“I started casually smoking when I was in junior high school. I started innocently enough with Captain Black cigars, which I smoked only on weekends with friends out at bush parties where we’d all gather around big bonfires in empty fields, drinking and smoking until the sun came up or our parents found us after breaking curfew. I then progressed from casual cigars to casual cigarettes, and only smoked when I was intoxicated. Eventually I smoked regularly around friends—sober or not.
Those little white devils became my crutch in a very serious way. I turned to them for solace and to comfort selective emotions while suppressing others. I sometimes felt they helped me to cling to and belong to a group of friends while other times, when situations became overwhelming, they offered me an escape route from a conversation I didn’t want to be a part of. They were reliable. They never let me down and never failed me.
I don’t know what exactly triggered the strong desire in me to quit, but something had to give.
I made it my personal goal to become present with my cigarette in every moment we were intimate, tasting the filter and feeling the denseness of the smoke as it travelled from my mouth, down the passage of my throat, settling deep within the tissues of my lungs where it lingered before reversing the path out of my body.
My eyes observed the smoke as it travelled from my mouth to the air in front of me. My nose tingled as it took in every aspect of the smell, thick and musky, clogging my nostrils with every whiff. I did all I could to remain neutral in my opinions and judgments that naturally wanted to surface through this process. Over and over again I was reminded just how disgusting the habit of swimming in smoke was.
Every time my mind wandered to thoughts of condemnation I returned my focus to the task at hand—the task of observation. The more I was able to observe my actions without sentencing them to a jail of self-hatred, the easier it was for me to change them.”
Excerpted from my book, Self Approved - Available worldwide on Amazon through the link in my bio