My Dearest Friends,
The time has come to reveal that which I have kept silent about for so long. I mentioned in my last post that this one would be played close to the chest. Then, as I make my effort to do what's right, I'm finding it a financial bite that's as bad as the problem itself.
I have been proud of the fact that I don't drink, nor do I engage in illegal drugs. Heck...Who needs illegal drugs when I have perfectly legal ones to keep my brain fuzzy at all times. But I *DO* have a bad habit. A *VERY* bad habit. Some know. Some don't. And now...all will. I have been a smoker since the age of 20. I have been ashamed of this to such a degree that I dared not say anything about it. Especially when I make a monthly plea for financial aid.
Now, before anyone gets wildly upset, let it be known that I have NEVER spent so much as a dime on cigarettes when the help arrives. It sounds so incredibly stupid, but when I start begging for aid, I usually have plenty of cigarettes on hand. That's right, boys and girls. I only beg for money once I've wasted *MY* funds on my incredibly stupid habit. My friends have fed me or helped me meet my needs. While my addiction to cigarettes might qualify as a "need," none of your help has gone toward my habit. (I swear it on my biological mother's grave, and will kill her to make that vow true.)
Six seemingly unconnected things happened that have my body and mind in an uproar.
1. First, the price of cigarettes is been climbing radically. Sure, there are plenty of shortcuts to start buying generic brands off Indian Reservations, but even those prices are climbing. It remains a waste of money on my part.
2. I finally was able to get through to my Aunt Harriet. Usually when I call, the phone simply rings and rings. I learned that she doesn't answer if she doesn't recognize the phone number. Well, someone else didn't know better, answered, got the phone to her, and we talked. She was a smoker for over 60 years. Now she has emphysema, and can barely talk for more than ten minutes before she needs to rest. Although I'm only at it for a third of that time, it would seem she's spelled out my fate without saying a thing.
3. My Dad called the next day, and I could hear him smiling through the phone. He was delighted that I was able to talk to my aunt...and the talk turned to my smoking habit. He refrained from making a long speech, but he told me the only way I was likely to quit was when I received a diagnosis that spelled my doom.
4. Now, without thinking about discussing my bad habit, I deemed it time to call Stu and find out how he's doing. Out of nowhere, he brought up my smoking, and said that I should do what he did to quit. This prompted my humorous response, "Well, gee, Stu...not all of us are lucky enough to tear our ascending aorta while getting busy with the wife and ending up in a critical care unit, where we'd be FORCED to quit." This earned me a laugh, and we tried do discuss how I might quit. Alas, the patches, which I've tried in the past, gave me a rash, and the gum...Well, I have a bad habit with gum since I was a child. Never has a piece of gum entered my mouth without me swallowing it. Somehow, I don't think nicotine gum in my stomach would be a good thing. As for pills...Well, my insurance ONLY covers Welbutrin, which resulted in one of my suicide attempts.
5. An online friend asked what appeared to be an innocent question at the end of an e-mail. "Are you still smoking?" We got to talking, and he was pretty angry that I would *DARE* to ask for financial aid while throwing my money at the tobacco companies. Not only did I explain how the money was always separated, but I also explained that it didn't really make it much better. I was still throwing money away, then asking for more.
6. Finally, there was a call from my truck-driving friend, Leroy. After a bit of BSing, he was on my case about my smoking, and how he was willing to pick up an electronic cigarette (e-cig) to help me quit.
Between the price of cigarettes and all the talk of smoking happening in a week, one would thing these people were running an intervention. But none of these parties had discussed this with anyone else. It was as though G-d were sending me GARGANTUAN neon signs that read, "Quit now, you dumbass!" It also occurred to me that my choices were becoming increasingly limited. I could eat or I could smoke, but I couldn't do both.
Now, there are little bits and pieces not worth telling, as it would make this post that much longer, but the result was a plan to quit. I did my best to gear myself up for the moment when I would smoke my last cigarette, then sleep my way through the withdrawals. When I woke, I'd take some insulin, eat, spray my apartment with air fresheners, take a few pulls of the e-cig, and go back to bed.
It was a good plan. Many people were impressed with it. It worked for two days...and on day number three, I was so rested that there was no going back to sleep no matter what I did. I was perpetually on edge. My craving for a smoke was insane. When I looked inside the box for the e-cig, I realized I had a new problem. If I'm to use this thing to quit, I'm going to need more nicotine cartridges, using progressively weaker doses until I'm off the real cigarettes.
My friends...My dear, dear friends...I can eat, or smoke, or buy the nicotine cartridges. Put simply, I want to be done with this smoking BS. And so, for the next month or so, I am flat out PLEADING for the finances to put an end to this. In all honesty, I'm hoping April will be the end of it, but my Dad predicts it may take a little longer.
Let me be clear about this...I am asking for the funds ONLY because the site where I can order the cartridges doesn't update properly, and it is easier to order by phone. You can check out the site here, but you'll notice many of the quantities are zero*. That means one of two things. Either they're out of stock and the site has yet to say so in big red letters on the product, or it's in stock and the site hasn't updated the quantity selection. (I learned this by calling the NJoy company.)
I am officially BEGGING for help to help me end this bad habit. And if the masses turn away from me, believing that I've deceived you all...Well, there's little I can do about that, other than apologize. I need to stop, my friends. Is anyone out there willing to help? Or is coming clean about this the end of numerous friendships? I hope not.
O hope folks respond rapidly. The sooner I put an end to this, the sooner I can worry about one less thing.
With my deepest apologies and great affection,
*The "regular" flavor cartridges are in stock because they taste like poison with sugar added.