Some of you already know this, but on the 31st of December I quit smoking dreaded cigarettes! Take that, Dr. Nicotine!
Now, let me first say that I didn’t plan this nor did I think it through. I didn’t tell all my friends, I’m going to give up smoking… I just smoked my last cigarette that day, drove to Walmart and bought a box of nicotine patches (NicoDerm cQ) the strong ones, because I smoked more than 10 a day, whacked one on and hey presto – I wasn’t smoking anymore. And It was easy…
Or so I thought!
I wasn’t prepared for just how resourceful Dr. Nicotine could be… He didn’t care that I gave up smoking, no sir! Unbeknownst to me, his evil grip on my mind, my body – was still being fed … by the patches. His nicotine tendrils of evilness were entwined so deeply within my body, and to such a degree, I felt almost like a borg-drone! (Without the cybernetic implants and other Trek stuff – naturally.) Resistance is futile!
But I have got ahead of myself…
So, patch on! Things were good. I never slipped. It’s been 21 days since I smoked a cigarette, not long I know, but the longest I’ve been without one. The trouble was, my body was still being flooded with nicotine. 21mg over a 24hr period to be precise – Dr. Nicotine was basking in his now constant supply, until that is, four days ago, when battle between him and my inner superhero commenced. You see, I didn’t feel like I’d totally given it all up until I had got off the patches. So I stopped wearing them. I went to work, but nothing happened. I waited, and waited, and… nothing… I couldn’t believe it. I was expecting to feel something, but I didn’t. I went out and stood next to a friend who smoked, and didn’t feel anything. I was so elated. I came home from work, all excited, ate some dinner, sat in front of the TV feeling, let’s be honest, pretty damn good. Shortly thereafter – it happened. Dr. Nicotine suddenly awoke – he felt the weakness, the lack of new supply, his evil hold on me was diminishing – and he howled in rage.
Can I just tell you this. Giving up smoking was EASY, giving up patches is the hardest thing I’ve ever done!! It’s been 4 days since I stopped wearing them, and I’m still suffering with nasty withdrawal. Here’s a few things that Dr. Nicotine has thrown at me.
- Constant feeling of nausea – but only at night time, so I can’t sleep!
- Wind (gas) – Like minute long farts. What the hell, why?
- Dizziness. – Apparently, there’s more blood going to my brain now – but only at night?
- A recent small amount of hypertension
- A inability to … whatever it was I was about to write has just… gone.
These issues only manifested around 10 hours after I took the patch off. These are classic symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, and as I hadn’t come off nicotine, I hadn’t really experienced any major symptoms. Honestly, I haven’t had any issues at all – one or two days where I wanted a cigarette – and I mean WANTED ONE – but I overcame that with my iPod and a few hours worth of music on headphones. Music… best therapy ever!
I came up with the idea of finding my inner strength my superhero. (And who would be Christopher Abbott’s superhero? Well, it would be Sexy Underpants Man – because as my closest friends will tell you, I am fussy about my underwear, and yes it’s a long story, and no I’m not posting any pictures of me in my CKs). I thought it might be fun to try and capture that in picture (No! Get your mind out of the gutter!). My thinking was, my friends would understand the message I was trying establish, visually in a picture, about my recent struggle –
(Here is the picture)
– except, of course it didn’t seem to work out like that. The one thing I can tell you about your friends is, when you’re giving up smoking (which isn’t a small thing at all) – any superhero will tell you, a fight with your evil nemesis (Dr. Nicotine) hardly ever ends! You’re aware of it for every second of every day. Your friends, the ones you speak with, are also aware of it – because you don’t stop telling them about it, how well you’re doing, how you haven’t smoked in ex-number of days, hours, minutes. How you hadn’t even thought about a cigarette in like… seconds, and how it doesn’t dominate your thoughts, or conversation at all, in anyway, not at all… No… honestly!
Okay, so you get the picture. I drive past signs and see fictitious cigarettes EVERYWHERE! It’s like I’m being tortured and why? I mean, it’s not a great motivator to come back to you is it, Dr. Nicotine? Torturing me only makes me STRONGER!
I haven’t given in. And I won’t. I found my Kal-el, my Batman, my Spiderman, my Sexy Underpants Man! and in the same way Clark Kent has to carry Superman, Christopher Abbott has to carry his inner superhero too.
He’s the one who helps me to write, to overcome the trials and tribulations of life’s ups and fuck-ups (both self-generated and lovingly forced upon me by others), who helps me recover from illness – who bolsters my defence and will be there when I ultimate defeat the evil, the merciless, the snakelike Dr. Nicotine.
Thank you, Sexy Underpants Man.