Citation: The Spoonbender. "The Hold on Me: An Experience with Tobacco (exp47198)". Erowid.org. Apr 30, 2006. erowid.org/exp/47198
I was about 5 or 6 when I had my first “smoking” experience. I come from a completely non-smokers family, and knew nothing about smoking. I was with two friends, brothers, whose father and grandfather used to smoke a lot around them at that age. The older of them suggested us three should also try smoking. So we took some paper sheets – Not rolling paper, plain A4 printer papers – and each created a cone (no tobacco used). We would light up the edge, blow it so that no flames were apparent, and sucked the smoke into our mouth (not inhaling, thank God). After smoking two sheets each, we felt really disgusting, and came to the conclusion that smoking is no fun. That lasted for about 3 years.
Somewhere in the beginning of the 4th grade, I was hanging with two kids considered real troublemakers in 4th grade terms. One of them said he wants us to smoke in school, to see what it is like. He was in charge of stealing the cigs from his parents, the other one in charge of bringing deodorant (so teachers can’t tell we smoked), and I was given the duty of bringing the matches. Next day we went in the bushes and set our smoking camp. The cigs had a much more pleasant taste than the papers I smoked few years ago. Of course, in retrospect, we didn’t even inhale, never really felt the nicotine, and were doing this just to be cool. The whole thing went on for two weeks, until we decided to “quit the addiction”. That lasted for about 4 years.
Junior High School
In the middle of the 8th grade, I was hanging in the weekends with a large group of kids my age. We had a place given to us by our village as a small club, where parents never stepped in. My friends bought a Hookah (here called a Nargila), and smoking it was “the cool thing” those days. I remember when I first smoked it, I said to my friends “This gives me a weird headache”. “Yeah, but it is a good kind of headache”, I was replied, “you’ll get used to it”. And so I did. After a few sessions with the hookah, I started feeling really relaxed while smoking. We would sit in the club for hours, smoking bowl after bowl. I loved it. The taste and scent of the Hookah tobacco was great, we had a variety of flavors to buy, and the deep relaxation we got by smoking was nothing I ever knew: A floating sensation, sometimes feeling currents running through our limbs, and slight euphoria. The whole thing lasted for a few months, until some asshole torched our club and broke our Hookah. The police investigated, found the broken Hookah, and let our parents know we were smoking.
A year later, my friends started “upgrading” themselves into smoking cigs. Again, under social pressure, I tried smoking a cig. This time, inhaling deep. It was horrible, It felt nothing like the hookah, tasted like shit and wasn’t fun in any way. They said it takes time to get used to, so I tried three more cigs on different occasions, still hated it, and simply stopped smoking.
Another year passed. Another tobacco experience enrolled. I was in a metal festival in Tel-Aviv, heavily drunk from vodka. I sat with two friends and each pulled out a cig. I knew I don’t like cigs, but then I had this genius conclusion that if tobacco was chewed in the old days, it can still be chewed for pleasure nowadays. So I took a cig from one of the guys, ripped the paper and threw the tobacco into my mouth. I didn’t survive this long enough to even try chewing. The moment the tobacco hit my tounge I became nauseated, the most disgusting flavor I've tasted was all over my mouth and I spent about 10 minutes only spitting and washing my mouth with water. I tell ya, I had some bad flavored drugs (Sinicuichi, H.B Woodrose, Kratom...), but this was absolutely the worst. Cigarettes were associated in my head with that flavor, and I couldn’t even think about trying them again.
A year later, 11th grade, we rediscovered the Hookah. Now, combined with alcohol, the relaxation was stronger than ever. I returned smoking, and even went to Jaffa and bought myself my own Hookah. I was having several sessions a day. I enjoyed smoking although I felt my tolerance growing and realized that the more often I smoked the less fun I had smoking.
Between the 11th and 12th grade I started smoking pot. I loved it. I decided to buy a small pipe, so I can carry it and smoke with people who didn’t have bongs (Joints were associated with cigs in my head, so I didn’t do ‘em). I didn’t care using tobacco from cigs in my mix, just didn’t wanna smoke cigs. I bought me some pipe tobacco, left the hookah aside, and became a pipe smoker. It was different from the hookah: The hookah session requires preparation and time, and carrying that thing around was a real burden, while lighting up a pipe was much more elegant. So I started smoking my pipe with tobacco at school and hash/weed at home. But soon my tolerance would build up again, and I was getting a weaker buzz from smoking tobacco. I first started to feel the craving for smoking those days, but didn’t consider myself addicted as I didn’t act by that desire.
I finished school, time to join the army (by law). Alas, pipes and hookahs are not allowed in the Israeli army. A friend gave me a pack of Camel cigs as a gift for my recruit. I started smoking these cigs in the army. At first I was in bootcamp, under combat training. We didn’t have time for anything, we were running all day, carrying stuff, getting in shape, basically doing a shitload of physical labour from dawn to dusk. I’d smoke 2-3 cigs a day, no more. And I tell ya, there were absolutely the best cigs in my life. I smoked one during my lunch break, and one or two in the evening. It was as if labor dramatically decreased my tolerance. I couldn’t even stand after smoking, as if I was really fucked up on weed. My mom would buy me 2 packs of Camel (most people seem to carry on with the brand they started with) every two weeks (when I got home), and that was exactly how much I smoked. After two months, boot camp ended. I decided I was going to leave the army, through the common way of going to the shrink and making him think I was fucked up. I was put in a platoon with the rest of the guys who dropped the fighters’ course. We didn’t have much to do, so smoking was a way to make time fly by.
I felt bad about smoking more than 3 cigs a day, but was already partially addicted. In that phase, I started correlating cigs with other activities. A cig before I go to sleep, a cig with my coffee, a cig before shitting, etc. I started drinking more coffee, simply an excuse to smoke more cigs. Three weeks I was in that platoon, and ended up smoking half a pack a day. I was transferred again, this time to a small room with 3 more people who were also in the process of leaving the army. We weren’t officially bound to any commander and had no defined job. We were loose, In a huge base in the middle of the desert, and a lot of time to kill. We smoked in our room freely. My tolerance was peaking; I smoked more than a pack a day. I didn’t feel anything fun when I smoked, and it freaked me out. I wanted the good sensation I had with the cigs just a month earlier. What I did feel, was awful craving when I didn’t smoke. A month passed, I was finally released from the army.
When released, I was totally addicted. I couldn’t even get a nice sensation off my pipe, not to mention my hookah. Cigs didn’t deliver also, but these always-available cancer-sticks got a good hold on me.
One day I woke up feeling really, really ill. The doctor diagnosed it to be a passing flu. After 6 days I was only getting worse, so my parents took me to the hospital. A few x-rays, blood tests, and I’ve been diagnosed with a bad case of untreated pneumonia. I was given medications and released home, still feeling horrible. I was craving for a cig to “release some of this pain”. I stuck one in my mouth, and lit. Now, smoking under pneumonia is something I really don’t wanna do. It felt as if death himself was sucked into my lungs with each puff, I literally felt that I am killing myself, but I couldn’t stop smoking. After two days, the pain in smoking finally overtook me. My lungs seared, My throat burned, I was coughing black stuff… I couldn’t take it, and threw my cigs. After I healed, the disgusting feeling still echoed in my mind and I didn’t wanna smoke at all. For 10 months I didn’t touch a cig, all the tobacco I smoked was in the mix with my weed, and bonging (I don’t do Joints) is very different than smoking a cig.
…Until my girlfriend left me… The first thing I did was to buy a pack of Camel and start smoking in a melancholic parade of self-destruction. Since then I have not quit for more than a few days. I smoke about half a pack a day, and I don’t enjoy it at all. I also don’t crave for cigs anymore. This is the weirdest status I’ve ever had with tobacco. I smoke automatically. I don’t think about it, and find myself with a cig in my hand. I don’t crave for smoking, and don’t enjoy smoking, and have no idea why I keep doing this. I actually feel worse sometimes when I smoke, I feel drained and filthy. I am trying to quit nowadays, but even as I am writing this I am smoking a cig. If I don’t buy a pack, I don’t smoke, but I always seem to buy a pack because I need it to mix with the weed and hash. Whenever I try to quit weed/hash (which I am also addicted to, but in a much softer way), I smoke cigs twice as much.
I tried buying cigs of a brand I don’t like for the use with my weed, but eventually turned smoking those (disgusting) cigs as well, and proving myself I am hooked harder than I thought. Whatever I do, the cigs seem to magically come back. Cuz I am “magically” addicted. Maybe I will be able to quit myself; maybe I need another shocking event like the pneumonia to shake myself out of it.
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