all. I do not have a plan B, no alternate means, no what if. I just have a plan A, which is just no smoking. It is a difficult thing to do. I can’t say I’ll miss this friend of mine that was by my side through almost 13 years of my life. Actually I don’t miss him. But there are withdrawal symptoms and those are chronicled in my diary – The Quitter’s Diary.