Many a time I have had a “fight” with the Devil himself; several times it wrestled me to the ground but like the resilient fighter, I always picked myself up for another brawl. The “fight” in question here is not the literal fight, so next time you see me don’t shove me up against a wall, I am not a pro fighter. I started smoking when I was in college, it wasn’t something I thought would stick and become a habit. It began just similar a gimmick to look like a really cool cat in the crowd. Occasionally during the many rendezvous that was the life in college, I would light one, huff and puff away .It always starts like that, like a harmless habit your mind leads you to think you are in control of. So a puff became a whole cigarette and eventually graduated into to two, three ciggies a day, but still I had myself believe I wasn’t a smoker.
Every junkie will tell you the devil lies in the details, eventually you will need more and more of the same drug to achieve a high you used to get from a smaller dose of the same, that’s where the problem escalates. Eventually two ciggies turned to five depending on how much booze I drank. The number of cigarettes would rise if I tippled copious amounts of booze. I couldn’t explain the feeling as to why i always needed a light when I drank. When I hit my third year in college, I was smoking almost a packet a day. I still didn’t codify myself a smoker; I would carry with me colognes to freshen up after that much needed smoke break in between the day. Luckily I got a job a few months into my third Academic year, that was enough to sustain the smoking habit, so on pay days I would stock my drawer with packets of cigarettes .I didn’t realize how heavy I was smoking until one day I scaled stairs to the tenth floor of a certain building and found myself panting and out of breath. My chest would always feel clogged whenever I did heavy exercise and my sense of smell went stale. When my aunt found out about my smoking habit, she was devastated. It really crushed her. I had accidentally left a pack on my bed as I went to school and she had stumbled upon it while cleaning my room. She sat me down and for the first time in my adult life, we had that much dreaded adult talk.
I was spiraling out of control, and worse I couldn’t smoke in public places in my hood. It was way risky considering most of them knew me, so that left me with a fixed spot that I would frequently storm to get that much needed puff. By then I almost exclusively kept a smokers only company, some even chain smokers. In town I would sometimes troop to the three smoking zones littered around the CBD when the craving stuck. Slowly I stopped caring who saw me smoking or not, I was coming out of the closet. It soon became no secret that I had become a smoker, from our hood and among family members ; everybody knew. Whenever a family member tried talking me out of this habit I had picked, I would promise to stop but later fall back to the very same routine.
One day I get this very bad cough after a bout of flu, it won’t go away. Its throaty and I lose my voice a couple of times as it persist. So I am forced to visit the hospital, after examinations the Doctor on duty sits me down and looks me straight in the eye and asks
“Do you have an allergy?”
I shake my head In the negative,
“ Do you smoke? “
I stare blankly.
“Mr Omondi, do you smoke? “
I reluctantly shake my head in the affirmative.
“You need to cut down on that smoke, else you risk obstructive pulmonary disease.”
I didn’t get to hear the rest, whatever he said sounded like death itself. I knew what pulmonary meant, but combined with the rest of the medical jargon, it reeked of doom.
“You will need to cut down on your tobacco intake because you have an inflammation Mr omondi, it’s an infection that has been triggered by a decreases of anti-viral responses.”
I was issued with a booklet and plenty of tips on steps to quit smoking, and try I did, only to find myself sneaking that much needed puff, my hand would tremble a bit if I went a day without smoking. Sometimes I would wake up at three in the a.m. having that urge for a cancer stick. It didn’t matter that I was fast leading myself to the grave; all that mattered was that vital puff. When the infection got worse, I knew I had to quit. I had no clue how to start. Then I met this girl at my neighborhood through a reach out group I had joined who was a reformed smoker, the journey was the most tumultuous thing I have ever gone through, marked with a lot of slip ups here and there but when you have a friend in a woman guiding you down those murky steps the journey is as good as half way done.
Eventually after months of induced self-discipline and sheer torture from withdrawal symptoms, I managed to drastically reduce this habit. I can now comfortably say I don’t smoke any more but there is that once or twice the urge overtakes the will. It’s never gone completely, and on those days I slip, I feel I have let myself down a great deal. But the need to kick off this habit is the fuel that keeps me going. At the end of the day, I know that’s the price you pay for having played to the Devil`s tune.
The Story above is from a friend I have severally implored to write me something real from his life , something I did not know . When I first met him , the first thought was clearly a good looking chap but sly . With time I appreciated his literal skills and how easy he is . Omondi do you ever get mad/angry ? Few years down the line an am yet to see you pissed off . Thank you for allowing me to share this here . I hope someone will be helped through this .