Stories & experiences

Hacksaw Harry
Mid North Coast

The Hard Times

Posted in Staying quit 09 Nov 2019

My brother died today. It was quite unexpected and not smoking related as far as we know.

Actually it was yesterday he died but it is 4:30 AM and I haven't slept yet.

Yes, smoking. To occupy my mind I started watching a movie. It was a period drama about the American civil war. At one point the action lets up and the hero pulls a pipe from his pocket, loads it and inhales the smoke.

I could almost feel the blessed relief.

Surely I could smoke a pipe! After 16 years off the cigarettes a pipe would be an almost dignified accessory. I am a writer and I can just see myself contemplating the prose, the pipe in hand, its mouthpiece resting lightly on my lip . . .

Never before have I experienced such a need for something, some substance, comfort, outside of myself. The pain in my heart at losing my beloved brother is so great it is almost physical.

But I do have a strategy; even in the hard times there is a solution. I am reminding myself even as I type that if I light up nothing will change. My brother will still be dead. I will just have one more problem.

If I smoke I will be coping with the same grief except I will be trying to do it whilst feeling ill from the smoking.

I have always subscribed to the adage that the best way to deal with a problem is to help someone deal with theirs. This is how AA started. One drunk discovered that he could stay sober if he tried to help another drunk get sober. What happened was he got a little happiness from the transaction, enough to get him through the day without a drink.

85 years later there are 3 million sober AA members staying sober by helping another.

I hope my fellow quitters can take some strength from this post, that even in the tough times we can stay stopped.

I won't be smoking today.

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  • Safe2017 November 09, 2019 | 7:21
    My deep condolences to you. It’s just the worst when a loved one passes and one can do nothing about it. You are absolutely right that having a smoke will just add a new problem to the existing one. Wishing you well and stay strong.
  • Happiness November 09, 2019 | 8:33
    So sorry to hear of your loss. I am glad you found your inner strength and reason to keep your resolve at this sad time. As you said, helping others can help you through this rough time as you help them . A cigarette never really helped or did anything for you all these years and it won't help today either. I am glad that you will not be smoking today.
  • Nuts November 09, 2019 | 11:20
    I am so sorry to hear about your brother. He would be so proud of your strength to not smoke at this sad time. Think of him cheering you on everytime you dont smoke. I am also glad that you will not be smoking today 😚
  • Robn November 10, 2019 | 18:31
    Hi Harry, sorry to hear of your brothers passing remember the good times and when you think of Stay strong as you already know having a smoke won’t change anything. Take care and being as strong as you are...I know you will get through these very hard times. X

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