Monthly Archives: August 2003

Day Whatever

Yep. The wagon has left me behind.

My will to quit has left me. Between last week and now I’ve polished off almost 2 packs of cigarettes. Not smoking as much as I used to, but I see myself ramping back up to near my old levels. I’m not too particularly impressed with myself, and so are other people. To anyone I’ve let down, I’m sorry.

I was doing good for a while there; actually impressed myself that I could do it. But this week has been stressful at work, things are going nowhere, I’m working hard, playing little, etc., etc., yadda yadda yadda [insert additional justification here]. I reached a point where my volition, my determination to quit, to live a different and better lifestyle just waned away, disappeared. Got tired of having no self-destructive outlet, no personal consolation.

If I want to quit and stay quit, I need to resolve these problems. For good, for once and for all. For myself.

Next time I make the renewed resolve to quit, I’ll be more quiet about it. My habit started quietly, and it should go out that way. I believe I erred by making a big noise about quitting, telling everyone I know, everyone I work with, everyone I hang out with, that I’m a quitter. Had to alienate myself from my friends to avoid temptation, and now there’s little to no support group. If I did it quietly, it’d be my little secret, and there’s a little bit of conspiracy in that which’ll keep me going for a short while until the next reason appears to stay quit.

I’m just glad I got to prove to myself that I could live without tobacco and nicotine for an extended period of time. I won’t die, I won’t lose my marbles. And I can do it again, renewed, if I could just find a way to release my internal agressions. Grr.

I guess if I had a sledgehammer at work I could take it out on some old pallets out back. I hear they’ve been saying some really nasty things about me.

Day 17

I’ve been having a hell of a time with the quitting. Between friday and saturday night / sunday morning, I had a total of 5 cigarettes. Five! That’s a quarter-pack! These smokes didn’t do much to give me a buzz like that one I had earlier in the week; all they did was give me something to breathe and exhale while I was working on my hobbies. There’s nicotine in my system again; the next day or two might be a little rough.

And now, after waking up from a long night, I feel like ass. Cruddy chest, sore throat, and dreams from hell. Today’s a new chance to strengthen and renew my resolve to not smoke.

It is evident to me that I can’t court with smoking and not get pulled back in. I am smoking a lot less than I used to, yes, but having small binges like this still classifies me as a part-time smoker. Could somebody give me a good swift kick to my ass, please? Thanks.

Days 13 through 16

Hey folks. Been a few days going, but I finally have a bit of time, energy, and attention to sit down and write a log.

Since, oh, Tuesday, I’ve been doing well with my lungs. I discovered Tuesday night, after an absconded cigarette which made my lungs clench and crud up, that for the prior two days I had been breathing clearly and didn’t even realize it. Had one hell of a head rush from the smoke, but the resulting crud made me regret. So, for the past few days I’ve been a good boy until about half an hour ago when I had a Fridaysmoke. I felt it was a suitable reward for a week’s worth of work done and a likely kickoff for the weekend.

My chest currently isn’t tight, or any tighter than it has been, but I know I might have some effects from it. And I’ll be damned, because I didn’t get a buzz like I did Tuesday. I’m thinking these 4-year-old specialty cigarettes I had saved and stored away are kinda funky. Should probably avoid them, and all other smokes, eh?

I have noticed, though, that when I’m working on one of the machines at work, my chest kinda tightens up because of the stretching I do to reach the top of the machine to load paper into a bin. Something about stretching my ribcage makes my cartillage and solar plexus tingle and feel kind of tense. It’s odd.

And it’s more odd still that now I really don’t think much of taking breaks at work. The thought never really occurs to me. Could I be on my way to being more productive? Heeeey. I’m just happy, so happy, that I can go through my day and not really think about smoking, or not smoking, any more. Doing that a lot less.

It’s all about rewriting habits. Change the habits, change the body. Change the body, change the mind. I like how that works.

Gentle Is the Noise, Painful Is the Chaos

The messed-up dreams continue.

This morning I was shocked awake again, this time just 10 minutes before my alarms were set to go off. Dreamed I was involved in a breakup, maybe mine, maybe someone else’s. In an effort to seek comfort, I grabbed a carload of friends and we went riding around. Found ourselves at some place where there were huge screens playing video games and ads for video games, kinda like a messed-up version of Dave and Buster’s. Something seemed really odd about this place, and this girl who was riding with me also sensed it, so we went wandering from room to room. Found this one room that had curtains all around it on the walls, much like a movie theater.

Someone we knew, someone whom we met recently in one of the previous rooms, told us to look deeper inside this room, and so we did. Lifted the curtain in one spot and found a door. We went through. What was on the other side was a secret society, a secret lab, a hideout, all kinds of people there doing business, holding training, philosophizing about politics and stuff. I had a camcorder with me and started taping. As we walked room to room we ended up in this whole area that looked well-kept, was brightly lit, and looked very much like a television studio.

As we stepped out of the studio, where a show was being produced, a plainclothes cop or secret agent got the girl I was with and got me too. Found the handycam and the tape inside; asked me to please eject the tape and hand it to her, very much in the fashion that someone in airport security would ask me to do so, basically to see if my camera was real and not a weapon. She took us down to the station, walking past many of the rooms we wandered through. The station wasn’t too far, only a few rooms over. All my friends I’d gone riding with were there, and I was given the main seat at the table, where the handycam and its tape were sitting.

An officer came in and started asking me questions, questions concerning me, my affairs. I started getting curious about why they were holding us, and they gave no suitable answers, so we were stuck there while their questions to me grew more and more personal. I was answering them as truthfully as possible when they started asking me about my mother. This seemed to be going too far as they were asking me about when I had last seen her, spoke to her, called her, what she was doing with her life, etc., etc. Then they revealed to me why I had been held for questioning — they had evidence my mother was involved in a secret, hidden society, and I was involved in the case; the tape in the handycam had evidence.

All I saw was me leaving the room while mumbling something about ladies and gentlemen, cabin, and pressure.

I blindly tore off in my car, filled up the tank, pulled into the driveway of an upstairs apartment I was renting above a nice house somewhere in the Hyde Park neighborhood, and proceeded to unload my car for packing things in for a long trip. I knew I had to see my mother.

And that’s when I woke up.

I strongly believe that dreams are essentially little more than random neural patterns, experienced as memories, sounds, images, events, etc. The brain does its best to understand and make sense of the neural noise. In my case, and especially in the case of my dream this morning, every single thing my brain filled-in that was triggered by the noise was from recent memory. That seems to be the minefield that my own brain pulls from; others are from distant memories, some are completely imaginative. Why my brain pulled those memories, I cannot know or predict; I do know I was feeling stressed, anxious, tense, sad. Brains are good about controlling your emotions without your oversight. I have a feeling that because of the emotions I was sensing, a strong coloration was put on the memories recalled to fill the static gaps, and drew up tense memories amongst the completely random.

Ok. I do remember talking to a friend, online, about a local electronics retail store. Mentioned the rooms full of stuff, gadgets. Recalled the big screens, the game systems, the advertising everywhere. Wondered about being able to buy a handycam there and before I paid for it filled up a tape with video from inside the store, just so I could show my online friend what the inside of this one particular store looked like. Ok, those memories have been discovered.

Ok, what about the driving around? Ah, yes, my roomate and I spent over an hour just driving around out in the countryside last night, visiting some neighboring counties. Not exactly a carfull of people, but it’s enough for a dream. The filling of the gas tank? I did that last night on the drive.

But what about the room with the curtains, and the TV studio? Ok, yesterday while looking online for news about the New England area power blackout, where I read articles about TV studios going off the air and suffering with backup power, I came across a sponsored link at the bottom of an article that was selling “blackout curtains.” Wha? So I clicked and was sent to a business that sold really thick curtains that you put behind your normal curtains to completely black out and darken a room. Great for those with night jobs. Well, interesting; I thought they were selling them for the old WW2 usage. Context-based ad serving engines kinda flubbed on that one. Feh.

And so all my images are discovered and answered. But what about my mother? I know it’s been a few weeks since I called and chatted with her; I’ve been considering doing so for the past few days. And there that is. Somehow I think I’ll be calling her soon.

My dreams reveal nothing; they only mix and match recent memories. :sighs: Anyone out there feel the same about themselves?

Days 11 and 12

The cravings continue, but the lung crud doesn’t. I’m already starting to breathe a good deal better. I am so happy about that. The fact that my lungs are feeling good makes them crave the tightening ache of tobacco smoke again, and that’s what’s making the quitting that much harder.

So far, outside of a smoke I had friday night, I’ve been smoke free for 12 days now. Yes, I am happy for that. Not as crabby as I have been, even though my good mood has gone quite a bit farther south than usual on occasion. This weekend was no exception, and I wish to apologize to anyone I’ve put off by my abrupt and terse “standoffish” manners. So there.

Man, let me tell you about my damned dreams. Since quitting, they have been getting seriously weird and unsettling. They’re so damned vivid and omnipresent; there has not been a single time that I’ve either slept, snoozed, or catnapped and not had one of these wierd dreams. Their setting, cast, crew, plot, theme, and message varies wildly (as anything resulting from random neurological impulses would be), and for the most part they’re forgotten beyond their unsettling natures, so I can’t pinpoint any one dream or any one reason why they’re so off-putting. All I know is that since quitting, yes, they’ve gotten so damned wierd. I’d like to say it’s some sort of neurochemical rebalancing, or sinus pressure, or perhaps the flood of oxygen in my previously-struggling blood cells flooding my brain, or maybe just the fact that I have recently made a Life-Changing Decision which has been given front-and-center in my lifestyle and thought processes. I dunno.

I tend to favor the neurochemical rebalance theory; I mean, after 8 years of being subjected to funky-odd stimulants, toxins, and pollutants, they are now gone and the parts of my brain that were repressed from vivid dreaming by the nicotine or were squelching the vivid dreaming to compensate for the nicotine are now active again. It’s unsettling but amazing. I believe that the mind is very much bound to the body; my recent dreaming fits have spawned a new bout of creativity, emotive thoughts, and (most thankfully) logical resolutions to some techie problems I’ve been having. If I’m not feeling well, then I’m not thinking well. Descartes kind of had it backwards: “I am, therefore I think.”

Stick that in your pipe and nonsmoke it. (I cannot believe I just said that.)

Good night, world.