An Open Letter to My Addiction (a.k.a. The Bitch)

Dear Bitch,

Two years and three months have gone by without smoking a cigarette. My lungs can take some hiking now, and my asthma is like a childhood memory.

I smell pretty now – instead of like an ashtray.

I rarely think about smoking anymore, and when I do, I think how great it is to be free from nicotine.

And, then, from out of nowhere comes a flashback of lighting up and taking a drag. My subconscious grabs this image and decides, “a cigarette would be so good now!”

But I am wise to the sneaky-assed tactics you use to manipulate my mind. You are clever, I’ll give you that. You have all my buttons memorized and on your speed-dial.

English: Image of the insulaYou can even get me to question what I know is the truth. How you torture me!

Is your real name Insula? I have read that damage to the Insula in the brain will stop addiction to cigarette smoking. Well. Isn’t that special?  Deep down I think I suspected this all along…

In order to get rid of you once and for all, I must have a lobotomy.

You truly ARE a Bitch!!

Diary of a Nicotine Addict: Why We Can’t Quit

Author’s note: I’m usually trying to be humorous, or sarcastic, but tonight I am trying to pass on information that I discovered during my journey with nicotine addiction. I am still learning!

SmokingOneFullWithSurgeonGeneral

I can go weeks without ever thinking about cigarettes. Then plans get messed up,  a medical emergency happens, or I can’t find something important and dammit, I want to smoke. Like that is going to help my plans, my health, or my brain. After nearly two years of being smoke free you would expect me to no longer be addicted to nicotine.  You are wrong.

Sure, my body is rid of the nicotine and other chemicals from inhaling cigarette smoke. Unfortunately, my brain won’t let go completely. Nicotine in my blood-stream would reach my brain and “light up” sensors that made me feel good. My brain remembers this (or the sensors do). I’m not even thinking about smoking, but my brain has those sensory memories stored somewhere. Waiting.

When we are stressed, our mind works overtime to find a way to get us back to a non-stressed state. Why doesn’t my mind find a different solution? Like a cup of tea or a nice long bath? Probably because I never used those things to calm down. I would always light up a cigarette.  I thought that inhaling the nicotine calmed me down, when in reality, nicotine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure. I only felt calmer because I satisfied my craving for nicotine.

That’s how they get you. The Tobacco industry. Their products supply you with nicotine, your brain starts to need the nicotine and you end up smoking to satisfy those greedy neurotransmitters begging for another nicotine fix. If that isn’t bad enough, the cigarette you just had is setting you up for the next one. Because the sensation of withdrawal is uncomfortable, and the only way to stop it is another cigarette.

No wonder the industry can make billions of dollars – and we can’t stop smoking.

Non-addicts believe that if you just used some will-power, you could quit. HA!  You can’t break addiction with will-power. Why? Because the brain, neurology and psychology are inter-twined around your addiction. The Bitch owns you. You need professional help, but you don’t want to ask for any, because the thought of you never smoking again terrifies you.

I heard that heroin addicts have less trouble getting the monkey off their back, than smokers. Don’t believe that? I didn’t either – until I asked a recovering heroin addict. She opened her purse and showed me her cigarettes. So, I guess that meant yes.

Scary.

Resolutions: Renouncing Your Flaws

ThisYearIWillQuit  New Year’s Eve:  The night you are expected to give up something, to gain something else that you are pressured into wanting.

Let me explain – We are pressured to stop smoking (or whatever) by family members and well-meaning friends. Our smoking (addiction) comforts us, and we don’t want to give it up. We know that smoking does horrible things to our body. We know how expensive cigarettes are because we have to buy them. We have tried to quit before, and things went badly.

We are afraid to face life without smoking (or whatever).  We need to smoke – to feel calm, balanced and non-homicidal.  That is your frame of mind before you go to the New Years Eve party. Then when you are caught up in the moment, you (loudly) declare you will finally quit smoking. Everybody claps and cheers and you blush and take a deep bow.

You wake up and it’s January 1st. You may or may not have a hangover, but you are dragging butt just the same. Morning coffee and a cigarette will get you right again. Suddenly, you remember that you vowed to quit smoking, while dramatically tossing your last pack into the fireplace.  You curse yourself for wasting cigarettes like that.

You manage to stay quit 2 more hours before running to the nearest 7-11 and buying a few packs. Possibly some chocolate also, to help ease the guilt of letting yourself and others down. What a depressing way to start a new year!

That is why I will not make any new year’s resolutions tomorrow. (Is that a resolution?) I want to start the new year off positively.

And I need to figure out how to do that – by tomorrow 😉

Stay tuned….
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photo credit: Lester Public Library via photopin cc