Day 17

I stopped smoking 17 days ago.

Everything seems a bit ... flat without my cigs. But given a choice between an untimely death and a timely one, I guess I'll choose the latter. Of course, if I get hit by a bus tomorrow ... man, am I gonna feel cheated.

I've been using The Gum. That is to say, Nicorette. It does indeed stave off withdrawal symptoms. As gums go, though, it's about as enjoyable as chewing on a mouse pad, if not an actual mouse.

They have two flavours: "orange" and "mint". I put those in quotes on purpose. If somebody put a rifle to my head and said, "Guess what flavour this gum is?" I might say, "Orange?" The "mint" flavour is somewhat more authentic, and also enhances the odd tingly sensation that makes the gum less than a joy to use.

I suppose that's a good thing, though. It's medicine, really. Not too unpleasant, but not pleasant, either. As a result, I'm using less of it than I expected.

Okay, enough of all this glowing praise for Nicorette.

When I decided to quit again (I've quit thrice before— once for six years), I did research on the net. As always, the net is a treasure-trove of Things That Are Just Plain Wrong, along with some urban legends, old-wive's tales, and a bit of valuable data thrown in to make the puzzle worth solving.

I also participated in a chat room where people were discussing strategies for quitting. Here, too, I found a veritable cornucopia of useless information. Let me present a rough transcript to illustrate:

Me: So you're saying that I need to take lots of Vitamin C?

He: yes. if ur giving up an addictive substance like alcohol or cigarettes u need to take LOTS of vitamin c

Me: Why?

He: alcohol n cigarettes squander body's reserves of vitamin c

Me: But the body doesn't store Vitamin C.

He: well it still gets squandered so when u quit u need to take lots extra

Me: So you're saying that while I'm smoking, a lot of the Vitamin C I ingest is wasted, yet once I stop smoking and this process is no longer happening, I need to take extra Vitamin C?

He: u got it!

Am I the only one who sees a problem with that consultation?

A similar conversation with another helpful soul revealed the benefits of water...

Me: Why do you say I need to drink lots and lots of water when I'm quitting?

He: it flushes the nicotine out of your system!

Me: It was my impression that withdrawal symptoms were caused by the body craving a substance. You're advising me to flush it out even faster? Won't that make the withdrawal symptoms even worse?

He: well i'm just telling you what I heard

I'm guessing he heard it in a chat room, possibly from somebody who was smoking something else.

I dunno. Maybe all this illogical advice makes people feel like they're being proactive. Craving nicotine is a real loss of control, so if a myth helps somebody stop, what the heck.

Still, just once I'd like to see a concise web site along these lines:

If you don't quit you'll probably die horribly, moron. Enough with the excuses. Quit, already!

The first week is going to really, really suck. The week after that, it will suck a bit less, but it'll still suck a lot. Within a month, though, you'll lose the urge to strangle people. So stop being such a whiney-puss.

I guess I'm not really cut out to be an addiction counseller.

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