Giving Up Nicotine

Image credit: Ferran Jorda/

It’s day four and I admit it’s more of a struggle than I expected.  I am armed with nicotine patches and am determined to stop smoking… again.  I started up again two years ago when the earthquakes were at their worst, but it’s time to stop… again.

I was a late starter when it came to smoking.  As a child I loved the smell of my grandfather’s pipe and was fascinated by all he did to prepare and then smoke it.  But that was it.  As a teenager I had no desire to try a cigarette (probably because my first boyfriend smoked) and it wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I took up the habit.

Why?  The straw the broken the camel’s back was my husband of the time, trying to prohibit a dear friend of mine coming to our home while he was at work.  His objection to her was that she was gay and she was a smoker.  I’m still not sure what offended him most, or what he thought might happen if she was in our house with me.  But I decided then that I no longer wanted to be seen as a ‘good Christian’  (like him) who might have such arrogant and ignorant rules for themselves.  It was only a few days later that I was smoking, and let me be clear that my gay, smoking friend did not aid me in my ‘downfall’.

Actually to top it off about eight months later when I left my marriage my husband laid down the ultimatum that I couldn’t come back unless I stopped smoking.  There were a few other conditions too, but what he failed to realise was that I chose to leave and I had no intention of returning.

I continued to smoke and actually my psychiatrist encouraged me too.  Nurses considered it good stress management but I think the psychiatrist knew it was my way of saying “F%^k the World” (or at least a small part of the world).

Eventually, when I had taken up long distance running, I realised that my stance was getting in the way of my health and so I stopped, cold turkey, and went two years without a cigarette… until the earth started to shake, rattle and roll in my parts.  And the stress got too much.

As my mental health has been improving, and the quakes have been slowly decreasing I have had a growing sense that it was time to stop again, and I chose the day after my birthday as a good time to stop.  Unfortunately I didn’t factor in one thing.

By yesterday I was feeling pretty unwell and in a lot of pain, which I just put down to being a fibromyalgia flare.  That is until I happened to read Fibromodem’s recent post about smoking.  It indicated to me something that I hadn’t stopped to think about.  That nicotine has an impact on pain, and so I went off and did some research.

What I found, and what I wish I’d known before I started, is that nicotine can have some analgesic affect on pain, and what’s more that

“nicotine withdrawal could increase a smoker’s
perception of pain and
even the intensity of chronic pain” 

So, please why did I not see this highlighted in red before I chose to withdraw the nicotine from my system?  As it is I am just glad that I chose to use patches this time and so have some nicotine still in me, because today I have been in more pain, and a great deal sicker than I have been for a long time.

The easy thing of course would be to get myself a packet of cigarettes and start smoking again.  Give up on giving up.  But my brother (who I love dearly, so I allow him to say such things occasionally) pointed out to me a few weeks back that I am one stubborn person.  Actually I think he’s right (not that I’ll be admitting that to him unless he’s keeping up with my blog and reads this).  Because the easy thing would be to smoke again…   but I’m not going to.

I’m no expert, and I’m only relaying what I read but I did learn that in the long run not smoking will be better for my fibromyalgia.  It should make the pain less eventually.  In the meantime though, it is hell.  Today has really felt like I was going through some heavy-duty drug withdrawal.  Absolutely not pleasant, and writing this post is actually all I’ve managed to achieve all day.  Right now though, I’m pressing on.  I can, and I will do this.

PS.  And actually the positive of feeling so sick and in so much pain has been that there hasn’t been the urgent craving for a cigarette (well, not all the time anyway).  So yet again, good comes from bad.

“There are some circles in America where it seems to be more socially acceptable to carry a hand-gun than a packet of cigarettes.” 

~Katharine Whitehorn


24 thoughts on “Giving Up Nicotine

      1. Cate, as always, I say that none of us suffers any more or less, we all just suffer differently. Though you are a sweetie, thank you.

        And I have a positive update on what a friend has dubbed “Uterine Watch 2012”, which I’ll get to posting in the next couple of days, hopefully. 🙂

  1. John Richardson

    One method, that worked for me, is to switch to cigars for a few months and don’t inhale. I think the reason it works is you get enough nicotine to avoid withdrawal but not enough to become addicted. Then, just stop smoking cigars. Besides, a big cigar will look a lot cooler than a nicotine patch.

  2. good for you! continue to be kind to yourself as you go through the transition of your body’s need for the nicotine to much lessened addiction. For some the desire never goes away. As you said, you are a stubborn person. Keep that in mind when you want so badly to have a cigarette or think you can’t go on. As a wonderful therapist once told me…pain is pain. For the person feeling it, it’s the worst thing. Pamper yourself. I’ll keep you in prayer.

  3. I just quit smoking myself. Just over two weeks ago. It’s been brutal. The second week I got extremely sick, and as you’ve said, at least that helped with the cravings a bit. It’s still hard though. I just keep thinking to myself that every day that goes by and I don’t smoke means one more day I would be throwing away if I start smoking again. That all the pain and agony and (what feels like) torture would be for nothing. Once my mind is set, there is no going back though, so I’m refusing to let this thing beat me.

    I know it’s hard but you can do it. Just keep plugging away. You’re doing great.

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