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Closet Fascination

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

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secret

Step 1: Be Honest

Something I have been working at ever since I told my boyfriend the reflex lie of, “What do you mean my sweatshirt smells like smoke?” in response to his question “Have you been smoking?” is being more honest with him. Of course- I’m still working on bringing up past smoking transgressions, but I figure step one is being more honest about the present.

Well the opportunity to be more honest with my boyfriend presented itself last night and instead of my reflexive response to deny, I took the high road and confessed. Before you get too excited, he still does not know about the past four months of occasional cigarette smoking. But I did fess up to smoking something…

Here is the story. My roommate, boyfriend and I went shopping at the mall and roommate decides to bring up recent pot smoking done up in mountains. She starts talking about how it didn’t really make her high and her comments sort of begged me to answer. I took a moment instead of either responding right way or not responding at all to think about what I could say. On one hand I could just lie by omission- not say anything and boyfriend will probably think I didn’t smoke pot (or will forever wonder if I did- and potentially trust me less). On the other hand, I could just respond with the comment I want to make- not making a big deal about it and have him find out that I indeed have smoked marijuana again. I picked option 2 and I said, “Yeah, I didn’t really feel much of anything either.” To which boyfriend replies (disappointed), “Wait a second, you were smoking pot too?” To which I replied (jokingly), “Yes, but technically I didn’t get high from it so it almost doesn’t count.” Then a little more seriously I asked, “Are you mad/disappointed with me?” to which he replied, “No.” I actually think he appreciates the fact that I didn’t lie to him even though he totally does not approve of pot smoking. He is one person that definitely sees pot as way worse than cigarettes.

I think the key to getting over reflexive lying about things that you have hidden in the past is to take a moment before replying to think of possible responses and then answer. If you truly want to be honest and are ready to come clean then the split second you wait could mean the difference between telling the truth and perpetuating the lies. Also, for me- I’m starting to learn that honesty in the relationship is the best policy, because you are who you are, and that isn’t changing. Whomever you choose to be with needs to accept who you are or move on. I’ve made some mistakes with Boyfriend in this area, but I think that it is never too late to start being more honest with him.

Completely Normal and yet not…

So after much contemplation, I broke down and decided I was going to smoke. I told my roommate that I was going out to buy groceries and then maybe to go read at a coffee shop since I could not concentrate at home, which is partially true. I never did come back with the groceries though. I grabbed an extra jacket (because I didn’t want my everyday one to smell like smoke) and hopped into my car. I drove past quite a few places I could have purchased cigarettes and decided on the gas station I always buy gas at on my way out of the city. The clerk ID’d me and seemed almost as nervous about the prospect of me buying cigarettes as I was. He didn’t really know what brand I was looking for (I had to direct him to it). I decided on Benson and Hedges Menthols- 100s of course. I decided that as easy as the Matinees are to smoke, I really hated not seeing anything come out (or hardly anything) and I wanted the full visual affect since being outside makes the smoke clouds less pretty anyways. Plus- I wanted this time to be good since I do not know when the next time I will get to do this will come.

After making my purchase, I drove around in the neighborhood near where I bought the cigarettes. I was looking for a small park, with a bench. Somewhere where I could quietly sit and enjoy my cigarette without much traffic. I found one or at least I thought I had. I parked my car and as I walked toward the place I picked when I realized it was actually a cemetery. So I decided that was a little inappropriate but found a suitable location near by. It was a nice little bench atthe top of the hill away from the street. I walked up and brushed off the snow from the bench and sat down. I took out my cigarettes put one in my mouth and lit up as if it were something I did all the time. It felt surprisingly natural. I guess when you fantasize and dream about something so much it shouldn’t be so surprising that it would feel completely normal. I didn’t feel anything for the first few puffs. I think I was kind of in a state of disbelief that I was doing something I had literally craved doing for months, maybe even years. I wasn’t necessarily craving it tonight, but I wanted to do it.

By about third puff I started to feel a wave of calmness wash over me. All the anxiety that I had experienced from purchasing the cigarettes washed away. I felt at peace. For the first time in months my brain was not telling me or thinking, “I want a cigarette”- because I was having one. It was such an odd experience. It was both completely normal and yet not at the same time. What also surprised me was the ease at which I smoked the entire thing. I kept testing myself with longer drags, deeper inhales and I was impressed that I almost smoked the cigarette to the filter. I think it was the first cigarette I’ve smoked where I’ve felt like I looked like a smoker and something about that pleased me. I think it took me about fifteen minutes to smoke the whole thing and I did feel a bit light headed by the end- but not so much so that I couldn’t drive (or felt like wretching). I decided that I probably shouldn’t go home right away since the smell would be pretty fresh on my pants and hands and I wanted to just go and sit somewhere.

I pulled into the Tim Hortons and ordered a meal. I figured I should eat since I hadn’t in a long time. That is where I noticed the appetite suppressing effect of nicotine. I wasn’t really that hungry, even though I knew I should be. I sat and ate my meal and read my textbook. Another side effect- I was actually able to concentrate on my reading. I sat there for about an hour reading- not really thinking about anything else (except for the occasional- wow my mind has not wandered thought). There were some negatives- my food didn’t taste as good. And I felt really cold after, probably because my circulation is so shitty in the first place. This could also be because I had to sit outside in the cold for 15 minutes to smoke the cigarette, but I have a feeling it is partially due to the effect of nicotine on the circulatory system. All reasons I still don’t want to smoke regularly- since I really like tasting my food, not smelling like smoke and do not really like feeling colder than I normally do. This was like a full body cold whereas my extremities are usually the only thing that is cold. My resting heart rate staying high for many hours after- I think it was still much higher than usual before I went to bed so I could not deny to myself the negative effects it has on my health, even after just one.

I do not regret doing it. I think what made this time different is that I was fully aware of what I was doing and what it meant to me. Also, I think it confirmed that I do have a psychological addiction or fixation on smoking based on the relief I felt after I did it. The relief was purely psychological since I am not physically addicted. Another thing I noticed is that even though I picked a relatively secluded location- it didn’t bother me as much when people walked by. I know that the first few times I tried smoking I was almost mortified at the thought of someone catching me, even if it was someone I didn’t know. A guy ran right by me and I really didn’t think anything of it. The only thing I thought, and here is the non-smoker runner coming out in me, I’m sorry he has to smell my smoke as he runs. I did not feel bad about it, only I could see myself in his shoes, huffing and puffing running up the hill, cursing the person who is smoking. Only- if I were the person running, I’d probably be slightly jealous in a similar situation.

As for whether I will do it again- I think there is no question in my mind that I will. That is another thing that is different about this time. Previous attempts I quelled my fears by telling myself I would just have one or a few and that is it. This time I am fully aware of the power smoking, the act, my psychological drive to do it, has on me that I know I’m not going to have just one. Having them handy means I will not have to spend time planning to buy them, which was often how I spent much of my time. Having my own cigarettes means I will not have to worry, as I did before, about the next time I smoke since it can be whenever I choose. The only thing I will have to worry about as MisterT alluded to before is my cigarettes going stale before I’ve had a chance to smoke them all.

No, you can’t just have one

A couple of months later, I smoked again. I was working at a law firm downtown and my hours were 10 to 6. This gave me ample time in the morning to sneak off to my ravine spot and have a cigarette before work. I only did it twice though, on two consecutive days. The first day, I enjoyed the cigarette and managed not to poison myself before work. That, in itself, was a feat considering what I had done to myself a few months before. The next day, it was a lot colder outside. I decided I didn’t care though, because I wanted to have another cigarette. I went to my spot and because of the wind and the cold I had trouble lighting the cigarette. I wanted it so bad that it made me upset that I couldn’t light it. I finally got it lit and smoked it but that brief moment of panic I felt when I couldn’t light the cigarette really scared me. I mean, I’ve hardly started and already I was, at least mentally, craving it. I thought about this as I smoked the cigarette. I mean, it was sort of a crossroads. Should I go down the path to addiction or stop now and be free of it. I was pretty disgusted with myself by the time I was back toward my house. I quickly made the decision to chuck the almost full pack of cigarettes in the dumpster and never think of smoking again.

But I did think of smoking again. I mean, how could I not? Smoking is addictive that is why. And I was or at least the pleasure centers of my brain were definitely enthralled. I didn’t smoke again for another three months. I got my opportunity when my mom went home for the holidays. The first day she was gone, I stopped at the convenience store on my way home and picked up a pack of Matinee Slims Menthol- an ultra light cigarette.

These cigarettes were almost too easy to smoke. It felt like inhaling air and the feeling of inhaling menthol was just well cool (Pun intentional). That and the pleasurable feeling returned immediately. I was almost instantly riding a wondering nicotine high with no adverse effects.I smoked inside, knowing that as long as I stopped long enough before my mom came back from her holidays that I would be able to get rid of the smell.

I smoked again that morning after breakfast but before my shower. As I smoked it I could tell that these cigarettes were designed for addiction. This time that realization didn’t scare me, even though it probably should have. All day, I couldn’t stop thinking about smoking. The moment I got home, I got my cigarettes out and lit up. I dragged and inhaled my normal sized puff and nothing happened. I didn’t feel the pleasant relaxed feeling wash over me like I had the last cigarette. I decided I must need a bigger puff. I drew on the cigarette as long as I could and inhaled and finally received the feeling I was looking for. It scared me a little, that after only two cigarettes, I was already becoming tolerant to nicotine. But I didn’t let this worry me for long, but I did decide that I wouldn’t smoke in the morning.

Physically, I felt fine all day despite not having the morning cigarette. This pleased me since I didn’t want to get physically addicted because I was going to have to stop before my mom got back. I still wanted a cigarette when I got home. I smoked one right after supper and decided that I wanted another one. I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to have another right away, lest I want to poison myself again, but I only managed to wait 10 minutes before I lit up again. I got through most of the cigarette fine and didn’t really start feeling sick until I put it out. Oops, I did it again. I OD’d on nicotine. My lack of self control scared me this time. I wrestled with whether I should throw the rest of the pack away and decided against it despite the fact that smoking was really no good for me.

I kept that pack for months without smoking, although I certainly did think about it. I threw them away as I was getting ready to go away to University. They were probably stale anyways, but for me it was an affirming action- that I wasn’t going to smoke again. But I did, because as me and many others have found out, smoking cigarettes is like eating Lays potato chips- bet you can’t have just one.

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