Tobacco Dependency

Lincoln County’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program strives to make Lincoln County a healthier community by eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, preventing youth from initiating tobacco use, identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities in all populations, and to help smokers quit.

I’m at home. Not typical for a mid-Tuesday. Reed is sick, his mother is at a conference and we’ve spent the morning watching movies in bed.  On “go days”, especially, I look forward to that first cup of coffee coupled with my first dose of tobacco.  I rarely slow down. Part of the problem, I suppose. So, today was a treat because it took me awhile to feel compelled to partake in my caffeine and nicotine ritual.

Always within arms reach. I’ve thought of using the twelve steps. But, I don’t want to admit I am powerless over this. Since that’s step one I may have a problem right out of the gate. Do you need to take them in order? Need to consult my recovery peeps.

Eventually, my body began to ache somewhat, and the beck and call of withdrawal would not be scuttled. I am grateful for these moments because there is a little slice of clarity about my addiction and the desire to find a way out.  Last night in anticipation of a sick day at home I contemplated it as an opportunity to practice harm reduction. In this regard I can claim a minute victory. The war is far from over.

Several months ago I was out of tobacco pouches. I rolled down to Sawyers Landing in avoidance of driving into town.  I find Grizzly pouches nearly unbearable, so I purchased Copenhagen Long Cut. Normally, I reserve this delicacy to camping trips with my brother in law and the occasional stop at the local print shop where the owner lets me have a pinch from his can. It’s a messy affair. But, it provides an extra rush. I think the diabolical scientists of the tobacco Empire have added a course like material that is abrasive to the mouths lining. This allows the nasty chemicals expedited sub lingual entry into the bloodstream.  I’ve never researched it. My current state of denial is such that I don’t want to know what I am doing to myself. Telling isn’t it? Pathetic.

What came first – the chicken or the egg? It’s been so long. I am just tired. Tired of the ball and chain. Tired of my dependency. Tired of not aligning with my values. Tired of being jerk because I’ve down regulated normal dopamine production.

Anyway, the last month or so I’ve been hooked on the long cut. It’s required an extra level of sneakiness at work where I am in violation of our personnel rules. I am not always successful at hiding my fat lip. Occasionally, words of shock are announced from my cohorts who are surprised that I would tank my otherwise perceived healthiness. I deserve reprimand.  Despite my cleverness in so many other areas of my life, on this one – I can say I need help. I’m not sure what that looks like now.

Most concerning has been the numbness in my lower lip. It is nasty and scary. I’ve entered a symbiotic relationship with this stimulant. I hate that it has got the best of me.  It’s been a slow burn. I’ve been down this road many times. This time, it feels more urgent, that I clean up my act. I don’t recall the first time I had a cigarette.  Somewhere, sometime, in the 80’s I started occasionally smoking cloves. Cigarettes were the nasty thing that adults did.  It was part of a “new wave” – cool kid thing.

The back porch where I keep the cigs in my Dad’s tool box. It reminds me of him. I did enjoy having a cigarette with my Dad. It was the only time we would really talk in the last five years. God forbid I repeat this one. The rubber gloves mitigate the second hand smoke thing. Even grosses me out. Not enough, apparently.

I hate the thought of getting cancer and dying before my time because of this addiction. Worse is setting an example to my son that I am weak of character and would choose such behavior over longevity with him, his mother and the people that I bring joy – that bring me joy. Fuck. And fuck, this shit. Pathetic. Pathetic. Pathetic. I know we are supposed to love ourselves. But, that is not working for me on this one. Maybe this post will help download the right intentions into my sub psyche.

Right now. Now. Into the can – the can goes. Wish me luck.