Monday Dare: Don’t eat cocaine. Don’t smoke cigarettes.

Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the full list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.

This week: Quit smoking.

To me, the best way to start any kind of ban is by doing an excessive amount of the supposedly Bad Thing, getting really disgusted with yourself, and then crying a little about it.

Maybe your supposedly Bad Thing is food. Before a diet, you would gorge on a lot of Bad Things like Entenmann’s powdered donuts. They always leave white stuff around your mouth and make you look like you’ve been eating cocaine.

Maybe your supposedly Bad Thing *is* cocaine. Then, you would just snort an eight-ball, and if you didn’t have a heart attack and a bloody nose, you would look at your cracked-out face in the mirror and say to yourself, “Yes, today. Today is the day I make the change from loser to winner.” Don’t forget to cry a little afterwards. I find that tears always seal the deal when you’re making a self-improvement resolution.

Or, maybe like me, your Bad Thing is cigarettes.

I’ve smoked on and off for sixteen years. When I’m smoking, I am guilt-ridden and nervous. When I quit, I really miss those little bitches.

I “quit” again last October when I was in the ICU for my mysterious illness. On my third night in the hospital, sometime around midnight, I desperately needed a cigarette.

Me: Can I go outside to smoke?

Nurse: No

Me: Why?

Nurse: Besides the fact that it’s bad for your health? You’re hooked up to an IV and five other machines. Getting you untangled would be a nightmare. Plus, the doctor’s already gone home for the night, and he’s the only one who can approve it.

Me: Then call him.

Nurse: I’m only allowed to call him for medical emergencies.


I begged. I pleaded. Eventually, I wore two nurses down, and they eventually paged the doctor, who I also wore down. They unhooked me from the machines, wheeled me out in a wheelchair, and there I sat, on the curb outside of a hospital wearing a hospital gown and smoking a cigarette on a frosty October evening. If I had a list for pathetic moments in my life, that would be at the top.

It occurred to me as I puffed away that this couldn’t continue. So I “quit” cold turkey. Three weeks ago, I picked it up again.

I feel a deep sense of shame admitting this to you. I’m open with you about so many things. My former addiction to drugs. My time on welfare. The men I’ve dated who are currently incarcerated. But the smoking- well, that’s embarrassing. Go figure.

I’ve tried to give up smoking for Lent, even though I’m not Catholic. Year after year, I’ve failed. I don’t even know when Lent is, so instead of following that doomed path again, I’m calling this week SPENT. I’m spent. I don’t want to feel guilty as I hide out on a porch, smoking, hoping not to get caught by my family. I’m spent with smelling like an ashtray and being afraid to give Cal a hug because I don’t want her to smell the cigarettes on me. I’m really, really SPENT.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of quitting something, I would be over the moon if you joined me in SPENT. Support makes a shitload of difference, yes?

Do you have a vice? Have you conquered it? Any tips?
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