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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vomiting & potty humour
August 26, 2009, 7:28 am
Filed under: Stuff | Tags: , ,

there’s this verse in the bible about how a dog always returns to his vomit. i’ve been thinking about how i do that.

i let hudson out every night before bed so he can do his business. otherwise, we get the tragic 3am wake up (or the morning surprise). it’s so frustrating because i have to watch to make sure he goes, because i think he is scared of the dark. if i don’t stand there and let him know i’m watching, he’ll just stand by the garden door with his sad puppy dog eyes acting as if i will never let him in again. when he finally does go, he does this weird thing. he pauses after and sniffs his poo. i’m sure there’s some dog lover out there who will correct me on the science behind this, but what is he thinking? there is no logical explanation for that (except for the one some dog lover will probably give me, but i’m disregarding that. i’m anti poo smelling, and your liberal hogwash won’t change my mind). maybe my dog is just weird. old weirdo hudson, smelling his poo. i tried smelling his poo once to see what all the rage was about, but it didn’t go well. wow, i just said poo a lot in that paragraph. 

it’s not vomit, but it’s the same thing, right? returning to something sick. something that is trash. but for some reason i always do it (not smell my poo). i’ve dealt with addiction my whole life, and it has this way of holding on to you with both hands around your neck. it won’t let go. and just when you think you have escaped its grasp, it sneaks up behind you and pulls you back. for some reason, we always return to the metaphorical dog vomit/poo in our lives. on a quick side note,  i hope this is what i’m remembered for when i die. my dog poo analogy. someone should read this at my funeral. but you always hear about it. the addict falling victim to the very thing that destroyed them. the girl who has a thing for bad boys. the boy who has a thing for…sad toys? i was trying to bust a rhyme and make sense, but it doesn’t always work that way. deal with it. we always return to the things that hurt us. again, and again. 

my vice is the smoking/cancer stick. i still remember my first. it was -30 degrees outside, and i was in grade 9. i went for a walk with some of the cool, older kids and they pulled out their packs and offered me one. i didn’t like it. it was gross. but i was always one to follow a crowd, so i kept joining them. the next summer, i bought my first pack of smokes. i was with some friends, and thought i would be cooler if i smoked 2 at the same time. i so was. not (speaking of grade 9, might as well throw some grade 9 humour in as well). it became a pretty regular event for me after that. smoking with friends. bumming cigarettes. and then i discovered the beauty of the cigar. twice the flavour, four times the cancer. i never really tried to quit until i was about to get married to my wife. we were driving somewhere, and i lit up a cigar, and she gently asked me to put it out. not in a control freak sort of way. she has trouble breathing when smoke fills her lungs. she is such a cry-baby like that. and so that was the first time i knew that i should quit. if my future wife didn’t like it, then it probably wasn’t a great idea. but i came up with a better (not) idea. just do it when she wasn’t around. which led to dishonesty. which led to painful arguments. which led to stress. which led to more smoking. there are times when smoking has called to me so strongly that i literally could not say no. my head would be saying to turn the car around as i drove to pick up the captain black sweets, but my heart (and addiction, which i guess is also my mind. my mind is fickle like that) kept me driving. and there are times i’ve almost lost my wife because of this. not because of smoking. but because my desire to fill my lungs with poison drove me to do insane things that made little sense. it drove me to hurt the people i loved most. and the funny thing was that i didn’t even enjoy it anymore. i always felt sick after. but that part of me always wanted to return, no matter the consequences. and it’s a battle i still fight today, and will for the rest of my life. this is one example of many.

i always return to my vomit. the things that hurt us most seem to be the things we can’t stay away from. why do we do this? what sense does it make? and smoking isn’t the worst example. drinking, drugs, gambling, cheating, stealing, lying, gossip, pornography, over-eating, manipulation, insert item here…these are all examples of vomit. there are too many to list, and we all have our vice. sometimes it feels like there is no hope. like we will never escape. like nothing will ever change. 

i love Alcoholics Anonymous. i think it is brilliant. it meets people in their brokenness and throws them a lifeline. and when you think your life can’t get any lower as an alcoholic, you see in a group like AA that there is always hope. there is always something to strive for, to fight towards. and even when you slip up and drink again, you are always welcome back at AA to grow and fight your demons and flee the thing that is destroying you. i think there should be a group like AA for people who return to their vomit. not just alcohol, but people who beat themselves over the head with the crap (and i’m not referring to hudson’s crap) in their lives. a group of losers and broken people who can’t fix themselves because they keep returning to the things that destroy them. i would be a natural leader for this group because no one is better at vomiting than me (ask me about my moxie’s brownie story. it’s not pretty, but humorous to vulgar rejects like me). actually, i guess that wouldn’t qualify me as the leader, just the biggest loser in the group. so we would need to find someone that had fought the demons and won. it would be a wonderful group of misfits and losers who can’t make it on their own, led by someone who has been there before and can now lead the way. and then i remember the church.

because that’s kind of what church is. we don’t often admit it because we like to be presentable. but we are a group of broken misfits who constantly return to the things that destroy us. i’ve always been uncomfortable with talking about “sin”. because “sin” conjures up images of fire and brimstone and all that awful stuff that is a discussion for another time. whenever i hear the word “sin”, it makes me think of those greasy televangelists wanting my money, lest i be thrown to the fiery pit. you can call it sin if you want. you can call it vomit. you can put whatever name you want on it, but i think we all have to admit that we as human beings have a tendency to fall prey to the very things that destroy us. and when we escape, we end up going back.

and so the church must worry less about appearing respectable and become more honest. more broken and humbled. because we all want to return to the things that hurt us, as crazy as that sounds. but there is hope. even when we feel like there isn’t, there is. the church must represent that hope to the world. that hope that we can escape what haunts us most and live lives moving forward. not because we are so great and have all the answers. but because we are broken as well, and follow the hope that has taken away our brokenness. what is the church if it is not a form of AA for the vomiters?

just some random 1 AM thoughts during my week as a bachelor. it’s amazing how i immediately go to poop jokes when my wife isn’t around. i thought about posting some pictures of poop and vomit to further solidify my point…be thankful i quit when i did.