Life Stuff

The Quitter, Part 2

If there were a children’s book about me called What Makes Christopher Go?!? it would be two pages long and contain colorful illustrations of a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee.  Over the past two weeks I’ve had neither, and it has severely affected my ability to, shall we say, go.

See, I had planned to do a daily running commentary, to mine my quit-smoking misery for laughs, but frankly, I’ve been miserable to the point of not being able to laugh about it.  It’s been a rough 14 days, and my original plan is completely in shambles, but I’ve still managed to not smoke.

The plan was three-pronged.  First, to not buy cigarettes using my natural procrastination.  That’s been working fine. In fact, I’ve been using my natural procrastination to do nothing whatsoever. I knew I could count on it!

The second prong was to to push-ups every time I wanted a cigarette, in hopes of punishing myself into not wanting cigarettes.  This worked pretty well for the first couple days.  Early on in the process, the desire to smoke hits hard and often, probably once an hour.  But it only hits briefly.  The desire is overwhelming but only lasts for a few minutes, then goes away until the next one.

Problem is, after the first few days, the sudden, painful pangs go away and are replaced by low-level yet constant urges. It’s like going from an occasional hard smack in the face, which hurts but quickly fades, to what amounts to someone flicking you in the earlobe, non-stop, all day, every day. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a constant annoyance and it eventually wears you down to the point that you want to crawl into a ditch and die.  It’s sort of like a car-alarm going off a few blocks away: even though the noise is distant, soon it’s pretty much the only thing you can hear.

So, that’s been fun. Right now, if I did push-ups every time I wanted to smoke, I’d be doing push-ups roughly 24 hours a day. I’d be ripped, sure, but I’d probably also be dead.

Finally, the third prong was to substitute sunflower seeds for cigarettes. And I have done this. I have eaten so many sunflower seeds that the inside of my mouth is basically a tattered, stinging ruin.  The sodium and sharp shells have torn and gouged and shredded and destroyed my mouth to the point where — no exaggeration — I can’t actually whistle anymore.  Each seed is like pouring salt in a wound because it is literally pouring salt in a wound.  My mouth is one big injury.  I was actually reduced to buying jello because it was the only thing I could eat without causing myself pain.

Also, a weird side-effect of quitting smoking is that, for some reason, coffee now tastes and smells like liquid skunk shit. It’s bizarre. I’m almost physically incapable of allowing coffee into my mouth. This means, along with the nicotine withdrawal I’ve also got daily headaches from the lack of caffeine.  Plus, I used to love coffee. It’s like I lost custody of coffee in my divorce with cigarettes.  The entire experience is quite exhausting.

But, apart from the pain of withdrawal and the pain of my shredded mouth and the pain of headaches, I’m doing swell!


  1. jzimbert says:

    The bit about pouring salt into a wound is the best simile ever. Wait. I mean it’s LIKE the best simile ever. I don’t know. If it makes you feel better, you’re not so miserable that we can’t laugh at you. So stay strong, you can do it, etc!

  2. Nancy (sister) says:

    Try caffeinated tea–PG Tips (an English tea) works for me!!! Plus you can put in milk and sugar which will make it more tasty. Sorry life sucks at the moment. Glad you are keeping to your promise though!!!

  3. FlyingSquirrel says:

    Go Chris! No worries about lack of funny shenanigans, I’m sure you’ll be back to yourself in no time! (and ditto on the sunflower seeds, I used to do that on long drives, and usually couldn’t eat anything by the end of the trip)

  4. Hang in there, buddy. Time to bring out that self control that I’ve always respected you for.

  5. Samwise says:

    Hmm… maybe no-doz for caffeine and toothpicks to have in your mouth for the oral habit? Best of luck, quitting is like… uhm… it sucks.

  6. Hm…I’ve been encouraging my husband to quit for a while now, but this post is kind of making me reconsider. Especially since he gave up drinking sodas last week. The effects of quitting caffeine, nicotine, and sugar all at once might be enough to make him go all Unabomber and do something drastic.

  7. That’s great that your quiting smoking, keep it up, i’m sure you can do it, if you can go another 2 weeks without smoking, i’m sure you’ve cracked it.

    Self control is important, but you should try and not think about it, like do something fun like play a game.

    Peh, don’t listen to me, keep it going though.

  8. Nonomu198 says:

    Material about your suffering is gold, and the fact you can’t write a lot because of it, and furthermore that you feel worse because of the fact you can’t write a lot because of it, makes it a whole lot funnier.

    I laughed hard.

    I’m truely sorry for the lack of advice, in contrast to other commenters, it’s really late and I can’t think of any.

  9. Parental Units says:

    No wonder we haven’t heard from you–you’ve been curled up in a ball. I literally know the feeling, but it’ll be worth it! No more reeking body odor, no more yellow fingers and teeth, no more coughing and throat clearing. And you’ll add years to your miserable life! One recommendation–unsalted sunflower seeds! (And, keep up the good work–we’re rooting for you!)

  10. Yeah, what the above fella said. They make sunflower seeds without salt. The zesty ranch ones are probably just the ticket!

  11. Good luck! I quit (again) recently and coffee comes back about the same time you notice that food tastes a lot better.

  12. Go Chris go!

  13. Well done Chris keep it up.. Looks like you have plenty support…… As said before Tea is a great alternative for caffine………if you want to stick to the pain threshold way rather than push ups try hand/s in a bucket of ice water and salt to make it extra chilly…. only do that if you are sadistic though…. its incredibly painfull after a while….. keep it up :)

  14. Random guy on the internet says:

    You probably want a cigarette right about now, don’t you Chris? It’s tempting, you walk past a deli and think “I could just go in and buy a pack, I’m here anyway!”

    Those smooth, succulent cigarettes, go so well with coffee.

    It’s alright. Go buy a pack. We won’t think you’re less of a man, that you can’t even stay away from some measly cigarettes. That you caved in to the tobacco industry and fell as another victim.

    You’re not a slave to the cigarettes, you just want some, it’s free will, isn’t it? They might win but you gave them the win.

    I’m just a random guy on the internet. Have a cig, make me proud. >=D

  15. Cigarrete says:

    You can’t fight me Chris! I will win! I will get you!!! Muhahahahahahaha!

  16. Great going in giving up the smokes. And you keep hearing about the quitters that start smelling and tasting things like they have never done before in their poorly ventilated nasal cavities filled with smog.

    This just queues up to the crescendo: Find better coffee. “Regular” coffee tastes like stale horseshit that has been lying in a ditch for weeks, but fresh ground, newly roasted coffee of good origins will make you happy once more, I bet.

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  18. You wrote this post in April, it’s now December. I wonder if you still haven’t smoked? I’m smoking as I type this.
    I feel cheated because I’ve just found this brilliant blog, only to see that your last post was months ago.
    It’s like that Alanis Morissette song, where she names all these things that she calls Ironic, except that they aren’t, and she doesn’t understand the meaning of Irony. So no, it isn’t ironic, it’s just shitty.

  19. Why combust? How To Make Weed Brownies – much healthier.

  20. Hope you keep it up… It takes tremendous motivation and self discipline… Hope you post something soon on how it’s going!

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  24. Ok, maybe this explains your silence. Maybe you’re embarassed that not smoking has not worked out and you’ve gone back to it; maybe you’re insane from the effort and in a new housing situation as a result and that’s why you’ve stopped blogging…
    I’m so terribly sorry you’ve experienced the old double-whammy of Quitsters: The Ole’ Nicot-/Caffiene Withdrawal Blues.
    Why didn’t you write me first???
    I’d have told you that you must only allow yourself One Vice-Dropping at a time or you’re asking for trouble.
    Yes, I get it the lack of nicotine makes caffiene unbearable – I understand. Even worse, you can’t poop anymore, right?

    Don’t worry that will pass (no pun intended) soon.

    Ok, so first off – well, you totally fked up, dude. If you want to cease smoking cigarettes you need to focus on that and only that. Keep nicotine in the scene, just learn to bail on the Scooby Smokes’ list of what keeps you coming back for more:
    1) the hot smokie treats,
    2) the whole oral obsession thing we all want to ignore/deny/whatever,
    3) the “time-freakin-out” that stopping to light, puff or deal with a smokie treat provides smokers to pause & think it over a second before answering a question, asking one, whatever…the moments a smoker spends going through the motions of smoking but is really taking a mental moment to think things over before moving on [the age-old smokers who were around when we were still smoking at work & in restaurants & bars remember the days & know what I’m meaning here],
    4) the personal-private whateverthehell reason YOU smoke,
    5-10+) additional fill-in-the-blank reasons an otherwise completely sane person still smokes cigarettes: I get it; I’m a citizen of the same land.
    But I accidentally found a way out. I didn’t quit smoking or stop smoking…I just kinda knocked it off.
    It happened with the aid of a device which is NOT a “smoking-cessasion device”. They make that extremely clear, the salesmen that is; and the website(s).
    It is not a smoking-cessation device.
    It is a nicotine replacement device. But it made me quit smoking. It fked up totally & now I don’t even pay it’s manufacuturer for replacement cartridges anymore because I stopped using it, too.
    I was totally jazzed to get it; no more rubbish from butts & mess from ash, no more cigarette stink in my world. Thank you! Happy Birthday to me (yes, it was a b.d. gift)!!
    Within a few days of owning it I ran out of “regular” cigarettes (because I was still hungry for “real” cigarettes) & decided to wait it out & see what happened.
    Well, I puffed on my little e-cig & bopped along. No run amok irritations, no bizarre or murderous daydreams, & no weight gain.
    Then I notice the habits I was developing – like always puffing on my e-cig while driving my car. So I made the effort to avoid being a creature of habit.
    After a few weeks of making my new normal to go for my e-cig only when I felt some kind of “need” & the next thing I knew was one day I was hunting for it & found it needed a charge before I could use it.
    So I didn’t get my nicotine & plugged in the e-cig for recharging.
    Time passed, it got its full charge, & my need passed without getting fulfilled, so I just skipped away.
    Several more days passed and they’ve transformed into weeks. Sure, it’s only been a grand total of 6 months since I got my e-cig, which is NOT a smoking-cessation device…but it has its charms.
    I apologize for the windiness & hope its helped.
    Good Luck Chris, all your fans hope you’re “go”ing these days!!!