What Condition my Condition Is In

A break from Nicotine

If you've ever smoked, you know the feelings that come with an unwanted addiction. The worst, I think, is the nervous paranoia that creeps up when you know you only have a few minutes to squeeze in that last cigarette before the non-smoking agents of the world trap you in a plane, restaurant, or car where your addiction will go unsatiated. Its like having a leaky bladder in a world where toilets are taboo.

The awful truth of a pack-a-day habit is that you smoke because you want to. You choose to. There is no way around the fundamental truth that you smoke because you like it. So in spite of horrendous breath, a half-a-year perennial cough, yellowing teeth, failing lungs, poor falsetto voice, repellent effect on the opposite sex, and gag reflex sparked by the morning's first cigarette I smoke. Or rather, I smoked.

Now, I am a smoker on break. I would say I quit, but I'd be a fool to trust myself so much. I'm on break, and every day for the past 40 I've thought about cigs. Despite this, I have persisted. In some ways I am advantaged: I'm away from enabling friends, I have no stressful job, and I have the gum.

My favorite is the gum. If a smoking habit is a leaky bladder, Nicorette is a box of Depends. Gum is dividable. By day 4 of the break I was nibbling such small pieces so as to make them meaningless. Since then I haven't used it but half a dozen times. More importantly, the gum is security. To have it nearby provides reassurance by combating that awful feeling I was first talking about - the now or never feeling. Its really helped.

So I am smoke-free for forty days. I hope that I can be so for 40 years. Then at 65 I can retire to a pack a day habit... or maybe not. To be honest I am very happy to have smoked for ten years. That feels like a good chunk of life do devote to youthful wanton destruction. But the age of destruction has passed. Now I'm all set for the age of Aquarius.



E said...

Even if I give you shit for being an obnoxious non-smoker (which you really aren't -- most of the time), I'm very very very very proud of you for quitting (or being on a successful break). More people successfully quit heroin than cigarettes, you know. I'm not quite ready to give up my last and favorite addiction quite yet, but I'm inspired to think about it seriously due to your example (and the free Nicorette gum). Good work, Ben. Ten points.

Anonymous said...

Mother's Day Balloon message awesome, 2 weeks of work/fun ending in a surprise party again awesome. Break from smoking priceless Thanks for all