So…I doubt I’ll make it to 1000 words today, not feeling particularly inspired to write anything. But I guess that’s the point of this little project so let’s persevere. Today I’m going to talk about my life goals for 2013, and specifically about the giving up of dependencies. At the end of 2012 I decided to make some major changes in my life. I signed up for therapy to treat my long term problems with social anxiety disorder (I’ll probably dedicate a post to this at some point, but not today) quit smoking (more on that later) and also decided to quit coffee to truly make myself independent of any chemical dependencies. In addition I’m hoping to get some work done on my house in preperation for either selling it in 2014…or more likely continuing to live in the same, but slightly gentrified house.
Quitting smoking was easy. I’ve tried to quit cold turkey in the past with varying, but inevitably poor results. I think the longest I’ve ‘quit’ for using the cold turkey method has been about 6 months, but even then it was interspersed with the odd cig here and there. I mean, if I wasn’t buying them it wasn’t like proper smoking right? Eventually I’d have some major life crisis that I’d use as an excuse to start again… an argument with my girlfriend, or a particularly bad day at work. It was irrelevant what the trigger was really, the end result was always the same. That one packet I bought to see me through the rough spot turned into 2 packs, then 3…then well I might as well smoke til the end of the week right? And at some point I just gave up and started smoking again. At one point I even tried Alan Carr’s stop smoking book. Not the camp alleged ‘funny man’ off of the telly, but the self help guru who’s ‘Easy way to quit smoking’ has “helped millions of people become happy non smokers”. Apparently. I think the key word there is ‘happy’. Whenever I’ve quit smoking in the past I’d always felt like a smoker who just wasn’t smoking at the moment. I may not have constantly craved cigs, but the longing was always there in the back of my mind, waiting to resurface. Until I got rid of that longing, I think I always knew I’d never be a non smoker… happy or otherwise.
For this attempt to quit I decided to stop messing around and see what the NHS offered. It turns out they’ve got quite a good service dedicated to helping you quit. After getting in touch with the service I was given an appointment with my local stop smoking counsellor (a lovely lady named Sue) who talked me through the types of Nicotine replacement therapy that are available and offered advice on which ones would be best for me. To be honest, I’d already decided to go with patches and that’s what I ended up with. I also walked out with some inhalators… which are sort of like the e-cigs that are booming in popularity at the moment, but a bit crap. I haven’t really used the inhalator much at all, despite being told I can use up to 6 capsules a day, I rarely get through one a week. They are nice for those moments when the habit kicks in (after meals etc) but with me smoking was never really about the habit, it was purely about the addiction. I never even really liked smoking, it made me feel sick and lethargic. Anyway, after 8 weeks on the patches I can honestly say I’ve lost the urge to smoke. I’m on stage 2 of the patches, which is step down in dosage from step one… but sometimes I’ll go a whole day without realising I haven’t put a patch on, which bodes well for being able to stay off the cigs once I finish my patches.
So that’s smoking knocked on the head, time to tackle my other big addiction: caffeine Since I started working from home, I’ve been averaging a cup of coffee every hour or so… which doesn’t sound like a lot, but I guess it soon adds up. I’ve not been sleeping particularly well at night (those cups of coffee in the late afternoon do tend to linger) and generally feeling pretty rough when I wasn’t on a caffeine high…so the time has come to do something about it. This weekend I made the leap (prompted by the fact I ran out of coffee) and spent most of it feeling pretty bad. On saturday (my first full day without any coffee) I had a pounding headache most of the day, and felt really nauseas, however on Sunday most of that had passed and on monday my caffeine replacement therapy arrived (courtesy of Twinings teas):
On the left there is my early morning pick-me-up of ‘lemon and ginger’ which…does the job pretty well actually. Unfortunately it also tends to upset my stomach (seriously, I have the digestive system of a small child) which is where the one on the right comes in. The Nettle and peppermint is a really soothing blend, that does actually make me feel more relaxed and definitely helps settle my stomach. Before those 2 arrived I was finding caffeine much harder to quit than nicotine. I’d crave cups of coffee 4 or 5 times a day and be constantly feeling ill. Now however I think I’ve turned a corner. Whether it’s just a placebo effect or the teas are actually helping is hard to say….but whatever they’re doing it works.
Hmm, still 70 words left to the target so I guess I can mention the other thing I want to get sorted this year…I want to at least try archery. It’s been a long time aim (ha, archery pun) of mine to give it a go, and this is the year it’s finally going to happen. There’s an Archery club just down the road in Bolton that does beginner courses, so as soon as they start up again (I missed the last one at the end of last year) I’m determined to get down there and give it a go. As well as being something I’ve wanted to try for literally years, it should be a good way to get out of the house and meet people (neatly tying in with the social anxiety thing) and I think it’s generally good for me to have a hobby that doesn’t involve computers for once.