The unfortunate thing about quitting any sort of addiction is that there is likely an empty space left behind or perhaps a wake…eddy…dead spot. The energy you put into fueling and maintaining the pursuit is gone. In Allen Carr’s Easy Quit book (see here for my success with that book) he states that if you have the right mindset, withdrawal should simply feel like an vague sense of ‘missing something’. That vague sense of missing something is powerful to me.
Many quit smoking resources suggest ‘finding a new hobby’ which is a really simple suggestion and kind of hokey. If human’s were good at changing entrenched habits and behaviour patterns based on simply reading a cute bullet point in a pamphlet, well, the world would be a different place.
So here I am sitting in my basement office surrounded by the boxes containing a friend’s apartment and feeling like I’m missing something, like I should be walking outside to go stand around and puff away….or crack a couple of hoppy tall boys….or just anything but be normal and sit here sipping tea from my “LIKE A BOSS” mug. How much time do I spend in this sort of empty and confused, indecisive state? Is it solely related to cigarette, beer and Soundcloud obsessive listening time?
Sounds like an equation, hmmmm, variables…
In terms of sheer leisure time, I would say the average workplace cigarette break takes about 12 minutes out of your day for each one….maybe 10…and at home maybe 3-5 minutes per if you have to go outside. Workplace smokes likely require you to travel to find your smokes, go to a smoke friendly location, put on extra clothes if you live in Canada but there’s less of them because you need to have a break time that you can get away with. At home smokes you can just pop outside or just stay sitting on the couch if you’re an “indoor” smoker.
So let’s say you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, 5 at work (60 minutes) and 15 at home (60 minutes @ 4 minutes each)….and then you quit. All of sudden you just added 2 hours a day of quit time. Time you spent doing something else before during your waking hours. I find myself sometimes just standing or walking in circles wondering what I did with myself during this extra time.
Now if you add alcohol into the situation, it acts differently in that it doesn’t necessarily take time specifically but in my mind it limits what you can actually do with that time. Like after one tall can or glass of red, it’s possible but unlikely that I am going for a run or long bike ride. After two cans/glasses there’s no way I would do yoga, unlikely that I will read another chapter of Neurotribes (I feel guilty because I’m supposed to read that book so my Dad and I can talk about it…and I genuinely enjoy the book…but I keep forgetting!!! Gah!)….I’ll probably end up:
- Reading Mind Body Green posts until I sort of am filled with to the brim with self help advice that is DEFINITELY targeted at a female audience over a male. Suggest to my partner that she observe her feminine cycles and how they sync with Mercury Retrograde so that we align with abundance and universal intelligence. Hear a disgusted sigh in response over the din of The National.
- Listening to Soundcloud and imagining some future day when I buy a Technics 1200 and a Rane mixer and just scratch records in my basement and maybe do a little show somewhere not to busy.
- Credit card ordering a book by some really muscular and successful male (Rich Roll; Brock Cannon; Tony Robbins) who had problems WAY bigger than my current ones (maybe Heroin addiction; MS diagnosis; PTSD) but somehow began super successful and perfectly tanned and now sells coaching packages to become like them for $1800 USD.
- Playing Deus Ex: Human Revolutions until I’m sleepy and capping it off with a little Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig and fall asleep reflecting on the gap between the human soul and artificial intelligences….what is corpus callosum of consciousness between machines and organics???? Make up my mind to read Hannu Rajaniemi’s trilogy again before the final spark of light goes out leading to deep sleep likely on an uncomfortable surface somewhere that is not my bed. Wake up with severe neck pain and unable to feel the left side of my face.
Somewhere in there is a sort of threshold calculation which would combine all substances consumed with the breaking point for mentally considering doing ANYTHING productive that evening/afternoon/morning that once past justifies just getting absolutely blitzed because you ain’t gonna accomplish anything now. Yeah, that one coincides most likely with the aforementioned Deux Ex option.
So once you stop doing those aforementioned things…..all of sudden you have more time, more brain cells and more energy the next day to do stuff that’s productive. And even if you do find some new hobbies….man, it’s still weird, like this weird gap.