I am feeling cranky.

It’s not that it’s the Christmas season. I generally like the Christmas season.

It’s true that I’m feeling all kinds of crankiness and stress over all the things I have to do that I don’t know how I will find the time to do. Between my work hours, the children, and my husband’s work hours — oh, and my love of a full night (between 7 and 8 hours) of sleep — and all I want to get done… sigh. I just don’t know what to do. Plus a small health issue (not the one below); plus the tedious busy-ness at work; plus unusual side drama…. yadda, yadda, yadda.

The real issue on my plate lately is this: I am addicted to cigarettes. And I cannot seem to find my way into wanting to quit, let alone quitting.

And this, clearly, is a problem.

Because cigarette smoking is bad. Unhealthy. Smelly. Inconvenient, now that winter is here and most places are non-smoking. Embarrassing, even. I mean who wants to stand out in the cold indulging in a bad habit?

I do not smoke in my house. I do not smoke around my children at all. I do not smoke at all, as a matter of fact, until I am “done for the day”. Meaning, I have no more chores, no more laundry to fold, no more kitchen cleaning. I finish up for the night, grab a book, grab a smoke, bundle up (embarrassing), and go outside for my lone cigarette of the day. And about 20 to 30 minutes later, I go to bed.

I have quit many times before. Three pregnancies aside, I can count about five other times I have stopped smoking for months or years. I kept telling myself that I would quit again this winter. Because it’s idiotic to go outside in the cold to smoke. And since Allegheny County technically has gone non-smoking, it’s not as if I can wander to the nearest bar or restaurant to indulge. (Which would be challenging in any case — I’d have to find a babysitter and all.)

Since the weather has changed, I have gone a few days here and there without a smoke. I think I even made it to about 10 days at one point since, say, October. I smoked one night over Thanksgiving weekend (we met some friends at a non-smoking bar). Two cigarettes.

And when I don’t smoke, or I don’t have cigarettes in the house, I stress about it. I miss it. I crave it.

I keep telling myself not to buy that next pack. But then I do. And about 20 days later, they are all gone. And I go a few days without smoking. And tell myself not to buy that next pack. And then I do.

Anyone else ever in this situation? What did you do? What do you do? It’s obviously as much as a habit as an addiction. It’s like checking something off my to-do list. Kids in bed, check. Laundry, check. Dishwasher running, check. Nicotine fix, check. Half hour of reading, check. Wash face, brush teeth, bed.

I actually feel good about writing this post. I feel like it’s a positive step in freeing myself from this addiction. Isn’t that the first step, admitting you have a problem?

Hi, my name is Red Pen Mama, and I am a smoke-a-holic.

8 thoughts on “Smokin’

  1. Well, first off – don’t beat yourself up too much, because it IS an addiction. Nicotine works on the same part of the brain as heroin. It’s a hard habit to break.

    Its good that you are a light smoker – it could definitely be worse. The downside is that even light smoking can have a significant health impact – particularly among women.

    Don’t be afraid to try a nicotine replacement product to help you. So many people don’t because they feel like it’s not “really” quitting, or that they are trading one addiction for another, or that they should be strong enough to do it alone. bullshit on all counts. Nicotine itself is safe (unless you have other serious health problems), but the nicotine in cigarettes is accompanied by about 70 carcinogens (the nicotine itself does not cause any of the smoking related diseases, contrary to the belief of many people), so using NRT is immediately better than smoking. And there are some good products out there now – with new, better flavors than years ago. Can you tell I work in this field? I’ll get off my soapbox now.

  2. First time reader, but this post spoke to me, so I had to comment and I’ll be back! I was a social and stress induced smoker. I quit, probably six times… it would last for a month or two. For me, it was pregnancy that helped break my habit for good. My daughter is now 4 months old, so it’s been a little over a year since my last cig. I don’t think about it on a daily basis anymore, and am only tempted every once in a while. I can’t give you advice about breaking the habit- I think everyone has to find what works for them. All I know is, once you give it up… DO NOT GO BACK! All it takes is one cig, out with friends. It’ll be sooo good, and you’ll have the rest of the pack left, and *poof* you’ll be back in the habit. Good luck!

  3. I have a love/hate relationship with smoking. At this point, I only indulge when A) Hubby is out of town a couple of times a year and I put the girls to bed, and B) If/when I am with certain girlfriends (ahem, that means you and a few others!) and none of them are pregnant, and we are having many cocktails. Other than that, I don’t. It wasn’t always this way.

    Good luck. Fortunately, you are thinking about quiting at a good time, what with the weather and all.

  4. Gina: I’ve thought of a nicotine substitute, but how much nicotine is in a patch? Or gum? I smoke one cigarette a day. I don’t want to trade one cigarette for the equivalent of more than one cigarette, nicotine-wise. I KNOW how bad it is for me — and I’m still having problems quitting for good.

    Andrea: I had no problem quitting when I was pregnant. And I was so good for six, seven months afterwards. But I always “fell off the wagon” as it were.

    MH: I am too embarrassed most of the time to smoke when DearDR is home. Unless we have a big fight. 🙂 I don’t remember you smoking last time at Cook Forest, and I remember being jealous. And I was the only one who smoked at Girlie Weekend this year, too. It’s so mortifying!

    thanks for the comments!


  5. Good for you! Taking the first step is tough…my hubby tried the lozenges and gum. It is such a hard habit to break…is there something you could replace it with? Chocolate, perhaps? the dark chocolate, with all the antioxidants…it really is good for you 🙂

  6. I agree with Hope (Hi Hope!). Dark chocolate with all the antioxidants is definitely better.

    Please don’t beat yourself up. I once sat in a Paris cafe — very pregnant — with my [very conservative and totally smoke-intolerant] hubby and told him I would give my left (fill in the blank) for a single Gauloise.

    Malcolm Gladwell would call me a “chipper”. And not a very good one. Oy.

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