Well hey there, everyone! Wha–what are you guys doing here? This is so crazy! Oh man! Since you’re all here, you might as well sit for a spell and we’ll catch up. How’s that sound? Okay!

I have exciting news: BUCKLE THE FUCK UP. 

I quit smoking. Or I should say, I’m in the extremely painful process of quitting. I’ve never given birth, I’ve stepped on plenty of Legos in my day, stabbed myself in the eyeball with the mascara wand, and dropped a stainless steel napkin ring on my big toe–shut up, that thing freaking HURT–and I’ve gotten divorced and my heart broken several times in my nearly thirty-two years, but let me tell you something, Jack–quitting smoking is the most difficult and painful thing I’ve ever done. I”m not even exaggerating one tiny bit. It really is. But as of today, Thursday, April 11, two thousand thirteen, the year of Our Lord, I have not had a cigarette since Sunday, March 31st.

I know I’ve played this game before, saying I’d quit smoking and do for a day or two, maybe even three, and then face-plant into a field of sweet, sweet tobacco, as I mentioned here…and here…and here…and remember this time? What about this one? Don’t forget this classic! 

Holy moly…when I announced…again…that I was quitting…again…a friend was all “yeah, okay, you do that” and I was all “whoa dude, slow your attitude!” and then looking back and seeing that I’ve written about quitting smoking seven times in the last two years, well, his skepticism is well-founded and I apologize I got defensive because great Scott, that’s ridiculous. I didn’t realize I’ve been crying wolf for two years. That makes me feel dumb.

You know what else makes me feel dumb? Let me tell you what makes me feel dumb: my quit method has been using a nicotine patch, and it’s been pretty good so far. It itches me a bit when its first applied, but then it’s all good. And actually, I’m half-convinced that this thing is just a sticky piece of plastic I’ve been placing on various spots on my person like a moron and it has no nicotine in it at all. Also, I’m a fan of irony. I’ll elaborate in a moment. No, but seriously, I forgot to put the patch on Tuesday morning before work because I was running a skosh behind and was fine. The only time I thought about not having it on was when I would go to the bathroom (I started putting it on my upper thigh), and going “oh yeah, I forgot to wear the patch today,” and I’d shrug my shoulders and go about my merry way. Wednesday was okay too, until I was driving home from an outreach clinic and was in the car alone for two and a half hours and I got bored and pretty certain I ate ten Dum-Dum’s suckers that trip. Those have been my CRTs–Cigarette Replacement Therapy. I purchased a giant 300 count bag at my local chain retail/grocery store and have been keeping a small make-up bag full of them by my side ever since.

And then there’s today. Today was a little rough. It started out when a co-worker mentioned she just needed to smoke to calm her nerves down and I was all “oh yeah…that’s the ticket. A nice, soothing cigarette…” and then it was all downhill from there. I was making myself more consciously aware I didn’t have a patch on and that I’ve gone x amount of days without smoking and my Dum-Dum stash was depleted in my car, so I didn’t have any for my car ride home and by the time I had pulled into the parking lot of the apartment complex, I was fighting with myself on whether or not I should go to the gas station and get a pack of smokes.

You’ve done so well so far! One cigarette won’t hurt you. You can smoke one and then get rid of the rest…or just keep them hidden in your glove compartment for when the urge strikes again…”

“Don’t be stupid, Erin Elizabeth. You know that if you go buy a pack and smoke one, you’ll hate yourself before, during, and afterwards, so save yourself the six bucks and go home. Besides, you’ve done this already and that’s how you ended up failing at quitting the other seven times. Go home.” 

“It’s ONE cigarette, Erin. One. You can have one and be done. Go get ’em. Go get ’em! You’ve been stressed out lately! A small reward for keeping your shit together won’t hurt. Just go get the pack. And you’re human. You’re going to fail and falter and the idea is to recognize this one slip-up and not doom yourself to failing forever.”

By then, that last thought I had, I had successfully convinced myself that I should go buy a pack and I drove down the road to the gas station and had pulled up front and then just sat in my car.

What are you doing? Really? Go home, dumbass. You know you’re going to regret every single bit of this, so just put the car in reverse and drive away. Go.”

And with tears welling up in my eyes because as crazy as the above encounter with myself sounds, it is all true and I drove out of the gas station and went back home, where I should add, I came inside the apartment and promptly ate a piece of leftover fried chicken and some tortilla chips and hummus and now I”m on my like, 8th Dum-Dum. (Addendum: please add to this list a bowl of spaghetti, garlic bread, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and four more Dum-Dum’s. IF I CAN’T SMOKE, I’M GOING TO EAT.)

Now for the irony, as I didn’t forget about it, because I do so love recognizing the ironic moments in my life.

First of all, I feel like a giant douche and I’ll tell you why. I was lamenting to Jamie the other day that I’m you know, super sorry for the bitch attitude and whatnot, it’s withdrawal and blah blah blah and boy, I’m sure tired and achy and this sounds dumb, but the arm I’m wearing the patch on is tingly and weird feeling and is that weird? I think that’s weird. Jamie, bless her heart, was understanding and “nah man, it’s cool,” but I had the realization that no, no complaining about this shit isn’t cool. I’m the dumbshit who started smoking in the first place, knowing full well the hazards are doing such, and I have the audacity to complain about ultimately making myself not die so soon? Am I freaking kidding?

Ugh, quitting smoking sucks so much. I’m saving so much money a month and I will be able to breathe and not gasp for air after climbing a short flight of stairs and I probably won’t die a horrible death from lung cancer, it’ll probably be some other equally awful cancer, but it won’t be lung cancer because I quit that shit and waa waa waa, this is awful and feel sorry for me for going through withdrawal symptoms. Waaaaa. 

Sorry, that’s just so ridiculous to me. Another thing is “if I quit smoking, I’ll gain weight!”

Isn’t that also dumb? Oh no! I’d rather fill my lungs with tar and arsenic than gain five pounds! News flash, pumpkin: I’m fat already, so what’s getting a little fatter going to do to me? You read what I’ve eaten today. I get that urge to smoke, can’t have it and want to satisfy that oral fixation thing I’ve got going, so I do that with food. My next step is to try to not do that. Eating the entire contents of the kitchen, that is. I need to start incorporating exercising or going for walks and whatnot into this thing I’m doing since I have more free time when I have free time because I’m not wasting my free time smoking my free time away. Free time!

I have noticed this, though: when I’ve been around smokers, I have found I’m turning into one of those annoying non-smokers that us smokers used to mock as they walked by us cool smoking kids. You know, the ones that shoot us judgmental glares and some even wave their hand in front of their face in an effort to waft the smoke away. I’m totally one of those guys now. Not as cocknob-y, but when around smokers now, I’m taken aback by how smelly and smokey it is. Being a smoker, I never thought about it, but now that I’m not, I find it hard to be around smoke and even caught myself thinking “stupid smokers, mucking up my clean air!” the other night when outside with friends at a restaurant. WHO AM I AND WHAT HAVE I BECOME? I’m not going to be a total jerk about it though, and make some rude comment to the smokers because again, been there and done that, but until I feel I definitely kicked the habit, I’ve been trying to limit my interactions with places that allow smoking in patio areas. I hate doing it but it’s just too great of a temptation right now

I will admit it is pretty nice not having my beautiful, luscious locks stink of smoke anymore. That’s actually pretty nice. And is this me making stuff up, but I swear to you my hair seems softer and just better looking in general after I’ve quit. I think I’m making that up, but it’s true! My hair is phenomenal now! Also cool not having my fingers not smell of smoke, too. And I had my car cleaned the day I quit and that thing got vacuumed and wiped out and it doesn’t smell anymore, either! That’s actually been pretty helpful in not smoking in my car. Before, I didn’t really care and there was ash everywhere and a few spent cigarette butts in the backseat which is so gross to think about. I’m a mess.

All in all, I’m impressed I’ve made it this long without smoking. I’ve stopped thinking of it in terms of “I haven’t smoked in thirty-six hours” and am looking at it more from the “I haven’t smoked in twelve days” and hopefully, I’ll be able to say “I haven’t smoked in four months” eventually. Baby steps.

Thanks for sticking with me, for believing I can do this, and for putting up with my moods, everyone.

As always, thanks for reading.