Quitting Cold Turkey

A few weeks back I read an excellent post by my friend Brett Batten about his efforts to give up smoking.  I laughed.  I laughed so loudly, that I think he heard me in Canada, and regret to say that maybe I laughed a little too loudly.  Having only tried to quit myself (and failed) several weeks earlier I guess I took a little too much glee in his struggles.  So my apologies (again) to Brett…  and if you’ve ever tried to quit, go and have a read.

If you want to follow my saga of abolishing the need for nicotine in my life, you will need to cast an eye over Giving Up Nicotine and Unseen.  If you don’t want to read those, the short version is that I tried to quit in September, but had to give up on giving up because the pain caused by nicotine withdrawal was simply too much for me.  It was much worse than the usual pain I am used to from having fibromyalgia.  It was always my intention to try to give up again, once I had access to some pain medication that would make life bearable while I went through the withdrawal.

My attempt to make that happen by getting off lithium (Ten Years Later, And I Have My Answer) failed, and so did my attempt to get my doctor to give me some stronger medication.  So there goes that plan.  Initially on failing both points I decided to just keep smoking for a while longer until I came up with Plan B.  That was until I was told that my Graves’ Disease (Is There a Sign On My Back?) is on its way out of remission.  The problem with this is that smoking makes the problems a whole lot worse, and is probably what is causing me so much eye pain, let alone an accelerated heart rate.  So it’s time to quit… again.  It won’t fix the problem (the Graves’), but hopefully it will ease the symptoms.

Last time, I used nicotine replacement patches, but a long conversation with the pharmacist yesterday left me with no options for nicotine replacement.  Because of the combination of health issues I have, I can not use patches or any other form of nicotine replacement, not even gum, and so I will now be going cold turkey.  And yes, it has occurred to me that if I can’t use nicotine replacements I really shouldn’t be smoking in the first place.

Right now I’m considering that being asleep for at least a week might be the best option, but as that won’t work I’m going to be grumpy and emotional for at least a week, so be warned.  And if you thought I already was, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

What interests me is that no one in the health sector seems interested in helping me to do this.  My doctor even refuses to admit that pain will be an issue.  He just thought I’d “been on the internet again too much”.  At least the pharmacist readily admitted it would be a problem for me.

The New Zealand Government now insist that cigarette and tobacco packaging must have graphic images of diseased body parts resulting from smoking.  They’re adamant that these images will stop us smoking.  Actually since they were introduced a few years back I have just ignored them, as have many others I know who smoke.  I don’t know of anyone who has given up because of the images, even though the government continue to go on about their success.  But now that I want to stop, and their images do nothing,  no one will help with the pain I will experience in the coming days.

I guess I could pay for hypnotherapy or something, but I don’t have the money; and I would be saving the government a whole heap if they just gave me a small amount of medication to get through the pain of the withdrawal.  But no…  because a week’s supply might turn me into an addict apparently.  I am a little concerned about my mental health (my mood)in all this, but I really don’t accept that a week will make me a drug addict, when I haven’t turned myself into one so far in this life.

There was one other suggestion put to me by one of my regular readers.  John has suggested the method by which he successfully gave up.  Smoking cigars without inhaling.  Ever since I was a child I have loathed the smell of cigars, put off by an aunt who smoked them.  She wasn’t the problem but I just couldn’t bear the smell.  I just don’t think I could do it.  But thanks for the idea, John.

Oh, and I refuse to eat my way through withdrawal.  I am not going to put on weight just because of no nicotine.  I absolutely refuse.

So what all that means is that you’re stuck with me.  I have to make it work this time.  As I was reminded by a family member yesterday, I can be stubborn when I want to be, so I guess I will just have to use it for good.  Wish me luck.

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right.  Which one are you?” 

―    Henry Ford

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24 thoughts on “Quitting Cold Turkey

  1. Dorothy

    I wish you the greatest luck going at it cold turkey. The first time I quit was cold turkey and I did it because of a pregnancy, so I went through a few weeks (and everyone else too..lol) of being a real crabby person but my mind was kept busy obviously. I started smoking again when my second child was 4 and quit when she was 8 and used the patches. They were wonderful. I’ve done without for 11 years now. So, I do believe and have faith you can do so and it will be hard. It’s one of the hardest things to quit but I think you will be pleased with yourself in the end.
    Dot

  2. i quit cold turkey 17 years ago, three years in i was loving cigars and then realize i was becoming addicted to them, they are just as addictive…i haven’t touched another since, so while really really hard, it is possible…Hubby quite cold turkey as well 9 years ago and it was really painful for him.

  3. My mom cut an old ballpoint pen into a tube and sucked on the empty tube when she would normally have been having a cigarette. It gave her hands and brain something to do with the restlessness and she says it was soothing. Back then you could get actual fake cigarettes that held something like menthol to suck on, but they were expensive = mom’s ballpoint invention!

    My husband is one of those rare people who just… stopped. He never has cold turkey issues, he just LEAPS and does it, whatever. I can say though that he only put on a bit of weight because food tasted better. Within months his skin colouring had improved, and within a year he wasn’t having health issues (he has a hiatus hernia that with smoking = night time vomiting for decades. It just stopped for good) That was ten years ago and even ten years on he now looks younger than he did when he was smoking! Hold on to those thoughts. 🙂

    1. Hi Michelle. Wow his his a really good success story to hang on to. I’m going to. I did manage to quit for two years a while back and actually I did that cold turkey. But then when we started having all our earthquakes I, like many others, sadly took up the habit again. I’m looking forward to looking and feeling better. 🙂

  4. Sounds like it is going to be a tough week…I don’t understand your doctor though have they never experienced pain? Pain from Fibromyalgia is bad enough without any further pain on top of that! I have never smoked so I can’t offer any help to stop but good for you Cate and I’m routing for you. Smiles.

  5. Good luck with it! I’m sure you can do it! I have never had to quit something like that but for few months I’ve been recovering from PTSD and depression, and few months back I was waking every morning in pain, wanting to cry already, and unable to gather the will to do anything, and I’m almost great now, after months of reaaaallly hard hours…so I’m sure you can do it! Some things take more effort, and few failed tries…but those are temporary, you can do it!
    Warm hugs, A.

    1. Thanks for your comments and your encouragement. I know that the combination of emotional and physical pain is very hard to bear, but I’m glad you’re doing much better now. That’s fantastic that you’ve worked through the journey. 🙂

  6. Ever since I started my meds, I have been chain smoking. I was about a pack a day person before but now it’s gotten up to 4 packs. I also want to quit eventually, but at the moment I can’t bring myself to add that on to my list of crappy things to deal with. So I am going to consciously cut down from 4 packs. Good luck with the cold turkey. They really do say it’s the best way. I hope you quit for real and never go back. And you know, if you lose a little now and then, that’s ok. It’s one tough as hell habit to stop for people who don’t have the problems you do, so I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be for you. My thoughts and full support are with you. (I have also considered hypnosis, but I don’t want to pay money I don’t have, for it not to work) ❤

    1. Exactly. If I knew for sure it would work, I might somehow find the money. 🙂 I’m on to day 4 and actually it’s going better than I expected, but only because everythig else is making me feel so sick that I couldn’ consider a smoke. The thing about smoking, or at least quitting, is that it has to be the right time for you. There’s no point doing it unless it is really what you want. And that day will come eventually, and quitting willl work because we want it to work. Well that’s what I’m telling myself anyway. 😉

    1. Thanks. Day four (I think) and it’s going better than I expected. I started taking magnesium which I kept reading about as being great for fibro. Actually I think it might be making a difference, but then I feel so sick anyway that I couldn’t face a cigarette. 😉

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