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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life

THERE once was this remarkable character, a lady in her eighties who smoked a clay pipe and would be wreathed in smoke as it eddied and swirled about her.

"Smoking," she would thunder, "has never harmed me and I will live for ever."

I don't know what happened to her, but she left a legacy in the acronym of F.O.R.E.S.T. - an outfit dedicated to the Freedom Organisation of the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure what happened to the organisation, either. If you just hold on I'll have a look if they have a website. Back in a minute.

I'm back. Well, there was one, but you can't connect to it anymore. There's another, which is about tobacco conspiracy plots in Delaware, and it says you should kill the objectors "for their own good."

How about addictions? Perhaps I should look there. Addictions, addictions, addictions! I'm fed up with them. Last night I wanted a drink, a cigarette and a bowl of ice cream. All at once.

Now let's see. Addictions… Yes, this is much better. In fact it's great.

There's a site here (www.well.com) that says, honestly: "Web of addictions… We take addictions seriously… You won't find glib, hip treatment of this very serious topic here…"

Well, indeed.

Here's another (www.addictions.org): "This site is dedicated to all that have been trapped in one of life's addictions"… There is a SOLUTION. Life truly can be HAPPY, JOYOUS and FREE.

Or how about this (www.cbshealthwatch.medscape.com): "Control your weight while you quit smoking marijuana. The site your doctor trusts…".

Or even (www.addictionsofthe21stcentury.com): "Our site contains information and education on addictions such as eating disorders, teen substance misuse and gambling…"

I could go on, but I guess you may have gathered this is Day Four without a cigarette and it's not getting any better.

My nightschool class has dwindled to six and one of them hasn't started giving up yet.

Still, of the other four, one says he is saving £509 a week or something and an elderly lady confessed she was spending half her pension on Silk Cut.

The strength of this Zyban programme (Zyban.com and they even have a screensaver though I can't get it to open) is that if you slip up, default, lapse or relapse or whatever else you can call starting smoking again, YOU CAN'T GO BACK TO THE CLASS.

You can go to the back of the close, I suppose, but no, pride comes first and you cannot swagger back in, Golden Virginia sticking out of your breast pocket, and say: "Hello everyone. My name's Sinclair and I'm a smoker."

No. As they say in Delaware, if I have another cigarette I would have to be killed for my own good.

Now where did I put that clay pipe…?

Sinclair Newton