Yesterday started a 14 day abstinence project from all mood-altering substances (caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, various other drugs, etc.) for my Addictions class. The various other drugs part doesn’t bother me a bit – haven’t touched anything in that realm for years. Even the alcohol isn’t going to be a big deal since student budgets don’t provide a lot of cushion for luxuries like that. The caffeine will be interesting. I don’t intake a lot of caffeine. I don’t drink sodas, I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, and I only have about 1-1 1/2 cups of coffee in the morning with breakfast. I drink coffee more because I like the taste. The added oomph is a bonus, sure, but not the main attraction. Food does the same thing for me. It’s the nicotine that sucks.
I had smoked on and off for several years beginning in late high school and for the first few years of college. I had been cigarette-free for over a year when it came time to study for the GREs and write grad school applications. I didn’t stay cigarette-free during that period, though, as perhaps only fellow smokers will understand, I didn’t get to the point of buying my own packs. I’d just constantly bum off my upstairs neighbor who also happened to be my GRE/Grad school cheerleader. I had been again smoke-free from June to mid-December. Then my world started doing back-flips and aerials.
Something I’ve come to realize is that of all the coping mechanisms I have at my disposal (i.e., that I use), my very last-resort-holy-fuck-what-the-hell-is-going-on-I-have-no-idea-what-to-do-what-the-hell-is-happening?! coping mechanism is smoking. When everything else is too big to swallow at once, too overwhelming, etc., that’s where I go. I thoroughly enjoy smoking. I think it’s 2 parts enjoyment, 2 parts calming, and 2 parts rebellion because when I’m faced with a situation so huge that I resort to smoking, chances are good that it’s going to be hard, it’s going to take a while to walk through, and I’m going to have to compromise to at least some degree, in some fashion, which means any little rebellion I can get at the same time makes me happy. Also, I do some of my best contemplation over cigarettes, and in these such situations when I resort to smoking, that’s usually exceptionally handy.
Aside from some cravings yesterday, I was doing rather well until I got to my 4:30pm class when a monster headache started to devour my brain. It was a nicotine headache mostly. Thankfully, I had my oomphy amethyst with me and putting it on the back of my head from where the pain was emanating was helpful. Class took forever to end.
And so now, I greet another morning. Coffee-free, cigarette-free, only slightly cranky. I suppose it’s kind of beside the point of the assignment to start counting down the days now, eh?