I started smoking when I was about 11. I am now 47. That’s 36 years of inhaling crud. I tried to quit smoking three times. One was out of necessity. I was broke and refused to take a cash advance on my Visa to smoke. Why I didn’t just charge them I don’t know. And, I won’t get into why I started back up after a month of not smoking. That was cold turkey. Not fun, to say the least.
Then I tried the Nicorette gum. Spit…gag…cough. That was the nastiest tasting stuff I have ever tasted. All you have to do is bite down on the gum, then stick it between your cheek and gum. Still, the taste was unforgettable and unforgivable. So much for that attempt.
Next came a smoking cessation class using the Nicoderm patch. Besides the fact that I would smoke before I put it on in the morning, then after I took it off before I went to bed, I had the most wicked dreams. Yes, I have spent way too much time around New Englanders. But, they were wicked. I cannot even begin to describe them. Suffice it to say each morning when I awoke, I said, “Oh, my God, what was that all about?” Seriously. I could not continue using the patch. The dreams were so weird, my sleep was not restful. I was always tired.
I tried drugs. Wellbutrin, which goes by Zyban as a quit-smoking aid. That was also through a smoking cessation class. This is where the ADD comes in. I don’t do well setting dates for stuff like this. In the quit smoking class I had to set a date. So, I did. It came and went. I set another date. It came and went. Though, I was cutting down. I wasn’t smoking at work or in my car. I didn’t even realize it for a long time. However, the facilitator in the smoking cessation class wasn’t satisfied with that. She said if I didn’t set a date and stop smoking on that date, she would not be able to support me. Well, ADDers don’t do well with threats either. I was so close! If she had just left me alone with my Zyban, I could have done it. But she wouldn’t. Without the Zyban my smoking increased to what it was before I started using it.
When I was diagnosed with ADD, my doctor put me on Ritalin and I requested to be put on Zyban, too, hoping that I would be able to quit without thinking about it. Just cut down until all of a sudden I wasn’t smoking. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same results as I did before. Was it because I was taking it with Ritalin? I don’t know. All I know is I kept on inhaling that crud.
My family finally quit nagging me to quit. I said I would quit when I was ready. A smoker has to quit for themselves, not for someone else. Otherwise it won’t stick. I had vivid memories of quitting cold turkey. I was not going through that again. I vividly remembered my failures with the patch and gum. Then came the Commit lozenge. Mint flavored. Yeah, right. Like the mint flavored Nicorette gum. I don’t think so. But, I hadn’t tried it, so how would I know?
I bought a box. It amazes me that all those quit smoking products are as expensive as cigarettes. As with all the other products, it says pick a date, throw out all your smoking paraphernalia, and anything that would remind you of smoking. You know I didn’t do any of those things.
So, there the box sat. Waiting to be opened. Me saying I will. I couple of years ago, I adopted a dog, Josie, to hang with my current dog, Jake. A few months later I had to put him down. I know that a dog’s sense of smell is more intense than mine. Hell, everyone’s sense of smell is more intense than mine. I’m sure Jake hated the smell. I sometimes thought about it but never did anything about it. I couldn’t do that with Josie. Oh, no. When I reached for or lit up a smoke, she would turn to me and glare. I kid you not. Her look said I know you’re not going to light that. I lit it. Over and over again. Each time, she would give me that look. I felt like crap each time.
She wore me down. I set a date. It came and went. I set another date. It came and went. Then one day I went to a dozen stores for various reasons. They all sold cigarettes. Each time, I reminded myself I needed to buy smokes. Each time, I forgot. Now, being ADD, I have a memory like a sieve. If I want to remember something, I have to write it down. But, smokes? Those were essential to life, right? I got home and realized I hadn’t bought any cigarettes. I had enough for the night. I decided that not buying smokes that day might have been serendipitous.
The next morning I miraculously found a full pack of cigarettes. Amazing what you can find when your house is a mess. I smoked those. When that pack was almost done, I found more. Then, when those were almost done, I looked around. Nothing. No more smokes lying around waiting to be inhaled. I did the math and knew I would be out of smokes by the time I went to bed. I talked myself out of going to the store twice. The last time I even had my purse and keys in my hand. I was ready to go. I did that self-talk experts talk about. You said you were going to quit. Maybe forgetting to buy more was your mind’s way of saying it’s time. My memories of withdrawal and the nasty taste of those other products were still very vivid. How was this Commit going to taste? I consoled myself with the thought that if they tasted that bad, I wouldn’t continue to use them.
The next morning I woke up and sadly looked around my mess hoping to find a stray cigarette. Nothing there. Sigh. I opened the box of Commit. Popped one in my mouth. Wow! It tasted like Certs. They were not exactly like Certs, but close enough that I didn’t spit it out. And, I continued to use them. Commit became my best friend. Where before I never left home without at least one pack of cigarettes, now I never left the house without my Commit. As with cigarettes, I checked to see that I had enough for my outing.
The instructions said suck on one every hour or two every day for x-amount of weeks. Then cut down to so many a day for x-amount of weeks, then cut down more until you get to week 12, at which point you are done. My ADD wouldn’t allow that. I popped one in my mouth when I wanted a cigarette. I did, however, make sure I didn’t use more than one lozenge an hour. I stayed home that first day. That day was all about me. I didn’t trust myself even driving buy a store that sold cigarettes. I continued to drink alcohol, even knowing that I smoked much more during those times. My reasoning was I had my Commit. The next day, my sister called to invite my to Denver. I wasn’t sure. Would I be able to handle being in stores that sold cigarettes? I’d try it. I had my Commit, and the first day wasn’t as bad as I had feared. It turned out to be a good day.
The day I quit, I also registered with Colorado’s co.quitnet.com. It’s a support website for those who want to quit. Members are everywhere around the world, not just in the U.S. or in Colorado. All are using different methods, some I have never heard of. Some are going cold turkey. More power to them! And there were so many of them. I never felt alone. They all said the same thing. It’s just getting past that first day. Taking that first step. One guy set a date more than a year out!
I haven’t logged in for quite awhile, but for the first two weeks or so, I received emails with quit tips. I got a congratulations email when I was quit for a month. Last week I got another one for two months quit.
I have since stopped using Commit. There is actually one left in the container. I briefly thought about buying more, just in case, but haven’t. I’m too cheap I guess. I’m working on month three. I still think about smoking. But I don’t want a cigarette. There is no craving.
I feel good. Unfortunately, not great. The tiredness I hoped was smoking-related is not. That first time I quit, I felt a lot better by the time I started smoking again. That time it was only a month. We’ll see what my doctor says this week. Although, I don’t feel a hundred percent physically, mentally I do. I am very proud of myself. Because of how hard it was to quit this time, I don’t see myself picking up the habit again any time soon. I especially noticed how much money I have. Twenty to thirty bucks a week adds up.
Of all the products I have tried, I would recommend Commit, though this article is not intended as an endorsement. If you want to quit, try it. Join a support group like co.quitnet.com. Experts say tell people. I tried that before, then feel like I’m letting them down when my date comes and goes. I decided this time to announce it after I quit. If you have trouble with setting dates, try it my way. Buy the product. You will see it sitting there calling for you. When it’s time, you will know.
People often worry about gaining weight. People often gain weight. Experts say keep healthy snacks around. I try to do that normally. What I found with Commit is that it seemed to take care of my oral fixation. The instructions said to just tuck in your cheek. I played with it, moving it around. It worked for me. The big thing is not to chew it or swallow it whole. It is absorbed through the mouth, not the stomach. I played with it until it was so small it broke apart, then kept it in my mouth until I had no choice but to swallow it. I did not gain weight. Actually, I’ve been losing it. In the beginning I slept better. Too bad that didn’t last.
I know many are reading this saying you are so full of it. That’s fine. It worked for me. I have been smoke-free for more than two months and counting. I admit my method is unusual. I didn’t follow the rules. I figure if it worked for me, maybe it will work for others. Good luck.