It’s been more than a year since smokeless started and in that time, things have changed. My personal circumstances remain in flux, shall we say, but I’m no longer staring at my life and bemoaning the shambles that it no longer is. Since Kenya declared Covid-19 to be an epidemic and imposed restrictions on many activities, I have come to appreciate smokeless more and more. Because I get a full night’s sleep these days, I have been able to consistently wake up at 4:30 in the morning and retire to bed at 10:00 pm at night without feeling as if I’m burning the candle at both ends.
I have higher levels of energy, especially when I manage to eat properly in the morning. I am present more with my co-workers, supervisors, bosses and clients. I’m less mentally frazzled. I can read more and deeper. I feel as if I can conquer the world. Hell, last Saturday an old friend of mine persuaded me to go ride bicycles in Karura Forest. (If you’re thinking of doing it, get appropriate shoes and clothes for riding along very muddy and slippery trails.)
I have tried to identify the key to by successful abstinence and all I can think of is that smokeless (and smokeless sobriety) occurred at around the same time that I was getting more responsibility at work and working with more clients. In short, I was and remain quite busy. But that doesn’t mean that I am always working – the bicycling is just the latest in things other than work that have come to occupy my days these days.
Because of the pandemic, I’m driving myself more, which means the driving experience has come with more on-the-road confidence and, obviously, less damage to the car and, consequently, less money spent repairing dings and scratches. Though I’m spending more on petrol, I’m also spending less on the car.
I’m eating better, though I’m now gaining weight because of all the driving. Before the pandemic, in the glorious smokeless period between October 2019 and April 2020, I walked everywhere, which kept the waistline as trim as I could. Now, I’m bursting out of all my suits and that is a worrying trend – men’s suits don’t come cheap!
All in all, though, I’m happier than I was when I started this journey. I’m healthier. I’m more productive. I’m more mentally settled. I miss parts of my old life and every now and then I wish that I could recover them. But if the price is to puff and drink my way into an emphysema-cirrhosis-induced health crisis, I choose to forego them.
The gods are a funny lot. I gave up a small, and extremely enjoyable part of my day-to-day, and they took away a very large part of me, but they repaid me with so much more. I don’t know what the future holds but I hope that when the universe reveals it to me, not only will I be ready, but when I seize it, I’ll seize it with gusto.
One of my friends is struggling with smokeless and another is struggling with the Devil’s Water and I’m not sure what to tell them so that they can keep to the path to better days. I don’t have the skills to guide them. I offer them this, instead: for the moment, substitute Satan’s Stick and the Devil’s water with something else, whether it be work, the gym, culinary lessons from YouTube chefs, anything. Try and train your mind and your fingers and your day to do something other than that. And just maybe, with a little bit of faith, a lot of luck, and a fierce determination, you’ll celebrate a year of smokeless sobriety.