The cycle: quitting, starting, quitting, …

I crave a cigarette as I write these words. I reach for a cigarette burning in an ashtray that is not there beside the computer. Writing may be as strong a trigger point for my smoking as coffee, beer, and whiskey.

Quitting smoking this time is harder than the other times I have quit. The times I quit before, I did it gradually by cutting back the number of cigarettes I smoked to a few each day. This time I went from two to two and a half packs a day down to zero overnight. I will have an extended time where I have to go through the basic craving stage before my mind forgets about nicotine.

The last three times I have quit smoking, I have had girlfriends who encouraged me to do it. The latest is V. If V told me she did not care to see me anymore, I wonder if I would not start smoking again. That would definitely be a powerful trigger point. If I did start smoking again for that reason, it would definitely show a weakness of character on my part. Can anyone really quit an addiction if they are not strong enough to do it on their own and for themselves as the primary beneficiary?

However, this is all idle speculation at this time. I will not smoke cigarettes again, ever.

Published in: on May 16, 2008 at 9:43 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. Lynn, I’m writing this with a glass of red wine close by and a burning cigarette in the ashtray next to it.

    I enjoy smoking. I start each morning with jogging in the wood, having a shower afterwards, a cup of coffee and a pipe of good tobacco. It’s my moment of zen.

    Smoking is not just pleasure. It’s jouissance.

    And to equate quitting smoking with strength of character is – I think – at best a misuse of the latter concept and an acceptance of the totalitarianism of political correctness.

    But, hey, as a trade-off for love, etc, it equals giving up other pursuits for what you want.

    Isn’t it really about autonomy – and bio-chemistry, I guess?

    You have made an (existentialistic?) choice which deserves respect. And all the best to you.

    But is it also a cost-benefit analysis, too?

    I’m often reminded of Nietzsche’s axiom It’s not about living longer. It’s about living MORE.

    PS: Yes, it’s damned difficult (and humiliating) to be a smoker in the U.S. and northern Europe today. What IS it about this modern day cult of virginity and self-denial?


  2. Orla,

    I did give up something I liked. I have not gotten beyond my cravings for a cigarette, but I am sticking with my decision to quit once and for all.

    I admire people who can smoke a cigarette at the bar with their drink and then forget about smoking until the next time. I was never that way. To have one cigarette meant smoking 2 to 3 packs per day.

    Chicago went nonsmoking in the bars at the beginning of the year. I doubt I could have quit if I was sitting around burning cigarettes.

    Looking at the cost/benefit I am sure that I will see the benefits once my cravings subside.

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