Back in 2013 when I quit meth, it was under similar circumstances to my quitting smoking cigarettes last week. I knew the day in advance, planned it, and then stuck to my decision not to use again.
In that case, it was because my ex and her daughter came to stay with us. “Us” being myself and my mother, since my son wasn’t back yet. The thing is, I used to use when I was alone, and to my surprise, one week after she arrived, she went to spend a weekend with a friend. So I was alone again, a whole 8 days after quitting meth. I can’t remember where my mother was, also visiting a friend or something. But there I was, 8 days clean, alone, with time, money and opportunity.
In all past situations, I’d given in to my addiction. “Given in” is the right words, you see – I craved my drug day and night, every day and night. I thought of little other than using my drug, and when the first opportunity came, I gave in to my temptation. But, and I’m not sure exactly why, that last time was different. I went to the shop to buy something to eat, and I drove home on the Saturday morning, looking out at the mostly empty sunny streets, the same streets through which I’d drive with a couple of grams of meth and a 12Vold light bulb and plastic pen, in that mad rush to get home, make my meth lolly, and smoke it. But I drove, looking at those same streets with the confounding realization that there was no urge to get or use meth. And I was alone, but somehow not tempted, somehow freed by my choice that I was not going to use no matter what.
I remember it with such clarity because my mood was just the same as it is right now. I wanted to write about it, about how ecstatic I was not feeling that urge to use. Except I couldn’t. I couldn’t write about it because, to make my recovery easier, I’d lied to a bunch of people and pretended I was already a year clean when I was one day clean. So I couldn’t write it because honesty was not an option that day. Sorry about that… Quite a lie it was, but it worked.
But I can write about it now. It is quite strange, but I am in the same situation on 8 days cigarette free. My son is at somebody’s birthday celebration, which I advised against because he and I are isolating, having potentially been exposed to someone with COVID-19 a week ago Friday. But the choice was not mine, and in any case, everyone from my work is only isolating for one week anyway – so I guess it is alright.
My point is, I’m alone at 8 days cigarette free just like I was alone at 8 days meth free. And just like last time, I have not given in to temptation because there is no temptation. Perhaps the choice that I would never use again, no matter what, has freed me from any such temptation… twice. I don’t fully understand but it is pretty fucking liberating to feel this way again, having quit a second addiction the same way.
And for my conclusion, I’ll return to the title. I do think it’s important to test yourself. This, at 8 days of being an ex cigarette smoker, is my test. I could not be sure that I was free from my addictions without such a test, and having passed it, well that feels good. Almost like a high, this feeling of pride at having achieved something I thought I never would.
Quitting an addiction isn’t so difficult after all.