This post is going to address what might seem like a sudden, perhaps impulsive quit, when in fact I have been considering this for awhile. I have probably been thinking of quitting since just before Christmas when I started to, well, just not feel as good as I was before. Reducing nicotine helped. I was sleeping better, my cravings during the day were reduced. Then I got sick with a cold where I ended up quitting for three days unintentionally. I figured, not seriously, I would keep it up as long as I could but that did not survive contact with my smoking friend. She didn’t pressure me. I was craving (as one does during a quit attempt) and I took the offered cigarette. I started vaping nicotine again that day and didn’t stop until I vaped my last nicotine at 10 pm on April 18th. As of today at 10 pm, I will have gone 72 hours without nicotine.
This quit feels different in a lot of ways. I’m not quitting out of fear of addiction (like I normally do). I feel like I’ve jumped down the rabbit hole that I have always wanted to see the other side of, have seen it, experienced it and now I want to experience jumping back out. I feel like I’ve gotten all I can out of nicotine and I feel like it isn’t giving me much back anymore. That- is my main motivation for quitting. I’m simply not enjoying using it anymore.
Now let me explain this in more detail. I’ve always been an intermittent or very light smoker when I smoked. Which means the buzz was never gone. Almost every cigarette that didn’t make me sick was pleasurable. When I started vaping, I started at 6 mg. I now realize this was probably too strong, but I got some wicked buzzes at the beginning from it. The thing is: I love that buzz, the rush of dopamine. It is amazing. I will probably always love that feeling. The thing is, regular use leads to tolerance and with tolerance the buzz is gone. I probably haven’t felt ‘the buzz’ for months now. I know how I could get it back: increase my nicotine level. When this first happened to me in the summer, that is what I did. It works, but I could see that eventually I would need higher and higher nicotine. I went back down 6 mg with no issue, but it was clear that the pleasure obtained from vaping was now going to be obtained through relieving withdrawal. So while this does carry a certain amount of pleasure in itself, basically I was just using nicotine to feel normal, to relieve the anxiety of withdrawal.
If I had a different job, this might not be an issue. But I work at a job where vaping throughout the day isn’t really an option. I considered using lozenges to get me through the day but when it came down to it, I didn’t really see the point of continuing where the only pleasure I was getting was relieving withdrawal. I mean if vaping nicotine wasn’t really feeling like much anymore. I mean I guess it was making me feel normal again, but the special feeling was gone.
I guess I decided it just wasn’t worth the trouble anymore. Especially when it seems vaping nicotine-free scratches the psychological itch. 72 hours in and already the withdrawal anxiety is gone or at least mostly. My main physical withdrawal symptom is fatigue, but no insomnia. So far I’ve had none of the other symptoms.
Do I regret my journey down the rabbit hole? No. I don’t fear addiction anymore. While it was the obsessive-loss of control I thought it would be it wasn’t nearly as scary to lose control as I thought it would be. What jumping down the rabbit hole has done is smoking and nicotine use is no longer this thing that I have been denying myself for years. The forbidden fruit was no longer forbidden. I plan on never leaving nicotine/ tobacco off limits because complete denial led me to where I was at before. You might be thinking: doomed for failure. Perhaps. But this is my plan: I think using is a choice. A choice that becomes more difficult the more addicted you get. Pretty soon you don’t really even think much about it, it is just something you do. So far over the past three days, I’ve been using this mindset to not use. I think to myself, “I could use nicotine right now, but I’m choosing not to.” This worked from the start. I actually have a half-full tank of 3 mg Bowden’s Mate (my favourite e-juice) I need to eventually clean out. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I planned to reduce then quit so I still had some left.
Here is my list of reasons to choose not to use nicotine:
- You sleep better when you aren’t using
- No more cravings during the work day when you can’t use
- Nicotine feels good at the start but in the end you just need to use it to feel normal
- Vaping nicotine-free fulfills my psychological ‘need’ to smoke something
So there it is… I’m happy with this choice and feel at peace again.