Friday, April 25, 2014
You Haven't Got Mail
23 years ago I had the help of Nicotine Anonymous to quit smoking. I consider myself an addict still because I know if I smoked just one cigarette I'd be a regular smoker again.
When you're addicted to a substance, even one as seemingly benign as cigarettes, you hide. You separate yourself from the world. There's shame involved. You want to quit but quitting is physically and emotionally excruciating. You are a slave to that substance and you must do what is required in order to get it. If you're a smoker, you have to go outside at parties, no matter the weather. Your mind departs every conversation as soon as the nicotine cracks its whip. Worst, non-smokers won't date you.
I sat in those Nicotine Anonymous meetings and listened to heroin addicts talk about how nicotine was the hardest thing to quit. That helped me, because I knew they'd been through so much.
I wonder if they can help me now.
Now my drug of choice is email, and I haven't been able to log on for days. It doesn't matter how it happened, or why. I am a slave to it and in order to get it back I must go to Apple's Genius Bar. While I wait for my appointment I am adrift, aimlessly surfing the web, a junkie on a shiny silver raft. It's excruciating to be unable to get my fix.
When I quit smoking, for months I abused sugar-free candy and gum. I ate a lot of actual food, too, and gained enough weight to go up a size. I discovered fine coffee. I used all these substances like I had used nicotine.
What is there for me now? Books? I mainline books. The great outdoors? Bah! I dose on that junk every day.
Facebook is boring. Twitter is chirpy. What will I do to feed my habit until everything works again?
Must I make phone calls? Oh, the horror!