Wednesday, April 25, 2007


I woke up at 07:32 this morning. Got up, had a piss, said hi to the family, realised that this was me under advisement and, as me never gets up at 07:32, promptly returned to bed for what seemed like a wonderfully long and nicotine craving free doze. Oh...eight...fucking...thirty...four. Well, sod it. It's 09:14 and two coffees later now. And maybe I'm a little the wiser and perhaps just a shade alarmed.

I remember much of yesterday being taken up with the thought of just what non-smokers do to pass the time. I mean, they must do something, right? Compulsive nose-picking? Arse scratching? Nobody can possibly be content with, doing fucking nothing...can they?

Anyway, I began to wonder just what it was I had done when I didn't smoke and well...just what is it that 14 year old boys do? So what then did I use to do when I didn't smoke so much? The only thing I could come up with here was, "I had classes". Either that or I'd run out of money. No...more accurately, that should read, "we'd run out"...smoking was very much a collective endeavour in those days. Me...Stephen Feather...John Harrison...names which, even today, have as a major part of their associations for me, the red and gold of a packet of Gold Leaf (Virginia) cigarettes.

And so, my dear, you might say I've had Virginia in my blood for quite some time.

And, in the balance, my age of innocence + 3 days weighed against just how many pounds of tobacco product? There's no fucking wonder I don't know what to do with myself.

And yet, 3 days in and I guess I'm surprised. Not at how easy it seems, no. But maybe at the fact that right now, it doesn't seem as impossible as I'd thought.

I haven't lost control. I have remained, reasonably, equable.
I haven't had any headaches, yet.
I can still sleep and even nap.
And I have the distinct feeling that, "Aye. I am driving this fucking bus." which is pretty neat.

Okay, there is a restlessness and yes, I do have to get up from time to time and go unscrew the cap off a bottle of mineral water and yes, there is a sense that something is missing and yes, there is a general...craving.

But I am surprised at the non-specific nature of this craving. I have no conception whatsoever that it will only be satisfied and assuaged by an inhalation of tobacco smoke. I guess my brain has registered the sudden lack of direct nicotine hit but the signals it is sending tell me only of a need...maybe I could shut them up with chocolate...or one of those yummy pizzas.

I can see how people associate stopping smoking with weight gain...give in to these, well...what can I call them? Substitutes? Anyway, give into them and I will be a blob and I'm not going back there again. No, my dear. Not there.

And why is it that I am mostly underwhelmed at the size and difficulty of the challenge so far? Well, it might well be true that the worst is indeed to come and what I have felt up to now are just the preliminary skirmishes of a much greater battle. Yes, it could be. But I doubt it.

I started working out again after much longer than I care to remember. I cut out all the crap from my diet and, as a result of both, have lost a stone and a half in five weeks. These two things alone constitute something of a minor miracle so why should stopping smoking be any the harder? In all of this there has been a focus and a sure knowledge that I am not now and never will be, alone. Thank you.

And now...well, I’ve given my body long enough to adjust to this new reality. I’m going to pump some fucking iron.


Roger B. said...

When I stopped smoking, I got through a hell of a lot of chewing gum: at first the nicotine loaded variety, then the extra strong peppermint stuff.

The biggest problem I faced was the inability to concentrate without a hit of nicotine. In time I got over it, but I still can't do The Guardian cryptic crossword as quickly as I could before I quit smoking. Still, that's a small price to pay for not having my extremities amputated.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Yup...not now, nor ever alone. We started this and will stick it out.

and, I either want a cigarette or a big ass bar of chocolate.

I'm going with asparagus instead.

Anonymous said...

And, by the wrote:

"well...just what is it that 14 year old boys do?"

Ermm...I thought it involved your right hand an all?

I guess I could be wrong.

simon said...

At 14, m' involved just about everything.