These parades can often become good places to store collective experiences illustrating an important point. One point that's vital to our successful recovery is the understanding that this ain't no "nasty little habit" we're dealing with here.... it's drug addiction. Because tobacco is legal, and largely tolerated by the public at large, it's tempting to believe otherwise... and mortally dangerous.
As long as we allow ourselves to believe it's a habit, we open ourselves to being trapped by the illusion that it is therefore something we can control -- that we can be a social user.... we can't... and if we try, we lose in a big way.
One powerful way of illustrating the true nature of this beast is by delving into our behavior as smokers a bit. Often, people (particularly nicotine junkies) tend to picture "drug addicts" as desperate people, willing to do anything to get their next fix, while viewing "smokers" as something different, something more refined and in control. In fact, it's common that somebody who's recently quit views a smoker with envy, imagining it to be a relaxing, enjoyable activity.
The truth is that the only real difference between the heroin addict and the nicotine addict is that the nicotine addict generally has easy, unrestricted access to his/her next fix; all you have to do is walk into a shop and plop down a few bucks/quid. We never needed to put ourselves through many of the seedy activities "drug addicts" have to go through for the simple reason; cigarettes aren't hard to get.... USUALLY.
Which brings me to the point of this little parade. Many of us have found ourselves in a situation where cigarettes suddenly weren't easily available. Maybe we were trying to quit, maybe we ran out late at night. Maybe we were on a boat, and accidentally dropped our cigarettes in the river, or couldn't find a lighter. At times like these, we found ourselves in the shoes of "less acceptable addicts"; Desperate for a fix.
Joel describes a clinic participant who considered smoking a cigarette he found placed on top of a mens room urinal. Roger describes digging through a dumpster.
Let's call this "Have You Ever". You play like this. Relay something you've done in desperation for a fix. Start it out with "Have you ever" and describe your junky behavior. Finish by acknowledging, "I have. I'm an addict."
I'll go first
Have you ever thrown a pack of cigarettes in the bushes, knowing that you wouldn't smoke for the evening if you didn't have them, only to find yourself digging through the bushes at 2 in the morning, picking a snail off the pack, and sorting through the cigarettes to see which ones had been least damaged by the snail? I have. I'm an addict.
Have you ever been unable to drive after having a few drinks, but been out of cigarettes, so you called a taxi and paid them 10 dollars (plus the cost of the smokes) to have some delivered? I have. I'm an addict.
I've got more, but I'll leave them for now. I'll conclude by celebrating the fact that I haven't done anything like that for well over 8 months, because I broke the cycle of this addiction cold turkey. Now I'm freed from ever finding myself in such desperate straights again, as long as I remain committed to Never Taking Another Puff.
Bob (8 months, 2 weeks, 2 days 16 hours, 36 minutes, 25 seconds without a puff, and loving it)
#1 | 22 Sept 2002 | janetd (GOLD)
Have I ever put myself in a situation where I would run out of cigarettes? No, I'm an addict. I always made sure that I planned ahead to have plenty of cigs on hand. If I travelled up to New Hampshire, I would stock up because cigs cost a lot less in New Hampshire than in Mass.
Bob, I live in the city so I can always get cigarettes. A couple of years ago, we had a snowstorm that dumped several feet of snow on Boston over a couple of hours (the April Fools Day Storm), and I walked down the hill to buy cigs for me, my husband, and my neighbor. I was a hero!
I am so happy not to be controlled by smokes and Nic any longer.
yqs, Janet the Junkie
#2 | 22 Sept 2002 | Kiwi (Gone GOLD )
Have you ever?...
Spent almost 38 years of such scrupulously careful planning that you would never ever run out of your fix - irrespective of where you were in the world? Acknowledged that, if necessary, you would steal to ensure your supply. You may have run out of groceries, overdue bills may not have been paid, there may have been a war or a civil defence disaster..but never was the source of your addiction unavailable at any time of the day or night?
Well I have....
I am the consumate expert on this behaviour. An expert on it at the expense of considering more adequately the needs of, my ageing parents, my growing child, my own welfare and the welfare of the community and society I live within. If this does not tell you and me that I am a nicotine addict, I'm wondering just what behaviours would convince?
I know I am addicted to nicotine.
A N D
I also know I remain FREE of enslavement to this addiction by choosing to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
I have chosen to 'Never take another puff' for 3 Months 3 Days 18 Hours 31 Minutes 25 Seconds. Cigarettes refused by me: 2873. Money saved: NZ$1,149.26.
#3 | 22 Sept 2002 | Suekickbutt (GOLD)
Have you ever walked 12 kilometres to work because you would rather spend your last $10 before pay day on cigarettes rather than petrol? I have. I'm an addict
I have kicked butt for 4 Months 1 Day 15 Hours 5 Minutes 33 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 3738. Money saved: A$1,121.66.
#4 | 22 Sept 2002 | murphying (Gold)
Have you ever....left your young child alone in a hospital bed so you could go outside for your 'fix'....I have, I'm an addict.
8 Months 3 Weeks 3 Hours
Cigarettes not smoked: 13207.
Self esteem 100%
Another very thought-provoking post Bob!
#5 | 22 Sept 2002 | mirigirl (silver)Have you ever gotten out of bed at 2 am on a cold winters morning to drive 5 kilometres for a packet of cigarettes? - in another failed attempt at quitting! I have I'm an addict!
#6 | 22 Sept 2002 | Lilac (Bronze)
Have you ever found among your cigarettes one with a small hole in it which you mended with a piece of tape so that you could get a proper drag from it -------all so that you wouldn't have to throw it away unsmoked.? I have and worse than that . I am an addict.-----reformed at this minute. Lilac I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Months 2 Weeks 1 Day 23 Hours 42 Minutes 19 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1559. Money saved: $194.97.
#7 | 22 Sept 2002 | tbastian (green)
"Have you ever..."
...two days into a quit decided that "just one" would get you through the day and then you'd REALLY quit. So you go buy a pack and smoke just one. Throw the rest of the pack out the window as you drive to work. Some 24 hrs later you find yourself driving by the same spot you threw them out at, you stop, it's been drizzling all morning...you find the wet pack. You sort through them to find 2 that are still smokable... YES I DID THAT AND WORSE!
No PUFFS in 3 weeks, 6 days, 17 hours, 50 minutes and 51 seconds. 693 cigarettes not smoked, saving $115.83. Life saved: 2 days, 9 hours, 45 minutes.
#8 | 22 Sept 2002 | Parker GOLDHave you ever...during one of your many previous attempts to quit, picked your spouse's cigarette butts out of the trash can, straightened them out as best you could, lit them to get one disgusting, smelly puff of nicotine? Have you ever done that day after day, secretly, ashamed of yourself, knowing you wouldn't be able to look people in the eye if they ever found out!
#9 | 22 Sept 2002 | Toast (GOLD )Have you ever dug thru the ashtray in the car, the ashtrays in the house, gathering up all the butts you could find? Tore them open and dumped all the bits of oily, spent tobacco into a pile? Rolled that fouled up tobacco into a cigarette with the thinnest paper you could find & smoked it? Mmmmmm. Alive with Pleasure. I have. I'm an addict. That was me in the past.
#10 | 22 Sept 2002 | SweetLorraine (Gold)Have you ever...left a lovely family gathering in the middle of a cold and stormy evening to go outside and sneak a cigarette? I have, because I am an addict.
#11 | 22 Sept 2002 | clactwicegold
#12 | 22 Sept 2002 | BuffyHave you ever, buried your pack of cigarettes under a bridge, 5 miles away from home, then rode your bike there, and dug them up, and smoked one....EVERYDAY for a week? I have, I am an addict.
#13 | 22 Sept 2002 | Roma BronzeHave you ever accused your husband of "stealing" your cigs. Only after ranting and raving and blaming do you find that you have put them in the refridgerator? I have. I'm an addict.
#14 | 22 Sept 2002 | Eileen D (GOLD)Have you ever smoked OLD OLD butts from the car ash tray that you never seem to empty? I have
#15 | 22 Sept 2002 | Gormo GoldGood Afternoon, Freedom! Have I ever? Have I ever!
#16 | 23 Sept 2002 | txsmamaGOLDHave you ever went through an old, smelly coffee can full of nasty, disgusting cigarette butts, or a car ashtray, rifling through, hoping to find any salvageable puff or two? I have, I'M AN ADDICT!
#17 | 23 Sept 2002 | BillW Goldnot so much disgusting, as decietful......
#18 | 23 Sept 2002 | Glenys Goldx3Have you ever.....
#19 | 23 Sept 2002 | Roma BronzeOkies, here's my most shameful one. I ran out of cancer sticks. My 1yoa (at the time) was sleeping in her crib. I actually left her alone and went to go get cigs. YIKES! I am truly an addict.
#20 | 23 Sept 2002 | IrinaGold2Oh, these posts ring so many bells ..... OK, here are my two (euro) cents:
#21 | 23 Sept 2002 | El Bob GoldHave you ever....?
#22 | 23 Sept 2002 | OBob GoldI'm actually surpised at how many of these I'm answering yes to.
#23 | 24 Sept 2002 | Changingmyname(SILVER )Oh my golly, what a humbling and brilliant thread. It sure makes me grateful to be free!
#24 | 24 Sept 2002 | AmyKHave you ever resented your infant son because you only had $2 left in the world and knew you had to spend it on milk for his bottle rather than the cigarettes you were so desperate for? I have. I'm an addict.