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Preview: From the desk of: Fat White Guy

From the desk of: Fat White Guy

The resident Fat White Guy talks about all aspects of his life, from changing himself for the better, to things that really get on his nerves.

Updated: 2018-03-05T15:33:08.158-05:00


WEEK FOUR: Holy hell! It's been a month? Really?!?


So, here I sit, at the Panera Bread in town, thinking about my little anniversary, if you will. I cannot believe that it's been a month already. I would say that the time has simply flown by and that everything was peachy-keen the entire time, but I think everyone knows that's not the case.

A quick update: It is true ... the little banner on top of the page is still correct. I have gone that long without a cigarette. The amount of time that's passed isn't what gets me, though. It's the total number of cigarettes (on average) not smoked in that time. Wow. It does tend to add up.

The other night, I had a dream where I was smoking. It was my first "I'm smoking" dream since I quit. Strange thing was that I remember in the dream I was keenly aware that what I was doing was wrong and I was trying to hide it from everyone. Again, this would be the point in the blog where I assure everyone that I have remained true and I really haven't smoked. Truth be told, I still really don't have a desire to smoke. Sure, every once in awhile, I sit back and think, "I sure could use a cigarette right now," but it's nothing more than a fleeting thought and then I go about with whatever it was I was doing.

Words cannot describe how thankful I am for Chantix. I'd like to think that I do have a little bit of will power, but without the medicine, I don't think I could have pulled it off.

Well, I need to cut this one short, since I am at Panera and there's someone staring over my shoulder, either really interested in what I'm writing or trying to get me to get up so he can have my table. *Sigh*

WEEK TWO/THREE: Damn broken motherboard and my stupid computer ...


First off, I'd like to let everyone know that I'm still here and yes, the counter above this post is still accurate. I've gone almost three weeks without smoking. WOO FREAKIN' HOO!

Here's a little of what's been going on in my life here lately. First, the motherboard in my computer decided to take its ball and go home, forcing me to buy a new motherboard. I've also been basically chained to my desk at work, trying to put out our special section that they gave me no overtime to do ... so I had to do that on top of my regular work ... all while training a new guy. On top of that, I spent most of today at the hospital with a friend of mine who was having a procedure done on his hip. So yeah, it's been a fairly stressful couple of days.

The great thing about all of this is ... I haven't smoked. Even with everything going on and me being extremely stressed, I haven't wanted to smoke. The "craving" of me wanting to kill everyone has also passed, so I haven't been as moody or irritable.

Again, I do want to thank everyone who was concerned when they hadn't heard from me. I can assure you that all is well (hopefully, my computer will be all better tomorrow) and I'll be able to write more later. Until then, my healthier lungs and I would again like to say thanks!

WEEK ONE: The Monster's Loose ...


It's now been a week and several hours since my last cigarette. I'm not craving cigarettes ... at all. I just don't want to smoke. My throat's not hurting and, physically, I seem perfectly fine.

The one thing I've noticed (and I can't help but to notice) is that I'm ready to bite everyone's heads off at a moment's notice. My patience is microbially thin. This does bother me because I'm not like that. If people do bother/upset me, I really don't say much about it and continue to go about my life. Now, that's not to say that I don't stand up for myself, but I weigh the cost of having the argument vs. the amount of energy wasted and I usually just don't bother.

Right now, it's like I'm looking for a fight. Things I've heard in the last few days: "Are you mad at me?", "Are we okay?", "Are you feeling okay?" ... that sort of thing. It's so strange because I am aware that I am being, well, a dick to these people, but I can't stop myself.

I'm not wholly convinced that it's all the cigarettes' fault, though. Lately, I've been very frustrated at work and that feeling continues. The frustrations started well before I stopped smoking, but I do feel that the lack of cigarettes is not helping matters much. In the long run, yes. But right now, not so much.

That's okay though. I feel deep down that I'm kicking this habit once and for all. I'm very happy about that. I just hope that people will forgive me later for being such an asshole now.

DAY FIVE-ISH: Paralyzer



So, just as a recap: I smoked my last cigarette on Thursday at around 1 p.m. It's now Tuesday morning, 2:40 a.m. I'm happy that each day so far has seemed better than the last, although I know this is still a long, drawn-out process. I can't just go from smoking for 10 years and quit without any kinds of drawbacks. So, I keep my guard up for whatever might happen.

The best thing of all so far is that I still don't have a strong, overwhelming desire to smoke. Every other time I tried to quit, that has been the biggest thing. I might make it a couple of days, but eventually I'd wind up at the store buying a pack of Marlboro Lights in a box and a lighter, because I was going to smoke right then and there. Fortunately, it hasn't come to that.

Granted, here's the part where I feel like an enormous ass, even more so than the title of this blog would indicate.

I have a friend from high school that I've been trying to find since high school. Had no idea where he was nowadays. Well, I finally found him. He's currently on his second tour in Iraq. Yeah, did I mention that the main reason he's over there is because he has an autistic child and needs the military benefits? Damnedest thing though, not once since I started talking to him has he ever complained, although I would give him every right to do so. He's over there (Forward Observer, by the way, so he sees a lot of the action) fighting and has a wife and autistic daughter at home. And if that wasn't enough, his two younger brothers are fighting over there with him.

I've got friends and family with health problems beyond the scope of what I would ever want to know about as well. But they trudge on, not complaining.

And here I am. Counting down the days since the last cigarette I've smoked. As a personal thing, I'm fairly happy about that and it does fit into the new lifestyle I'm trying to put myself into, but at the same time, I see all these wonderful, courageous people and I feel rather silly. Well, silly's not really the word for it. Borderline ashamed would probably be better. But I will continue on, and I will not complain. If these people can find the strength to do what they do and put up with what they have to deal with every day, then by God I can pull it together for something as trivial as this.

On a different subject, I found this really cool graphic online, showing a timeline of a smoker and what happens when they quit. I've looked at this thing now many, many times and it's like it's something for me to look forward to, you know? Anyway, that's the image at the top of the post.

The little tracker up top says that I have not smoked about 90 cigarettes since I've quit. That's at least $12-plus dollars in my pockets and healthy and happier times await with each passing day! Woo hoo!

DAY THREE/DAY FOUR: Days go by ...


For whatever reason, Day Three was a hell of a lot better than the second day. The cravings were not nearly as bad, although I'm finding that I'm not really having cravings all that much, just the withdrawal. Even though there are times when the withdrawal is intense, I still don't have any desire to run to the store, money clutched tightly in hand, ready to hand it over the clerk behind the counter to give me sweet relief from the withdrawal symptoms. I am very thankful for that.

As I'm now rolling into the fourth day (didn't post last night because I actually fell asleep when I got home and didn't get a chance to write), I'm starting to think to myself, "You know, I've made it one day. If I can make it one day, I can make it two days. If I can make it two days, I can make it four ..." Even still, I'm taking it one day at a time, knowing that if I can make it through the first week, that's a fairly big accomplishment.

My main worry, however, is weight gain. I did quit smoking a couple of years ago and lasted for about four months. It was then that I put on quite a few pounds, leading me to be the hunk of a man writing this blog today. I'm happy with myself because I've lost more than 20 pounds since February and I'm still working on losing the weight. I just worry that I'll start to add that weight back on now that I'm not smoking.

My focus is to remain positive. I'm drinking a lot of water, as I've mentioned before, and I'm looking at grilled foods (mostly grilled chicken) and going from there. Luckily for me, there are no calories in toothpicks because I am going through toothpicks now at work, battling through that oral fixation. I'm looking at getting some of those good flavored toothpicks that last awhile. Just got to find some good ones.

I'd like to thank the warm comments and support I've received so far since starting on this from you folks out there. That has been a tremendous help. You guys (and gals) rock!

DAY TWO: The battle rages on ...


The war continues and, after today, I'm not sure who the winner might be.

Today was a fairly rough day. Fairly is putting it lightly. Today was very hard. I got up, took the medicine and went into work without any really problems. Then the urges, cravings and overall battle for the fate of my non-smoking soul began.

When I first started taking Chantix, I wondered if it was actually working. After about a week and a half, I felt like I could actually stop smoking because I really didn't care all that much about smoking anymore. So, I did it. When I smoked the last Marlboro Light in the pack, I didn't buy another pack. The old me would have seriously panicked. Not this time. I honestly didn't really care all that much. So right there, I thought the medicine was definitely working. And yesterday wasn't really all that bad. I was expecting worse, but it never really seriously hit me.

Today, it did.

Now, understand, I work in a pretty stressful environment and the only time I get to have a few minutes to myself to think about what I'm doing or what I'm about to do with something is when I'd go outside to smoke. Gather my thoughts, plan things out, etc. It was also a chance for me to unwind for a few minutes and get away from the stress of the job. Yesterday wasn't really all that stressful.

Today, it was.

As I'm sitting at my desk, the cravings/urges/desires really start to kick in. Hard. The back of my throat feels weird. I feel panicked in different ways for things that normally I'm not normally panicky. And on more than one occasion, I snapped at a few people. I'm not normally the kind of guy to be mean to someone just to be mean. My patience today, however, was razor thin. I've tried my best to tell people I work with that I'm trying to quit smoking and that I might be a bit of an asshole at least in the beginning. I apologized profusely beforehand for anything I might do or say while going through the nicotine withdrawal.

Another thing that bugs me is that I honestly thought this medicine was supposed to make it so that the withdrawal wouldn't be so bad. Granted, I'm not freaking out as badly as when I tried to quit cold turkey (and failed miserably, mind you), but the withdrawal's still there. I'm guessing like any other chemical reaction, the body is used to a certain amount of something if you feed it that for a long period of time and, if you cut off the supply, your body tends to let you know about it in all kinds of violent ways.

Another thing I noticed is that I'm starting to drink a lot more water. I mean a hell of a lot more water for no apparent reason. I have a three-liter bottle that I fill up at the water cooler at work and then put into my little fridge at my desk. The past two days, I've gone through that thing pretty quickly. Of course, this is leading to many more trips to the restroom, so I guess I'm making up for the "me time" I'm not getting by smoking. A sad and very strange trade-off.

To be honest, I'd love to talk to some people who are going through what I'm going through right now. There are times when you go through this and a small voice makes you believe you're the only person who's doing this and you feel really lonely, especially if no one around you is quiting. So, if you're out there, I'd love to hear from you. Let me know what you're doing and how it's going. I wish everyone success and I hope we all come through this smoke free and proud.

DAY ONE: Going smokeless


Okay, it's been more than 10 years since the last time I knew what it was like to not be a smoker. A lot has changed since then. Changing tastes, changing times, changing attitudes, etc. One thing that hasn't changed was my need to go by the gas station and pick up a couple of packs of Marlboro Lights in a box. I would buy them two or three at a time and be back to buy more a couple of days later.

I would say that I was probably a pack-a-day smoker. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Friends smoked, bosses smoked, some of the coolest guys in Hollywood smoked, so did I. Never really thought much about it.

For the most part, this entire time, I thought of myself as a 'non-smoker.' Not sure why, but I think it had something to do with not everyone who knew me knew I smoked. This would include my parents. To this day, my father still doesn't know, or at least if he does, he hasn't mentioned he knows to me. It was never that I was afraid of telling them, I just didn't want them to worry about me more than they already did. Okay, and I was a little afraid to tell them as well. Not sure why. I'm a grown man, what are they going to do, ground me? Regardless, never mentioned it to them.

So, here I am. Instead of smoking, I'm writing this post and hopefully this blog to chronicle my attempt at smoking sobriety. I've had some health issues in the last couple of years and decided I was sick and fucking tired of smoking.

Tired of it, but couldn't force myself to stop it.

Three weeks ago, I had decided enough was enough. I smoked my last cigarette and that was it. That lasted until I got to work. Then the routine started to kick in. After awhile, I was literally panicking because I didn't have a cigarette. I ended up going to the gas station around the corner and bought a pack. I was thoroughly disgusted with myself.

I had a doctor's appointment a couple of days later and I told myself this was it. I was going to tell him 1.) I smoke (yeah, like my family, he didn't know) and 2.) I was honestly ready to quit. I sit in room, waiting on him to come in, thinking that I'm going to back out. I'm not going to do it. He comes in and we talk about what's going on, shoot the breeze, that sort of thing. Finally, towards the end, he asks me if there's anything else.

"Doc, I'm a smoker and I really want to be non-smoker."

The man didn't break a sweat. He told me there was a new drug out called Chantix and told me what it did that was better than what was out there now. I would take it for several weeks (usually the average time is about 12 weeks) and the success rate is pretty good for people who take it that actually want to quit. He told me I would still smoke for awhile because it'd take a while for the medicine to get built up in me, but at some point, cigarettes wouldn't seem so important to me.

Flash forward about two weeks in. When I first started taking the medicine, I swear it felt like I was smoking more ... like I had this urge that I really HAD to smoke. About a week and a half into the treatment, I started to feel indifferent towards cigarettes. Today, I smoked my last cigarette when I woke up around noon (I work a late shift, thank you) and haven't really had a desire to smoke once since.

Now, understand, it feels like there's a battle being waged in my head right now between the part of my brain that's telling, "WHAT ARE YOU THINKING??? GO SMOKE! GO SMOKE NOW!!! DO IT!!!" and the bigger part that's saying, "Nah, we're cool. We don't need to smoke. Just relax, man, and everything will be all right." So I feel like I've got a lot of pent-up energy and extra time on my hands now. Go figure.

Today is July 27, 2007. I smoked my last cigarette around noon on July 26, 2007. Here's to hoping it'll be my last.