Smoking kills.

“People say I’ve got no willpower, but I’ve quit smoking loads of times.”

Kai Humphries (2014)

Current 9-ish Addictions

Most of my little habits, idiosyncrasies, or addictions tend to come rushing in when I first start to obsess, but eventually, they fade out. usually. Things are particularly particular and then, after a certain amount of time, poof. I’m done with that “phase.” My parents used to tell me that the instant I turned 13, I became a demon seed, witch from hell, and so on and so forth. My dad, almost to this day, drops comments that I “have issues.” It would be unlike him to not comment on some aspect of my life whenever we saw each other.

I resent my parents for including addictive behaviors in my DNA, and even more so for poking that fire by keeping my environment chockful of what they didn’t want me to do “when I grow up.” I know they didn’t consciously choose to do so by any means, but I kept an eye on my parents. I was the oldest and my two little brothers meant the world to me, so I had to protect them. For some cruel reason, mom and dad didn’t know any better at the time, but now that they’re wiser, we’re supposed to stop doing what we watched while we grew up and “snap out of it.” my parents have a comment for every habit I’ve had, bad or not, and will never not harass me about it. You say it’s out of love. shhhoooot. I say that’s bullshit. It’s pure entertainment for them.

“Just stop. It’s that simple, jenny. Just don’t do it anymore.”

And Every time I hear a comment about my latest habit, my eyes scream,

“I learned it by watching you, OK?”

That one drug commercial

1) Smoking

My high school friends and I started smoking when we started skipping our second-period gym class freshman year. Or maybe it was the Earlybird gym class and the teacher rarely showed up. Back then, smoking meant that you were on another, much higher level. You were tough and not to be messed with, so say your friends. Well, and you were cool as shit. Damn peer pressure; (it wasn’t “cool” to be unique or original way back when) it may sound “cool” to make fun of people who are bullied or to succumb to pressure from your friends, but I think it sucks to get bullied, no matter the age. We rebelled against the parents who were ex-smokers who quit because of what their doctors said. smoking cigarettes was just the thing to do, probably because we didn’t have much else to do.

Cigarettes are the devil; no joke. Without them I start to shake uncontrollably, I can’t sleep, and then I eat like the next thing taken away from me will be food. Sure, I also gain weight, am irritable, and cannot focus for shit. Out of every habit or addiction I’ve ever had, I wish this one never began. I can’t count how many times I’ve quit. I’ve used willpower/cold turkey, nic patches, gums, lozenges, and food substitutes, and nothing ever sticks. Yes, sadly, even while pregnant, but I sure did try. I couldn’t stand the smell with my first, so no one could smoke around me for the first six months. Then my best friend at the time went into labor, and I started again. Nothing could stop the guilt either, but when my doctors said quitting was putting us through more stress, I used that excuse to the fullest and felt guilty as all hell.

2) Coffee / Caffeine

thank my dad for this filthy mouth.

This one started way back in the day when my parents bought glass bottles of Diet Pepsi but only let us have the caffeine-free kind. My brother and I were so excited when we got the okay for us to have a bottle of that goodness. We would beg for pop and make excuses as to why we needed one. When we did though, we stayed up way too late, but maybe that’s why we only got soda (pop as us Midwesterners call it) on weekends. That makes sense because we were always told to sleep in on the weekends (you know, so my parents could). Especially Friday nights, which became pizza night at our house. And you can’t have milk with pizza; that’s just gross.

i now have to have two starbucks drinks a day. it’s way too expensive but i’ve also purchased top-of-the-line espresso machines and even purchased starbucks coffee, caramel drizzle, and sugar-free vanilla syrup. i think we’ve accumulated seven machines and i still go every day to have my coffee made for me. my starbucks people know me very well.

3) Picking My Thumbs

Fortunately, I’ve been able to reign this little addiction in and nip it in the bud. It wasn’t too long ago, though, where I would sit, walk, talk, and sometimes even while I slept, I would pick at the corners of my thumbnails. Not really the cuticle but the sides that eventually looked like I had something biting my thumbs. They would bleed. I would put bandages on, but I wash dishes and clean the pool and wash my hands every minute or so and those bandages slid right off. I tried those little thumb condoms, and they made it hard and sometimes painful to light my lighter, so they had to go.

Everyone who cared about the look of my thumbs would notice when I was picking and smack my hand or get my attention to quit picking. To this day, I don’t know why I did it or how I stopped picking. It was always painful and almost debilitating as my thumbs were raw, sometimes very bloody.

The looks of my thumbnails are odd now. I have multiple small horizontal ridges on both thumbnails. For a long time, my nails just didn’t grow, but I started using this awesome pink gel coat, and let me tell ya, better than OPI’s nail envy hands down.

4) Ice. Oh, the Ice.

i have only one preferred type.

This one is continuous and probably started because I’m anemic but it’s one of the longest addictions I’ve had, besides the cigarettes. I cannot stop chewing this god-forsaken ice. I have to have a certain kind too, of course, because I’m particularly particular. My husband would bring bags of ice home and I’d say nope, not good. I finally decided that one store has the best and now I go nowhere else for ice. Yes, we have an ice maker and no, I can’t chew that ice because it’s not the same. There are so many ice variations out there and I’m pretty sure I’m a texture-driven freak of nature. i’m just not the kind of person that can stop. Sure, it’s bad on my teeth and I’ve lost one or two but even that hasn’t convinced me to stop. This shit is real though and if I don’t stop soon, I’ll need to invest in full implants or dentures, and going to the dentist gives me nightmares just thinking about it. During my childhood, I had some bad dental experiences so I now hate the dentist. HATE the dentist.

5) Drugs {not hard drugs}

Sure, we’ve all smoked the marijuana and most I know still do, but when it comes to harder drugs I was never a long-term fan, thank God, and all that’s holy. I don’t drink alcohol either and that’s kind of surprising since alcoholism runs in my damn fam. so drugs aren’t really my addiction but I’ve had too many friends succumb and i’ve dabbled in just about everything.

Cocaine was nothing compared to methamphetimes and I’m sure the meth took a good 10 years off my life even though I was only exposed to it for what, two months? Cocaine was only a peer-fueled circumstance because everyone I was around at the time was doing it, and I didn’t ever think it’d hurt me. It just never lasted long and I felt it was a waste of money – not my money of course because I never spent a dime on that shit. The meth was a bit different because after the first time I did it, I accomplished SO much in such a short period of sleepless time. Besides cigarette addictions, there is no greater evil than this acky drug. I’ve seen friends (or what I thought to be friends) ruin their entire lives from that fucking drug. No thank you.

I never tried many other drugs but I dropped acid once at the end of my senior year in high school and it did nothing. I had shrooms a few times with good friends and I just remember laughing a lot but that’s about all I remember.

I’ve never tried heroin and I only did those ecstasy pills once and I can’t imagine the lives people live while addicted to hard drugs. I hold no judgment though because it’s not acceptable to judge someone simply because they sin differently than I do. Everyone’s struggle is real and their own. However…

5a) marijuana

the marijuana plant

This one “drug” is a bit controversial for some people but I hope the federal government will intervene at some point. I still smoke the mj and have since late high school, early college. I don’t entirely believe it’s a habit or addiction. In fact, I don’t see smoking marijuana any worse than pain pills that my dad has to pop every few hours. I know I can stop smoking it for days on end because I’ve done so. But…why? it does better than some of the prescription pills I’ve been prescribed. It relaxes me when I’m overly anxious or extremely angry, it helps me to keep my lousy temper in check. and sometimes that temper becomes violent and let’s be honest, I do not need to be incarcerated for throwing something at someone. mj can get me through my psychotic days. Not too much weed, just a little in my hitter and a couple tokes, usually after the kids are sound asleep then after a snack, I am too.

Now, as I say that it’s not an addiction or not habit-forming, I have to eat my words a bit there. my husband is, sure enough, an addict of the greens. the flower. the herb. He’ll smoke up to an ounce in a day if given the chance and enough bud. He never really has enough money to buy as much as he wants, which is a blessing. We’ve always been very close to our “dealer”, not only because I’ve known him since high school, but also because he thinks the same way about drugs as we do; green is good, everything else is bad. we’ve had others we’ve bought from but it always ends up being overpriced shit, and do you know how hard it is to get ahold of good bud when you’re old and live in the midwest?

I don’t see marijuana as a bad addiction or habit but I know some who do. like my republican parents. Unless they’re vacationing in Colorado when they smoke or do edibles…you know because it’s legal there thus okay. My current governor and the damn red state I live in doesn’t allow recreational MJ so getting it for a good price has never been possible and sometimes getting it at all is a goddamn miracle. It amazes me that states can decide if marijuana is an illegal drug or not, and then be able to decide the punishment for having said “illicit” “gateway” drug. Hopefully, that changes shortly, but doing so would put our friend in the poorhouse, so it’s kind of a catch-22 for us.

“It’s OK to smoke weed in the rain, but don’t in hail. “


6) Shopping Online / Spending Money

This one is quite sad and I really don’t like accepting it or explaining to anyone why I did/do it. This one comes in phases usually, and it’s only when I have a considerable amount of money to blow through instead of saving. When a large sum of money pours in, the damn dollars can’t run out of our accounts fast enough. Because who doesn’t need a new bedding set or stack of notebooks? Or a garden of flowers? Or a new wardrobe? I’ve spent so much money, sometimes blindly, that I’ve filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy three times, had one or two repossessed vehicles, and a foreclosure (currently trying to avoid the next).

I’ve never felt the exact repercussions with money. And get this: my father is a financial advisor. Yep, isn’t that a smack in his face? I’ve always heard that I need an emergency fund after I have the debt paid off. Only then, can I invest in the stock market or spend money where I want. Seems silly to save it while I’m here and alive, but I have come around somewhat mostly due to D’s stroke. He used to “handle” the finances and deal with debt. After his stroke, he forgot to make payments on things and made double payments on others. It’s almost like a reverse situation because now he’ll buy the most asinine things we’ll never need or use, and I pay the bills right before disconnection.

I shop. I shop WELL.

7) Making Soap

not as much as an addiction as a wild hair up my ass one winter, I started making handmade soap from scratch. Lil Miss Keely promised to help me every step of the way; we could spend QT together. Honestly, I had high expectations and it just didn’t work out. At all. And Keely watched me struggle for a week or so, then she got distracted.

my soap never looked like this…

I was so obsessed with the notion that I could create the next Zum/Indigo Wild handmade soap company, I even wrote my College Comp final all about handmade soaps and how they are better for your skin. I also spent A LOT of money (per #6 above) on the right supplies for batches of soap that were pretty much junk. They either crumbled, melted, or didn’t suds up, but that didn’t stop me from handing them out as Christmas presents one year. LOL! It was such an adventure, though, and it kept bugs away in the basement. My dad said that was the lye doing that. Who knew?

8) Notebooks and Comforters

my notebook drawer…literally. there’s another one like it too.

Not too long ago I admitted a fact to my oldest: I have a problem buying notebooks almost as much as I love new, soft (yet crisp) quilts, sheets, or comforters on my bed. I don’t know why I have tons of comforters, but I do know why I have the notebooks. I learned that I retain so much more information and simply learn better when I write things out. Vocab, facts, instructions, steps on the pc – anything. I must write it down. And let’s not forget my infamous lists. I have as many unfinished lists as – well, like, I have A LOT of lists. I make one for everything, yet I used to be much more organized and not as forgetful as where I placed my newest list. In one of these notebooks, I’m sure.

baby in some bedding

Comforters and bedding in general, I just can’t get enough of them. I like percale sheets mostly and good ones are hard to find and way too expensive for my current budget. The amount of money I’ve spent over the years on notebooks and comforters would shock the shit out of you.

9) Flowers

I haven’t done the flowers in a while, but that’s not because I don’t want to have a gorgeous, expensive garden. It’s just that my housing situation is still up in the air, thanks to COVID and our derecho last summer. We don’t know if we’re going to stay here or sell it or what, so I’ve reigned in my desire every spring. The first house we purchased, I received a large inheritance and I spent at least half of it in our backyard. From flowers, vegetables, and pool supplies to mulch, sand, and fill dirt – I did it all. By myself mostly, but D did help with the fence. We had a HUGE backyard, and flowers make me happy, so I felt I deserved it. Yeah, all while getting behind on house payments forcing us right into that first foreclosure. i’m Such a moron.

I’ve had other crazy little addictions and some of them aren’t even addicting but more like quirky little particulars such as gum flavors, candy, gambling (particularly slots and scratchers), certain candies, yogurt…i could go on. But…why?

– i am special. and so are you.

“i used to be addicted to swimming but i’m proud to say i’ve been dry for six years.”


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