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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cigarettes

For more than 40 years I was a pack a day smoker, folks who knew me in the 70's and 80's cannot remember me with out a smoke in my hands. It was all consuming part of my life and now that I have quit, I can see what a hold it really had on me.
I tried to quit tons of times and never made it very far. It was not until about 3 years ago that I just got tired of smoking and every time I thought about lighting up, I would think how hard it would be for me to breathe and how much I would hack and cough. Little by little I got down to about 1 or 2 a day and finally ended it. I came to realize that every time I tried to quit, my mindset was that "Ok, now I can never have a cigarette again". This crushed my drive before it even began. I came up with an idea a little while back, and it seems to work for me. I carry a pack with me, as always, but I don't smoke 'em. Instead, I tell myself "Man, you can have one whenever you want, they're right here"...and then I move on and dispel the thought for awhile. I know the addiction will be with me forever and I doubt there will ever come a day when I don't crave one...hopefully, it will fade a little at least.
Sometimes, when I'm in a retrospective mood, I think of the women I have "known" in my life...just for the hell of it, just to give my ego a little boost and remember some good times. Well, I thought I'd do the same for brands of cigarettes I smoked. This is not a once in awhile brand, but bonified brands that I smoked for quite awhile. So, in roughly chronological order you can now view with how many different brands I ruined my lungs....


Raleigh coupons were like green stamps for smokers...you could trade 'em for all kinds of worthless shit...the joke was save up for an iron lung...not so damn funny in retrospect.
I even rolled my own for awhile with a machine something like the one below:

You stuck a hollow tube of cigarette paper on the end, inserted a a filter, then filled the tray with cut tobacco and slid the lever to jam the tobacco into the tube, never worked too well...was nice for grass though.

Instead of a throat treatment? Uhhh..yea, fucking right! I got Old Golds from a friend of mine who ripped them off from his dad who had a huge pile of cartons...Lord knows where the hell he got 'em...I never asked.

If I wound up looking like the above dude I'd probably still be smoking today. Are the advertisers trying to say something?
and in the end I graduated to the most lethal of all.
There's nothing like the smell of a dirty ashtray in the morning as you reach to light up the first of the day.

Becoming addicted was a long process, in harsh comparison, I became a total junkie of the almighty Percocet in less than 3 weeks about 5 years back.

Leaving the hospital after a 3 week stint in intensive care, I had a pretty decent percocet addiction going already, what with the morphine drip and gobbling the perc's up like there was no tomorrow. Back at home and recovering, I was already a zombie, barely walking, eyes still full of blood etc. etc. so, because of the trauma I was going through after my brain aneurysm my doctor kept the percocet going, and going and going. Then he announced it was time to quit. WTF? "Joe, haven't you been decreasing the dosage so as to ween yourself off?" the doctor exclaimed. "What, are you fucking kidding me? What do I look like, a kitten being weened from its freaking mother?" I was really scared now. He relented and gave me one more prescription and I knuckled down and broke em up and savored each one. The tiny chunks of dust that were left after splitting them, I licked my finger, stuck the pieces to my wet finger and rubbed it on my gums like what you would do after doing a line of coke. I managed to kick it, but 3 years later, the very mention of them perks my ears up and starts the salivating all over again.

*Post Script ~ I remember sitting with my Dad and 2 Uncles, listening to them tell war stories and watching them chain smoke. I wanted to be so much like them. The tobacco industry and the candy industry certainly didn't give a shit about getting kids hooked early, to wit:


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