Anyway, The drawer my sandwich bags are in also just happen to contain half a pack of cigarettes. My friend forgot them after he and his wife crashed in my guest room last Saturday night. Friends don't let friends drink and drive. Anyway, after they left, I was outside running around the backyard with my puppy when I saw them on the ground behind my grill. I texted my buddy that he forgot his smokes. His response - "Thanks; we'll get them next time I'm over if you'll be OK with that?" I told him I would, but I appreciated him asking. Why would I appreciate such a question? Well, I smoked for the better part of 13 years, and I'm now in the possession of a pack of smokes for the first time in almost 5 years - May 9th is the 5 year anniversary of my last cigarette.
I thoroughly enjoyed smoking. It wasn't just the addiction; it was part of me. I'm sure some current and former smokers here know where I'm coming from. I associated smoking with certain times of day, certain activities, and certain occasions. I was the guy other smokers in my circle could count on to always have a pack. Part of my identity was smoking. It was a huge part of my life for many years.
Over time though, smoking started taking more than it gave. It cost me more money as prices went up. It cost me my appetite at times. It contributed (along with a prescription decongestant) to unveiling a genetic tachycardic condition that almost killed me; my heart rate hit 290 bpm and had to be stopped and restarted in an emergency room in April 2008. Scary as that was, it would still be over a year later before I would quit. I started seeing that this thing I loved was becoming very toxic for me, and I had to make the tough decision to let it go.
Love and rejection works much the same way. Don't believe me - http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me-we/201306/how-mourn-breakup-move-past-grief-and-withdrawal
I both gave up and mourned the loss of my habit. There was the physical and emotional withdrawal that I had to fight through. I missed it in many different physical and emotional forms. All that said, I knew it was for the best to leave it behind, to tell my beloved cigarettes goodbye.
Seeing that pack in my kitchen drawer tonight told me something about myself. I am at a point now that I almost never think about smoking. I rarely miss it now. I know that chapter is closed for me. I don't mind if friends smoke around me, I wish they'd quit for their own health, but it doesn't emotionally sting me to see what I cannot have anymore. I know where that pack is. i know I could give in. Moreover, I know I won't. It has no affect on me anymore.
I experienced some of the worst pain, loss, and outright tragedies of my life without that former love, that former crutch - smoking. I knew I'd never crawl back to it anymore out of weakness. I knew I'd never NEED it's embrace again. I knew I'd replace what it gave me with other loves. A 13 year relationship, something so much a part of me, now holds zero power over me.
This pain, this betrayal I feel now, this huge part of my life now ripped away - it was growing toxic. It's pleasures became trumped by it's maladies. It was starting to kill me, and I could see it, though I didn't see it until the worst of the damage was already done. I will live. i will survive. I will heal. This too shall pass.
You can do it. We all can. Thank you SI.
I know you think other members here are inspirational (and in fact so many here are!), but I hope you know you inspire the rest of us too. Keep on keepin on.
Craving PB&J now though...
Now go get some PB&J in your life like now!
"Sometimes it takes a good fall to know where you really stand."
Thank you for your post. Comes at a good time.
They have a choice: they can live in my new world, or they can die in their old one." — Daenerys Targaryen
Two steps forward and one step backwards, is still progress.
On the tobacco, I went from smoking cigs for 8yrs, to chewing tobacco off and on, to now chewing nic gum. Oh, and drinking coffee...dark roast straight up!
MadeOfScars, great post and great article you shared. I had to post this one section of the article because I have to say that this is VERY true:
After a breakup, if you can stumble through withdrawal with one foot in front of the other, understanding that you are still in the world, and allowing yourself to mourn through the loss, you can eventually return to yourself without addiction—maybe even a wiser, deeper, stronger and more resilient version of yourself. If you choose, this process will allow you to make room to co-create a fulfilling, reciprocal relationship in the future, even if you can’t believe that just yet.
Pure gold right there!
Gemini71 - I hope you are able to toss that pack out
jduff - You're absolutely right about PB&J! It is a GREAT protein source among other things. Not saying anyone in this thread argued, but some folks having given me some flack for my PB&J before. Also, thanks for pulling that section from the article too; it is a rather important couple of lines there. I also hope the nicotine gum helps you.
I know I still give my stbxww too much headspace, but I also know that space is getting smaller by the day. On the topic of the stbxww and smoking, she too was (and hell, may be again) a smoker. We quit at the same time though it seemed far easier for her. she hadn't smoked as long and didn't seem to truly enjoy it like I did. She had the physical addiction, but not really the emotional one as much.
That "hell, may be again" comment comes from experience. She started a new job (not the one with the friends I never met who apparently convinced her she "deserved" better than this guy they didn't know from Adam), and became friends with a female co-worker who happened to smoke. The job had a lot of downtime, so my wife being the follower she has turned into, well, she picked up the habit again. What bothered me even then (hindsight 20/20 and all) was not so much she started again, but she lied to me about it. I could smell it on her for fuck's sake. "No, I know how hard it was for you to quit and I wouldn't do that to you." Bullshit. I found a pack in her purse, and by "found" it was sticking out in plain view - I didn't exactly have to snoop. This new friend came over for a get-together at the house and went outside to have a "private girls only conversation." The stbxww left her phone inside which was ringing like crazy (her sister calling over and over) so thinking it may be important, I run the phone out to the backyard and see the damn cigarette in her mouth. Only then did she finally admit it.
It really bothered me then again that she lied to me. Yeah, I didn't want her smoking for health reasons (her premature ovarian failure already put her at much higher risk for heart disease). yet at that point we'd been together ~8 years, and for the first time ever, I'd caught her in a lie. It did feel like a betrayal then. She was so convincing, so adamant even when the evidence was piling up.
So yeah, it should be no surprise that her pleasure-seeking "needs" trump my feelings and thoughts for her, and she can still lie so easily. I know it doesn't really matter, but it does bother me many times that I don't know the story our former mutual "friends" (the few she "kept") and her family have gotten. Whatever it is, her Dad has my back (which means a ton to me), but he's a former BH himself so he has the perspective. It just bugs me to think about her sitting around with her sisters and friends talking about how I didn't give her what she needs and she deserves a real man, and her getting a bunch of "you go girl" and "yeah, drop that pansy" type of responses. They have no clue, but it still makes me almost physically sick to picture it. At one point shortly after d-day, the stbxww straight up told me "I've been talking with my sisters and friends and they have made me feel better about my decisions." The fuck? Fuck her and fuck them!
Sorry, kinda went off on a tangent there, but there is a point I was trying to get to - the addiction that is my stbxww is still very much on my mind. That said, with each day that passes, the support of my true friends and family, and the support you all have provided, the withdrawal is becoming more and more manageable. I still miss that addiction, but I'm getting closer to a place where I know I will be able to drop her from my mind and my heart like the bad habit she became.
We all need a vice of some kind.
Just for empathy and sharing, mine is too much coffee.
For me and some people I've talked to about vices, it seems that sometimes we just need something to do with our hands or minds esp. with stress like the withdrawal.
On the news there was an article where people were looking for ways to cut down texting but were hooked on their phones. So the article said turning to video games on the phone still put the phone into their hands but gave some other way to fill the void that the habit of texting brought.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.