I could not stop thinking about smoking and the fact I was no longer doing it.
When will this end? I found myself asking this question time and again, day after day, during the first few weeks of my quit campaign. By around the two week mark, I had well and truly broken the chemical dependence to nicotine. Yet still, I could not stop thinking about smoking, or more, the fact I was no longer doing it.
The second stage of my quit, was a very different battle to the one fought during the first few days. The cravings were not the same. I had reached a point where I no longer craved nicotine specifically, but rather, something to fill the massive chasm left in my life after quitting the cigarettes. And by chasm, I mean the way the Grand Canyon is a chasm. It is an extremely weird feeling to explain.
I didn’t want to smoke, I didn’t want to be a smoker, but for some F&^%ed up reason, I had almost constantly wanted a bloody cigarette!
Thankfully, I had known what was happening to my brain; that very real feeling of wanting a cigarette, had not really been “me,” thinking. This is something, many months later, I can now confirm. Still, knowing this, didn’t make the process itself easier. It only made it easier to say no and fight on.
The damage done by my addiction and my struggle to heal from it, could easily be seen by others in the form of my very erratic behavior. I was always angry and irritable, constantly needing to drink hot tea or snack on chocolate, biscuits or lollies. The cravings may have been less intense than the early days, but they were still cravings, and they were still very real.
I was into my third week when I had my first major breakdown.
As I had recently left my retail job to follow other interests, I was now in the position of looking after my two year old son during the week. (So as to avoid paying day care). On the surface, this would seem a pleasant thing to do. However, two year olds don’t often play at being pleasant.
As the majority of parents know, children can be extremely frustrating and this is something definitely not lost on recovering addicts.
I had reached my lowest point when I found myself shouting out of sheer anger and frustration, at my two year old, for simply doing what two year olds do; making one hell of a mess!
I remember falling back onto the couch, in tears, thinking that this was simply not worth it and that I could end it all by just buying a damn pack of f&!$ing cigarettes.
I was close to breaking and I knew it. I messaged my wife saying that I couldn’t do this and that I was seriously thinking about going to the shops and buying a packet.
A part of me wanted her to give me permission and justification for not continuing with my quit. I needed a reason to believe that it was impossible and that I couldn’t blame myself for failing. Thankfully, she didn’t provide it.
Instead, she told my mother, who in turn arranged for my father to drop what he was doing and intervene. While he was on his way, she rang me in tears and begged me not to crack, crying out that she was afraid for me and my family and that she didn’t want me to die.
Needless to say, the intervention worked. That afternoon, my father spent some quality time with my son while I continued with my house cleaning. All that I had needed to avert the crisis, was the love and support of my family.
From that day on, my father spent more time with his grandson. I was also more determined than ever to continue with my quit. The impossible had just happened, all as a result of one text message and an obvious declaration that I needed help.