Day 5

The worst is over. The cravings have fallen. I’m no longer crawling at the walls, looking for anything to sate my body’s former need for nicotine.

Now, comes killing the habit. Harder than it seems.

Smoking became associated with many things. Eating. Drinking. Sex. Boredom. Exhaustion. Gaming. After working out, when I did work out in the last year, I smoked. It just seemed to make it better, even though I knew I was negating anything I did cardio-wise. I felt good, so I did it. All those associations have to be transferred to other things.

Instead of having a smoke when I break from reading or writing or anything leisure, I do a set of push ups or sit ups. I do more than one if the psychological need is great. Whenever I can, I do a set of exercises. Enough to crush the need and replace it with something that isn’t bad for me.

And its a shame, really. When I started smoking, I did it a stress reliever. After a while, I found I liked smoking. Nicotine aside, I liked the act. Some of the best moments of 2012 were punctuated by having a good smoke. But, it can’t be. Not as a habit. Not as something I can hold on to and excuse. There are bigger and better things and I need a pristine body.

Maybe, in the future, when a moment comes where I sit upon a bench, a beer in hand, in some beach side bar, or on a mountain or wherever an adventure takes me, I can let myself light one up. Maybe.

That moment is not a right. It is something to be earned.

And when something is earned through blood and sweat, it makes it all that much sweeter.

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Bonfire, Part 2

Fuuuuuuucccccck, this sucks.

Withdrawal, how I’ve missed you.

I wish it was more Hulk-like. Irritble. Ready to pounce. Like you imagine when your girlfriend’s PMS hits litre sized Häagen-Dazs levels.

Its more like Jennifer Connelly sucking down cough syrup in Requiem. Caffeine. Sugar. Monster Energy. Anything to lessen my body dealing with the lack of nicotine.

The upside is that I’m sore as a motherfucker from using all that chemical energy to work out. I’ve also read, cleaned, ate a shit-ton and anything else I could think of. Keeping the mind away from the body.

For a good cause. A better body requires air, air requires lungs, lungs need not to have smoke in them.

Godddamnit.

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Bonfire


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Its been a long time coming, but its here. The day friends and family have been waiting for.

As of an hour ago, I quit smoking. Whole and full. No half assed slow down. No gradual ending. Its over.

What’s going to be different from all the other dozens of times I’ve tried?

First, I’m not working. My closest end to the habit was last month. I had gone several days without smoking while still going 12 hour days and stress out the ass, but as the season wound down, so did my willpower. We raced to the finish and I ended up with a pack in my pocket and frozen hands.

Second, I have a coach. A long time friend and ex-smoker is keeping me on track. There are rules, charts, reports and cruel retribution for lighting up. When I started smoking, I told my new slavedriver that my ass could be kicked if I hadn’t quit within a year. Its been nearly two. Promise fulfilled.

Third and finally, with all my progress personally, socially, emotionally, etc, the only thing left is my body. I’ve got good clothes in my closet, I’ve got a few girls in my orbit, aside from the financial roller coaster of my industry, I’m set. There’s a small hill of fat left behind from what was. I wouldn’t be surprised that the Ex left me with some portion of her ass along with all the debt she racked up.

Time to suffer for the most important thing… me.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Jordan River, Utah

There is too much to do when you’re left alone. And that creates a world where you get bored constantly. I should of went to sleep, working looming 9 hours away, but I also needed to get in a smoke. So, I took to the nature path right next to my apartment complex.

The sky looked prepared to end the few days of Spring weather, and later it would do just that. I set foot to the asphalt, trying to light up. The wind blew harder and harder. I had to turn completely around before the cigarette started to burn. Huzzah. I turned towards my original direction. One more thing accomplished.

Before me was an old man walking briskly. Ahead of him, two flabby women in tight sweats. It appeared the women just started running or have ignored their failure at it. Either way, they were the median sample of residents that graced this north-south pathway.

I had watched a moving episode of Californiacation and it struck a cord with me. Sins, their admissions and consequences. I scanned my past. I’ve done things. Thing wrong. Things evil. Yet, the vast, vast majority of my time has been approved by the moral code. The good kid. The celebrated actions. Rule follower.

Eyes found mine as I took in a drag. Apparently, this path was a no-smoking path. Joggers, bikers and dog walkers with waist pouches full of tiny water bottles and tiny electrolyte solutions. The fitness-industrial complex has claimed this piece of nature. The looks said I had to get my own. I refused.

The piece of nature was a small amount of land on the west bank of the Jordan River. The river snaked very little. Drainage pipes, small concrete dips created tiny rapids, water department pumps fenced off. I didn’t get why it was protected. The city still crept in. You can see warehouses and factories. It doesn’t get you away from the smog, the cars or even the plethora of trailer parks and complexes. What possible meaning did they get from it? Convenience, I would think. That means a lot to those without time to live.

A man with his hard-faced wife ran by. He had both knees wrapped in black supports. Her face grimaced in some kind of pain that made her twice as ugly. If they were deriving pleasure from their feet pounding hard ground, I didn’t see it.

By the end of the first smoke, I wanted another. No physical reason, I enjoy the habit. Yet, what stopped my hand reaching in my pocket is my past. All the rules. The lectures and the ads. The stigma and the opinions. I shouldn’t, I heard in my head. I can’t. You can choose not to. Its wrong. So many choices, yet everyone wants theirs to be yours. Next time. I leave them be. Next time, I’ll do what I want.

I wondered if LP smoked. The girl I hooked, nearly dated then let go when the Ex pulled her hillbilly disappearing act and left my world spinning. Maybe before I leave we’ll share one. Its a real shame there’s so little time to game her. She would be the perfect rebound. Prettier, younger, same name as the Ex and full of life. Shame.

Before I go back to apartment, I checked the mail. A package lock key sat in the mailbox. I open the corresponding door and find a box. “Too good to me,” I said smiling. Kay, my best friend, teased me for days about sending me some kind of present. The day got a little bit better. The good day streak continued.

Walking to my door, I still wanted that second smoke. I walked inside, fingering the black pack of American Spirits in my hoodie.

Next time.

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