Over dinner, I got chatting to a friend of mine about the nature of addiction. This topic came up since I have put myself on nicotine patches (day five and counting), generally I don't like to tell people that I am trying to quit because it makes failing substantially more tragic and humiliating, so I tend to just play it cool and see how things pan out. But in not telling people, you do allow yourself the space to slip back without anyone ever knowing that you have even tried, and that's almost like a safety net in itself really. Anyway, I have told people this time, and I will just take it a day at a time like I always do.
I have quit smoking more times than I would like to admit, and I have done it really well I might add. I could be a poster child for a quit campaign, I am like a professional quitter. I have quit a least ten times, and for really long stretches, up to two and a half years at a time actually, and then boom! Something happens that I can hang my hat on and I go and buy a packet of cigarettes and I am right back there again, puffing away my life savings and voluntarily giving myself a shorter life span. I have habitually quit smoking every couple of years, stayed off for long enough to not feel the need for nicotine and then gone back again, like a dog to the vomit! Why do I do this? Why am I continually on a cycle of addiction and recovery from cigarettes?
This is where our conversation began, and I was surprised when I heard the words of justification for going back coming out of my mouth; how insane they sounded! Why would I quit for so long and then go back? And lets be honest, it really isn't easy to be smoker in today's day and age, you are like a leper at a nudist colony most of the time. It's hardly like an episode of Madmen, everyone knows that smoking will give you cancer, it's 2015 for fuck sake - we know it's killing us, and so you can't really appear cool anymore when you smoke; reckless perhaps, but certainly not cool. So what is the attraction? It's expensive, unhealthy, uncool and smelly, but for some reason that little stick of death has a hold on me that I haven't been able to fully stifle.
Obviously, the reason for this inability to fully release from my addiction, is that my link to cigarettes is more than just physical, it's clearly psychological. I have a relationship with cigarettes - sick, but true. Cigarettes have seen me through the tough times, calmed me through the anger, they've stayed up late with me contemplating things, given me a reason to withdraw from everyone (just going out for a quick smoke) and have never been difficult to access. Why wouldn't I have a strong relationship with them?
Yes, it can feel a lot like losing a very quiet and yet utterly reliable friend, giving up the fags. But, you have to try. I suppose that every day that I have been successful in my long battle against nicotine has been of benefit to my health, every day that I have said no was an achievement, even though it can be hard to see it that way when you've spent the day wanting to rip the head off everyone. We all have our addictions, some of us to rather innocuous things and some to something far more insidious, but we all have them. Unfortunately, mine is quite a slippery contender, and has, since I took my first drags way back in Primary School had a seductive and alluring quality that I am yet to fully resist. But for now, I resist, and I will continue to keep trying to resist, because for all of the things that I love about cigarettes, there are a million others things that I hate about them too.
Release Date: 2000
Rating: R 18+
Running Time: 101 mins
If this film doesn't put you off drugs for the rest of your life then nothing will. This is an intense and gritty psychological drama based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby Jr. Thoughtfully directed by Darren Aronofsky, this is a tale that depicts different forms of drug addiction in a deeply disturbing and haunting way.
Centred on the demise of four characters, we watch as they fall deeper into a stimulant induced psychosis that has them all imprisoned. Each one suffers from a variation of depression and hopelessness, lost in their own bleak and stark delusions.
The acting here is fabulous. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her incredible portrayal of Sara Goldfarb, an elderly widow that will go to any lengths to regain her youthful figure. Jared Leto and Jennifer Connelly are fabulous as the heroin addicted lovers Harry and Marion; and even Marlon Wayans rises to the occasion as Tyrone C. Love, a youth trying to rise above his low-socio economic background.
Not everyone will have the stomach for this movie, it's a pretty rough ride and it has been a movie that has always sprung to my mind when people mention movies that disturbed them.
FINAL SAY: The ugliest portrayal of addiction
4 Chili Peppers