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Empathy for the Addicts
by Bishop Roberts
Citation:   Bishop Roberts. "Empathy for the Addicts: An Experience with Nicotine (exp114715)". Sep 18, 2020.

  repeated smoked Tobacco
    repeated buccal Nicotine


I got into smoking tobacco in 2017, using a "gandalf" pipe. I bought one for me and my flatmate for Christmas and we would choof on the front porch late and night talking shit about conspiracy theories, relationships, philosophy, music etc.

At first I was able to restrict my smoking to a single bowl, maybe once every three weeks.
At first I was able to restrict my smoking to a single bowl, maybe once every three weeks.
Eventually it got to regular social choofing maybe three times a week, but it still didn't feel excessively unhealthy.

By 2019, I was choofing fairly regularly, and the sessions would be long and drawn out, with much loading and reloading of the bowl. I would be sitting in my comfy reading chair, reading various scriptures and high-brow books, drinking whiskey/wine and choofing. It was an extremely pleasurable and leisurely way to study. Some time during 2019 I discovered menthol tobacco, and hoo boy was it nice.

2020, Coronavirus hit, I had to move house. I have ADHD and was using dexies at the time. I ran out of dexies and simply could not focus on my masters work _at all_ . The only thing I could fall back on was coffee and tobacco. And so I did. I choofed non-stop while attempting to study.

By this point, I would experience severe cravings for tobacco, and the moment I ran out I would go to the servo round the corner and buy more immediately. I was aware of the fact that I was "getting hooked", but I decided that I was ok with that for the time being.

There are lots of twists and turns in the story, but to cut to the chase: It's now at the point where I'm fueling my studies with a combination of Caffeine (via coffee, green/black tea, and energy drinks), Ritalin, and Nicotine (via Nicorette 4mg gum).

The reason I wanted to write this report is because I recently ran out of Nicorette, and experienced "real" cravings for the first time, and I found the cravings to be so shocking and unlike anything I was expecting based on what I've heard so far. You know how when you're in serious physical pain, you're sort of thrashing about and crying and shaking and "craving" some sort of relief (in the form of painkillers)? Nicotine craving isn't like that. Nicotine craving is far more sinister.

I was just sitting there at my computer studying. Aware of the fact that I had run out of gum about two or three hours ago. Nothing out of the ordinary. Suddenly, my mind had a singular focus on _getting more nicotine_. It wasn't as if my focus had been "violently" torn away from my studies and images and urges had flooded my mind. _There were no "urges"_. I remained _completely in control_. The only thing was, rather than studying and thinking about the content of the book in front of me, my mind was rushing through a million different possible plans for obtaining more nicotine.

The voice in my head was like "Right: this is what's going to happen: you're going to put on your coat and boots. Get your gloves and a scarf. Check how much money is in your spending account. If there isn't enough, transfer some in. Then you're going to walk out into the dark, trek to the servo. Buy some tobacco. Then you're gonna come back here, load your pipe, have a smoke, and get back to work". The tone of the voice was incredibly "matter of fact", as if what it was saying was indisputable and unarguable and simply the way things are gonna be, as if I have no say in the matter.

And then it was like "Alternatively, you can trek all the way down the hill to the 24/7 pharmacy and buy some more gum. Then make your way back up the hill with the gum and resume studies". Same declarative tone of voice.

Finally it was like "If all else fails, just phone the pharmacy and get them to deliver some gum to you right damn now"

Again, every time it spoke, this voice was clear, calm, and clinical, like a doctor giving a prescription which is not to be disobeyed. I find all of this equally fascinating and terrifying. Addiction really is a demon.

In summary, nicotine cravings aren't so much like a violent and forceful magnetic pull with which you must struggle to resist; instead it's more like a subtle hijacking of your reasoning process and a commandeering of the voice in your mind which articulates that reasoning process. Resisting the cravings isn't so much a matter of "fighting harder", as it is simply the ability to recognise that voice for the demon it is, and then banish it back to Hell by ignoring it and focusing on something better. In my case, my promises to my girlfriend not to smoke without asking her first trump whatever course of action the cravings might present to me. I think that having Faith, Hope and Love can help to reveal the cravings as false and damnable. Whereas if you can't imagine a happy ending to the story of your life ("heaven"), the voice of the cravings might seem powerful and convincing, and you might give in to them more easily. In my case, I experienced the cravings and was able to recognise them for what they are and didn't give in, but it was still a fascinating and terrifying thing to experience. Now I can empathise and sympathise with people who are trying to quit. It must be really, really hard.

Obviously the story goes on. I expect to hear back from the cravings again. I survived one battle, but I'm sure there will be more ahead. In one sense, the stakes are high and there is no certainty that I won't become enslaved to addiction (perhaps I already am and just don't realise), but on the other hand, my hope imagines that _ultimately_ everything is going to be ok, and my faith trusts that this vision is true. Keep fighting, knowing that there is a guaranteed victory at the end of it all.

Exp Year: 2020ExpID: 114715
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 27 
Published: Sep 18, 2020Views: 2,203
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Tobacco (47), Nicotine (383) : Not Applicable (38), Addiction & Habituation (10), Retrospective / Summary (11)

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