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Closet Fascination

A blog about a journey, smoking, not smoking, vaping and everything in between

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cravings

On a roll…

So I drove by myself a lot this weekend, meaning I spent a lot of time thinking about how Strange and Beautiful might go. I have the story outlined until where it began initially so now I just have to get it written out.

The unfortunate side effect of writing smoking fiction or even outlining possible story lines for smoking fiction is it made me really want to smoke. The urge was the worst when I was hungry. If I hadn’t correctly identified what I really needed, I was pretty close to buying a pack of cigarettes today.  I had the exact scheme and even how I’d get away with smoking it before I got home to my husband.

But I don’t want to start that again, where I’m smoking behind his back and I really don’t actually want to start smoking, despite what my fantasies say. That is what my 9 months of vaping and subsequent quit gave me. I’m able to separate reality vs fantasy. The urge I had today was the type that frequently led to me purchasing cigarettes and smoking in the past, but I guess I figured out how to ride these out.

What worked for those of you looking for tips: knowing that my desire in the moment no matter how big, was not bigger than my desire to be honest with myself, not start smoking again and also recognizing that it was all in my head, not from a legitimate need. I needed food and I think because I was thinking about my story, my brain was like you need to smoke. To be fair, when I was actively using nicotine that typically is how I felt when I needed to vape.

Anyhow, I got home and instead of doing chores or what not, I started to pen Chapter 24. So here it is: Chapter 24. Enjoy!

Watch “What It’s Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety” on YouTube

My cousin posted this on my Facebook. My reaction was: this explains my life. 

I noticed that my thoughts of smoking have increased recently. I’m dealing with some stressful stuff. My dad is currently in a bad manic state. He is drinking and driving and I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t worry. To be honest, it has been hard keeping up appearances that everything is OK. 

I noticed my cravings to smoke have increased, but it is really that my anxiety is sky high. I know I don’t want to smoke, that it is just my mind looking for something to decrease the anxiety. 

I’m doing my best to cope, but I’m looking into going to talk to my doctor and a counsellor, just to have someone outside the situation to talk to. 

I haven’t been on meds since I was a teen, but maybe it is something to consider.

Without further ado: 

Day 28 (Part 1): Cravings of a different sort

I haven’t had a strong nicotine craving in awhile. I’m currently, however, experiencing a strong urge to eat all the sweets in house. I’m much less practiced at resisting these urges. I’ve already partially given in.

The only solution: remove myself from the house and distract myself until the cravings subside. Until tomorrow…

Day 17: One Craving Day…

Today, I only had one craving but it was a doozy. It came out of nowhere and was like being hit by a truck. I had just finished eating a most delicious lunch- a croque monsieur , when out of nowhere: intense craving. I really wanted nicotine or a cigarette. I wouldn’t have been picky either. Suddenly, cigarettes (which haven’t smelled good to me since I started vaping) smelled good. I got through it by ‘surfing the urge’. I vaped a bit when we got back to the car and then I felt fine.

I consider this type of craving to be ‘psychological’. I’ve been having this type of craving my whole adult life (since the first puff).The difference is now I can recognise that I don’t actually want to smoke, whereas before it was the road not traveled. How could I know I didn’t want it when I hadn’t explored that road? I suspect I will have these cravings for the rest of my life. Who knows, I mean the longest I’ve gone in my adult life without tobacco or nicotine is 5 years.

Vaping does help me relieve this type of craving. The sick, twisted part of me enjoyed the craving. But I guess if I can find a way to enjoy the cravings without giving in, I figure I’ve won.

 

Coming Down

I think I am starting to understand how the habitual part of smoking develops. So I have been smoking about one cigarette per day (not including Monday- when I had two) since Sunday. Like all scientific research has shown the dopamine is key. The first part of my day is great- I’m happy, I have energy and life is good. But then right around about three hours after my last cigarette, I start to feel – well the best way to explain it is down or almost like I’m hungry, but not. I know that I could make the feeling go away if I just lit up a cigarette. 

I’ve noticed that physical craving, if that is what that is, is much easier to ignore than any psychological craving I have had. I’m not sure why that is, other than the fact that it could be that I am just not accustomed to responding that way, so I don’t. And the physical want for a cigarette diminishes over time. It is actually the psychological craving that eventually gets me to smoke again in the morning. And the cycle repeats. If this is what it feels like to only smoke occasionally or lightly, I’m not sure my body can handle it. It does indeed feel like I am in withdrawal (because no doubt I’m sure my brain misses the party that I give it in the morning), and I am not sure how I feel about that. 

I’m sort of a crossroads of sorts. I’ve been letting my guard down slowly, as being addicted to something (unless caffeine) sort of terrifies me. I think that I am at the point where I either have to go full steam ahead, with no restraint or quit and just deal with having the psychological cravings. I mean those cravings were there long before I ever touched a cigarette so I’m thinking they will continue to plague me. 

I’m sure I could handle smoking occasionally, if I didn’t do it every day. But if I am going to smoke every day, I feel like eventually one cigarette will not be enough. Actually I know myself, and I know it won’t be enough. I mean I can already feel my mood change in a single day just three hours after my last cigarette. But I think now is the time to make my choice since I have this feeling that if I do decide to give in entirely to the dark side, I won’t be coming back from it for a very long time. If ever.

To Boldly go? Not yet…

Plenty of contradiction going on in my brain right now. As much as I hoped the peace would last, it did not. Essentially I am almost right back where I started, but I understand myself a lot better now. What do I truly desire? I think I actually truly desire to be a smoker as illogical as that is. Even though the process of becoming one would involve sickness (as it already has) and coming out to all of my friends (many of whom would probably suggest the many ways I can quit). No one would understand.  I know what I don’t want. I do not want to keep smoking in the closet. There is too much stress involved and frankly the stress ruins the experience.

I just recently saw the new Star Trek movie which I highly recommend. I’m no Trekkie although I think it is just because I never really sat down and watched episodes in succession. Whether or not I am a Trekkie really isn’t the point. The movie got me thinking about logic though- particularly because of Spock’s struggle in the movie between his logical Vulcan side and his emotional human side. In the movie, Spock feels like he has to pick a side and feels conflicted as to what side he should pick. Logically- it makes sense, pick his Vulcan side. But his emotional attachment to his mother, means that as logical as Spock can be, he retains a bit of his humanness and is unable to forsake his heritage. I guess I identified with that since that seems to be what I always come back to. The logical choice of not smoking, and the illogical but infinitely more attractive option of giving in. At least it seems more attractive on days like today where the thought of a cigarette sends makes me salivate like one of Pavlov’s Dogs. 

Cravings like this are fairly unpredictable. I’ve had them before and to be quite honest I’m not sure how I did not give in today. I mean I had cigarettes on me, a lighter. I’ve only ever resisted this type of craving in the absence of cigarettes. I mean I was sitting in the library trying to study, practically shaking. I guess that is why I am afraid of addiction because in some ways I almost feel like I am already there. I guess I’m still not willing to relinquish my last shards of self-control. Today, for once, I was not trying to prove I have self-control although that might be how it seems. You know what motivated me not to smoke? Social reasons. I still care entirely too much about what people think and about getting caught by people I know.  Sigh… I read this interesting blog about cravings.  I’m not sure I underestimate mine. I think one day I’m going to crack. In some ways, I hope I do soon.

Giving in and Feeling Good…

I wasn’t going to smoke today. Mainly because it was really cold out but as the day wore on and the temperature got warmer I couldn’t put the thought out of my head. So I figured- what the hell. I’m not going to get any work done sitting here thinking about it.

I only smoked about 3/4 of the cigarette- I still have fears of overdoing it and I enjoy the pleasant buzz but no longer “high” that allows me to concentrate better. I’m positive I’m not imagining that effect. What is more is as the effects become more subtle- I notice the other, more sensual effect smoking has on me that much more. That is an interesting development to say the least and not an effect that I anticipated.

I have a feeling I will be forced into making some choices very soon… sigh. For now I will enjoy and use this moment of blissful concentration.

Chocolate and Cigarettes

As I was reflecting on the craving I had last night, I realized it was not completely unfamiliar. I’ve had very similar cravings for chocolate. Almost identical actually. Just last night, instead of craving chocolate or sweets, I craved a cigarette. The only thing that was different my craving pre- last cigarette was this was the first time I actually had the ability to satisfy the craving. I mean- I had a whole pack of cigarettes that I could have just lit one up and satisfied the craving almost instantly. I can remember times when I have almost run to the grocery store in search of chocolate. In fact, I’m eating some chocolate right now. Really, I should be preparing myself some food because I have not eaten since breakfast. But there is something so sinful about eating chocolate instead of  a regular meal. I know I’ll have to eat something more substantial than chocolate soon, because I’ve been starving since about lunch time. I forgot my lunch at home, along with my wallet so I couldn’t even buy food if I wanted to. It made my last class torture- I mean I all I could think about was food. But I got home and had an idea for a post and instantly my mind went to the chocolate I still have left over from Christmas and suddenly nothing else would do.

I have long professed that I am indeed a chocoholic. I think if someone told me that chocolate was bad for me, I probably ask for another piece. There isn’t much evidence for physical addiction to chocolate- but by golly I definitely have a psychological one. I have something chocolate almost every day. Almost always good quality chocolate- none of this cheap stuff. I don’t even think about it- I just ingest. My mind says- chocolate chocolate chocolate and I go yes- how fast do you want it? Yes- chocolate isn’t necessarily good for you like broccoli and sure- if you consume too much all the time, you put yourself at risk for obesity, diabetes and probably even heart disease. 

What I found interesting when I did my google search is something I read in this article. It said:

Debra Zellner, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Shippensburg University, believes women crave chocolate because they have turned it into a nutritional taboo. It tastes wonderful, but it’s sinful because it’s loaded with fat and calories. Women crave chocolate when they are feeling low or before their periods because they have told themselves it is something they cannot have. Zellner conducted a study comparing chocolate cravings in Spanish and American women. She found that Spanish women, who did not see chocolate as a forbidden food, craved chocolate less than American women did. Zellner attributes chocolate cravings entirely to psychological associations and believes the bioactive chemicals found in chocolate occur in too small of amounts to have a neurological impact. 

I find this interesting since that is probably the very reason I crave cigarettes, at least on a psychological level, combined with the knowledge of the pleasure I will get. I see it as forbidden- even now after purchasing a pack and smoking one. I also feel the power smoking has over me already and I’m a little frightened to submit like I have with chocolate. I guess I haven’t completely submit with chocolate- but I haven’t cut it out of my life. I mean there is a reason I only have minimal amounts of chocolate in the house at a time. If I’ve got the chocolate, I eat it and I eat it all.

I guess what I am not familiar with is overcoming the craving- it feels good to give in yes, but it also felt very good to beat the craving like I did last night. Maybe what I want to do, only smoke occasionally, might not be something I can do. Maybe my drive to smoke will overcome me and I’ll say screw it and come out to the world. I could stop now and not risk becoming physically addicted but I know I will hopelessly crave smoking psychologically as I have for the many years before ever even trying it. I’ve decided that it is worth the risk of because life if too short to keep denying myself.

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