Back in the days of yesteryear when we were young and dumb or should the better word be inexperienced and impressionable. Perhaps wanted to be grown and do grown things before your time. I guess that children look at the habits of adults and model the behavior without a thought of the consequences. Then again, as a child there is no recognition that there are consequences to a behavior, even if the behavior that the child engaged in is something that adults being hypocrites that they are disapproved of. You may ask ( in Gary Colman’s voice), what, you talking about True_George? Well, I’m talking about getting addict to a legal substance called cigarettes.
For me this all started when I was nine years old, or perhaps ten. I knew this dude David that was in my class. His older brother was in my older brother’s class and his young brother was in my younger brother’s class. This dude had so many siblings that he had at least five older brothers and sisters. To top that off his mother worked as one of the school lunch monitors. I guess it was a way to keep an eye on her brood. After all the members of that family was always involved in mischief. As it stands David’s older siblings smoked. So that habit was passed onto him. Given the age that we were at the time his mother disapproved of David smoking. But of course he would get cigarettes from his older sibling easily, he had to sneak around cause if his mother know that he smoked at the tender age of ten she would have slapped him into the next century.
So by now you’ve figured out that David along with Steven and Frankie the other cats that I hung around with in school at that point in my life introduced me to the cigarette. After school we would sneak around smoking the cigarettes that was supplied to us from David’s older siblings. David, Steven and Frankie used to laugh at me because I would not produce smoke after inhaling the cigarette. Then I figured it out that I need to draw the smoke deeper into my lungs. The first time I did it the smoke made me cough. Then later that day my throat felt dry as if I was getting a cold, and my nose ran. When I got a cigarette those symptoms disappeared. I did not put two and two together at that time because we smoked so frequently the symptoms never manifested again, and I knew that I felt better if I smoked
Then school was out for the summer. I did not see David, Steven or Frankie everyday anymore until the start of the new school semester. Since my parents did not smoke I did not have any more access to cigarettes. So it began the flu like symptoms appeared. A dry throat, runny nose and an occasional cough, however other symptoms appeared. There were sweating and a loss of strength and chills going through my body. I had no appetite and did not engage in any activity. I really did not understand what was taking place. My parents were also clueless, they thought I sick with a bout of flu. This is because the symptoms were similar. Yet, I knew that if I had a cigarette I would feel better. I was too weak and did not feel like going outside to see my friends to get a cigarette. The symptoms lasted for about two weeks. As suddenly as the flu like symptoms appeared, it suddenly disappeared, my throat felt normal, I stopped sweating, no more chills, my nose stopped dripping and my strength returned.
It wasn’t until many years later when I reflect on this experience that I recognized that I was addicted to the cigarettes and when I did not have access to them I started to have withdrawal symptoms. Since the adults around me did not recognize withdrawal symptoms and I was going cold turkey. I kicked the smoking / nicotine addiction, after that I have never had an issue anytime I would smoke and suddenly stopped smoking. This extended to all other potential addicted
substances. I found that I could take something, and stop taking it at will. If withdrawal symptoms manifest, it is mild as compared to what I felt the first time I went cold turkey.
Tell us about something you’ve tried to quit. Did you go cold turkey, or for gradual change? Did it stick?