Must We All be “Something-holics”?
A couple things were different this time around. In addition to using the nicotine patch, I was also given an anti depressant that, its creators were pleased to discover, also seemed to help reduce nicotine cravings. The other thing that was different was a decision to use "pride" in my favor.
Upon quitting smoking on October 25, 2009, I announced my assault on irrationality and addiction to the world using this blog. The idea was simply to tell as many people as possible that I was making an effort to overcome this addiction and keep my readers here alerted to my progress as a way of keeping myself honest.
It turns out too that I don't like to fail. When I do, my pride is hurt. And I really hate healing a hurt pride. I figured exposing my efforts publicly would instill in me the fear of having to say I failed and lead to success.
Well, after six months, it turns out my strategy is working. I am still a non-smoker. But that's actually the issue behind this post: "BEING A NON SMOKER".
No matter how long I will have not been smoking, will I still be a "smokaholic"? Even after six months, a year, or five years of not smoking, will I still be addicted to nicotine?
I ask this question because the other day I was told by an ex-smoker, "Congrats! Six months is an accomplishment to be proud of, but remember, you'll always be a smoker and you'll always be addicted to it so you must always fight it."
"Fuck You!!," I thought, as I smiled, nodded my head and went about my business.
I've met folks who have been off booze for 25 years and who call themselves "alcoholics". Call yourself whatever you want. Use the AMA manual to define yourself. Use a 12 step program to understand your nature. I don't care. Just stay well. But for some reason, I didn't like this gal telling me "you'll always be a smoker and you'll always be addicted." I don't feel like being addicted to anything for the rest of my life and I certainly don't like the idea of partially defining myself by an addiction when there are so many other, much more interesting ways to define and understand myself.
I haven't picked up a cigarette in six months and I have no plans to. I've had the occasional cigar, but that hasn't led to cigarettes. Though I'm still tracking my progress on the quitting and still telling you folks about it, I see a time in the not too distant future when this effort will be finished and accomplished. And when that day comes, I will NOT be a smoker nor will I be addicted.
And by the way, bourbon, wine, gin and spirits still all taste better now than they did when I WAS a smoker.