Relapse, Second Attempt, and Zyban

After over six months without a cigarette, I relapsed about five weeks ago. It’s incredible how quickly the habit came back to me. It really is a terrible addiction.

Straight from the pages of my diary, on March 3, 2016, I wrote:


The biggest problem with smoking is the undeniable desire to smoke. It takes precedence over everything. The desire to eat is diminished. Waking up feels incomplete. Every joy and sorrow is not experienced in isolation. Nothing can begin or end. Smoking prevades every aspect of life.

Since I started smoking again, I feel beholden to cigarettes. I make time and put in effort to smoke cigarettes.

My palms are always sweaty again. I’m eating less. I’m starting to be tardy. My clothes stink. My mouth is dry. I feel self-conscious. I’m less clam and patient. My apartment is in disarray. I have less money. I’m not as happy.

Smoking is ruining my life.


On Monday past, I went to see my family physician. I was supposed to have had blood work and x-rays to go over, but I still haven’t gotten around to getting that done. He started a smoking cessation file for me back in December, so we discussed my progress. After hearing me out, with a hint of disappointment, he suggested I start on Zyban to help me quit.

Yesterday I started taking 150 mg of Zyban, which I did again today and will again tomorrow. Starting Friday, however, I’m meant to increase the dosage to 150 mg twice daily for the next three months. On Monday, I’m to stop smoking, and vaping, altogether.

As I understand it, Zyban will help curb the withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking but will not prevent you from smoking. The three-day run up is meant to allow your body time to adjust to the introduction of new chemicals. The pharmacist explained much of this to me, but¬†I got wrapped up in trying to understand him through his Spanish accent, forgetting to pay close attention to the content. He did chase me down the street to give me some information he printed out, but it’s still in my satchel.

The way I figure it is that if the doctor recommended it, it’ll be fine. Plus, it can’t be any worse than continuing to smoke. So, I’m not too concerned about doing any more research.

I am worried about the absence of a physical stimulant. Not having something to feed my oral and phalangeal fixations is a bit worrying. Maybe I’ll have to learn how to roll a loonie across my knuckles or complete a Rubix cube using only one hand (I can’t with both hands). With the e-cigarette, I had something to carry with me, to satiate my nicotine cravings, and alleviate my fixations. With nothing, I may find myself playing Bejeweled or Angry Birds rather aggressively on my phone.

This is going to change my life. In the process, I’m likely going to be an angry¬†person. The curmudgeon in me will shine more brightly than ever before.

Before asking for your tips and suggestions, I just want to add this little tidbit: one of the reasons I continue to smoke is because I believe that it is what helped me stop being a crier. I used to be a real crier, always shedding tears when things got to me. Since taking up smoking, this has very nearly stopped. One of my biggest fears of quitting smoking is that I’ll start to cry more readily and more often again. I feel shame, perhaps unjustified, of the person in me who cries.

With that, have you got any tips or suggestions for me? I’d really love to hear them. I will be sure to remark on any that I try. Thanking you in advance.

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