Between his eponymous IFC show and podcast interviews with President Obama and SNL’s Lorne Michaels, Marc Maron had quite an impressive year in 2015. To kick off the start of 2016 – and to help motivate you to stick with your New Year’s resolutions – over the next week we’re revisiting some of our favorite entries from Maron’s “Nicotine Diaries” chronicling his attempts to quit nicotine (gum, snus, lozenges, and all) cold turkey, a day-by-day journey he’s shared with WTF listeners. Maron is currently over 16 years sober, so he’s no stranger to the challenges of quitting an addiction, and the diaries are a fascinating, hilarious, and unflinchingly honest depiction of nicotine’s insidious hold.
To help contextualize each entry, we asked designer/animator Kyle Strope to visualize some of our favorite passages. Whether this series serves as encouragement to quit, a rationalization not to, or an impetus to try snus yourself, consider it a friendly reminder that no matter what you’re trying to cut, quit, fix, or improve this year, New Year’s resolutions are kept only by enduring relentless aggravation. Or to put it in Maron’s words, “This is uncomfortable, man.”
Okay, this is it. No nicotine, day 1. All right, look: I’ve been through this kind of thing before, but on this day I have clarity, I’ve committed, my will is in the right place. It took a long time – well, at least a couple weeks – to work towards the decision to rewire my brain to not, you know, stick lozenges in my mouth or chew nicotine gum or that fuckin’ snus. The snus is the thing that’s killing me, I think. Like, how long can you go on telling yourself, “Well I’m not going to be the one that gets sick – I’m not gonna be the one that gets ‘the cancer.’ I hear it happens, I hear rumors that tobacco’s bad for you, but I don’t think it’s going to be me.” I mean, how long does that shit hold up?
Anyways, so this is day 1. I’ve got some clarity, I’ve got the energy, but right now I’m not freakin’ out because I think it’s excitement – I think I feel excited, and I’m not freakin’ out, though it was sort of a tough morning in the sense that usually I wake up and I have coffee and I stick a really strong packet of snus into my face and then I sit down, and I enjoy it. So that’s not happening right now…but I’m excited about it, because I’ve made a decision. …though the snus is still in the fridge. But I don’t want it! I don’t want it.
- from WTF #85, 2010