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Hello, My Name Is Thelma And I'm An Addict.





I always thought it's the most absurd thing ever that former and recovering addicts still refer to themselves as addicts, even those who conquered their addiction as long as ten years ago. I never quite got it;
wouldn't referring to yourself as an addict only drag you back into the habit, wouldn't it keep reminding you, what was there to gain in calling yourself an addict, and of course from the 'Christian' angle, don't they realize that there's power in the tongue, that repeating that sentence over and over again would only give life to those words...

But then I once heard that they do it to remind themselves of where they once were, how vulnerable they were and how far they've come. 

Last night I went to see a friend and as he walked me to my car he pulled out a stick of Dunhill Switch, placed in between his lips, lit it up, took a long slow drag and slowly exhaled. I could feel the electricity just by watching him and a moment later I felt myself shudder. 

It's been about two years and everyday is a struggle, everyday is a battle, everyday is a fight, made more difficult by the fact that it's all around me, it's everywhere I go, it's even in my own home. 

        Some people don't understand addiction. Some people saw me smoke and the first thing they'd think was wayward, street girl, uncouth, indecent, not wife material, lousy etc etc etc, and in truth I was none of those things, merely someone who one day on her own volition picked up a stick and lit it out of curiousity. That marked the beginning of a decade long love affair. 

Smoking to me was relief, it was reliability, it was comfort, it was love, it was lover, it was friend, it was friendship, it was food, it was sex, it was solace, it was companion, it was a laxative, it was something to occupy myself with, it was something to do with my hands being sometimes socially awkward, it was a calmer of nerves in times when I was on edge... It was everything, it was addiction. 

I remember checking into hotels for a night or two, just so that I could smoke. In retrospect, between 2009 and 2011 I must have spent over N300,000 of my own money on hotels or guest houses. "My own money", because I always wanted to be alone, never wanted any company, either male or female. So I'd gladly squeeze out of whatever money I had (and I didn't have a lot) and pay for lodging. 

Eventually, I finally admitted to myself that I'm an addict. Eventually my health and strength began to wane and I knew I had to stop, yet I couldn't. I did everything I could, but I couldn't. Till I decided to try God. 

To deal with my smoking addiction I went on a 21day fasting program; 6-6 (technically 12am to 6pm, because I'd begin my prayers at 12midnight which marked the start of the fast for that day). I devoted those 21 days to praying that God would take my addiction away. Of course during fasting period I could neither smoke nor indulge in any vices for the entire length of that period. What that meant was that for 21 days I could not smoke. That was HARD!

But I did it and I told myself and God that maybe this was the beginning of the end of my days as a smoker, I mean; if I could go without for 21 days without, then I could just quit from there, right? Wrong. 

On the morning of the 22nd day I rushed to the mallam's shed, shivering like a heroin addict I bought a pack of Benson&Hedges, rushed to the home of a fellow nicotine addict and spent hours there, feasting on cigar like it was chicken suya. 

And then I realized that I hadn't broken my addiction. 

But just like magic, just like I'd prayed, a few months later it suddenly began to disgust me. I realized that I was smoking less and less, and then I realized that I even had to force myself to smoke. Then, I suddenly began to hate the very sight of cigarettes, I couldn't stand the sight, the smell or the taste, and just like that, I stopped. 

I have no doubt in me that it was divine intervention... However my struggles weren't over. 

You see the thing about addiction is that when you conquer it, your body begins to find something else to suppress those cravings. It's for this reason that you see some former drug addicts become alcohol addicts or sex addicts and such. My body suppressed it with food. 

I wasn't surprised as I'd once tried to quit years before and I noticed that I instantly became gluttonous, the next day I went back to smoking because I thought to myself that I'd rather be a smoker than be fat. However this time around I knew there was no going back so I promised I'd deal with the eating. 

I would like to tell you I have but I'd be lying. While I'm not a compulsive eater, sometimes it almost feels that way. Between when I stopped smoking and now I've added about 20kg, and this is even despite the occasional diets, and exercise. It's made even harder by the fact that for me sex cannot be used as a suppressant and alchohol which I've never been too fond of, only makes me want to smoke. 

Of course I've tried to suppress it with positive addictions like prayer, exercise, reading etc... But you know, life rarely ever works that way. BUT I am not resigned to my fate, I told you everyday is a struggle, a battle and a fight, right? I stay fighting until I win. 

Although I broke the smoking addiction I wouldn't lie to you that I don't miss it, and last night I wanted nothing more than to grab that stick from his mouth, stick it in mine and suck from it like my life depended on it. 

Everyday is a battle, yet everyday I overcome is a victory. 

I choose to be victorious. 

I pray for strength to stay this course. 

I pray for grace to conquer every negative addiction, every vestige that's left in me. 

My name is Thelma and I used to be an addict. 


Good morning TTB readers!

Comments

  1. Hmm,so have u tried doing another 21days dry fasting for ur eating addiction?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now, that's good one. But is really interested in losing d weight ryt now? Probably not.

      Delete
  2. You are a very strong woman. I admire your strength, courage and perseverance.
    I know it can't be easy but you are doing it and with God strongly in your corner, your daily battles will keep turning into victories in Jesus' name.

    PS: I subscribed to get email alerts of your posts and i get them. The problem now is, the alert comes in the night with everything you have posted during the day, which is cool, but I think the goal is to get people to come here (the site).
    If they can read everything on their phones then there's no point. So if you can edit it and just give the recipient a few lines to whet his/her appetite and then put a link to the actual post then it will be fine.

    #MyTwoCents

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time, my dear! Time time time... But it is a good idea cos with prompt mails we don't feel left behind in d comment section (sometimes).

      I think dis is ur first comment since your birthday, shay d flexing collect carryover. Hope u had #fun!

      Delete
  3. I read this post as Oyinlola, the creative-minded me. I read the words and I saw beauty in each line. A perfect blend and fusion of words and emotions. I liked the wordplay at the end, the deliberate repeat of "I" at the start of each sentence. Literary folks call it anaphora. I saw a woman with will, scratch that, make it strong will. I saw a woman with skills. I saw a woman complete who has lived on all opposing ends and do you know what that makes you? A total package.The dream of every good man. Anyone would be blessed to have you as a friend, sister, wife, mother...and I join you to pray for more grace. You go girl, victory always.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Reading this brought tears to my eyes. T, you are indeed an inspiration. Words fail me but trust me you are a success story waiting to explode!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thelma thank you for being so honest and open. I had an addiction that took 25 years to get rid of. I am still to embarassed to talk about it.

    www.pynk360.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. The way you write @times leave me dry..I begin to ask myselfy if there are people in this world that are so free spirited, open and plain...though I rarely comment but I always read all your posts.. Have learnt a lot and am still learning.. I must confess you are a skillful Writter! indeed words do come alive when you hold your PEN..
    The Lord is your Strenght...

    Fay.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You r a strong person n an inspiration I tell you,if u tired using the same methods u used for the smokin it might work for the weight too ...nothing is impossible unless u tell yourself it it

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oyinlola Sobowale said my exact mind. I am married. If I was single, I would consider you. Your have an honest heart. Many of us read you daily but hardly comment

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yeah I'm one of those many that read your blog daily but never comment. .and I always wondered why you smoked the few times I saw you...Thank God for his grace to overcome..and that grace will perfect and strengthen you..
    P.S I knew you were a nice and kind hearted person but we never quite hit it off. Glad to know you are doing well.
    Merry Christmas T

    ReplyDelete
  10. Having been your cyber-friend for years and followed this blog since inception, this would be the first I am commenting on. To say this piece touched the very depth of my soul would be an understatement, it went farther. It only reminds us as humans that we are after all, mere mortals and the only iota of strength we have is in GOD, especially as regards addictions (which by the way, we all deal with day to day). One last word, Thelma, this only made me love you some more. If I wasn't seeing someone right now, I would've rocked the boats of bermuda just to be your man.

    ReplyDelete
  11. She done did it.... Very honest & touching piece!!!
    We dey pray for U Thelma.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Can nicotine gum help ?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Yes, victory is the way. Letting go of a want isn't easy, let alone an addiction. May your prayers be answered.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow! Dis piece left me speechless. I just love the way you write. I love your honesty. May God grant you the strength to overcome it. If you set your mind at loosing weight, I'm sure you will.

    ReplyDelete

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