4, 3, 2, 1--Quit!

I had 3 cigarettes yesterday. I've had 2 today. I'll have 1 tomorrow morning before my husband goes off to work...and then I'll be a former smoker, again.

I'm feeling okay today, nowhere nearly as stressed as I did on Friday (4 cigarettes). My husband says I'm kidding myself; it's always worst the third or fourth day after one has fully stopped. Until then, you're feeling all righteous and empowered, but by the third day, you're just in pain.

I hope that it's not too bad this time. I've only been smoking for a few months, after all. But it was instructive on Friday how agitated and achy I got. Clearly, my old tolerance is still there; I'll never be truly a non-smoker, just a smoker who hasn't smoked in a while.

But I'm ready. The apartment is in the best shape it has ever been in, the kitchen and bathroom remodeling finished, the closets purged, the puppy more-or-less housetrained. We've bought a new bed and moved our old one into our son's room, thus freeing up the back bedroom to become something other than a guest room (still a work in progress). My husband and I braved the Wrigley Field traffic this afternoon to drop off the last bags of old clothes and toys at the Brown Elephant. We've hung hooks by both the front and the back doors to keep the coats and scarves from piling up. Everything else is simply something to look forward to, upgrades and basic maintenance rather than something we should have done years ago.

More immediately, the laundry is done and folded; we'll do the grocery shopping this afternoon after my husband and son get back from buying my son clothes. I know to stay away from the sugar and breads so as not to make myself even more jittery. I have the work at home that I'm going to need to be doing this week, writing syllabi and proofreading a couple of articles. And, if worse comes to the worst, I've filled up the iPad with all sorts of apps, including (ahem) Labyrinth (hat tip to Rush for insisting I try it out), Solitaire and the Koi Pond. Plus, I've rediscovered the yoga routine that helps me relax the best. It's going to be fine, right?

Right. I've told myself it's going to be like having a bad case of the flu. A really bad case of the flu. A really, really bad case of the flu that lasts for at least a week. Maybe getting my period (due soon) will distract me. Or not. I've talked with my son about how it feels to be coming off cigarettes and warned him how potentially snappy I'll be. And I practiced snapping at my husband this morning as we were trying to get out the door with the Brown Elephant stuff.

Oh, this is going to hurt.

But--and please remind me of this as I spend the week telling you all about how bad it feels--if I stick it out, I won't have to feel like this ever again. At least, not until the next major life crisis when I beg my husband for a cigarette to help me cope. Thankfully, I have the past fifteen years of not smoking to fall back upon, to remind me what it's like being free of the demon Nicotine. I'll make do for the meantime with its younger cousin, the demon Caffeine. Plus, I'm letting myself eat meat. See? I'll still have some vices to fall back upon. Except that I'm not entirely sure anymore whether eating meat, as long as it's organically raised, is such a bad thing. Certainly, my carnivorous puppy seems to thrive on it.

Do I regret having started up again these past several months? Not really (although you can ask me again come Wednesday). It's helped me through some of the most difficult conversations my husband and I have ever had, and it's helped me reconnect with him. Not perhaps the physically healthiest way to go about recovering one's companionship, but it's worked, so I'm not going to complain. Much. Was there another way to get to this point in our being together? I don't know. Perhaps God could have saved the world some other way than by entering into it and being crucified. Or perhaps not. The thing is that that is the way it happened; likewise, this is the way it happened for us, so there's not really much point in asking about whether it should have been different. It wasn't, and yet here we are.

So, in a way, I'm looking forward to this week. It's not going to be easy (even though I'm pretending to myself right now that it really isn't going to be that bad, right? Right, whatever you say). But, in the end, God willing, it will be okay. Just be prepared for a whole mess of blog posts telling you about it.

Ready, set...quit!

Oh, wait, I still get to have one more cigarette tomorrow morning...whew!


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