At seventeen I started smoking. Don't ask me why because I truly don't know what prompted me to make that choice. It was not about being "cool" or fitting in. I wasn't trying to kill myself or get attention. I was rebellious and self destructive, trying to grow up in all the wrong ways. Never did the thought of long-term consequences cross into my diluted mind as I was filling it with chemicals. I wasn't considering the fact that although I didn't want to be addicted, the chemicals were causing a reaction that would be impossible to duplicate without cigarettes. The psychological effects also took hold with that very first drag.
Now, nearly ten years later, the cravings still catch me off guard. Not every day, not even once a month... but sometimes, when I smell fresh smoke, drink my coffee, have a bad day, or even when a quit smoking ad comes on the television... the irrational and nearly irresistible "need" for that hot nicotine stick takes precedence over any rational thought I may have had.
Not since 2007 have I given in to the urge. The cravings are strong but I remind myself that giving in for just a little fix is not worth it. Not worth the pain I would cause my family, not worth the embarrassment of having to admit my deadly mistake once again.
I wish I could say the cravings are easy to deal with, simple to ignore, but they are rather intense. There have been a few times I was so close to caving it frightened me. Sometimes there doesn't even need to be a specific stresser.
Maybe someday I will be free of my cravings, my nasty addiction. But then, are alcoholics ever free from their addiction? Do they ever truly "get over it"? Does an alcoholic ever stop craving a drink every once in a while? I think not. I believe our addictions are always with us, constantly lurking. We are all humans, every one of us fallen. Our old nature wants us to give in, make ourselves feel good, take the easy way. We don't have to give in. It doesn't matter how strong the urge, how terribly we feel we need something. Every one of us has a choice to make. I will continue to make my choice. I'm sure I will continue to be haunted but I will continue the fight.