Silently encouraging one vice for another

Posted Friday, April 15th, 2016. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

I am not an addict nor do I have addictive behaviour. I am type A and do have a perfectionist side to me which I am learning to let go of. But addiction no. Even with my eating disorder I realized it was more about my ability to process information and once I figured that out I have been well on my way to dealing and healing. Ultimately what it came down to for me was learning to love and honour me; accept me for who I am and cherish that. By loving myself and learning strategies to deal with the ‘feeling’ of being overwhelmed and letting go of the ‘story’ that I tell myself I am much better and find a different outcome.

I am not saying that I don’t have challenging moments because I do. What I am proud of is my ability to step back and outside of the situation. Yes, I talk to myself and ask myself questions that nearly always bring me back to the here and now while letting go of the drama and emotion.

That has been a learning process.

I am not an expert on addiction and don’t know that many (at least those who admit) addicts. One person has come into my life and I am proud of his work that he is doing. He too is learning to love and honour himself which is wonderful. With empowerment he will hopefully get to the place where he can move out of his ‘safe’ zone and be in position that otherwise may have triggered him and know he is ok. He’s on his way to this.

I guess my larger question and something I do not understand is that why do we allow/encourage the addict on their recovery to move away from their vice (one vice) and pick up smoking (another vice). I have talked to people who work with and study addicts and even speaking to this person who confirmed that many of the addicts smoke. I guess I don’t get it. Nicotine is addictive and not only does smoking impact and affect the health of the recovering addict but there is the impact of second-hand smoke, even if you smoke outside or away from friends and family, on others.

I did a paper in my post-degree program on the affects of second-hand smoke. I guess you can say I am an “anti-smoker”. I don’t see the value in it nor the pleasure and maybe that’s my problem. I am not judging those who choose to smoke, it’s a choice and it’s legal. I just know for me I choose not to smoke.

I also know that getting an addict off of his or her vice of choice (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) is challenging enough, especially to the point that they no longer have the cravings and desires to use.

When I asked my friend why he smokes and for how long he said he quit in 2007 when he had his heart attack and did not start again until he was in the latest round of recovery, Feb 2015. He said he started smoking because he was bored. When we talked further it was evident that he was not just bored but lonely, scared, hurt, sad… emotions of ‘pain’. Again I am not an expert but it sounds like smoking helps ‘soothe’ the pain. He has only been smoking a year and so I made a comment that it shouldn’t be that hard to quit now that you are well on your way to feeling good about yourself, liking life and the people in it. He’s not ready to give it up completely or feels he cannot and must ween himself off of smoking.

For me, and making our world a healthier place, I would love to see in the program of recovering addicts a discussion/education on smoking.

Maybe this request is too much and unreasonable and even unrealistic. I will encourage my friend to quite smoking if not only for the fact he had a heart attack.

Some of you may read this and say…. she doesn’t know what she’s talking about or how hard it can be. I might not know that but I do know how hard it has been to overcome my things, physical, emotional and mental and to learn to love me and accept me. This is true especially of my changing body as I get older.

I guess I want to challenge those who smoke to think about reducing/slowing down and even stopping. I don’t know what it will take or how long or even if you will (some think can) … Just consider it for your health and the health of all the loved ones in your life.

I want to wish everyone a wonderful weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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