In my estimation, nicotine was always the true gateway drug. It kept me smoking for thirty or so long years. Because I attached smoking cigarettes to nearly every other behavior. If I drank coffee, I smoked. If I ate pizza, I smoked. Any job I really loved was always one where smoking was a natural part of it. After dinner, I smoked. If I drank, I smoked. When I rolled, I smoked menthols. When I took opiates, I smoked a lot. When I did coke, I smoked exponentially as much.
Everything I did when I smoked made life without cigarettes seem that much more empty. So that in my head I would say, "What will I do if I quit smoking?" I hear this a lot from smokers trying to rationalize their smoking to themselves. I hear it, because I lived it myself a thousand times or more. The advertising is designed in such a way, as to seduce you into attaching feelings of happiness and enjoyment to the marriage of whatever you do and your favorite cigarette.
My generation got it good. When I was a youngster, my mom smoked. Magazines were filled with people smoking. The television was filled with it. The Kool, smoked cigarettes. And then in the stores, what other level would a smart business man sell his cigarettes on if not the height level of 7- 10 yr old's, under the register so a kid could swipe them bitches without the cashier ever knowing. Hehehe! We would fill our drawers up with candy bars cigars and cigarettes and then go to the creek, smoke and eat chocolate till we puked.
Those were the days. And in those days, I fell in love with the act of smoking. It imprinted on me, if you will. I remember going out early in the morning, with my mom, at 16, and having the first cup of coffee and cigarette. So coffee and cigarettes went hand and hand from that day on. I remember sitting in the bar drinking. And having that cool ass cigarette hanging from my lips. This of course was so crucial that one would go to any length to keep it there. Squinting through the smoke, eyes watering, determined not to cough or balk in any way. Sure a lot of drinking occurred. But it would mean nothing without cigarettes.
I remember that when I removed cigarettes from the equation, I stopped connecting pot to those behaviors as well. I enjoy my pot now, when I have it, like a glass of fine wine. I don't need anything else to complete the picture. With cigarettes, it seemed, no picture existed without cigarettes involved. And the idea of quitting carried on it's back the ever present, terrorizing thought, that the moment I quit smoking, my life would cease to have any sense of completeness. All made exquisitely simple and obscure to the conscience, in one little question I would secretly whisper to myself. "If I quit.What will I do then?"
I'm not going into all that "how I quit etc". It's not the point. The point is, good ol Mary Jane was never a gateway drug. Beer never was either. Which is why I can still have a beer. And not need anything else. I can smoke a doobie, and not need anything else for that moment to feel complete. But cigarettes, like leaches in my mind, attached themselves to everything in my life. The times they are a changin. The young people today are much less likely to smoke or to want to. It is not deemed as cool, nearly as much. But one thing is almost certain. Wherever you find a meth head,a coke head or a heroine junkie, you are highly likely to find cigarette smoke choking the air. Pot isn't a gateway drug, cigarettes are!!
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