Today I smoked my last cigarette, a little experiment I ran with myself. Here are my findings.
I started smoking a couple weeks ago on a more regular basis (other than the occasional cigarette while drinking) and found that although the high was pretty spectacular and the kind of immediate rush I was looking for during my "Vices other than Sugar" search, there are too many negative side effects for me to continue. Yes Cigarettes cause cancer. Duh. What else goes wrong?
1: Tiredness. I have a TON of energy. Usually. These past couple weeks I've been extra sleepy and sleeping hasn't been satisfying. When I say sleepy I mean I'm tired all of the time, however smoking does keep me up at night in a lethargic way. I'm awake but too tired to do anything. Does it limit the oxygen in the body. YUP! I like being awake and alert and this is not a good way to practice that.
2: Absentmindedness. I pride myself on being alert and coherent. I've found that my thoughts are more scattered and less focused. I still take all of my vitamins and supplements but even with these I'm not as "on it" as I usually am. I'm forgetful but while smoking I'm scatterbrained. This is not conducive to a productive and creative universe. I am saying this as someone who is directly comparing before and after.
3: Winded. As a fitness fanatic I've spent the past year upping my endurance in cardiovascular activities. In only 1 week of smoking I became winded just walking up my stairs. WTF!?! They say breathing is very important. Can't breathe when your lungs are filled with sticky & smoke.
4: Interior Emotions dampened. I have pretty severe PTSD & Depression. I overcome it by living an active lifestyle and positive thinking my way out of the darkness. There's something to be said about the act of smiling. When I smoke my body does a thing. My face softens into a numb/neutral state and my body relaxes. These are not conscious actions but numbing actions. I feel relaxed but my body is doing its own sad dance. My outlook on life has become increasingly more Cynical & morose. I know inside that everything is great, but without being 100% in control of my cells these other feelings can take hold much easier. The thoughts in my head of knowing the outcome of smoking long term also add to the sadness. Dying of cancer. Getting Cancer in different places. (my grandmother died of Cancer that moved all over her body: bladder, brain, bones & a few other places... I watched how it destroyed her) I used to call Smoking Long term suicide because we all know what happens when you smoke for too long. This knowledge effects the day to day emotions and spill into the careless treatment of my body. I can see how the occasional cigarette wouldn't do this as It hadn't when partaken moderately. Exasperated, numb & "i just don't care" attitudes are not conducive to empire building.
5: Mouth sensitivity. My mouth feels weird. I feel like I have to constantly brush my teeth. My teeth have become sensitive & my Veneers have also become sensitive in my mouth. My gums are more sensitive too. I have had trouble with my mouth all of my life and have healed from many things going on in my mouth in the past couple years. I feel them coming back. All in a couple weeks of smoking. I spent too much money on dentistry to destroy and start over. Also I hate going to the dentist even though I have a great one who makes things not so bad.
6: Killing Taste buds. Oh FRAK THAT! I love eating more than almost anything and in two weeks my palate has become so deadened that I can't taste the intricacies of certain foods like I did just a couple weeks ago. Its also changed the way food tastes as well. Some things that used to taste grassy now taste dirty. A very interesting effect of mixing cigarettes and ones sense of smell. I love how my palate has grown over the years and enjoy the sweet subtly of food in its many forms. I'm loosing that... in just a couple of weeks.
7: Eyes. My eyes are often tired and I wear contacts and now they are extra dry and sticky. Very uncomfortable. Many people complain about having this but don't know what life is like on the other side of this. I'd prefer to have big open beaming eyes, not sticky dry eyes that itch. no bueno. I had eyeball surgery over a year ago and can't imagine what might happen if I let my eyes go dry. OUCHIE.
8: Wrinkles. Alright.. I'm 33 and have taken great care of myself over the years and have avoided many of the main wrinkles. With the puckering of the lips I can see aging lip creases. Furrowing the brow when inhaling I have noticed creases between my brows & on my forehead. The great thing is I only smoked for a couple weeks and have lots of remedies for this. But on the long term the smoke is getting on my skin and in my skin. Changes the oils and elasticity of the skin. Aging and wrinkles. Just not worth it. I'm totally vain. I'd rather look good than have a vice that will make me look older than I am.
Those are my main qualms with how smoking effects my body. There are a few others. I love the rush, I love the break in my day... but in the long run it isn't doing anything positive for my quality of life. I actually care deeply about the longevity of my existence and this certainly isn't helping. I smoked for 11 years when I was younger. Quit when I was 24/25. Picked it up again when I was 29 for a couple of months but quit when I realized my life was worth living in a full and complete way. Last year I retreated into a pretty bad depression and drank heavily & smoked more. Now I have an amazing man in my life and I'd like to be the best me I can possibly be.
Another thing that I realized is my need for a vice. Obviously i need to go back to my therapist. I realized I asked facebook for ideas for Vices that aren't bad for you. Its not the Vice that's the problem. Things are fun in moderation. Its the "WHY" I need a vice. So I'll be spending the next couple months focusing on that and work and see what I come up with.
The great thing is that no matter how long you smoke or drink you can undo the damage. There are awesome scientists who are working on this every day. With what foods to eat, what supplements to take, what herbs to add to your food. These people spend their entire lives figuring this stuff out for us. I'll be taking advantage of their knowledge and let you guys know what I find.
If you smoke... don't comment on how much you smoke... ask yourself WHY you smoke. Quitting is easy. Letting go of the reasons that you smoke is the hard part. That's what I found when I first quit. I quit cold turkey. Just stopped after many years. It took about 22 days for the chemicals to leave my body and to not have withdrawals. I just kept looking at my partner at the time and in the mirror and realized life was worth living. I was itchy and edgy but that went away. Time passes so fast. Don't miss out on it.