Chasing smoke

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So I’ve been smoking again. Bad habit, I know. Smoking is bad for you, it can kill you, yes I know all these things. It had been about a year since I last smoked, and I had been doing really well. And then the overwhelming body sensations / body memories started happening, and I didn’t know how else to cope. Smoking has always been my go-to coping mechanism when all else fails. It’s not something I’m proud of, it’s not something I want to do, but I’m doing it and it provides me some sense of solace.

I began smoking when I was twelve. A friend at the time introduced me to it, among other things (which I’m not proud of either). Those other things didn’t stick; the smoking did. I have struggled with this on and off for years, and am now in my early thirties and still struggling with it.

Partner hates me smoking, so when I first started I tried to hide it from her. Of course that started me down the rabbit hole of shame and guilt, and I eventually came clean. She understood, but I could tell she hated it. She reminded me that I wouldn’t be able to smoke on our camping trip, and I determined that the trip would provide me with a great opportunity to stop. I smoked (what I thought) was my last cigarette before we hit the road on Tuesday. Finished the pack I had. Threw the empty box away. Didn’t smoke, or even crave it at all during the trip. The hiking with the backpacks thoroughly exhausted me physically, and the fresh mountain air did me good. But then I came home.

Of course I didn’t smoke during the day today, since I won’t smoke around Little Guy. After work, I resisted the urge to swing by a gas station on my way home to pick up a pack. Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily for me), my partner wasn’t home when I got home. She took this week off from work, and she is out at the movies. I paced around my apartment for a few minutes before jumping back in my car to drive to the nearest gas station to buy myself another pack.

As I sit here outside, smoking, I am again overwhelmed by feelings of shame, guilt, and the feeling that I have failed. Not only myself but my partner. I am trying not to be too hard on myself, not to judge myself, but it’s just so hard. I told her that I would quit, and I failed to do so. Failed.

——-

I have awards to accept, and I have posts to respond to, and I have comments to answer, and I apologize for not having gotten to them yet. I will, I promise. I’ve had the attention span of a gnat today, so you’ll have to forgive me. These cravings for a smoke have been all consuming. How do I let this control me?

I tell myself that I wouldn’t be smoking if it weren’t for the horrible body memories that keep assailing me. But perhaps I’m just lying to myself. Perhaps I’m just making excuses. I don’t know. It’s hard for me to practice self kindness when I know I’m doing something that is both hurting me and my body, as well as letting my partner down.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Chasing smoke

  1. I, too, have been fighting the urge to light up again after 16 years of not. There is a draw there for sure. My husband offered to buy me a pack for our trip thinking I’d smoke one and be done. I wasn’t so certain so I passed on the offer but I still long for a cigarette. I long for the days of chain smoking. Could have used that today actually. Everyone has their coping mechanism that works and if it’s not cigarettes, it’s something else. Mine? Chocolate. Don’t be so hard on yourself and if the shame stems from the secrecy, by all means just don’t keep it a secret.

    • Yeah, thanks. You’re amazingly strong for fighting the urge for so many years. I hope to one day be free from it completely.

      As far as keeping it from my partner, she smelled it on me first thing when she got home (despite my efforts to cover it up) and she was surprisingly understanding. I just hate knowing how much she doesn’t like it and doing it anyway. But yes you are right, I really need to be not so hard on myself. Thanks for your words of support.

  2. I tried it once. I found a packet that was almost empty, I think there were two sticks left in it. I lit one up, dragged it into my mouth and let it out. As soon as I did, I felt really guilty and threw the whole thing away. I think spent maybe three months after that craving for the taste. I understand the draw of it, and it’s human nature to return to familiar ground when we feel vulnerable and scared. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Maybe you can spread it out into a schedule and gradually replace it with activities and gum everytime you think about it? And for every two days or so you manage to withhold, figure out some kind of reward system? I’ve never been addicted to anything like this, so I don’t know what might work for you.

    • Spreading it out into a schedule is a really good idea. The problem is, as soon as I get stressed, the schedule goes out the window. Like tonight. :/ I will figure it out though, I’m sure in time.

      Your comments are always so thoughtful and heartfelt. I really appreciate them 🙂

      • Well what else do you like doing when you’re stressed? Maybe you can try using that as a distraction sometimes, though you probably have tried that already.

        I try to see things from your side of the window 😀

        • I like hiking and riding my bike, and both those things are great stress relievers. You’re right, I really should try those things as a good distraction and a way to calm myself. And with biking, I don’t have to drive anywhere to do it – just get on my bike and go! 🙂

  3. So far, I’ve smoked for more of my life that I haven’t. I’m not esecially old, I just started early! It’s a stinking difficult thing to give up and I don’t think you should be quite so hard on yourself about this one. What is it they say? Don’t give up giving up 🙂

    • I will not give up giving up!

      Wait… does that mean we should not stop giving up? Because that sounds about opposite doesn’t it lol. We shouldn’t give up, and therefore if we give up giving up, we keep persisting. And if we don’t give up giving up, that means we are giving up. Right? Haha, I’m a very logically minded person, so I had to get to the bottom of what this one meant. [I got an A in my university logic class!] Don’t know if I got that one right though!

      In ANY case, I know what you mean, and I will never give up, or I will never give up giving up, or I will never give up trying, or whatever it is we are both trying to say. You get the picture! 😀

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