A Journey to My Nicotine-Free Life

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Freedom From Addiction, Healthy Life, Quit Smoking | Comments Off on A Journey to My Nicotine-Free Life

Few things are as painful and difficult as quitting smoking. I vividly remember my attempts to withdraw from the dependency on nicotine three years ago like it was yesterday. If it hadn’t been for family and friends who were with me throughout the withdrawal process, I guarantee that I would not have made it.

Withdrawing From Nicotine Addiction

Typically, the first bout of pain hit a few hours after I made the resolution to withdraw. This was coupled with intense urges to have more nicotine. The first two weeks were characterized with sweating, tingling in the hands and feet, headache, some intestinal disorders such as nausea and cramps, and cold symptoms as the lungs begun to clear.

This two weeks, it was very difficult, especially since this was a habit or an addiction that had stayed with me for close to two decades. There was a very strong and real temptation to relapse into the destructive habit, but I had made a promise to my family, friends and myself that I was going to kick the addiction.

It also helped me to think of the difficulties as temporary and a necessary phase in the withdrawal process. Thoughts of cancers associated with nicotine smoking and how much smoking is a social nuisance amplified my willpower to resist the urge to steal a puff and gave me the endurance to withstand the difficulties of withdrawing.

How Nicotine Withdrawal Affected My Ability to Work

Do you know how much like a fool you look when you are forty-five and yet behave like an infant? Well, I am not a stranger to the feeling. The withdrawal process temporarily hampered my ability to function optimally and normally as an adult. Due to the tingling feet and hands symptom characterizing withdrawal, I once dropped a laptop in the workplace for no apparent reason. It took forever to pick it up from the floor with passersby noting the intense sweating is wetting my shirt. It was embarrassing, to say the least. That evening, I went to the HR manager and asked for an unpaid leave. Understandingly, he gave me two weeks to recuperate.

Things weren’t different at home, either. I dropped a saucepan, thus, introducing a crack on a tile. My wife concernedly cleaned up the mess and never allowed me to the kitchen hence for another one month. There was also the emotional maelstrom that the withdrawal thrust me into. I threw tantrums like a baby. Thankfully, my wife, who is a nurse, understood the symptom too well. Thus, where ordinarily she would have been resentful and reprimanding, she was compassionate and understanding.

Disturbing After Effects of Nicotine Withdrawal

I was too irritable and edgy. I remember with disdain an instance when a colleague used my workstation without my permission. He was called Peter- a tiny, disheveled and bald, middle-aged man that did not have in his possession a modicum of good sense and manners. I pulled him by the collar of his heart as he looked at me like a goat being pulled by the rope. I nearly punched his face if the supervisor didn’t appear on time.

If you think that is all there is with withdrawal from nicotine, then you are terribly wrong. In the first few weeks after taking my last cigarette, insomnia hit hard. Nothing could lull me to sleep. I could take my wife to bed, lull her to slumber, then sneak back to the sitting room for a late night movie. There is a day she heard me tiptoe outside our bedroom, she followed me and insisted we watch the movie together. In 30 minutes, she was asleep on my lap. Looking at her shut eyelids, her beautiful face and how she slept so blissfully, I hated that I had to go through the painful withdrawal that robbed me of sleep, but I was determined to overcome the addiction if only for her.

despair-513529_1280There is another weird feeling I felt when withdrawing from the unhealthy habit. Have you ever been overcome by sorrow and grief over nothing? Sorrow and grief that is of the same intensity as the one you’d feel if you lose a loved one to death? That is the same amount of sorrow and grief I felt during this period. It resulted from intense depression that is characteristic of the withdrawal process. I am glad that my partner fully understood my travails and did not take it too seriously when my bearing seemed rather odd.

My Family Saved Me From Nicotine Addiction

Today, I am clean of the addiction, and I lead a very healthy and productive life. And I am forever grateful to my family, especially my loving wife, who stood by me during a period that would otherwise have brought tumult and tension to our marriage. Even though it was a very painful process, today I am glad I went through it for my family, friends, career and myself.