Reality Check

Written by: Charlene Cannon

One of the most interesting things I have found about life is observation. Working at a coffee shop five days a week, I’ve come to really enjoy it.


When I tell someone my story of why I have stopped smoking (cigarettes and/or weed) the listeners reaction is one of the following:

A.) Awkward head nod: “Good for you.” The End.
B.) Their eyes light up: “Wow! I’m so proud of you Char!”
C.) Sarcastic laugh: “Well that sucks.”
D.) Smile and complete understanding: “That’s awesome girl.”

I wish I could say that it doesn’t affect me, that I’m just proud of myself and want people to know of my accomplishment, but that’s not true.

Because in all honesty, I think about picking up a cigarette and smoking a bowl every single day.

I smoked cigarettes for almost 5 years. It was the cool thing that my best friends did since high school. Some of the best conversations that I’ve had in my life were spent over a pack of cigarettes. It curved my appetite, it calmed me down, it let me get away from just about any situation for ten minutes and reflect on the day. I haven’t had a cigarette in two months.
Weed allowed me to escape from my reality. My favorite thing would include posting up somewhere sketchy, smoke a bowl, and just drive. Kid Cudi, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Zed’s Dead. It clouded my mind, long enough for me to numb out emotions that I had not yet dealt with in my life. But eventually I started to take advantage of the effect it played on my body and mind, which led me to stop smoking cold-turkey, followed by complete isolation from anyone except my immediate family for three months. I spent ten days at Peachford, had no job, and left someone very, very hurt. I haven’t heavily smoked weed in 2 years, and I haven’t taken a hit in over a year.

Last night God tested me to my limit…

Getting ready for a birthday party at my best friend’s apartment, I was excited to see everyone from high school. Before everyone arrived, my best friend handed me a beer and took me outside asking how I was doing. After admittedly claiming I have not been doing good for the past week due to relationship issues, and my constant struggle with not smoking, I looked at her with tears in my eyes and said, “I just want a cigarette.”

She patted me and smiled, “You can power through this.”

Fast forward an hour later…

Four of us girls are sitting on the floor, two of which who still smoke weed. I was encouraged to share my story of why I no longer smoke weed due to the concern of another. I hesitated, but I started talking anyway and was shortly interrupted by more party-goers who wanted to smoke with the birthday girl. Rejection and embarrassment hit me and I’m sure I showed it. But I continued to drink my second beer and socialize anyway.

Another hour later…

The apartment is full and I’m starting to sober up. As my conversation ends with a friend, a look around the room and everything goes into slow motion. My friends are getting drunk, I’m sobering up. I can smell the cigarettes, I can taste the last of my beer, I see everyone laughing and talking, while I sit and analyze my emotions toward my boyfriend. I remember thinking, This Is Stupid.

I felt pathetic with the condition of my current relationship. I felt bored without a cigarette. I felt weak toward the catacomb of mixed emotions of letting two addictions go and the possibility of having to let go of someone close to my soul. I Just Want to Smoke.

Out of nowhere, someone says above the crowd, “Come outside, let’s smoke!” and I snap out of my thoughts.
I had three options:

A.) Go outside and bum a hit, drown my frustrations, and continue to party.
B.) Get completely sh-wasted and crash there.
C.) Continue to drink water, go home, and face reality.

I left that party last night, anxious and angry. Anxious because I didn’t want to deal with my troubles and angry because I knew if I went against what God wanted, I would either hurt myself or someone else. Or both.

Throughout today, I realized that God does not want me to depend on any earthly object or person for happiness. Only Him.
This realization did not give me instant gratification or a complete understanding of the universe or answers for all the questions in my life.

It did not give me all the wisdom in the world to know exactly what to say or do.

It did not fill my head with dandelions and happy unicorns running through meadows.

I did not wake up feeling like superwoman, ready to take on whatever comes my way.

I still woke up hurt, weak, frustrated, with puffy eyes and mascara runs down my face.

But it gave me something better…

It gave me a raw reminder that faith is not doing what you want, it is doing what God is calling you to do. It is constantly giving Christ your problems, relationships, addictions, frustrations; the whole sha-bang. It is not other’s happiness or what God has in store for them, it is following Christ’s path for me. Not him or her or them. Regardless of the loss or hurt. Because the contentment and happiness in doing His will is tenfold in heaven. And today, that’s all I needed reminding of. ©

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