Intriguing title? Unfortunately for me it is a title that I am experiencing in my building, on my floor, in my apartment---even though I DON'T SMOKE! I am allergic to cigarettes and the smoke. But I am forced to breath others smoke because they don't want to follow the rule to go downstairs on the patio to do so. I am 71 years old. I have MS and am handicapped. And I thought I deserved respect from my fellow residence. Due to the stress of it all I had a migraine headache for two days---all due to cigarette smoking addiction. Hers, not mine.
Read on as this is not an article about how to pity an old lady, it is a profound statement on the strong nature of this addiction. I thought the details would be interesting and certainly frames the problem---and I have a request---help me find an answer to the suffering. Not mine, hers.
I live in a HUD owned building where cigarette smoking is not allowed. That rule is not enforced by management. I struggle on a regular basis trying to convince my fellow occupants, in this case, a gal up the hallway that smokes---as she puts it with the window open---unaware how her smoke comes out into the hallway and through the ventilation system into my apartment.
I was so angry about it and so the other day I went down to her door, knocked and proclaimed that she was KILLING ME!! I ask her not to smoke here and go down to the patio like everyone else that smokes. She stated, "I don't smoke in my apartment." That pissed me off and I yelled at her, "Yes in fact you do! Your smoke is out here in the hallway, in my apartment, in other peoples apartments and I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me again---why? She did look up and said she would not smoke in her apartment again. That worked for a few days and the other day guess what---well you know.
My friend on the other end of the hallway has also asked her not to smoke---he is also allergic to it. We have been filing complaints in the management office on a regular basis that 'log' in as a report. That has been going on for years. Guess what no one does anything about it even though it is illegal and she should have been evicted a long time ago according to the 'rules'. And really that is the point---you cannot rule or legislate addiction!
I am going to state this again---you cannot rule or legislate addiction! My friend Bryan postulated the concept of 'A World Without Addiction' and how that would look like and what that would feel like---and how long would it take to get to that world. We figured at least 40 more years through education, spiritual virtue training, infusing youth to have respect and compassion for others, legislation, anti-addiction advertising campaigns, etc. But sad to say so far I have not seen where any of this works.
What is also so sad and tragic about this whole thing is that the lady that smokes is a nice older person. She loves her kids, her dog, her church, her life---she is an addict. She is addicted to cigarettes---she is hooked. Her need to smoke antidotes all sanity around respect, decorum, caring, compassion, love or values. This is the nature of addiction. And her kids smoke too. And there is a probability that their kids, her grandkids, will smoke too.
This article is about one form of addiction---there are many forms and I usually write about alcoholism---but I will tackle cigarettes for a couple of months because I see, on the streets, in apartment buildings such as this one, in homes, where people live that in fact we are still cursed with this addiction---and with the new trend E-cigarettes---yow!!!
Yow!!! So is there not hope? I do believe that maybe with enough time, frothy appeals, firm warnings, more death via cancer, perhaps lawsuits, begging, pleading, knocking on doors at 9 pm, crying, preachers preaching, old ladies pleading with other old ladies, youth pleading with the world, questioning the insanity of it all that---maybe---things will change and we will see a healthier, better world---meanwhile I am dying of cigarette smoke.
Negotiating Shadows at http://www.negotiatingshadows.com