It has been three days since I last smoked. Last night, was the first time I didn’t feel hungry. During that time and also the three consecutive days I smoked prior, I noticed something that I’m sure I previously noticed, but never really clicked until now.  What I noticed was a hunger. This hunger was so similar to physical hunger, but I would eat and still feel hungry.  I first noticed this on the second day.  I periodically would feel nauseous, but it was worse as the day went on. Food seemed to partially satisfy, but never fully. I knew through the portions I was eating that I shouldn’t be hungry.

Dinner came and I was ravenous. I ate a delicious meal, shared a bottle of wine with friends and I felt pretty amazing.  But the hunger returned. It was suggested that we have a smoke after dinner. That sounded like a great idea. I lit up, inhaled. Satisfaction.  By the time I finished the cigarette, I felt full. Physical hunger for nicotine satisfied.  It happened again the next day. By lunch, I felt nauseous again. I ate. Felt mostly satisfied.  My co-worker I was carpooling with suggested we smoke after lunch.  I had a couple of pipe tobacco cigarettes left. We pulled over and indulged ourselves. Nausea gone.  Satisfied again.  To think that something that once caused me to be nauseous, would now relieve nausea.

What was most interesting, is that in the past my cravings have been mostly psychological. This was the first time I felt a physical craving without an associated psychological craving. I find it amazing how quickly my body adapted to having nicotine in it. At some point in my life that would have terrified me. I can only imagine that physical discomfort/ psychological discomfort increases the longer you smoke for.  The experience reminded me that in order to remain an occasional smoker, one must only smoke occasionally. I also got a small sense of what quitting smoking must be like. All that remains is the psychological cravings I always have.  Those do not cause nearly as much discomfort as they did in the past. One thing that I did in the past that increased the discomfort of psychological cravings was obsess over them and judge myself for having these cravings. The obsession just caused the desire to be worse. I started using mindfulness to deal with cravings before actually knowing what mindfulness is. If you are trying to quit smoking I highly recommend this technique. You can read about it here.

As I write this, I feel hungry again. But alas, this time, only for food. Until next time.