VaguePress 2018: Addiction Replacement

I want to write about something I am doing, or quitting, for the new year, but this thing, even for me, is TMI. I can just say that there is an energy that we are born with that is stronger than absolutely everything else, and it can be monstrous if left unchecked. Trying to dispel that energy on my own volition seems tantamount to kicking the booze and drugs. I am absolutely obsessed with it, much like any addiction.

People ask me, as someone who works in the vape industry, why people are cloud chasers and do those silly vape tricks. As much as I think the majority of that stuff is silly indeed, I also empathize. When we quit smoking and switched to vaping, the nicotine was still there. But there was also this emotional void left by the absence of cigarettes. This emotional draw to smoking lead me back to cigarettes almost 4 years ago after a devastating break-up, and I have been unable to fully kick the cigarettes since. So while in that void, vapers seek ways to overcompensate. Some people, like myself, got into the hobbyist/collector aspect of it. Always looking for the new vape, the new mod or atty etc. Some people sought the holy grail of the perfect eliquid. And then others want to blow clouds like a dragon and make the vapor do neat little tricks.

I am mostly writing this as something to do other than thing I am being very vague about not doing. But I would also like to convey a message to anyone looking to give up some sort of addiction. First of all, stop looking at addiction as if it is some sort of defect. An addiction just is, and honestly holds no true positive/negative connotation to it whatsoever. Much like the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol–that our lives have become unmanageable,” the powerlessness and the unmanageability have their own philosophical and experiential roller coasters; but in my own understanding, the first step is really about surrender to the facts. Stop fucking lying to yourself.

Secondly, surrender in and of itself, is not enough. There must be a replacement. Like AA uses God, higher power and/or a fellowship of recovering alcoholics; people quitting an addiction cannot go back to life as they once knew it and be successful. Argue it all you want, but the facts are there. “Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment must address the needs of the whole person to be successful” (National Institute of Drug Addiction). So we must replace old behaviors with new ones, old ideas with new ideas, etc.

So if you have a New Years resolution to finally give up that pesky habit, don’t try to just tough-guy your way through it. Find a replacement hobby. Write that novel you have been talking about. Finally get that gym membership. Keep more content on your blog (wink, wink). And don’t be too strong to ask for help. We weren’t given opposable thumbs and vocal chords to spend out lives beating our heads against the mirage of self-sufficiency. Being accountable and responsible is one thing, but no man is born equipped to deal with everything life throws at him. There is no such thing as a single tree in a forest.

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