“I quit smoking.” — Me
I’ve done it!
I’ve considered myself to be a smoker since the age of twelve. My cousin Randy and I would sneak cigarettes from our parents and smoke them as we walked to school each morning. Back then, cigarettes cost no more that seventy-five cents from the vending machine at the local bowling alley.
By the time I was fourteen years-old, my parents had grown tired of trying to stop me from smoking and allowed me to smoke openly. My mother would even buy cigarettes for me when she went to the grocery store. I smoked and smoked and smoked.
There have been occasions in my life when I have been able to quit; usually because of illness of some sort (usually upper respiratory since I am asthmatic) or because of a new commitment to overall health. It has been nearly 2 months since my last cigarette. This time my reasons do include health concerns, mortality and cost. The price one pays for cigarettes now, with all of the various taxes, has become prohibitive.
My home smells better, my senses already seem more aware to smell and taste. Soon, I know I will also be able to claim better health and longer life.
As an addict and when I have been actively using, I grasp only at the shadow of things. I neither relate to people as if they are real, nor do I communicate as a mature, loving person. Instead, I have pursued phantoms and a few dragons, and in the end, have found only dissatisfaction.
Addictions diminish and demean us as much as they allow us to see things only as extensions of ourselves. We become afraid of individuality and differences. We allow ourselves to see other people only as reflections of ourselves.
Through my efforts to grow personally and in my recovery, I have come to need substance in my life. It is when I am working at real problems, connecting with people as they are that I truly feel alive. In my relationships, if I am to see growth, I need to give and receive genuine and authentic love and affection.
In my healthy relationships with family and friends, and in my recovery groups and network, I find substance and particularity. I find authentic people who are learning not to be afraid to extend themselves and who come to meet and greet me in life. Together, we can all learn to live and to love as vital, whole individuals in a real world.
I am learning to get out of the shadows and darkness of my addictions and wanted to share my experience with my readers so that we can all live in a world of substance, reality and love.
“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” — Aesop