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Monday, November 17, 2014

Quitting

If you are a smoker then you know what it is like to want to deny the habit. I would rather jump into a pool of acid than to admit, on my blog no less, that I smoked cigarettes. But, here I am admitting it. I figure I must have been a smoker for 35 years. Notice I said that in the past tense? I have spent the better part of every day, for the past month, doing nothing except for not smoking.

I had tried to quit smoking millions dozens of times in the last few decades. For each failed attempt, I had a set of reasons. Yes, there are so many really great reasons to quit. They are so obvious that I won't even list them. If you smoke, then you know what they are and if you don't smoke... then you know what they are. But, apparently, I hadn't found the right combination of reasons to quit.


I had every obvious reason to quit. But, I had a new reason, too. Our health insurance had dramatically changed, becoming much more expensive. Worse than that, our beloved doctor of some 15 years closed up shop because of all the new guidelines. There were a lot of changes going on behind the scenes at our Dr.'s shared practice. He thought that his patients were suffering for it. He was limited to seeing a patient for under 15 minutes per appointment, too. You have no idea how hard it was for us to find a really great Dr., I didn't want to lose him. My husband was even more unhappy with the prospect of losing our doctor. After a month of being, literally, at a loss, we got a call that he was opening his own office. One problem:  It would be a Concierge Practice.

Essentially, what being a concierge practice means is that the practice requires a per patient retainer, in our case, to be paid up-front every year. So, we had to fork out-- out of the blue-- a substantial amount of money to be able to be one of the few patients whom he would follow at his new private practice. This Dr. is worth every penny and I don't blame him for a second for choosing to open his office like this. Now, we will be able to see him whenever we need to or we can call him on the phone. He will see us in the office for as long as we need or he will make a house call. His secretary can even hand deliver prescriptions to our house, if need be. While all of those are great bennys, I don't think I will be calling him to my house! I'm just happy to continue seeing him. Unfortunately, the expense, especially coming on top of the increasing changes to our insurance plan, made the concierge service something of a burden. 

Being able to keep our family doctor required sacrifice. In fact, the yearly cost comes in at almost the same amount of money as it costs me to smoke! No brainer, right? Well, the nicotine addled and addicted part of my brain assured me that we didn't really need this doctor. My husband, on the other hand, really wanted to continue seeing our doctor. He didn't usually have very strong opinions about things. For him to share this was a pretty big deal. So, without even really thinking about it, I quit smoking.

Quitting, for my husband's sake, has turned into a much easier and more gratifying way for me to quit. If I were to do it for myself, I could easily justify smoking again. I mean, we are talking about a woman who has absolutely no shame in admitting that she loved to smoke. No lie. I rarely, if ever, took a drag, leaned back and contemplated how much I disliked that cigarette. No, in fact, it was exactly opposite. My husband says that I was the most contented smoker he had ever seen. I would happily continue to smoke and take full responsibility for my untimely death. However, I love my husband even more than I loved to smoke, which, as I said, was a lot.

I have gone cold turkey. From the first day, this attempt to quit has felt different from all the rest. Although, I am not using a patch, gum, ecig, etc., I have not craved a cigarette bad enough to remember it. During the first crucial 72 hours of the nicotine withdrawal, I was 99.9% free of any withdrawal side effects. I haven't wanted to scream at anyone, throw anything; nor, cry for any reason.

I am not having any of the usual problems. However, I do have one really strange and terrible side effect. It is that I have lost all of my muse. Every last bit of it. The weird thing is that I am bored to death, but I have absolutely no motivation, desire or initiative to do much of anything about it. I think my psyche is adjusting to not having a cigarette to punctuate the beginnings and ends of all the tasks in a day. But, I am taking things one day at a time and dealing with whatever comes my way. In order to be a winner at quitting, I am willing to go with the flow and let my muse play hide and seek with me. It has been frustrating. I don't mind, though. I am in this for the long haul. I can wait for her to settle back in.

To close this post, let me just say, if you still smoke and want to quit or have tried to quit and failed, keep trying until something really clicks for you. Honestly, I believe in my heart, mind and soul that I am an ex smoker- even though I have not been quit much more than a month. It just took my most personally, perfect motivation to get it right. I'm pulling for you! You can do it, too!