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Pondering Addiction
Author: TriSec    Date: 11/22/2014 13:26:01

I smoke.

That may surprise you, coming from a cancer survivor.


But it's been about two months since I last sat out back with a Churchill, a book, and a brandy. (Oh, I've snuck in a couple of 'shorties' since then, but those don't really count.)

Yes, I'm a bit of a cigar guy. It's winter now, and I won't even be thinking about them until the weather breaks again in late April or early May.

I'm actually kind of surprised by that; I have many friends that smoke cigarettes, and they can't go more than an hour without getting the "urge" to smoke. I can turn mine on and off like a switch. Even in-season, I'll have one or two a week at most. Around this time of year, I make sure my humidor is in order for the winter, and that's that.

Speaking of cancer, two years ago now when I was post-surgical, one of the drugs I got to take home was a small bottle of Oxycontin. I also had hydromorphone whilst I was in-hospital, and I even got to self administer that dose (with limitations, of course.) I only took a few of the Oxycontins before I decided the side effects were far too bizarre and intense for me to deal with. (primarily extremely vivid dreams and other unconscious actions.) I stopped taking those as quickly as I could; literally only a matter of days after being discharged.

I would suppose that many of you had the same friends in our youth...when I was a much younger man one of my best friends was Vodka. I actually started underage. 30 years ago now, at the football game of my senior year in High School, one of my friends had two bottles of Smirnoff under the front seat of his car, and we retreated there during halftime and "warmed up". A few years after that, I had the unfortunate "Night of Colors" and stopped drinking hard literally overnight. (With some help from the porcelain bus.)

I don't know what it is - I seem to have an ability to 'turn things on and off' without having any real long-term cravings or repercussions. Even behaviours that would be considered addicting - sure, I smoke...I have the ocassional drink, but my days of hard drinking and smoking cigars every day are long past.

But then there are others. I know someone that's been smoking since we were in High School. His earliest demon came out of a bottle, not long after we became legal and could buy the stuff on our own. He's always been a large gentleman, and for as long as I can remember he's had trouble walking and was always in constant pain...so I presume that's how pills came into his life.

Oh, there have been the attempts. AA helped him for a few years, But then came what I believe to be the beginning of the end. A few days before I got my cancer diagnosis, he went in for a knee-replacement surgery. Everyone except his doctors thought this would not be a good idea. He'd be sitting at home recovering for some time afterward, with bottles of painkillers lying around. As we all feared, things deteriorated quickly, and he's actually spend the better part of the last two years in and out of a series of locked psych wards and halfway houses.

Last Christmas Eve, my old friend attempted suicide..after going through the house and collecting all the loose pills he could find, even from his own mother. I won't enumerate the rest of the findings that were communicated to me by members of his family, but the break became inevitable after that.

So there's my mystery of the day. I wonder what it is that can make one person try addictive things and not have any real response, and then someone else start down that dark path and have it "forever dominate their destiny"?

As for my friend - there appears to be no going back.

2 comments (Latest Comment: 11/23/2014 14:00:33 by velveeta jones)
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