Koleski: I am an addictWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
All too often we hear about the devastation of being a drug addict or alcoholic. We see how gambling or sex addictions and food addictions ruin lives. Quite often these addictions lead to legal troubles, incarceration and loss of jobs. But what about nicotine? Smoking is of course an addiction, but this habit is not illegal. Smokers can be fined for smoking in restricted areas but the police won’t throw you to the ground and take you to jail, at least not yet. It seems as though the government is trying to make smoking illegal. Although I’ve never heard of the SWAT team crashing through the front door in pursuit of someone having an after dinner cigarette.
Yet nicotine is a drug and I am an addict. I don’t like being an addict and I make no excuses. It is what it is. I am not ashamed of my addiction but when I light up I can’t help but ask myself why. But in truth my smoking has not caused me legal problems or job loss. I do not have a criminal record as a result of my addiction. Why do I continue to smoke? Lots of people beat their addictions. These victories make people stronger. Nobody put a gun to my head and forced me to start smoking. I did this to myself and I will have to find a way to undo this.
I do not enjoy smoking. I don’t think I really ever did. Smoking does not relax me, it only serves to make me more anxious. I know this habit is wrong and I am hurting myself physically, yet I continue to succumb to my cravings. I know that I am putting myself at risk for health issues. I know that there is not one good reason to smoke, I hear smokers complain about being persecuted for indulging in this habit. Well smokers, if you don’t like feeling this way, quit smoking. Simply take responsibility for the fact that you are an addict. Certain businesses insist that smokers leave the property when on a smoke break. If you don’t want to stand in the cold and rain, stop smoking. Smokers are looked upon as filthy, disgusting people who are stinky. Even though we shower daily and wash our clothing, we still smell funny. Some non-smokers even think smokers are basically common criminals. We are killers because our second hand smoke is making people ill. The only people we are killing is ourselves. I think there are plenty of real killers out running the streets that we should be worried about. And lo and behold those people are on drugs and alcohol. Now I am hearing a buzz about some states trying to make smoking illegal in our homes and cars. When you start paying for my housing and transportation then you can order me around. Otherwise leave the communism to other countries.
May we talk about some real problems? As I said I’ll be the first to admit no good comes from smoking, but. Smokers can freely purchase cigarettes out in the open. We do not have to purchase our drug in some dark back alley hiding from law enforcement. Smokers can ingest this drug openly. I would hate to see someone sticking a needle in their arm while they are on lunch break outside of their workplace. And let us not be so naïve folks, you don’t even realize you are working with heroin or cocaine addicts. I worked with a young man for two years before I found out he was on heroin. Imagine my surprise. There are no drug cartels moving nicotine under cover of the night armed with automatic weapons ready to kill anybody who tries to stop them or interfere with profits.
Smokers do not get behind the wheel of a car and cause mass death and destruction because they are altered and cannot control themselves. Police do not respond to the scene of a crime because some fool was smoking and beat up his wife. Oh yes, he was drunk or high. Just one of the thousands of crimes committed daily in the United States at the hands of drug addicts and alcoholics. And the next time you non-smokers go to a ballgame in your brand new multi-million dollar sports venue or attend an event in some fancy new building downtown, remember where a portion of the money to finance these projects came from. Nicotine dollars pay for many things. How soon we forget. I can’t remember the last time I heard of heroin or cocaine paying for anything but more crime. These drugs do not pay for any public structures or programs. These drugs simply place hard working citizens in danger.
We all work with and socialize with people who use illegal drugs and abuse alcohol but we don’t seem to take issue with that. We do however continue to harass smokers. As I said I am an addict and I certainly do not condone smoking but give us a little break. Give us the same break you give to your friends who drink too much and act stupid and vomit. Give us the same break you give to the people you socialize with who are closet drug users trying to hide their addictions. With a smoker you know what you’re getting. We have a smoke and go back to work. It isn’t enough that you’ve forced us outside. We are not bothering you and there is no second hand smoke. The health care profession is always screaming about smokers while a great majority of health care workers smoke, drink and are overweight.
Hopefully when you leave work your car is still parked where you left it. Hopefully when you get home your house has not been burglarized by a drug addict. Hopefully when you’re driving you don’t have an accident at the hands of a drunk or drug addict ruining lives and stealing your possessions. Hopefully your children are safe and not getting shot by rival gangs running their drugs in the streets. Hopefully you never have to deal with these people. If you’re lucky you may have to deal with a smoker who, by the way, will see you tomorrow at work. Don’t worry if I’m getting on your nerves I can go out for a smoke break and while I’m out there you’ll be jealous because you’re stuck in the building. I’m not a criminal, I am only a smoker.
By Catherine Koleski