Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Relapse

Since I blogged about my smoking cessation, I’ve got to tell about The Relapse.
Yes, I’ve started smoking again … temporarily.
Everyone is disappointed. More people are finding out each day.
I’m really stupid.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I know that.
I want to blame someone but there’s no one to blame but me.
It’s a sad situation.
This Old Lady with emphysema/COPD is smoking again.
This Old Lady who just received a clean bill of health from her doc is again smoking.
It’s ridiculous.
Last week’s obituary for one of my favorite newspaper columnists, Mike Harden, lists the cause of death – cancer.

Then tonight these words found.

Words written by Harden and published June 30, 2010, in The (Columbus) Dispatch – within days of this most-talented man learning his C-word diagnosis.
“Before you think I'm deserving of either sympathy or compassion, you ought to know that I consumed a steady diet of cigarettes from my draft-card days through my first Social Security check. I quit for seven years after the casket lid was closed on my 54-year-old father, leaving him without so much as a single Pall Mall to sate his three-pack-a-day habit.

“Seven years I was clean. But in the midst of a divorce, I picked it up again.”

This is what I needed to see.

So what do I do now?
I’ve thought about that a lot. I’ve been preoccupied with that question because it’s not like I can lay down the pack without planning.
Yeah, I have to have a strategy.
I learned a couple of things during my nearly year-long relationship with Shana, a professional health coach, who weekly picked my brain trying to find ways to help keep me smoke-free.
The first thing I have to do is set a quit date.
My quit date is Oct. 28 - one month to the day from when I took that first drag that nearly sent me dry heaving.
The second thing I need to do is remember the urge will pass – if I let it - during times of high anxiety.
Smoking doesn’t take away the stress – ever.
I’m smoking and I still have it.
So what lead to this decision to even light up following eight months of being clean?
The Slip followed an evening of inconsolable crying because I needed to talk with my late aunt - the same aunt whom I talk about in my Overcoming my addiction blog in April.

The Relapse occurred when I continued to smoke.
This is an awful addiction. If I didn’t know any better I’d think it worse than any drug my aunt ever took.
Go into any store and the clerk will sell you a pack of cigarettes and a lighter too. She may know you’ve quit smoking but she’s still gonna sell you that pack of smokes.
It’s too easy.

The most important thing I need to do now is to do something for me.
For me that is losing weight.
And the replacement for smoking will be exercising.
I need to get my body moving.
Since quitting smoking in February I have packed on nearly 25 pounds. Add that to the 10 or so pounds I gained from last November to February following two rounds of steroids due to respiratory illnesses.
I weigh more now than during each of my three pregnancies.
I don’t want to gain any more weight and quite honestly, smoking these past few weeks has allowed me to lose several pounds – without exercising.
I have no appetite.
I’m feeling better about my body but I know smoking should not be used to lose weight.

This summer I started walking.
That has ceased.
This summer I bought a couple pieces of exercise equipment at yard sales – a Tony Little gazelle and a cardio glide.
So in the next week I plan to get my butt in gear and learn how to use the equipment, set up the unpackaged Wii Fit Plus, purchased in June, in our new TV room in the basement (see the Where we’ve been blog posted last week).
I don’t think it would be wise to continue to smoke to lose weight and I really want to lose weight.
So that’s my plan.
I’ll let you know what happens.
Thanks for listening.

Mike Harden died from throat and chest cancer at age 64.

UPDATE: Tomorrow is Oct. 28 and I've pushed my quit date back a couple of days.


  1. Lisa,
    You are a great writer and I enjoy reading your blogs. From what I have read you know what you have to do. There is a help line for smoking cessation.I can get you the number. You could at least call when you get the urge.If there is anything that I can do please let me know. You are a great mom and you boys (dave included need you here and healthy.Have faith in yourself...
    Take Care

  2. Sorry to hear this. We all have different things to overcome. Will be praying. :)