Feb. 4th, 2016

Two mornings ago I woke up and coughed once, a thumb-sized piece of phlegm in my throat. Still in bed, I grabbed the nearest thing to me and hocked into it, staring at a gray-flecked jelly-like wad of mucus. From my lungs. Better out than in, but I've been quitting smoking for months now, obviously not successfully, and here was proof of my backsliding.

I just smoked my last cigarette before coming to write this. It's my last because tomorrow is my birthday and my quit date. I've got nicotine gum and a book called The Easy Way to Quit Smoking, which actually doesn't recommend gum or any other replacer, but there it is - I already bought the gum so I have it just in case. The book talks about psychology versus physiology, and being on a quest to regain control of my psychology, I find it very helpful. I do recommend it.

I haven't smoked marijuana since June 6, 2015. I've been drunk exactly since 3 times since July 31, 2015. Each time I did so because I was avoiding emotions and dealing with stress in the least helpful way possible. It's been... 5? years since I did cocaine, even longer for any other drugs.

I'm tooting my own horn a little bit, listing the accomplishments, but here's the thing: If you've read my comments on your own entries, you'll notice I've been a bit emotional. I've stripped away all the layers that stand between myself and emotions, and it's utterly surreal. I like metaphors, and I've searched pretty hard for an accurate one - the best I can come up with is that it's like being outside on a bright sunny day and taking off your sunglasses. It hurts. Your eyes tear up, you feel blinded at first, you can either put your sunglasses back on or you can adjust to the daylight and keep going. This time, I'm keeping going. It's me in the sunlight, me and my emotions.

I looked up 'abstainer's vow' and ran across mentions of the Nazarites; I have a degree and a half in religion so I thought at first I'd come up with some amazing story or a nice essay that would blow your minds. But then I looked up the definition of abstain itself. It is to "restrain oneself from doing or enjoying something."

I can restrain myself from smoking because smoking isn't actually enjoyable, it's simply something else to do when I'm bored or frustrated or need time to myself. Granted, I can't actually shake my mom til her teeth rattle*, but I don't have to go outside and smoke to deal either. There's no great wrap-up to this, no real meaningful and witty zinger of a last sentence, but a simple thank you to the people around me who have encouraged and supported me. You guys have done it, and you didn't even know it. The enjoyment of reading your entries, the amazing comments I've gotten on my posts, the conversations that have started - all these things are meaningful to me. You never know when your tiny action is a huge deal in someone else's life, or when your kindness and interest are the bright spot in someone else's day.

*Example of a maternal interaction:
Me: "I'm going out to the garage, back in a second."
Mom: "It's dark so turn on the porch light."
Me: "..........."

Me: "I'm going for a walk."
Mom: "Tie your shoelaces tight."
Me: "........."

She says it's a mom thing, that you never stop worrying about your kids, but in my opinion, if I fail to turn on the porch light and fall down the stairs, I sort of deserve it. Or if I've reached the age of (almost) 36 and can't remember to tie my shoelaces, something is very wrong.

Bonus song:

edit: Please also read my teammates' entries and vote for us all! i_love_freddie, prog_schlock, inteus-mika, and ellison!

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