Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cessation Sensations

So I've been a little loathe to discuss this, 'cause some things I just don't like posting in public places...particularly things that bring me shame. But it's something that support will help me get through, so perhaps opening up about it here will be a good thing.

I have been a cigarette smoker since 1999. After several half-hearted attempts at quitting, I managed to stop for two years, from 2007-2009. But then elements of my personal life started to collapse, and my resolve to stay cigarette-free collapsed with them. I started up again and have been happily puffing my health and youth and life away ever since.

cigarette warning
I found this on the ground about three months ago and took a pic...took me this long to actually listen to what it said.

Until Sunday. At 5:40 a.m. on September 25th, 2011, I smoked what has so far (one day at a time) been my last cigarette.

I've found that quitting this time has been surprisingly easier than it was the last time, though that's not to say that it's been EASY. Withdrawal from any addictive substance is never a party, and it's been interesting cataloging the ways in which I've been affected. The first three days were all about the physical symptoms: my heart was beating harder, my whole body was tense, I felt like the veins in my neck were going to bulge and pop out, and I was itchy and twitchy to the point that I just wanted to tear my skin off.

Tasty, right? And this is something I LOVED doing...sheesh. And while the physical symptoms have subsided some in the past 24 hours, the emotional symptoms are just beginning. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but I'm determined. And here's why.

Nicotine is as addictive as heroin. Nicotine will get you to spend $12 on a pack (thanks, NYC) and justify it in your mind when you chose that pack over a couple of days worth of meals. Nicotine will tell you that it's OK to run late for work so you can stop and buy a pack. Nicotine will tell you that feeling good for the five minutes you're smoking is worth the smell, the cost, the social rejection (strangely smokers aren't as cool as we used to be), the risks of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, emphysema, wrinkles/premature aging, and all the other horrors brought on by those little white toxin-filled sticks. Nicotine will convince a singer that she's not hurting her voice by smoking.

Nicotine is that little brat who said he was your friend in high school but was actually talkin' smack about you behind your back the whole time. No more, dang it!

I've had a couple of band rehearsals since I quit, and I gotta say, even just in this first week, there is a MARKED improvement in my voice. Subway stairs are not as daunting. My skin looks and feels better. And I just feel better about myself, knowing I'm finally taking control over something that has controlled me for 12 years.

So yeah...if you run into me and I'm a little edgy, please don't take it personally. I'll level off and be back to normal soon enough. :) 'Til then, thanks for supporting me and my music and giving me yet another reason to leave my bad habits behind!

All my love,

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