The Joy of Smoking

Physical healing of the body and mind

The Joy of Smoking

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 29th, 2000, 12:42 pm #1

The Joy of Smoking
 Out on the town, you watch as your good friend Bill lights-up and **** down a deliciously deep puff, and then lays the pack on the table between you. Cindy, your talkative co-worker, blows smoke your way while gloriously waving her cigarette like a conductor's baton. Arthur and Denise, two smoking strangers, gravitate toward one and other and engage in lite-hearted conversation while guarding a store's entrance. While stopped at a light, a deep relaxing puff is inhaled by Ellen in the car beside you. "Oh but to again share in the joys of smoking," you think to yourself, "to puff, to taste, to blow, then relax." The joys of smoking???? Joy? Joy?

 Yesterday, Bill stepped in a pile of dog dung but failed to notice until he turned around and was puzzled by the strange brown tracks across his sky blue carpet that seemed to lead to his right shoe. Bill's sniffer has been almost useless for over 20 years. A pack and a half a day smoker, he has experienced two cases of pneumonia over the past 3 winters, with the last one putting him in bed for 6 days. Struggling for each breath, Bill still managed to smoke a couple each day. His doctor has pleaded with him to quit but after a half dozen failed attempts, discouragement fills his mind.

 Cindy's two teenage sons are onto her almost daily about her smoking. They can't walk anywhere as a family without her cigarette smoke finding the boys. When it does, they make her want to crawl into a hole as they both start coughing and gaging as if dying.  When smoking, they never walk together, it's either ahead or behind for lonely mom. She dreads the seven hour drive to her parent's house next week, but she can no longer make excuses for visiting only once in 3 years. Cindy knows that they'll pass three rest areas along the interstate but it will be difficult to fib about having to go to the bathroom at all three. Two will have to do.

 She skips making breakfast to ensure that the boys will demand that they stop to eat along the way. Cindy shakes her head after coming back in from loading up the car.  Not only does she have a cigarette in her hand, the ashtray on the table is smoking one too.   Before leaving town she stops to fill up with gas while managing three quick puffs, as she feels far more secure after stuffing two new packs into her purse.

 Arthur, a 54 year old 3 pack a day smoker, has large cell lung cancer in the right lobe. The slow growing tumor is now almost 6 months old and a little bigger than an orange. Arthur doesn't yet know.  Although he has twice coughed up a small bit of bloody mucus, he quickly dismissed it both times. Frankly, he just doesn't want to know. There is a bit of chest pain but that's nothing new, as chest tightness has occurred on and off for the past couple of years. Additional thick bloody mucus will soon scare Arthur into a doctor visit and a chest x-ray. The delay will cost him a lung. Over the next 3 years he will battle hard to save his life. In the end, he will lose.

 A workaholic, Ellen has done very well financially. Her life seems to have everything except for companionship.  A three pack a day smoker, she constantly smells like a walking tobacco factory and often turns heads and noses when she walks into a room.  A serious chain-smoker, she tells those around her that she enjoys her cigarettes. Deep down, she believes that she just can't quit. Her car windows, house blinds and forehead continually share a common guest - a thin oily film of tar and other chemicals. Ellen has a date next Friday, a two pack a day smoker named Ed.

 Denise started smoking at age 13 while her lungs were still developing. Constantly clearing her throat, her breathing capacity continues to slowly deteriorate. Smoking wrinkles above and below her lips make her look far older than her 32 years. Fifteen pounds over weight to begin with, Denise successfully quit for almost 3 weeks, before throwing in the towel when she notice that she'd outgrown her entire wardrobe. Two months later, still depressed over her defeat, the new weight remains with her. Already on high-blood pressure medication, she is about to become a regular user of anti-depressants. Fortunately for Denise, a friend will tell her about an on-line support group called Freedom, where she will soon taste victory over her addiction while receiving lots of wonderful advice about controlling her weight : )
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Joel
Joel

September 29th, 2000, 6:22 pm #2

Nice job Zep. I see you've been putting some thought into the sad scenarios of existence in many smokers' lives. If you show a piece like this a current smoker, he or she almost inevitably looks at these stories as the exceptional cases. Sure they happen sometimes, you have to be totally blind, deaf and out of touch with reality to dismiss that smoking can cause these kinds of situations with the many messages being sent via the media, encounters with physicians, dentists, other health professionals, and by witnessing family and friends who have been effected by cigarette's devastating consequences. But the smoker won't see it as the norm, and he or she especially won't see him or herself in it. Denial is an integral mechanism that addictions exert on an individual to keep that person using a substance even if it flies in the face of any common sense.

But a person who has quit, or even a smoker who is now thinking about quitting, is now often ready to face reality. The reality of smoking is that the kinds of stories you related are the norm, not the exception. Cigarettes affect almost every smoker in many negative ways. It starts out as little things, such as just plain smelling bad, or being a little winded upon exertion. No smoker avoids the smell but some may fail to acknowledge the little changes first experienced in breathing ability. The hassles of smoking continue to progress in an almost unperceivable fashion by the way it happens gradually over time. Soon more and more minor hassles are experienced, some of which you describe here in your piece. The sad part is even though the smoker is having all these problems, he or she can't, or more accurately won't acknowledge the problem, suffering the stings but pretending to not notice the effects.

This denial allows the smoker to keep on using, to keep deluding him or herself that smoking is still a minimal risk pleasurable activity for him or herself. This is what buys the time for cigarettes to accomplish their final insult, to rob the smoker of his or her health and probably life. Sometimes, even in the last stages of these cases, the smoker may look back and continue to deny that his or her smoking has led to such suffering and to such a tragic end. Sometimes the last breath is one still longing for the next puff, wanting one final comforting moment from an old friend, their cigarette. Some will die in ignorant bliss never accepting that cigarettes did them in. That smoker will have the advantage of no regrets, feeling like he or she lived life to the fullest and lost nothing in the process. He or she may be at peace upon death about his or her smoking.

Sadly though, his or her spouse, children, parents, other family and friends who survive them have to bear witness and recognize the legacy brought on by tobacco. They are all the losers now, and sadly, they never got any joy from all those cigarettes smoked by the deceased. Those who never smoked or have themselves quit often recognize the senselessness of it all. Sadly though, those who are still smokers may still be thinking to themselves that this loss was the exceptional case, maybe even still deluding themselves that cigarettes were not responsible for the premature loss. Yes denial can carry on even in the face of death.

Everyone should recognize these stories for what they are, accurate descriptions of the reality of smoking. The joy of smoking was a fantasy. It was the agony of withdrawal that kept you smoking at the end, not the joy of a cigarette. The real joy is when you recognize what smoking was and when you can look back over the day and say you beat it again, not a puff in 24 hours. This is a joy that can be repeated day after day after day for the rest of your life. To keep celebrating the real joy of Freedom, for everyday for the rest of your life, simply remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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LindaO
LindaO

September 29th, 2000, 8:24 pm #3

HARD HITTING WORDS AGAIN ZEP AND JOEL!
To think I had so much in common with a lot of these people, and wasn't big enough to do anything about it for so long...
These articles and the realities of being a smoker really bring it home to me, WHY I have quit and how important it is to me to stay smoke free.
Linda x?
It is an honour /and I am very proud to be able to say, I have now been smoke free for...
Two weeks, three days, 17 hours, 25 minutes and 27 seconds. 531 cigarettes not smoked, saving £79.77. Life saved: 1 day, 20 hours, 15 minutes.
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eagle66
eagle66

September 29th, 2000, 8:28 pm #4

That was a powerful article and I will carry this with me. From high blood pressure, pneumonia, and other medical problems, this keeps my quit in perspective and seeing it in print is a help. Evening trying to plan the next smoke! Now, it seems so rediculous to think I actually did that!! I know this has not been an easy time, but it sure beats the alternative! Thanks.

Eagle
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starla (GOLD)
starla (GOLD)

September 30th, 2000, 2:13 am #5

a warm and tearful thanks to you. that article has helped me so much. whenever i feel sad about not smoking anymore i will pull that out(im printing it out).

i was the mother who always walked behind her kids when we went anywhere because i was smoking. i also wouldnt go and visit my grandparents because the 12 hour trip in the car was far too long to go without being able to constantly smoke. i would hold my husband and kids up where ever we went because i had to get that last drag before getting back in the car with them.

when i think of that, i am truly ashamed and saddened by my selfish addiction. one that i actually thought i ENJOYED. thank god i signed on and found this site. i only feel sorry for all those people lost in the dark, in a cloud of addictive deceptions. i pray, they too, will see just how disdainful, deadly, and alienating smoking is.

hugs,

starla
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Christy
Christy

September 30th, 2000, 2:27 am #6

Thank you for this article! It has helped me to remember not glamorize the smokers at work today. But I am going to look at them and see the reality of it all. I WILL NOT SMOKE !!!!!!

Christy
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Nora (Gold)
Nora (Gold)

September 30th, 2000, 4:05 am #7

Thanks Zep,

This is really a good article. It does keep things in perspective.

Nora
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nomadfaerie gold
nomadfaerie gold

October 1st, 2000, 6:35 am #8

Zep & Joel -

One of the things I'm already fighting is the delusion that I miss it. I know that that is the addiction pulling me. Intellectually I know that, and I talk myself through it, but somehow seeing it articulated (even repeatedly), helps even more. I will come back to this when I start feeling that I miss smoking, I'm certain it will happen again. What will also happen is that I will not smoke again. Thanks for this.

Peace

nomad
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Geo (Gold)
Geo (Gold)

October 31st, 2000, 12:11 pm #9

Zep, I'll be thinking about this next time my mind tries to convince me I miss smoking! Thanks, Geo
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leslie
leslie

January 6th, 2001, 10:55 am #10

Thanks guys..mind blowing thoughts..right to my gut as I was just thinking about this depressing weekend w/out cigs..HA! Feel much better I won't stink...be outside just to grab a drag...have dirty teeth..will be home breathing good air and healing my body and mind from the nicodevil[or whatever you call them]..Thank you ...you guys always seem to have perfect timing with your articles!! It helps more then you knowLeslie
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Lynai
Lynai

January 22nd, 2001, 10:47 am #11

I'll second leslie on this one, perfect timing. I tend to get jealous of smokers and loose my perspective on the reality of smoking..this is a perfect eye opener. I printed it out (is that okay?) to keep on hand. Thanks. Lynai
Last edited by Lynai on November 21st, 2009, 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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KatieMarie
KatieMarie

January 22nd, 2001, 11:06 am #12

Ahhh! I need to hold onto this thoughT! Funny how my mind plays tricks on me. I have to keep reminding myself with this concept.

Everyone should recognize these stories for what they are, accurate descriptions of the reality of smoking. The joy of smoking was a fantasy. It was the agony of withdrawal that kept you smoking at the end, not the joy of a cigarette. The real joy is when you recognize what smoking was and when you can look back over the day and say you beat it again, not a puff in 24 hours. This is a joy that can be repeated day after day after day for the rest of your life. To keep celebrating the real joy of Freedom, for everyday for the rest of your life, simply remember to never take another puff!

Joel

Thank you Joel.

sincerely,

KatieMarie
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pheonix(SILVER)
pheonix(SILVER)

March 29th, 2001, 12:58 pm #13

Your so right guys, today I was driving to work, and thinking about the power of advertising, and how crazy we are. Who would believe that sane, intelligent human beings would:
1. Put a weed in their mouths, light it and smoke it.
2. Think that it is sexy to do so.
3. Smell like a dirty ashtray.
4. Have wrinkles way before time.
5. Knowingly take the risk of a very slow and painful death.
6. Pay incredible amounts of money for the priviledge of dirtying everything around them.
7. Risk the fact that their children will also do this. and in the case of women triple the risk of miscarriage.
8. Deny all of these facts, and make exscuses to stay smoking.
9. Ignore the fact that you are only addicted to nicotine for 72 hours.
10. Refuse to believe that quitting is easy, you just never take another puff.
No guys I did not break down and smoke I will never take another puff, no matter what. Thanks to you as well as my own efforts.
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marty (gold)
marty (gold)

March 29th, 2001, 7:56 pm #14

Powerful stuff, Zep
What is really frightening is how tiny the gap is between my perception of smoking the day before I quit and the day after, and yet how massive the difference in result between being a smoker and being a non-smoker.

I recognise all my old thinking and all my old excuses in your essay. Now all my thinking is easily crystallised into four simple words - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF

Marty
NOT A PUFF FOR 3 months 3 weeks 5 days : 1899 cigs not smoked : 6 days 14 hours added to my life.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

May 1st, 2001, 6:58 am #15

It's time to be you again!
Do you even remember who you were before nicotine took control?
I think you're going to like you : )
You've let nicotine run things for long enough,
now it's your turn!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 5th, 2001, 4:51 am #16

I AM A DRUG ADDICT !!
I've now read twice this morning where members still feel that they are simply suffering from a "nasty little habit." This may come as a shock to you but YOU ARE A DRUG ADDICT! That's right, look in the mirror and you'll see an honest to goodness drug addict looking right back at you! The phrase "nasty little habit" is just more junkie thinking. Such soft fuzzy words are used to self minimize the hard cold reality of being a nicotine addict. It's much easier to tell yourself that you just have a "nasty little habit." The warmth of the phrase is akin to that found in the painless word "slip."

Failing to use turn signals while driving is a "nasty little habit" and so is picking your nose, cracking your knuckles or even losing your temper. But, you will not experience physical withdrawal symptoms if all you are giving up is a "nasty little habit." Physical addictions create powerful habits but they do so by forcing each of us select patterns for the regular delivery of our addictive drug.

Your addiction fathered your habits, not the other way around! You wouldn't have developed a habit of sucking smoke into your lungs while talking on the telephone, or after a meal, unless something inside prior cigarettes had created the need to do so. Within 20 to 30 minutes of our last dose of nicotine, our blood nicotine level would fall to a point where we'd feel the need to replace it. That is NOT a habit!

It didn't not matter what we were doing at the time. If we were on the phone and we had not topped off our nicotine tank in the past 30 minutes, it would happen while on the phone. If your meal lasted for more than 30 minutes then the command for nicotine would come! If you took an hour drive, spent an hour being romantic, an hour in class, an hour drinking or if you'd been awake for an hour, it was time for another fix. Yes, we developed habits but not just for the sake of having habits. If we wanted to avoid full blown nicotine withdrawal, we had no choice!

Even when we do break free from the physical addiction that fathered our habits, we are still forced to deal with thousands of powerful memories of what it was like to crave nicotine. I wish it was just a "nasty little habit." Sadly, I am a nicotine addict!

Zep : (
Last edited by John (Gold) on November 21st, 2009, 12:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

June 5th, 2001, 5:34 am #17

Zep:

I just brought up a couple of posts reiterating the same concept. But cheer up a little. While its sad that you have to be a recovering addict, it is much sadder to be an actively using addict or an addict in the midst of withdrawal. These two states are down right pitiful.

A recovering addict is actually in a pretty good state considering those alternatives. Sometimes they see the importance of health and Freedom with a much deeper appreciation than a person who never had such a background. Never smokers can take not smoking for granted, that is a luxury they have. Recovering smokers are forced to remember and in a way appreciate and celebrate the fact that they have quit.

Of course I suspect that if everyone here could go backwards in time they would likely have done it differently and never have taken up smoking. But everyone must shoot for the optimal situation they can actually achieve, and that is to stay an ex-smoker. The way to do that is keep your commitment to yourself that you will never take another puff!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 5th, 2001, 5:59 am #18

I'm a happy ex-smoker Joel : ))) The above post is from many moons ago and I just used it again to bring the Joy of Smoking thread up in that MSN took away my itty bitty happy face icons and I needed something. It doesn't hurt one little bit being a comfortable reformed nicotine addict. There is only one rule that I must follow in order to keep my confort - NTAP !

I had an interesting weekend. My sister was up from Georgia and we spent some time together. She is two years younger than me but started smoking at 13 vs. me starting at 15. Well, anyway, early last year we tried hard to get her to quit and she even posted here twice but last I heard it had ended in relapse and she went into hiding from big (quit smoking) brother.

Well, it seems that Patty has quit smoking for six months now but has remained addicted to the nicotine patch the entire time, and she had it on when she arrived here in Charleston. We had a long long talk and I printed her out lots of nicotine materials. I don't know how this is going to end but when she left last night she'd been patchless for about 40 hours and seemed to be doing great. I've got my fingers crossed and I'll be checking on her as soon as the sun goes down. Sorry for the confusion about the above re-post : )))
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 6th, 2001, 9:46 am #19

Just how far would I be willing to go to protect my quit? Well, let me think for a second! If I was forced to make a decision between smoking one cigarette and eating three day old dog dung out of the neighbors yard, I'd eat the dog dung in a heart beat! It's a pretty sick thought but it's far better than relapse and that 50/50 chance of an early grave! I just don't think I have another quit left in me! Yes, I'd take my chances with the dog! LOL Don't try this at home! LOL
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KiimmyGOLD
KiimmyGOLD

October 13th, 2001, 11:04 pm #20

When I first opened this string up I thought it was new. I was shocked to see it was first started about a year ago. I thought I had read everything at this site. I guess not. Well, anyhow, I just wanted to say I liked it. Maybe it's just me but it seems like these strings pop up at just the right time.

Kim

Seven months, four weeks, one day, 12 hours, 39 minutes and 46 seconds. 4347 cigarettes not smoked, saving $978.02. Life saved: 2 weeks, 1 day, 2 hours, 15 minutes.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

November 14th, 2001, 9:05 pm #21

Truth
Attitude
Patience
Understanding
Enjoy your recovery! It's very temporary!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 19th, 2002, 10:00 am #22


Nicotine was in control for all of my adult life and a big chunk of my teen years. Becoming the boss again has been very special and the calmness and comfort that arrived was more wonderful than I'd ever imagined! The joy of smoking, slavedom, decay, and a 50/50 chance of dying 15.5 years early? Not this kid! For me, for now, just one day at a comfortable time, it's the Joy of Living!

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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 21st, 2002, 10:08 pm #23

The Weekend is Here!
Last edited by John (Gold) on November 21st, 2009, 12:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jess SILVER )
jess SILVER )

July 11th, 2002, 3:19 am #24

Thanks for all the great words to contemplate Zep. "The Joy of Smoking" is perfect!!! Just this morning I looked at a woman smoking in her car with a tiny bit of envy. I managed quickly to remind myself of the realities of smoking, and what it is doing to that poor poor woman. And then your post really reiterated that for me. Thanks!!!

Jessica
Day 8 - no puffs!
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Slycat
Slycat

July 11th, 2002, 3:46 am #25

Hi John:

The people that you described are everyday people. What I mean by that is that we see these people and are around these people everyday. These people are our neighbors, our family, our work friends, etc...Maybe you never noticed it before, but now since you gave up that deadly nicotine habit you are starting to realize what they are doing to themselves. Yes they all have a story to tell, just like we did. The only difference between them and us is that we have admited that we have a problem and that we are addicts, and they don't want to admit it unitl it's too late. We are giving our bodies a second chance. A chance to heal and a chance at a second life. And if we are lucky, maybe the damage we did all those years can be reversed... But they are in denial. They don't think they have a problem and they come up with every excuse in the book not to think about it. They push it aside until like Arthur, the ultimate danger is staring them in the face. Than it is too late. The deadly addiction will claim their life.

Yes, my aunt Jean was one of those every day people. She was a school teacher. The doctor told her it was too late when she quit smoking. He said the damage was already done....

My grandfather was one of those everyday people. He got lung cancer when he was 49 years old.. so young... He was a chain smoker and never realized what he was doing to himself.. I never got to meet him.

My father was one of those every day people. He started smoking in the War. Smoked his whole life more than 40 years when he finally quit. He has quit now for over 20 years. He just turned 78. He has also had a heart attack. What do you think????

My sister is as ordinary as they come. She just turned 48 and she is still smoking. I have tried everything to help her. She has asthma and was diagnosed with the starts of emphaysema and takes steroids when she can't breath... What do you think??? I mean she has cut down to 2 cigarettes a day and she thinks it's great....

So what do you think John... Yes these are ordinary people in our lives everyday.....

Judy

11 weeks+
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