Friday, June 6, 2008

Quitting Smoking, Redux

So. I've come back around to another stab at quitting smoking, but I'm trying to be smart about it. Last time, I tried cold turkey (again) and it didn't work (again.)

So, Stage One, list all of the methods I've tried that didn't work:

Cold Turkey: Several times. Not a pretty sight, trust me.

Nicotine Inhaler: Yeah, these did squat for me, except give me something to grind my teeth on.

Nicotine Gum: Two words: Nasty Shit. Maybe it could have helped but after the third piece I just couldn't bring myself to use it anymore.

Meditation: Hey, it's my head, I can control it, right? Wrong.

Self-help style positive thinking: I put post-it notes with reasons I should stop smoking and motivational phrases everywhere. The major benefit of this was to give me targets when I got to the point of throwing things.

Homeopathic "Happy Camper" pills: Anti-depressants help with withdrawal symptoms. It's fairly well proven. Course, I figured I'd try the natural stuff because I could get it over the counter. I actually tried the brand name Happy Camper, main ingredient Kava Kava. I was happy enough on them, sort of floaty and "meh" inside. Problem is, the "meh" part. And, you know, the complete inability to show much emotion whatsoever.

Wellbutrin: After the Happy Campers, I decided to actually go to the doctor and see what she said. She slapped me on Wellbutrin and told me to use a nicotine replacement therapy. The Wellbutrin made me high as a kite in thirty minute cycles for about a week, and it did help a little with the worst of the mood issues, but over all it was yet another failure.

Some of these were tried in combination, some on their own. The only thing they all really have in common is the fact that they didn't work.

Stage Two, research methods that I haven't used.

Patches: Well, these I'm leery of, because they lower your blood pressure, and I run pretty low to begin with. As in, when I go to the doctor at home where the nurses know me they jokingly ask if I'm going to be dead today when they take my blood pressure. Grandpa can't use them for the same reason, except I think his doctor offered to just knock him in the head and toss him in a hole if he was that determined to kill himself.

Losenges: Hmm. I don't know if these lower your blood pressure, but I'm looking at them from the perspective of knowing myself. When I start putting things in my mouth when I'm trying to quit smoking... I don't stop. So, there's the definite chance that I'll just keep popping the suckers compulsively till I OD. Say what? Keep to the schedule? You're funny.

More Homeopathic Stuff: I've been researching this kind of stuff for a while, and there are several brand names that seem promising on the surface of things. Of course I don't trust claims of miracle cures, but looking more at the possible actual benefits there are a few that I feel might actually help.

The issue here, of course, is the lack of reliable studies. Certain things, like hypnosis or acupuncture, some people swear by, and others swear at. A serious shortage of independent information is an issue here. I'm discarding any methods or treatments that seem inherently dangerous, including one blogger's assertion that he quit smoking the simplest way in the world, no outside gimmicks necessary. He simply put his hands on his neck and squeezed for one minute every time he had a craving!

Now, every homeopathic quit smoking method or aid has it's own dedicated cheering section. Some of them are made up entirely of company stooges, and some of them aren't. Its digging through the hype to the real meat of the product that is the challenge, when faced with flashy ads and miracle claims.

Now, I'd love to putter my way through all of these methods till I found one that worked for me, but frankly, if I were that rich I'd hire someone to slap me upside the head every time I lit a smoke, or have myself put to sleep for a couple of weeks and in a small padded room for a couple more.

Thus, research.

I'm leaning towards methods that don't require me to take pills every day, because frankly I'm not that good at remembering them. That's why I use OrthoEvra instead of the pill. I know, I know, TMI.

That's not to say that I'm completely discounting methods with pills, just that they're not my first choice.

So. Calling all former smokers, all across the intarwebz! What worked for you? What were the upsides, the downsides, side effects? How was your mental state while using the product or method and were you able to stop using the product or method easily?

I want to know what didn't work for you as well. Why didn't it work?

I really want to know, folks, so please, email me, or leave a comment here. I don't care if you stumbled across this blog from an internet search, you're a regular reader, or a monkey with a computer and a pogo stick, I want to know. I want to know about any method or product that you've tried, I want to know about all of them. Even the ones I mentioned here as not working for me. Maybe I was doing it wrong, and you can set me straight.

Fun Fun Fun in the sun.