Tuesday 11 December: … No particular wayward symptom. Tomorrow, the Champix dose will double, in two takes, breakfast and dinner, to 1mg a day. The fact that, for two days, I’ve smoked only 13/14 cigarettes each day instead of 18/20 may be due to a psychological factor: being conscious now of what I inhale; normally, I smoke without giving it a thought: cigarettes come of their own to my lips and I light up. For many years now, I’ve been in the habit of smoking two cigarettes over breakfast, one after eating the toasts and one after finishing the second mug of coffee (all the while reading the newspaper), and I’ve long noticed I smoke the first cigarette almost without being aware of it or afterwards of having done so, as if it were just a matter of restoring the level of nicotine in my body gone low during the night. 14 cigarettes altogether today.
Wednesday 12 December: … Still no adverse symptoms. One more pill over dinner tonight. … By the end of the day at 2am, I’ve smoked 14 cigarettes.
Thursday 13 December: … Day’s consumption of cigarettes: 14, including a compulsive two or three when I write the blog entry announcing the uploading of 12 Thai short stories – 2012. Don’t even finish the third glass of pastis.
Friday 14 December: Day at home. The usual: breakfast, house cleaning, blog refurbishing (working backwards to last October, another twelve stories to go), some Thai reading, and TV until half past midnight. Only 10 cigarettes today.
Saturday 15 December: Get up at 8am. I write this just after breakfast: clearly no need for a fag except through habit. I smoke one in two instalments and it feels as if I’m forcing myself to smoke. Looks like the varenicline is doing its job. Same routine as the day before. I end up smoking only 7 cigarettes, and two glasses of pastis are enough to sleep by 1am.
Sunday 16 December: … up by 7:15. From now on, double the previous dose: 2mg per day. Seven fags left – and an extra packet, bought by mistake. Will put them on the little wall in front of my house for people to help themselves. I don’t feel the need to smoke at all. Same routine: blog reshaping, short-story reading, TV watching. To sleep at 2am.
Monday 17 December: Woken up at a quarter to seven by the dustmen. Forgot to put out the trash. When I go and pick up the newspaper an hour later, the leftover cigarettes are gone.
… The lack of smoking doesn’t bother me but the absence of cigarettes, lighter and ashtray does when my brain tells my hand to grab a fag as my mouth needs to get something between its lips. I treat myself to plain water or coffee or tisane or pastis, depending on the time of day. Bed at 3am.
Tuesday 18 December: Usual routine … Late night shopping at Foodland. After that, more work on next week’s bilingual offering … Some TV. Three glasses of pastis. Bed at 2:30.
Thursday 20 December: Woken up by the phone at 6:15. No one on the line. Can’t go back to sleep, so get up as the dustmen jazz up the lane. Weighing myself, surprise: 85 kg, two more than on my return from France end of September. This putting on weight predates giving up smoking. It’s more probably the result of minimal physical activity in the past two months spent overwhelmingly in front of the computer screen.
Friday 21 December: At Siriraj Hospital, get two months’ worth of Champix, paying for it as much as I would for two and a half months of cigarettes. I donate the Nicotinell patches to the hospital, happy New Year, folks!
Saturday 22 December: Last night and again this morning, I notice that two small blobs of spit I produce are brownish instead of the usual white as if, one week after giving up smoking, some nicotine stuck in the throat or the bronchial tubes wanted out. I breathe with ease and the coffee this morning tastes better than ever. Will two to three months be enough to unhook me from dependence? Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.