Smoking Cessation: Day Five (The Phantom Menace)


It’s the fifth day of not smoking and I feel like I’m on the easy glide path now. I am feeling much better, unlike Day Three, which was crazy bad.

I think that smoking is probably a different experience for each individual. No way to confirm anything.

For me, smoking was not so much an addiction to nicotine as it was an addiction to the romantic notions of smoking perpetuated by various media. On Day Three, I was forced to confront each and every one of the notions I’d bought into and reject them one at a time. By extension, it was a process of rejecting part of myself.

I’ve been lucky enough to have never experienced amputation, but I’ve read about how amputees can still feel the amputated part of their body; what is referred to as phantom pain. The brain remembers the body part even though it doesn’t exist in physical reality. On Day Five I’m dealing with phantom pain around the part of myself that I cut loose on Day Three.

It’s a very weird feeling. I can hear the faint Siren Song of all the BS reasons I used to smoke, receding into the background, but still there.

I have this friend who still smokes and he told me that he’d quit several times; sometimes for as much as two years straight. When I asked him why he started again, he explained that it was due to international travel. He would go back to places he’d been on business and people there thought he still smoked, so they’d offer him cigarettes in bars, after they’d had a few drinks. He mistakenly thought he could have just one, in the moment, and avoid taking it up again as a habit. Wrong.

So I need to be cautious because the phantom menace is lurking out there and I don’t ever want to have to go through Day Three again. Shudder.

By the way, now that I’ve quit I promise not to turn into one of those condescending A-holes that preach to smokers about how bad it is and how easy it is to quit. For starters, I’m not going to write about it anymore on this blog, unless I succumb to the phantom menace.

Thanks to all those who offered words of encouragement the past few days. I appreciate it.

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