Quiting Smoking for Dummies
Frequent readers of this space, (Please, Lord, let there be some) may recall I had given up smoking tobacco at 11:59 PM on January 1st. Despite some challenges, including an NDE (Near Divorce Experience), at the time of this writing, I’ve been nicotine-free for just over three weeks. Yay me.
The anger is gone now, well, mostly, anyway, although Cupcake may have her own views on that subject. She does seem to have opinions on everything. When I've been a very good husband, say, double-dipped the job jar, she lets me have an opinion, too. It is invariably one of her old ones that she hardly ever uses any more but I get to call it mine.
One opinion I do hold, however, is that I’m pleased to have gone this long without a puff. In fact, I’m so proud, I feel I’m now qualified to give advice on how you, the nicotine enthusiast, can enjoy the benefits of being smoke-free like me.
Smoking is powerfully addictive, you see, much like Cupcake's cinnamon rolls, and the loss of the crutch causes one to go through the stages of grief just as if you had lost any other loved one. And love them, I did. There is no tasty food item, not even pork ribs or hot wings, I crave so badly, that I would make the long, arduous, three-block trek uptown for, during a snowy, blowy, winter blizzard. I wouldn't even make that trip for beer! (Well, maybe free beer served by scantily clad nymphomaniacs laden with wings and ribs, but you get the idea.)
But I would face razor-sharp sleet cast by gale-force winds to get cigarettes. They have yet to invent weather bad enough to prevent tobacco acquisition for the hopelessly hooked. It would have to be raining meteorites and molten lava to thwart most smokers from their quest to slake their nicotine thirst, and I was certainly no different.
There are some things one can do to deal with both the cravings for the nicotine and the oral gratification one derives from sucking on the cigarette. It's both a habit and a chemical addiction and each facet must be addressed to successfully get the smoking monkey off your back.
The first thing I tried was that nicotine gum. I was a little leery of it, though. A buddy of mine used the gum to successfully quit smoking about five years ago. He now has a two pack a day Nicorette habit, however, and that stuff isn't cheap. You don't reek of Eau De Firepit, though. You're also less likely to burn down your house if you fall asleep chewing, as opposed to smoking.
I was going to buy the name brand for my experiment in chewing nicotine, however, the price was absurdly expensive, so I went with the generic equivalent. I figured there wouldn't be that big a difference. Even still, the no-name ones were no bargain, either, even though they were about ten bucks cheaper. I don't think it costs that much to put nicotine in chewing gum, does it? Surely they wouldn’t fleece recovering cigaholics!
The instructions said to just chew it for a few chaws to get the nicotine hit and then remove it and save it for later. The last time I tried it years ago, all I remember about the experience was that if I tried to park the wad of gum in my cheek, it felt like it was leeching acid and burning holes in the inside of my mouth and tongue. I made a mental note to keep the gum in motion at all times, also to not chew too long or get that nauseating woozy feeling from a nicotine overdose.
My first chance to try the experiment came shortly after I bought the overpriced pack of gum. We'd gone to a restaurant to meet another couple and as I sat there contemplating a smoke following the meal, I decided to try the non-flammable alternative.
The first three or four chews went okay as the brittle, bitter stick was crushed into the more chewy consistency one expects from gum. By chew number five, however, things started to go seriously sideways. These no-name sticks seemed to be MUCH stronger than I remember them being and wherever the gum touched was searing my tender flesh. The worst part of it, though, was that the gum had formed a thin paste and had spread all over my dentures and was sticking to the plastic like Krazy Glue to clumsy fingers. My entire mouth was aflame with scorching acid burns. I was in such a panic, I had no idea what the polite thing to do was, since jettisoning my teeth at the table seemed kind of gauche during dinner.
I resolved the problem by wordlessly bolting from the booth and making a beeline for the bathroom; leaping tables like an Olympic hurdler on the way. Cleaning the plates in the bathroom stall with toilet paper proved to be futile, however, as I now had a set of teeth that appeared to have been tarred and feathered. I waited until the men's room was empty before using the sink to clean them up properly. As I finally headed back to the table, I wondered how to explain my odd behaviour without embarrassing myself too much. I was saved from any explanation by Cupcake.
"What was with you?" asked our dinner companions.
"Oh, don't mind him," Cupcake responded staunchly, "He has been acting very strangely, lately. He quit smoking, eh."
"Oh, well, yes, of course, then," they nodded;, understanding completely.
So let this be a lesson to you, nicotine-dependant individual, if you have false teeth, forget the gum. Gargling with muriatic acid would do about the same thing. If you have something against burning your face off, just to stop smoking, maybe try the sunflower seeds. They worked so far for me and only burn the end of your tongue. Better than your lungs, at least.
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