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Diary Rings

Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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1:49 p.m. - 2014-10-23
Put THIS in your pipe and DON'T smoke it!

Dream recaps are hideously boring so I'll skip the blow by blow and just say that a solid week of dealing with paperwork in my nightworld is discouraging. Messy, confusing red tape, endless waiting in line at window #2 only to be told I need window #4, know-nothing do-nothing jerks who insist what I'm bringing them isn't right even though they were the ones who told me to fill out those exact forms in the first place. All week while I'm asleep I've been in some hellish DMV.

Even this wouldn't be too, too bad, crappy dreams are my specialty! It's that I quit smoking and all I want to do is sleep. And cry. And tell people to go to Hell.

Yes, I did quit once before and did okay except I reserved the right to have a butt if it got really bad and that's really not quitting, that's a self-inflicted water torture. All I thought about was when it would be okay to have a smoke. After a skirmish with the ex? Sure. Totally deserve it. When the physical jones got too bad and I'd chewed off all my fingernails and gnawed the insides of my cheeks bloody? Yeah that's, like, an emergency! So it went until the two or three smokes a week crept back up to my regular 3/4s of a pack a day. Two cartons a month- no more, no less.

Then sometime during the week before Amy's bridal outing I quit for real. I honestly don't know the exact day, I'm making a lifestyle change and keeping track feels too much like last time when I counted the minutes until I could smoke again. What I do remember is getting down to the last three in the last pack and was making a mental note to ask Mick to go to the cigarette store (over the border in PA where cigs are much cheaper) for me and then I thought, "No. No more. This shit ends now." And I put the cigarette back into the pack. I stood up, left my office and got a big glass of water.

I haven't smoked since.

I have, however, felt like utter shit since that day. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I was prepared to feel lousy and cranky for a day or two, maybe three, but not this. It's been what, a month? Enough already. If I'm making this new shiny healthy life I'd like it to start, please. Sha, sha, I know. Finally did my research and found out this hell is entirely normal. That recent bout of 'bronchitis'? That was my poor abused lungs cleaning house. I coughed and coughed and coughed and brought up decades of crap. The endless rev of hot flashes? Not menopause, that's nicotine withdrawal. So is the muzzy-headedness, the tears, the glum droopy 'tude, the clumsiness, and the ferocious desire to bite people's heads off and stand over their bleeding corpses laughing. "You're dead, you deli line cutting motherfucker! Hahaha!"

See, smoking isn't just physical, it has a huge emotional component and I was definitely an emotional smoker. A deadly substitute for thumb sucking. As children soothe themselves in a scary, frustrating world with a thumb and a blankie I soothed myself with a smoke. That (mostly) serene zen hippy wife/mom Mick and Wolf rely on could only be that way through the magic of Virginia Slims. Without my butts I have to FEEL ALL THE FEELINGS! All the fret and anger and disappointment and frustration I blurred out with my smoking has crash landed back onto me and I was (still am) unprepared for the mess.

I totally get why drunks have to do 90 meetings in 90 days. Once you get past the initial high of being bigger than your addiction, oy, shit gets real. All the messy feelings you drown in cheap bourbon or smoked into submission show up and say, "Hi! Remember us? All the crap you never want to think about? All the feelings that hurt and confused and overwhelmed you and made you feel like an incompetent loser? We're HERE! YAY! We're loud! We're proud! Deal with us!"

Yeah. Those 90 meetings in 90 days give you somewhere to go and something to do while you try to process. Smokers? Not so much. There are places online, but I haven't found one that's a good fit. Most of them are stats trackers about how much money you're saving and how many minutes you're adding back onto your life with every pack not smoked. Positive things for certain, and you know this cheap chick is reveling in the savings. I already bought some artwork with the dough I'd have blown on cigarettes. Go me. But this still leaves me floundering around with all the mess I'd been adroitly sidestepping with a smoke. It's exhausting.

Hence the need to sleep 12, 14 hours a day. Things came to a head on Tuesday. Mick and I got into a screaming brawl over the phone. I'd been pushing myself to keep chugging along, smiling and cooking, and settling kerfluffles between the kid and Mick, the ex and Mick, the ex and the kid, Mick and his mother, Mick and the neighbors, being good old dependable LA who makes everything all right for everybody. I kept sneaking off to cry, I missed my cigarettes and loathed this new reality where everything felt like sharp pointy sticks. I was wiped out. My body ached. Monday night I scorched my fingers bad enough to blister while fixing dinner for the ungrateful demanding jerks, ahem, the guys. A dinner I had ZERO interest in eating, btw, food hasn't become a substitute and I've actually dropped a couple pounds recently. I had to sit at table with them anyhow or risk another squabble. I'm nursing a cuppa and my poor burnt-up fingers and listening to Mick's gripes about work for the umpty-hundreth time and trying to get Wolf to understand just how hateful and wrong all that #gamergate shit is and that his gamer buddies are assholes and fricken dangerous, Princess is next to my leg breathing her god-awful smelly breath all over me silently but obviously wanting me to do for her too and I quietly went to pieces. I got up, announced I was going to bed and to please survive the next couple hours on their own without brawling or burning down the house. Could they manage that? Whereupon I left them both gawping and went to bed and dreamed my lousy DMV dreams for the next 12 hours.

Tuesday. I cancelled Wolf's counseling, sent him a text to get on the bus, and was here at my desk trying like mad to find even a shred of enthusiasm about this fabulous smoke-free life I made for myself. I'm still in my robe, my hair's standing up in snatzy snarls, I think I might have showered on Saturday but wasn't sure, all I knew is that I stunk and had no energy to go cleanse my sad weary carcass, and Mick called. That's when all hell broke loose. He's freaked out and panicked by this scary snappish wants-to-sleep-all-the-time stranger who's replaced his grinning idiot "I'm FINE! Always fine, fine, fine!" wife and is demanding answers, bully-talking, and being a dick. I'm in no mood to make HIS day all better so I push back. We shout for a while and someone hung up, I honestly don't remember who. Then the argument continued by text and soon it dawns on Mick that I am truly having a hard time and he needs to step up here, put his own shit on hold, and do for me. No matter how scary this cranky stranger in the smelly bathrobe was Mick has to be the good guy. The hero I called for all those years ago. And just like that he was. The argument stopped, Mick was solicitous and sweet and remarkably sensitive. For the last 48 he's taken fine care of me. Backrubs. Tea. A warm patient listening ear. Chinese take-out. Apologies for not seeing how rough it's been. Telling me I'm brave and amazing. Tucking me up in a freshly made bed with a hot water bottle. Congratulating me for kicking an addiction I've had for 38 years. Recognizing that it's not easy or simple and to take all the time I need to be well. Do whatever it is I need/want- sleep, be quiet, not cook, run away from home and wander Pier One and B&N. It's LA Time.

This morning I got up to find the coffee maker filled and ready to go. On the carafe was a sticky note from Wolf. "Good job, Mom!" On my keyboard was a 'Love Is...' comic and a love note from Mick telling me to have a good day and that he's bringing home pizza.

Yes, I AM smoke-free and always will be. If for no other reason than I never want to go through this shit again.

Vague glimmers of daylight ahead, ~ LA the Non-Smoker.

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