My old friend nicotine

I just smoked a cigarette like I was 13 years old. Does that even make sense? It probably wouldn’t if you’ve never smoked for 15 years, or more, or less.

How I feel when I smell smoke. When I go for a run and hate coming across it. I think, what vile person smokes on the public sidewalk! Don’t you know I’m running and nearing 6 months quit?

Or I’m at the bar, and everyone goes outside. But I can’t go outside. And I love going outside. I’m the person who goes outside. I’m the person who talks to strangers. I’m the person who is too cool for the bar because I’m more concerned about smoking by myself in the corner outside. And I love it.

I’m coming on 6 months quit. I took 2 drags in the bathroom line at a Rastafarian club in Indonesia and said, no! I won’t start smoking again, here.

I fought battles in my mind and with the girls I’ve smoked my first cigarettes with, then cried about it, and still said, no!

I just had a few drags on a balcony at a work conference in Noosa, Australia. I wasn’t even that drunk. I just said to myself, I want to know.

I want to know what it feels like to feel something so familiar and not know it at all. Like losing a friend. Like moving the millions of times I’ve moved. To say hello and goodbye in the same sentence.

I took a drag. In fact, I took 4. I expected my old friend. My 15 years of nicotine and dependencies. I expected the nearly missed flights and panic attacks.

But what I actually felt was being 13 again in the woods of South Jersey. I was a child smoking for the first time with a disgusting taste in my mouth and burn in my throat and a quick buzz to my head. I liked it, but not enough.

I took another, and another. I knew the only way I would like this was to keep trying. To feel myself transition from a feeling and taste of confusion and disgust to my old friend I love to hate.

I want that friend but decided that I don’t so much more. So I took 1 more drag to just double check. Then excused myself and went to bed.

An excerpt from a scratch of paper written on 11th June 2014…that’s the end of the story. I wrote this down, went to bed, and haven’t tried again since Mom!