KungFu Mike Quits Smoking - October 23, 2007

(Reconditioning Batteries)

I've been smoking for 12 years now. I've gone from Marlboro Reds to Camel Filters to Parliament Lights back to Marlboro Reds and finally back to Parliament Lights in my career as a smoker. For me, smoking was a stupid, stupid thing to start doing, mostly because I used to have severe asthma as a little kid. I'd be hooked up to a a couple of times a week sometimes. It was almost immediately after "growing out" of my asthma attacks during my freshman year of high school that I picked up smoking. I looked very, very cool doing it, too.

I love smoking. I love the act of smoking, I love the taste and smell of smoking and I love how I can break away from the world for 5 minutes when I run away from my desk at work and light up. Smoking has become an important part of my writing process, as I will spark a cigarette after almost every paragraph during tougher pieces like Requiem for a Pepperoni Pizza. After coffee? Check. After a big meal? Check. While I'm driving? Check. While I'm drinking? Check, check, check. Over this past year, my habit has kicked back up to a pack a day. Besides, I didn't see any immediate averse effects of smoking. I ran at least three miles a day five times a week. I figured that my lungs were stronger than normal because of all the breathing problems I suffered through as a little tyke.

I knew that smoking was terrible for me and that I had to quit at some point, but that date kept getting pushed back as it was never a convenient time for me to give them up. Something would come up and I would vow to myself that I would quit when things smoothed over. That's where the problem was; things never completely smooth over. Waiting for the perfect scenario in which to quit smoking is like waiting for wings to sprout out of your back.

This past Saturday, I woke up at 7 am on the couch of my friend's house after a night of drinking to find that I was having a severe asthma attack. I sat up and tried controlling my breathing in the hopes that I could relax and open up my pipes, to no avail. I started getting dizzy and seeing little flashes in my eyes from the lack of oxygen. Knowing that I had to do something quickly about it, I hopped into my car, drove home and dug through boxes of my shit until I found my old inhaler. Luckily, it still had a cartridge in it and I was fine after a few puffs.

Because of this I am quitting smoking, my favorite hobby, cold turkey. I haven't had a cigarette since Saturday at 2 am, which means that I am only on day 2 of what is undoubtedly going to be a hellish journey filled with manic gum chewing, inappropriate screaming and lots and lots of coughing.

Day 2 is easily much worse than day 1, at least it was for me. Today was tough from the beginning, especially because I had to deny myself my morning cup of coffee that normally accompanies my morning cigarette. The rest of my day has been spent trying to wrangle the knotted anxiety lodged squarely in my chest, watching my hands shake and breaking into cold sweats every hour or so. My jaw is so tired from chewing that I think I'm going to skip dinner completely. I feel very much run down, kind of like how you feel right before you catch a nasty cold or the flu. I almost wish I would come down with something, that way I would be forced into bed for a few days. I'd go running to help clear some of the shit out of my lungs, but the air is so smoky from the brush fires around me that it would do more harm than good. It looks like I have nothing to distract me from my personal demons and my two chain smoking roommates tonight.

I'm going to report my progress every day because I think it's going to help me get through it, but also because I would love to read about someone's day to day struggle to quit a 12 year old, pack-a-day habit, but I can't find anything like that online. Starting tomorrow, I'm going to post a little entry on kungfumike.net every day regarding this and how I'm feeling/looking/acting on top of the YouTube Movie of the Day and other stories that are due to be posted soon. Of course, all of this is contingent on whether or not I start smoking again or if I throw myself into a in a suicide attempt.

~KungFu Mike

Posted by KungFu Mike at 10:05 AM

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Well done, man. It's fucking difficult, quitting.


Posted by: Soren at October 24, 2007 02:21 AM

Thanks for writing this stuff man, I'm on day four and you're really helpin' out.

Keep fighting the good fight.

Posted by: Anonymous at October 29, 2007 01:03 AM

how fucking dare you give a baby a smoke i should sue you the fuck out of you you FUCKING BASTER

Posted by: Anonymous at November 25, 2007 12:02 PM

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