Thursday, January 28, 2010

Smoke, baby

Oh my fuck do I miss smoking.

Well, sort of. The truth is smoking kind of kept me from being who I wanted. I didn't want to be a person that smoked, I wanted to be a healthy, fit person. But such a lifestyle requires effort, and it's easier to have a cigarette than it is to work out. Plus, smoking acts directly on the pleasure centers of your brain, so if you are prone to anxiety or feeling blue, as I am, it's pretty tempting.

I don't remember how I started but it was later in life than any intelligent person would admit. And it was a means to an end for me: when I was feeling bad it was a distraction, and something to look forward to. That I suppose is how it happens for many people. But the nature of nicotine is such that it soon becomes daily and you are smoking to go with everything, driving, talking, breathing. You talk yourself into the idea that you deserve it, this break. It's so many things: It's a break, it's a relief from boredom, it's a way to feel rebellious, it's a way to feel fabulous, because why feel bad? You're smoking. Oh and it goes so well with drinking. How wonderful is it after soul-crushing week at work to recline, drink in hand, cigarette lit.

But it has a grimy side. There is nothing quite so bad as the taste of your own mouth after a night of heavy smoking, a combination of some kind of rotten tree sap and brown cotton balls. And you just know the rest of your body smells like that taste. Ashtrays are gross. Stale smoke is grosser. Somehow, no matter how careful you are, ash gets all over the house. And it always made me feel stupider than my non-smoking friends, who knew the secret to being successful human beings without gross addictions and premature ageing. So, when I'm not smoking, I feel like I'm a better person. I feel cleaner and brighter and like the kind of person I've grown to admire. That being said, when I want to relax, I feel the pull of it. It's a fear of mine that I can never be as relaxed as I am when I've smoked. I hope that isn't true, because I really want to quit this time.

That's right, I said this time. I've quit about 5 times and they've all been good efforts. The quitting periods have lasted years at a time. Actually it's really the smoking periods, because I've not smoked much longer than I have smoked. But because smoking feels like a failure, it's the times I'm not a failure that get recorded, and the times I am a smoker that feel more important and permanent. So, then my quitting times. I really do feel at heart like a non-smoker in a smokers body. The non-smoker is who I'm supposed to be, if I can just manage to be a little less lazy about it this time and not get tempted to start up again when something happens that I don't like (this is the tyranny of addiction - life events can be used as an excuse to indulge).

So, so far so good. But I feel like if I say it out loud it will stop me from doing it. I quit on December 27, had a few cigs on the weekend of January 16, but nothing since, not even on my birthday on the 30th. Not too shabby. I'll keep you posted.

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