I know it is a foul habit, it stinks and it’s bad for me. Not to mention how ludicrously expensive it is to buy a pack these days. But I won’t quit smoking yet. I’ve had every other coping strategy removed, and that makes smoking a good fall-back plan. It’s a socially acceptable form of self-harm.

I can commit to not abusing alcohol or cutting myself, as there are social consequences to these. They upset the people I love. In the summertime I have to swelter in long sleeves to hide the wounds on my arms. If I come home drunk I’ll be met with disappointment and worry about where it will lead me.

While smoking provokes disapproval, I know I will mostly be left to my own carcinogenic devices without guilt or shame or recriminations. It makes a statement; I know this is bad for me and I want to do it. It says I am not yet ready to commit to myself and my future.

I still inhabit a fearful space. I’m crushed by immense pressure. To recover. To change. To progress. To succeed. To find a way back to who I was.

This depression has me enveloped in a fog that impairs my ability to see the healthy, half-marathon running, nutrition-conscious past-me. She is so very distant. My notion of what recovery would be hasn’t even begun to materialise. And I’m getting pissed off with the lack of return on investment. It’s bloody hard work and I want some tangible results. I still feel highly anxious. I still have nightmares and emotional flashbacks. I still can’t picture a future that is worth wading through all this shit for.

It’s cheesy, but I like to conceptualise my recovery as reigniting a fire. If there’s even the tiniest wisp of smoke remaining, the flames can be brought back to life. So as long as I have this hope, I can keep going. I can tell myself that I only need to get through the bleakness of today, because tomorrow I’m going to find that tiny, glowing ember.


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