Nicotine and Me

I had my first cigarette when I was a teenager. It was literally under the bridge and with the 'hoods' that had my first puff. I coughed for five minutes afterward and wouldn't go near another cigarette until I was twenty.

Smoking cigarettes was never really a pleasure for me. The stench and tar and phlegm of the whole process was always a turnoff. But I'm really a natural when it comes to addictions, and once I was hooked...

I eventually got smart and switched over to smokeless tobacco. You can get many times the toxic chemical intake without any of the stench and smoke of cigarettes. Man, am I smart!

For years I have chewed Copenhagen (the crack of chewing tobacco). I eventually reached the point where I had a pinch of snuff in almost all day. I have no idea how much nicotine that is, but it's probably not a little bit.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to flush all my tobacco down the toilet. I have quit smoking and chewing before with the help of things like nicotine gum. These crutches only draw out the process and increase the chance of failure. So this time, I'm going cold turkey.

It's been about 20 hours, and the withdrawal symptoms are pretty well engaged. I'm shaky, irritable and craving tobacco desperately. Every ten minutes or so, I instinctively glance around, looking for my tobacco. I quit! Panic and anxiety kick in briefly and then fade. This is not a fun process.

Giving up nicotine completely is one in a multi-stage process which began five years ago when I gave up all drugs and alcohol. I'm hoping to make some dramatic changes in the next year or so. If I can break free of nicotine addiction, I can probably manage the other upcoming changes as well.