Starving the caveman….

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had quit smoking. It was a bit of a “bugger of a journey” but I managed it.

… For two months. Then I started smoking again.

I have no excuses, just reasons. Basically I had a big “stress event” and subsequently cracked open a pack of cigarettes that I had left over after quitting.

I knew that I was being reckless and I thought that I would stop after that packet. Guess what? I was wrong.

The addiction and compulsion kicked in scarily fast. Before I knew it I had finished the packet and bought some baccy. Then some more. The daily amount that I smoked ramped up quickly and I have ended up smoking a metric shit-ton of rollups per day.

What an idiot!

It’s taken me a while but something has clicked in my head and I’m going to have to try to quit

..again.
I was happy that my doctor allowed me to retry the course of anti-smoking pills. They are the only method that helped me to quit. I have already started them and set my quit date.

And so to the point of this post.

This will be the start of a sort of diary. I will be putting down what it’s like during the quitting process. Chances are it’ll be me moaning a lot about how it sucks but it might be interesting (and possibly helpful) to some who read it. I also expect some freaky weird dreams too (although if they are too freaky I may edit!)

I’m also hoping that it’ll help me too.
Why have I titled it “starving the caveman”?

It is because the pill apparently targets the “primitive” part of the brain – the “older” bit that used to (and does) deal with the more basic stuff and survival needs. And base urges.  That is opposed to the frontal lobe (or something) which deals more with logic and rational thinking.

… Basically the primitive part of the brain can be very persuasive and it’s demands of “I want” can drown out the “but it’s not good for you” response from the logical part of the brain.

I’m pretty sure that description isn’t technically accurate but it’s good enough for me.

The “caveman” is a persona that I have imagined to represent those “primitive” urges. In my mind he is tall, lanky, and brutish. He also carries a tree branch club. This persona will represent the “primitive” part of the brain and help me to visualise (and hopefully “conquer”) the feelings of withdrawal. Basically he is my addiction and my compulsion personified. The caveman is the bits of the brain that want the nicotine and as I stop smoking ill be starving the caveman of what he wants.

Dunno how twisted that logic is but it works for me.

My quit date is in a couple of days (although I could have up to 7 more days to quit) and I’m already trying to cut down to lessen the impact of cold turkey.

Fingers crossed!

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Work

Well now. 

I’m on my lunch break and in a totally different county. Sounds impressive until you realise that the county border is only 40 odd miles from the city where I live. 

I’m munching my sandwiches and feeling a bit introspective. I love (most parts) of my job and it’s something that I am relatively good at but….. 

I want more out of life. 
That was written middle of last week. Again I’m on a break (in “my own” county this time) and I still want more out of life. 

It seems selfish when I read that back to myself. I mean I have a job and a very beautiful and intelligent wife. I am able to just about live debt free (utility bills and living expenses don’t count). So why do I want more?

I want to improve the lifestyle for my wife and myself. I want to spend more time with her. I also want to “get somewhere” in employment. I realise now that although my job is pretty cool (mostly – there are some horrible bits to it), I cannot progress. There is no career ladder. 

So I’m looking ahead. I’m on the cusp of becoming a businessman. 
For me this is easier said than done. I have always been a “worker”. Kept my head down and got on with the job, and stuck in a workers mindset. It’s only recently that I have thought that I could become self employed. That thought has been snowballing and the fact that my beautiful alien is business minded gives me more confidence. 
Hopefully this will come to something.

******

Other news: fallen off the damn waggon and have started smoking again. Buggeration! Still hate the idea of being an addict and am *trying* to curb it. I’m trying to keep in mind that I managed to give up for over a month (a record since only managed a day last time I tried to quit). Granted, I was on anti-smoking pills but that’s not the point, dammit. 

I don’t want to but if needs be ill go on the buggers again. 

 Smoking…

This is more of a personal rant. A very personal rant.

Hands up how many readers think I’m going to complain about smokers

Nope.

It’s my (dramatic cliché —> ) constant battle to damn well  Stop. 

Seriously, it’s starting to really piss me off.

a bit of background… it all started when I was about 14 or 15 years old. I was a fat bastard in those days – 15 stone. 40+ inch waist. I literally couldn’t see my feet (yup, I was the precursor for childhood obesity before it became trendy in the UK). I used to be very moral about smoking. It was “against the rules” and a very silly thing to do. I did hang around the smokers at school at break time, simply because it made me feel vaguely popular. More so since I was usually the lookout for roaming teachers who always tried to catch the smokers. I never succumbed to peer pressure then, nor did I have any inclination to smoke.

But then, later….. My neighbour, an 18 year old guy, thought that it would be fun to help me lose weight by running so he suggested that we go jogging around some local woodland (ha! Sounds creepy doesn’t it? Different times!).

Predictably I was pretty screwed after 5 mins of jogging. As I sat on a tree stump, doubled over and wheezing like a set of rotten bellows, my neighbour offered me a cigarette.

“it will help you breath better”, he said.

I’m pretty sure that I was so screwed by the jogging attempt that I didn’t know if it was the “exercise” or the cigarette that made me feel sick. Either way I think that my condition freaked him out enough for him to call it a day.

Later the next day I was round said neighbours – he had his mates round and inevitably the fags were passed around. I remember that I was lying on the floor watching TV when my neighbour said “give one to him, he smokes now”.

Oh god.

I really didn’t want one. It was the first ever time I totally caved into peer pressure. The first puff made me feel sick and light headed. I desperately tried to smoke without inhaling, to hold the cigarette point-down so it would burn faster, and to take as little puffs as possible before I could politely stub it out.

In retrospect I think that my neighbour was a cruel bastard and he thought that it was funny to watch a kid get sick from smoking.

Anyway…. that was the start. From then on I went from occasionally blagging a fag from my school mates, to buying my first pack. For years I was a kind of “part time” smoker. I would make a pack last for ages and I would only lightly inhale.

Fast forward 30 odd years and I had turned into an addict and a very heavy smoker.

What really annoys me is that not only am I trying to deal with the physical addiction, I also seem to have trouble breaking the routine. “ill just have a quick smoke” seems to be so ingrained in my lifestyle that its really really hard to cut out. It annoys me more that I know this and yet I cannot say “bugger this, I don’t need it” and stop totally.

One positive thing though….

for some reason that I’m yet to fathom, I decided to try to quit (again!) at the start of this year. This time I admitted that “I have a problem” (almost 50g of baccy per week!) and enrolled in the NHS stop smoking thing. Had a chat with the advisor and we decided to roll out the big guns and put me on “champix” – the pill that apparently dulls the brain form screaming for nicotine.

It did work rather well and although my mind was in a weird place while I was on the pills (cold turkey plus the inherent effects of the pills), I managed to stick with the programme and fight the addiction. After a month and a bit I has myself a sneaky puff and… yeuck! Tasted horrible!

Eventually the pills ran out.

…the addiction and/or routine has started to creep back.

Now, this is not an excuse, more of a reason: recently I have been through some very stressful life-events (more * drama * ) and I went from the very occasional couple of puffs to full-on smoking like there is no tomorrow. All but two “stress events” have passed and been dealt with and now I’m finding myself in difficulties trying to say no to my urges.

Gonna have to try to pull out the stops this coming week and put a brake on the smoky thing.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I woke this morning and had a sneaky cigarette. I hated it and it pissed me off., made me grumpy at myself…. then I remembered this blog and thought that id have a rant.

Bah!