Three days ago, I had a dream where I was hanging out, drinking or whatever. Surrounded by friends. And I managed to smoke up an entire pack of cigarettes. With much aplomb. I felt guilt, regret. Then I woke up, took a breath. Realized that it was only a dream.
After all of this time, the craving is still there; the hunger for the smell; the feel of breathing through a column of burning tobacco; the clench of the lungs; the rush. The addiction. It wanes, it gets forgotten, but every so often it rears its head and smiles. This carries a special poignancy with me today because, offically, this is my second anniversary as a non-smoker. February 18th, 2004 is when I quit for good. Borrowing a turn of phrase from reformed alcoholics, I am two years old. I could say it’s my second life, but this life is exactly the same as the life I had before I started smoking at age 23.
Do I regret quitting? Yes, of course. It was my crutch, my fixation. The heady buzz smoothed away my anxiety. But I’m damned happy that I quit. I can breathe now. I can dream now. I’m able to see and feel the benefits of quitting. It’s the final end to one of my most despicable acts of self-destruction. May that part of me be forever destroyed.
Rest In Peace, Shawn the Smoker. October 1995 – February 2004