Off the Wagon

Maybe it’s the recent news or maybe this thing—whatever it is—that’s going on with my pelvic floor, or maybe the start of school—well—but to make excuses–I have fallen off the wagon lately cigarette wise.  Still I have not smoked a whole cigarette on any given day, but it’s been a while now since I have gone through a whole day without taking a few puffs.

So I have fallen off the wagon, but I feel as if I still have a good hold on the side of it or the tail gate. 

Maybe I am half on and half off the wagon.  I feel optimistic about an eventual positive outcome.  Oddly I feel optimistic because I have accepted the fact that breaking a 42 year old smoking habit is going to be hard, it is going to take a lot more time than I thought, and there will inevitably moments of backsliding. 

The trick with the backsliding is to take it seriously, to keep a real eye on it—mostly to register it and keep track of it, so you don’t slide unconsciously back into old habits (for example I am writing something but I don’t have a cigarette going and I don’t even have any coffee—damn!—but wait, that’s good) and not at the same time to start whipping yourself because you have failed and you are going to fail because you are a weak and terrible person with no character or spine to speak of and secretly or not so secretly you are self-destructive and have no will to live.

When I start thinking like that I want to throw in the towel.

Unfortunately I do start thinking like that.  How I developed this capacity to beat myself up I have no idea.  It’s almost as if I do it quite naturally; I lie in wait for myself in the bushes and then when I am not prepared I jump on myself from the bushes and beat myself up. 

I do not believe in original sin.  But I think I know what people mean by it or rather where the idea came from.  It came from people with an amazing ability to beat themselves to a pulp and still survive.   People who have committed no crime that they can remember (at least) and so conclude that just being alive or being who you are must be some sort of crime.

I don’t know how I got from falling off the wagon to original sin, but I did.  That’s how it goes these days.