I am a smoker. It is the single most embarrassing thing I can tell you about myself. This is the hardest post I have ever written. It is something that I hate and abhor…and yet i still do it. At one point I have to believe it offered some sense of relaxation or calm but now it just makes me feel like shit…and yet I still do it. But since starting to use cannabis for my chronic pain and other MS symptoms I have begun to really understand just how addicted I am to all the shit that the tobacco companies put in their products to ensure people like me will continue to NEED to smoke. My body is completely addicted to it, but as I become more aware of my body, as I finally begin to actually listen to it, I am for the first time feeling as if maybe I CAN quit, that I can rid my body and life of this toxic relationship that I am not sure I ever had a chance of avoiding.
As I try and come to terms with not having this “thing” in my life anymore and I continue to focus on trying to be the healthiest me possible I decided to write a letter to the toxic relationship that has dominated my life for far too long…
Hello my longtime companion,
I feel as if I have known you my whole life, but the fact is that we met before I was actually here on earth, with my own name and identity. My father was a smoker, and as was common back in the 1970s he smoked in the house, in the car or just about anywhere he cared to because that is what they did back then. As his wife I’m sure my mother was there, breathing in the 2nd hand smoke as her body worked hard to form my little ears and nose, heart and lungs within the confines of her belly. This is where we first met.
I was six and enrolled in kindergarten. The school had an anti-smoking campaign and I took to this idea – the knowledge that smoking WAS harmful, WAS dangerous and COULD kill you with all my heart. It became my personal mission to make my father quit smoking because I didn’t want him to die. And I did. I don’t know the details but one day, he quit cold turkey (from smoking 2+ packs a day) to never ever having another cigarette in his life. That was in 1975 or 1976.
I was 12 when I was offered a cigarette while waiting for my parents to pick me up from the local bowling alley and we have been “connected” since then. Sure there have been times, even years that I was able to fend you off, but you always returned with a vengeance. You have maintained control and rule over my life for 47 years. I obsess over whether I might run out – when I am going to have another one. You are the first thing I think of when I wake in the morning and often times the last thing I think of as I doze of to sleep.
BUT – you no longer give me the warm rush of relaxation I used to once give you credit for. I no longer look forward to being with you…As a matter of fact, our relationship is the single most embarrassing thing I can think of in my life. I can tell the world about my falls, peeing my pants, shitting all over the bedroom and even my issues with sex, but this one thing…this admitting openly and publicly that I am addicted to cigarettes is the most humiliating thing for me to do. To admit to such weakness, to admit to such a flaw in character is shameful for me.
Because I KNOW you are bad. I know you are killing me and yet over and over and over I come back to you. I know that above and beyond all the normal health implications you come with, that you are also toxic for my diesease. You are NO good and I know that, and yet you are still here, in my life. My father was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years back. I KNOW that you kill people….and yet you are still around.
I get desperate and disgusted and I will throw you out, only to find myself digging through the garbage sometime later – needing another hit of whatever evil shit the tobacco companies put in you to make people like me feel that they NEED and WANT more. I have even CUT you up into little pieces in an attempt to stop myself from returning to retrieve you out of the garbage pail and I have then sat and pathetically tried to scotch tape you back together. I shit you not…
THIS IS WHAT ADDICTION LOOKS LIKE
And the thing is – you are legal. I can buy you in any local gas station, grocery store OR even better – the drug store – where one goes to get medicine and other things to help with their health. How fucked up is that???? You are this completely addictive, harmful and murdering thing that is approved by the overseers of right from wrong in our government. The tobacco industry is allowed to continue to sell you, a product that is KNOWN to be harmful, is KNOWN to addictive and is KNOWN to kill people and yet that same government thinks that cannabis is the “devil’s weed?!?!” It seems to me that the “devil’s weed” might just be helping me to quit our toxic relationship – to help me break the addiction and FINALLY live without worrying about you and when I can have my next smoke.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that this is not going to be easy. This quitting thing – the for real, actual quitting and purging of the shit that I have become so dependent on you for- is honestly the most daunting task I have ever faced – and I say that as I remember just how bad the chronic pain was and how severely affected I was this last flair. I made it through those things, I pushed through them – because that is what I do….So I know I am strong. But as much as I hate you, hate smoking and everything about it – it fills me with absolute panic to think of NOT having you in my life. Because you have been there for as long as I can remember and you have been in charge for SO long.
But here is the thing. I am going to try. I am going to try really hard. I am going to try my hardest to kick you out of my life. I am writing this letter to you, so that I can look back at it in moments of weakness, when I am thinking and plotting of making a dash to the gas station to bring you back into my life. I may have to read this letter a thousand times before I stop getting those urges but I am going to try, because to not try would be admitting defeat. And I am not going to let you win! Now that I so clearly see you for what you are – a toxic relationship that brings me nothing but regret and shame I am going to do everything in my power to cut you out of my life.
I don’t know if I ever had any real control over you coming into my life, but I do know that i can now try and regain control and kick your ass to the curb. Truthfully now that I can look at it objectively it sickens me to know just how much time and money I have invested in you over the years and the only thing that you gave me in return is a constant obsession over you, self loathing and a feeling of shame. None of those things are good, none of them fit into my objective of living the happiest, healthiest life I can. So it is for that reason that I writing to say
I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU!
I realize that after a long term relationship like ours, there is going to be a lot of residual shit. I know that I will think of you, probably way more than often that I will want to admit. But I am going to do my best to not allow you back into my life. Now that I realize just how awful it has been knowing you I am extremely excited to not have you in my life any more. In other words I promise you i will get to a day in time when I now longer miss you, no longer even think of you.
If you have never smoked, have never been addicted to tobacco/nicotine and the other shit that is in them, then all of this might not make sense to you. You may be able to see plan as day that smoking is bad for me and knowing that I have MS it would seem simple enough for me to just quit. But that is what I am hoping to convey by publically outting myself as a smoker – I CAN’T JUST QUIT. I have tried for years and years and years. There is NOTHING that I loathe more about myself than the fact that I am addicted to cigarettes and yet I always end up back at the convenience store or the gas station, swiping my debit card as the cashier plops the small box on the counter.
Over the past year, as I have found relief from the chronic pain using cannabis I have also experienced a lot of clarity looking at my life and for the first time in 47 years I can actually realize the control that cigarettes have over me. For years I maintained I wasn’t addicted, because I have been able to stop – for a period of time. But the truth is that I always go back and knowing how much I hate it and how ashamed it makes me feel I am realizing just how strong this addiction is. If me hating myself and feeling constantly embarrassed isn’t enough to get me to quit – I don’t know what is. But I do know that now as I lay in bed at night having had a few puffs of my nighttime strain I can actually IMAGINE doing it – breaking the addiction and living without cigarettes. I am not there yet, I still think of them constantly – BUT the fact that I can actually imagine/visualize life without them is a lot farther than I have gotten in the past.
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **