Monday, January 31, 2011

Chantix Days Nineteen-Twenty One

I've been on the Chantix for three weeks and have not smoked for more than seven days. According to everything I've read, the physical addiction should be all but gone. Yesterday was a great day; I felt very positive that, having passed the one week milestone, the worst had passed. I decided to begin weaning myself from the Chantix early, like yesterday.

Yes, this is thoroughly at odds with "the program" and is, at best, ill-advised. I have quit before, using the gum. The last time was for nearly two years. Why did I start again? Because I thought I could have "just one". Clearly, I couldn't, and most people can't. This time I'm committed because I have to be.  If there was ever a person who should not be smoking, it's me.  Two years ago I had a stroke and still have the occasional seizure, for which I take medication. I have (medicated) hypertension and regular blinding headaches, again, medicated. I take a raft of meds every day and my goal was to eliminate Chantix as soon as humanly possible. The problem for me is that I already take too many meds for my liking; anti-convulsants are particularly "brain-dulling" and, frankly, I simply do not need any other meds messing with my gourd.  I took a chance on Chantix as a means to an end, and it's served me well.

That said, I am concerned about taking this medication for an extended period of time.  No, I don't know what the effects are, and I don't  know if there is a withdrawal involved.  I'd rather not find out.  My way of thinking is that anything that chemically affects brain receptors is not to be taken lightly.  Yesterday, I cut the dosage in half; I've decided to "wean" myself off, just as a precaution.  Today, so far, has not been easy; I'm feeling a great deal of anxiety.  It could be a wave of cravings, or it could be some withdrawal symptoms from the Chantix.  No matter, I'll make it through this.  That's not just some sort of self affirmation crap, that's a fact. 

Quite simply, I'm tired of being a slave to cigarettes, I'm tired of huddling in the cold, sweltering in the heat or looking for a dry place to grab a smoke.  Medically, I personally have enough to worry about and this will just be one less thing.

Folks, the first week is the most difficult. Chantix has gotten me through that critical phase.  No, that doesn't mean it's over.  Having been through this before, I know that it's never completely over.  It does, however, fade with time and in relatively short order it's something you can put behind you.

Finally, should you take Chantix?  I can't say.  There are those who praise it and those who curse it.  My experience was positive.  The side effects were pretty minimal, I haven't had a smoke in more than a week, and I feel sane - at least as sane as I ever was.  Everyone is different and approaching a drug addiction like smoking (and it is a drug addiction) is different for everyone.  The one connection that they all have is that, in the end, one's commitment and desire must be present for any of them to work.  Chantix does well in easing the physical addiction, but there is also the psychological "habit" which is stronger than you might think.  In the end, I've found Chantix very beneficial, even though I'm quitting the program early.  My own personal recommendation would be, if you choose to use Chantix, stay on it only as long as absolutely necessary. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

now perhaps your mind will clear up - and you will see the light and become a democrat . . . .