I’ve been busy since we last spoke. Not in a “get in there, get things done and have a wonderful holiday by the beach,” kind of way, but in a “it seems like nothing is happening, but I know it is, so suck it,” kind of way.
Last week I discussed alcohol, or more accurately my need to make my life alcohol free. It’s great if you’re one of those people who can go a year without booze and think nothing of it. I’m not one of those people. For me, it’s a major achievement to go a week, let alone a year. I’ve chosen to look at the idea of taking a day at a time.
While I would hesitate to label myself an alcoholic, preferring the less threatening term “binge drinker”- I know, splitting hairs – addiction is a theme that runs through both sides of my family tree.
Be it drugs – prescription or otherwise, alcohol, nicotine. I’m hard pressed to spot a single generation that hasn’t experienced or had to work through addiction of some type.
I added nicotine to that list because it is a drug. A slightly more socially acceptable one than say heroin, but just as addictive, just as demanding and just as controlling. True, people won’t look down their nose at you while you walk the street smoking a cigarette as much as they would if you were to be walking along the street shooting up, but it is a drug. It’s just one that Government’s around the world have figured out a way to control, regulate and tax.
In a fact sheet released by the CDC and most recently updated in April 2015, tobacco related illness leads to over 6 million deaths worldwide per year, and left over 16 million American’s experiencing smoking related illnesses.
Closer to home in Australia, it’s been reported that there is a smoking related death every 28 minutes.
Anyway, I digress. My point is that I view nicotine as an addictive drug along the same veins as heroin. Of course, quitting smoking doesn’t get the same image as detoxing from heroin. I know a lot of people who have detoxed from various things over the years. Drugs, alcohol, nicotine. For drugs and alcohol they basically went off to hospital and came out again at the end of their stay either on the road to recovery or on the road back to their dealer.
Nicotine is the next addiction I plan to address.
Last week I was talking about doors opening, doors closing etc. It was a bit of a rough week to be honest but I clung onto my commitment to stop drinking like Kate Winslet did to that door in Titanic when she let Leonardo DiCaprio drown – side note: only part of the movie I really liked.
I drank water and told myself all was well. In relation to the alcohol it was. It’s now 7 days since I woke up and decided my old life had died the night before and it was time to start over. Not rebuild, but to actually let the past and all it’s voices go and start again. Somehow, that seems right.
Late last week I found out a short story I had written titled Seed’s of Eden had been selected to appear in an upcoming anthology called Sproutlings.
The call for submissions had the theme, wicked plants. It was a short story, not something I’m overly comfortable with and I only did it because of the course and encouragement from my classmates and the course leader Pamela.
To say that I floated for a day or two is an understatement. Only the other day I wrote about my “One day, when….” list. One of the things on it was “be published in an anthology.” I had no idea when that was going to happen, nor how. I just wanted it “when I was ready.” Seed’s of Eden was born out of a sense of “I have to submit something,” and having my first published – and first ever submission – piece included is pretty fantastic.
When I received word the story had been successful and was to be included, I found a sense of strength I hadn’t really known I had. I was slowly tapping it’s edges with the “No Booze” thing, but that was only 1 thing.
When the story was successful I more than tapped it’s edges. I ran out screaming into the centre of the frozen pond of my self confidence, jumping up and down and howling at the moon with unadulterated joy. And I fell through the centre.
My next step was to Quit Smoking – see, I did have a point to all of this – and so that’s exactly what I did. I downloaded the My Quit Buddy app so I had a record of what I was doing. I put on a patch Saturday afternoon and that was that. I’ve had two cravings so far, neither one bad, neither one fatal.
I’ve come to realise that in my life I’ve attempted to quit smoking many, many, many times and every time I’ve had a craving in the past and not given into it, I’ve not died. I know right! It’s a miracle.
But it’s the honest truth! Never once have I died from a craving. I may want to, I may believe I’m going to, I may even lie on the bed and think “death would be better than this shit,” but I’ve never once died.
I still feel like I’m falling to a degree but I’ve stopped screaming, for now.
Now I’m just watching the walls of wherever the hell I’m going as they sail past and wonder what will happen when I finally reach the bottom. My goal is to reach it cigarette – and nicotine – free so I’m guessing it’s going to be a long journey.
Still, long or short the decision to start your life over again and cut the past free is rather exhilarating.