I Am An Addict

As the first line states, I wrote this a couple of months after I stopped smoking. It's interesting to me (and perhaps, only me) that the style of this poem seems more accepting and resolute than that of An Ode to Smoking, which seemed more reluctant about letting go of the cancer sticks. Writing really helped me get over the nicotine addiction and gave me something to do with my hands other than hold a cigarette.

It's been two months since I stopped.
I still feel like the very first day,
Fighting every urge of my being to resist.
That sweet siren song of the cigarette.
Of course, back then I chewed the gum,
Now it just rests in my shirt pocket.
A comfort blanket, a placebo,
It's presence, just enough to keep me sane.

Every day is like starting all over again,
Wiping the bad dreams of smoky fun,
From my over-active imagination,
and accepting the reality of a non-smoker.
The cravings come stronger now,
They burn like unrequited love,
For a stranger you meet every day.
Just one kiss and it would all be okay.

But I don't steal that kiss,
To do so would set me back so far,
I'd have to smoke just to beat,
the stress of failing to not smoke.
No, I take each day as it comes,
And it goes.
Knowing that it will always be this way,
I'm a smoker who doesn't smoke.

I don't smoke when I wake up,
And I don't smoke before I fall asleep.
I don't smoke when I'm driving,
and I don't smoke when out drinking.
I don't even smoke after a meal,
Or just before I go to see a movie.
Yet each of those times, I remember,
I remember the desire and the disease.

I also remember the smell of my clothes,
Or at least I remember discovering it,
When I stopped.
That's something new that I'm grateful for.
If I had never smoked, I would never know,
To the extent that I know now.
I would never appreciate the scent of fall,
my nephew's skin or fresh clean clothes.

So, I fight everyday, just as I did before,
But this time, I am armed more heavily,
With memories of what I gained,
And of failed attempts to gain them.
With the stench of smokey clothes,
And the stains on yellow teeth in the mirror.
With my nicotine gum and my will,
I will fight till the death, whoever may win.

It's been two months since I stopped.
I still feel like the very first day,
Fighting every urge of my being to resist.
That sweet siren song of the cigarette.
Writing this fought them off one more time,
Until the next, and there will be a next time.
I am an addict but I will not give in,
Not yet, but tomorrow, I might celebrate with a smoke.

October 2006

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