Just When I Thought I Was Fine, My Nicotine Addiction Grabbed Hold Again
Addiction is ugly whether your vice is food, cigarettes, people or alcohol.
Addiction sucks. And if I haven’t experienced it first hand, I would probably have the same reaction many others seem to have when it comes to the disease of addiction. “How can it be a disease when it’s THEIR fault?”
I grew up with close family members crushed by the grasp of various addictions. And if it hadn’t been for the hold it had on my father, he would probably be here today to enjoy his grandchildren. But instead, he died at the age of 46. So, I have known what addiction can do to a person and family from a close up perspective.
But nothing can be any more personal than my very own struggles with some bad habits. I will never give up my own responsibility. I make my choices and I accept the subsequent consequences. But there is no doubt that there are some things which make their way into our lives that can clutch on like the tentacles of an octopus.
Thankfully, my addictions have not been what most would consider serious. I have never been hooked on meth or cocaine or heroin. However, cigarettes and food have been vices which I have had a hard time controlling.
I have smoked on and off since age 16. When I quit, I am quite successful for long periods of time. But during week moments, I have faltered – thinking I will “only have one”. Well, it has become painfully clear that I am simply one of those people that cannot have “just one”…period.
Within the last couple weeks, I started bumming smokes from a couple of friends. I justified it because I wasn’t buying them and only having a couple a day at most. When trapped in addiction, one will make many justifications not only to others, but to themselves. The urge is so strong that these justifications can be easily believed by the person throwing them around like philosophical softballs.
I am ashamed that I – in a matter of weeks – ruined an almost 2 year smoking sabbatical. The last time, I ruined a 5 year stint. I am embarrassed to be admitting this to my readers, friends and family. I was mortified when I saw the look on my daughter’s face when she caught me smoking. And I am anxious about going through this withdraw - yet again.
I want to live a long life. I try to be as healthy as I can be and also instill that in my raising the kids. I know all the harm that will one day – sooner or later – come from smoking. I have no excuses and those aforementioned justifications are just not as easy to buy as they once were.
After just a handful of cigarettes I can already feel the discomfort of withdraw. I can only imagine what it is like to stop drinking, snorting or whatever major vice one may be trying to battle. I can only imagine the games their minds must play on their rational selves. I can only imagine the physical agony.
Addictions can come in many forms – from substances to food to people – our minds can crave to the point of uncontrollable proportions. And some dependencies are easier to overcome than others. In addition, each person handles aspects of the disease differently.
With addiction comes many crippling emotions and actions such as shame, disappointment, poor self worth, dishonesty, unreliability – just to name a few. To think of it as a simple problem with a simple solution is unrealistic. Just stop. Quit. Throw them away. Try harder. It seems just that simplistic, but it is not. It is far more complicated and deceiving.
My heart truly goes out to those who have not been able to take back control of their choices. I feel for those whose bodies are dependent on a substance which could likely kill them. I am empathetic to those who struggle each and every day to overcome an addiction in their lives. And I admire and respect with my whole heart the people who have fought, continue to fight and are able to stay clean from whatever once had them enslaved.
I know I can quit these damn things. I have done it before. But I will have to work at not listening to that little voice in my head which tries to fool me into thinking I can somehow handle them better than I did the last time. “Just one” always leads to that moment of “just one more”…and believe me…THAT is NOT a pleasant day, for anyone.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction – please contact one of these local facilities for help and guidance: