Smoke and mirrors
I’m really, super glad that I never had a nicotine addiction. I did go through a phase of scabbing a lot of cigarettes off people when I’d had a few (too many) but rarely (if ever) brought my own packet.
And then one crazy night I must have smoked way too many cigarettes that I didn’t pay for, and I made myself violently ill (possibly also too much black Sambucca) and I never let another butt past my lips. I’m not sure why I did it (the smoking, not the Sambucca!), but generally I’m motivated to do things that I don’t necessarily love by my desire to be cool, liked and connected to other people (so some of the people I loved smoked too!) . Not so much anymore, but definitely when I was a teenager and into my 20’s (not that long ago really!)
To those of us who haven’t loved them, understanding the love for the ciggies is not something that makes sense, but for those who love them, there’s a whole nother thing going on (which I don’t understand and would never be so presumptuous to try to explain).
The bit I can explain though is that for those of us to whom it’s not our thing, what our ciggie smoking lovers/husbands/sisters/wives/brothers/friends/parents do with their lips is none of our business. And not that we have to like it, or encourage it, or never speak of it again but we certainly don’t have to get an addiction to their addiction. Too much of the time, in focussing on the thing/s we don’t like about someone else, is just a way not to look at the things that we do that are not OK or not good for our health. Especially the addiction to our thoughts about all the things we don’t like about their addictions (smelly, expensive, health stealing, distracting). In the end it’s not the thing that’s the problem, but something that is missing in our relationship with them, or more often than not, in our relationship with ourselves.
My guy smokes. He loves it he says, and it’s been part of his life for a decade or so (I actually probably scabbed a ciggie off him at the first party we ever met at, many moons ago). He’s making plans to give up, and I support him whole heartedly with that. But I know that if I ever hassle him about smoking, or try to have a holier than thou attitude about smoking, he doesn’t like it (and probably feels frustrated with me, which makes him want another ciggie). I love him, and I want him to be healthy and be around in my world for as close to forever as is possible, but in that I accept that it’s his thing, not mine (unless I suddenly start scabbing his ciggies again).
And it’s the same with everything, especially in our closest relationships – it’s not just ciggies that drive us nuts, but other behaviours or moods or things they say or do, that we use as our excuse not to be who we need to be to have the life we want. It’s not the ciggies, it never was the ciggies. That’s just a smokescreen.