By Charles Bausman
This update brings us to a full month of no tobacco use. Just as our local addiction counselor had predicted, the past week provided a fresh wave of cravings. Heaps of nicotine gum was chewed, but no Copenhagen was purchased, borrowed, or chewed.
Once again, I received multiple emails of encouragement and support. Beyond my own appreciation to these folks, they’ve also given me a sense of responsibility… I don’t want to let them down. Thanks again to all of you who have written in.
As those familiar with the quitting process of tobacco products will know, it makes you constipated. I ate enough MRE’s during my time in the Marines to know that I hate being constipated.
I had three options:
- Be a reasonable person and eat some high fiber foods to get things going in a day or two.
- Take the prescribed amount of laxatives according to the directions on the box
- Take 200% of the prescribed amount of laxatives according to the directions on the box
As a life rule, I tend to make things harder than they need to be. Option 3 was the only answer. The directions said to take the pill(s) before going to bed, to be followed by a “gentle morning” of small intestinal relief.
The “gentle morning” commenced at 2 a.m. and lasted throughout the night. It was not gentle, nor relieving.
After this enlightening experiencing, a friend recommended using a daily spoonful of Metamucil. You know the stuff… you probably saw it in your grandparent’s pantry. Life-changing product. Go get yourself some. Right now. You’ll thank me later.
Cutting Down on the Gum
As a reader pointed out to me, at this point I’ve only exchanged one habit (tobacco) for another (nicotine gum). To get my jaw tingling fix in, I ordered 10 cans of Jake’s Mint Chew. This stuff is made of Mint leaves (no surprise) with no other chemicals involved.
It doesn’t taste nearly as delicious as my old favorites, but it takes the edge off of the nicotine cravings and fulfills the tingling jaw sensation.
The idea is to ween myself off of all nicotine substitutes. I’m currently down to two pieces of gum a day and hope to be completely done with it by next week. We will see how that process fares.
Lessons Learned in the Past Month
- Don’t quit when you have other major stresses in your life. The first week quitting was awful and I couldn’t handle much else besides the withdrawals
- Find a support system. Having some folks (in-person or virtually) who have gone through what you’re going through is huge. KillTheCan.org was an extremely helpful site in educating myself of what I was facing.
- Have what you need ready to go. Buy the nicotine gum or whatever you’ve decided to use ahead of time. That trip to pick up some gum can veer off to the gas station for a Copenhagen run before you know it. Plan ahead.
- Take your physical training up a notch. The best way for me to get rid of the craving was to do something active. Get your mind off it.
- It will suck. There is no way around it. Just like all the websites say, the first week is by far the worst. Prepare yourself. After that, it gets significantly easier. Stick with it!
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