Step 4 – Smoking (Ideals)

A searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and my nicotine addiction.

IV. Interpersonal Relationships – Ideals

My ideal relationship is one that isn’t selfish and self centered. I want to practice spiritual principles in all my affairs. I want to change and grow. I seek to be better than I was.
Every single interaction I have with my fellow human beings should be honest, compassionate and true. I need to do good, not harm others or myself. I can love myself as I am loved.
I want to be an agent of something greater than just me. I want to serve and help others. I will give someone else the opportunity to help me as well.
My experience, my triumphs and my pitfalls, are all examples of hope. I need to ask how can I best serve the greater good, not how can I instantly gratify myself.

Am I a hypocrite?
Do my actions match my words?
Can I be an effective and efficient messenger of hope with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth?
Am I better example of faith and hope if I take the necessary steps to overcome smoking and share that process with another?

I am a conduit of spiritual principles in action. I treat myself with love and live healthy. I am present for those I care about. I live this ideal relationship every day and everywhere I go. I am in action.



Step 4 – Smoking (Relationships/Other Harms)

A searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and my nicotine addiction, part 3.

III. Interpersonal Relationships & “other harms”

A) Who I harm:
The environment
The general public
My community
My friends
My fellows
My family

B) How:
I exhale second hand smoke and pretend it doesn’t hurt others.
I am dishonest.
I say one thing and do another.
I support faceless corporations that exploit sick people and sell poison.
I litter.
I waste money that could be better spent.
I am shortening my life when I should be trying to be of maximum service to others.
I use a crutch to try and manage my feelings.
I am lazy and boring.
I am killing myself slowly with a known poison.
I don’t think about the future or the inevitable repercussions of my actions.

C) My wrongs/mistakes and what I should have done differently:
I am selfish, dishonest and inconsiderate. I have unjustifably aroused jealousy, suspicion and bitterness. I lie.

I should be responsible for my actions. If I smoke I should responsibly dispose of my garbage. I should not smoke around others. I should care more about myself. I should not smoke. I am worthy of a healthy existence. I should love myself and not harm myself, those I love or anyone else. I must have integrity, conviction, fortitude and perseverance. I need to ask for help and be honest.


Step 4 – Smoking (Fear)

A searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and my nicotine addiction. Causes and conditions continued.

II. Fears

A) What:
I am fearful of failure.
I am afraid of how others see me.
I am scared of my mortality.
I don’t want to be perceived as weak.
I am afraid of being uncomfortable.

B) The cause:
I am too self-reliant and prideful. I seek to control and run the show. I base my self-worth on how other’s see me. I seek external validation to make me feel better about my internal condition. I judge my insides opposite others’ outsides. I don’t like to give up or surrender. My obsessions are stronger than my thoughts and feelings. I am dishonest with self.

C) Affects:
My self-esteem, my ambitions, my pocketbook, my personal relationships, my pride and security (fear).

D) My wrongs/mistakes:
I need to humbly rely on something Greater than myself. I must play the role I am assigned instead of trying to assume control of the uncontrollable. Self-confidence has never fully solved my fear problem. I have placed short term gratification over long term solution. I want great return with the least possible amount of effort and work. I knowingly lie to myself and believe my own lies. I make excuses and justify my actions even when it goes against what I say I truly want. I ignore the truth and don’t honor commitments to myself. I offer to help others but I rarely ask for help. I pretend I am not afraid. I hide my true self from my fellows. I don’t love myself as I am loved.


Step 4 – Smoking (Resentments)

A searching and fearless moral inventory of myself and my nicotine addiction. I am starting personal house cleaning around smoking, looking at causes and conditions.

I. Resentments/grudge list (people, institutions and principles)

A) Who/what:
I am resentful at my father for dying from alcoholism and respiratory failure.
B) The cause:
He was sick, an alcoholic and an addict.
C) Affects:
My self-esteem, my personal relationships, my pride and security (fear).
D) My wrongs/mistakes:
I am selfish, self-seeking, dishonest and afraid. I blame others for situations I have placed myself in. I shirk responsibility and accountability. I would rather focus on the problem than the solution. I lie to myself and others. I embrace fear and use external things as crutches. I have little practice with faith. I don’t trust. I want instant relief without work.
A) Who/what:
I am resentful at Anti-smoking campaigns
B) The cause:
They are trying to limit my personal freedoms. They think they know better than me.
C) Affects:
My self-esteem, my personal relationships, my pride and security (fear).
D) My wrongs/mistakes:
I have been selfish, self-seeking, dishonest and afraid.
I don’t know what’s best for me. I put my wants before other peoples needs and health. I use anger to hide my fear. I use anger to hide my selfishness. I am afraid to let others love me. I feel I am not worthy of love or self-love. I want an easy fix to all my problems. I am lazy and I let life “happen” to me instead of being a participant.
A) Who/what:
B) The cause:
I justify smoking as a lesser evil. I make excuses and reasons why smoking isn’t that bad.
C) Affects:
My self-esteem, my personal relationships, my pride and security (fear).
D) My wrongs/mistakes:
I am not honest with myself. I am lazy. I pretend nicotine isn’t a drug. I give up when things get hard. I tell myself I am not harming anyone but myself. I am afraid to work and change.


His Hands

His gigantic hands had always been one of his most defining features. Symbolic of his powerful presence, his hands were a reminder of the unspoken strength he possessed. A man of few words, swarthy and stoic at first glance, he command attention without a word. People yearned to chisel through his hardened exterior just to get a glimpse of what was underneath. When he did speak, it was captivating and he left all who listened starving for more.
I was one of his greatest admirers. I liked to think I knew him better than anyone else, but I only knew what he chose to share. I paid close attention to his hands. Gnarled knuckles and scars from a much harder life than mine. His hands could make me cower in fear without even touching me, but they also made me feel safe and secure. His hands revealed his best and his worst.
I had watched his hands slowly shrink over the years. Part of it was that I continued to grow, so by comparison he seemed smaller and smaller. But little by little, his hands began to wrinkle and shrivel. It was barely noticeable to someone who didn’t see him everyday, but I noticed.
Eventually everyone else could see it too. His hands were tired and arthritic, a reflection of his declining health. His quick reflexes faded and his grip weakened. He had been holding on so tightly to life that it all began to slip through his fingers. He could scarcely hold the bottle that brought him the comfort and relief that nothing else provided.
I got to sit with him one last time, his hand in mine- withered, cold and stiff. He was unrecognizable from the man I had grown up watching, yet he was still my broken hero. I put my head on his chest and wept. I looked at his palms and fingers. They were tiny, fragile and frail. I clutched tight, not wanting the moment to end, but knowing it must. I said my goodbyes… and reluctantly, I let go.
Goodnight, dad.

~ S.D.

Which Cape?

Which cape shall I wear today?

Sometimes I am the Man of Steel.
Powered by the Sun.
Invincible and impervious to pain.
I fly into the fray, an unstoppable force for good.
I am hero playing the role of a human being.

Sometimes I am the Dark Knight.
Hidden in the shadows.
Mortal, I am just like everyone else. Regardless of consequence, I strive to balance the scales by doing what’s right.
I am a human being playing the role of a hero.

Regardless of my cape, I am a hero everyday.

~ S.D.

What Am I?

I was of use but I wasn’t what I was meant to be
Then I was carelessly tossed from a cliff
Irresponsibly discarded, forgotten
Broken I lay in the sand
My jagged edges are a threat to anyone who comes close to me
This is not my purpose
Not what I was supposed to be
But I am unable to change on my own
I remain willing to become something else but I am at the mercy of the elements
I feel weathered and worn
Patience is my only comfort
Slowly the sands of time start polish me, smoothing my edges
Transforming me into something no one else could have imagined
I am common and ordinary but distinct and unique at the same time
One of a kind
Soon someone will discover what I truly am and I will become a treasured find
Important with new meaning
I exist to be cherished, appreciated and loved.