Quitting Smoking, Take 734

Still going strong from Sunday at around 3pm. Still fighting off monster urges at the pace of about 3 daily. Usually in the morning, sometimes right after lunch or not until about an hour before it's time to leave work (usually because I'm antsy just to get out of there too), and usually one as I'm going to bed.

They are monster urges, like the song "What I Got" by Sublime, I'm gonna die if I don't get a cigarette. These are monster in every sense of the word. I tried with just willpower and mind diversion (thinking of something else), but the nerves in my body still say "Will you just go get a f@#%ing pack of smokes already, a@#%hole?" No, f@#%#@er! :P I don't like my body so you'd think I'd fill it with bad stuff like cigarettes, but I'm not smoking just to spite it. Mofo.

Craving a cigarette is brutal. You can't concentrate, sit still, or really think about anything else. When you're thirsty, really thirsty, you have to get a drink right now. You notice, "Goddamn I'm thirsty", and rather than trying to think of something else or ignore the need, you just go get water. It's the same when you're addicted to smoking. Only slightly worse for you.

It's really the hardest thing to do ever. Even if you manage to quit, you'll remember how good it was to smoke. I know a guy who smoked for 20 years, that quit 30 years ago and still has dreams about smoking. That's my fate, probably. It's so good, but my will power is pretty good this time. My thinking (and I would recommend this thinking to anyone) is that if I smoke now, I'll feel really good but then I'll be smoking again and will feel like crap in a few days. And if I keep off of them, I'll feel really good for a long time, but a slightly different kind of good. I can't smoke anymore, either. I never feel like doing anything. It blows.

During those monster urges, I'll hold off on doing anything about them for a bit because I like feeling my heart beating really hard, begging for a cigarette :P Then, I'll just breath really deep for a while, and if it's not gone then I know it's a monster urge. So then I'll pop in a nicotine lozenge. I can't even describe how bad nicotine urges are, so you just have to take my word for it.

Anyway, hopefully I'll be able to keep this up. I'm going to the Eagles game on Sunday, maybe I'll be off of the lozenges and not craving cigs at all, and can drink and not smoke all day long :) That would be the best. Wish me luck!

An even bigger week

So, some big weeks lately... This week:

Monday: Paid off my car on Friday and got the title on today!

Tuesday: Received second iPod Touch that I didn't order, and assumed I'm on some sort of iPod touch weekly subscription, for only $400 a week! I sent it back. (It was Amazon's fault, not Apple's :P )

The rest of the week... I will finally be buying my house! My parents sold their house and move on Halloween. They are hiring movers.

My keyboard's kinda screwed up because soda was spilled on it (not me!!). The keys were really sticky, so I pulled a bunch of them off and wiped behind them with a wet paper towel, but my "I" key will never be the same (although it works fine, it just sticks up a little more than the others), and my "0" (zero) key (and hence, my "close parentheses" key) makes some weird noise when pressed.

This month and next are big months for gamers:

Crysis Collector's Edition DVD-ROM with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $59.99
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $49.99
Sim City Societies with Bonus! PC Pre-Release
Ships 11/13/07 $49.99
Super Mario Galaxy Wii Pre-Release
Ships 11/12/07 $49.99
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune PS3 Pre-Release
Ships 11/20/07 $59.99
Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure Wii Pre-Release
Ships 10/23/07 $39.99

That's my shopping cart at EB games.

This Friday will be the first time all of us from work head out to the bar since we hired a bunch of new people, including me! We're gonna get wasted.

I'm 3-3 in Fantasy Football this year, winning the last game by 2 points! Tony Gonzalez had a huge game, and Muhsin Muhammad has finally started scoring for me. My team stinks, though. It will be miraculous if I finish over .500. I only had 76 points, and really only got points from those two and the Eagles D. No one else contributes. This week I play my brother Scott. He'll be at the Eagles game so I'll have to call him and tell him I'm whooping his ass.

I joined Netflix finally. It's gonna be a great way to finally watch all those movies I haven't seen yet.

I'm also trying to quit smoking. It's rough, and I know drinking will make it really hard, but the trick would be to go back to quitting after a long night of drinking with a few smokes here or there. Drinking in Philly is a lot easier than in the suburbs.

This post has a little of everything.

I have to do it some time

When I entered this venture to quit smoking, I didn't also decide to quit drinking. So today, Friday the 27th of April, I'm doing the final disassociation of smoking with activities where I'd smoke while I was doing them. Tonight, I'll be drinking my face off.

I might not make it all night without heavily craving a cigarette, but all I know is the Phillies are playing and I have tons of beer left over from when I went to the Phillies game 2 weeks ago.

I'm sure I'll end up smoking tonight at some point, but it takes practice. If I have beer left still tomorrow, I'll dedicate another night to practicing this hard to master skill. I'm four beers into it right now. I had two after work at the bar across the street from the office, and two since I've been home. I don't care if I have a few, but getting as many beers into it before I really crave one is my goal. That way I can push my limits, and later be like "Well, I can only have a case before I start craving a cigarette... so when I start getting to that point, make me stop drinking."

Phillies take up all my time

I didn't watch today, but whenever the Phils are on I get nothing done. I managed to break out the PSP and play Tiger Woods '07 with the Phillies on. That game has a lot of times that it takes a few seconds to load so I'm more watching the Phillies and shooting 59s secondly.

I ordered clothes the other day and they'll be arriving sporadically. They shipped from 4 different places. I got one package. I noticed the other day I don't have any clothes. I also noticed that the clothes in my drawer stay in my drawer... pretty much since I moved in here 3 years ago. So I wanted to get them cleared out like Tuesday, but the Phillies have been playing at 7:05, like clockwork. I get home at 6 or so, eat or play a video game, then watch the Phillies until 10pm or so. During which nothing gets done except some cheering and other intense fan activities. Then I try to go to bed, but the neighbors' kids and my brother are in bed so I can't do anything that requires listening to loud music, like cleaning or going through clothes and throwing them in a trashbag (they will be dropped off at a good-will collection point soon). I finally fall asleep at 1 or so.

Jeff took out a home equity loan to get some work done. So far we have new windows in the front and back of the house, and we're getting a new bathroom. This week is the bathroom work, until Monday. So, I haven't been able to use the toilet, shower, shave, or anything. We have nothing but a tub with no faucets or any kind of plumbing in the whole bathroom. The sink is in Jeff's room, the toilet is in the basement. It will be done by Monday. A week in all.

Tonight I was over my parents' house because it was Monday when I last had a full shower. I've cleaned my hair twice, washed my face and hands every day, behind the ears too, and used deodorant. I haven't received any complaints from the coworkers, and Jeff and I are recovering smokers so we really can't smell too well still, at least not ourselves. I can definitely smell and taste way better than when I smoked though. I took a shower at my parents' house and it was marvelous. It sucked too because on Tuesday morning, the first of the days where I'd have to go a full day without showering, I woke up at like 5:30 and was like "Man, a shower's gonna be great today!" I remembered then that I wouldn't be able to shower! It was one of those days where it was hot during the night even, and I was feeling sticky. A shower would have really hit the spot. Oh well.

Another thing about no sink is you can't shave. By this morning I had the full Koy Detmer neck beard going. Tonight I got a haircut and shaved.

Two weeks ago on Saturday my friends and I went to the Phillies game. I was coordinator, so I had to buy all the tickets, be there first, supply some beer and food, and collect money and act like I was da bomb. That last part is easy. I had 16 tickets. Zatko and I got there at like 12:40. I probably would have been perfectly fine hanging out with just us two and maybe some girls all day. We were having a good time. Everyone else showed up, fashionably late, at like 2 o'clock. The game started at 3:55. I had about 6 beers before the game, and only one or two after that. I smoked a few, but it's just because I lack any kind of inhibitions or self restraint after 4+ beers. I haven't smoked since. We went to McFadden's afterwards and there were about a million people there. Later Jared vomited on his car :) We all had a great time I think. I'd go again. Good night.

Two weeks since my last smoke

It's getting a lot easier now. During the first week, I'd pretty much have to pop in a "Commit" for my drive into work to take care of the first two or whatever I'd have before I got to work. Sometimes I'd have a few if I woke up early. Two days ago, I had one towards the end of the day at work, and I didn't have my next one until around noon yesterday! It's easy, but also the nature of the "Commit" lozenge, and your inability to take it and drink or eat for about 35 minutes, I end up taking less of them because I'm pretty much always drinking something. I drink coffee like there's no tomorrow while I'm working. So, if I am to have one in the morning, it has to be during my drive in. My morning at work is all about drinking coffee, so my next chance to have one isn't until my soda or water with lunch is gone. Like 2 or 3pm. If I forget to take my morning one, it's because I didn't need it. Like, as if I'd ever forget to smoke... yeah right. I'll have one for my ride home, and after that, maybe two if I'm playing video games. The urge isn't that bad anymore, although Pat was over, leaving his cigarettes about, and sometimes I'd look over at them and my heart would start pounding, so I just went where they weren't. Until I can have a pack of cigarettes sitting in front of me and not be affected, I know I'm still either addicted or just in love with cigarettes :P I haven't made it this far since about 3 years ago.

Going strong after three days

It's actually five days with a slight lapse (one smoke) three days ago...

Part of the trick to quitting smoking is that you need to disassociate stuff that you used to smoke a lot while doing. For me it's most things besides going to church or sleeping. Disassociation takes a lot of doing everything that you smoked during, doing it more often and longer than you did when you smoked, and doing it without smoking. The first of the disassociation process for me was video games.

This weekend Beaner and I played the Wii pretty much all weekend. It was indeed another "Wiikend". Tanks on Wii Play is awesome. We pretty much played three games on Wii Play the whole time, which were Tanks, Shooting Gallery, and the one where you have to find Miis. I'm not sure what it's called. Bean made a Mii, too, which looks a lot like him.

Besides the Wii, I played a lot of STALKER, Rainbow Six Vegas, Company of Heroes, and Sid Meier's Railroads! The latter game was played the most because I bumped up the difficulty from where I'm used to playing, and I bumped up the graphics to 1280x1024 with anti-aliasing on. It looked f@%#@$ing beautiful. It's a slow paced game where smoking would be easiest. You're not always doing something with the keyboard and mouse. You'll set up a route and wait until you're able to make enough money off of it to set up more routes. It's a good financial strategy game. Lots of time to sit back and smoke, which is what made it all the more worthwhile to play it a lot.

Did I mention that my new computer is a goddamn beast?! I think it actually runs cooler than my liquid cooled PC. And I'm telling you, Company of Heroes never looked so good. I have it maxed, but the thing that makes the biggest difference is having the effects maxed. So when my rifle guys are shooting their Browning Automatic Rifles, they kick up dust next to the German soldiers they are shooting at. Or when I drop a howitzer artillery strike on an enemy base, the dirt, concrete, and dudes that it hits all go flying. And I'm so damn good. Zatko and I played a multiplayer game at about 12:30 am Sunday on Seine River Docks. It was him, me and a hard computer vs. an expert, a hard, and a normal computer. Zatko was backed into his corner sucking his thumb, while I was trying to make forward progress the whole time. :) It was a brutal match, but I finally broke through the computer's defenses across from me, and eventually made my way through to the other computers. All without smoking. The only bad thing about online multiplayer is that you can't tell which computer is which. Meaning, I would love to know if I had at least the hard computer across from me. Zatko and I were split with the hard computer between us, and the hard computer wasn't doing anything. So he had a good opponent across from him. I know the CPU player across from me was getting help from someone, so it's not like I couldn't take out a medium. The expert was definitely helping. Anyway, after an hour and twelve minutes, the match was over and we emerged victorious.

Rainbow Six Vegas is a fun game, and it also looks terrific. I had started it on the old computer, but decided that I wanted to go through it from the beginning when I got the new computer up. Well worth it. The combat in it is fun. First person, or even third person, shooters haven't really innovated in terms of combat. I can name a handful... FEAR, Max Payne (1 & 2), Brothers in Arms, and Rainbow Six Vegas.

In FEAR, it was just incredible. I have to install that again. Running up to a dude in slow motion and bashing him across the face with your gun could never be equaled in any game. Or throwing a proximity mine then switching to slo-mo and watching it jump up and explode at eye level with enemy. In Max Payne, again with slow motion, diving and watching all the bullets fly was great. Max Payne 2 introduced a more interactive environment with physics, which became apparent from the start when you shot a dude into a tray full of medical supplies in the hospital and watched it all fly all over the place in slow motion. Brothers in Arms had a less interactive environment than both of those games, and no slow motion, but still it was very innovative. You couldn't kill a guy unless you suppressed and flanked. You could sometimes score a lucky shot, but you had to use the situational awareness (pause and view from above the battlefield) to find the best place to suppress from and the quickest path to flank. Each map was like a puzzle. The third one in that series is sure to be a blast, with a more interactive environment (built on Unreal Engine 3, with destroyable buildings and the like).

I just noticed I'm missing some movies. Sometimes my movies will make their way downstairs. I like to watch them on my MacBook Pro, so the best ones are usually in my bedroom. But sometimes my brothers will take them downstairs where they'll pile up until I collect them. Tonight I collected about 30 of them and brought them back upstairs. That's like half of my collection. But I know that I'm missing some, like Minority Report. I should really keep a better catalog... but once I buy a house, it'll be easier to keep track, since I also have some movies in Jeff's room, like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'll collect them tomorrow. I'll probably end up buying Delicious Library... if there's a way to export it to some format that can be put onto a website easily. That would be a great use of a webservice... send an image with a barcode and get back the details of whatever it is you scanned. Or just a website with an exportable format where you upload images of the barcode (or ISBN for books) and it adds it to your library. The new applications will not be run on my computer, which is what Google has figured out. There's no need for anything but computational intensive applications, or just stuff that you can't do on the web, to be running on my computer. Figure it out, already, stupid internet. I'm out.

Quitting Smoking

Part 1045:

I decided on Wednesday that I would seek the help of pharmaceutical assistance in my attempt to quit smoking this time. So far, it's working pretty good. I've had just one since Wednesday, but that one has not deterred me in my efforts. I had it Friday night. It was great.

However, not smoking is better. I've been playing video games all day today, during which I would normally resemble a chimney. The one I had yesterday was because Pat left his smokes on the couch when he went out to his car. I have no will power. This is my problem.

No will power but a way to combat it. If I just stay inside and not go anywhere where cigarettes are sold, I can keep off of them for another few days. Although, I did have to go to WaWa today. I ordered Chinese food, hoping they would let me put it on my credit card since I had no cash. This was not the case, and I said "F@#%@". I'd have to go into WaWa, see tons of cigarettes, and not buy any. Mission accomplished! The dude in front of me and the girl behind me bought smokes. I didn't buy any. Jason : 1, Smoking : 1 (since I had one Friday)...

Aside from no willpower, I have no concept of moderation in anything I do. Coffee, pepsi, music, drinking, smoking, etc. In fact, I'll only drink when I can get wasted, and have no problem not drinking any other time. I can't have just one.

But the willpower thing ends once I have no need for or interest in something. So, when I'm no longer addicted, not smoking will not be a problem. Just like I can not go into a bar at 8:30 in the morning. It's easy if you have no desire.

I spent the day playing video games and eating about 4 "Commit" lozenges. I don't keep track, but that's OK. I never kept track of how many cigarettes I smoked either, but this stuff, all I can really get are major cavities! Oh well. I think I'll go brush my teeth.

A lot of people eat a lot more when they're trying to quit smoking. I'm sure if you go cold turkey, you're likely to balloon. Thankfully, I'm not going cold turkey since I know I can't do it that way. Hopefully in a few months, I'll have to ween myself off of Commits and have a huge dentist bill. But I probably won't change my weight. If anything, I'll lose some because I'll be playing the Wii a lot, working out to channel some aggression, and overall just whoopin' some ass.

Wish me luck in my endeavors.

Cutting Down isn't bad either :)

Quitting cold turkey is hard. Cutting down is good though. Like losing weight, you have to identify your "problem areas". I would like to trim down my butt, for instance. In smoking, it might be "I have to cut down on smoking when I'm playing computer games", or "when I'm out drinking". Those are the big ones for me. I can smoke a pack during either of those highly pleasurable events. Another one is when I'm programming at home. So, what I did last night, as I was writing some code for stringed.org, was to leave my pack in my car, find an empty pack lying around somewhere, put only a few smokes in there from my pack, and then bring those lucky SOBs up with me. I cut down by at least 60%. Today, I woke up and felt pretty good, compared to what I would have felt if I had brought the whole pack up.

However, I know I won't have much luck, still, when out drinking, so I just have to avoid that for a few weeks.

Another thing that going without cigarettes for a few days teaches you, is that you don't need to, upon waking up, have a cigarette in your mouth ready to light once one of your eyes are open enough to find your lighter. You can easily take your time, get a shower, brush your teeth, hell, even shave before you need to have your first cigarette of the day. You can probably tell that I'm pretty addicted...

But, cutting down in smoking will cut down my addiction. So, the more I cut down, the more I'll be able to cut down in the future. If I get down to 5 cigarettes a day, I can easily go to 4. Then down and down. Right now I'm at about 9-12, which believe me, seems like an AMAZING feat. I just have to watch my problem areas.

I can't possibly go cold turkey and expect to be successful, but I just felt like trying and posting about it. I didn't necessarily lie to you, my readers, and inspirations :) Especially OATN. I love you man. Wish me luck, I'll keep an OpenOffice spreadsheet of my cigarettes a day, and hopefully the number will decrease every few weeks.

Maybe I'll try to trim down my butt too. :)

I won't be sleeping too well

Right now, it's 4am on Tuesday. Rather than sitting here waiting for work to come around, I figure I'll just go to work. The great thing in my profession is that you might find a job that lets you work whenever you want, as long as you work 8 hours a day. I have that job right now, so I can go in at 5am and leave at 2pm if I want. Or I can head in at 9 and leave at 6. Doesn't matter.

So, the whole quitting smoking thing... it's still going on. I'm at the beginning of day 3. The last cigarette I had was early Sunday morning, around 3am. It's such a pain in the f#@%#$#!@ ass. I'm saying to myself, just smoke. Just go to the car, grab that emergency pack with 18 smokes left in it and light one up, because you're not going to quit. You suck at quitting. But, another part takes a deep breath, and realizes that it feels good to breath!! If you smoke as much as I do and for as long as I have, you get to appreciate breathing. Even during some heavy smoking times, I'll run up and down stairs for a few minutes because forcing yourself to breath deep for oxygen feels good, even when you can't breath. Breathing cold air is the best feeling.

So, I don't know if I'll smoke or not. I will be in the car, driving to work, with practically a full pack and means to light a cigarette, and yet I've made the trip to and from without lighting up once. It's an accomplishment. I keep waiting to light up, because eventually, I'll have gone a few days without smoking, and then a few weeks, then a few months... the further I get from that last smoke, the better it feels, the better I can breath, the better my quality of life is.

The best way to quit smoking, I've learned, is to go cold turkey. I quit for a year that way before. Just stop smoking. By taking nicotine patches, you delay the process. You could be over nicotine in as little as 3 weeks if you go cold turkey, yet some of those patch and gum systems make you go 6-12 weeks on their system. The other option is medicine that calms you down. I've quit on Wellbutrin before, which is an anti-depressant. It's other effect is that it calms down your nerves when you are craving a cigarette. This is kinda like cheating. Going cold turkey is hard, and by the end you're like, that was way too damn hard to do again, so I'm not going to start smoking again. But if you go the easy way, you're like, that was too easy, I'm gonna smoke again and quit again later. The other way to quit is to "cut down". Who has this ever fooled? If I wanted to get my Mom off of my back about smoking, I would say that I cut down. Then she would say "You should just quit." And I agree. Smoking is too involuntary for me to have to consciously take note of the last time I smoked, and then see if now is the time to have another one. That way may work for other people. But, I'd give a bazillion dollars to be able to smoke for a few days if I wanted, stop for a few weeks, smoke some, stop more, etc. It's gotta be a daily thing though. I wish nerves weren't so damn demanding. Stupid addicted nerves... stfu.

Stay tuned and wish me luck! It's not the first time I've tried to quit smoking, and in some twisted way I hope it will be the last. But as I've learned, there is no such thing as "I quit smoking". You're always in the process. I went for a year without smoking, and I never said that I kicked the habit. I was still trying to quit. My Dad's friend, Mr. Boyle, said he smoked for 20 years, stopping over 20 years ago, and still has dreams about enjoying a cigarette. Everyday you have the ability to just walk into a place and buy cigarettes, and you see people doing it, and you might walk by someone doing it and smell it. It's the worst thing in the world, yet also the best.

So, I won't be sleeping too well this week, even with gallons of NyQuil in my system. I took some tonight, went to bed by 8 or 9, and woke up at 3. It helps though, a lot. I might stop smoking but get hooked on NyQuil! Oh well... can't win 'em all.


I'm just about the sickest mofo in the world. I took off from work on Thursday and Friday of last week, but still, 4 days of rest and under the blankets, and 2 days with no smoking, I still feel like crap. Fever, congestion, dizziness, coughing, aches, pains, chills, and sneezing. This, I determined, was not sick enough to miss more work! Imagine what I felt on Thursday, then. It was the same symptoms, just magnified and multiplied. Excuse some crazy talk later in the post, I'm a bit hallucinogenic and think I'm writing this on a black notepad in black ink and storing it in a pouch I've sewn onto my back. Using Slim-Jim.

There's a bit of anger in the Muslim world because there's a drawing of "Muhammad" depicting him (sin) as a terrorist (more sin). Yes, it's bad to depict Muhammad in any way. I've seen multiple spellings so I have no idea how to spell it. Anyway, I plead ignorance if I ever drew him, or drew him in a way that is demeaning. But, Islam is a non-bull@#%t Religion. I've seen many depictions of Jesus, and some demeaning (the movie "Dogma" comes to mind), but Christians don't take to the streets and risk their own lives over it. Who cares? We don't mind what other people think. We can think that Kevin Smith is going to hell because of his "Buddy Christ", but other than that, what good does it do to complain about it? Nothing. You'll save other people from going to hell if you complain. I say, F#@%@ them, more room for me when I get to Heaven ;-)

The Steelers are good. That's all I have to say about that. (Other than they played every game away and won straight through, considering that at week 12 they were 7-5 and hardly considered to make the playoffs in the first place, and beat Indianapolis to get there). Mad props to Pittsburgh.

Kodie and I watched the game, and at half time, as I was getting my next load of laundry ready, I figured out how to stop smoking for good. Nyquil. First off, it's f!@#$ing disgusting. Ever taste that 5#%2? It's nasty because they want you to take it quick. Nyquil's better when you don't taste it, I learned. Just shoot it down like Grey Goose vodka (Freedom Vodka, as Kate's friends in Manayunk called it). I ended up waking up at 4am, then decided that I wasn't going to be in work by 6 (even though I could have left by now), and took another shot. I figure, when I'm quitting smoking, I won't be able to fall asleep because of withdrawal and "nic-fitting". So, why not take care of that problem? The hardest part about quitting smoking is doing things that you used to do while smoking. Since I always sleep when I'm smoking, this might take care of some of that. Or something. WTF? Wait. Oh, yeah, so it's hard to fall asleep when you're quitting smoking, so I just need something to help me in that department. The other stuff, like driving and smoking, or playing video games and smoking, or doing everything else I do and smoking... that sh@#%'s gotta stop. So, I figure, I'll just find something else to do. Like, drink coffee. But, that will just keep me awake, while the NyQuil is trying to put me to sleep. Obvious solution: coffee flavored NyQuil. That would be the bomb.

I may have more in a bit.