hey folks. first time poster. just turned 33 and decided enoughs enough with smoking (been smoking since i was 19)
unlike many, its not so much physical worries that is making quit, but rather the apathy smoking has brought to my life. when i was young i was always an angry person, then i found smoking and voila, my anger went pretty much away. smoking calmed me right down.
the only problem is that its made me apathetic through out my life. instead of being a 'go getter' i've just shrugged off so much because, hey, i could just have a smoke and whatever was concerning me didn't seem so important.
but enough is enough. this habit has taken so much enjoyment from my life - most if it im sure i don't even realize i've missed out on. i've been self-medicating using cigarettes and enough is enough.
anyway, i've tried the patch, inhaler, and gum. the patch worked well for me, it really quelled the withdrawal symptoms. the problem with the patch though is that it was so easy to simply take it off after the work day and have a smoke - it was too easy to jump off the NRT and 'reward' myself with a genuine cigarette.
the good thing with chantix is that once i take the pill, there's no 'untaking' it. whether i like it or not its going to do its thing. which for someone like me is perfect - it basically means that the only 'motivation' i need is for about 10 seconds when i take the pill in the morning. after that, chantix is in my system and helping me get through the day.
while today is my first day, im so impressed with the drug that i felt like sharing. i'm really amazed. when i have smoke now i don't get the 'ahhhh' feeling. usually id have a smoke about once an hour, when my concentration was starting to fade. but on chantix i've found that my concentration is even throughout the day - and i consider this a big reason for the dulled need to have a smoke.
so far i've had no side effects. i had no queasiness taking it this morning. I did find that i was exhausted this afternoon and had to take a 4 hour nap (hehe, now i can't sleep and its almost 2am). i feel a bit of 'fogginess', but nothing excessive - and to be honest its 'almost' an enjoyable fogginess, 'almost' like the calm i got from smoking.
anyway, given im getting these effects from only one .5mg pill (like i say its my first day) i'm amazed.
also, what i love about this stuff is that it enables a process whereby i end up simple rejecting cigarettes. unlike the patch, where you basically have to STOP smoking, with this stuff i can keep smoking and say 'goodbye' to my old friend slowly. that was my biggest problem with the patch, it was so 'decisive' - i'd realize 'this is the last smoke im ever goign to smoke' the night before, which would then get me thinking about everything i was giving up, and then stressing me out that maybe giving up smoking wasn't the smartest thing to do. id end up smoking twice as much the day before putting on the patch becuase if i succeed these would be hte last smokes id ever have (yet despite that, i never managed to succeed in quiting.)
but with chantix i don't have to think about 'this is my last smoke'. while the urge to 'quit smoking' keeps getting stronger, i know im free at any time to have a smoke and not impeed my progress. as a result the whole fear process of giving up a coping mechanism like smoking isn't present. my smoking today is about 50% of what it normally is, which is amazing for teh first day. all i can do is hope that as the next few weeks go by, my 'habit' gets weaker and weaker and at some point i simply stop smoking all together - from some of the experiences folks on here have had, i'm pretty optimistic that is exactly what is goign to happen.
anyway, i know a lot of folks have had side effects taking chantix. i don't know if i'll develop any, but so far so good. and i don't want to praise this thing too much, since i've only just started taking it, but i can definitively say that this feels unlike other NRTs.
well my smoking behaviors are starting to change. usually i smoke after meals and after i get out of the shower (well not usually, always).
im still smoking after breakfast. but to my surprise, after i took a shower i didn't go out for a smoke. in 14 years i've always had a smoke soon after getting out of the shower.
still feel lethargic and foggy however. like i say, good thing i can't 'untake' the pill i took this morning or i could see myself doing it.
i think the biggest thing that's going to make this work is that once i make the commitment of taking that pill in the morning my ability to enjoy smoking for the day is shot.
its funny, cuz i'll still have a smoke and part of me is waiting for that 'kick', but it doesn't come. so then i get a bit annoyed cuz chantix is keeping from getting my 'kick', and then i feel good because chantix is more powerful than the nicotine.
anyway i've got 3 smokes left in my pack and usually about now i'd be in my car and buying another pack so that i don't run out. and while i'll probably go out and get a pack, i keep putting off going out and doing it. i figure i'll probably go out later tonight and get one.
that itself is a monsterous change. i'm not worried about finding myself without smokes. crazy.
are you just on your second day of taking the pill? you do realize they say you should actually make a quit date about a week after you start. might be a bit easier on you. you haven't failed by buying a pack. the drug just isn't in your system enough to work to it's full potential! just keep smoking for a few more days. believe me when you are ready to quit you just will!
well just finished day 4. smoking a bit less. noticing my lungs are starting to cough up more phelm than before - good sign i guess.
for the first 2 days i was really lethargic. on day 3 that seemed to pass. now on day 4 (where you double the dose) the lethargy is back. but only on taking the second dose in the evening.
the fogginess i was having seems to be gone. the bloating is gone also.
so basically side effects still in play are lethargy and thats it. a bit of achiness also, but very mild.
anyway, can't say the process so far has been 'fun', but i can say im getting to the point where i can actually see myself quiting.
ironically the side effects im having so far are helping me look forward to quiting - i keep thinking "this is what cigarettes have done to me. its not chantix doing this to me, its 14 years of smoking. cigarettes are NOT my friend."
while i thought that way in past quit attempts, i gotta say its way easier to mean it and believe it on chantix. its true what they say, you have to want to quit for this to work, but its amazing how it gives you enough of a cushion from the withdrawal to have a fighting chance.
well just finished day 6. still feeling lethargic, although its not as bad as before. i'd say i've got about 20% more energy than a couple of days ago (i'm not longer taking naps in the afternoon, so thats good). on the down side, im still not doing any of the things i normally would (exercise, etc.) - im still basically in couch potatoe mode.
but im hoping that tomorrow my energy levels will increase enough that i find myself with enough energy to at least go out for a walk or something.
as for cravings...i've still got them. it would be really hard to quit on this dosage. im crossing my fingers that the 1mg dosage will make really squash my desire to smoke.
i've gone from smoking a pack a day to smoking a half a pack now. so hopefully the 1mg i can jump from half a pack to not smoking period.
the fogginess that i experienced in the beginning has lifted. my mind is 'almost' back to normal. my stomach is doing fine. still no dreams.
so all in all, aside from feeling exhausted, things are ok. im really hoping this feeling of exhaustion / laziness goes away soon. i need my energy back. to be honest, im not even sure how much of the exhaustion is chantix and how much is simply the process of nicotine withdrawal and my body recovering a bit. maybe its 50/50 or 40/60. so its unfair to blame everything on the medication.
oh and one other thing. i think often times we underestimate how hard it is to quit smoking. we do this because while we are smoking we pretend that we can 'handle it' and that its 'not that bad'. which helps us feel better about smoking, but when we come to stop smoking we have to overcome 10,20,30 years of lying to ourselves about the habit.
and the other thing is that we hear about people who quit cold turkey and seem to have no problems. so we end up thinking its all about will power. and the harder it is for us to quit, the more we think 'im weak. im a failure. ill never be able to do this.' - and the more we think that, the more you end up wanting a smoke.
what im finding with chantix is that it's like sending hte reinforcements in to battle. when you think you can't fight the battle anymore, the reinforcements arrive and you have just enough men to keep fighting.
i think an important part of beating smoking is admitting that is probably the hardest thing you will ever do in life. i know for me, it will be the hardest thing (and i haven't had an easy life!!!).
so when you accept that its probably the (or at least one of the) hardest things you can do in life, then that puts the suffering in to perspective. personally if you said which do you want to do: climb mount everest or quit smoking, i think climbing mount everest would be easier.
well, on day 8. i quit smoking last night. its now been 23 hour since my last smoke.
has not been a fun day. basically feel like i have the flu.
but despite that i haven't gone out to buy any smokes. i did take my second chantix pill early, hoping to feel a bit better. not the best idea. i've never felt nauseous after taking the pill, but this time i did (i think because i didnt' leave enough time between taking pills).
Congratulations on your quit!!! You are doing fantastic!!!
Chantix was a real miracle drug for me. I quit about nine months ago using Chantix myself. It worked exactly as they said it would. I took it for four months to assure my quit. You can take it up to six months of longer if you need to, but I got tired of the "fog" that comes with it.
You want to hear something funny? The day I quit, I was really worried about going home after work. I was not sure how I would handle the temptation to smoke in the house like a used to. But I was determined to make this quit successful. So I took myself out for dinner and a movie for the first three nights of my quit. I had a blast!!! Whoever said quitting had to be a miserable experience???
Best of luck to you!!!
Smober for eight months, three weeks, five days, 14 hours, 34 minutes and 1 second. 12132 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,729.35. Life saved: 6 weeks, 3 hours, 0 minutes.
work up feeling pretty good today (day 9). actually had enough energy to go out and get some stuff done. went to the gas station and the grocery store (among others) and didn't buy a pack of smokes at either. felt pretty good, the urge was there but it wasn't so much an urge to smoke as it was anxiety over whether i would smoke or not.
in the past i've gone close to 24 hours without smoking (22 hours was my longest i think). already my last smoke was over 40 hours ago and the withdrawal is minimal. i mean, its still there, im still edgy, but its nothing like cold turkey. its still tough enough that you need to want to do this.
today is a big day, because (and how ironic is this) in the past when i would go a day without smoking, i would reward myself with... you guessed it, a smoke! haha. crazy i know, but that's how it would go.
so day 2 of a quit is the toughest for me, because thats where i start to feel better and think 'ahh, i feel healthy again. one smoke wont kill me." and after that one smoke its right back to being a smoker.
so far today i haven't bought any smokes, but the urge is there. its more a psychological urge than physical though.
at this point in chantix (day 9) with 40+ hours of non smoking under my belt, the pros and cons of the experience right now are...
- wow, haven't smoked in my car in like a week and when i got in it today it smelled like an ashtray to me. a dull stink. is this what other people smell when a smoker is around? yuck.
- wow, i can smell smoke everywhere now. got in the elevator today and could tell a smoker must have just been in it. when i leave a building i can smell smoke from where people put out their smokes.
- side effects of chantix have gone way down. drowsiness is gone. fogginess is gone. bloating is gone. constipation is gone. basically just edginess and a tad of lethargy remains.
- energy levels are way up. not sure if its actual energy or simply tension from withdrawal. either way, i'm considering taking a jog this evening, so thats something.
- socialness and libido is up (its above what it was when i was a smoker). im checking out women left right and center now. when i was a smoker i'd just kind of go about my business and ignore most people around me. now i find myself overly engaged with the world around me. go figure.
- man i would still love to smoke. i picked one of the toughest times to quit. i have way too much free time on my hands and not enough to do. if i were married or had kids there would be distractions. but regardless, there is never an 'easy' time to quit, so all of that is just an excuse. but anyway, the point is that i woudl still really like to have a smoke. right now i'm winning the battle , its kind of like 51% me in control and 49% nicotine wanting control back - i've got just enough to fend it off.
- the first week sucked, and week 2 is much better even on the higher dosage (i was worried side effects woudl get worse, but they haven't, they've actually gotten better - maybe because im not smoking, who knows). but part of me still wonders when i'll stop feeling anxious about not smoking.
- when i was a smoker i never had a temper. i jsut let everything in life roll off my back. now im finding my patience isn't what it use to be. im not losing control or anything, but if someone cuts me off in traffic i curse to myself and get frustrated about it for 10 seconds or so. whereas before is someone cut me off i'd just have a cig and laugh about them being bad drivers.
- my appetite is way up. although i haven't gained any weight since starting chantix. and while my appetite is up, its not out of control. in past quits i'd just want to eat handfuls of sugar but with chantix i just feel maybe 25% more hungry than normal, and eating healthy food takes care of the hunger. heck i was driving around today and was starving - you all know that feeling when your starving and you just have a smoke to and the hunger goes away for an hour or two. well i managed to stay hungry for 2 or so hours with no smoke and not buying any smokes - so its not so bad that you have to eat or smoke to deal with it.
but a lot of what id call cons are things i dont think chantix can help with. i mean, normal living includes getting anxious at times, getting upset at times, etc.
im just so use to being sooo even keel as a smoker that its goign to take time to get use to being more emotional and interactive with the world around me. this will sound strange, but without smokes around to dull life you FEEL life more - both the good things and the bad things.
anyway, i came very close to buying a pack today. i didn't so much want a pack, but actually just wanted 1 cigarette. i don't knwo if ill be able to hold out the entire week. part of me wants to smoke a cigarette just to see if i have that 'yuck, this is gross' feeling.
we'll see. but either way, i'm going to stay on chantix until i beat smoking. with the side effects now pretty much gone this shouldn't be too hard.
Well alright now!!! Congratulations on day 8!!! You're doing pretty damned good there. Pat on the back to you!!!
Wow, you sound just like me nine months ago. Trust me, it really does get much better with time.
As far as the "Pros":
Nicotine used to cause your veins to become constricted all the time. Now that you quit, blood is flowing far more evenly throughout your body. So libido is going to be up. You'll have more energy. You can breath deeper. Your not out of breath when you get to the top of the stairs any more. Very cool...
You are quite right about smoke smelling pretty bad while on Chantix. Smells just as bad when you get off of it. What's happening is the Chantix will not allow your brain to process the "Aaaahhh" feeling any more. So now you are smelling smoke the way every non-smoker does. Almost smells like burning leaves, huh? "Yuck" is right... I still smell it around the house every once in awhile. Smoke is so damned destructive!!! Sheesh...
As for as the "Cons":
I offer you the following to muddle over. What you are feeling right now is very normal and will definitely subside with time.
Trust me, smoking is no longer an option. You definitely don't want to have to go through this again. No, no, no...
I had a lot of these symptoms, though not all certainly.
One thing that surprised the daylights out of me was that I actually started to calm down after a few days. Way more then when I smoked. I really mellowed out more with time.
Be reminded that any crave you have will never last longer then three minutes. It's a fact! Try timing it some time. I know - seems like forever. But with Chantix the craving goes POOF! in less then 30 seconds.
For me, what really helped was researching all the postings here and else where on the internet.
Knowledge is power!!!
Glad to hear you are doing so incredibly well. Hang in there buddy, you're doing just fine.
Don't worry too much about eating and wait right now. Just focus on your quit. Most people gain about 10 - 20 pound within the six months of quitting. You see, nicotine causes internally stored fats to be released. So it artificially kept your wait down. When you quit, that doesn't happen any more and you tend to put a few pounds on. Don't worry, you can lose it later on this year when you are well into your quit. You got enough on your plate right now (no pun intended of course...) so just stay focused on your quit. This is a big thing you know!!!
Yes sir, it's called insomnia. It's a nicotine withdrawal symptom. It'll go away with time. However if it becomes too much for you, I know of others on this board (from way back when) who actually cut back on the Chantix to 1MG in the morning and 1/2 MG at night. Some found that if they took the pill at 5:00pm then the side effects passed by bed time.
Now I do not know if you are a caffeine addict like I am, but here is some pretty interesting stuff you may want to consider. (Love that Starbucks...)
I posted this back in March:
Not sure if you will find this helpful or not, however I pulled this off the web and thought you might find it at least interesting. I know I did.
The nicotine withdrawal symptoms (such as irritability, headache, or difficulty sleeping) may be severe for some - especially if the cigarettes smoked contain high levels of nicotine
The article was written by a smoking cessation specialist by the name of Terry Martin.
Insomnia When You Quit Smoking
From Terry Martin,
Your Guide to Smoking Cessation.
I can't sleep!
Sleep disturbances are a common side effect of nicotine withdrawal. Some people will sleep much more than usual through this phase of cessation, while others have difficulty getting any sleep at all. If you find yourself suffering from insomnia during the first few weeks after you quit smoking, try a few of these natural remedies to ease your discomforts.
Cut out the caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant. Most people know this, but here's a fact that is less widely known: caffeine in the body of a smoker is metabolized(digested) at about twice the rate as that of a nonsmoker. The result is a high tolerance to caffeine. When you quit smoking, the amount of coffee or colas you're used to drinking might now make you very jittery and anxious. Cut back on, or cut out caffeine completely for awhile, especially if youíre having trouble sleeping through the night. Chances are good that once you're through the withdrawal process, you'll be able to drink coffee again, though maybe not as much as you used to.
Take a warm bath. This is one of my personal favorite ways to relax and destress. I recommend it often, and YES, itís good for the guys too! Light a few candles, use some scented bath salts, and submerge!
Get a massage. Enlist your spouse or other willing pair of hands to help work the stress out of your muscles. If you can get a full body massage, great, but even 10 or 15 minutes spent on your neck, shoulders, face and scalp can really work wonders to relax you to the point of being ready to sleep.
Have a cup of herbal tea. There are a variety of teas on the market today blended specifically to help soothe and promote sleep. Take a look at the tea section in the supermarket, or visit your local health food store and ask for suggestions.
Listen to some soothing music. Soft, mellow music can go a long way towards relaxing you enough to drift off to sleep. You may want to try listening to a recording of waves hitting the beach - soft sounds can be a very good sleep aid. Make sure you have a player that will turn itself off - you donít want to have to get up and do it yourself - defeats the purpose!
Have a glass of warm milk. Spice it up with a little honey and cardamom or nutmeg. It could well be that the reason warm milk helps us sleep is due to the fact that it is a food rich in the amino acid L-tryptophan. L-tryptophan helps the body produce neurotransmitters such as seratonin. Neurotransmitters are chemical nerve messengers that tell our bodies to shut down at night, as well as helping us to be fully awake during the day. More of the L-tryptophan in milk gets delivered to your brain when you eat a carbohydrate along with it. No wonder milk and cookies have long been a favorite bedtime snack.
Other foods containing the amino acid L-tryptophan:
Donít drink alcohol. It disrupts sleep. Though a few drinks may make it easier to fall asleep initially, a person will often wake up just a few hours into their sleep cycle. Frequently, sleep is then intermittent for the remainder of the night.
Get some exercise. Even a short 15 minute walk will help, but if you can't sleep, try getting out for a nice long walk a few hours before bed.
Meditate. The value of this exercise is in letting the stress of your day go. Start out by laying quietly, eyes closed, for 5 minutes. When thoughts come, acknowledge them and let them go. Let your mind drift. Build the time up that you do this activity gradually. Itís a terrific way to relax and slow down enough to sleep. Adding meditation to your daily routine will reward you with improved control and calmness throughout your day.
Read a good book. Climb into bed and settle in for some reading. It never fails to put me out, usually within the first 5 pages.
Avoid naps. While it may feel good to get a bit of sleep in during the day, if you're suffering from insomnia, you need to skip the naps.
Get up earlier. Another useful technique to help you shift your internal clock so that youíre sleepy come bedtime.
Remember, the physical withdrawal phase of quitting tobacco is a temporary condition. Your sleep patterns will return to normal soon, providing you didnít have insomnia before cessation. If symptoms persist beyond the first month or so, schedule a visit with your doctor.
well day 10 is almost over. 73 hours now without a smoke.
today was TOUGH. the past two days haven't been easy, but today was really tough. ate like a pig as well (going to start a diet tomorrow, this eating has gotten out of control since i tried to quit). also felt achy and lethargic.
but i try to remind myself that after 14 years of smoking every single day, you can't expect the body to start repairing all that damage without a little discomfort.
on day 8 and 9 i took two 1mg pills, as directed, but today i've cut down to just taking one in the morning. i found the second one was increasing the side effects and i didn't really feel it helped any in terms of not wanting a smoke.
while i made it through the day without buying any smokes, it was not easy today in the least. im a little worried, too many more days with this level of urges and i know i'll crack. but i'm sticking to it as best i can.
considering i've never gone more than 22 hours without a smoke since i started smoking, the fact that i've gone 73 hours now without a smoke is pretty good. i just keep waiting for things to get a 'bit easier', so far the past three days have been tough.
now being smoke free for 4 days im beginning to realize that i've always 'assessed' my life through the eyes of a smoker. i've always thought things through with a cigarette in my hand - always had that calming presence to help me control my emotions.
today was a horrible day. for some reason i was rehasing a lot of stuff from the past and was reacting VERY emotionally to it. stuff that i thought i had put to bed, suddenly i was rethinking and getting really upset over it. not fun.
i haven't cried in heck, 20 years, and i cried tonight just a bit. like i say, for me a total emotional breakdown.
and yet, despite this, i still didn't smoke. i've really resigned myself to the fact that cigarettes are only masking my problems, they aren't solving them, and that having a smoke won't make it feel better, it will only make me feel more 'numb'.
so hopefully tomorrow is a better day. all i can say is that chantix obviously must be working, because there is no way i would have gone through what i did today and not have broken down and bought a pack of smokes.
so quiting smokes has been anything but fun so far. and yet, somehow my quit continues.
the best way to articulate the experience so far is that while quitting may feel horrible (even on chantix), im also aware that smoking would feel even worse.
Being emotional when first quitting isn't all that unusual and as you said. Smoking was masking these problems. In reality smoking created this problem. Nicotine hijacked the brains natural neurotransmitters only to cause us to rely on putting a poison into our bodies just to "feel good".
While craves usually only last a few mintues. What you're describing is what is known as Fixating on a cigarette. This can be dangerous because we tend to focus only on smoking a cigarette. We forget about all the thousands of other cigarettes that will need to smoked after that one.
Instead of focusing on just that one. Since there really is no such thing. Remember smoking at your old consumption. If you smoked 20 a day. Tell yourself that you will HAVE to smoke 20 cigarettes a day , everyday until it cripples then kills you. Seeing smoking for what it really is, makes it a lot less appetizing.
While Chantix may be helping you. Never underestimate the power of YOU. It is you that is quitting smoking. It is you making the decision not to smoke.
I have seen a lot of people use chantix. Some people have an easy time. Some people have a hard time.
I have seen a lot of people quit cold turkey. Some people have an easy time. Some people have a hard time.
The one thing is that no matter how a person quits. They are going to have craves. This addiction is very psycholigical.
I have tried to quit smoking so amny times that I have lost count and I can tell you that all of those past quits were horrible.
Even this quit for the first two days was no different. I was using the patch and I was having a horrible time. I thought, "Wow, this feels horrible. I can't imagine how bad it would be if I didn't have the patch." I was having panic attacks and the anxiety felt overwhelming.
I then started learning about nicotine addiction and decided to take off the patch. To my amazement, I didn't feel any worse and actually I felt better, because I learned that a lot of the anxieties that we feel when we first quit are "US" fueling the fire of anxieties.
Trying to fight off a crave is only going to create more anxieties. A good exercise when experiencing a crave is to acknowledge it and tell youself as a matter of factly that you're having a crave. Say it the same way as if you're making an observation about the weather. Saying" It's sunny outside."
Calm yourself and practice slow, deep breathing. Anxiety will cause the muscles to get more tense causing more stress. Deep breathing can not only calm you, but it will help release the tension in your muscles.
By doin this, you'll not make the crave anymore intense than it would otherwise be. It will help the feeling of anxiety die away faster.
Just remember, this is smoking's fault. Not quitting's. Quitting is going to relieve you of these craves. While it is a temporary adjustment, it is an adjustment that is going to free you from HAVING to smoke.
Craves do not last forever. The only people that have craves forever are people that don't quit smoking.