Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 10 - Where is My Mind?

You thought Day 3 was hard.
... just wait. It gets much worse than that.

Day 10 is like being subject to water-boarding. It's constant torture. What's the weather like today? What are you doing tonight? Feel like some karaoke? What are you doing for dinner? Do you like my new tie? I DON'T FUCKING GIVE A SHIT! Give me nicotine! Shoot it into my veins. Give me a few sheets of used toilet paper... I'll roll it up, light it on fire and try to smoke it.

I woke up coughing today. It was not just a tickle in my throat and it was not just some phlegm. This morning I coughed up at least a dozen bronchioles. The anti-smoking pictures were right. They were dry and brown. That's what my lungs probably look like. I didn't give a damn because I never had to see them. Now I do. It's disgusting. It wouldn't stop. The more I hocked the more I needed to hock. There came a point when my throat was too ripped up to hock anymore. That's ok. I'm sure there will be more later.

I've been carrying nicotine gum for 3 days in my right cargo pocket. That's right, I have worn the same cargo shorts for three days. I don't give a shit. Be happy I'm wearing clothing at all. My buddy Ryan gave me this gum the last time I tried to quit. Seriously tried. Not that bullshit that you just go a day or two to see if you can. I mean really trying. Like right now. I haven't smoked anything in 10 days. I'm afraid to have a piece of the gum. It's there. I know it's there, but every time I think of having a piece I know it will lead to a pack. Once the sweet chemicals permeate my brain again I'll have no choice. I'll want more and more of the nicotine again. I'll say, "nah, I'm just chewing gum," but then I'll bum a butt. I'll saddle up to a smoker and lay on the charm.

I always hated people who bummed smokes. If you want one... go buy one. Don't offer me a dollar. I don't want money. I want tobaki! I want the leaves and the paper. There's 20 in the pack. If it were a Twix it would be 20 for me, none for you! I thought these bum-people were non-smokers who just want one every once in a while. The ones who only smoke when they drink and only need one or two. Now I realize some of these bums were probably where I am now. They were hunched-over junkies fiending for their fix. They were probably 10 days into quitting and just needed one. They should sell loosies in bodegas again. I'd buy one right now.

Smoking Cigarettes Guiness World Record 1,000
...but then I'd be a smoker again. The past 10 days would be for naught. I'd probably smoke a whole pack in one afternoon. Forget that, I'd probably smoke a whole pack in 5 minutes. There's a dam in my mind and it's blocking 500 million gallons of water. If this dam is broken, I'm not gonna just have a few. My self-imposed restrictions are suddenly lifted, I'd over-indulge like it was my last day on earth. I'd be like that Guinness record-holder for most cigarettes smoked simultaneously. I'd pack 100 cigarettes in my mouth at the same time and light them all up at once.

I thought it would get better. The longer I went the easier it would be. It's not getting better. If Day 3 was purgatory then Day 10 is hell. There is fire all around me but no smoke. Today I don't give a shit about being healthy. All of the reasons I decided to quit are ridiculous. This was a stupid idea. I don't really want to quit. I was just saying that. I want to buy a pack. I want to be full of chemicals. I want to poison myself slowly.

... because I want the headaches to go away. I want to sleep at night again. I want to go to bed and sleep for 7 hours without tossing and turning and smashing my head against a brick wall until my forehead splits open and my brains slosh out bleeding on the floor. I want it to be Day 100. I want it to be Day 1,000. Day 10 is terrible.

I know the pain is necessary. The pain is good. The pain is cleansing. I realize the hacking and headaches and nausea and lack of sleep is my body repairing itself and that's great. I'm in detox mode. Years of damage are slowly being reversed. I'm getting healthy and it feels like shit. Maybe that's why I smoked to begin with. I used to joke that I'm "suicidal, just not that serious about it." Taking care of oneself is hard. It's easier to let it go. Waste it, contaminate it. Destroy it.

Today I have a decision to make. I have to decide to not have one. I have to decide it every second. Now? No. Now? No. How about now? No. Just one. No. Just one drag. No. Get some weed? No. Go bum a smoke. No. Go outside and wait for someone to come out for a smoke break and then inhale their second-hand smoke. Ok, fine.

People are congratulating me. Friends are telling me what a great job I'm doing. Fuck you. I'm not doing a great job. If I were doing so well it wouldn't hurt so much. If I were doing well I wouldn't want one at all. I'm barely getting by. I'm a shell of myself and its taking all of my willpower not to punch you. Unless you have successfully quit... leave me alone. Unless you can say, "yeah, I've done it. It's hard but stick with it," don't say anything. Your banal accolades are a waste. Even people who have quit piss me off. They're done. They forgot what this feels like. They say, "you can do it." How do you know that? I haven't done shit yet. Day 10 is not "done." I have not quit. I deserve no congratulations. There's a very strong chance I'll be a smoker again tomorrow. What will you say then? "You really fucked up." No, you won't give a damn. Just like you don't give a damn about the personal hell I'm currently living in. I'm not saying you don't care if I quit. My friends and family want me to be healthy. That's great. They want me to quit, but the non-chalant "you're doing great," is a sham. I'm not doing great. Thanks for your thoughts but I'm really struggling over here.

My head hurts. It's like someone else has the reigns. I have no control over my thoughts. They always turn back to the one thing I can't do. It's a pounding. It's like someone is inside my cranium kneading my brains like pizza dough. It's like 12 people are playing volleyball with my head; sometimes it's just floating in the air but then suddenly people are smashing it down really hard. It's like my brain is being taken out to sea, held under water and drowning.

I am John's not-so-subtle sense of disconnect.

It is supposed to get better soon. The cravings are supposed to space out soon. I'm supposed to be used to not smoking soon... but when will soon be now? Not soon enough. Now is hard. Now is painful and throbbing. Now feels like someone is sticking needles in my brain. Now is constantly wanting to throw it all away and take the easy way out. Now I'm gonna have some sunflower seeds and smile even though I feel like kicking someone in the face. Now I'm gonna walk home and take some Advil so the anvil on my head won't feel so heavy.

Now I'm gonna hope the next few days go quickly. Now I'm gonna try to keep my stress levels low and constantly stop myself from doing what I'd really like to do. Now I'm gonna murder hundreds of people in Grand Theft Auto so I don't actually murder anyone in real life. That's who kills people. Assholes like me trying to go against what the body and brain are asking for. We can't handle it and we snap. Now I'm gonna try to cool down. Now I'm gonna try to distract myself. Now I'm gonna breathe deeply because this "air" shit just isn't doing it for me.

I'm gonna try to "be strong." I'm gonna try to "stick with it." I'm gonna ignore my body. I'm gonna tell my brain it's wrong. I'm gonna eat seeds. I'm gonna drink venti java chip frappachinos. I'm gonna eat cookies. I'm gonna chew gum.

The only thing I can't do is smoke.
... but that's all I want. Dammit.

John Powers

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1 comment:

  1. This describes exactly how I felt when I quit 20 years ago. I still miss it. I keep waiting for "them" to discover it's really good for you so I can start up again. Good luck. Ex-junkie friends tell me cigarettes are harder to quit than heroin.


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