Alrighty. Well here I am and to be perfectly honest, I have never felt so freaking fantastic in all my life. I would like to share with you three aspects/developments in my journey to quit smoking: (1) Wellbutrin and me to this day; (2) Actually quitting; (3) The need for community when quitting.
(1) Wellbutrin. Today marks 2 weeks, 3 days using Wellbutrin. The first two weeks were rather rough and tough but I trucked on through it. Some of the biggest problems I encountered were: restlessness, 3 days of insomnia, one bout of marked depression leading to suicidal thoughts (not actions, and don’t worry, this has been dealt with), increased cyclical response in my bipolar disorder, flu shivers and finally, an overall lax and easygoing demeanor. While Wellbutrin does not turn off the need and desire to quit, many people opt to also use the patch in conjunction with the med. I do not. What Wellbutrin does is help minimize the cravings–which it has done very well. The withdrawals however, remain: My hoarse voice, my coughing, my headaches, my tummy aches, my overall ill feeling. Interesting. So, what I am dealing with now are the waves of withdrawals that occur about every 3 hours throughout the day.
The withdrawal is like a wave of emotion that careens into my daily routine, stopping me dead in my tracks as I look it in the face and fight to remain sober. It is indeed a battle. But interestingly, the easiest and best means for me staying sober is keeping cigarettes as far away from me as possible, that and community–which I will get to in a moment.
(2) Quitting. Today is also day 3 without cigarettes. The first two days were, how can I put this succinctly… SHIT! Absolutely. HAHA. I was irritable, pissed, and the above mentioned withdrawal symptoms. As one person put it–quitting is hard, smoking will kill you–choose one. I am done and tired of justifying my habit and allowing my essence to be guided by a drug–a company that thrives on my inability to think for myself. In all, Wellbutrin is a working for me and I know this because I have quit cold turkey before and this is certainly an easier feeling than those times. As for filling my prescription for month 2 and 3 remains to be known. I may opt out at month 3 and take the reigns by myself.
I nearly forgot. I have become a big, huge bag of emotions. And for that I apologize to my friends who have dealt with my random dramatic spurts and unsuspecting tears that simply start for no apparent reason.
Another key to quitting has been establishing BRAND NEW routines. When I wake up (which has been bumped up to 6am now) I immediately head to the gym t work out hard core. I work out hard and enjoy it. While I am working out I think about not smoking, about the reasons why I am quitting and genuinely reflect on how I am feeling about quitting. When I am done I come home and then walk my dog for an additional 30 minutes–jogging most of that route time. This has really helped to jump start my mornings. Other recent changes in my life that are noteworthy as intersecting my decision to quit smoking: 1.5 months vegan and remaining so, coffee cut to one cup a week, water increased 10 fold, no oils for cooking or consuming, no refined foods. This is me time I suppose.
(3) Community. Much of my work has dealt with the need for community and community building. Every other time that I tried to quit in the past I was without a community–a full support network of others who has gone through what I am going through. It was always me by myself, occasionally with a friend or two who went along for the ride as well. However, we would always become each others justification for slipping on one smoke–after all, one smoke couldn’t hurt anything… WRONG. One cigarette always turns into one pack 24 hours later. That said, I’ve had to separate myself from my smoking friends until I feel that I am in a safe space where I can trust myself around cigarettes. In making this decision, I was in need of support (don’t get me wrong, my friends–smoker or non–are the greatest support indeed) that could catch me when I was falling and life me up when I was in need of a pick me up–I found it!
An ex-smoker friend of mine recommended I check out quitnet.com. I did and I fell in love at first sight. This is a wide-ranging community of smokers and non-smokers and many others including health professionals who are there to simply help one another quit smoking. Within this community are clubs and forums to which I immediately found clubs that I felt comfortable in including: Gay Quitters, Bipolar Quitters, College Student Quitters, and a few others. What I find astounding is the number and types of groups–reaching out to every walk of life. A community exists for everybody. The club that I am closest to is the Gay Quitters Club (GQ). In GQ there is a daily pledge to not smoke where a person lends a hand in support to which you lend your to another. This has become one of the greatest connections I’ve ever had when trying to quit and being as emotional as I have become, I tear up just thinking about the unconditional love and support these communities offer me in my journey to quit and to stay quit.
Today is Day 3 for me and the GQ formally announced my 3 day anniversary to which hordes of members reached out to congratulate me in my achievement. After only 3 days! And now, I want to move forward–I want my 1 week, my 1 month, my 1 year, MY LIFE TIME!
I cannot say for certain that this is the final time quitting for me, but I can say that I am giving my absolute 100% to quitting this time! I want nothing more at this point in my life than to be a recovering smoker. For those of you who smoke, you will quit only when you are ready. For those of you who do not smoke, understand that premise–a smoker cannot/will not quit smoking until he/she/zie is ready to quit. That is the truth–and now is my time. I am ready to quit smoking.
Peace to you all, my siblings
Day 3 (GQD3)