Slow Emergence

So I have a big confession to make: I quit smoking on New Years Day.
It’s been a week, a busy week to be sure.
Getting up the nerve to quit was a very difficult thing to do, because I enjoyed smoking so much. I was addicted to the act of smoking more than I was to the nicotine. I pretty much proved this by quitting cold turkey with a pack of nicotine gum in my pocket – I never used it, but it was there in case the nicotine withdrawals got in my way at work or something. The physiological effects that nicotine withdrawal had on me were extreme exhaustion and lethargy. It was like coming down from a 20-year stimulant high, or emerging from a pool of slow-setting epoxy. So of course, I chose this time to move into the new house – in between fugue bouts of narcolepsy, that is.
I figured I could distract myself by keeping busy packing and moving boxes, and it worked very well for the most part. I explained to Nam ahead of time that I might be irritable or go kind of crazy about little things (more so than usual, that is, so we were prepared when that stuff inevitably happened. I experienced an out-of-body rage when I found that a stone lantern I had stored at my housing developer’s office had been broken. I used to experience this level of rage all the time: When it happens, I can actually see myself going berserk and feel regret for what’s about to happen, but usually do not bother trying to stop myself. So anyway, I completely lost it when I saw a stone leg had been broken off and proceeded to smash the lantern into little tiny bits on the concrete outside the office as the secretaries inside looked on in horror. Rage issues, man. I proceeded back home where I sat down on a new couch and immediately fell asleep.
But, you know, other than that, it’s been easier than I thought it would be. I guess it all comes down to having a good reason to quit. I mean, you would figure that decreasing your chances of DYING EARLY would be a really stupendous reason to quit, but it just is not for most smokers. There usually has to be a more immediate motivation. For me, it is the baby. I knew this was coming from five months ago. I knew the baby was coming, I knew we were moving to a new house. I promised Nam I would quit before we moved, and New Years came up at around just the same time, so…
It’s kind of strange. I thought I would have to swear off coffee and alcohol for a while, but I’ve had both this week and they didn’t affect my cravings that much… I think everything’s OK as long as I’m within proximity of Nam and the baby. As long as I avoid solo trips to pool halls, strip clubs, and crack dens for a while, I think everything may turn out just fine.

7 thoughts on “Slow Emergence”

  1. Cool. I think your description of the enjoyment of the smoking ritual is exactly what I missed, too, when I stopped smoking after returning from Japan. That was a million years ago, but I remember that it surprised me not to have physical withdrawal symptoms, too. Great job, daddy-o!

  2. Very good decision! 🙂
    My partner also quit smoking just before Yannick was born and has never looked back. I’m really glad that all that horrible smell has gone, even though it didn’t irritate me too much then. Nowadays when I smell a cigarette anywhere close I just think “keep this away from my baby!!!!” and rush by as quickly as possible.

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