"The Life and Death of a Smoker"

You start out when you're a kid hacking and coughing when someone smokes in your presence. You very clearly understand the yucky smell of smoke and the health hazards of sucking in fumes of noxious gas all day. You walk around very verbally expressing your disgust at smoking and are simply unable to understand how people could willingly abuse themselves and the environment so.

Then one day, somewhere around puberty, preadolescence or in your teenage years you and perhaps some friends steal a pack of smokes from someone's mom or dad and take that initial puff. The act of theft is the first bit of delinquency which gives you that independent rebellion you seek. But the act of smoking truly ignites your rebel without a cause.

Your first puffs are probably followed by coughing and dizziness. Which although somewhat unpleasant is outshadowed by the thrill of your crime and perhaps your first "high". Even though you see yourself as free to walk away from this experience unscathed you have begun the process of giving away your power. Perhaps you did that when you allowed a friend to convince you to try one. Perhaps the nicotene has already begun to draw you into its perpetual drive to fill your body again and again. Perhaps your morality, or a promise you made to yourself has begun to erode with that first puff. Certainly you have begun to train your body and mind not to reject the feeling of burning in your throat and lungs despite the fact that it is obviously uncomfortable.

Then somehow, you are looking back, 4,10, 25 years later at a long history of smoking. You are nearly incapable of remembering living your life without smoking. Every event, chore, vacation, celebration, sorrow, and joy has been punctuated by a cigarette. Every day new challenges surfaced as to how to have a smoke at an inconvenient time. Countless hours had been wasted worrying about events and snowstorms and visits with inlaws that might interfere with your smoking.

As the years marched on things began to change. More and more of your friends began to quit smoking. Fewer and fewer places allowed smoking. More and more people looked down on you for smoking. More and more friends and strangers both alienated you and made you feel a substandard human being. Media and hollywood became more and more voacal about the dangers of smoking. The medical world became 100% intollerent of smoking. Your friends, family and aquaintences began to die from smoking related illnesses. By and large it became nearly impossible to live in denial as to the dangers and negativity of smoking. But there were moments with a cold beer or after a delicious meal when you could still pretend.

And so, though difficult, you pretended that your shortness of breath was do to aging or being out of shape. You tolerated the snide remarks of ex smokers and non alike. You self righteously maintained your FREEDOM to smoke. You stayed well stocked, and tried to be inconspicuous as you went about your days of feeding your addiction. You ardently told yourself you enjoyed smoking and thats why in spite of all the evidence, adversity and a small knot in the pit of your stomach or a lump in your throat you continued.

But little by little, perhaps over the course of a few years the knot became worrisome. The lump became unbearable. Each smoke brought you closer and closer to reality. Each smoke became more of a chore. Instead of bringing relief from the need for nicotene, bringing relaxation or peace each cig was now tainted with guilt, stress and a growing desire to quit.

Caught in an endless cycle of guilt and relief, you began to feel incapbale of quitting. You felt inferior to others, lacking willpower, powerless to beat the addiction. You probably tried and failed countless times. Or maybe you perpetually said you'd quit tommarrow. Or maybe you were simply too afraid to even try.

And then came the death of the smoker. You had two choices. Kill the smoker by quitting or kill the smoker by smoking. Face your fear head on and battle the addiction one moment at a time. Gather all your strength, your years of denial and transform them into a hatred of your powerlessness and fight this addiction with every fiber of your desire to live. Or stick your head in the sand once and for all and smoke until it kills you. It will be happy to oblige you. Die smoker, die. You get to decide how to kill the smoker, what's your choice?

posted healing2 on 3/13/2001 4:03:44 PM