Lately my mind seems to be caught up in whirlwind. A whirlwind of confusion because it happened all of a sudden and it seems to just spinning with no sign of relief. Despite all this discombobulation and teetering within my mind, I have managed to keep my composure and get through the days just fine. What’s weird though is the kind of thoughts that have been appearing in this whirlwind. For the first time in a very long time I’ve thought about drinking. Not like in the nostalgic way in which I tell stories and laugh about it, but in a way where I feel myself wanting to take a sip and see if anything happens. Temptation. I’m being tempted heavily and it’s something I don’t like whatsoever. I’ve worked too fucking hard to get where I currently am and I’m not going to fucking blow it in one sip. This I won’t allow. It’s not new to have feelings like this and I know I’ll have them for all of my sobriety. What bothers me is why now? Why when things are starting to really look up for me am I starting to feel this bubbling over feeling of anxiety start to slosh around in the whirlwind up there?
Well, I will admit to giving into temptation. No I didn’t relapse, but I’ve become reacquainted with a habit of mine that I always come back to in these times of insecurity. Smoking cigarettes. I don’t know what it is about those little fuckers but they just give me such a sense of comfort. When I first got sober, I smoked for a solid three months after to help with the cravings and temptation to try drink. It’s not the best coping mechanism, I will admit to that, but it’s all I had and it was keeping me from drinking so I didn’t see anything wrong with it.
To this day I still use them as a tool to satisfy a drinking craving. They make me feel good. I get a little rush of soothing comfort and it allows me a time to stop and just pretend everything else around me doesn’t exist. I try not to beat myself up every time I pick them up again, but I can’t help but be mad. I know better not to, but rationality tends to go out the window in situations of high stress and discomfort. Your emotions take over and lead you into situations and moments that are harmful and compromising. You’re so desperate for something to help you and fix your problem that you turn to the closest accessible resource that can do that. Mine so happens to be smoking because of all my addictive vices it has caused me the least amount of damage and destruction. Now before you lecture me on my rational for coming to this conclusion, you should know why I even pick them up in the first place.
I started to notice a pattern in my behavior when I was engaged in the act of smoking cigarettes. I almost always picked them up in periods and moments where I felt alone and isolated. Not surprisingly, very similar to the reasons why I would drink. I pick them up when I feel bad about myself and am looking for a release or some kind of gratification that I feel I cannot gain from everyday life. What insights I have gained about me smoking is that cigarettes serve as kind of the gateway to other addictions. They scratch at the surface of other addictions, but don’t compel me to go back to my addictions. This is why I am still able to use them as a coping technique.
Smoking was never something I really liked doing anyway when I drank, but I did it because it was just something else to do, you know? It helped me socialize with people and gave a reason to get together and talk. Psychologically they act as this bridge that allows me to cross over and look at/take in my melancholy addiction loaded past, but safely cross back over into my sober and euphoric life that I have now. I get a taste of what used to be and feel what it was like to feel comfortably numb. A state that is quite frankly much more tragic and dark than it sounds pleasant and appealing. However, when that cigarette is reduced to a bud and it burns out I am shot back into my current reality. One I would not give up or let go of for anything.
So, let’s talk about what this puff of destruction actually does for me. For one, it is a visual, physical signal that my mental health is not where it should be. I notifies me that there is some kind of internal struggle or strife happening. Sometimes I can rationalize that I am okay when I’m not, but when I smoke I come to the realization that something is wrong. From there I can began to take aggressive, corrective action to fix the issue that I may or may not be aware of. It makes known to me that my mind is saturated with negative thoughts and that I need to take some time to sort them out and make peace with them. Even though it’s not the best way to tap into my emotions, it does help me sort them out for a temporary time. I am able to put them down fortunately, but I want to come to a point where I don’t need to use them to help figure out my mental state. Like all substances, as an addict I will never be able to use them for recreation or fun because they are more than that. They are a unhealthy escape that leads me down a path of self-destruction. It all starts with just one little puff.
Taking a Smoke Break: