April, Where’s The Smoke?


Image by Michelle Deng for The UCSD Guardian

On April 1, I took a pledge to quit smoking for 20 days, a test of my willpower with the hopeful payoff of spending 4/20 in absolute bliss. I figured that writing an article tracking my tolerance break would be the kicker in holding me accountable. Unfortunately, as you will learn, it failed. I debated if I should just pull the article or fib a bit, but I have to come clean. My integrity as a journalist is at stake. So, here was my attempt at quitting the gorgeous green. 

I decided to take on this challenge as I recognized that my level of usage was beginning to inch toward problematic territory. I spent the entirety of spring break a little too carefree, playing and smoking and eating and sleeping. I’ll be frank, I was a deadbeat. I did nothing productive and I knew my brain and my body were suffering. I was afraid that behavior would bleed into this quarter and I was just curious if I could do it. As an avid user, it’s been plaguing my mind whether if not for this vice, would I be curing cancer? (I haven’t taken a STEM class since high school.) Admittedly, the decision was not all based on determination and self-improvement. My partner was forced to quit as he landed an internship that requires a drug test and I was horrified at the idea of being the deadbeat with the bong while he works his big boy job. 

I know this attempt at 20 days seems small and ridiculous, but any daily user would know how tough it is to go without. Sleeping independently is nearly impossible and especially when the T-Break is powered by pure discipline, saying no when the roommates pull it out is a true test of strength.   

Fortunately, I didn’t suffer too much on those first couple of days. I adopted a frat boys’ diet and traded one vice for another, exchanging the jay for a glass full of piss-colored carbs. The San Diego State University game was going on and there was too much excitement and beer to wish I was smoking. 

Day three and day four went beautifully. I was finding a groove and being quite productive. I was reading my new book before bed, going to sleep at a reasonable hour, keeping my room clean, and taking really good care of my hygiene. It was grand. 

The evening of day four was the first real challenge. I had spent a full day being productive and had enjoyed a lovely evening with a friend. All I wanted to do after was kick up my feet and enjoy a bowl. Fortunately, a different friend reminded me that quitting on day four wouldn’t make any sense and that I should at least hold out until day five. 

Day five and day six went well if we disregard the number of liquid calories I consumed in the evenings. While my lungs were enjoying a nice break, my liver was working overtime. 

Day seven was the day of my downfall. Due to a visit from my hometown best friend, I felt obligated to indulge with her. I was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to smoke. I was making the argument that quitting weed was for no real reason and that I feared I was changing a key facet of my personality for a man. It felt very anti-feminist. Plus, I just really wanted to smoke. 

Since my day of weakness, I’ll be frank, I’ve been smoking with the justification that I’m quitting again tomorrow. However, my roommate and I made the promise to take the week off and lay off until celebration day (4/20) rolls around. While I did technically fail, I feel the experience was a great opportunity to remind myself about balance. I can continue but with the conditions of enjoying everything in moderation. It also proved to me that I was capable of surviving without the sweet escape of a nightly puff. So enjoy 4/20 my friends, but remember to practice mindful consumption and healthy self-reflection. 

Art by Michelle Deng of the UCSD Guardian