Today, I try again, for the fourth time, to quit smoking. I could talk for a while about the circumstances of my other attempts failing, but in the end I can only blame myself for those failures. In one case, I stopped smoking for an entire year and relapsed, so I know that I can do the stopping thing with some level of confidence. This time, I am using Chantix, a pretty new drug from Phizer. It blocks the receptors that nicotine stimulates to create dopamine, and in turn produces some replacement dopamine of it’s own. I have been taking it for eight days now, and with this method of quitting, you smoke for the first week. Meanwhile the Chantix is making the nicotine absorbtion go down more every day. So in a sense, you are dealing with the physical side of the addiction while you are still smoking. After taking it for a week, you stop smoking, and today is that day for me. Yesterday, my smokes tasted awful and offered none of the satisfaction they used to, which means the Chantix is working.
As I have tried quitting before, I have some experience with the patch and Zyban to compare this to. Chantix seems to make dealing with the physical part of the addiction a non-issue. The first day without smokes is always tough, and today has been no exception, but in a sense it’s easy because, despite the discomfort, you are very focused on the fact that you are quitting, at least I am. I am using some visualization to help myself too, something that I must have picked up somewhere, but don’t remember reading about. I also feel like I am set up better to quit now than I have ever been. Alcohol should be a non-issue, and I live with a lovely non-smoking, stable woman who has promised to be supportive.
My reasons for quitting are myriad. In the end, I want to live. I care some about the three dollars and fifty cents a day I was spending on cigarettes, but I’m far more interested in tasting my food. It’s scary getting ready to quit and stepping off that ledge like I did last night, but the payoff, while not immediate in some cases, is totally worth it. In summary, I am not looking forward to the challenges of the next six weeks of mental wrestling, but I am prepared to deal with them and I will. You can’t stop me, you can only hope to contain me.