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Mick's Mind - From my mind to your trashcan
Werchter
Wednesday, 11 July 2007 09:28

I am back in Innsbruck after a pretty lengthy absence due to holidays and business. Firstly I had a weeks holiday in Brussels with friends from Ireland and Holland. Bren, Joe, Jos and I seriously went to town in Brussels enjoying the nightlife and many bars with heavily alcholic drinks a plenty. I messed up the hotel bookings (we were booking in for the 26th and 27th of July instead of June) so we ended up spending alot of time trying to find places to stay, but at the end we all agreed that this actually made us walk around the city and see stuff and while this gave us all sore feet and backs it made things more interesting and fun.

 


 

After Brussels we headed down to the Werchter festival for 4 days of Sun, Rain, Beer, Food and of course Music. It was amazing. This was my first festival in a good few years and I feel I slipped back into the festival mode pretty quickly. For me the best bands were Pearl Jam (of course), Metallica (which surprised me), Kaiser Chiefs (great stage show), Muse (Stunningly brilliant, must buy an album) and Kings of Leon (great music - poor stage show). We all had too much to drink, we all got sunburnt, we all got too little sleep and bren got some sort of Flu/Fever thing that made him look very unhappy. I include some of the pics in this post and the rest will be on Flickr soon.

 


With respect to not smoking.... Well it was foolish to give up smoking one week prior to going to a festival. However I did not have that many and the last cigarette I had was on the last night of the festival. Its 10 days later at this point and I have had no more. Minor blip and still on course for smoke free heaven. This morning I went into a cafe to get a coffee and went "Uh! Horrible smoky place" which is a first...
 
Temptation Weekend
Monday, 25 June 2007 10:36
Its Monday morning and time to add a new post on the blog. I spent alot of time out and about this weekend with different groups of friends and had a really great time. There was alot of temptation at every corner.

On Friday night I went to Jo's (the Innsbruck Rugby Club president) to have what is becoming our weekly Beer and Bourbon night. Jo is an ex-smoker, so he understood my pain and the pressure I was under. I survived the night until I got home and then I broke and managed to get my hands on a cigarette. "Oh No!" I hear you cry, but its fairly positive actually. I lit the cigarette, took two drags and said "Euch!" and threw the cigarette out the window. So very positive!



Saturday was a really cool day. I woke up early'ish, about 10am :) , and this being the first weekend with internet in my new apartment, I lazed about in bed till 1pm watching crap on bbc1, sky1 and other assorted channels (I have internet streaming TV). It was Emilia's birthday this week, so all the guys from work were meeting up for a barbecue in Adrian and Emilia's place. This was a pretty tough day, normally on a sunny day like this I would have smoked 20 cigarettes before tea time. I kept myself busy by cooking all the food I could find on the barbeque, people kept offering to take over the cooking but it was really keeping me distracted and stopping me from smoking. After the barbecue, we went to the city to see the "Feuerbrennen" festival, where people light fires up on the mountains so you can see a ring around the valley. The city centre was packed, thousands of people, lots of beer stands, people juggling fire, an open air concert, really good fun. I had another minor slip on my way home when I bummed a cigarette from Cristina and had a couple of drags on it, but I threw it away quickly.


Sunday was a lazy day, by far the easiest day so far on the road to quitting, almost no cravings. I have to say I did feel very guilty on Friday and Saturday night for having a couple of drags. My usual attitude when quitting would be "Okay so I have failed" and then I would go back to smoking; However this time I am thinking "Right, I messed up but lets keep going". I have this thunderbird plugin that is tracking my statistics since I quit. It is currently 10:50 on the 25/06/2007, I quit 4 days, 10 hours and 50 minutes ago, I have not smoked 89 cigarettes that I normally would have and I have saved €17.80.

Tomorrow I am going to the Rock Werchter festival in Belgium, so I will be away from my keyboard for a while. The next post you can expect at the earliest on the 3rd of July. Bren will be with me over in Belgium and has the responsibilty for ensuring that I don't smoke. The funny thing is that Bren and I quit together in 2004 and he is still off them. Fingers crossed that I can follow his fine example and stay a non-smoker.
 
Day 2 - Not so bad!
Friday, 22 June 2007 10:49

 

 

Good Morning! The second day of smoke free life has begun. Last night I got home from work and there was an unfinished pack of cigarettes on my desk. Never fear! I walked up to them, picked them up and put them in the dumpster outside. Go me! I am still having a lot of cravings, especially when I am up and about. When leaving my apartment, Walking past familiar surroundings, getting off the bus, etc. But the five minute rule really works, I just breath as deeply as I can (well I did smoke for 10 years...) and the craving vanishes within 300 seconds. I am also relying on a little trick I learned the last time I used patches to quit. Whenever I have a craving I rub the patch on my arm, I have no idea if it has any physical effect (maybe it heats the patch and then it releases more nicotine, no scientific proof but a good theory) but it is psychologically helpful. Of course I probably look like a complete muppet on the bus with my eyes closed, rubbing a spot under my t-shirt in a circular motion, and doing deep breathing excercises. But hey its all for a good cause!

Tonight: Mick goes out drinking, can he survive in a bar...

 
Day 1
Thursday, 21 June 2007 13:18

I didn't get so much sleep last night, out drinking and visiting friends, so I did'nt get up until 11am today. Of course, as I had not had a cigarette all night, I had a huge craving for a cigarette about 20 seconds after I woke up. I nearly forgot that I was quiting today until a little voice in the back of my head reminded me and I put on my patch instead. It lacks some of the instant gratification of lighting up a cigarette, however I already can feel the extra moisture in my mouth from not having had a cigarette today. I am very fidgety at the moment (thats why i wrote the blog entry now) but the cravings only last 4 to 5 minutes, unfortuately at the moment they are coming every 10 minutes...

 


 

I will be drinking alot of water today (and for the next few days) to flush the toxins out of my system. I will let you know if anything comes out a weird colour... :)

 
T-1 and Counting
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 17:25
So after vowing for 3 years that i would never have a blog, I have finally succumbed to the dark side of the net :) My name is Mick Kerrigan (although if your reading this you probably know that already). I am Irish and I live in Innsbruck, Austria. I am a researcher in computer science, for a living, and I am currently working on my PhD.

Anyway with those formalities out of the way I should really explain the purpose of the blog and in fact why this post has the title it does. I am going to stop smoking tomorrow morning. Yes, you heard me right planet earth I am going to quit smoking *again*. I started smoking in 1997 when I was studying for my final school exams aged 18. A late starter, but I have seriously made up for that late start over the last 10 years. In 2004 I gave up my 20 odd a day habit with the most delicious cigarettes in the world "Benson and Hedges - Gold" and managed to stay off cigarettes for 12 months before a change of city and of job caused enough stress to get me back on them. However when I did start smoking again I decided to move down the brand order with some sort of foolish thought that "they would do me less damage". So the mission from tomorrow morning is to stop my 20 something a day relationsip with the dreaded Marlboro Lights.

Having read some literature, the first thing that I have to do is to admit that I have an addiction. I don't want to fool anyone and say "I don't enjoy them", mainly because I bloody well do; however the Foundation for a Smoke Free America tells me:

In Nicotine Anonymous' 12 Step program, which sprang from the venerable Alcoholics Anonymous program, the first step is admitting to yourself, "I'm powerless over tobacco." Making this admission may seem trivial to you, but for many it is a very significant part of completing the journey to becoming a non-smoker.

By telling smokers that smoking is a personal choice, the tobacco industry has helped to keep its customers in denial about the true extent of their addiction. If smoking is a choice, then what's the rush to quit? The tobacco companies have used this spin to help keep millions of customers buying their deadly products.


So here goes: "Hi, I'm Mick and I'm an addict"

More tomorrow from a considerably more cranky Mick Kerrigan
 
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