So I’m a Hypocrite

Okay, so I’ve sung the glories of diet and nutrition. Dissed the use of alcohol and caffeine. (no I’m not holier than thou about any of it, but I apply it to my own life religiously) Anyway…I lead a real clean life, right? Well…no, not really. I’ve relapsed again…that is, I’m smoking again.

I quit six years ago and in the last three years relapsed a few times. It pretty much sucks. Intermittently the withdrawal symptoms get bad. Agitation and irritability. They don’t last long between tapers or perhaps it strikes me during “that time of the month”, again not lasting long, but whatever symptom I have, however briefly, it lasts long enough for me to impulsively pick up a cigarette and then not put it back down for a couple of months. And then I’m dealing with yet another withdrawal…on top of the drug withdrawal. Yes, I choose, in this instance, to make my life more difficult than it has to be with the drug withdrawal alone.

And since in my last post I discussed impulsiveness, I want to say I don’t excuse my choice to smoke by saying I’m a victim of my agitation or irritability. I am free to choose and I am responsible for making a poor decision.

No excuses then, just a crutch in my drug-addled world. And I can’t say I’m any different from any other smoker, or ex-smoker for that matter either. We all suffer difficult moments.

I wrote the above the other day. I ran out of cigarettes last night. That morning cigarette is the most delightful of the day, but since it’s 3:30 am and I’m not about to go out and get a pack, I’m figuring today will be my quit date this time around. Besides, I have that scratchy feeling in my throat and I’m coughing occasionally–the signs I use when it’s time to quit after another relapse. What will make it hard today and in the next few days is that I’m in the throws of PMS and I’ve recently made a drug reduction. That’s why I’m up at this ungodly hour. My dog started barking incessantly, woke me up, and then I just couldn’t get back to sleep–I’m agitated enough that it seemed futile to stay in bed, so I got up.

It’s not a good time to a quit. My body and mind are in a bit of turmoil. We’ll see. I’ve done it before at less than opportune times. You are my witnesses. I’d like to make this final. Cigarettes strip you of various nutrients. I want to quit for my mental health.

It’s weird too, even though I smoke when things are emotionally difficult, after a few days they don’t actually make me feel better and can, after the first one or two of the day actually make me feel worse. It becomes plainly only a nicotine addiction. I really don’t find pleasure in it. I don’t get addiction. I will never get addiction. I empathize for people addicted to harder substances. I get addiction enough to understand to some extent what they must go through. I’ve worked as a social worker quite a lot with addicts. I can’t say I’ve learned to apply anything I’ve learned to myself. And to tell you the truth I don’t think I was ever particularly helpful to the addicts I worked with. It was the one area I worked in that I felt less than competent.

So here I go. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how I progress sometime down the line.

9 thoughts on “So I’m a Hypocrite

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  1. Hi exsmoker–just thought I’d let my readers know I’ve been an exsmoker for quite a long time now too. It actually struck me that it was making my withdrawal symptoms worse. The thought of a cigarette makes me cringe and I have no cravings. It was really easy this time around. I don’t think I’ll relapse again.

  2. It was a snap decision. I knew you wouldn’t be impressed! Last Saturday night I was still on 225 mg, after cutting down slowly, and was already dizzy, shivering and blacking out from time to time. I figured that if I waited for this to wear off, then cut the dose by 25mg again, only to cop the same old same shit all over again, I would basically be incapacitated for months. I’ve got a full-time job, and part-time study commitments, so this simply isn’t feasible. So I took sick leave, went over to my boyfriend’s place where there’s air-conditioning and internet access and have just locked myself in the spare room, waiting it out. It’s the end of Day 4, and no puking yet, just one crying jag as a result of my frustration at the behaviour of some of my work colleagues – which is an ongoing issue and can’t be entirely reduced to withdrawal symptoms.

    No fights between me & the boyfriend, except when I laughed at him for ironing his underpants. Do other men do that? I never heard of such a thing. And it’s not like he’s a neatnik either.

    Just be grateful you’re not Bill Hicks – when he used to get up on stage and announce that he taken up smoking again, the crowd would go wild with applause. If he announced that he’d quit, they’d boo him.

    Take care – I’m in good hands here & it seems you are too. I’ll check out Keener’s site as well.

  3. Oh Ruth,
    Please do be careful. It could take a couple of days for the full withdrawal to kick in after a cold-turkey withdrawal. But I know the first time I went off Zoloft I didn’t have such a hard time, it was the second time…so I guess we’re all different and even individually different at different times. In any case, don’t hesitate to reinstate some of it if need be.

    I direct you to keener’s site (reach it by following the link above) and read one of her recent posts about Effexor withdrawal. I know most SSRI’s have the potential to cause radical mood shifts, though not usually quite as bad as Keener’s.

    Well, the smoking, yeah. It’s actually been a real nasty withdrawal so far…it really is exacerbating my PMS big time. I became a pathetic little puddle of insecurity and thus triggered a nasty fight between myself and my husband. But I’m sticking to it, even though I know like I said in the post this is not the most opportune time. It’s nice to have the blog to back me up. I don’t want to fail because my readers are out there watching me.

    And as for my last med cut, well…it’s going. I’m pretty moody. I’m cuttiing my mood stabilizer, but I’m on a real high dose and I really think the mood stuff is PMS and not the decreased Lamictal. But I’m also not sleeping well….and the chronic fatigue…well it’s just hellish. Even when I sleep I have it.

    Thanks for asking.

    Hang in there with your Zoloft withdrawal and be careful to monitor yourself!
    be well.

  4. Ugh, good luck. The cravings always come crawling back around exam time for me (I think of them as giant spiders), but after quitting ten years ago, I reckon that my taking up smoking was just a way of coping with all the meds I was on, so once I kicked the meds, I kicked the smokes with little difficulty.

    You say you’ve had another med reduction? How’s that going? I’ve actually gone cold turkey on the Zoloft which, although unpleasant, is no worse than the symptoms I was getting when I was cutting back slowly.

  5. Hey there Keener, good to see you in my neck of the woods.

    As far as nicotine replacement goes, I haven’t got a clue as to whether it depletes nutrients or not…what I do know is that the products don’t work for me. (I’ll do a search later on to see about nutrient absorption…I’m out the door right now)

    In any case the replacements–They just keep the nicotine addiction alive. It’s always been cold turkey for me–after failing several times on the patch and gum. I’ve been relatively successful (yes I do relapse eventually) when I cold turkey. Anyway, I went 3 years once which convinces me I can do it permanently. As they say in the 12 step programs…one day at a time.

    Good luck with your current and future withdrawals!

    I intend to come read the rest of your mental health odyssey soon.
    best wishes.

  6. Hey Gianna

    best of luck with quitting the smokes. As you know I am withdrawing from psychiatric meds and I am also a smoker (which I hate). You’ve captured what I feel about smoking down to a tee, I will surely look back on this as a reminder why to give up when I feel strong enough!

    However, I do chomp on nicotine gum intermittently – I
    wonder what you think about nicotine replacement products – do you think they’re just as bad in terms of the body’s ability to absorb and use nutrients?

    Once again, best of luck and thanks for sharing on your blog.

    (an allotment junkie)

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