Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Current System

If you're here to find a recipe or a story about my mishaps in the kitchen, this isn't the blog post for you to read.  Scroll down, the ones below (and potentially above it, at some point) are.  If you're here to find the truth in my head, this is the one to read.  Here is my reality at this very minute.

"The current system isn't working."

That's what I said last night.  Because it's true.

"Shit's gotta change."

That's what I said.  Because even though I majored in English and am a strict grammar and punctuation nerd, sometimes I speak in slang.

I'll back up now.  I quit smoking August.  I was resolute!  I was going to do this.  August has always been a genuine month of change for me.  It seems that all big things in my life happen in August.  I don't know why.  Change of season, maybe.  Summer to autumn.  I love autumn.  It's my favorite season.

I had all the support and desire and resources I needed.  I put on the nicotine patch and gave it my best.  And I did it.  Time got really slow.  REALLY. SLOW.  I munched on foods for no reason.  I was a bit irritable.  I paced.  I counted more than ever.  I had trouble with basic things - drinking my morning coffee, driving, talking on the phone, writing.  Everything was weird and different and uncomfortable.

But then it wasn't.  Things were becoming normal.  Normal without smoking.  I kind of settled into a healthy life.  In general, I eat healthy foods.  That came back - the munchies were gone.  I noticed I could run a little faster without feeling bad.  My internal counting went back to normal.  I didn't have the need to pace as much.  I was driving like a person, not a smoker.  Talking on the phone became an indoor activity.  My morning coffee was delicious and didn't take as long to drink.

And, best of all, I could write.

Sometime around November, I got uncomfortable.  I can't really explain it.  Life's twists and turns got to me.  I found myself pacing the floor again.  Back and forth, counting the steps I took.  And then the thought to smoke.  I don't know where it came from.  I warded it off.  I didn't want to.  I mean, I've come so far.  It's been so long.

I went for a run.  I didn't feel any better.

I went to the store and bought some candy.  Better.  Not great.

Screw it.  Back to the store for cigarettes.

That first one, I'm not going to lie, felt like standing on top of the world's most beautiful mountain in the sunshine.  Suddenly, nothing mattered.

That's the lie drugs tell you.  And I believed the lie.

I don't need to go into anymore detail, you know what happened next.

It's frightening to think that with all the knowledge in the world about why and how and what can happen, someone can continue behavior in spite of it all.  Denial is amazing.

Over the last few months, I have become a smoker again.  It happened so fast.  Everything is the way it was before I quit.  Except this time, I feel like shit.

First, since my lungs recently experienced what fresh air really is, they are mad at me.  I can feel it.  I don't know if that is real or in my head.  And morning coffee takes so long.  And my diet is kinda crap.  I've been eating foods I know aren't healthy and not caring.  I have no motivation to get up and exercise, when before I really enjoyed it.

All this in just a few months time.

Oh, then there's the negative self-talk that comes with failure. That's fun.

End of story: nicotine is a drug, kids.  A bad, bad, bad, bad, bad drug.

But we already knew that.

So what now?  How do get back to where I was just a few short months ago?  I feel so hopeless.

The current system isn't working and shit's gotta change.

That's where the accountability phone call came in last night.  Friends who support you are a beautiful and priceless thing.  I'm so grateful.

Starting tomorrow, shit's gonna change.  Tonight, I'm throwing away all the candy in my house.  I'm breaking all my remaining cigarettes in half and putting them in the trash can.  Tomorrow morning, I'm going to put on the patch and begin a new day.  And take my workout clothes to work with me so I can go after work and start my running 3-5 times a week again.

If there is a change that needs to be done, I'm the one responsible for making it happen.  No one can do if for me and there's no magic that's going to just make it happen without any effort.  I know that time is going to slow down again.  That's okay.  I know that my morning coffee is going to be uncomfortable and driving is going to be weird.  I might pace.  I might count.  I might not know how to hold a pen in my right hand without a cigarette in my left.

But the end result of it is going to be better.  I know I'm going to feel better and look better and act better.  So here's to tomorrow.  To restarting.  To taking back my life.

Anyone else quitting smoking?  Please share your experiences.  If you already have quit, again, please share your experiences.  We all need encouragement.



This is a graphic that I looked at multiple times a day when I quit last time.  I'm going to look at it over and over again this time, too.  It gives me hope.


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