Stoptober For Me
I am Michelle – a reviewer here at ECigClick and here is Stoptober for me so far and as you can see below it isn’t quite going to plan sadly…
9th October 2017
As you might have seen in Neil’s wonderful piece “Stoptober Special – We Quit Smoking By Vaping And You Can Too!” I am currently smoking and vaping and gradually cutting down on my tobacco use.
This got me thinking if for Stoptober I could try and cut out the tobacco completely?
In fact this is far more poignant than you could ever imagine right now.
The Month From Hell
Today I spent 13 hours at Stoke Hospital with my dear mom as she had some of her lung removed due to cancer. She smoked up until about 10 years ago, and then she totally stopped. However the temptation came along again a few years ago and I went and got her an ecig – just a cig-a-like disposable and she really took to it. She has been using the rechargeable cig-a-likes and buying the cartridges for them ever since.
However about a month ago our worlds fell apart when during a CT scan for something completely different a mass was found on her lung. After weeks of waiting and worrying it was confirmed it was a living mass and needed to be removed ASAP.
We are hoping the operation was successful as I left her in critical care she was able to respond to us and was breathing unaided.
So as you can see this brush with the big C has scared me shitless to put it bluntly.
My Relationship With Tobacco Is Starting To Feel More Toxic
The dilemma is this. I love vaping, I love smoking. But right now I am smoking more than I have ever done in my life. The worry and stress has been immense. The irony is the reason my mom is going through all this is because of all the years she smoked herself. My mom often speaks of 50-60 years ago when doctors would offer you cigarettes.
I genuinely now want to stop – I’m getting a lot closer. I no longer want to smoke anywhere near my mom for a start, and I’m getting slowly more angry with tobacco for causing this.
So I am thinking about cutting out the backy completely now. Problem is – is this really the worst time? I’m not sure. If I can get away from it now then I can keep off it in less stressful times.
Right now I am focussed on spending time with my mom and getting her well again. But this has possibly been the big scare to wean me off the stinkies forever?
Perhaps for me “StopVember” is on the cards?
10th October 2017
Again another traumatic day at the incredible Critical Care Unit at the University Hospital of Stoke. The staff have been incredible – making a difficult time much easier. Thank you.
A real mix of emotions as a few complications with my mom emerged. Again found myself looking forward to a break from the chaos and upset and going outside for a smoke and to just get my breath and catch my thoughts.
Today I have smoked heavily – again.
What Is The Way Forward For Me?
Later this evening I was chatting with ECigClick main man Jonny. We were thinking of different devices and liquids which may help me stop this huge reliance on the ciggies at this time. So I am feeling hopeful that when things do calm down for me – I am on the right path.
Even after my chat with Jonny I picked up my trusty Joyetech Cubox AIO and filled it up with my favourite liquid. I forgot about ciggies for a few hours- until the time came to call the hospital again. The news was ok though thankfully.
The Last Few Months
I’m a bit sad as over the last few months I have cut down to a third of the tobacco I usually use – as I am really enjoying vaping. I have still been clinging to the first and last smoke of the day and after meals. In-between these I have been vaping quite happily and always have tobacco next to me to make sure I don’t feel deprived. I know if I took tobacco away it would be all I could think about all day long – the being deprived almost makes you focus on that object and want to rebel against anything which takes it away from you.
As you may have read in Neil’s article, I have been smoking for almost 30 years. Tried many times to stop – half-heartedly as I didn’t really want to. Tried Champix, Zyban, nicotine patches, lozenges, inhalators – the works. They helped but weren’t successful and I became quite ill and had to quit the tablets due to the horrendous side effects.
So by reducing my tobacco to a mere third of my usual consumption I have been incredibly proud – so have my family. But this set back has made me lean on the ciggies even more.
So as you can see my relationship with tobacco is mentally getting quite sour. I’m disliking what it’s done to my mom and when I should be more disgusted and repulsed by cigarettes I ironically need them more than ever.
Is this just a mental comfort thing? Like craving bowls of soup when you have a bad cold or ice cream when you got a sore throat. Am I craving the time out and peace that going for that cigarette is giving me?
Realities Of Stopping Smoking
I always tell others who give up smoking – don’t stop giving up.
If you have a relapse or have a couple of ciggies- that doesn’t make giving up pointless. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It is all part of the process. In fact if you only had 3 cigarettes in a week rather than 140 – you have done incredibly well. You are already over the hardest bit and if you stop giving up – then you have wasted all the work you have already done. Be proud of the amount you have reduced and don’t focus on the blip or relapse.
That’s how I have felt the last few months – rather than get disappointed at still being a smoker – I have been so proud of the huge amount of tobacco I haven’t been consuming. I view every inhale on my vaping device as one less ciggie in my lungs.
The addiction monster is trying to make you fail at every opportunity. It tells you if you have had the odd cigarette you are a failure, you are crap at giving up so you might as well carry on smoking. Nope it’s wrong. You are human and not giving yourself credit for the 19 less cigarettes you smoked that day.
Addiction monsters take many forms and give you extremely negative messages that without your addiction you would be a failure.
Addiction monsters also pounce when you are at your most vulnerable – when poorly, stressed, run down, anxious. Sometimes we let them win – like I sadly am doing now.
Relapses and Blips
People who relapse are not weak willed. They purely have just stepped off the right track momentarily so don’t ever put them down.
How Can You Help Someone Stop Smoking
Remind them how many less cigarettes they have smoked and how far they have come. Encourage them to keep giving up. Help them ward off the messages from the addiction monster. If you repeat the same messages the monster is giving them – rather than helping you are re-enforcing what the monster is saying. Making them feel that giving up is a hopeless struggle which they are not strong enough to face.
Also if you think they would be open to trying vaping – guide them to buy a good quality starter kit. Sometimes a poor quality kit can put people off vaping and make them think it won’t help them. Here on ECigClick we have many reviews for starter kits and can help you decide what is likely to suit you or the person you are helping.
If you are a vaper share your story, tell them if it has helped you and how you got there. Take them to a vape shop and let them try some equipment and E-liquids. But bare in mind some newbies don’t need complicated gear to start with – something which needs a lot of maintenance or is very expensive could actually put them off.
I think the happy medium for most smokers would be for them to stop and just be able to have the odd one every few months when they fancied it. But thankfully the reality is for most people when they successfully quit they become disgusted by smoking. The smell of cigarettes often makes their nasal passages vomit. But it’s the comfort they still crave.
I have a friend who casually started vaping and ended up within a few months disliking cigarettes and preferring to vape. She has the occasional ciggie but ends up putting that out and grabbing her e-cig. She has been off the ciggies full time now for about a year and I am so proud of her and she inspires me to continue.
Once you get to the point of going off cigarettes and preferring to vape – you have really cracked it. It’s not like a fight then – you don’t need to rebel- you are actually doing exactly what you prefer to do. You could be surrounded by cigarettes and still not want one. So I am really hoping I get to that point again soon – I was very close to it before all this kicked off.
Anyway I will keep you updated on my vaping and smoking cessation journey if you are interested! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and what hurdles and wins you are encountering.