I Was Only Going To Smoke 1 Cigarette. – Hadassah Harrington – Medium

Photo by Irina Iriser on Unsplash

I needed something.

I needed relief.

I needed distraction.

My mind was so fixated on my current pain, I felt like I was suffocating. Every memory was a magnet to my thoughts and I explored every detail without mercy. I ran over every moment until my brain was raw and every thought raked deeper trails. I wanted to stop. I desperately wanted to stop. It was if I had lost all control and no longer had a choice in the matter.

It physically hurt. I clutched my head and suppressed a scream.

This must be how it feels to go insane.

I’d already taken up drinking, and though I swore I’d never become a drunk, the idea was suddenly an alluring option compared to my current state. The more I drank however, the more distressed I became.

I began researching medication. Something to help me. Anything..

I felt as if I’d gone cold and didn’t care about any repercussions, and yet I never touched any illegal drugs or strong meds. Part of me was just too angry and stubborn to allow my defeat to be over a boy.

I suddenly understood.

This is why people want to do drugs. ESCAPE.

I’ve always had a judgmental attitude towards any crutches people use. Especially cigarettes since I’m exposed to their use the most. Practically everyone I worked with had to smoke every few seconds it seemed.

Pathetic. Why would anyone choose that?

And then one Monday afternoon, I found myself in the middle of the woods, with a tear streaked face, and a cigarette in my mouth. A friend offered it to me, and I was desperate enough to try anything that wasn’t meth.

It was a crisp winter day. The breeze was chilly and the sky was crystal clear. I looked over the display of nature from the top of a steep hill. I could see the river through the bare trees glistening in the sunlight.

I took the cigarette with a cold hand and enjoyed the way the coal at the end pulsed. I liked the smooth paper on my lips and pulled in the warm smoke. Its earthy taste was that of comfort and peace. I watched the velvety wisps rush from my lips and drift lazily into the sky.

I realized for the first time all day I had stopped thinking about him. I immediately wanted another pull. And another.

I then coughed for the rest of the week. Between fits of coughing, I swore to myself I’d never smoke another one ever again. I reminded myself of all the videos I’d seen on lung damage and cancer. I reminded myself of the older woman I’d met with deep husky voices and sagging yellow skin.

I was not going to go down that road! I would never smoke again! Never again!

A week later, I smoked another one.

I crave one after alcohol and I crave one when I’m stressed. I understand the addiction now. I shouldn’t have tried that one. I knew better.

When I’d hear people say “I’m trying to quit”, I’d immediately think, why’d you start? I guess if anything good came out of awakening this awful desire, it would be that it humbled me.

How many people have fallen into the trap of addiction with that one simple thought in their head?

Just this once.

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