Saturday, June 30, 2012


{Day 4 sees me picking fights on the internet. No change there then.} Smoking smoking smoking. In 3 short years, I've shifted to actually caring what people think of my habit. And only because of this has duplicity entered the picture. I am a worse person because of the association (anti-smoking rhetoric; being on the one side and actively seeking the other, nobody knows the health concerns BETTER than a smoker - whilst non-smokers can act all smug and condemnatory. Lean people telling the obese how great it is not to be obese. Great not to even see them. No, not in public. No late-night fat people on your balcony please. Sir, you are fatting up my shopping experience. By gum, leanies are meanies!) and I've somehow accepted this identity. Hmmm. Poor troubled people of the world. Where was I? Being a « nictim »:

I do not want to call it quitting, but something like, 'regulating autonomy'. Here is what the newt few weeks' itinerary will likely look like:

- Sheer bloody habit I use smokes to package time, reallocate boredom. They are excellent for achieving 'deep' time. I find excruciation occurs when the immersion in other performances cannot be had because of the nicotine ITCH. But the itch will pass. Right!? Each of us has reasons (I have a few more), charting and reassigning them is part of the process.

 - Justifications Accept this this will be shitty. Savour this (sensually, not sensationally!) and find the nuances. Despite the discomfort, there's a lot of novelty going on here. Different muscles are tense, digestion is wonking out, moods are fluctuating rapidly and the external world is beginning to feel intrusive. I am already trying to trick myself into reverting - the T-1000 polymorphing into each stolen identity as it thrashes in the molten steel. What's tough to accept about addiction is that it is a preconscious need located just below the tideline of our cycling awareness. To be inspected, it's got to be dragged ashore. Being fair, it's pre-you and influencing your choices, and to relapse is to miss the opportunity of exercising self-respect: authentically acknowledging your powers [snotty way of putting it, I know, but ultimately it's true. 'will power' is an empty appointment, as everything could be ascribed to this, but the reasons behind will power are very valuable.]

- Substitutions Nicotine is an interesting drug. It ingratiates itself into the dopaminergic demand/reward loop, saturating the acetylcholine receptors, which affect all sorts of emergent skills but generally helps you feel aware. Thing is, there's no clean-up crew for nicotine, so the synapses simply create more receptors which will then demand more acetylcholine. What is shitty about this is that by satisfying this demand, we get the endogenous dope fix. It is about as classic and universal a case as conditioning can get. So substituting OTHER loops is ultimately using the same devious pathways. But for the express purpose of regulating autonomy, I am not addicted to junk food or exercise or compulsions to clean... so am likely safe to indulge while I deal with what I am addicted to.

- Philosophy There are not many occasions or events in life where one can directly apply philosophical experimentation, and better yet, expect to achieve a new plane of perception. But regulating autonomy is one: confronting illusion, diversifying the matrices of reward, exposing cognitive bias, examining your body's response to a sensation equal in force to starvation/asphyxiation/dehydration but without the deathy side-affects... Even barring success, this experience is directly transferable to all other psychological appendages of life.

[EDIT: Day 5 was sweaty and grim. With a very moderate amount of vodka, the romance of alcohol and nicotine had a violent domestic incident. Though one might accuse me of masochism, under heavy environmental controls (alone, isolated, Friday night) I had about 1 oz. of vodka and went into pronounced paroxysms of withdrawal. I would have had to have been tied up were I with my friends, which would've been the direct opposite of Stockholm Syndrome: turn your friends into assholes by publicly wetting yourself in self-inflicted agony. Upon a small amount of online clickery, I discover that their bond is mutual in that 1) alcohol's acidic metabolises flush alkaline nicotine out of circulation, this requires quicker nicotine replacement and 2) nicotine surreptitiously imposes its demand/reward pathways onto the enjoyment of alcohol, giving a sort of Happy Meal halo effect

Smoking is obviously bad for you in and of itself, but the true horror is through its association and the rest of one's lifestyle is impoverished. Exercise-reward dyad is corrupted. Taste reduced, so shittier food may be consumed. Outside is for smoking, not other pursuits. Self-enhancement mechanisms are ascribed to externalities. Drama is artificially induced so as to encourage the need for a cigarette, damaging relationships as a result. Hedonarchy reigns supreme.]

Sorry about the fatty thing from earlier, I was just trying to demonstrate how villainizing the smoker is as unforgivable as any other form of prejudice. Either be compassionate or mind your own fucking business.


Anonymous said...

Very introspective post on a struggle I also understand...Have a post I wrote years ago on smoking you might jive on:


Eve said...

Sucks! But good for you. I still relapse occasionally, and there's always booze involved.

I've heard habit replacement works. Maybe identify the reward (a rush, deep breaths, etc.) and figure out a habit that can give you that same result, then perform said behavior upon a ciggie cue. Like drink water, or do five push ups, or take three deep breaths, etc.

Hi dude!