I Suck

by Tracee Sioux

I am not a smoker.

I have been writing this message on my wrist for the last year on and off. I read in a magazine that it’s supposed to help me kick the habit. It’s supposed to help me redefine myself as a non-smoker. It’s supposed to change my identity from one as a smoker to a non-smoker.

Other methods I’ve tried include:

  • Nicotine gum – disgusting. (yes, in my opinion more disgusting than smoking – have they ever heard of a flavor?),
  • Nicotine patch -most effective, but eventually you stop using it and then the cheating starts,
  • Acupuncture – ridiculously ineffective,
  • 2 pregnancies – you think this is the answer cause it’s 9 months of not smoking, but eventually you’re not pregnant and the stress of a newborn baby and the desire to lay claim to your own physical body overrides the fact that you are no longer physically addicted to nicotine.
  • Self-Loathing and the Loathing of Dependency – really it just makes you feel bad about yourself while you smoke for being so weak and fallible.
  • Single-cigarette purchases – this is pretty effective for the weaning time because if you buy a pack you will smoke a pack. This allows you to buy a single cigarillo to get your nicotine hit and feeds the psychological need to make the hand-to-mouth motions. However, I find myself buying them two at a time and then smoking them while wearing the nicotine patch.
  • Goal Setting – the latest one was to give up smoking for Lent. Heck, it’s only 40 days, surely I can do that for God and all.
  • Psychological Conditioning – supposedly if you snap your wrist with a rubber-band then you will condition yourself not to want a cigarette. Whatever.
  • Sunflower seeds and gum and computer solitaire – The notion is that if you keep your hands and mouth busy you will not need the hand-to-mouth motions of smoking.

I used to say, in defense of cigarette manufacturers, People have a right to kill themselves if they want to.

In walks the five-year-old conscience, Mommy! Please don’t smoke that cigarette. You’ll DIE! I don’t want you to die! Who will I be with if you die! No more smoking Mommy! Throw it away! You said you wouldn’t smoke anymore!

I would like to slap the crap out of whoever it was that told my kid that I will die if I smoke! Seriously – if I find out who did this to me, you’re in deep, deep $%&#.

So, since I can not tolerate the deception of hiding behind buildings and sneaking around to smoke I resolve every single day to quit. To never smoke again. Because it seems I have actually lost the right to kill myself, at least peacefully, by becoming someone’s mother. Unfortunately, I very often feel like a total failure for my inability to stick to it.

I don’t smoke everyday anymore. Sometimes, I’ll go a whole week without a cigarette. I’ve gone months without buying a pack of cigarettes. I’ll see liberation from smoking on the horizon. And then when true freedom is within my grasp, I’ll let myself believe in the alluring, yet delusional, notion that I can smoke sometimes without the consequences of a full-on addiction to cigarettes.

I’ll bum one off a known smoker. Just one – okay, maybe two. I’ve even pulled up to a gas station and bummed them off a stranger, just one. I’ll pay you $1 for one – see I’m trying to quit and this way I don’t buy a whole pack.

Ah, but that one was so good. It made me feel like my old self again. You know, the girl who could smoke if she damn well felt like it? Her, I liked her. I miss her. Maybe just two then.

Or maybe only when I’m not around the kids. Or only when I drink a few beers. (WARNING – This logic will turn you into an alcoholic. Really, who needs to fight more than one addiction at a time?)

The road to my addiction to cigarettes has been incredibly long. I thought the guy who sat in front of me in 7th grade English class smelled divine. Camel cigarettes on a Levi jacket. Yummy! I thought it was exciting to take a drag off a cute boy’s cigarette, yeah I’m cool like that. Erotic beyond belief when my boyfriend would blow a drag into my open mouth (nauseating what used to be a turn-on isn’t it?)

And I smoked unapologetically for basically two decades. I never, ever felt bad about it. I LOVED it. Cigarettes saw me through every drama, crisis and celebration of adolescence and early adulthood. I only tried to quit once, when I went on vacation with my family trapped in an Oldsmobile and I swear I would have hitch-hiked home had I thought I could make it out of the state of Texas in under a week. After that, my family was happy that I was not attempting to quit smoking in their presence.

But, now I can’t even smoke in peace. One can not enjoy cigarettes while their child is crying about how Mommy is going to die. And if I’m not enjoying it – what is the point of doing it? I’ve kicked the physical addiction. It’s just the psychological bond that remains, like shackles around my printed on wrists.

This is about my freedom – I can if I want! Evidently, what I don’t have is the freedom NOT to smoke.

According to Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, the secret to life is to fall down seven times and then get up eight.

Okay, off to buy the nicotine patch again. After just one more drag . . .

Read more about the success of a new smoking cessation pill called Chantix at Blog Fabulous. I tried it, cheated a time or two, and then a miracle occurred and I quit smoking. So did over 600 other lifelong smokers. I really can say that I’m a non-smoker and so can you!

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