the sweet smoke
March 23, 2010, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , ,

i’ve always hated smoking. i never really enjoyed it. once i discovered captain black sweets, that story changed. the sweet smoke grabbed a hold of me, and i have struggled to kick the habit ever since. i could do without smelling another cigarette for the rest of my life, but there is something about the sweet smoke that i struggle to let go of. i still remember my first cigarette. i was in grade 8 and desperate to figure out who i was. the classic peer-pressure/trying to fit in story. a group of us walked in the dark cold night to the park down the back alley in front of our school. i remember sitting on the swing and someone handing me my first cigarette. i didn’t know what to do, but i knew what i couldn’t do. i couldn’t say that i didn’t smoke. why…i’m not really sure. it feels like a cop-out (meaningless sidenote: terrible movie i’m told) to say i was scared to say no, but that’s the truth. somewhere inside my puny mid-pubescent body was a baby that wasn’t sure who he was that desired to fit in. so i sucked it back, making myself sick, but doing everything i could to hide it. i was glad the darkness could hide my pale, sickly face. and i hated it, but i loved it. because people looked at me differently. for some reason, people who i thought were cool started paying attention to me in a new way. started asking me to go for cigarettes with them. i like to think of it as a button that was pushed inside my brain. from that moment on, addiction has been a struggle for me. it feels like if nobody would have treated me differently or given me any extra attention, maybe i never would have started smoking. maybe if i had snuck a cigarette by myself down by the river, i would have hated it and been able to say no. but i didn’t, and here i am. the button was pushed and the damage has been done. 13 years later, and i’m still battling the demon that’s haunted me most of my life. the cancer stick. the sweet smoke. while i hated the taste of players light, i craved the satisfaction of knowing i was somehow somebody to someone. and even if it was for the wrong reasons, it felt good. i was never a pack a day smoker, so i’m pretty sure i don’t have cancer. i discovered the sweet smoke in my late teens. at some point, i began going through nearly a pack every couple days, but not anymore. over the past 4 years-ish, my smoking has tapered off to the point where it is nearly non-existent. my wife keeps me in line most of the time. but every once in a while, it creeps back up on me. it puts its claws in my back and something inside of me says that i won’t be alright until i have the sweet smoke. so what’s the point?

why write about an addiction that i have almost kicked but still struggle with? smoking has become so accepted that we rarely think about it. and by “we”, i mean smokers. non-smokers don’t get it, so i’m directing this to the smokers in the hizz-ouse. snoop dogg would be proud. we just smoke and don’t even think about it anymore. we forget the reasons why we started. acceptance. pressure. struggles. rebellion. we forget those reasons, and even if we remember them, we ignore them and go on smoking, giving in to something that is destroying us, that doesn’t even taste good or have a real purpose. we have resigned ourselves to be smokers and leave it at that. i want to challenge any smokers out there to ask yourself why? why did you start? why are you still smoking when you know it will kill you? when you know it will make it harder for you to breathe? when you know that young, impressionable people are watching and will follow in your footsteps? and lets not pretend that young people are the only ones that follow peer pressure. adults follow the people they admire. friends, spouses, girlfriend, boyfriend, family…monkey see, monkey do. that’s how i’m wired. so please don’t take this as judgment. take this as a challenge. why do you smoke? i’m tired of settling for a label that i don’t want. i’m tired of giving all the power to a little stick of tobacco and feeling helpless at the thought of it.

so this is risky for me. by calling out all the smokers to be honest with themselves, i am forced to be honest with myself. why do i smoke? i know i started because i found acceptance. i know part of it lies in addiction to nicotine and whatever other poison is inside. but there is more. i smoke because it’s a crutch. when things get tough, i run to my sweet smoke and try to escape for a few minutes. i’ve been under this illusion for many years now. that having a cigar will calm my nerves, allow me to “breathe easier” (oxymoron if there ever was one) and to deal with hardships that come my way. there are too many times to count where things have gotten difficult, and i’ve ran to the sweet smoke. it’s to the point now where i almost feel thankful when things get tough because it gives me an excuse. i continue to struggle with smoking because it’s an addiction. my excuse is stress relief. but the more i think about it, the more i think that is a load of crap. because it isn’t the magic sweet smoke that makes me feel better. it’s the time spent alone with my thoughts. alone to think things through before i act on my frustrations. the time to think is what makes me feel better. the stress is merely an excuse to feed my addiction. and i’ve believed the lie that i need nicotine to cope  for way too long, now.

so what is your reason? why do you smoke? this is not a judment i’m passing. this is a declaration of my intentions. i’m sick of being a slave to something that is killing me. by stating this publicly, i’m expecting you to hold me accountable. let’s be honest with each other and admit what is killing us. because i’m tired of killing myself slowly.

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