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Addictions are Addictive

One of my biggest vices (of which there are many) is smoking. Right now I’m in the middle of Serious Quitting Attempt Number Three. I say “serious” because there have been numerous other attempts, but both I and the guy inside my head who whinges a lot knew that it would not last a morning before we’d even started, so we don’t count them.

I don’t know if you know this, but quitting smoking is rather hard. I mean, if you take away the increased possibility of heart and lung disease, the expense, the yellowing digits, the disposing of cigarette ends, the waking up with a mouth like a camel’s arsehole, the smell on your clothes, the having to go outside in the pissing down rain and wind that could freeze your knackers in two seconds… smoking is quiet pleasant actually.

Smoking guides you through a bad day and makes the good ones better. Waiting around is no longer boring, as you have your white and gold little friend to make everything ok. Is there a problem you can’t solve at work? Go outside for a smoke and you’ll have an epiphany! Feeling stressed? Smoking will take away your worries far away on a hazy trail, dancing on your eyes.  I can hear you sternly telling me that it’s just my subconscious associating relief with smoking when, in fact, it doesn’t do those things at all. I know this. I know it is just my mind making attachments. But you know what? You telling me that is as helpful as kicking me square in the nuts. There is nothing worse than non-smokers trying to advise you on how to quit. I’ll take guidance from ex-smokers because they’ve been there and done it. But non-smokers?? “You don’t know man! You weren’t there!” If anything, it creates a me-against-the-world mentality and is more likely to get me smoking again as a way of saying “Fuck you!”. Childish? Maybe. But so is your face.

Smokers only have one person who can really help them quit – themselves. They will only succeed or fail because of their own will, and nothing anyone else says or does will guarantee the outcome. In fact, a smoker will know before attempting to quit whether they will succeed or not.

I wasn’t always this way. Up until the age of twenty I was the most vehement anti-smoking lobbyist, and would chastise my chain-smoking parents every chance I got (high and mighty little sonofabitch that I was). But then, like an idiot, I tried one on a night out and that was that. Sure, I tried to pass it off as “Oh I’m only a ‘social’ smoker!”, but that quickly turned into “If you don’t give me a cigarette right now I will kill you where you stand and smoke your corpse.”. Once I became regular it affected everything. I had less money, I stopped going to the gym and I stopped boxing training. When your lung capacity is halved, exercise is a real bitch.

So right now I want to stop. I’m two weeks into the latest stint and so far it’s been ok. I have had one relapse but if anything that has steeled my resolve. Last time I made it three months, this time it’s going to be forever.

P.S. For anyone who doesn’t smoke and who may be tempted to try. You see all that shit I’ve written above? That’s how hard it is to quit once you’ve started. So if you don’t start smoking, you don’t have to quit. Keep that in mind!

  1. anib
    July 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    well done for this final attempt… but wow.. you are hard on yourself!
    might help to focus on the positive benefits of quitting.
    and try not to judge non-smokers that are trying to help.
    everyone has their own addiction to deal with in their own way.

  2. July 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    I want a cigarette…

  3. July 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Great post, although the first half of paragraph three had me wanting a fag! My ex-smoker wife read Dr Allen Carr’s Way To Give Smoking and promptly stopped. It works on the premise that it’s just a habit and no-one really *enjoys* it in reality.
    Dr Carr, of course, died of lung cancer, but saved hundreds of thousands of others before croking off this mortal coil.
    Good luck!

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