The Quit Techniques that failed

I suppose I’ve been delaying writing this for some reason, maybe because I don’t want to actually think about quitting smoking again because it’s just a tired concept.  The idea of quitting things that are bad for you, is it self sacrifice for trendy wellness status (and something to talk about over Matcha green smoothies) or do people actually feel better after quitting bad things? Why do they actually feel better? Or maybe I’ve just inherited some sort of judgement complex.

Mind Body Green launched a “Quit Sugar” for a week campaign, people are quitting gluten and animal protein, dairy….there’s lots of quitting going on.

Is “quitting” behaviour founded on ego-invested or authentic psychological self structures. Are you a robot conditioned by the well being industry to engage in consumer habits that embrace your ‘authentic’ self and extend your life span?  And maybe more importantly or just, well, equally important in the end, what feels more rewarding, to be who you are or to be who you think you should be?  The term ‘fake it until you make it’ seems to pop up a lot.

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Major tangential writing, the whole point of writing this post was to make a list of all the stuff I tried to do to quit something…smoking.  So here goes…before actually quitting smoking I did the following:

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (Gum/Patch/Mints) – Probably had about 30-40 quit attempts using NRT.  One time for free with the special counselling nurse…I think this is offered across Ontario.

Tried all three of these and I will have to say that ONLY Nicoderm brand patches make a difference for me, all the no-name brand ones just didn’t do anything.  When I was reading Rich Roll’s ‘Finding Ultra’ book I noticed that he would mow down on NRT gum to catch a buzz, I just couldn’t do that, eating gum just made my mouth burn but no head buzz.  The patches alleviated the typical cravings but after stopping the patch I’d generally re-start smoking in a week or two….or even just toss the patch off on numerous occasions right outside the local convenience store.  I think that the danger in NRT is that you maintain a level of nicotine in your system so it’s really easy to re-start to some extent, you don’t feel gross having a cigarette again as much as you do if you’ve actually had the nicotine leave your system.

Wellbutrin (Buproprion) – Tried this one four separate times.  Got scared off when Dr. Mike Stones was telling me about some of his epidemiological research into mortality and occasional use of, we’ll call them, mental health meds in long term care.  The message I got was either get on the drugs long term, or avoid them altogether but don’t play around in between with periodic prescriptions.

My doctor prescribed this common anti-depressant for me to help quit smoking, she kindly cajoles me every time we have to meet and, well, is basically the best doctor suited for my temperament.  Buproprion made me sad because it just stole all the joy of smoking, like you would inhale and feel nothing which was weird.  Easy way to quit and also kind of mellows life out a bit as you’re also on anti-depressants.

Still, side effects for me were difficulties in being to initiate speech (which I’m sure my partner liked sometimes), like I could think the words but my mouth wouldn’t say them in certain situations.  Or sometimes I’d stutter and mix up consonants.  My mouth was often dry….but worst of all the whole gastrointestinal system got totally backed up.  So while it does work to quit smoking for me, I eventually had to come off the stuff and somehow inevitably ended up smoking again.  So yay, but boo.

The “Quit” BookThere’s this mythical book that was shared in my circle of friends…they told me about it on a salmon fishing adventure…or maybe I already had bought it at that point???  I don’t remember.  So after chatting I found the book and read it three times.  I think multiple readings of this book really helped me in reaching my current non-smoker status.

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The first time I read the book I was able to quit for a week or so.  Allen Carr (the author) is bloody amazing, the book is super easy to read and filled with strategies for recognizing the fallacies in thought related to the challenge of quitting smoking and use of tobacco products in general.

Still there was some sort of thing holding me back or requiring regular injections of either a depressant or a stimulant.  Even though it was brutally obvious (through the reading of this book) I felt like there was this imaginary barrier or glass wall or something just stopping me from making the decision to quit.  I’d just bounce off it.

What I Actually Had to Do

Get to the root of my highly strung, fast paced mind and also the root causes of requiring non-adaptive behaviours to remain emotionally functional.  Find a compatible clinical professional to explore why I get addicted to things (smoking, running, reading, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Social Media, dill pickles).  Use my skills as a Recreation Therapist to “treat” myself through “prescribing” healthy leisure and recreation treatments (which I call in my first post…just making shit up…but I now realize, I was totally not just making it up even though that seems more bad ass).

I had to read a big ol’ stack of self-help books and make sure to hide the covers when in public places to not be embarrassed.  Get physically active and training for some sort of race or event, connect with the people in my life who are great and buy into their social pressure tactics.

Wow, now I sound like a regular, garden salad style quitting website.  Good for me.  Time to stop writing for this post!



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