Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 06:11 pm
It's been one year since I last smoked a cigarette. I can actually call myself an ex-smoker now.

Yes, I still vape, that's how I did it. Over the past year I've come down from 18 mg/ml nicotine juice down to 3, and some of the flavors I'm currently using have none at all. This stuff saves lives, FOR REAL.

It's amazing, the changes in attitudes that I've seen. I started smoking in my mid-teens, in the mid-80s, in very tobacco-friendly rural Virginia. You could smoke in the grocery store! I remember smoking sections in restaurants, on buses and airplanes, etc. Most of my friends circles in my late teens, 20s, and 30s were composed of smokers. I'd say nearly half of my older RL friends still are, in the same boat as me, trying to quit as middle age comes on and we finally start to feel the effects.

My parents always wanted me to quit, and my mom in particular got so up in my face about it that it made me double down and become less likely to quit for a while, I think. I actually told her once that I would smoke an extra cigarette for every time she brought it up!

Nagging doesn't help. Shaming doesn't help. What eventually motivated me to quit was, frankly, money. Cigarettes are so expensive in Chicago I just started hating myself for all the money I was wasting. Vape shops were everywhere, so I just looked at my last pack of cigs from the 2 cartons I'd bought in NC where they're half the price, swore I'd never pay Chicago prices again, spent two packs' worth at the local vape shop (an indie business with juice made in-house), and I never did buy cigarettes in Chicago again. My last one, on August 24, 2015, was bummed from a co-worker. Menthol. Blech.

Cigarette smoke still smells good to me, but the desire to do it myself is all but gone. I still have sensually vivid dreams about it though, and I'm told that might never stop entirely. It's OK. It can stay in my dreams.
Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 11:44 pm (UTC)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:47 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Wednesday, August 24th, 2016 11:49 pm (UTC)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:47 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 02:28 am (UTC)
Congratulations!!! This is such a HUGE, heroic accomplishment of strong will, and I'm so happy for you. Also proud, but I mean that without condescension, and that's hard to convey in type. :)
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:48 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!! Don't worry, I didn't take it as condescending at all. I am proud of myself, got to admit - and relieved too, I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to make it this far.
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 01:34 pm (UTC)
YESS! That's awesome! Congratulations!! Nicotine addiction is a beast, and I admire the crap out of folks who fight it. So that's just like eleventy gazillion and one things I admire about you. :D
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It really is awful stuff - I suppose I "cheated" a little bit by using vaping to taper off, but frankly I am all in favor of new tech that works for harm reduction. Results are what's important.
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 04:42 pm (UTC)
Well done, you! And the more time passes, the more you become aware of improvements in your breathing. I don't know about you, but for me that aspect of the experience gave me an enormous sense of relief and escape.

I liked the smell of cigarettes for several years after I quit, and then one day I found I had become a member of the "Ew, cigarette smoke" brigade. Fair warning! But I too still sometimes dream of smoking; fortunately, it doesn't seem to translate into cravings when I'm awake.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:52 am (UTC)
I've found that's true. I never really had a bad smoker's cough or anything like that, but I was starting to feel a weight on my chest in the mornings, and starting to have way less breath than I should climbing stairs and hiking and the like. So yes, there is a noticeable difference now. My brain feels less foggy even, like it's finally getting the correct amount of oxygen. Definitely a mood improvement.

I might start hating the smell someday, I suppose that could happen (Pipe smoke, never, that's just too lovely. :D) My smoking dreams are intense sin-and-salvation flavored: the almost orgasmic pleasure of the smoking (it never felt THAT good in reality) followed by crushing remorse and horror like I killed someone. I'm such a drama queen in my dreams. XD
Thursday, August 25th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
Well done!
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:54 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Saturday, August 27th, 2016 03:40 pm (UTC)
Well done! Congrats and proud of you.
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 12:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 10:53 pm (UTC)
That's fantastic! What a massive accomplishment and testament to your commitment and strength!