4 April 2016

Addiction.

Once I was addicted to tobacco. However, in July 1988 that addiction was brought to a sudden end. I woke up, had a shower, got dressed and grabbed my very last pack of "Benson and Hedges". Instead of pulling out one of these sleek cigarettes and lighting up, I went to our dustbin. There, I pulled out the fifteen remaining cancer sticks and brutally crumpled them up in my hands. Then I crushed the golden packet and tossed that into the dustbin too.

Since that long ago morning I am proud and pleased to report that I haven't smoked a single cigarette. Not one inhalation of the horrible nicotine-laden smoke. After previous half-hearted attempts, I had finally ended my relationship with cigarettes forever.  

The evening of February 19th 1985 and Shirley is at work. I am sitting in front of our television set with our new baby son in my arms. I am waiting to watch the very first episode of a new soap opera called "EastEnders".

Very soon I was hooked. At first the soap opera was only screened on Tuesday and Thursday evenings but later it moved to four episodes a week. It was a big commitment - trying to ensure that you saw every new episode but I was a fan, absorbing all of the dramas that unfolded  in and around Albert Square in fictional Walford, London. I loved it and "EastEnders" became a part of my life - a useful release from the hassle and never-ending anxieties that surrounded my working life - leading a team of English teachers while bearing a heavy weight of expectation.

For twenty eight years I watched "EastEnders", hardly ever missing an episode. Even when I was working in Thailand I would catch up on the soap opera with the aid of "YouTube" or read plot summaries on the BBC website.

But in the summer of 2013, I decided that enough was enough. Watching "EastEnders" had become a ridiculous commitment and when all was said and done it was only television. Don't get me wrong, I always loved the show and admired its clever interwoven plots and the high quality of its scripts. There were many highs and the producers often bravely tackled modern issues through the drama such as child abuse, alcoholism, homelessness and mental ill-health.

Since July 15th, 2013 I haven't watched a single episode. It has been a bit like giving up cigarettes. I sense that it would be very easy to get hooked again by just watching one more programme.   But it's over now.

And how about you dear reader, have you been successful in giving up an addiction? If so, how did you do it?

31 comments:

  1. The toughest thing I ever did in my life was to quit smoking. the urge lasted at least 5 years and yes I could have started again. And yes, we can certainly become addicted to other things.

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    1. It might be late to say this but I congratulate you Red!

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  2. Been a smoker for many years and had tried many times to give them away unsuccessfully and in desperation tried though hypnotism. For me it worked and have not had one for 16 years.

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    1. As with Mr Red above, I send you my congratulations Craig... You are getting sleepy, sleepy... now we are at the ATM... withdraw all your money and hand it to The Great Puddingo!

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  3. I gave up cigarettes a few years ago. I just stopped buying them; went "cold turkey". Only way to do it, I reckon...for me, anyway.

    I'm not addicted to anything else...other than, perhaps, my own space, privacy.

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    1. ...and the imprisonment of small chocolate rabbits! Big applause and respect for giving up the evil weed!

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  4. I have never smoked, not even tried one in the school playground when everybody else thought they have to try it because it would make them appear "cool" and "grown-up". So that's one thing I never had to fight.
    I do have close experience with addictions, though. Smokers in my family, as well as a husband who, sadly, was a binge alcoholic.
    The book "Craving" was very helpful for me - I wish I had known it back then. My review of "Craving" as well as the author's reply to my review is here on my blog.

    I am addicted to chocolate. It is not as bad as it used to be - there were times when I would really go to the garage on a Sunday (all other shops being closed) and buy some, not unlike what Steve did when he went to get beer there.
    Also, I love bread and cheese and can go without them only for a few days. And a bit like Lee says in her comment, I need my own space and privacy, and I need to be out and about and move, or I go bonkers.
    Oh, and coffee. I don't drink a huge amount of coffee every day, but it is a very regular thing, and I get a headache when I've not had any coffee - that qualifies as an addiction in my book.
    Worst of all: I am not doing anything about any of these numerous addictions.

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    1. Sorry for not realising that Steve craved alcohol so much. You loved him but that aspect of his daily life must have been very difficult for you to deal with day by day and week by week.

      Addicted to chocolate? I know where there's a chocolate bunny waiting for you to liberate.

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  5. Can't think that I've ever been addicted to anything very much, and I'm not even much of a chocolate fan (sorry Clint). I've never smoked either - for which I am eternally grateful, nor drunk spirits or alcohol. I do enjoy a glass of wine with our evening meal, though if it wasn't there, I doubt I'd miss it. There are things I enjoy, of course, but nothing to an extent that I have cravings, or go out specifically to buy.
    I watch very little TV these days, and have never been a soaps fan, or remember being addicted to a particular programme - not since my teenage years anyway !
    However I do enjoy a good read, and can frequently be found engrossed in my Kindle, or even a "proper" book - so does that count?
    Oh, and I do like crisps !

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    1. To me it sounds that you have lived a blameless life CG. Do you wear a wimple?
      (Only kidding!)

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    2. Not out in the street YP - I'd be laughed at - it wouldn't go with the micro skirt, fishnet stockings, suspender belt and those red high heels... know the ones I mean?

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    3. Not only that, but I might trip over my halo !!!

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  6. I gave up cigarettes when they seriously impacted upon my health and television, totally and completely, several years ago and now I coast along with minor addictions to chocolate, coffee and blog reading....

    Ms Soup

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    1. I am sending you a virtual bouquet of spring flowers to celebrate the end of your smoking habit Alphie. Well done!

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  7. The closest thing I've had to an addiction is coffee, and even that I think of as more a habit than anything. I haven't tested myself in a while, but I think I could give it up if required -- but I would miss it. Fortunately I never started smoking.

    As for East Enders, it's funny how sometimes we just hit a wall. I've done that with favorite shows, too. Although honestly you could probably watch East Enders just once a week and keep up with it!

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    1. No addictions Steve? Were you an altar boy?

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  8. I smoked for a few years in my late teens, but was never a very heavy smoker and quitting wasn't too bad. I quit when I was 22 and had a bad case of bronchitis that landed me in the hospital. When I got out I had been too sick to think of a cigarette for a week so it seemed wise to not start back up. I'm glad I didn't.

    As you know, Gregg had stage 3 lung cancer almost 5 years ago. He's EXTREMELY lucky to still be alive and well. But he lost his left lung, which is a steep price to pay for a smoking habit. And even after all that, it was difficult for him to quit. Smoking is a terrible addiction! But 5 years on and he's cancer free and a non-smoker.

    Please, anyone reading this who smokes, QUIT! If not for your own sake then for the sake of the people who love you. I promise you that the risk isn't worth it.

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    1. Jennifer, I wish my husband would listen. He's had three operations to remove a cancerous tumour from his lung, and he's STILL smoking ! He says the damage is done and takes no notice of anyone who tells him otherwise. It doesn't make him easy to live with.

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    2. Mr Coppa and Mr Gregg are both victims of the tobacco industry but at least Mr Gregg has broken the habit. Naughty Mr Coppa! He should pay more heed to his loved ones. No man is an island.

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  9. Isn't it good how it has become almost anti social to smoke now. I always shudder in horror when I visit hospital and see people who are obviously quite ill sitting outside so that they can smoke. Even the smell these days if off-putting isn't it?
    As to addictions. In the far distant past I used to nibble my nails. How did I manage to stop? I used clear nail varnish so that each time I put the nail anywhere near my mouth I caught sight of the shiny finish - I think that stopped me, But really any addiction is hard to bear - but the feeling when you have beaten it is a good one.

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    1. You must have been nervous when you nibbled your nails Mrs W. Nervous or guilty?

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  10. EASTENDERS Iis a miserable pile of shite about sad people with bad wallpaper

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    1. In error you appear to have written EASTENDERS where of course you really meant to put THE WALKING DEAD.

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  11. That's fighting talk, John !!

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  12. Mr. Pudding, good for you and all the others able to quit smoking. My father died from throat cancer due to smoking and my husband had a stage 4 base of tongue cancer from smoking. He made it but radiation on the throat cooks the tissue and today he can barely eat or swallow and had to get a feeding tube. One thing we learned during treatment is that the amount a smoker smokes isn't as damaging as the length of time a smoker smokes. Just saying if anyone out there is still smoking. And yes, I smoked pot for several years during my hippie days, but finally gave it up.

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    1. So sorry that you lost your father and almost a husband through smoking Donna. Where are the war memorials to the thousands of dead smokers who were victims of the tobacco industry's greed and dismissiveness?

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  13. Not really any addictions here YP though I watch too much TV and enjoy my food too much and exercising too little. So glad I never liked the idea of smoking cigarettes.

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    1. The confessions are coming out now Helen. You are lucky that you have avoided cigarettes all your life. Horrid things.

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  14. I wonder if addictions have something to do with personality (accepting, of course, that tobacco is an addictive substance). I gave up cigarettes one morning in 1967 and never wanted one from that moment. I used to eat too much chocolate but hardly eat it at all now. Thankfully, though I have many flaws, addiction isn't one of them. As for Eastenders? How could you?

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    1. My mistake was watching the very first episode and then I watched the next four thousand! I notice that EastEnders' knockers have very little experience of watching the show.

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  15. With Irish and Alaskan Indian in my genetic background, I've always been very careful with alcohol consumption and have never tried drugs but didn't think twice about trying cigarettes. I smoked for thirty years before attending a smoking cessation program at a local hospital. My final cigarette was March 5, 1990. No cigarettes since but I will confess to inhaling deeply when near a smoker, but only in the first couple of years.

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