Friday, August 14, 2015

Let's Talk About Addiction

I grew up thinking you had to have a drink in your hand to have fun. That's how you relaxed. That is how my family lived. The work day was over when it was martini time. I started smoking at 10. By 14 I was drinking. By 16 I was experimenting with things I shouldn't have. My Uncle and his son both died of liver disease, too many years of sucking on the bottle took them both away too young. I have watched so many friends fight the fight to get on the road to recovery. Many of them made it and lead wonderful lives, too many did not. Some of them who didn't make it lead lives they are not proud of, some of them are 6 foot under and we will forever wonder why they couldn't save themselves and why we were powerless to help them.

Life is all about choices. Choosing to overcome an addiction, ANY addiction means that every day we choose NOT to do what we are addicted to. It might be alcohol, or drugs, or electronics, or sex, or even food. Some days that choice is an easy one and other days, it is a struggle to stick to that choice. Hopefully, those of us who choose to live our lives free of what we are addicted to give ourselves the tools that are needed to help us succeed. That means support and taking care of ourselves and doing what ever it takes.

As a smoker or ex-smoker, does it make you angry to read things that call you an addict? Are you one? How many times did you try to quit? How many times DID you quit, only to start smoking again down the road? I'm not even going to touch the whole scientific part of a smoking addiction, whether it is the nicotine or the chemicals, is a physical or emotional addiction. I'm just going to stop being in denial right now and admit, I am addicted to smoking.

I know this because of the choices I made as a smoker. I knew smoking was bad for me and I smoked anyways. I watched my loved ones die from heart disease and cancer and I kept smoking. I knew second had smoke was bad and I smoked around my children and grandchildren and the children of others. I knew that smoking turned everything around me yellow and yet I smoked and ruined my walls and my furniture and made my house and vehicles reek. I knew smoking was expensive and yet I smoked when that money should have been used to take care of my family. I remember how agitated I would get when I needed a smoke and couldn't have one. And yet, for 46 years, I smoked. Most days were 2 packs a day.

This morning, I read Gabby's Story (please click here). That story reached out and slapped me in the face. It has nothing to do with smoking or vaping, but has everything to do with addiction and how we treat addicts. It has a message that cries out loud and clear, people who are addicted to something need HELP. They don't need to be locked up, ignored, or forgotten. Yes, part of the journey on the road of recovery they must do on their own, but if you look at any type of recovery program for any type of addiction, you will see that no one conquers their addiction alone. We are social animals and we need the love and support of others.

Momma Vape asks you to think about addiction today. Your own and those around you. It is a great thing to tell a smoker about vaping, it is amazingly kind of you to give somebody the equipment to get started vaping, BUT helping them does not stop there! Be a mentor, a cheerleader, an ass kicker if needed, but be there for people who are working to stop their addictive behavior and change their lives. Be it drugs, booze, or smoking BE THERE. Be an ear, a voice, a shoulder. Be aware of helpful resources, be a guide. Lead by example. Sponsor them, give the hope, give them courage, have faith in there, if they fall help them stand back up. BE THERE!!!!!

Fighting to protect the right to vape is a great thing, it will save lives. Let's remember that we are fighting for those who have not yet started on the road to recovery. They need us the most.

My name is Skip, and I am an addict. Until I read Gabby's story I never accepted the fact that throughout my life I have abused many things and have become addicted to many things. Today my heart is full of hope and gratitude. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Love to you all!
~ Momma Vape

Dedicated to my Mom. Yesterday would have been her 76th Birthday... Smoking related diseases and mental illness took her away from us years ago. But I can close my eyes and remember the Mom of my youth, my hero, my world. In her day, the good years, she was an amazing woman. A survivor. A really cool Mom. May I always hold onto the goodness that she had in her, may I nurture it and grow it, may I plant the seeds of the goodness everywhere I go and spread that goodness to share with others. She was always proud of my goodness. Today I hold on to that.

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