Does an improved mood really make this much of a difference? Was I really in that much of a worse place a year ago? Seems like a dumb question. But as bad as last March was, it isn't as if I'm skipping through verdant meadows and riding Pegasi this year. The escapism of smoking ought not have diminished for an average baseline activity.
Am I less stressed this year? I guess so, for the above reasons. But if the stress has lessened, it's also changed. My job still makes me uncomfortable and, if anything, it carries a larger burden now. I'm more connected with it; it seems less quittable. As unlikely as it sounds, I have even less human contact these days than I did back then. In other words, I have more reason at work to need relief, and fewer chances outside of work to get it.
Is the gum that powerful? Unless the box of gum I bought accidentally contained the Over 25 Cigarettes a Day variety, I'm receiving way less nicotine than the gum's makers recommend. During the first six weeks, they say taking fewer than nine doses per day could interfere with the treatment's efficacy. Even if I dismiss their motivation for selling me more boxes of gum, I'm still getting well below the equivalence of even a light day of smoking. Yesterday, a mere 11 days after quitting, I had almost no desire to smoke all day and well into the night. I settled on having one piece of gum as I started watching a movie before bed, almost as an afterthought. Opting against that would scarcely have been missed. And it isn't just that the gum's foulness is a deterrant - the underlying dependency is not sublimating directly to a desire to smoke, skipping the much less attractive gum. Frankly, I don't know where it's going.
None of this is even resembles a clean lab experiment, of course. Even if that was the goal, I could not have called myself a year ago the "control" group while keeping a straight face. All the time I did smoke, I had convinced myself that any attempt to quit would be unsuccessful unless I wanted to quit. It was a handy conceit for rebuffing thoughts of making the attempt at all. Now it seems all along I was more persuasive than I could have ever taken credit for. I'm at a loss to describe any other reason for the relative success compared to the same point of any other try.
Tags: crazy sober