How I Began, a Story from a Different Place

(by, 19 September 1995)

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Article 3091 of
From: (Kathleen Beacon )
Subject: How I began, a story from a different place
Date: 19 Sep 1995 00:45:45 GMT
Organization: Netcom
Lines: 310
Message-ID: <43l3rp$>
X-NETCOM-Date: Mon Sep 18  5:45:45 PM PDT 1995

  I'm a 23 year old woman. I started smoking when I was 12. I started
because I wanted to stop sucking my thumb and tried everything else. I
wanted to stop thumbsucking because, in addition to the embarrassment I
felt about it, the habit affected my teeth pushing them forward and up
to fit my thumb. The dentist couldn't give me braces until I stopped,
and I really wanted to fix my bucked teeth. One day I heard one of my
mother's friends say to my mom that she used to be a thumbsucker and
now she smokes cigarettes. I thought that if smoking could substitute
for my thumb that would be more socially acceptable. I figured that I'd
smoke until I'd get out of the thumbsucking habit, then I'd just stop
  Even though my parents smoked, I didn't want them to know that I now
wanted to also. So, I would sneak them. I'd take a cig from my mom's
pack (Marlboro Reds, I'm sure you'd all want to know), and hide it
until I was alone in the house. I remember my first one. I was, in a
word, shocked at it's taste. I envisioned that it would be sweet
tasting, easy on the tongue. Needless to say, it wasn't. I realize now
that I didn't know how to do it right.
  That first experience didn't stop me. Despite the taste I kept up
because I just couldn't stand the embarrassment I felt about being
laughed at when unknowingly sucking my thumb in front of all the kids
at school. I just had to do something. This was my last hope. So I
decided that if others liked smoking, I could too. 
  I continued to steal one cig at a time, concerned that if I'd take
more my mom would notice. It became, not to be facetious, a drag. It
wasn't having any effect on my babyish habit, and I blamed that on the
fact that my smoking was so infrequent. I thought that it would be so
much easier if I'd have a whole pack. If I did, it wouldn't take so
much energy to wait for the right moment to take only one cigarette,
that I'd have cigs available whenever my mom was out of the house.
  After four months or so of one cig at a time I decided to steal a
pack from mom. She had just bought a new carton. After using several
packs from her carton I figured that she wouldn't notice if I took one
of the packs.
 Running with that first pack to my room, I hid it in a big antique
telephone that hung on my bedroom wall. Now, every time I was alone in
the house, I'd be able to hone my skills, teaching my body to get used
to bathing my lungs in rich tar. I wanted so much to smoke right, like
the experienced smokers that my mom and her friends were. I'd feel more
grown up, less like a thumbsucking baby. I had started  observing other
smokers, and in imitating them, I came to understand the importance of
combining the right amount of air with smoke.  
  When I first started I didn't really inhale much. Occasionally I
would though, because I knew that was the way to do it. During that
first full pack, I started to inhale more frequently. I remember the
first time I became dizzy. I just chalked it up to not yet knowing how
to do it. Believe it or not, I never thought that the nicotine was the
cause. I figured that if I could only get it right, the dizzyness would
go away. By the time the pack was finished it did. I no longer felt
dizzy during the course of one cigarette. And, for the first time, I
enjoyed smoking, inhaling with every puff, watching the smoke come out
of my mouth, observing myself in the mirror. I remember taking in a big
drag, inhaling deeply into my lungs, and holding it for as long as I
can, just to see what would happen. I wanted to see if it was possible
to hold it in so long that nothing would come out. Eventually I
accomplished this. I enjoyed the sounds of smoking, feeling my chest
expand with my hands. It was very erotic. I loved my thumb, but this
could be a substitute, I thought.
  One day, having exhausted my small supply, I needed another pack.
This time my mom's carton was almost empty, so I had to go back to the
individual cigarettes I started with. I was more bold I guess, because
I'd take, at first two, then later four, from her opened packs. She
didn't seem to notice, so I thought that was a safe maximum.  The next
time opportunity knocked, I took two packs. I figured that when I was
down to one pack, I'd only have to take, in the future, one pack at a
time and have another in reserve. This way I wouldn't have to wait
until I could take whole packs again. It was around this time, about
six months after starting, that I first recall feeling anything like a
  It had been my custom to smoke when I first came home from school. My
mom, still at work, wasn't home until five, so I'd look forward to
smoking until four, leaving an hour to clear the air. Six months after
starting I remember thinking about how I could hardly wait to smoke
when I got home. It was midafternoon and all I could think about was
smoking at home after school. I never thought about addiction. I didn't
think that a person could get addicted on the cig diet I was on. But
that was what it was, now that I look back at it. The cigarettes,
inexorably, did their job on my body and mind and I was, incredibly,
unaware of it. That day, when I got home, and for the first time, I
smoked three cigarettes in a row. I can't' believe that I didn't see it
for what it was, but I think that even if I did, I'd have been happy,
because it meant that I'd be a real smoker and not 
have to suck my thumb anymore. I did notice that smoking, though
different, gave me something of the same oral satisfaction I derived
from my infantile habit. But I'd still wake in the morning with my
thumb firmly planted in its usual place. This still bothered me. I
rationalized that perhaps it takes more time, or, perhaps I'd have to
smoke more often. So stopping smoking was out of the question. I still
hadn't got the hang of it. So I decided to smoke whenever I can, as 
often as I can. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. School was
almost over, and the summer holiday soon to begin.
  It was around this time that I bought my first pack. Even though she
didn't suspect, I was never comfortable with taking the packs from my
mom's carton. There was always the possibility that she would find out,
and, besides, I thought that there was something immoral about it. It
felt too much like stealing. It was dumb to think that, I mean, she'd
have no qualms about me taking food from the refrigerator, but the
feeling persisted. So, one day I rode my bike to a diner, looked inside
to make sure no one I knew was there, and quickly filled the change
into the cig machine, pulling out my bounty. My heart was racing madly,
nervous that I'd be caught, being under age and all. I brought just the
right amount of change, filling my palm. The idea was to do it fast and
leave quickly, it worked flawlessly.
  From then on that's how I'd get my cigarettes. I had an allowance of
$10 a week, so it was no problem. That summer my daily intake of
cigarettes increased dramatically. With my mom gone from 8:30 in the
morning till 5 or so in the afternoon, smoking whenever I wanted was no
problem. I did it in the downstairs bathroom so that any telltale trace
would not be around the house. I did it in the backyard because we had
a high fence and the back, though open fenced, faced a big lake.
Outside was better, because no smoke odor persisted at all. I would be
able to smoke almost till five. The stubs, though, still had to have
the house connection, flushing them, as I did, down the toilet. I
started to get annoyed though. Smoking at home was limiting. The urges
to smoke were more frequent during the day. I couldn't be tied to the
house all summer. I must have been smoking 10 cigs a day during, and
something had to give. 
  I had a best friend, Michelle, who'd I'd been able to share all my
secrets and feelings with. She, too, was shy and socially awkward, and,
so, it was natural that we'd become friends. I decided to let her in on
the big secret. I felt guilty all along, not letting her know, but my
apprehension of being found by anyone overcame my even my friendship
with Michelle. But after these months of smoking, the fear of her
knowing became diluted. 
I didn't know what to expect, but I knew she wouldn't be judgmental. We
had always been supportive of each other, and so, buttressed with
positive feelings, I told her.  As expected, she was very
understanding. It was great. Now I was able to smoke away from home,
and not alone. We'd go to the park, and I'd light up. I felt
embarrassed that first time, but she put me at ease, acting naturally,
as though there was nothing different. Sure, the first cig, she'd look
in wonderment, and there was the usual laughter that comes from relief
of anticipated anxiety, but by the second cig we both were our old
selves. It was wonderful. I'd now be able to smoke in the
 park, and behind her house too. After a couple of weeks, I asked her
if she'd like to try. I guess she wanted to all along, because a look
of excited joy came over her face at the thought. So here we were, both
smoking together, best friends. It felt comfortable, and thereafter,
every time I'd light up, I'd ask Michelle if she'd want one. I shared
with Michelle all the lessons I learned by myself, showing her how to
inhale, how to hold the cig. 
  By the time summer ended, me and Michelle would both be regular
smokers. Michelle, at first, only smoked with me. It wasn't long before
she too was smoking on her own. When school started, I noticed how
really fidgety I became during classes. I ended up sucking my thumb
worse, just for some relief! I couldn't believe it. After awhile, I
started sneaking cigs in the stall in the bathroom. It made me a
nervous wreck thinking that I'd be found out. But I needed them so bad.
On weekends I'd hang with Michelle and we'd both be smoking up a storm.
I remember, after my thirteenth birthday, on a weekend with Michelle, I
finished a whole pack in one day. It was quite a surprise to me. By
this time I had been up to buying a whole carton at a time, hiding it
in my telephone (it had enough room in it for two cartons). I even had
to ask for a raise in my allowance so that I could do this. After
finishing the pack and recognizing that I didn't have any money on me,
I had to walk home just to get another pack. My mom was home and she
must have thought it odd that I'd come home, lock my bedroom door, c
ome out in a couple of minutes and leave.  I don't know if it did or
not, but I guess it must have seemed strange to her.
  One day around late October, in the park, one of the girls we knew at
school saw us. By the time me and Michelle noticed it was too late to
snuff our cigs out. She passed us by and said, "Kathy, Michelle, is
that YOU?" That "you", said with consternation, and my first
introduction into the outside world as a smoker. Mary was one of the
more popular girls at school, one of the girls that hung out with the
"bad crowd". She wasn't really bad, but that was the name those kids
were referred to because, I guess, they were kinda precocious. She
walked over and asked us when we started smoking. I lied that we just
started to try it. I knew better than to ask her to keep it a secret.
If I did, she'd be sure to spread it around worse than she would
already do. She just engaged us in some chit-chat, and lit up her own.
Michelle and I were doing all we could to hide our discomfort, but we
kept right on smoking with her. 
  The next day at school I was filled with worry, what would happen? It
wasn't until later that week that she saw me with Michelle, came over
to us, and invited us to a party. Me and Michelle couldn't believe our
ears. WE, invited to a party with the most popular, though "bad", kids
at school?! I never quite became friends with anyone in that crowd,
more like acquaintances. But now that the secret was out, I think I
used my "relationship" with them more to increase the opportunities
where I could smoke than anything else. I'd go over to Mary's house,
and Mary's friends houses and smoke along with the rest of them. Mary's
parents didn't think a thing about it, which I thought pretty amazing.
By this time I was a firm pack a day smoker. 
  One day when I came home, my mom noticed that I smelled of smoke. I
was cool about it and brushed it off to the smell of the smoke from the
kids I was hanging with. I think that's when she started suspecting. My
mom told me that I shouldn't start, but that she recognized that if I
wanted to she couldn't stop me. After all, she said, she started at 14,
but would just simply appreciate it if I'd be honest with her. She said
that if I started smoking, she'd rather I didn't feel the need to be
secretive about it and wished that I do it in the house where at least
she'd feel I was safe. Cool as I was, I was surprised by her attitude.
And the funny thing is that this occurred just as I was contemplating
stopping. I had developed a morning cough, and started to get a little
out of breath in gym class. But that was nothing compared to the fact
that I finally realized that smoking hadn't cured me of thumbsucking!
Though I didn't need it during the day, I still couldn't go to sleep,
and stay asleep, without my thumb. So now I had two bad habits. But I
really did enjoy smoking, and it at least it substituted for
thumbsucking during the daytime. Remember, I had originally thought
that after it would reduce (or eliminate) my first habit, I'd stop. But
now my own mom was saying, in effect, it was OK. I didn't know wh
at to do. I thought that it would be exciting if I, too, could have my
friends over, and all of us could smoke in my house for a change.
  But I still couldn't just come out and say that I smoke. What I did
instead was ask my mom if it would be OK to have a party at my house.
She was happy to hear this and agreed. It was the first party I'd have
since I was a little girl, and the first one given by me. Michelle
helped by spreading the word, and so, two weeks later, they all came
rambling in. Since I was in charge of the list of invites, my party
could include Mary's group as well as people I and Michelle knew.  It
was some mix. The shy and introverted with the outspoken and
demonstrative, all in one basement, and smokin' up a storm. What,
incredibly, I hadn't realized, was the risk I was taking that my
smoking could be found out by mom. I guess it was just a matter of time
  I was too busy making sure everyone had what they needed. While
upstairs with my mom, one of the girls, I forget her name, came
upstairs to help. Not that I asked her too, but she was just being the
helpful sort that she was. While loading up the tray with soda and
pretzels, she, in front of my mom, asked me for a cigarette. When I
said I don't have any, she retorted, "Where'd you put'm?". "I don't
know." The girl left downstairs with her tray, and mom asked me to stay
in the kitchen a moment. 

"Look, Kath. I think it's time to stop the charade. I see who those
kids are. They're not bad, really. But it's obvious to me that you
started smoking and, like I said, I'd rather, if you're going to do it,
that you don't about lie about it. What do you think I am, some kind of
monster or something. OK? 
"Yea, I know."
"Now, tell me, are you smoking?"
"Yea, mom, I am, I'm sorry", I was so sheepish.
"Nothing to be sorry about. I'm proud that you're honest with me. If
you want to smoke, go right ahead, but, no more lying, OK?"

  That was it, the beans were spilled. Actually, it was a relief. I was
smoking almost consistently a pack a day and it became a nuisance to
hide it anymore. But the strange thing is that even with my mom now
knowing, I felt funny doing it in front of her. When I went downstairs,
I lit a cig. But I kept poking my eyes at the stairway, ready to put it
out if mom would come down. But it was noisy. I never saw or heard her
come down, and didn't realize it until she was there, right in front of
me. Instead of anything I'd imagine she would do, she just stood there
with a big smile, said that she was glad everyone is having a good
time, and just went upstairs again, smile in hand, so to speak.
 After it was over and all cleaned up, I was in the living room and she
asked me if I wanted a cigarette then. Of course I did, and I said so.
"Well, really, don't let me stop you, go right ahead". I lit my first
cig in front of mom. She asked me how long I've been smoking, if I
liked it or just did it because my friends did it (little did she
know), and cautioned about how hard it is to stop. I told her that I
liked it, that I probably won't want to stop anyway, and that I can't
believe I'm doing this. 
  Mom was real easy about it, lighting up within a few seconds of me. I
don't know why I was so worried about her finding out. With the freedom
now to smoke in my house, around the clock, my habit started to really
take off. Before mom knew about my smoking, I'd be very repressed about
it, tolerating the urges at home. But now, after a short initial
adjustment, I'd light up every time she would, and notice that she'd
light up when I would. It wasn't long before my smoking increased. I'd
light up when answering the phone, when watching TV, when talking with
mom, if someone rang the doorbell, and on and on. Everything started to
become associated with smoking. I had always been very oral, and
smoking became another way to express my oral needs. All this, and I
was still only 13 years old. By the end of the school year, and at the
age of 14, I was smoking at least 1-1/2 packs a day during the school
week, and 2 packs and more on the weekends and holidays. I no longer
even considered stopping. The thought of stopping scared me, strange as
that seems, considering all the smoking paranoia today.
  But the reason I had to started smoking still eluded me. I was still
waking up sucking my thumb. I'd think, somewhat irrationally, if only I
could smoke in my sleep. But, of course, that is impossible. Sometimes,
though, I'd have a fantasy of someone feeding me cigarettes while I'd
sleep. I wouldn't stay overnight at friends because of the
embarrassment. I thought how odd my two habits were when juxtaposed.
The adult and the child, in one form. Of course, I *was* a child, but I
didn't think of myself that way then.
  One night, before going to bed, I put my thumb in my mouth in
preparation for sleep. Starting to think about this posture that I take
every night, a thought came over me. I stopped and grabbed for my cigs.
I tried to see if I can get the same comfort from a cigarette that I
was getting from my thumb. After lighting it up, I snuggled with my
hand close to my mouth, and just held the cig between my lips. Every
breath became an inhalation of smoke. I was sucking, not like my thumb,
but at least as close as I could get to it. It felt good. I had to
close my eyes, because the smoke was covering up my entire face. It
felt good, but, after all, not as good as my thumb. For the next two
months I tried doing this every night, just to see if it would help. It

  Today I smoke about 3 packs of Pall Mall unfiltered a day. A guy
introduced me to Pall Malls while I was in college. I hated seeing the
filters get dark brown and the unfiltered cigs put an end to that. I
know there are guys out there who get turned on to my smoking, so this
newsgroup didn't come as a surprise. Well, actually it did, but not
really, you know what I mean. I've gotten friends to become smokers,
just because I get annoyed at the arrogance of some non-smokers. I
guess that makes me some sort of heroine here. OK, I accept. My
thumbsucking continues till today, but I've learned to accept it. I
never did get my teeth fixed, but there are guys out there that get
turned on to bucked teeth too, and that shouldn't surprise any of you,
given your proclivities. I must say, though, there is no substitute for
smoking. I enjoy it immensely, and even like the way it weakens my
body, very sensual. Hope you enjoyed my story. 
Keep kissing cigarettes, there's a part that is good for you. Kathleen.

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