I was born with a certain genetic coding that began my definition of me. After birth, and even in the womb, my parents began their input into defining me until I could define myself. Later, siblings, family members, playmates, and my community added their clarifications on the given definition. Very quickly, as a toddler I began to make choices and those choices - whether I was an astronaut or a caveman today, whether I played with GI Joe or lincoln logs, all shaped me in ways I didn't consciously set out to become - yet that is the process....
And along came sickerettes stolen out of my Mother's purse when she was busy with chores. Smoking changed me - it would later make me an Addict. I thought it would help me break the secret code of "adult." It didn't - I still couldn't understand adult choices. So I went back to playing and studying and watching and choosing who I want to be and become. I never once decided to become an Addict.
At 30, I chose to smoke. I wanted to share in the camaraderie of my buddies. I thought I could stay free from the addictive part by smoking less than the other guys and abstaining from time to time. But I was hooked and I changed - not by choice but many of my decisions were robbed by sickerettes.
Nicotine controlled people I hung around (fewer nonsmokers - more addicts), places (full of smoke clouds), and things such as my special Santana lighter and my ever present Marlboro hard red pack. I was literally defining myself within the confines of my addiction. It became a part of virtually every thought - consciously and unconsciously.
Now I have 9 1/2 years quit and a smoking related illness - COPD. COPD is now a part of every decision I make - where I work, who I'm with, what I do each day. I carry my oxygen concentrator and related cords everywhere I go. I limit my activity to what I can tolerate. My disability puts parameters around my decisions and thus, my definition of Thomas. I didn't choose it but I did choose to smoke that first sickerette.
But my Recovery also defines Thomas. Without recovery I would most likely not be writing this blog - for example. I might have smoked myself into a grave by now. Who knows?
Only one entity knows - not me - my Higher Power. He knows. He leads me down the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He leads me to write this blog and to hope that one addict can relate and decide to choose freedom before they get a smoking related illness. I hope that person is you!
Take what is useful and leave the rest. I speak only for myself - this is my journey on the way to Thomas today. I don't know what tomorrow will look like.