written in my first week of freedom from smoking and originally posted on november 22, 2001; it describes the worst withdrawal symptoms i went through in the first few days.

the worst times

2009 January 4

the worst times of this quit, and what i did to get through them:

even now, only a few days later, its hard to recall everything that i went through that night, but i clearly remember thinking it was the worst night of my life. when i woke up the next morning, i felt exhausted, but also exuberant - i had prevailed! the demon ... had done his best and i didn’t budge. i felt incredibly strong that morning.

by far the worst times happened during the night between day one and day two; twice that night i woke in a cold sweat, shaking, wanting a cigarette so bad i could taste it. looking back, it felt like the demon was simultaneously tearing at my guts with razor-sharp talons while whispering "sweet nothings" (its deceitful promises of relief) in my ear. i screamed into my pillow, i repeated "LIAR!" and "NO! i will NOT feed you!" over and over, i grabbed fistfuls of blanket, stuffed them into my mouth and bit down hard as hard as i could on them, i gritted my teeth, i refused to get out of the bed, i tossed and turned and shook like a leaf... even now, only a few days later, its hard to recall everything that i went through that night, but i clearly remember thinking it was the worst night of my life. when i woke up the next morning, i felt exhausted, but also exuberant - i had prevailed! i had beaten the demon! it made it much easier to commit to not smoking on day two; i knew that, having gotten through that night, i could get through anything else the demon could throw at me, because he had already done his best (or worst, depending on how you look at it) and i didn't budge. i felt incredibly strong that morning.

the second-worst time was mid-afternoon on day two; i was sitting at my desk at work when i got hit by a freight train of craving almost as bad as what i went through the night before. and it seemed to just keep coming, with no lessening of intensity - i took several deep breaths, i stood up and walked around, i told myself over and over that i was NOT going to feed the demon; none of that worked - the urge was still coming on real strong. then i remembered a tip that i got from debi early on; she suggested that i keep copies of everything i posted on the ffs boards (along with copies of anything that anybody else posted that "clicked" with me) and commit to myself that i'd read every single word before i caved. so i started saving all that stuff (and emailing copies of it to myself at work), and now i read through every single word... when i got done, the jones was still going strong, so i went on-line, got onto the ffs boards, and started searching them for every thread i had either started or responded to - and i read every word of every one of those threads. by the time i was done, the urge had finally passed, and i was out of the woods again.

8 responses leave one →
  1. 2003 March 27
    Bob permalink

    That seems to be the "key" to quitting. I'm in my third day now and I found that if I procrastinate caving in by thinking of something else for several minutes, the craving goes away.

  2. 2004 July 19
    fantashia permalink

    I tell people this all the time. When I quit smoking all I wanted to do was sleep. The 2nd day of not smoking I was making a bed with my eyes closed. I was sooo damn sleepy. I sometimes think this is gods way of putting you out of your misery for a short period of time. When I was awake I kept myself busy whether it be cleaning or going online to play games - just anything to keep busy.

  3. 2006 October 13
    James Barker permalink

    I really agree with this article i felt the same way.

    thank you

  4. 2006 October 24
    marie permalink

    as debie suggested, i made copies when i first quit of what others posted that helped me, and i go over them often. my folder is getting pretty full. i also add some thoughts of my own as i read. the most helpful one was a link, "a higher power", that was on ffs, i think. i printed all the Scripture people had put on there that helped them, and it has really strengthened me. after a year of not smoking, i still stay tense and have the thoughts almost continually. certainally not like the craves you described that we have at the beginning...the addiction is a demon alright!!!!!!!!!

  5. 2006 December 29
    Tina permalink

    Loved the article. I am 9 days smober and whenever I feel the urge to smoke "which is alot" I tell myself I will buy a pack tomorrow.. And when tomorrow comes I do the same thing..

  6. 2009 January 4

    note: the comments above were left on the original tale at the date and time indicated.

  7. 2010 October 19
    simon permalink

    I did something similar but slightly different and a bit 'out there'. I learnt the 'EFT' technique- its where you tap yourself on various points of your body. looks very strange. The theory is that doing this can neutralize a disturbing emotion in the body. So- in the spirit of adventure - when a craving came I would do the tapping routine on the craving feeling. If the craving remained I would do it again. By the time I had done the routine (takes a couple of minutes) the craving had almost always subsided. The most I ever did to subside the craving was 3 runs of the routine I think. Other people may argue that this 'EFT' technique is just distraction- which doesn't matter. What mattered to me is that it worked- not whether the theory is correct. From my experience, it also strikes me as a much more effective 'distraction technique' than reading through reams of forum posts /doing the hoovering/running around in circles/biting pillows in the hope the monster will go away. If you google EFT you will be able to find detailed free information on how to do the technique. I am now smoke free for 4 months and rarely even think about cigarettes. I had one pang this week and it lasted for less than 5 seconds. I fully expect to have none at all very soon. I also think Allen Carr's method teaches something very valuable- that thinking stopping smoking will be extremely difficult and hellish makes it more likely to be so. Having learnt that before i also tried to tapping routine before smoking my last cigarette- tapping on my fear at the propsect of never putting another cigarette in my mouth. I don't see any way to 'prove' whether this helped but I believe it did signficantly.

  8. 2010 October 19

    interesting, simon - glad to hear it worked for you, and congratulations on your first 4 months of freedom! :)

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