Higher Calling

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In his Iraq speech tonight President Bush said that there is no higher calling than a career in the military.

You know, I’m going to go out on a limb and posit that being a priest, monk, or nun is a higher calling than a professional killer. But hey, that’s me. I’m kooky.

Yeah, this Bush guy takes his Christian faith really seriously.

Nicotine Free

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I have been off nicotine for 83 hours, and am now nicotine-free. The residual drug stored in my body has been passed through sweat or urine. I’m now dealing with the very last stages of physical addiction. In another 24-48 hours it will all be psychological addiction that I’m overcoming.

It hasn’t been easy, but then, it hasn’t been too tough. I wasn’t trying to quit, I was quitting. Failure was not only not an option, it was impossible. I will not smoke again. I have had my last puff of smoke. Period. I can sit and think, “Man, I would sure love a smoke right now,” but the only possible answer is, “Too bad I quit.”

Have made some interesting discoveries during all this:

  • Cold turkey is the only method that works long-term. Here’s why. And more.
  • Drink lots of lemonade. Lots of it. The sugar helps to minimize the blood-sugar loss caused by nicotine withdrawal, and the acidic juice helps purge the residual nicotine stores faster,
  • When you quit, be ready to quit and do it. No “trying.” No half-assed attempts. Either be ready to do it and do it, or don’t waste your time.
  • Get rid of all tobacco. I threw any left-over tobacco away on Thursday night. If I wanted a cigarette, I was going to have to go buy more. Not “just one smoke.”
  • No gum. No patches. No lozenges. No Zyban. None of it. If you’re a nicotine addict, stop using nicotine.
  • Tell a lot of people you’re quitting. If you fail, you look like an ass. This helped me a lot. I announced it here. There was no way I’m coming back here and saying, “Well, I failed.”
  • One day at a time.
  • Smoking isn’t a habit. It’s a drug addiction. People that smoke or used to smoke (like me) are drug addicts. Killing themselves for drugs. Think of it this way, it gets a whole lot easier to quit.

There’s a lot more to it, and I have a ways to go. But I’ve been off smokes for 3.5 days and am now drug-free. It feels great. I’m happy.

If you’re thinking of quitting, make sure you really, really are going to do it. If you know for sure that you will, and aren’t going to “just try,” and are willing to go cold turkey, I’m happy to provide you with support.

Snuffed Out

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As of today (my 40th birthday) I am officially a non-active smoker.

I made a promise to myself years ago that I would not smoke past the age of 40. It’s a promise I fully intend to keep, as it was a wise thing to which to commit.

I just stood outside on the patio and had my last hand-rolled Bali Shag cigarette. I remembered, out loud, all the places I have lived and smoked and all the people that have been smoking buddies over the years. Like reciting the names of the fallen before pushing the casket overboard.

It’s unwise for anyone who has smoked to call themselves a “non-smoker” when they quit. It’s a lie. Given half a chance, they’ll go back. I’m no exception. I’m a “non-active smoker,” not a non-smoker. I have the addiction, but I’m riding it and it’s not riding me.

Send me some strength. I’m going to need it.

And take a moment today to listen to Desiree by Neil Diamond and Ode To Billy Joe by Bobby Gentry.

Oh, and of course, Happy Birthday by Altered Images.

If they were me and I was you, would you have liked a present too?

:)