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January 2012

31 days

 One month smoke free

Cold_Turkey_1971

I forgot about this movie.  It was set in Iowa around 1971.  I remember seeing this as a kid and thought it pretty strange watching adults go to any lengths to sneak a smoke.  I can imagine a theater full of people watching this and 1/2 of them leaving mid-movie for a nicotine fix. 

If you're a smoker, you know when you most likely need a cigarette.  For me, I often smoked after I accomplished something.  Over the last weekend, as I finished up several little projects I couldn't help but remember how often I used to light up to celebrate little victories.  But after a month of not smoking, I can honestly say I don't have a craving tied to that anymore.  It wasn't that long ago when I would get nervous if I couldn't have a cigarette after a meal, or while I was driving around, or anytime I was outside.  I spent more time thinking about how I was going to work that next cigarette in than the actual conversation I happened to be in.  But this weekend was a true test of how far I've come.  I was out and about most of the weekend with friends.  As I shopped, ate meals, drove around and visited other people's homes, I felt very relaxed.  It's clear now, I'm beyond the dependancy and now feel the same as when I was a non-smoker.

So good luck to you if you're thinking about quitting smoking or any other addiction.  I can truly say it's tough to start a quit but you'll thank yourself later once you're successful.

 


30 days

 

As my one month quit comes to a close I want to share some positive news about smoking relapses. According to a Canadian statistics report-

Relapsing was strongly associated with the length of time an individual had quit. Approximately 1 in 5 men and women who had quit smoking for two years or less had started again. By contrast, approximately 5% of former daily smokers who had quit for three to five years had started smoking, and among those who had quit for more than five years, the figure was 1%”. Conclusion, the longer you stay quit the less chance you have of starting again. 


29 days

After 29 days into my quit, I've started to develop a little chest cough.  Nothing as bad as a regular smoker's hack.  This feels more like a little tickling in the chest, as if my lungs are starting a long overdue house cleaning.  I'm planning to see a doctor in the next few weeks just to see how my body is recovering.  Anyone that quits smoking should consult a doctor if they have any complications that persist longer than the first week of their quit. 

Pig-pen

Someone actually complimented me on my smell this week.  I can't remember the last time I heard anything like that.  Which now makes me feel like I should apologize to the thousands of people that have crossed my smoker's path in the past. 

In running news, I've already dropped from a lousy 12 1/2 min/mi to 11 min/mi.  I watched my last 5km run speed by as I kept increasing my treadmill's speed, while I waited for a loss of breath that never happened.  Looks like I'll be signing up for some spring races.


4 weeks

Smokers continue to show elevated amounts of the receptors through 4 weeks of abstinence, but levels normalize by 6 to 12 weeks.

Based on studies from the National Institute on Drug Abuse after four weeks-

  • Brain acetylcholine receptor counts up-regulated in response to nicotine's presence have now down-regulated and receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.

In simpler terms, after four weeks an ex-smoker's brain activity begins to resemble that of a non-smoker's.  By 6-12 weeks a smoker's activity is the same as a non-smoker.

Scientists speculate that the brain develops extra receptors to accommodate the large doses of nicotine from tobacco and that the resulting expanded receptor pool contributes craving and other discomforts of smoking withdrawal. 

So when a smoker quits cold turkey, the brain has all these extra receptors but no nicotine.  The brain has to create neurochemical adaptations (or change the way you think) to make you feel normal without nicotine again.


27 days

All is well.  After tomorrow I will have completed a 4 weeks of a cold turkey quit.  (applause dies down)

I'll probably only post an occasional comment on how the quit is going from now on.  I have to admit, it was very helpful for me writing a post a day during my first month.  Doing a little research helped me focus on why I wanted to become an ex-smoker.  I hope it helps those that are thinking about quitting in the future.