A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Smokeless


Almost 24 hours without a smoke. I guess the Chantix is working because I haven’t felt any major cravings but I do feel a bit strange.

(Next day) 42 hours without a smoke.

I’ve been preparing to quit smoking since I started taking the Chantix 8 days ago, spending a lot of time online going from one support group to another. Doing this helped me to get the courage to stop smoking cigarettes yesterday. Sunday evening I brought the remaining 7 packs of cigarettes over to my brother’s house for him to keep for the next couple of weeks in case I can’t pull this off. Someone online chided me a bit about doing this and he may be right but for now that’s how it stands. Close to 2 AM early on Labor Day I smoked my last cigarette, destroyed what was left of the pack by drenching it in water and pulling it apart and threw away my ashtray and my mug. Earlier in the night I had changed my position in the living room from my usual seat which I’ve sat in regularly for months and months smoking to a seat on the couch. I moved a standing light to that position and a small computer table for my laptop. On top of a storage bin acting as a table nearby I placed my pills, a quit smoking journal and two pens, audiobooks and my walkman, yarn and a crochet hook and suckers and sugarless gum. I don’t usually buy bottled water but for this occasion I decided to and put it in the refrigerator for the next day. People online said that I’d need to drink a lot of water for the first 3 days to flush the nicotine out of my system. Then I went to bed and slept.

The next day I woke up, made myself a cup of coffee ( I rarely drink coffee at home) and sat down on the couch and took all my various pills including the Chantix, now at a doubled dose. Then I ate a bowl of cereal (Chantix and my vitamins need to be taken with food or they won’t get absorbed into my body properly). Just sitting in the new spot and avoiding the old spot and just knowing that there weren’t any cigarettes in the house or car, made a big difference and I didn’t feel much of a craving to smoke. Nonetheless I did feel tense and I quickly got my bottled water from the fridge. Drinking water throughout the day whenever I felt tired or thirsty (and I found that I felt thirsty alot) greatlly eased the tension and kept it in check. Soon I was online and checking my emails. I got two emails from a couple of friends encouraging me on which made me smile and gave me some strength to continue. I alternated between doing extra sleeping and going online. Later in the evening I watched some television. It was a quiet day and I didn’t go out. The reason I didn’t go out or drink any sweet hot tea was because I knew they could trigger a craving to smoke. But all in all I didn’t have any strong cravings. I did feel sort of trapped in a zone, a no smoking zone that left me a bit tense. Today was similar only I felt less tense because I’d gotten familiar with the day’s position and rhythm and I knew I could get through the day without smoking as long as I stayed put. So I stayed put.

Tomorrow will be a test because I have to go out early in the morning and bring my brother to a nearby town where he takes a class for an hour. I will have to wait in the car and that’s where I usually smoke when I’m out of the house. So tomorrow I will bring with me my supplies: water, suckers, gum, audiobook, yarn, crochet hook and a book. I will keep myself occupied. I will not smoke. But I will be drinking and sucking and chewing a lot. There’s no doubt in my mind now that I am an orally fixated person which means that I have to watch what I eat and get some daily exercise. Still the priority is to not smoke, which means to reduce any kind of stress while I get through this first week. Eating does relax me but I don’t find that I’m eating that much more than I usually do, not yet anyway. I am, though, going through my sucking candy and gum and will continue to do so for now. And lots of water. I went into a chat room at one point and after someone asked if I had been drinking a lot of water, he/she asked if I was taking Vitamin C for my cravings. Well, I didn’t know that Vitamin C was a good antidote to cravings but I happen to take it several times a day anyway.

I am alone and I feel quiet. I know this is the right decision. After 3 months my body will really start to heal itself. Already the carbon monoxide is out of my system and the nicotine is on its way out. This is another new beginning. I do still feel the newness of this and it is a bit weird but I can get through the weirdness and into some better way of being. A cleaner, healthier, more focused way. I’m hoping this is one step in a series of steps towards a better recovery from schizophrenia.




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