One Year to the Day

One year and one day ago, back when I was a smoker:

Vanna Whiting a hummock at Coldwater Lake, August 4, 2013. Snapped by Cujo359.
Vanna Whiting a hummock at Coldwater Lake, August 4, 2013. Snapped by Cujo359.

ZOMG I miss those shorts…

One year ago, when I was a non-smoker:

Suzanne and I in front of a truck that didn't survive the May 18th eruption. August 5, 2013. Photography by Cujo359.
Suzanne and I in front of a truck that didn’t survive the May 18th eruption. August 5, 2013. Photography by Cujo359.

ZOMG, I miss those pants…

Anyway. Yes. Just realized, going through photos from last year’s Mount St. Helens jaunt, that it’s been a full year since I’ve lit a cigarette. I miss the shorts and pants I used to fit in to, mostly because they don’t seem to make decent shorts for women anymore and I loved those capris, but it’s not often I miss smoking. Oh, here and there, when I’m bored or shopping or just randomly out of nowhere, I’ll get a craving, kind of like feeling a phantom limb. It goes away nearly immediately, though. I don’t miss the smell, or the expense, or the hacking of a morning. I finally met my goal of gaining five pounds (and kept on till I gained 30). This means I don’t get as many people wondering if I’m anorexic, then wondering if I’m bulimic after they’ve seen me eat. Which is nice.

I’ve forged an identity as an ex-smoker now, so I don’t feel quite as not-me as I did when I first quit. Wellbutrin took care of the stress, and has done far more for me than nicotine ever did. And I can run, which I couldn’t do back then. So it’s nice to be ex. Figure I’ll keep on keeping on until the opportunity to take up the habit again is gone forever. Very hard to inhale a nice deep puff o’ smoke when you’re no longer breathing, amirite?

Tell you something, too: everything tastes better. Hence the 30 pounds. Food and I, we’ve become bosom buddies. I’m not as mouthy as when I first quit, but despite not needing to constantly have a cigarette substitute in the cakehole, I’m still loving the eating. Oy. In fact, I think I’ll do some more of that before bed, here.

Thank you for all your encouragement and cheerleading and commiserating, my darlings. You got me through those initial difficult times (Chantix made it much less difficult, but you lot gave me the will). You did it! Now you can stop worrying, because if I’ve done 365 days without wishing I could go back, I never will. And even if I start having fond memories, the knowledge of what you’ll do to me if I backslide will keep me from breaking down. :-)

Besides, I’m spending all my spare cash on food. And adventures. And books. And new pants. And lotsa other stuff. That’s as addictive as the cigarettes were, and far more fun.

Should any of you need a cheerleading section as you embark on your own career as an ex-smoker, let me know. Ye olde lungs can hold a lot more air than previously, so I should be able to give you a good shout!

One Year to the Day
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11 thoughts on “One Year to the Day

  1. 7

    Quitting smoking is easy; I used to do it all the time. It’s not starting again that was hard. Making it a whole year …sounds like you’ve got it beat.

  2. 8

    Congratulations! I’m going on four and a half years now from two packs a day. Occasionally I still want one and will wake up guilty if I dream that I’ve done so, but other than that I don’t miss them at all. Kudos!

  3. 9

    Congratulations on beating the smoking.

    The knots formed by the interlocking of physical, social, and physical aspects make addictions tough to beat. I used to watch a friend trying to quit cigarettes get flustered when he didn’t know what to do with his hands. Cigarettes kind of took care of that issue for him and having his hands idle obviously felt unnatural. So he fidgets. Sometimes I can actually see him unconsciously going through the attenuated motions of getting the pack out, whacking it a few times, pulling a cigarette … and then he realizes he is waving his hands around and stuffs them into his pockets.

    It took months for the mannerism and motion memory to wear thin. Even years later, under stress, he reflexively slaps his pockets as if he is looking for a pack of cigarettes. Like a private distress signal. Smokers around him who see the mannerism often reflexively offer a cigarette. All this seems to be semi-conscious body language and smoker social etiquette.

    He was telling me that he doesn’t really miss cigarettes any more. That mostly what he feels are the blank spots that used to be filled with smoking and the various ceremonies and mannerisms of smoking. Like when his wife says something and he knows not to say anything. Smoking provided something to do while not saying anything. Just standing there seems much harder.

  4. 10

    Congratulations. We embarked on similar ships at about the same time, though I kept nicotining for a couple of months and didn’t use any prescriptions. Now I hang around with smokers and leave because it becomes noxious, not enticing.

    But I have a different experience regarding taste/scent. I’ve been consistently surprised by how many bad smells/flavors there are. I’ve stopped going to two restaurants because one smells bad and the other tastes worse.
    My dad had a famously sensitive sniffer so I suppose I’ve just uncovered some genetic heritage I buried 40 years ago with that first Kool.
    (40 years. Shakes head in disgust.)
    It hasn’t kept me from gaining the 20, though.

  5. 11

    Congratulations Dana!

    I watched my mother die the slow death of the smoker, with heart and circulatory problems that got progressively worse over the last two decades of her life. I feared the same for you. But you’ve beaten it!!!! (Showers of virtual confetti.)

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