Try Replacing the Word
"Cigarette" with "Nicotine"
We don't live for "cigarettes" any more than an alcoholic lives for an empty bottle or a heroin addict an empty needle. We lived for the drug inside, which in our case was nicotine. The cigarette, needle and bottle are simply drug delivery devices, with the cigarette and its more than 3,500 chemical particles and 500 gases being the dirtiest of all.
For far too long we've romanticized our cigarettes. Slick marketing, artistic packaging and an abundance of peer training in how to look soooooo cool while ingesting that next fix allowed our minds to elevate our dirty drug delivery device almost to hero worship status. Only in the past few decades have we come to learn that the intoxication level of a drug is not how addictiveness is measured. "Dependence" upon a drug is defined as how difficult it is for the user to quit, the drug's relapse rate, the percentage of people who eventually become addicted, the rating users give their own need for the substance and the degree to which the substance will be used in the face of evidence that it causes harm. Over the past two decades, study after study has concluded that nicotine generates greater drug "dependence" than heroin, cocaine or alcohol.
Isn't it time to stop romanticizing the cigarette? Isn't it time to awaken to the realization that convenience store marketing that pounded home the message that we had not yet lived, experienced real pleasure, tasted life's best flavor, rebelled, been true to ourselves, acted adult or stirred our senses until we'd smoked was bait? Yes, the chemically enslaved mind reaches for excuses to explain being hooked. Yes, the tobacco industry is more than happy to supply them. But there is one reason we'll never see posted in any store. One reason is missing. The truth. We didn't smoke nicotine because we liked it. We did so because we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke it.
Every two hours the amount of nicotine in our bloostream declined by roughly half. Trapped, we were bounced back and forth between insula driven anxieties, urges and craves for having waited too long, and replenishment dopamine "aaah" wanting relief sensations when tanking up. An endless cycle of emotional beatings and rewards left us totally convinced that nicotine use defined who we were, gave us our edge, helped us cope and that life without it would be miserable. We had no choice but to rationalize chemical captivity.
Isn't it time to be honest with ourselves? Here is a little exercise that will hopefully help remove the emperors pure white wrapper to expose the master of servitude who resides inside. For just the next week, each time that your mind causes you to reach for the word "cigarette" (when thinking, speaking or writing) stop and replace it with the word "nicotine." If you do, I think you'll be shocked at some of the things that you were about to tell yourself. What do you have to lose? Give it a try!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,