Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Day 3: Cold Turkey

Ah, we meet again. That familiar tickle, the sore throat, and the phlegm. Reminding me it hasn't been that long. It's only three days. It whispers to me. You can have one. I won't tell anybody. Then you can go another three days. You won't buy a pack. I know you're stronger than that. You've already gone three days. That's a long time. You'll stop for good this time. You're done with smoking.

... but I've been here before. Three days is just a tease. It's not real. It's a mirage. An illusion. A hallucination. Three days comes so quickly. It's a lie. It tells you it was no big deal. It tells you three days is nothing. It tells you that you have control. It lets you think you have control. It tells you that you can have one and then go another three days. You cannot. You have a choice after three days. Stay with your decision or give in. If you give in to it then you are a smoker again.

Jane's Addiction - Three Days (Live in Milan) I'm not. This is hard for me. I really want one. Just one. It's easier to have one than not to have one. There are so many reminders. You should have one. No Smoking signs. Anti-smoking commercials. I'll bet there's even advertisements on this page for cigarettes or cigarette accessories. They all make me want one. A subliminal reminder here. An obvious reference there. It's in the movies. It's on my TV. I should have one. It will make me feel better.

...but it won't. It has been three days. My body is just getting used to being clean again. Why would I introduce more poison? Why would I hurt myself? It doesn't make me feel good. It brings me down. It slows me down. It makes breathing hard. We think its a cure for feeling socially awkward. It's not. We step outside rudely. We stand around with other people who are suicidal. We think it's ok because other people are doing it. It's not. It makes us more socially awkward because people who give a damn about their body think we are nuts. We are not nuts. We are addicts. Cigarettes are a drug.

...why are these things not illegal? The founders of the country smoked? Not the same. I guarantee you Marlboro wasn't putting chemicals in their tobacco in the 1700's. Sweet, delicious, addictive chemicals. Carcinogens conveniently added to the tobacco leaves. I'm breathing better. Deeper. My body is already starting to rebuild. I should wait a few more days.

... "just say no" is bullshit. It doesn't work that way. Whomever coined that phrase has never felt the third day. There's nothing about quitting that can be worked out with a simple bumper-sticker slogan. This is torture. This is constant. This is an impulse every second of every waking hour. Go ahead. Have one. No, shut up. You know you want one. Be like Nike, just do it. Shut up! No. I know you're being ridiculous. This is part of you. You'll have one today. No I won't.

This time I'm not gonna just have one. It's never just one. It's not even two. It's a pack. It's a carton. It's choosing to poison myself. Not this time. This time is different. This time I'm George Bailey at the end of It's a Wonderful Life. This time I'm running in the snow and shouting off a bridge I once nearly jumped off, "I wanna live again!" This time I'm crying. As I write this I'm getting blurry.

I hope I'm not kidding myself.

Cold turkey is the only way to go. Any nicotine in my system will just make me want more. I need to just not have any. Say "no... fuck you. I'm just not going to have any." Constantly. Cold turkey is tough. Cold turkey is zero tolerance and a clean break. I've been doing this activity more than 10 times a day. Suddenly I do it zero times. What do I do when I leave the apartment? Nothing. Light up nothing. What do I do after a meal? Nothing. I breathe nothing. What do I do after great sex? What do I do when I'm waiting for a bus? What do I do when I've got 10 minutes to kill? Nothing at all.

John Lennon - Cold Turkey (Live in NYC)

I've tried everything. Patches gave me nightmares. Vivid ones. Scary ones. Stephen King scary. The gum tastes like shit. No matter how much mint they put in it you're still chewing some nicotine. Nicotine tastes like shit. People suggest the eCigarette. I've tried it. It sucks. When I put a match to an electronic cigarette it simply melted. That didn't satisfy me. There's nothing like lighting something on fire and breathing the flames. I'm a fucking dragon. You can't replace that with a piece of shit plastic with some vapor mist.

You can't replace it with anything. I'm tired of gum, Werther's, and sunflower seeds. I'm a kid that doesn't want candy. I want the slow death. The fire and smoke. The French inhale. The slow exhale. Smoke rings. The bus I'm on just passed an old man lighting a cigarette on the corner of 28th and 9th. He is very wrinkled but he looks like he has a few good years left. That could be me. I could go another 50 years and not have any problems.

...but you hate Bloomberg. If you grew the stuff yourself it would be 50¢ a pack instead of $15. Do you really want to keep giving 500% taxes to Bloomberg? He says he wants people to quit but he doesn't. He wants my money. He wants to make money off of me killing myself. My addiction pays for some other kid's lunch. Either way Bloomberg wins. Do I give him the satisfaction or the tax revenue. I should do what's best for me.

What's best for me is never having started to begin with. That's what they should really tell kids. Trust us... you really don't want to. I know that just makes you want it more. I know it looks cool. It really isn't. Ok, fine it is... but not forever. It's better to not be cool now and be cool later. If I could go back to school I never would've bought that first pack. Where's a Delorean when you need one?

Damn it three days. I hate you.

John Powers

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