Why do I smoke a pipe? Because it is, hands down, no questions asked, the best tobacco fit for me. On occasion I will let my tobacco usage get out of control and I will fall to smoking cigars, or even cigarettes, but there is little real enjoyment or appreciation...just drug use. However, when I am in a right relationship with my love of the leaf I am really only interested in a pipe. I am going to make a genuine effort not to make these articles about comparison to other forms, but I make no promises. Please enjoy your tobacco however your see fit; however, I now choose to write about how I have come to the place of only wanting to enjoy the pipe. Please do not take these words as a criticism of your desired method of tobacco enjoyment, but as a simple song in praise of the lovely pipe and all that it has to offer.
To thiis end, before I begin my raving soliloquies in praise of the pipe, I feel as if the background to this series must be given. I have been using tobacco since well before it was legal for me to do so. Stealing cigarettes, and shouldertapping for cans of chewing tobacco were not irregular for me as I approached 18. But when I came of legal age my first purchase was a pipe. I loved it, but it was only a part of my tobacco diet.
Things continued. On again, off again. Never more than a can of dip or a pack of cigarettes in the course of a week, and always the pipe as the steady centerpiece of my real tobacco enjoyment, yet even that not at the level of "major addiction." Yet as life went on there were times when tobacco use got higher, and far more for the functionality of nicotine than for the practice of enjoying the pipe. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cheap cigars became the most standard fare.
Then the fateful day that I discovered the internet pipe smoking community. Particularly the Youtube pipe smoking community. Through those gents I really learned to apprecaite the pipe. Really appreciate the different tobaccos, dig into how to work with different blends and how to taste with skill and patience all that pipe smoking had to offer. The next years would see rises and falls of other forms of tobacco use, but a steady growth of pipe tobacco enjoyment.
This brought me to the place of decision. I really did enjoy the pipe, but I mostly used tobacco being a slave to the nicotine. I loved the pipe, but hated the addiction. I decided that all mindless tobacco consumption had to go. For me (and only for me) I found nearly all of my tobacco use outside of the pipe was, indeed, mindless. I know many appreciate their cigars, and others really suck real pleasure from a dip, and some only smoke the choicest cigarettes...but for me those were all just methods of "using". So I decided to strive to give up USING tobacco, and commit to ENJOYING tobacco exclusively.
Gettting through the ugly part of this took some help. It took prayer, and support of friends. I also found St. John's Wort, 5-HTP, and L-Theanine (herbal/dietary suppliments) to be helpful. Even with all of those supports there were some moments where I was less than kind to those around me. Yet now I am there. A pipe occasionally. Not more than a ftwo or three pipes a week. With no "craving" for nicotine drawing me to it...only the deep desired satisfaction of good fellowship or a quite moment with my dear pipe as an aid to contemplation.
So why? Why continue enjoying the pipe when the bonds of addiction are severed? I will tell you. I think the pipe is a beautiful experience. I think it is worth enjoying, in spite of the possible risks. So that is what I hope to present to you in the coming articles: Why I love enjoying a pipe.
Please, dear reader, as this small journey progresses please tell me what it is that you most enjoy about your pipe? Or what it is that you enjoy about your other preferred method of tobacco appreciation? What do you find beautiful, useful or valuable about it?