A Break-up Letter to Cigarettes

This is the song I play while I get ready for work, because I need everything I can to pull myself up in the mornings. It’s liberating to sing, “I’m the shit, bitch,” in the mirror first thing. It’s my Eye of the Tiger for January. I need it playing for what I’m about to do.


I met you when I was just kid. We shared a moment, introduced by my sister Aylla. I still remember the moment my lips met your small body wrapped in paper. You were foul and uninviting—a good thing, because I was no more than eight years old; but my parents loved you anyway. You were almost like a sixth presence in the house during my childhood, until my step-father kicked you out. I once watched him crumble you, piece by piece into a garbage can in silence; a small funeral that didn’t seem to take. He never managed to find his way away from you, and you killed him for it. You never could leave him alone.

Grande Prairie used to have a jungle-gym/arcade for kids called All for Fun that I had occupied for one of my birthday parties. He was watching a us all play and scream and yell, and he must have been asked if he wanted to meet you again, because he disappeared. I saw him through the front window of the building, taking you from another dad and losing the battle again.

They say when you get over an addiction, all you do is stop consuming and regulate the desire to. You’ll never truly be free of the desire to imbibe. I’m trying to think about you like you’re dying in hopes of getting past that.

Me and you, we’re done. Not because I want to; no, if I had it my way, you and I would be together forever. It has to be this way because in my eyes, you’ve died. You’ve joined the ranks of my fathers, the things I want more than anything, but just can’t have. You’re dead to me, Smokes. You’re dead to me.

You used to be something that fueled my writing—I thought all cool writers smoked, but now I can barely keep you lit through a paragraph. You used to hang from my lips, but my tastes have soured. My eyes have become far more important to me, and I don’t want you in my skin or clothes anymore. I don’t need you to accomplish things. I don’t need you to pass the time. All I was doing was using you as an excuse to stay up late. You were just something to do—I used you just like you used me. I noticed this when I started to draw, I love order and lines, and you’re far too needy to attend to while I do that.

You ruin my equipment. You have made my microphone smell like ass, and my clothes (that my broke ass breaks himself to afford, alongside you) have been saved only by a constant effort. My desk is always fucking dirty. You bring me down and take my energy, you hold me back from my full potential because I can barely walk a flight of stairs without wheezing my way to the top. I’d like to, just maybe once, fall asleep to something aside from the song in my lungs that you so readily perform for me. You make me feel self-conscious at work, and not even the worst of it. The absolute, most unforgivable thing you have done to me is make me believe that you control my emotions.

You don’t have shit on me. I have proved to myself over and over again that I don’t need you, that if I have something to do, you don’t even cross my mind. But, no, I let you manipulate me into thinking that I need to run back to you after even a paltry five hours. You have no power here anymore. I have a stack of workout DVDs that my friend lent me and I need to return them, but I have no time to dive into them if I’m hanging out with you, bish. Gets to steppin’. We don’t want you. My mother is fifty-eight years old and she kicked you to the curb! She’s my inspiration here and she teaches me well, so watch out. But also, get out.

You can’t stay here. Take the kids, take the car, fuck—take the house, I’ll leave. I just can’t be with you anymore Paul Mall, no matter how Special Red King Size you are. Just by writing this post I saved $27.11, and my friend—I’m so fucking broke. You don’t pay rent and I have to pay you to strangle me in my sleep. My debts are rearing on me in a huge and scary way—I got really bad news today, a situation that I would usually run to you in, but you’ve helped me get here in such a big way that I can’t help but cast most of the blame on you. Yeah, I know I’ve had my part, but you’ve enabled me to spend upwards of thirty dollars without batting an eye, and I do not make anywhere near the kind of money need to have that mentality.

I’m pissed for being a stupid kid trying to get with a girl. We were sitting at a piano bar, I had a beer she had a vodka and a cigarette. All I got that night was a taste for nicotine and a ringing in my ears. That same taste is in my mouth right now, hiding underneath the weed smoke and making my throat burn. Nicorette is a mother fucker, but with your sexy little cousin here, we’re going to leave you behind. You will be the sacrificial lamb on the alter of self. I deserve to live without you. I deserve a longer life. I deserve a richer life, both monetarily and medically.

According to MyQuitBuddy, the app, my official quit time was 10:38pm, 24/01/2019. I honestly can already breath easier, which excites me, because I can’t sing anymore. I just don’t have the lungs for it. Notes are no problem to hit, thank god, but I just can’t hold anything anymore. My life is going to be so much better without you.

See you never.