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Desperate Addict's Parade: Have you ever ...

Desperate nicotine addict's parade: Have you ever ... ?

If desperate, might a cigarette atop a public urinal look tempting?

[Note: The below parade was started by OBob at Freedom on September 22, 2002. Email us your "Have you ever ..." story.]

Nicotine addicts sharing insights into the depth of our addiction

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)

Here's my "Have you ever ... I have. I'm an addict" awakening

#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.


I also know I remain FREE of enslavement to this addiction by choosing to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF

YQS Kiwi.

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!

Ingrid.....if only....

#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!

never again - never take another puff and I won't have to
yqs mirigirl
Eight months, three weeks, 20 hours, 31 minutes and 29 seconds free and healing
6621 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,384.07. Life saved: 3 weeks, 1 day, 23 hours, 45 minutes.

good one bobem smile

#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 GOLD

Have 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!

I have. I'm a nicotine addict. And I know lots of other people here have pulled butts out of the trash to smoke. It's nice to be in distinguished company! em wink

Well, the good news is I don't do that anymore because I have learned to Never Take Another Puff. Thanks, Freedom!

free and healing for 15 weeks; over 2,600 cigarettes have not been in my hands; life saved - 9 days. Imagine that...9 days! Life is good! Thanks for the parade, OBob!


#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.

Lucky for me, without feeding that addiction I am Free to care for myself more than that!

em tea cup Melissa
Caring more than that for 1 year, 3 months, 4 weeks and 2 days, with 9749 less acts of aggression towards myself.

#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.

So nice to be free.



Celebrating Eleven months, one week, four days, 10 hours, 48 minutes and 52 seconds. 5889 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,914.14. Life saved: 2 weeks, 6 days, 10 hours, 45 minutes! The most important of those numbers being today! Today I have a family dinner to cook and enjoy and not have to sneak out to have a puff!

#11 | 22 Sept 2002 | clactwicegold

(Lorraine, so cold my teeth would chatter!)
OBob, thanks for this. What a healthy exercise...

em cryingHave you ever cried because you couldn't have one?
em crookHave you ever climbed on to a roof to have a secret one?
em sadHave you ever written someone a letter just so that you could go out and post it and sneak in a quick one?
em embarrassed lookI have. I'm an addict.em embarrassed look
em heartClac xxx em heart
(happily safe indoors for 4 months, 2 weeks, 5 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes, and 37 seconds tick tick tick..)

#12 | 22 Sept 2002 | Buffy

Have 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.

Here's another one, and this is disgusting:

Have you ever taken long cigarette butts out of ashtrays at the mall and smoked them? Other peoples butts!! I have, I am definately an addict.

Thanks for the images, OBOB. Thinking how wonderful it is to be free right now!!
Buffeyem rose
Choosing Life Today, adding up to Two weeks, three days, 32 minutes and 17 seconds. 510 cigarettes not smoked, saving $89.37. Life saved: 1 day, 18 hours, 30 minutes.

#13 | 22 Sept 2002 | Roma Bronze

Have 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.

I have some others, but too ashamed to say them right now.

~Roma Two months, two weeks, two days, 9 hours, 39 minutes and 55 seconds. 1568 cigarettes not smoked, saving $352.81. Life saved: 5 days, 10 hours, 40 minutes

#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

Four months, three weeks, 7 hours, 52 minutes and 26 seconds. 4329 cigarettes not smoked, saving $649.48. Life saved: 2 weeks, 1 day, 45 minutes.

#15 | 22 Sept 2002 | Gormo Gold

Good Afternoon, Freedom! Have I ever? Have I ever!

Have you ever...

Decided to quit smoking and thrown your pack of cigarettes into the trash, only to fish them out later and pour water into the pack to make sure you couldn't smoke them. And then wonder how long it would take to use a hair dryer to dry one out. Which then made you fish them out again and tear them in half, just to be sure they were unsmokable.

Followed by driving to a different store for cigarettes an hour later, so that the clerk at the first store wouldn't think you had smoked 20 cigarettes in the 4 hours since you bought today's 1st pack from him.

I have. On more than one occasion.

I used to think I was insane. Now I know better.

I am a nicotine addict.

Gormo One week, 17 hours, 11 minutes and 36 seconds. 308 cigarettes not smoked, saving $57.87. Life saved: 1 day, 1 hour, 40 minutes.

#16 | 23 Sept 2002 | txsmamaGOLD

Have 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!

Have you ever ripped the remaining butt apart, rolled it up to try to get some nicotine out of it? I have, I'M AN ADDICT!!

Thanks Bob, you are soooo right!! I know we are no different than heroin addicts or any other addict, we would do whatever it took to get our fix. Very enlightening, Bob!

Deem rose
Two months, one week, six days, 17 hours, 21 minutes and 32 seconds. 2271 cigarettes not smoked, saving $340.75. Life saved: 1 week, 21 hours, 15 minutes.

#17 | 23 Sept 2002 | BillW Gold

not so much disgusting, as decietful......

Have you ever "staged" a week-long or so quit....
knowing it would fail....
planning for it to fail....
so that you wouldn't get nagged about quitting
for a year or so....,
and to proove to yourself again
that quitting was impossible?????

I have...I'm an addict. (Then in the middle of my last "staged" quit, something happened....I found Freedom!)

BillW in the middle of a "staged" quit thats now lasted Seven months, two weeks, . 6792 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,341.26. Life saved: 3 weeks, 2 days, 14 hours, 0 minutes.

#18 | 23 Sept 2002 | Glenys Goldx3

Have you ever.....

prepared to feed your very young baby. Got the bottle ready, made the cup of coffee, got the cigarettes/lighter/ashtray all nearby. Light the cigarette first (because it's hard to do once you start feeding the baby), place it in the astray, start to feed.
All of a sudden, baby starts to scream. After placing cigarette (safely) in astray, investigate the cause of the screaming, only to find that hot ash from the cigarette had dropped into the baby's ear!!!!!

I have.....because I am an addict!!

That baby is now a grown man, but do I remember the guilt of that one. That son of mine has watched me try to quit smoking many times over the years but even he believes it now - that this time is forever! When he presents me with my first grandchild and I have the privilege of holding that baby, it will never have to suffer the fate that its father did.

What kind of person places getting a "fix" ahead of enjoying the magic of being close to your precious child? An addict, that's who.

Cheers, thanks for the guilt trip down memory lane Bob, em embarrassed
em star Gold Club
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Year 4 Months 4 Weeks 1 Day 14 Hours 43 Minutes 30 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 10332. Money saved: A$3,022.19.

#19 | 23 Sept 2002 | Roma Bronze

Okies, 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 em smile and went to go get cigs. YIKES! I am truly an addict.

On a side note, my previous post should have read "hiding" versus "stealing" since my hubby does not smoke.

Thanks OBob for the parade.

~So grateful to not have smoked today! Roma Two months, two weeks, two days, 21 hours, 32 minutes and 56 seconds. 1577 cigarettes not smoked, saving $355.04. Life saved: 5 days, 11 hours, 25 minutes.

#20 | 23 Sept 2002 | IrinaGold2

Oh, these posts ring so many bells ..... OK, here are my two (euro) cents:
Have you ever made yourself literally sick in the morning because you chainsmoked 3 or 4 cigarettes right after you got out of bed? Well, I have, several times, because I am an addict.
As a student on a tight budget, did you spend more than a third of your income on cigarettes? Have you ever actually spent the last money in your pocket on cigarettes rather than on a sandwich? I have, because I am an addict.
Have you ever, during previous attempts to quit, picked up a fight with those closest to you so that you can have an excuse for relapsing within the first day? I definitely have.
And I also have, in true addict style, searched many times for smokable butts in ashtrays and in the garbage bin.
But I have not had to do any of this over the last month and a bit
4 weeks 6 days 6 hours +++
857 cigarettes not smoked

#21 | 23 Sept 2002 | El Bob Gold

Have you ever....?

Well, I've crushed and dumped my packet into the bin at the University that I've worked at, on the way to my office in the morning. Then scrambled my way through the associated rubbish on top of it (squeezing my hand through the slot on the side of the bin) on the way home to get that crushed pack, all the time being passed by students as they head to the nearby train station. That was a fairly shameful experience.

And...a common one for all of us, I've said 'Yes, yes, yes!' to a brand I would normally find totally disgusting to smoke (like Camels) when nothing else has been on offer. That shows the true lack of a discerning nature of any smoker.

Good parade!

El Bob
1 week, 6 days, 15 hours. 272 not smoked.

#22 | 23 Sept 2002 | OBob Gold

I'm actually surpised at how many of these I'm answering yes to.
Have you ever had a really bad chest cold, gotten in the car to go somewhere, started to smoke, and made yourself cough so badly you puked on yourself and your good shirt, and waited to go back into the house long enough to finish the cigarette? I have. I'm an addict.em crook
Bob (8m2w4d)

#23 | 24 Sept 2002 | Changingmyname(SILVER )

Oh my golly, what a humbling and brilliant thread. It sure makes me grateful to be free!

Have you ever had four wisdom teeth pulled, and as soon as you got out of the office, made your boyfriend hold your frozen bloody lips together while you took a drag of a cigarette, almost choking on the blood? I have and it's fresh in my mind, since I just got back from the dentist with a frozen mouth. I'm an addict.

Have you ever taken a flight and had to put on a nicotine patch just to make it through, even though they make you violently ill? I have, I am an addict.

Theresa, 4 weeks 2 days

#24 | 24 Sept 2002 | AmyK

Have 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.

(This is back when you could get a pack for $2! Or a gallon of milk, for that matter...)

Amy em moon

Breaking the Chains for 2 Weeks and 2 Days...

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