Caught Smoking

by Bill Brenner on August 15, 2011

You’ve heard the sorry old tale of the addict who cleaned up from the addiction that made his life unmanageable, only to pick up three more vices. That’s me. Take the surprise Erin got when opening my work bag.

Mood music:

She was cleaning and found earphones that belonged to me. She unzipped a front compartment in my laptop bag to put them away and had the unpleasant shock of discovering where I’d been hiding all my smoking products.

Everyone knows I like cigars. What people don’t know — and what Erin discovered — is that I’ve been sneaking cigarettes, too. Two packs were hidden in the pocket.

She took it better than I expected. I probably deserved a far harsher reaction. But she knows how addictions make someone like me tick. Instead, she talked me through the things I might be able to do to replace this crutch.

I agreed to stop smoking immediately — the cigarettes and cigars. And you know what? I’m pissed off right now. Not at Erin, but at my lot in life. I can’t seem to do anything in moderation, and so I have to put everything down.

I resent not being able to have vices. It makes me want to put my fist through a wall.

It’s nobody’s fault. It’s simply a problem with how my brain ticks. This is just the latest in a big shift I resolved to take three years ago when my binge eating compulsion brought me to my knees.

When you give up your worst addiction, you go looking for crutches to help you through. In the first year of not binge eating, I used alcohol as a crutch. Then I put that down, too. I picked up cigars, and, more recently, cigarettes.

If you think that’s pathetic, that’s because it is.

As I write this, I’m on day three without my smokes. I’m pretty fucking irritable. Nicotine cravings have nothing to do with it.

Like I said, I resent having to give up all my vices.

Coffee is all that’s left.

If you think I’m giving that up, you’re out of your fucking mind.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ken August 15, 2011 at 1:23 am

Ha! I can relate! I know someone who will continue to mention the coffee, though….

Nancy Casey August 15, 2011 at 2:38 am

Bill,
I can so feel for you right now. Smoking is the freaking bane of my life right now. Its very hard for me to quit and the kids are really on me about it…with good reason! I gave up drugs, I gave up alcohol, but I replaced it with energy drinks. Also i cannot give up my caffeine either!
I know there are no excuses for the smoking and sometimes I can take way too much energy drinks combined with my other caffeine products..Addiction is a monster and its hard for us to give any of our needs up. I am envious of you right now for being able to use such inner strength to quit the smoking. But on the other hand..it shows me that it can be done. Thanks for the post!

Becky August 15, 2011 at 2:52 am

I can’t tell you just how much I can relate to this! I can’t do ANYTHING in moderation either, it seems. As I type this, I find it amusing that my coffee is brewing….And I’m gonna pissed if someone takes that away from me! 🙂

Jessie August 15, 2011 at 3:32 am

I SO get it Bill. Never been a smoker, but if I start watching TV, then I have to watch it more and more. If I cheat on the no gluten thing… then I want to eat crazy stuff donuts (powdered ones, legal crack) as in the WHOLE box or an entire cake, you know… ZERO nutrient food. And best part, even eaten in moderation wheat gives me asthma, RLS and an upset stomache!

io_saturnalia August 15, 2011 at 4:38 am

Ouch. It’s an insidious jones, for sure. But you know what to do, without white-knuckling it.

Bob Connors August 18, 2011 at 1:37 am

Just out of curiousity, how many cigars do you smoke? One or more/day? Do you opt for a toro (6 or 7″ cigar) or a robusto? If you’re having a robusto a couple times each week (or even a toro every day), isn’t that moderation?

While I’ve never tried them, I’ve seen how cigarettes can pull you in and you can go from one cig to a pack/day in a short time. Not that I’m condoning it, but I think an occasional cigar is like a good scotch. It a treat more than a habit.

I’ve found that you need to pick the vices your going to ween off carefully, or it will be at everyone’s peril. Wouldn’t it be better to set boundaries so you can enjoy a vice while preventing overindulgence? Doesn’t forced moderation ultimately help strengthen the psyche (I don’t know, just asking)?

I guess what I’m asking is whether you’re being too hard on yourself at the expense of others? As you say, you can’t do anything in moderation, but it seems you may not be able to implement a fix in moderation either. Kick the cigs. Save the cigars (sorry, Erin). Don’t be a miserable bastard!

p.s. I’ll take any leftovers you have 😉

Heather E Stockwell August 20, 2011 at 2:26 am

Life without coffee is not life.

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