Posts Tagged ‘Addiction’

December 28 th (Part II) – Stopping Smoking

Monday, December 28th, 2009

As I may have mentioned (!), it has been a year today since my last cigarette; and, whilst, I may not have uncovered the secrets of nicotine abstention, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping myself on the straight and narrow.

A year ago, life without cigarettes felt unimaginable and totally unappealing; so, if you’re going through the same struggle, here’s a few things that made the impossible, possible –

December 28th (Part I)

Monday, December 28th, 2009

It has been a year, today, since my last cigarette, and I’m pausing to mark the occasion.

Stopping smoking was one of the hardest things that I have everdone.

Losing a nicotine addiction is far more difficult than picking one up, which happened quite easily with a few sneaky drags behind the bus shelter rapidly escalating into a twenty a day crutch.

And so, from an unremarkable date in about 1996, to December 28th 2008, my day opened – and then closed – with a deep draw on a cigarette; and, without really noticing what I was doing, I structured my life around a packet of Superking Royals.

The Right Distance?

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

When I was a teenager, I was offered £500 to stop smoking. Even though £500 was a fortune to a penniless 17 year old; I failed at the first hurdle. When you’re addicted to something, a rational argument does not always equate.

The outcome? I remained a penniless teen – who couldn’t even give up smoking and had therefore thrown away the easiest £500 she had ever been – or would ever be – offered; whilst appearing ungrateful to the well-meaning sponsors and letting them down in the process -

The lesson? The rules are different when you’re dealing with head stuff and when you’re overwhelmed by an addiction. A little distance is imperative and you can’t start adding new things into the mix without a touch of caution – because it can all get horribly confused.

Cold Turkey

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

My one-cigarette-less-a-day cut down method was a great act of self delusion.

Hey, it was fine to smoke right down to the burning lip line and inhale as deeply as physically possible – because those cigarettes were ‘allocated’. They were okay. And it was fine to fantasise about smoking, it was completely understandable to count down the minutes to the next cigarette – because you had your quota to go with.

The outcome’s no surprise. 10 mysteriously grows to 11. Which, following an unexpected crisis, becomes 12. Then 13 –a one off. And then the floodgates are opened.

Before I really realised what was happening, I was back to where I started, and the only lesson I’d learnt was that giving up smoking was all about deprivation and preoccupation and frustrated desire.

And that I was hooked on something that would probably kill me.

It’s just the same with bulimia.

The self delusion was identical.


Instant Gratification and Prolonged Disatisfaction

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I’m familiar with instant gratification.

It’s what binging and bulimia thrive on. Strong desire; fast food; instant gratification.

Food is one form; according to the media, consumerism is another.

I agree. The parallels don’t surprise me. Having spent much of 2003 to 2005 in supermarkets, I’m familiar with the lure.

When you’re in the middle of a great gaping emotional void, shops are quite appealing. They’re a preoccupation and then a full time occupation. When nothing feels particularly great, they’re a haven of soft lighting and soothing music and promises. When you want, they provide – with the drip drip drip of addiction: the gratification may be instant, but the satisfaction doesn’t last much longer.

It wears off pretty quick – and just leaves you wanting more.


Self Harm

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

It’s hard to know where to start with this one.

It’s not something I’m very comfortable talking about.

- even though it’s on the rise, and even though it’s blazened across the tabloid on a regular basis.

Maybe it’s the apparent casualness of it all that’s so unsettling. Maybe it feels like we’ve got complacent about teenagers shredding their arms: self mutilation is commonplace.

No. It’s not.