Smoke-Free 5 Days and Counting

I have been smoke free for 5 days now. The cravings have eased a bit. I learned that I have very good friends who are there to distract me when those cravings come upon me. Bless them. The distractions work, they get my brain thinking on other things instead of obsessing on the desire to have a cigarette.

When I was in the workshop, I learned that not only nicotine but also the actual chemicals, both natural and added, in a cigarette changes the way a person’s brain works. Because of the nicotine, the brain becomes used to producing more of those “feel good” chemicals. The chemicals (neurotransmitters) produce the joyful feelings, focus and relaxation in a person. The brain gets used to it, the ongoing presence of the nicotine in order to function normal so the brain expects that one will continue to smoke.  In fact, for long-term smokers as I was, the brain creates more stress to get me to smoke. It needs the nicotine, a cigarette relieves the stress, and ergo the brain creates it in order to get what it needs. Go figure! Who knew? I certainly did not. I knew that a smoke helps me deal with stress, but I did not know my brain was creating a lot of my stress. I am talking organic not behavioral, although the two do go hand in hand.

I have noticed that these first five days I am very tired. I am getting more oxygen than I have in forever so one would think I had more energy. Not so. I am pretty much feeling exhausted. I am told that it is because my body has been working overtime to heal and learning how to function normal. Sleep is a natural way for the body to heal. If it is does have to deal with all that goes on when we are awake, it can concentrate on fixing those things that need it. Not to mention my brain is relearning how to produce the chemicals in their proper amounts. Therefore, I am tired. When I get tired, I get emotional. Since I am almost going through withdrawals at the same time I am on quite an emotional rollercoaster.

On the more positive side I am smelling so much better, in fact, I am convinced the world smells. Sometimes in a good way, such as the flowers in my backyard or the bath salts I had bought a while back and was convinced it didn’t smell at all. It does and it smells heavenly….White tea and jasmine…lovely.  Some of the smells do really reek. People stink. Perhaps I should say that my smeller is in overdrive and since I am not used to it, every smell seems to be stronger and quite new to me. The strongest smells I have experienced so far have come off of people. I can even smell sweat that is supposed to be masked by perfume or cologne. It smells like sweaty cologne.

Due to the smelling coming back, it make sense that my sense of taste has come back. Again, this is good and bad.  It may sound silly to those who have never smoked or even those who smoke occasionally, but I am an ex-smoker who did so for 35 plus years. I was not aware that I have not really tasted food in that long. It has been quite the adventure. I am finding out that some foods I did not like, I do so now and those I loved, not so much. For example, Fiji apples always tasted a bit like sour cardboard to me. I had some this morning for breakfast and it was delicious! Sweet, sour and crisp. Yep I love them. On the other hand, I have always loved Hershey kisses. I tend to suffer from low blood sugar, so I have always had kisses on hand for the quick sugar rush to tide me over until I could actually eat. I had some kisses last night. I usually only eat three or four but last night I ate two. They are quite nasty. They tasted like, well the best description I have is that the taste like shortening. Not liking them at all.

It is possible that my sense of taste and smell will mellow out, that I am just Uber alert right now. However, I am enjoying re-learning what I like and what I do not like. Every smell and every taste is an adventure.  One that I am happy to be on.

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