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Relapse after 9 years - 7 days in on final quit and feeling awful

7 posts, 0 answered
  1. coolbreeze
    coolbreeze avatar
    4 posts
    Registered:
    26 Jan 2021
    26 Jan
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    HI all,

    I quit back in 2011 when our first child was born and stayed smoke free the entire time.  Not even a single puff.  I was feeling great - I was 41, in shape, playing sports, athletic Dad.  Then started again at the beginning of last year after some difficult personal issues came up compounded with the COVID lockdowns.  Working double time at home and trying the home schooling something broke.  I fell into the trap by telling myself just a week, then a month.  It's not a good excuse, but it was an outlet for both my wife and I (we both fell into the trap), some element of control when the rest of the world felt crazy.

    I tried several times to quit over the year - even for 21 days in the fall but fell back into the trap.  I finally had enough, I was tired of the smell, the tightness in the chest, the negative impacts on the body, the cravings and hiding it from the children. I tried using the patch but had a negative reaction to it as caused a burning sensation in my chest - and so went cold turkey.  As of today it's been 7 days smoke free (my wife is using a vape)

    I've read through the threads here trying to find people on a similar quit journey or in a similar headspace. I'm feeling pretty depressed, I'm really beating myself up for relapsing after 9 years despite knowing the health implications.  I don't feel great like many have posted.  In fact my chest is sore - I have nagging aches and burning sensations that come and go. I'm thinking it's muscular because it goes away when I use them (ex. hold a pushup position). I don't know how much of it's stress from work and kids at home all day, or psychosomatic symptoms related to anxiety, vs withdraw symptoms and my body healing.  I've started running again to try and help, drinking lots of water.  But I'm struggling with self pity and shame of putting myself in this situation.  I'm afraid - 10 months off and on,  - will these feelings in my chest go away, how long to see a doctor (keep in mind my region is in a full covid lockdown and I'm struggling with the shame of admitting to the family Doc I started back up). 

    I'm not sure why I'm posting here - maybe looking validation, someone to cheer me on - let me know that I'm not alone and this happens to the best of us and there are others out there like me.  Maybe reassurance that the physical feelings are normal and they go away after a while.  

    Thanks all for the ear - looking for some positive cheer.
    Last modified on 26 Jan 2021 17:32 by coolbreeze
  2. treepeo1
    treepeo1 avatar
    154 posts
    Registered:
    06 Feb 2020
    26 Jan
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    Hi coolbreeze,

    Your post really resonated with me.  While I don't have to deal with some of the pressures other people do during Covid, I know what it's like to want to be in control of something, even if it involves a bad habit.  Many years ago, I was severely injured and had no choice but to quit smoking, as I lived in a hospital for about 3 months.  Sometime after I got home, I started smoking again.  I told my mother at the time that I was just sick and tired of doing everything right, and everything other people wanted me to do.  Ultimately, I regretted that decision, because after that, I was unable to quit for many, many years.  I finally became a non-smoker 4 years ago with the help of this community.

    Please don't beat yourself up, coolbreeze.  You are human, and sometimes the pressure just gets to you.  The important thing is that you realized that starting smoking again was the wrong thing to do, and you took steps to get back on track.  That takes tremendous insight and courage, and I applaud you for your efforts.

    I quit cold turkey too.  I can't really remember how long it took before I started feeling better.  But I do know that one day, I had to climb two sets of stairs and then run for the streetcar.  When I sat down, I realized with a start that my heart wasn't beating out of my chest like it normally would.  I remember how happy and awed I felt at that moment, and I knew that quitting was worth all the agony I felt at the beginning of my quit.

    You are doing so many good things, like running and drinking lots of water.  Try to let go of any feelings of shame and embarrassment you have.  Concentrate on the here and now, and on the future.  Get this monkey off your back, so you no longer have to deal with cravings, or try to hide your smoking from your children and others.  You can enjoy the freedom that comes with being a non-smoker again.  Believe in yourself, coolbreeze.  I am rooting for you.
  3. sarah, quit coach
    sarah, quit coach avatar
    192 posts
    Registered:
    28 Nov 2017
    26 Jan in reply to coolbreeze
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    Hello coolbreeze, and welcome to SHL.ca

    First off, thank you for your honest and candid account of what you've been experiencing during your quit journey, more recently during this difficult time with COVID & lockdown.

    Congratulations on being a week smoke-free! And congratulations to your spouse as well. You are going through a range of strong withdrawal symptoms, as your body is working really hard to get well.
    Withdrawal can range from mild to severe symptoms, and can affect your physical and mental health. As you have made this attempt cold turkey, you are likely feeling the full impact of these symptoms. Always if you are uncertain about any of these symptoms, we would recommend to reach out to your health care professional. You are feeling shame about sharing this information with your doctor, and we hear often from others its hard to share the news of a relapse with others. Self-pity and being hard on oneself is common during a quit. It must be hard to carry those feelings with you while you are working on staying smoke-free. Considering all this, why is it important to you to still stay quit?

    But you mention running and lots of water - both strong strategies that address your stress and better your mood, help those withdrawal symptoms move on. We hope you start feeling the benefits of your quit - and your exercise/increased water intake - really soon! Quitting is a process, and sounds like you are moving forward. 

    Be gentle with yourself, coolbreeze, and take it one day at a time.
    You have a whole community of people cheering you on.

    Take care,
    Sarah
  4. wandam
    wandam avatar
    206 posts
    Registered:
    05 Feb 2019
    26 Jan
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    Hi coolbreeze,

    Congrats on your one week quit, that’s awesome! Sorry to hear about the struggles your are going through with this awful addiction! I can relate to quitting, starting again & feeling shitty about smoking again. I was hard on myself too like you! I’m now on my fourth quit, just pass 3 months & still struggle at times. So hang in there, you can get right back to the business of quitting for yourself & your family. You have done it before “Quit” & can do it again. Just think about all the positives that came with your previous quit & how great you felt & also not having to deal with the awful smell/stink of cigarette smoke! Quitting is hard but you are doing it! Keep working your quit! You got this coolbreeze!
    Last modified on 26 Jan 2021 21:12 by wandam
  5. ocean
    ocean avatar
    286 posts
    Registered:
    29 Nov 2017
    30 Jan
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    Hi Coolbreeze, welcome to the club.  How're you feeling today?  That fear about starting up again after you've already beat the addiction is frightening, it happened to me too.  It' baffles me how incredibly easy it is to get re-addicted again after years of not smoking nor even craving.   I relapsed about 25 years ago and still haven't been able to keep my quit beyond 6 months or so.  I'm around one month in now, and I've had a few slips, but overall I've been weaning off of most nicotine replacement products as well.  I've been suffering from withdrawal symtoms, but I'm just taking it easy and adjusting as I go.  At times, I've slipped from feeling over-stressed in the moment, there's so much change of routine/stress from this lockdown, and working from home, or on location, etc..  I've been pretty good about not giving in though, and do get hard on myself to refrain from smoking.  Good luck to you, I get what you're feeling so don't feel alone.
  6. coolbreeze
    coolbreeze avatar
    4 posts
    Registered:
    26 Jan 2021
    02 Feb
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    Hi all,

    Thank you first for the support and feedback. As much as the articles and studies say smoking causes higher levels of stress rather then lowering - I never realized how much of an edge it can still take off feelings of anxiety.  I'm on day 14, but 3 days ago slipped up and used my wife's vape a few times while having a drink.  Oh lord what a mistake.  I woke up the next day feeling awful - my chest felt tight, out of breath, like having a cold.  I hit the treadmill and did a solid run and time and didn't feel bad. I spoke to the doctor (no in office visits) and he feels it's irritation of the lungs from the vape and nicotine and should go away with time and not too worried about lung and heart function due to my physical activity results.  Conclusion, stay away from vapes as well, oi!

    Anxiety is still alive and well and feeling unbalanced like I haven't felt in years and years and years.  My wife has pointed out I'm constantly sighing without realizing it. I'm not sure how much of it is due to living in a complete government lock-down from COVID, working long hours, nothing to look forward to vacation wise, and staying on top of 3 young children for elearning - and now the negative effects from withdrawal and healing.  What a time to decide to quit.

    I think some of the physical symptoms I'm fighting are coming from multiple sources, exasperated by the fact there is little to do to distract oneself during a lockdown.  I'm fighting through minor aches in the chest with certain movements, burning sensation that comes and goes, feeling of being short of breath, but not being short of breath, nagging cough (like clearing throat), bit groggy / sleepy.  I'm staying hopefully that it will go away with time and doing a general housekeeping blood test per the doctor - but at this time he feels it's more a time thing.  Despite my doctor, my mind keeps hoping it's not something more nefarious like cancer.

    I'm drinking water, avoiding alcohol, getting extra sleep, keep physically active, taking steps to improve air quality in the house (duct cleaning, lowering VOCs),  I keep thinking I wish I could go back 9 months and smack myself before starting, but then I also wonder, how much of my sanity would I have kept through these crazy times.
    Last modified on 02 Feb 2021 10:58 by coolbreeze
  7. wandam
    wandam avatar
    206 posts
    Registered:
    05 Feb 2019
    03 Feb in reply to coolbreeze
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    Hi coolbreeze, 

    Congrats on being 14 days smoke free! The anxiety is so common for most quitting an addiction like ours, it will subside in time, hang in there. The exercise & drinking lots of water is a super great detox/stress reliever! Hang in there, you are doing a great job! 👍
7 posts, 0 answered