Day 98 of 365: a year in songs and photos
Song: Stone Temple Pilots, Big Empty
I quit smoking a few months ago. Previous to that I had quit for three years. Previous to that, I had quit for 12 years. I’ve been smoking on and off since I’m 13. Smoke, quit, smoke, quit.
I’m smoking again. It started with one cigarette here and there. Because, as anyone who has smoked and quit will tell you, the cravings never go away. No matter how long you quit, it’s always there. You get that feeling that starts in the your mouth and then permeates every nerve ending in your body. Sometimes – most of the time – you can ride that feeling out. Sometimes, for those of us with obsessive personalities and little will power, you can’t.
The occasional cigarette turned into two or three a day. Then four or five. I’m up to six. Any day now, I’ll actually buy a whole pack instead of taking from Todd or a co-worker. Nobody likes a non-smoker who smokes. Because I’m a non-smoker, right? I don’t really smoke, I just…dabble.
I know how bad smoking is for you. I know how much it costs per year to smoke, especially in New York with the damn cigarette tax. I know it will make it hard for me to breathe when I take the stairs at work, I know I will have heart palpitations at night, I know I am probably shortening my life span, I know what it does to my lungs and heart and every other part of my body. And I know my kids will be furious with me if they find out. So I’ve taken to that age old habit of smoking behind the garage like a teenager. I don’t want to disappoint them. I’ve already disappointed me.
I’ve quit a lot of things in my life. A lot of vices that were very bad for me. Hell, I haven’t had a drink in almost two years. I’ve left behind in my youth a trail of various substance abuses. But nothing I’ve given up is as hard to give up as nicotine. It’s a drug. It’s an addiction. It’s one I will most likely never beat. Not with medication, not with gum, not with a patch. The two lengthiest bouts of non smoking I had were done cold turkey. I will quit again soon. And I will start again eventually. I’ve reconciled myself with that fact.
I lay in bed at night and silently yell at myself for starting again. I go through the laundry list of reasons I shouldn’t light up. I swear I’m done. And then the next day the need, the urge, the craving starts up and I’m a victim of my own weakness.
There’s a line in a favorite movie of mine, Dead Again. Robin Williams, in a bit role, says, metaphorically, “Someone is either a smoker or a nonsmoker. There’s no in-between. The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that.”
I know which one I am. The trick here is to NOT be that. The problem is, I don’t think I want to.