I started smoking the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college. Smoking got me through a lot of stressful times. Finals weeks, family tragedies, the stress of unemployment, breakups, you name it.

It's been 10+ years now and I'm trying to break up with my best friend Marlboro, but I really underestimated how hard this would be. Like, a whole lot. And I even started on the patch in order to make it a little easier.

Today is day 2. First full day that I'm trying to go without a cigarette. I gave in at about 1am (so, I guess today is not my first day, tomorrow will be) last night so that I could freaking fall asleep because MAN did I toss and turn. I hated myself as I drifted off to (fucking crazy ass - no seriously the patch is giving me goddamned nightmares) dreamland.

But I did the math. It's expensive to smoke here. I'm averaging about half a pack a day and am spending $200 per month on cigarettes. No wonder my savings account is practically empty. I can't afford to keep this up and I'm kindof pissed at myself for letting it get this far - my teeth are fucking jacked and I know I don't want to spend the money on getting them fixed if I'm just going to ruin them again with cigarettes. In addition to this I'm trying to purchase a home which will require slightly higher monthly bills so the little bit I am able to sock away every month will be absorbed by those costs. So that leaves me literally living paycheck-to-paycheck. I can't do it. I've done it before and the peace of mind that came with being able to squirrel away a few dollars here and there is completely priceless.

So, I started the patch (which I can actually have paid for by my insurance - thanks, Obama!). I'm chewing gum right now. I ate so much goddamned ice cream yesterday (really - about 1/4 of a pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough and then I went out for vanilla soft serve with rainbow sprinkles at a local chain after dinner). I want to eat practically always. In addition to quitting smoking, I'm going to start packing a lunch at least 2-3 times a week at work, so going out to get snacks is not something I really want to do. Not to mention the fact that I'm already overweight, and I'd rather not get bigger (Ugh I hate myself more for even typing that).

But my heart is racing. I want my mid-morning smoke break so badly. So, former smokers (or even current smokers who've tried to quit before), what do you do to stand strong against the cravings? How do you not kill everyone in sight? How bad will the nightmares get?