Another way of saying this is another thing they say:
If you do what you always did,
you’ll get what you always got
A lot of us wrestle with habits other than “drugs” or “alcohol.” We eat sugar. We shop online. We have sex. We smoke. We don’t think these are problems until we bump into walls.
Lots of people don’t think smoking is drug-use. It’s been well established, ever since Jeffrey Wigand testified against Big Tobacco, that cigarettes are nicotine-delivery devices scientifically crafted to maximize the effects of nicotine on the neurological system. Nicotine is an addictive drug.
I was at a meeting the other night where a friend of mine was talking about how she gave up smoking. She’d quit drinking and gotten sober and had changed her life, she said, and saved her cigs for the times when she really needed to control her “stress.” … I’ve heard so many people with addiction talk about how kicking nicotine was harder than quitting heroin or booze. My friend said she’d never thought that her smoking was a problem until her kid piped up one day:
Oh, look, Mommy! There’s the cigarettes you smoke when you’re mad!
She gave up cigarettes after that.
This made me think about the times I eat sugar. I eat it when I’m upset. I eat it habitually. I eat it because I’ve always eaten it. I eat it because it’s what I do. … It makes me feel good for a while, it comforts me, then it makes me tired; it gives me headaches. It makes me sad: classic sugar-crash. I could give you a technical rundown on what happens with the insulin overload, but it would be boring.
I have to give up sugar.
It’s the last thing.
It would be cool not to be a slave to anything anymore.
It would also be cool to eat real food. Not to hunt through the cupboards for “fun” trash all the time. It would require me to plan meals, to balance my life so that I pay attention to what I eat.
Mindfulness practice—meditation—brought me here… I’ll write about that next time.