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Addiction and Schizophrenia by Jonathan Harnisch

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My name is Jonathan, and I am a tobacco addict. Life goes on without smoking, but for now I fight for life. I don't write off a thing. It feels like hell, but I know it is peace—and strength. Overall, the symptoms are temporary, so far. I am nowhere near the end of the addiction, but I am on my way.
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My name is Jonathan, and I am a tobacco addict. Life goes on without smoking, but for now I fight for life. I don't write off a thing. It feels like hell, but I know it is peace—and strength. Overall, the symptoms are temporary, so far. I am nowhere near the end of the addiction, but I am on my way. I think: Help! I am kicking the habit. They are not going away, these withdrawals. The nicotine and the smoke itself. The real hardcore heavy chain smoker and tobacco fiend. A friend of the enemy. I befriend my fear. My fear of not knocking this off my bucket list before the bucket has its first and perhaps last heart attack. Cancer, COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.The severity of depression. Jumbled thoughts. Life goes on. I need this. I need my life. I crave life. No false hopes. The real deal. Quit. Win. Stay in the now. Stay alive. Mental illness aside, physical disabilities too, my body. I forgot about my body. For decades. It finally hit me. Something more profound than life itself. No assumptions. No projections. I am still figuring it out. Some are the smoke. The habit. The destructive behavior and serious issues of smoke. It might now take away my other issues. Just no more puffs. Slow and long steps to this slow and legal suicide. I am stronger than my mind. I can deal with life. I just need to preserve it as lovingly as I can. If I had resolved this earlier, sure, different story. I didn't, but I am now. I have been offline and on my way, in combat with my mind, my schizophrenia, but now also with my body, sensations, my second nature, smoke. Heavy smoke. Smoking is easy. Death is inevitable. But smoke. It is all I have needed to feel its effects. 100 clouds of smoke and puffs per day. 100 cigarettes. I can deal with schizophrenia and with mental illness. I am ready to quit the smoke soon and to live with life. Life is hard enough. I had an epiphany. I couldn't even walk 100 steps to smoke without being out of breath. For 10 minutes. Years of lies I told myself. It was my second nature. I needed to smoke and d¬¬rink caffeine. Smoking, quitting smoking, rather—this is a battlefield I must fight peacefully. I am a warrior. A survivor. A realist. I am still wrapped up in the ringer, but I am doing it, I am quitting. I have been quitting. I have been offline and in detox. A slow detox mixed with the detox of yesterday's psychotic episode from schizophrenia and the crazy mess I left behind yesterday. That was a symptom of life. I let it go. Just quit. Just do it. Commit to something not by doing but by not doing. These heavyweight headaches, all of it. And I haven't even kicked the habit 100%. Not yet. I am, however, on my way. Well on my way. Five packs of the six per day. I tossed them. I gave them to my medical team to dispense for me, one a day, and with a plan. I have quit, of course, 30 times, honestly quit. But I never had a plan. I never outline. I just do what I do, and I still smoke. 80 cigarettes less now. 20 to go—day by day. I am stronger than my mind. I am stronger than my depression, my anger, my withdrawal symptoms due to letting go of four-fifths of my everyday life. Of my addiction to death by smoke. How do I sound? Raspy. How does this writing therapy session help? Who cares? It helps, that is all, it helps. I have help from others, and I use electronic cigarettes and lozenges. Thoughts bombard my head, my psyche, my mind. They erase and delete. They change. They return. They are just there. Time to live life is available. It's been waiting for me. Time hones in, creeping closer to death. I knock out another puff. Lord help me. I can almost hear Him saying. I have been here all this time. I was waiting for you. Flight of ideas, racing thoughts, then they slow down. But they won't stop. There is no easy way for anything, anything worthwhile maybe. It sounds easy to quit. Just don't do anything. Smoke? Then don't smoke. Sounds good. Easier said than done. I would light a cigarette now because I wouldn't care. So I choose to take a breath, not to take away ten breaths—because I care. Nicotine replacement. Every ache and pain that exists. I fight a private war. A common war. It doesn't feel common. It is worse than kicking crack cocaine. A war of fear. The thing I fear will soon vanish because I now know that I am stronger than my mind. I can and I will defeat this. You are stronger than you think, and the strongest people are not those who show strength in front of the world but those who battle and win the battles that others do not know anything about. Maybe they do. Maybe they don't. I rid my body of fear, of addiction, of hatred, because that hatred is fear. I battle fear. I recently wrote about how the world suffers greatly because of the silence of good people. I have been silent because I fight a private war, a war of fear, of addiction, and of life. This thing I fear will soon leave because I now know that I am stronger than my mind. I can and I will defeat this. As the
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