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Closet Fascination

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

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starting smoking

Comfort Zone: Why Quitting (or starting) Smoking is Hard

This weekend I had some insight as to why it is hard to both quit smoking (or start smoking). Weather is getting warmer here and basically to me and my fiancee that means that it is pipe smoking season. So we had a pipe on Friday evening and it was nice. At some point in the evening, I decided that I wanted to roll some pipe tobacco cigarettes. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided that I would roll two and smoke them the next day. I had to go into work to do some paperwork, so it would be the perfect time to smoke by myself. Now you are probably thinking, “Before long she’ll be hooked.” Or that I’m going to go back to my closet smoking days. Technically, it was somewhat closeted smoking in that I told nobody and I smoked alone. I didn’t go to super great lengths to hide it like I had in the past. I almost couldn’t wait to smoke the first one and it was everything I expected it to be. I went into work riding a nice buzz that kept me focused for hours. I smoked the next one just after lunch, it was good but less so than the first, probably because I made the filter wrong and it was really hard to draw on.

I didn’t really think about smoking for the rest of the day. I contemplated rolling more cigarettes last night, but opted for just packing the materials so that I could do it the next day if I wanted to. I had to go into work again today and around 9:30 am, I contemplated rolling and smoking another cigarette. It would be so easy, nobody would know. But instead, I just kept working like I normally do. I didn’t really think of smoking at all for the rest of the day.

But it did get me thinking. I work with people teaching them how to make big changes in their lives, like quitting hard drugs or finding better ways to manage their anger. One thing we often talk about is comfort zone. If I had started smoking as a teenager, smoking would be my comfort zone. It would feel weird not doing it. That is why quitting smoking is so hard. Conversely, if you have a well practiced habit of not smoking, it is your comfort zone and despite how addictive smoking might be,  I think it is this very thing that allows me to smoke occasionally. That said, if I were surrounded by smokers in my life, it would be a different story. Smoking would become part of my comfort zone making it much easier to start. I think this is why there are quite a few closeted/occasional smokers. It allows people to step out of their comfort zones for brief moments in the case of the occasional smoker or the hidden smoking becomes their comfort zone in the case of the closet smoker.

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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.

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