Do You Want A Chocolate?

Despite the name of this post I’m not going to offer you a chocolate in the sense that you know it. Further on I will explain the chocolate reference. This week’s post is honest one about an event in our lives that Mr StitchNSew and I are both going through, we are attempting to stop smoking. If you read this post please no judgement, this is just our story. Prior to writing this I did ask Mr StitchNSew as it is a personal story and I wanted to make sure he was comfortable about it.

This time I have been smoking since July 2020. I had stopped in the January of that year because of the costs of cigarettes and getting the upcoming mortgage I freaked out and just stopped. It was easier for me to stop rather than Mr StitchNSew so I was the one to do it. To stop smoking the smoker really needs to want to stop doing it, be ready to stop or they will fail and return to smoking. I went cold turkey (used no quit smoking aids) I had gone from being a heavy smoker (every 30 mins at home) to nothing overnight and the withdrawal symptoms were horrible, muscle aches, shaking, mood swings. In July Mr StitchNSew had surgery and during it I picked up a cigarette and it started again. I wasn’t really ready to stop smoking at the time and in a way used his surgery as an excuse to start again.

Hiding a cigarette behind my back during a blog photoshoot

Starting up again was stupid but not even as stupid as what had happened before that. I had actually quit smoking for 10 years… yep 10 years. In 2008 I decided to stop. I can’t remember why I was stopping but both Mr StitchNSew and I were going to do it together but unfortunately he didn’t last more than a couple of days. I don’t remember what withdrawal symptoms I went through back then, I’ve blocked it out of my mind. Through passive smoking I was still getting a hit as such. Over the years I had a few rough/stressful times including the death of my mum but I remained smoke free. In 2018 I was going through a lot of stress at work, I had pain in my knee and feared it might dislocate again. I gave into the stress and started smoking again. I know it was the most stupidest thing I had ever done.

Since starting up again in 2020 I kept telling myself I would give up. I would say a date and when that rolled around I would try but give in. I told myself I’ll stop when I get Covid but when I got it I kept smoking. I’m not smoking as much as I was in 2020 when I gave up so I kept telling myself it was ok. Due to circumstances out of our control at home we smoke indoors with all the doors closed. Trying to stop became that much harder as there was no escape from it, you had the smell and the reminders such as the ashtray and packets of smokes on the kitchen bench. You can’t get away from the smoking.

Mr StitchNSew has been smoking for 60 years. Nowadays starting at the age of 8 sounds shocking but it was normal in the 1960’s for kids to start that young. Quitting for him is no easy feat. Finally he is ready in his heart to stop so, now is the time. I’m ready too. For him the motivation is improving his health. My motivation is a little different. It is part control and part wanting to live more freely. I want to control what I do, I don’t want an addiction to control what I do. Living more freely, I want to have all the doors open all the time in our place, I don’t want the items I sew or knit to smell like smoke. I want to create a new normal and that is a smoke free one.

Mr StichNSew and I work great as a team and we are quitting as a team. Smoking is an addiction to nicotine and not just a choice people make. To ensure we stop smoking which we will! We have reached out for support. I contacted the Quitline for advice. We had made a start before we reached out for help by starting to reduce our smoking by going longer between cigarettes. Instead of going cold turkey we are have both started using smoking quit aids. We contacted our doctor and have both started using nicotine patches which give a small dose of nicotine to the body. For heavy smokers you can still smoke a bit while on the patches, but you reduce your smoking over a period of days and weeks. The patches come in different strengths which you start on the highest and ween yourself down to lower strengths as you go along. We are have started to follow the 4 D’s of quitting

  • Distraction – Keep busy
  • Delay – Put off having a cigarette
  • Drink water – Drink fluids
  • Deep breathing – Stop and breath when you get the urge

At the moment we aren’t really getting cravings, I know they will start once we fully stop but we can use quit aids such as inhalers or gum to help. At home I get jittery after about 2 hours without one, I know it is habit as I can go 8 hours at work without one. We moved our ashtray so it isn’t a constant reminder in the middle of the loungeroom and keep the packets of cigarettes in a cupboard.

Neither of us like chocolate so we now refer to cigarettes as chocolate. We are trying to create a negative feeling about smoking hence the chocolate reference. We understand that a lot of our smoking is a habit or behavior issues so a big part of it is changing our routines and habits. Stress does play a big part but we are trying not to reach out for a smoke during times of stress, that doesn’t always happen but we are trying.

The best advice I got from contacting the Quitline is don’t be too harsh on yourself. If you have slip up for example, don’t push out the time between smokes or grab one when stressed, it is ok. It isn’t a complete failure. Next time in that situation, maybe try one of the 4 D’s to help you during that time. A slip up doesn’t mean you’re starting from scratch again.

Becoming smoke free takes time and it is hard but you can do it. Doing it together we will. We are experiencing the same things together and can talk about it, even little things like “was your patch itchy when you first put it on?” We are each others biggest cheer squad and support. It is going to take us weeks, maybe even months for some of the cravings to stop but in the end we will do it together and become smoke free. 


6 thoughts on “Do You Want A Chocolate?

  1. Hey – you two are working on a big change and that is awesome!
    My mother-in-law (late husband’s Mom) smoked probably from the same age that your husband did until she was like 60 and quit. She lived until 98! I’ve heard that the body and lungs can heal themselves if you stop. I think what you two are doing together is awesome!

  2. I wish you both success. You have taken the first step to quitting by deciding to quit. Quitting is different for everyone, so doing what you have to do to quit is a plus. And you have each other to lean on. I am a former smoker, so I know what it takes to quit. Know that I am routing for you both.

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