Since Richard made it clear in yesterday’s comments that I still smoke and how he feels about it, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give you all an update on my progress, or lack thereof.
I hate smoking. I really do. Sometimes I lay in bed despising myself for picking up the habit again and allowing myself to become addicted. Sometimes I cry with frustration and decide that I’m not going to light another cigarette but still I smoke.
I’m finding it damned difficult to quit. I suppose, as Richard rightly pointed out after discovering that I was still smoking - that I’m lacking in the necessary will power. It’s strange, because in some areas I have tons of willpower and refuse to let things beat me, but when it comes to smoking, I’ve never found it easy to quit. I tried enough times before I became ill but was never successful and if I’m honest, the only reason I quit after the damned things almost killed me, was because I spent the first month of my hospital stay tied to several drips with a rather large, open hole in my stomach. Quite simply, I couldn’t smoke! Once I became mobile again, enough time had passed for nicotine desire to have passed.
Now? I dunno. I called the NHS helpline and they suggested I ask my doctor to refer me to a stop smoking support group but my daughter made the same request over a year ago, was told there’s a long waiting list and has still heard nothing. It was also suggested I use nicotine patches, gum or one of the other products available but I’m a bit wary of those. I mean, you’ve still got to wean yourself off nicotine at the end of it all. Perhaps they would work though. I’ll speak to my doctor about it when I see him next.
What they also said is that very few people can ‘just give up’. For most it’s a long, slow process of cutting down whilst avoiding situations where we’d normally smoke. “You need patience“, they said. It’s difficult to be patient when others aren’t patient with me, though.
I was doing quite well when it comes to cutting down, taking just a few drags on a cigarette before putting it out. One could last me all afternoon. But it wasn’t good enough. I was still criticised and that just added to the frustration. I needed support, not scorn.
Eventually I went into hospital for the second time in a month and cut down to one, sometimes two, a day. It was at the point that the pretence began. I had enough to deal with, what with the weakness (I weighed just 47 kilos at that point whereas my ideal weight is 75 kilos), the thirst (for 2 weeks I was limited as to how much I was allowed to drink but was experiencing extreme thirst), the tests, nursing staff who were making too many mistakes because I was on the wrong ward and the rest (not to mention the bloody food!) and the last thing I wanted was Richard’s criticism for not having given up completely when I had the perfect opportunity. Also, because he’d been good enough to drop everything and come to Crewe in order to care for me when my health took a downward dive, I didn’t want to disappoint him.
When I came home, the pretence continued but I also started smoking more. In retrospect it would have been better if I’d come clean but once I’d started lying I had no idea how to admit it. Eventually, the truth came out.
No doubt he’d suspected it for quite a while but the proof surfaced on Tuesday. A huge argument followed, I told him to go back to his own house (he lives permanently in Crewe now), and we haven’t spoken since.
Lying isn’t good. It never is. One lie leads to another and before you know it, you’ve weaved yourself a very sticky web that’s difficult to get out of. I knew if I came clean he’d be mad for being lied to (understandably) and after a past relationship that was very bad (criticism was usually the forerunner to a couple of days of hell), I’m very wary of situations where Richard might criticise me, which isn't entirely fair because I criticise him too (actually, living with me can be hell on earth - I'm really not 'couple' material). I react badly and we end up shouting at each other, something I’ve had enough of - I can’t stand the stress of those kind of rows anymore so I try to avoid them as much as possible. I just want peace and quiet in my life. In this case that meant lying.
Things aren’t always as black and white as they sometimes appear. Giving up smoking isn’t always a matter or ‘do it’ or ‘don’t’. I do want to give up - my health is bad enough already and I know I’m just making it worse, but so far it hasn’t happened.
I know I shouldn’t have lied, but it seemed like the best thing for everybody at the time.
Sharon J xx
Friday, 13 June 2008