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Monday, January 3, 2011

Almost Three Weeks Smoke-Free. Applaud Me!


Almost three weeks ago, after 26 years and countless Newports inhaled in times of stress and boredom, exhaled, like some co-conspirator who rode shotgun with my pleasure, inhaled in those socially awkward moments, exhaled while shooting the tedious shit with friends and associates, inhaled in times of hunger and creative constipation, and exhaled as if the nicotine equivalent to an after-dinner mint, I decided the time had come to stop, to quit, to finally abandon my vile cig habit.

Cold turkey.


Yes. Applaud me! Thankyavurrrrmuch!

Doing anything cold turkey ain’t no joke, yo. The mind plays all kinds of cold and vicious tricks on you. You feel at odd times: sick to your stomach, tense, stressed, desperate, confused, deranged, deprived, moody, nervous, depressed, short-tempered, impatient, pissed, irritable, prone to mean-spirited sarcasm… and more. Trust me, those are pretty much the GOOD things on the cold turkey menu.

Without tribes of rabid monkeys gnawing their sharp little teeth against your back or some creepy sensation of bugs crawling all over your body, you still feel very much like a junkie trying so desperately to kick! As a result of this, you begin to suck as a person. For real, though. You make lousy company. You’re no longer any fun. You can’t even remember what fun feels like. Your charm is gone. Your wit has split. And your creativity has taken a severe hit.... or else it's on some extended vaca on the Isle of Time Out Of Mind.

But I’ve quit, yo! Yes, I'm currently crutch-free. No. Don’t applaud me, yet!

This. Is. Without Doubt. One. Of. Dee. Very. Hardest... (no, make that HOARDEST) Things I’ve Ever Had To Do! And I’m doing this to myself. I’m putting myself through this exercise in sensory deprivation and outright cruelty. The masochist in me is flipping the switch to my own suffering. The only saving grace is that I keep telling myself: I’m also doing this FOR ME!

I’m doing this because a New Year dictates that I usher in some new priorities.

I’m doing this so I’m no longer treated like a third-class citizen in this country.

I’m doing this to prove I have some power and some degree of self-control.

I’m doing this because, lately, I am not loving the sound of my own breathing.

I’m doing this to prove to myself that I’m not a weakling.

I’m doing this so my clothes won’t reek of smoke.

I’m doing this so I will become kissable again.

I’m doing this so I can walk up stairs & hills & long inclines without wheezing.

I’m doing this for economic reasons (cigarettes sell for TEN dollars in my ville, and the obscene sum of THIRTEEN DOLLARS a pack in NYC!!!).

I’m doing this because, although life is often hard, I would actually like to live as long as possible.

Yes. I’ve tried (3x) and failed to quit before. Strangely this time around feels more legit. All those other times I'd go a lil crazy, begin jonesin', and HAVE to light up, like after a good meal, however, now I’ve somehow refrained from that habitual behavior, and instead will just suck on a cough drop.

Although I’m not exactly a happy pappy these days, I still don’t have the desire to spit at, wish a pox upon, cuss a fool out, insult someone's mama, or murder anyone. YET!

Applaud me!

At this point, after almost three weeks, if I were to suddenly start smoking again, then I would consider myself a colossal failure. I hate failing at anything! I know that I am strong. I must learn to revel in my own strength and conviction, and, without vanity, to applaud my own magnificence.

I am learning something new every day about myself... and about this concept called WILLPOWER. You see, mentally, I’d made myself believe that I could not even write without my nicotine companion. The train of my thoughts would often derail, my creative gas pedal would stall, and there I’d be, lost, stranded in the scenery of a deep and profound writer’s block, unable to think, compose, come up with something decent or anything original. And then, I’d reach inside my shirt pocket, my fingers finessing the smooth contour of a cardboard green and white box. Inside there lay my twenty muses, or soldiers willing to help me overcome this battle. I’d light up a Newport, and suddenly, I was brilliant again.


Words came as if arriving on cool freight trains. New sentences were born, and ideas were fleshed out and fine-tuned, and all I had to do was inhale, and exhale. I’d romanticized this concept. Hmmm... Sheer creative brilliance came in this little green and white packet. Or so I’d thought.

But you see… that was all a lie… a dangerously clever lie the nicotine mentally placed inside my brain.

I am saner now. Despite my bouts of depression and my irritable disposition, I am saner because I’m no longer willing to walk through snow-blinding blizzards or schizophrenic alleys to cop my oh so dependable nic-fix.

See? I’m doing me now... the uncharming, unwitty, but ultimately FREE and liberated me, no longer a slave to Phillip Morris! And I am no longer that alarming social outcast reeking of smoke and nicotine all the while parading his weakness and his character flaws for everyone to see.

Yes. It’s been almost three weeks and counting…

So dammit, yes... applaud me!



Nicole said...

MUCH applause to you. For real.

Congratulations on the three weeks you've gone smoke-free and I'm sending you all kinds of encouragement vibes that you keep on the path toward a smoke-free existence and don't stray. I know it must be hard.

So applause and congrats. And good luck on your tough journey ahead. I know you don't real-life know me, but I'm proud of you.

Dorrie said...

applause! applause!

I wish I could get my bf to quit... he's a chain smoker and some day he'll regret it. But, as YOU know better then me (I NEVER smoked, ever), he won't admit it.

Recently he picked up his new car... a hybrid. He filled the tanks and smelled some gas fumes. Luckily he DIDN't light his cigarette, because the car was still too new (he had it one hour). He and his car would have gone BANG if he had.... there was a leak in the gas system. It's now fixed... but was a close call. Still... he continues to smoke *snif*

Desertflower said...

Amen! Good for you! Best wishes!

Mizrepresent said...

Wishing you the best Lin, i really do know how hard it is. My mom and brother also said they would stop this year...they are trying, but cold turkey wasn't their choice. Just keep believing in you and your worth, and all of us believing in you too!

nachalooman said...

I applaud you my brother!!!!
Just keep on keeping on, because it's going to get easier.

My mother and aunt both stopped smoking in their mid age---late fifties for my aunt and she's now a very spry ninety year old, who walks where she wants to, gets up and goes when she pleases, is not bent over nor using a cane or walker!!
My mom stopped in her early fifties and she's now 78 years old and gets around just as my aunt does!
Back in the day, they used me as a young 10 year old accomplice to cop their cigarettes, sending me to the store when it was still legal for a child to buy the Kools, Virginia Slims, Mores green, and others I can't remember!
I used to buy those children cigarettes for myself, some kind of cigarette shaped contraption that we put in our mouths and blew through and a poof of "smoke" (I think it was powdered sugar or something) would come out!! I remember feeling so adult like!

But their doctors told them to give it up and they each agreed with their doctors and did give up smoking! They have health and strength now to show for it!!

I applaud you brother and don't give up!!

Reggie said...

I congratulate you on both your choice and strong will. I have no doubt that you will be successful in this endeavor.

Good move!!!

Liberator Émigré Éire said...

Rapturous applause from the back!

I wish I could give up the demon drink...

~x~ said...

you got this brother mine.

wildstorm said...

Applauding your success!!! Congratulations to you.

♥ CG ♥ said...

Go Lin, this is a significant achievement! Proud of and happy for ya.

Happy New Year and big hugs to match ;-)!

WynnSong said...

Good for you my man.....
What doesn't Kill Us Makes Us Stronger as some wise friend of mine keeps telling me....

MsKnowitAll said...

much applause to you!

i went cold turkey and kicked my smoking habit 6 years ago. tomorrow is my anniversary.

i'm a living testament... you're worth every bit of sacrifice it takes to remain smoke-free. continue to enjoy breathing easier, smelling great and saving money.

treat yourself to something really nice!

The True Urban Queen said...

Congratulations on the three week smoke free life.

Let's see can I think of anything else encouraging to say. I would probably make some kind of comment that is funny but since you don't know me . .. you might find it not so funny :)

Anyway, good for you. Keep up the healthy choice.

CareyCarey said...

Well Moan, you know I have to do my thang and be the tough love spook that's sitting by your door.

To applaud you at this point could prove to be a dis-service to you, because the fight has just begun. but I truly believe you know that. Most people that try to kick an addiction (food, love, drink, smoke, habits, etc) have no clue of the monumental task ahead of them. And thus, the overwhelming majority of people quit in the very early stage of withdrawal.

However, I know you're on the right path because you admitted and identified all the things that make cigarettes a vile and disgusting habit.

AND, you've gone through the first stage that you verbalized so well. All the following is true, and, other need to hear it before they ever try to stop an addiction. Or, they will quit before they reach their goal.


"Doing anything cold turkey ain’t no joke, yo. The mind plays all kinds of cold and vicious tricks on you. You feel at odd times: sick to your stomach, TENSE stressed, desperate, CONFUSED, deranged, deprived, moody, nervous, depressed, short-tempered, impatient, pissed, irritable, prone to mean-spirited sarcasm… and more. Trust me, those are pretty much the GOOD things on the cold turkey menu.

Without tribes of rabid monkeys gnawing their sharp little teeth against your back or some CREEPY sensation of bugs crawling all over your body, you still feel very much like a junkie trying so desperately to kick (BECAUSE YOU ARE A JUNKIE TRYING TO KICK A HABIT)! As a result of this, you begin to suck as a person. For real, though. You make LOUSY COMPANY You’re NO longer any FUN. You can’t even remember what fun feels like. Your charm is gone. Your WIT HAS SPLIT. And your creativity has taken a severe hit.... or else it's on some extended vaca on the Isle of Time Out Of Mind"

Yes Moan, you're on your way. Big UP'S. But don't let your guard down. Months 3-6 will have their own set of obstcles. Never test yourself, no matter how strong the urge, don't listen to the call, don't bow down. That's the main trick of an addiction. You know, it will tell you that you're all right now, you've made it through the heaviest rains, so kiss me one more time and we'll do it differently -- this time. Don't believe it, don't look back.

As Sister West Side said, it always gets better over time. Let the time happen on it's time, and I believe you will learn so much about yourself.

Well, for sure you will learn if you're a punk or a strong man that knows when it's time to say "uncle".

Moanerplicity said...

Thanks so much, Nicole. I appreciate your positive vibe & expression. With each day that passes & I remain smoke-free, I become a little bit prouder of myself!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Dorrie: Sometimes it really takes a shock to the system to make a person DECIDE to stop! Even those close calls won't always qualify.

I hope he does decide to quit on his own. That would be a Blessing for both of you, no doubt.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Desertflower:

Thanks a lot for the best wishes!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Miz:

Wow! I wish all the best to your mom & brother as they make this often mad difficult journey into the land of the smoke-free! I'll keep a positive thought for the both of them!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Anna Renee-ness:

Yup. I rememba those fake keeeid cigs. Strangely I didn't indulge back then. Your adventures in cig-coppin eps are reminding me of my former downstairs neighbor's keeids from back in the day. There were five of them, & each was KNOWN to go on ciggy runs for their mama. LOL. The other neighbors used to consider that kinda behavior tres ghetto. Out of five kids in that fam, & only two that I know of ever started smoking while in their teens.

Meanwhle, the fact that your mom & auntie QUIT so many years ago really gives me HOPE! That shows how strong they were, & have remained. Yup. Knowing they've gotten over that cig hump definitely inspires me!

Bless them both!

Thanks for sharing.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Reggie:

Thanks for your words of confidence, bruh. I hope you're correct in your assumption that I'll make it thru this trial, victorious!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Jai:

I never was a very heavy drinker, so that's not been a battle for me. If you're attempting to ease up on your intake, than MAD PROPS, pa!


Moanerplicity said...

@ ~X~

Thanks muchly! Your belief only helps to strengthen my own!


Moanerplicity said...

@ wildstorm:

Thanks for visiting & for the congrats. I hope I'll continue to EARN them!


Moanerplicity said...

@ CG:

Thanks, MaMa! I'm trying to make some positive change in my own life & maybe inspire a few other nic-heads to join me!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Wynnn:

True words, my friend! I'm finding this to be the case more & more each day.



Moanerplicity said...

@ MsKnowItAll:

Wow! Happy Anniversary! Your story truly INSPIRES me. For real! You make what I'm facing seem like it's really worth all the pain & discomfort I'm currently experiencing!

I KNOW can DO this! Thanks for confirming this & for reppin a new smoke-free reality, my Sista!


Moanerplicity said...

@ The True Urban Queen:

Thanks for the comment. I'm not really in humor mode yet. This is one of those nasty lil side effects. :-(


Moanerplicity said...

@ Carey:

Oh man. Leave it to you to bring the pain. LOL. You know what? I need your pov b/c it stops me from becoming TOO cocky or over-confident.

You don't really KNOW me, Carey, but I'm a very, VERY, VURRRR strong-willed cat. I've had to be & now that's become a part of my history. I KNOW what I'm made of, b/c I've been tested. I've done fasts, lived w/ only the bare essentials, & made some mad hard sacrifices in my life. This one is hard, no doubt, but I do have faith that I can overcome it.

I promise not to let my guard down. Well, I can promise to TRY not to! Now I also have YOU to answer to... & I don't look forward to that experience in eating crow! LOL.


D-Place said...

Standing Ovation!! I'm gonna try this year too.

Chet said...

By all means you're to be applauded for giving up the cigarette smoking and taking back your health and willpower.
"strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will." Mathatma Gandhi

It takes more than just willpower to shake the Newports off, I'm diligently trying to give them up myself, but they too have been my companion for a minute and I miss them everytime I put them down.

Kudos to you on giving them up for all the right reasons. First and foremost your health, making you kissable again, your clothes now smell of your favorite fragerance instead of smoke and you'll start breahing better.

Intelligent choice you made, you'll do just fine.

Tia's Real Talk said...

Wow that is absolutely wonderful!!! 2011 is our beginnings and a new start! I applaud you job well done!!

Lovebabz said...

I like the kissable part... and if I run into you in NYC I will!

Happy New Year! I am so THRILLED! I am on my coffee table clapping and stomping as if you just one the pulitzer!

Keep the faith, there will always be a pull to smoke and if you do, you slip back into a familiar place...cigarettes and ex-lovers are seductive that way.

Moanerplicity said...

@ D-Place:

Thanks, bruh. I didn't realize those 'Ports had you by the short & curlies too. I have my own theories about Newports & just why they seem to be a BLACK burden.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Chet:

Wow! Et tu, Chet? It's mos def a struggle & a battle on the daily. But I'm beginning to feel like I can WIN this. & if I can work this, then surely YOU & others can as well.

We are so much stronger than our compulsions, our habits, our vices & those voices in our headz!

Thanks for the kudos.


Moanerplicity said...

@ Tia:

Thanks so much, Mami. We can't expect better of a New Year if we are not willing to try, put in some work, & DO better for ourselves. This is just my personal attempt to do better; my contribution to that concept.

Happy New Year, Tia!


Moanerplicity said...

@ Lovebabz:

With these soup-coolers of mine, kissing has never been a problem. But I would like my kissers & kissees to walk away having enjoyed the experience to the FULLEST & yes, w/ a mo fragrant aftertaste... lol.

I agree. Cigarettes & old lovers DO have a certain magnetic appeal that can draw us right straight back into our clutches! IF we LET them!

** Taking a deep breath... reminding myself to stay STRONG!**

Happy New Year, my Sista!


rebecca said...

Ok, I'm standing up and giving you a standing ovation. Seriously. The hardest part is over. Well done my friend and I'm happy that you are taking many good things into consideration as to the benefits of giving up this very addictive and alluring habit....

Since you no longer reek like cigs, realize mucho ladies will be seeking your attention. Hell's yea!

As for me, one week free of soda! So can I get a Hell's Yea brother?!

mZ E said...

thats a REALLY BIG Accomplishment! *clapping* also *high-five*
Not many can go even a week and for you to be up to 3 weeks is Awesome! *smile* Keep up the good work! I'm rooting for you!
Stay Blessed..

Moanerplicity said...

@ Rebecca:

Hey, thanks for the props! And yes YOU too deserve some for giving up those mad addictive, calorie-packed, can't-really-drink-just-one-a-day soft drinks! Your struggle is just as real & valid as mine & I wish you continued strength & willpower in your battle!


Moanerplicity said...

@mZ E:

Thanks for the visit. Yes, I realized that after the first smoke-free week I was gonna be very serious about quitting for good, THIS TIME!

Thanks for the support. Every little bit, & every encouraging word actually does HELP to keep me in it to win it!



Felicia Monique said...

Applauding, baby...not only your success, but the writing of your experiences. And the beautiful insight that you've gained into your reasons for continuing to reach for your "twenty muses."

BRA-VO! ;)

Moanerplicity said...

@ Fee:

Thanks, Felicia. I really had myself believing that I NEEDED nicotine to write, to be creative & to jump-start my muse. There have been studies that suggest nicotine stimulates a part of the brain that ushers in creativity... so some of this stuff wasn't ALL my imagination.


Going into WEEK FOUR now!


Curious said...

They say that it's easier to give up heroin than it is to give up cigarettes. I wouldn't know since I've never had heroin and I've given up giving up cigarettes.

They also say, in addition to the obvious health benefits, that not only does sense of smell come back after quitting but so does your sense of taste. Is that true, does food actually taste better to you now? Either way, I hope you succeed. Your success will be my success or at least maybe an impetus for me to try once more before the doctor tells me to sit down and brace myself.

Again, much luck!

Moanerplicity said...

@ Curious:

It's RUFF, man. Funny thing is, I no longer crave or miss cigs. What I miss/crave most is FEELING calm within. I really miss having a good night's SLEEP! The issues of stress & anxiety, coupled w/ shortness of breath (as my lungs slolwly grow use to a smoke-free environment) leaves me feeling overwhelmed to the point I'm afraid to sleep even when I'm bone-tired. Since I refuse to get hooked on some new med, I'd been advised to cop some vitamins (Melatonin & Valerian Root) to quell & calm these troublesome issues.

As for the taste of food: these days I'm not enjoying food so much, & often find myself throwing away something I would normally have eaten until it was finished.

So those glorious benefits people speak of after quitting smoking have yet to visit me.

Meanwhile, it's now been over a month since my last cig.

Not trying to make this seem like a cakewalk b/c it's far from it! It's HARD!!! Still, I wish mad good luck to you!


CareyCarey said...

:Curious said: "They say that it's easier to give up heroin than it is to give up cigarettes"

Curious, people say alot of trite phrases and don't know WTH they are talking about.

Although I am not trying to minimize the uphill battle of kicking cigarette, the struggle of kicking Heroin is like fighting a gray back gorilla.

Now, if you ask me, I'll tell you the struggles of both from a very personal level. I will not tell you what someone said, I'll tell you what I know.

In short, I have not seen many people kick heroin. All the things Moan is going through (which he describes so well) is just a fraction of the journey of kicking heroin. Don't get me wrong, all the "pain" Lin is going through, ie, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, different bowel movements, boredom, lonliness, lack of concentration etc, are very real. However, the journey back from Heroin withdrawal is much more intense and lasts longer.

But again, after it's all said and done, believe everything Moan is saying, withdrawal is long and very difficult. It's not for the weak of heart.

On a side note, a person can die from alcohol withdrawal but it seldom happens from Heroin withdrawal.

@ Moan, I would question taking any substance to ease your ills, including Melatonin & Valerian Root.

Reaching for something to replace the natural brain chemistry is the biggest trick of the addiction.

I think it was Les McCain that said, "Let It Lay, don't put your hands on it". Hold tight and let it happen. There will be periods in which you'll feel like you're going backwards, but in time the sun will shine again. Man to man, that's a fact.

You've been blessed with an ability to put your thoughts on paper. Who knows, maybe your journey is your purpose in life. Write it down as you go through. It will ease your mind and give you something to reflect on when you get to the other side.

We need brothas like you. Everyone cannot say (let alone write) what's on their mind.

Jason said...

Claps and daps my dude...for the write and the will not to light up!

It's hard to permanently vacate from familiar surroundings. I've never been a smoker but I've seen through friends and family that quitting can be a real bitch.

As you revealed so beautifully here, the experience has been grueling but I'm sure necessary.

I applaud your strength my brother and thanks for checking on a dude during my hiatus.

Curious said...

I guess this is where I do my Sarah act.

Although it was never my intention, it occurs to me that I may have insulted those of us afflicted with some sort of addictive associated behavior. For that I apologize to no one in particular but to everyone in general. It was wrong for me to "minimize" those experiences that were different from my own with quaint but possibly offensive lines from sources of which are unknown to me.

Again, I am truly sorry to all those that may have been offended.