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Sunday, December 24, 2006

My body's aching and my time is at hand

My dear friend Stacey has been addicted to cigarettes for almost the entire time I've known her. When I needed a "smoking" sound effect for a school radio documentary, I recorded her. She said that it sounded distinctly female, but I couldn't tell the difference.

Over the years, she has tried to quit many times to varying degrees of success. When she last lived with us, I made her a basket of things that I thought might be helpful. I put a silly poem on each item: a toothbrush to keep her mouth fresh, a water bottle to keep her body hydrated, a worry ball to keep her hands busy, tissues to spit the yucky black gunk into.

The first days are always the worst. After a few days of not smoking, the body starts to heal itself. Thousands of small hairs in the trachea are able to move after years of being paralyzed. This means there's lots and lots of coughing. Black tar starts coming up. Right when you are trying to feel good about your decision to quit smoking, you feel worse than you've ever felt. You have to keep going, no matter what.

Stacey is quitting again. She is on day 4 today. I have heard that some support groups for addictions celebrate each person's recovery, no matter how far along he or she is:
"It has been 20 years since my last drink." "YAY!" *wild applause*
"It has been 3 hours since my last line of cocaine." "YAY!" *wild applause*

So: YAY! *wild applause*

Stacey is a child of the digital age, and she has decided to chronicle her experiences in a blog. I've added her to the rapidly-expanding links list.