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The Bad Habits, four months in. - Paint It Black
Living the American dream one heartbreaking piece at a time
The Bad Habits, four months in.
With the recent conclusion of April we're four months into the year and a full third of the way through. This also means I am four months into a pair of changes I made to my lifestyle with the new year's arrival. I hadn't written about them until now, partially because I didn't feel it was worth talking about and partially because I wanted to wait until I knew for a fact that things were going down the right path.

To recap, back in January the People's Republic of Illinois enacted a new law that banned any and all smoking inside public space such as bars, restaurants, government buildings and office buildings. There's also no smoking within fifteen feet of the entrances or windows or ventilation intakes for any of these public spaces. This ban went into effect at midnight on January first. While I'm not a big fan of the infamous New Year's Resolution, the enacting of the indoor smoking ban on January 1st seemed to nicely coincide with things so that's when I opted to quit smoking. The decision was made for a few reasons -- the steadily increasing cost of cigarettes, the indoor smoking ban (good bye designated smoking lounge at the office!) and most importantly the warning signs that my blood pressure was giving me. At the same time I decided to quit cigarettes I also gave up another old friend and longtime coworker, caffeine, which meant I was to bid farewell to my beloved Lo-Carb Monster energy drink -- though roho and now ottr have both taken up my slack. The dropping of caffeine from my regular diet was partially for my blood pressure but mostly for my sanity, as I quit in the hopes that removal of stimulants would lead to me sleeping better at night.

Woah. Quitting caffeine and cigarettes at the same time? Was I crazy?

Probably! But happily enough everything seems to have worked out for the best. I wasn't sure I'd be able to give up two of my favorite vices and, more importantly, stay off them. I've had plenty of triggers set up over the years. As one example, it's tempting to smoke when I'm being social -- often even more tempting as a large number of my friends are still active smokers. When I hang out with them it can be challenging to resist the urge to bum a cig "just this once." Since drinking and smoking tend to compliment one another the temptation was also quite strong when being social with my smoking friends and having drinks. Still, I have not picked up a cigarette or cigar since I stopped in January. As an added bonus I haven't put on more than a pound or two of extra weight as a consequence of kicking the cigarette habit.

Kicking the caffeine habit has been successful as well. If we're at a restaurant I either get a soft drink with no caffeine like 7up or I stick with water. At home I'm well stocked with caffeine-free Diet Pepsi. The only time I've "slipped" on avoiding caffeine was two weeks ago when visiting colliedoc and hypersnazz, because the only good thing they had in the house that mixed with vodka was Amp energy drink. I don't think I'll beat myself up too much about it. One night out of over one hundred and twenty is pretty much nothing. Unfortunately the desired outcome of quitting this habit, better sleep patterns, has pretty much failed to materialize: I still have an incredibly poor quality of sleep. I'm waking up often during the night, anywhere between five to seven times in an 8 hour period. I still toss and turn a lot in bed, much to lady_curmudgeon's annoyance. I don't get more than two or three hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep even when I take sleep aids like Advil PM. So that's a bummer.

Completely unrelated to the topic behind the cut, I have new LJ icons from zhivagod!
: :

And tonight? Curmudgeon and I go to see Rick Springfield perform in Milwaukee.

Current Location: Z'ha'dum
Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: Curmudgeon coaxing Jazz

11 thoughts or Leave a thought
asetwoman From: asetwoman Date: May 6th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congrats on the good habits (or removal of the bad ones) but damn you for getting "Jesse's Girl" stuck in my head!
yakko From: yakko Date: May 6th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ouch... at least I got by with only having "Don't Talk To Strangers" stuck in my head.
asetwoman From: asetwoman Date: May 6th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nobody... nobody ever told you?
points From: points Date: May 6th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Congrats! I constantly ponder re-giving up caffeine. Meh. As to sleep, might be time to look at other sources, perhaps stress? :)
daf666 From: daf666 Date: May 6th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
feren From: feren Date: May 7th, 2008 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)


I read this during the concert (have Gmail delivered to my BlackBerry) and couldn't keep from laughing. Showed it to lady_curmudgeon and she laughed too. And then for the rest of the show I kept waiting for Rick to say something about how there's this other Rick who does music, and lately he's been getting a lot of attention on the Internet.... or something to that effect. Sadly it didn't happen.

You set my expectations up for failure!
daf666 From: daf666 Date: May 7th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: HAH!

I'm good at spreading disappointment. It's what I do.
gypsypet From: gypsypet Date: May 6th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Charlie and I were on our way to quitting but sorta goofed when the stress with him taking 18 hrs and me working a job that really 3 people should share sort of hit the fan and got spammed all over. I had managed to work myself down to 3 smokes a day for a few weeks (I was more out of control than I thought and cold turkey nearly made my head explode; didn't work), but I'm back up. Now that things are calming down, we're going to try again. I did get a glimpse of how much better life was not being dependent on them, and I think that's definitely going to be what gets me back on track.

Caffiene though? No go. Not right now.

You have my respect for kicking them both at the same time. It's entirely possible that I'd have to be put away if I tried that.
shanedoll From: shanedoll Date: May 7th, 2008 01:15 am (UTC) (Link)

You F*#kin Quiter.

Seems weird the first time that someone asks you for a smoke. Seems really weird when you don't like being around the smoke anymore. I truly realizing how bad it is for me when I come home from a bar and have to jump into the shower just to get the smell off of me. I also wanted to burn my clothes, but it is the only shirt that both Feren and myself own. It scares everybody when we both decide to wear it on the same day. Although Feren almost convinced me to get a pair of ass-less chaps. We could wear those into work together. Imagine the fear that would generate...

Congrats man. I hope for both our sakes that you keep trying to catchup to me on duration of non-smoking, and in the same thought - you never catch me.
viror From: viror Date: May 7th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Congrats on dropping the death-stix... I need to make another serious attempt at quitting soon, too
Caffeine tho'... that will never happen. I once had to put myself through caffeine detox for a week or so and I was miserable. I had eaten so many chocolate-covered espresso beans in one sitting that I broke out in hives and , even though they subsided the next day, whenever I tried having even a little caffeine, I started itching again.

I'm sure you've done your own research, but some thoughts on sleep: Sounds like your bed, even if you find it consciously comfortable, isn't giving you proper support. Or stress, of course... tho' stress usually just keeps me from sleep, not interferes once I succeed in falling. It could be a sleep-phase issue... if your body is best geared for sleep at a different time than you actually do, that causes problems. I have trouble sleeping for more than 2 - 3 hours if I try to hit bed before 0500 to 0700.
rainingmeat From: rainingmeat Date: May 7th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey Feren,

Congratulations. Quitting just ONE would have been a major accomplishment. You did both. For that you get a standing ovation.
11 thoughts or Leave a thought