Sunday, March 23, 2008

Update (DAY 20)

Hey folks. I thought I would update those of you who read this (I think that might just be you, Mom) about how quitting has been going for me so far and some of the things I have experienced.

It has been 20 days since the Nosmokeathon officially began, however I actually stopped smoking cigarettes a month or so earlier. So in total, it has been about seven weeks.

The first few days and even weeks were really tough. All I could think about was cigarettes and the thought of not smoking one for the next six months, let alone the rest of my life seemed completely crazy. I thought about smoking constantly because pretty much everything I did on a day-to-day basis involved having a cigarette. Waking up, going to sleep, eating, driving, all these things and many more, in a way, I think I associated with smoking.

I also got to experience some pretty annoying withdrawal symptoms and I am sure they were much more annoying for the people around me. In the first few weeks I was extremely irritable and anxious. The littlest thing would make me so frustrated or angry for no good reason at all. If I got mad at you during this time, I apologize, you probably didn’t deserve it. In addition, I would get very restless and not know what to do with myself. I would find myself wandering around my house with no real purpose.

Luckily, somewhere along the line since those first few weeks and now, things started to change. It was not something that just occurred over night, but looking back now, I can really notice a lot of differences in my moods and behaviors and just the way I feel. Of course, I still think about cigarettes, a lot, but it does not even compare to how it was. I can get in the car to go somewhere now, without my first thought being to light up. My brain no longer assumes there is a cigarette coming after a nice big meal. It is just good to know that I can do everyday things without needing to smoke. The withdrawal symptoms I was experiencing began to noticeably decrease as well. This is really good because I would not have any friends left if they didn’t. Every now and then I still get a little irritated or antsy but it is so much better.

One thing I really have had to be careful with is not replacing smoking with eating. It is really easy to just stuff your face when you are actually craving a cig. It has helped me to try to be conscious of myself doing this and when I do want to snack I am trying to have something healthy like grapes as opposed to candy or sweets. On the same topic, it would not be right if I didn’t give a little shout out to Trident Tropical Twist gum. Without a doubt the best gum on the market right now, this stuff is not only sugarless but it also has xylitol, which helps repair cavities. Does it get better? I don’t think so. This gum has been so helpful to me in quitting. Instead of having a cigarette, I pop in a piece of gum and I am good to go. I’ll take that trade off any day.

There are certain things or times that I find it extra hard to not have a smoke. For me, the hardest things are probably long driving trips and the few occasions when I am out drinking socially. Driving has always been something I have really enjoyed, however it was pretty much synonymous with smoking for me, especially longer trips. I would break up a drive by having a cig every half hour or so. I know it will get easier because I can do short trips no problem, but its still really hard right now. Going out to bars and drinking with friends is hard too. Cigarettes always complemented booze really nicely I thought and just the whole atmosphere at a bar, again kind of coincides with smoking cigarettes. But this is just another thing I have to get used to. Last week I played in a high stakes poker game for 5 ½ hours straight. It was super intense and nerve racking and 8 weeks ago, I would have been getting up from the table every hour to smoke. It was hard to see other players go out to smoke but the only times I got up were to go to the bathroom, so I was really proud of myself. I wound up winning a lot of money too, so maybe it had something to do with being smoke-free.

I want to end by telling you some of the really great things that have happened since I stopped smoking! I find that I have a lot more time now. I never thought about it before, but smoking 20 cigs a day at an average of 5 minutes is an hour and 40 minutes every day spent smoking (I think)! That is crazy. Instead of getting restless I try to find productive things to do instead like write on this blog. Not only am I saving time, but also a more obvious thing would be money. I don’t even want to think about the money I spent in cigs over 7 ½ years but I can definitely tell my pockets are fatter now. Smelling good is another nice perk to not smoking as well. I can already tell that my lungs are getting stronger and I don’t lose my breath too easily now when I’m at the gym or playing soccer. Overall, I just feel a lot healthier and that is a really good feeling.

A lot of people have been telling me about when they quit cigarettes and how they dealt with things, so I want to invite anyone who is so inclined, to make a comment to this post and share some of your stories and experiences about what you went through when you quit. I think it would be cool to see what experiences were similar and to hear about those that were different.

Finally, the pledges are still coming in! It’s great to have support like this and it is exciting to see how much money we can raise! Let’s keep it going strong.

Thanks for the love and support:
The Klein Family
Emily Berenback
Alisa Stephens


Jason said...

Keep up the great work buddy!

I check this everyday, so post more, it's not just your Mom.

I am really proud.


Jsfoxrk said...

Well, this is Matt's mom, I'm glad I'm not the only one who reads this blog! We're so proud of you Matt! And yes, you (and the whole house) do smell much better! Keep it up. Love, Mom