Poop and Pee is Our Bread and Butter Plus Other Dirty Little Secrets VOLUME 1

Addiction.  I am a human being with an addictive personality.  As far as I’ve seen, at age 37, I think this character trait is by far more the rule for humans instead of the exception. One of my hardest earned accomplishments in life thus far is quitting smoking cigarettes.  I smoked for 8 years, almost a pack per day.  I started when I was 16 years old.  At that time I could walk into a convenience store and buy a pack of cigarettes and I wouldn’t get carded.  At age 17, the state started cracking down on stores selling to minors and they became much harder to buy.  I had several older friends that could buy them for me so I made sure I rarely ran out.  This theme will tie into art shortly, as well as the title of this post, though both rather loosely.

The first butt of the morning, with a cup of coffee, was heavenly. The inhale, the exhale….Then the gorgeous inhale again… Followed by an exhale and a sip of coffee.  Life was perfect.  The scale tipped at some point in the afternoon of each day and my smoking habit started to me make me feel quite yucky. Towards the end of every day, each cigarette tasted gagging-ly worse than the one before it.  But I had to smoke them.  I mean, I couldn’t not smoke them.  I was waste deep in a quagmire of nicotine addiction.

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I had several failed quit attempts in the 8 years that I was a smoker.  A couple of attempts lasted months.  As addictions tend to be progressive, every time I started up again, it seemed like it had gotten worse than it was before.  In other words, I actually would smoke more after each unsuccessful quit attempt.  At age 24, I executed a quit attempt that finally stuck.  I owe my success in great part to Nicorette gum.  It certainly helped me to wean.  It was tortuously difficult.  There were lots of triggers.  I experienced the worst cravings over emotional upsets like stress, anxiety, frustration, etc.

I haven’t had one cigarette in almost 13 years.  Looking back, it was harder than any other accomplishment that I can lay claim to.  Harder than college, all three calculus courses, and giving birth to two ridiculously giant babies!  Being a parent of almost 12 years is probably the only thing that is vying for the title of “Most Difficult of Life’s Endeavors.” But quitting smoking still wins it.  But the parenting one is close and slowly gaining.

So in the 8 years that I was hooked on cigarettes, I managed to smoke tens of thousands of cigarettes.  Holy cow.  I can’t even bring myself to type the figure I came up with.  I’m ashamed of it. Gross. There’s a dirty little secret for you!  I’ve often thought, if I could take those tens of thousands of cigarettes, and spread them out throughout my adult lifetime, say over 60 years, that it would yield 2 cigarettes per day.  It might be kind of nice to have that, you know?  Slowly suck down a couple in the morning over a tall mug of coffee.  Seems like a nice ritual to me.  But it could never be that way.  I could never have just 2 per day.

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I kicked that addiction but I’m quite certain, looking back, that I substituted it for sugary food, making art and/or crafts and collecting art and/or craft supplies.  Yeah, I definitely substituted.

Over the past winter, I cut out a lot of sugar in my diet (which was incredibly hard) and substituted again.  I’d like to say that I simply found solace and comfort in Facebook and on Instagram but I’m pretty sure I became addicted.  I traded donuts and ice cream for sharing funny cat videos.  I think I might be better now… Winter is over and spring is springing.  I gardened all afternoon today and barely touched my phone.

I guess if I tallied up my current active addictions I would have to list coffee, being creative, and hording art supplies. And color.  I’m surely addicted to color and discovering how certain colors act next to certain other colors.  And gardening.  And laughing at crass and often immature humor.  And touching animals.  Dogs especially, but cats too. Food is pretty great too, I really like cheese.

To some people these addictions, even the cigarettes, might sound trivial.  I know there are other more immediately harmful addictions out there.  At this time, I have a dear friend getting help with a yucky alcohol addiction.  This dear soul is “walking through the fire,” as I call it.  We all have times in our lives when we “walk through the fire.”  Sometimes the fire is brought on by a devastating loss, or a downward spiral of depression.  Sometimes it doesn’t even have a name.  Whatever the fire is, it sure can be shitty.  And addiction is the perfect fuel for it.

Life can be beautiful.  Life can be crap.  And it can be every single thing in between.

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Some lucky people are able to see when they are approaching the very pinnacle of their own personal brand of a shitty problem.  A few are even luckier and are able to make, or at least attempt to make, the change needed to better their lives and start the hike off of turd mountain.  At least down to poop valley.  Yes, I’ve been known to reference poop.  Probably because people just don’t like poop, they find it gross, and maybe I like to be difficult.

Thank goodness there are resources out there to aid those needing help with their addictions.  Two online places to go for those struggling with quitting smoking are https://quitday.org/quit-smoking/ and http://lung.org/.

I have designed a pendant to give my aforementioned dear friend who is undergoing treatment for an alcohol addiction.  It is a sterling-silver-wire-wrapped piece of fossilized turtle poop.  Millions of years ago it was poop, it slowly became a rock.  Things change.  Nothing stays the same.  You could think of all sorts of appropriate metaphors for this kind of gift.

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Here it is from another angle:

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Oh! And just how on Earth is poop and pee our bread and butter, you might ask?  Well, my hard working hubby designs giant tanks for waste water treatment facilities.  He is the bread winner of our 13 year long union, and thus, in the most figurative way, poop and pee is our bread and butter.  Ha!  Get it?

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. You crazy lady…..
    I’m addicted to art supplies, old newspapers, glue and collage.
    But my very serious addiction is Reading….I often read more than one book at a time. A book in the living room, one in the bedroom, one in the car….. My addiction has been reinforced by my Kindles. Yes “Kindles” I have to have two so I can function.

  2. That’s great Diane!!! I have dabbled in a reading addiction but it never sticks too long for me. Plus I get all attached to the characters like they are my real friends or more. Crazy is right!

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