You know you’re an addict when you do it in secret.
When you innocently tell your sister you’re going out for “a walk” to look at the stars and digest your dinner ….. You go out under the stars and sneak a few spliffs back to back, creep back into the house and jump in the shower, change your clothes, smear on body lotion, spray on perfume, brush your teeth and then go out and act like nothing ever even happened. Rinse, Rinse and repeat.
Ever chucked out a fresh packet of cigarettes swearing for the millionth time that this time really is the last time and this time you’re definitely for sure going to quit because you’ve hit rock bottom and your wheezing after chain-smoking joints the night before for no particular occasion and to climb 5 stairs gets you out of breath and your teeth are stained yellow, even your 4-year-old niece tells you so and your skin is turning a pale shade of aubergine and you’re depressed because you’ve smoked up all your self worth and somehow you’re back where you began and you’re only pushin 35.
One step forward, two steps back baby.
So you chuck out your full pouch of baccy, $60 down the composting toilet, can’t ever get it there, even though you know it’s bad for the worms and microflora of the composting toilet system you think it’s the worms or me, so after making a big list of the pros and cons of quitting you’ve decided to reign in the stallion, tame the beast and jump off the wagon.
At night whilst smoking away and plotting your new bright life, it all seems so easy and so logical and sane and grown-up and positive and brilliant even. You’re gonna get fit and get a glow up and you won’t stink and you’ll look 5 years younger, and you’ll finally be a respectable member of society and a good role model for the kids and there’s less chance of dying from lung cancer, and hell you might even run a marathon later in the year. No problemo.
You wake up the next morning feeling determined and driven, you even do a few salutes to the sun, but by sunset, you’re crawling around in an ashtray, pulling apart old butts to make sorry joints so you can get high. And if you’ve never scraped butts out of an ashtray to smoke let me tell you haven’t lived! It feels a little dirty, like the hedonistic monkey that you thought you had under wraps, has totally gotten the better of you, in fact, this monkey has got you wrapped around its little mitt so tight that its got you grovelling. And you feel kind shitty and if anyone could see you now they would lose all respect for you, in fact, you’ve lost a little respect for you. But fuck it you think, YOLO and back on the wagon we go.
I’ve been smoking for way too long, at one point my friend did a calculation of how many fags I’ve smoked, and it was an ungodly amount, let me tell you that. Smoking has always been my crutch, my muse, my best friend, my inspiration, my social get out of jail free card, I’ve written poetry about it, countless songs about it, I love smoking after sex, smoking with coffee, smoking at night, after a meal, on a walk, smoking with a drink… what can I say? I’m attached… But I gotta face it, its a dying art… literally….and it ain’t the early 2000’s anymore, baby… when tobacco was pretty and at $13 bucks a pop. Now the cigarette packets have turned a shade of khaki vomit (‘Pantone 448 C opaque couché to be specific, officially the ‘world’s ugliest colour‘)… the prices have been jacked up to the nines so its got everyone quit, dead or vaping. So yeah, I guess its probably time.
And honey, I’ve tried everything, hypnotherapy, sheer willpower, juice fasting, water fasting, podcasts, motivational talks, gambling, reading that ‘how to quit smoking book’, you name it I’ve done it…Once I even drove halfway across the country and dropped $2000 cash on an Iboga retreat led by Wookie dookie sham shamans in a half-built suburban McMansion in Adelaide…. But hey, that’s a whole other story…….
Addiction is so crazy like that, the lengths we can go to to get a vice. The people you befriend for it, the time you waste trying to get it, the money you spend on it, the situations that you put yourself in for it, especially when your vice is illegal. I mean, I nearly started a small riot in a tiny town in country Ireland between the weed dealer and the local cook when I tried to score a twenty. I’ve put myself in some super precarious situations just to get a fix. Small back water rooms in foreign cities all alone with shady characters that only speak Spanish, and I don’t speak Spanish.
But the truth is, you know you should quit when you start looking like a cigarette. Like when you actually start to embody a fag. Yup, that’s when I knew it was time to reassess the situation and get in the heavyweights because, let’s face it, it’s just not a real good look, is it? Like everyone else quit in their late twenties, but you missed the memo and stayed on the wagon, fully committed to the cause, a real champion.
One of the funniest things I read in that ‘how to quit smoking book’, compared smokers to athletes, it spoke about how a smoker has to have sheer perseverance when first starting smoking, you know, inhaling all that poison, all that coughing and spluttering and bum puffing and eyes stinging and that old man after taste, I mean that’s not easy getting through that, like you have to commit, go the full route, train your body to process poisons and live to tell the goddamn tale. And that, my friends is almost like a marathon. I mean not in a traditional sense of the word but yes, some kind of marathon.
So it’s been a ride, what can I say. Still, you know that after all these years of being beholden to some sort of vice, I do pride myself on having a new kind of empathy, an addict’s empathy. I still think addicts are a bunch of suckers that need to get there shit together, stat, but I can relate to them, I can relate to the most badass addicts around because addiction is essentially all one and the same. We’ve all got a little monster that lives inside of us that could do questionable things for the sake of a fix. I guess it’s whether you allow yourself to go there or not.
So I’m gonna smoke my last bit of everything tonight and kiss this sweet ass baby goodbye, Cause by god, I’ve done my time.