Monday, June 6, 2011

You have a beautiful heart and black lungs.

Quitting smoking was a really empowering experience. After years of being a slave to cigarettes, it was so freeing not to have to get up every morning and smoke--not to have to go outside in the freezing cold, rain, whatever elements to get a nicotine fix. To be able to run for more than 20 seconds without feeling as if my lungs were going to explode. Although as far as addictions go, mine certainly wasn't the worst you could have, it was the worst I had. Seven months later, I can still say that quitting smoking was one of the best things I have ever done.

When people ask me how I quit, usually I say, "I just quit." By that, I mean I didn't use any nicotine-replacement aids. I prayed. I quit for a few months here and there before using the patch, but I always went back. I always fell into the addict's trap: I beat this, so now I can just have one cigarette. I can never just have one cigarette because that, for me, is a slippery slope. I know people who can just smoke socially and they're fine. Never waking up at 6:00 craving nicotine. I'm not, nor can I ever be, one of them.

When my dad died, one of my first instincts was to go buy a pack of cigarettes. No one would judge me. And maybe for a few minutes, I would feel okay, I would feel happy, I would feel that artificial rush of endorphins instead of the dull, sickening, overwhelming sadness that I felt. Fortunately, God strengthened me. He gently reminded me that smoking wasn't going to bring my dad back. And ultimately, it wasn't going to mend my broken heart.

I have a lot wrapped up in quitting smoking. It has taken on more significance than perhaps it should. So when I caught my husband yesterday on the side of the house, smoking, well, he might has well have been having sex with another woman. Actually I'd almost rather he'd been having sex with another woman. That I could compete with. I can't compete with nicotine.

My husband has been the most consistent person in my life for the past 21 years (minus that year he was on midnights, but I've managed--almost--to repress that.) He's nearly always in a good mood. He rarely gets angry. He always loves me. He's extremely, sometimes annoyingly, predictable. All of this feels very safe for me because my life has had too many unpleasant surprises. For years, Brad didn't understand why I would get so upset and worried if he didn't call or was five minutes late. The day I called him on a random Tuesday afternoon to tell him my brother had committed suicide, he started to get it. Too often, the unthinkable, has been my reality.

So, I don't know where to go from here. I don't know what to do with these feelings. I don't know how to be supportive and helpful and loving when I'm so FUCKING pissed. I know this certainly isn't the worst thing you can face in a relationship...it's just the worst thing I'm facing today.

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