Bloggy Howl, I have a Blog!

A sometimes serious, sometimes fun collection of my writings, readings and online activities...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Crossed 180 days!

Yep, that's it, I've been smoke-free for over 6 months.

I "quit" on April 10. October 10 made it 6 months of not sucking on the demon weed. I use the quotes because I didn't really quit - I reverted to being a non-smoker and my sub-conscious accepted that and didn't try to push me to smoke again. Evil friends tried to get me back on but, I being a non-smoker, the darn ciggies they shoved into my mouth tasted awful.

That's that, then.

The voice is coming back. I managed bass in the choir last Sunday.

When I come back from my ten-day dramatic tour I'll test myself with cigars.


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Sunday, May 17, 2009

The greatest temptation to smoke

I'm close to day 40 after having reverted to being a non-smoker. The usual cravings have either disappeared or weren't triggered at all by what I thought would trigger them.

The past couple of days have been frightening, though, because my body thinks I'm still a smoker and is producing massive amounts of mucous to replace the mucous dried out by the smoke. Only, there isn't any smoke so there isn't any shortage of mucous and I now have phlegm filling my lungs and sticking to my vocal chords.

My voice is my life and this is creating tremendous anxiety. I can't sing. The darn notes get smothered by the phlegm. When I go basso in a reading or a voice over, it comes out as a croak. The famous, "Deepak Morris resonance" is absent because there's a bucketful of phlegm clogging the pipe and barrel.

The temptation to return to the demon tobacco just to get my voice back is strong.

I need to ride it out. Sooner or later the body will learn that the poison no longer enters the system and counter-measures are no longer necessary.


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Sunday, May 03, 2009

Day 23: Taste buds return and all is salty

Regardless of whatever mental games I'm playing with myself by, "reverting to being a non-smoker" rather than, "quitting smoking", the fact remains that 28 years of smoking have more or less killed the majority of the taste buds in my mouth and nose.

After 21 days of non-abuse, these taste buds apparently re-grow and throw your whole eating and drinking experience out of gear.

My favourite beer tastes salty.

My favourite chicken dish tastes salty.

There's too much salt in just about everything I'm eating and drinking.

One more aspect to contend with in reverting to non-smoker status.


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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Day 22 of reverting to non-smoker status

It has been surprisingly easy to stay smoke-free.

One thing I've realised that the triggers I thought were operational in getting me to reach for a cigarette weren't the real triggers. Stress wasn't a trigger. A glass of beer wasn't one either. A spat with a loved one wasn't. All the messages I had been getting as to why I smoked were patently false.

The trigger for me, surprisingly, was boredom.

I'm not considering habit, which isn't a trigger at all. Habit doesn't create an urge to smoke, the hand just automatically reaches for a cigarette at certain intervals or in certain situations.

I was forced to sit in the dark for 3 hours with no TV and no Internet one night and that turned out to be the toughest night of all in keeping away from a smoke. The sheer boredom of having nothing to do (I quickly disposed of the two books I had been reading in parallel... I read VERY quickly) tempted me again and again to go buy a ciggie. Even so, it wasn't that bad. Just recalling the awful taste of that tentative puff after reverting to non-smoker status was enough to keep me from one every time the urge hit.

I may be onto something here.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Survived 9.5 hours of boredom, sans smoke

The electricity company (don't get me started on incompetence) subjected us to 9.5 hours of no electricity, thanks to its incompetence and corrupt officials. Let them sue me for saying that, I'll mobilise all of Pune and ride them out on a donkey, tarred and feathered.

However, the point of this post is that the temptation to smoke out of sheer boredom was so strong, I nearly succumbed.

What saved me?

The thought of the awful taste of the first puff.

I think I definitely have reverted to being a non-smoker.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 13 of reverting to non-smoker status

I find that the biggest temptation to reach for a ciggy isn't while drinking or when I'm tense. It's, hold your breath, when I'm BORED!

I had never realised that I had gotten into the habit of reaching for a cigarette when I was bored. I always thought I smoked when events such as morning tea, post-lunch, evening cocktail, tension at work, etc., were triggered.

I thought I chain-smoked while setting up for a play was because I was tense about staging it. But when I come to think of it, I wasn't that tense. For example, on the morning of the day I was to stage a play, just before I left for the venue to supervise the set-up, I got a call from the Police saying that I had failed to secure permission for using loudspeakers. Apparently, a play comes under "special events" (or something like that) and needs special permission for using loudspeakers, even if one is using the regular sound system of the restaurant (I usually stage my plays at a restaurant). So I just handed over responsibility of setting up the stage to a good friend who'd worked with me while I marched over to the Police Commissioner's Office to sort things out. One would expect that I'd be super-tense; would I get the permission in time? having gotten the permission, would I reach the venue to find that my inexperienced friend had made a shambles of the set-up? would my audience ever forgive me (that was the biggest worry).

Under such circumstances, I should have been smoking at every chance I got. Instead, I went from clerk to clerk, constable to constable, Inspector to Inspector, right up to the Assistant Commissioner of Police with no thought of a cigarette crossing my mind. The show was to begin at nine p.m. I got the permission at 8 p.m.

At 7:45, when the Inspector told me it would take time and I could go out and return in ten to fifteen minutes, I should have been out of his office like a shot to sneak a few puffs but I didn't move. I had, after all, been pursuing this precious piece of paper since 11:00 a.m. I had skipped lunch and tea so that I could diligently follow up the various forms and make sure they reached the right constables and clerks (damn the Brits for introducing bureaucracy in India!). I should have been a bundle of nerves dying for a cigarette!

So, in retrospect, the reason I was chain-smoking at stage set-up when I didn't have all these worries was because I was bored! I use professional set, sound and light guys and all I really need to do is give them the brief and they do the rest, unsupervised.

Will revelations never cease to amaze?

So, if you smoke too much (or think you smoke too much) perhaps you should seek tension rather than avoid it. Go do something!

Then check if you smoked while you were doing it.


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No withdrawal symptoms, no temptation

By reverting to being a non-smoker, I seem to be in a zone that those who quit smoking can never enter.

This is day 13 or something since I reverted to being a non-smoker.

I feel no anxiety, temptation or worry at not having a cigarette anywhere near me at any time.

In contrast, almost each of my attempts to quit in the past have led to a satisfying puff within 7 days.

I think that was because I considered myself a smoker at the time and being smokeless was "unnatural".

Having decided that I am primarily a non-smoker, a smoke is unnatural.

So I don't smoke, cos I never have.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Hurted, but not too much

I thought it would be effing difficult to handle the rejection.

Wasn't bad at all.

Couple of urges every eight hours.

Easily handled.

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