Diary of an Ex-Smoker...Part Four


Acupuncture? For real? Until I saw that acupuncture was proving to be helpful for crack addicts I thought of it as a load of crap. So, for what amounted to be the cost of about a month or so supply of cigarettes, I signed up for my first ever acupuncture treatment.

On my first visit, smoking outside of the acupuncture office, I pondered - Would it hurt? Would it work? How?

The acupuncturist simply explained to me that acupuncture works by stimulating centers in the brain responsible for regulating natural opioid responses (like the release of endorphins and other chemicals) that help our bodies with pain management. That's why acupuncture helps with withdrawal symptoms. He said that I would need at least three treatments over the course of two weeks. This would get me through the 'Physical Addiction' phase. After that, it was up to me not to smoke.

The needles were placed in my ears and the web spaces (between the thumbs and forefingers) of my hands. There was no pain. I left the office with instructions not to smoke and whenever I felt the craving for a cigarette I was to rub a spot that the acupuncturist designated by placing a small metal bead on my ear, covered with a bandage..

I'm not saying it was easy. I was a Trauma/ER Nurse at the time and I recall squeezing the hell out of my ears following long and arduous trauma resuscitations, but not once did I feel as though I would become unglued. That in itself was a huge improvement from my usual withdrawal symptoms.

I must admit that after two weeks of being smoke-free I still wanted a cigarette from time to time but knew that it was all psychological at this point. I decided to adopt the Alcoholic Anonymous mantra "One Day at a Time" and admit that I was an addict to nicotine. One puff of a cigarette would start my addiction again just as one drink to an alcoholic would start theirs.

So, each hour, each day, each experience, each trauma of being  being smoke free was a 'win' and they all added up and amounted to  being twenty years since my last cigarette.

I don't miss the smell, the expense, the panic associated with being out of cigarettes, the late night runs to the store to replenish my supply, the dirty ashtrays, the cravings, the inaccessibility of smoking areas and the judgement of friends and strangers alike. But on occasion, I still get a little misty-eyed at the thought of lighting up.

My love-life didn't change much after I quit smoking but several years later, I met the love of my life and married him. Once I asked him if he would have asked me out if I was a smoker. He said that although he liked me, he would not have considered it.
 I'm so glad that I quit smoking.

Diary of an Ex-Smoker Part III

No Comments Yet, Leave Yours!

Heather said...

Awww, I love a good love story. The thing that people call luck is really when opportunity meets preparation. I'm so glad you were prepared when you met him.

Congrats on being 20 years free of smoking.

Think the same method would work for chocolate cake? lol!