If you’ve ever smoked a cigarette, you know just how uninviting that harsh, musky taste is on your first inhale. It causes you to choke and you immediately vow never to smoke such poison again. Then, over the next few years you catch yourself bumming cigarettes, asking for hits at parties, buying packs once in a while until you’re smoking one every hour as soon as you get up in the morning to right before you fall asleep.
You’ve become addicted.
Why is it we choose to intake substances that we know aren’t good for us? How is it that the uninviting taste of smoke suddenly becomes a hit of relief?
And just like every hit of a cigarette I take, I fall for types like you. A look of poison in your eyes and the smell of smoke warning me in the air. I get a harsh taste of reality every time I get a taste of you, yet I crave it all the time. You’re just like the smoke sitting in the back of my throat, killing me slowly, but I’m the one choosing to inhale.
At first it was merely an intriguing experiment. It was my attempt at facing danger, like my first roller coaster ride or drifting in my 2001 Ford Mustang while drunk in the suburbs. You enjoy the feeling of coming out alive, of overcoming a deadly situation. It’s exhilarating.
I’ve grown an addiction of being hurt by people like you. My body practically craves it.
It doesn’t know how to live without it. It has molded around the idea of having someone like you to tear me down when I’m putting myself together, otherwise I’ll be forced to confront all that it is I’m supposed to achieve in life, love and self.
It’s like those moments I’d walk out of work to sit out in the sun, light up a cigarette and take a deep inhale to avoid the stress of the day. I’m not forced to sit with my anxiety, because I’m using my addiction as a distraction.
Now that I’ve quit smoking, I’m face to face with that stress and am no longer able to escape it through use of a substance.
That’s what I have to do with you.
I’m face to face with your sculpted hollow figure, the fleeting affection you throw at me, those empty words, and the craving of your leaving touch.
I have to choose to sit there and just observe, to not respond.
Just as I have to do when I feel the urge to pick up another smoke.
I’m starting to feel the withdrawals—my body yearns, my hands shake, my heart aches, my stomach stirs. You can see it when your eyes meet mine and you attempt to use my weak state against me. Little do you know, I’ve been smoking much longer than I’ve known you.
I have held onto addictions with worse side effects than you.
I have also prevailed through tragedies and hardships more threatening than you.
I may crave empty, dangerous addictions such as you, but I’m starting to get better at defeating them. Because even though I feel the withdrawals, I also know I’d rather have shaky hands than your tightened grip around my heart.
I know leaving you was the best choice to make. I know every kiss with you will only lead to the taste of ash on my tongue. Every touch you make, burning scars onto my skin.
Even though I will always crave the inhale of toxins, I’m starting to learn what is best for me. I will no longer waste my energy, because using my time to get over an addiction is far less consuming than actually being addicted.
Even though I may relapse by reaching for another cigarette, another kiss, another one of your types when I feel weak or diluted—I will not stop fighting.
I will not give up on freeing myself of the hurt, until my wounds are completely healed—my lungs no longer black and my heart no longer scratched.
I’ll reach a point of being free from the confinements of you that it won’t even be worth looking back. You can keep trying to pull me in—to seduce me with your dangerous flame, tempt me with the release of a smoke-filled exhale. I will not fall for it again. I will not give into the temptation to where it takes away from what I’ve already fought to heal so far.
I will not fall back into your addictive hold. I am growing much too strong to be weakened by the likes of you and if I can quit smoking cigarettes, I can quit you too.