Cigarettes, Alcohol: Such Ordinary Thieves

Tales for Life

Kresge Court, Detroit Institute of Arts-photo by Bill Rauhauser Kresge Court, Detroit Institute of Arts-photo by Bill Rauhauser

As she slid into the chair next to mine, a redolent if acrid scent of smoke merged with the air we shared. The impulse to hold my breath came and went. As my respiration slowed I became somewhat inured to the burnt, stale smell. But I lost the words a person was speaking from the periphery of our circle. I closed my eyes, then opened them as I tried to stay attuned as the recovery meeting progressed.

Later, memories flooded me of cigarettes lit and inhaled rapidly before entering a “no smoke zone.” Especially at places such as where we gathered for meetings. I was angry when most churches and hospitals–common spaces used for various groups– banned smoking. How to keep the nicotine level up in the blood stream when it took an hour and a half for such gatherings? If…

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