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Closet Fascination

A blog about a journey, smoking, not smoking, vaping and everything in between

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cigarettes

Why I’m not a regular smoker

I’ve probably posted on this at some point before, but my job circumstances have changed a bit and now that I teach adults it would be easier to be a regular smoker. It came up in class that I occasionally smoke, and one of my students said why?

Why indeed? Occasional smoking must seem pointless to the initiated everyday smoker. I’m going to outline a few of the reasons I still don’t smoke regularly, despite no longer being totally restricted by my job.

1.Control
I like that I can take it or leave it. If only I could apply similar self-control to food. But I think that comes from practice, as well as not smoking everyday or sometimes even for months. Self-control lessens the more times/days in a row that I smoke. As with any smoker, the most I smoke, the more I crave it. Most of the time (minus the conference I went to last week) smoking is an isolated event followed by weeks and usually months of abstinence.  I’ve said ‘no’ to smoking numerous times. Cupcakes, on the other hand, I can’t recall the last time I turned one down.

2. I like feeling the desire, and not giving in
I like feeling the tension and anticipation of desire. Perhaps this feeling would be more uncomfortable if I didn’t have so much practice not giving in.

3. When I do give in, I appreciate it that much more.
Cigarette smoking more so mostly because it is harder for me to do so. None of my friends smoke cigarettes. I don’t buy them for a variety of reasons. But I still appreciate smoking more after a long break from it.

4.Cigarette smoking is more taboo in our house and let’s face in with our friends and society. My fiancee doesn’t like it when I do it, but I don’t feel like I have to hide it. In fact, I tell him when I smoke cigarettes, even when he is not around. I don’t want him to feel like I’m hiding something from him. My friends don’t smoke cigarettes, and when they smoke pipes or cigars it is very occasionally. I would be smoking alone the majority of the time and I have come to like the social aspect of smoking, despite my start as a closet smoker.

5. It would kill my fantasy of becoming a regular smoker.
This is a fantasy that I’ve had for a long time. I feel like I’ve imagined, fantasized about all the ways it could play out that reality would be disappointing.

6. My continued need to live up to my parents’ expectations.
I think it would kill my mother. My dad would probably think I am I hypocrite. My step-mom would think that I had lost it.

7. Health reasons.
This is actually my main reason. I prefer how I feel physically when I’m not smoking regularly. I like not being phelmgy as well as being able to smell and taste things.

8. Physical withdrawal.
I don’t like it. But really does anybody?  Wait…this actually would be an argument for smoking regularly. Or for making sure that I don’t smoke regularly enough to go through it.

Mostly I get in my own way. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay with my desire.I am ok with most people in my life knowing that smoking is something I occasionally do. I was going to write something about being okay with the fact that I would say yes to smoking the next time I had the opportunity, but I realized that I am surrounded by opportunity (giant jar of tobacco, pipes, an almost full tin of my favourite cigars) and 95% of the time choose not to smoke. I’m not sure I’m would be able to do that if I hadn’t come to terms with my desire.

I’ve come a long way from 18 year old me who bought a pack, and snuck off to remote location in a park to have a smoke.

I have even come a long way since starting this blog, where I was totally not ok with people knowing. When I did my experimentation, I would drive to different neighborhoods, put on a separate jacket to reduce the chance of being seen or given away by my smell.

I remember when I started this, that part of me wished I had never tried smoking. But at the same time, I’m not sure my decision was completely that of an impulsive teenager trying to fit in. I didn’t have any social pressure to smoke, even the first uninhaled puff at 15 I could have gotten away with not taking as on the whole the group was actually against smoking. Again, at 17 when I first inhaled, there was no social pressure to smoke. I smoked with my only friend who smoked. Most of my other friends would have probably given me a hard time. In fact, I think there was more social pressure not to smoke. I think that if I had had a different group of friends as a teen, I’d be a smoker right now.

For me, it is clear that I’m more comfortable only smoking occasionally and I realize that isn’t something everyone can do, nor would I recommend someone trying. Until next time…

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Quality and Brands

With every measure out there to prevent me from smoking, the hardest part is finding a good brand of cigarettes to smoke. No seriously, it is difficult. Here is why:
1) Nobody smokes anymore. Why? Because it is bad for you and there is huge stigma against smokers. The people who do smoke hide it so you almost never see what brand they smoke. If they are a budget conscious hard-core smoker they likely smoke cheap budget brands that taste as bad as they smell. When I smoked last summer, the first cigarette I had was some iteration of a Benson and Hedges but it was dark, I never saw the pack so I will never know what they were unless I get the chance to ask my friend sometime. I don’t see her very often and she is currently pregnant and probably not smoking. All I know is they had a nice flavor without being harsh and weren’t so strong that I couldn’t handle them, even though I don’t smoke very often. It will be like searching for the holy grail, if and when I decide to buy another pack.

2) There are no cigarette ads anymore.
That is pretty self explanatory- the pack itself is pretty much the cigarette’s only form of advertising. And people hide their packs because they don’t want people to know they smoke

3) Packs are hidden from view even at the point of sale. Unless you go to a tobacconist.

4) Cigarettes now have a confusing colour system instead of using words like light or mild. Is black stronger than gold? Is sapphire stronger than green? Actually, I wouldn’t mind the colour system if I could find reliable information on what the cigarettes are like.

Long story short, all of the above are barriers to me purchasing good cigarettes. The only thing I know for sure from my last purchase is cheap
cigarettes are meh. Alright when I’m intoxicated, but even then I could tell they were not very good. Next time, I’m going for quality over price because if I’m going to inhale toxic fumes into my lungs, it better be delicious tasting. So far, cigarette reviews on YouTube seem to be the best source of information regarding strength, flavor and smell.

Rant done. Until next time…

To Boldly go? Not yet…

Plenty of contradiction going on in my brain right now. As much as I hoped the peace would last, it did not. Essentially I am almost right back where I started, but I understand myself a lot better now. What do I truly desire? I think I actually truly desire to be a smoker as illogical as that is. Even though the process of becoming one would involve sickness (as it already has) and coming out to all of my friends (many of whom would probably suggest the many ways I can quit). No one would understand.  I know what I don’t want. I do not want to keep smoking in the closet. There is too much stress involved and frankly the stress ruins the experience.

I just recently saw the new Star Trek movie which I highly recommend. I’m no Trekkie although I think it is just because I never really sat down and watched episodes in succession. Whether or not I am a Trekkie really isn’t the point. The movie got me thinking about logic though- particularly because of Spock’s struggle in the movie between his logical Vulcan side and his emotional human side. In the movie, Spock feels like he has to pick a side and feels conflicted as to what side he should pick. Logically- it makes sense, pick his Vulcan side. But his emotional attachment to his mother, means that as logical as Spock can be, he retains a bit of his humanness and is unable to forsake his heritage. I guess I identified with that since that seems to be what I always come back to. The logical choice of not smoking, and the illogical but infinitely more attractive option of giving in. At least it seems more attractive on days like today where the thought of a cigarette sends makes me salivate like one of Pavlov’s Dogs. 

Cravings like this are fairly unpredictable. I’ve had them before and to be quite honest I’m not sure how I did not give in today. I mean I had cigarettes on me, a lighter. I’ve only ever resisted this type of craving in the absence of cigarettes. I mean I was sitting in the library trying to study, practically shaking. I guess that is why I am afraid of addiction because in some ways I almost feel like I am already there. I guess I’m still not willing to relinquish my last shards of self-control. Today, for once, I was not trying to prove I have self-control although that might be how it seems. You know what motivated me not to smoke? Social reasons. I still care entirely too much about what people think and about getting caught by people I know.  Sigh… I read this interesting blog about cravings.  I’m not sure I underestimate mine. I think one day I’m going to crack. In some ways, I hope I do soon.

Chocolate and Cigarettes

As I was reflecting on the craving I had last night, I realized it was not completely unfamiliar. I’ve had very similar cravings for chocolate. Almost identical actually. Just last night, instead of craving chocolate or sweets, I craved a cigarette. The only thing that was different my craving pre- last cigarette was this was the first time I actually had the ability to satisfy the craving. I mean- I had a whole pack of cigarettes that I could have just lit one up and satisfied the craving almost instantly. I can remember times when I have almost run to the grocery store in search of chocolate. In fact, I’m eating some chocolate right now. Really, I should be preparing myself some food because I have not eaten since breakfast. But there is something so sinful about eating chocolate instead of  a regular meal. I know I’ll have to eat something more substantial than chocolate soon, because I’ve been starving since about lunch time. I forgot my lunch at home, along with my wallet so I couldn’t even buy food if I wanted to. It made my last class torture- I mean I all I could think about was food. But I got home and had an idea for a post and instantly my mind went to the chocolate I still have left over from Christmas and suddenly nothing else would do.

I have long professed that I am indeed a chocoholic. I think if someone told me that chocolate was bad for me, I probably ask for another piece. There isn’t much evidence for physical addiction to chocolate- but by golly I definitely have a psychological one. I have something chocolate almost every day. Almost always good quality chocolate- none of this cheap stuff. I don’t even think about it- I just ingest. My mind says- chocolate chocolate chocolate and I go yes- how fast do you want it? Yes- chocolate isn’t necessarily good for you like broccoli and sure- if you consume too much all the time, you put yourself at risk for obesity, diabetes and probably even heart disease. 

What I found interesting when I did my google search is something I read in this article. It said:

Debra Zellner, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at Shippensburg University, believes women crave chocolate because they have turned it into a nutritional taboo. It tastes wonderful, but it’s sinful because it’s loaded with fat and calories. Women crave chocolate when they are feeling low or before their periods because they have told themselves it is something they cannot have. Zellner conducted a study comparing chocolate cravings in Spanish and American women. She found that Spanish women, who did not see chocolate as a forbidden food, craved chocolate less than American women did. Zellner attributes chocolate cravings entirely to psychological associations and believes the bioactive chemicals found in chocolate occur in too small of amounts to have a neurological impact. 

I find this interesting since that is probably the very reason I crave cigarettes, at least on a psychological level, combined with the knowledge of the pleasure I will get. I see it as forbidden- even now after purchasing a pack and smoking one. I also feel the power smoking has over me already and I’m a little frightened to submit like I have with chocolate. I guess I haven’t completely submit with chocolate- but I haven’t cut it out of my life. I mean there is a reason I only have minimal amounts of chocolate in the house at a time. If I’ve got the chocolate, I eat it and I eat it all.

I guess what I am not familiar with is overcoming the craving- it feels good to give in yes, but it also felt very good to beat the craving like I did last night. Maybe what I want to do, only smoke occasionally, might not be something I can do. Maybe my drive to smoke will overcome me and I’ll say screw it and come out to the world. I could stop now and not risk becoming physically addicted but I know I will hopelessly crave smoking psychologically as I have for the many years before ever even trying it. I’ve decided that it is worth the risk of because life if too short to keep denying myself.

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