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Oh my, what a surprise

Posted by Bonnie Jan 12, 2020

Hit 2 years nicotine-free 5 days ago. Since my laptop is being repaired, I wasn't following my normal routine of logging onto Ex, checking my Quit app, even remembering my quit date, tho I remember now I picked the 7th because 7 is one of my favorite numbers (the other is  13). I have had soooooo many start dates . Anyway, because I was basically offline and it was not my first smober anniversary which was a BIG deal, day came and went with little significance. Like a good friend told me, the second year would be easier than the first. And she was right.

HOWEVER, for the last three evenings I have wanted to smoke. Not constantly, but more than one "thought" each evening.  What a surprise! I just kind of shook my head and observed the phenomena. Three nights in a row. That nicodemon is cunning, powerful and..oh I forget the last word. Baffling? That could be it. Because the truth is, depression, anxiety,  anger and hopelessness would get me to relapse over and over, but today life is good. I had a great Christmas day (which included the ex) with both my daughters and all the grandkids. My relationship with both of them is better than it's ever been (this has taken a lot of prayer, patience and letting go of a lot of baggage on my part). I am content with my present, hopeful for the future and accepting of the past. I accomplished technical tasks to secure my laptop to mail that amazed my smoking days I would have been a frustrated, impatient mess. I am doing stuff on my phone in the meantime I was too stubborn to learn how to do before, like figuring out how to get on Ex, access my email accounts, etc. I am not inclined towards technology, even though I worked at Intel for 9 years and left as an IT systems engineer (Ha ha), but even old dogs can learn new tricks and I have to say I'm quite proud of myself. The weather was gorgeous today and I spent all day outside working in my yard, which is one of my favorite things to do. Came in, put on some music, cooked a healthy dinner talked to a close friend on the phone did some planning for next week...all in all s lovely day...and Bam there it was..the thought...the sneaky damn thought of an addictive brain.  Wow. It can hit when the s*** hits the fan and it can hit when life is incredibly sweet. Be forewarned, dear people. Once an addict, always an addict.

Thanks for being here.

Bonnie @734 DOF



Posted by Bonnie Dec 19, 2019

711 Days for me smokefree...but that means no more 7-Eleven stores for me and that's perfectly OK.  I don't need to "stop by", "swing by" "drop by" or "drop in" a convenience store to get my nicotine fix.  So freeing it is, to no longer need to make that extra stop on the way home, on the way to drive that commute, on the way to Christmas dinner, on the way to anywhere!


Newbies, stay the course, it's hard to believe but when I "feel" like I want a smoke these days (and yes, that still does happen, around this time of year especially)  I just shake my head and might even laugh out loud.  It ain't gonna happen, no way, tease me all you want, you NicoDEMON, I'm NEVER gonna jump back on that slippery slide called SMOKING CIGARETTES...ugh!   


Life may be hard, and maybe it just gets harder in a lot of ways, but one thing about living for an exsmoker just gets easier and that's to stay smokefree.


Telling the truth,

Bonnie ~711 DOF



Posted by Bonnie Dec 17, 2019

For being the first of these

I am enjoying a quiet but joyous holiday season.  No working the retail madness this year!  My decorations are the Christmas cards I've received, my Christmas cactus which is blooming profusely, the solar twinkle lights that I never took down from last year and, of course, my year-round indoor Norfolk pine.  Didn't feel like putting out all the stuff that's stored in my shed this year and am enjoying everyone else's efforts immensely. The park's Christmas carol singalong two Sundays ago was fun, the Christmas dinner will be great, and I'm looking forward to my church's Christmas Eve service...more singing...YES!!!!

Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child"


My family (ex-husband included) will gather at my oldest daughter's for turkey and ham.  I offered to bring the mas

hed potatoes but the request has come from my grandboys for scalloped potatoes.  Let's hope the recipe I found on the 'net will work, as I'm determined to do them in my pretty crockpot (bought last year) and am not going back to the store for cheese or half-and-half or canned soup.  Scalloped potatoes are made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk and I will make the white sauce as the recipe describes...just hoping they turn out as well as the baked version I always made (and never measured anything).


I have fought the depression devil and won, with exercise, decent eating and most of all, loving myself, no matter what.  So much easier to do when I'm not sticking stinking cigs in my mouth to stuff my feelings.  When I start going down the "poor me" pity path I just "flip the switch" (advice from my daughter) and realize, more often than not, that it's because I didn't sleep well, or let regret or longing take hold of my emotions.  Silly me!  I have so much to be grateful for and my dear EX family will always be right there at the top of the list.



Love, Bonnie ~709 DOF


Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden.


"word of the Day" from

So, this past week at work included a bomb threat with an arrest, a shoplifter I tried to "catch" (first and last time I do that!), a mentally-challenged woman who said she felt dizzy (low blood sugar)--but what a swirl with training paramedics from the university being really immature about her condition & the security guard on his little unicycle hovering over the scene--and a woman customer yelling at me at the top of her lungs as she left the store shaking her book at me (first time for that, too). I "called off" yesterday...just not worth it....FIFTEEN MORE DAYS (they don't know officially yet that I'm leaving, but I'm sure the handwriting is on the wall).


Got some errands done yesterday and treated myself to a delicious burger & fries lunch my daughter recommended.  I rarely eat like that, but the food was fresh and good and I ate every bite.  Came home and putzed around the house and checked my email in the late afternoon. Results back from fecal test I completed last week (you oldtimers know the routine).  Was so proud of myself not to procrastinate this time like I usually do.  Anyway, the results came back POSITIVE.  I just stared at the page...OH, S****!  Literally!!!!  And my doctor--who I've only seen once and was not impressed--is getting out of outpatient work and is handing me off to another doc on the 12th (got a letter in the mail) and I can't even look her up to see if I want her as my new doc, and when I sent an email to my current doc to see what the next step is, I got an out of office reply that he won't be back til the 10th.  Well, I have to admit, by now I'm freaking out.  And OF COURSE, it's 4:15 on a Friday afternoon. I am WAY overdue for a colonoscopy (like 15 years...long story...partly my fault, partly not) and my aunt died of colon cancer.  Called the "advice nurse" line and got put on hold ("the nurse that will take this call is leaving in 15 minutes") for so long that I hung up and called again, after plugging in my phone that is not taking a charge these days (need a new one--will order that today).  So...I'm standing in the bathroom (and yes, my back definitely hurts again by now) with my phone plugged in because I can't bend over to plug it in anywhere where I can sit or lay down, and I'm having a meltdown with the young man who answers the phone the second time (at least he is a native English speaker).  He has to ask me unrelated questions like have I been to the Congo lately...blah, blah, blah.  Bottom line, I've got a phone appt. with yet another doc on 7:30 Monday morning.  So, yes, I can still go to work on Monday!


After I calmed down and did a little research online and thought about things (not just panic), I realized I had been taking a LOT of Naproxen (prescription strength ibuprofen) for my back and have been having signs of intestinal discomfort, etc.  Also eating a lot of cheese and drinking milk even though I think I'm lactose semi-intolerant now.  I really dislike not being able to eat whatever I want like I used to.  THE GOOD OLD DAYS.  And being a Taurus, yes, a bit stubborn , I just continue to eat what I want in moderation and since the symptoms aren't that bad I just ignore them.  But I think my gut is telling me to NOT BE IN DENIAL.  SOMETHING I'M SOOOOO GOOD AT (like with the CIGS).


So...if you believe in a Higher Power, please pray for me.  I've been blessed with excellent health and am not used to this, plus the bureaucracy that is KAISER and the medical profession (I've had my share of awful medical practice, including my daughter and I almost dying when I gave birth to her).  I know it's just a test and the blood could be from my intestinal tract/stomach, not polyps (they removed some 15 years ago), but I'm still concerned.  I did let my daughters know (via text, of course) and they both were supportive, which made me feel better.  I'm not telling anyone else but you guys right now.  Thanks for "listening".


Didn't even think of smoking.  And the dairy, wine and coffee are off the list, too, now (sigh...) And I have someone to take me to the colonoscopy and stay there as they have to now (the main reason I didn't get one the last year).  So I'm good back hurts a little so I didn't go detail my car like I wanted to and I'm not doing all the housework I usually do on Saturdays, but no more ibuprofen for me...just a heating pad and a cup of tea with honey...sigh again...Sometimes this getting older deal isn't so much fun.




608 DOF


600 Days...what a week!

Posted by Bonnie Aug 31, 2019

It's been a bit of a rough week.  On Monday I fell in my little garden area kicking at a nandina stump I want to get rid of.  Not a wise thing to do--I was already dressed for work and was just killing time basically. Ha!  That'll learn me!  I fell backward hard on my rear on my cement pathway.  The main hurt was my left wrist...I took a naproxen, wrapped it with an ace bandage and headed to work.  Asked my supervisor for the back cashwrap area (a lot less busy than the front) and had a good day, went to Sprouts to grocery shop afterward and then got stuck in nightmare surface street traffic due to a fatal accident on the heavily-used street that goes directly from my place to work. Was sent on a wildgoose chase by the policeman directing traffic off that road (not his fault, he sent us the only way to go) and didn't get home til almost 2 hours later (it usually takes 15 minutes).  My back wasn't happy by this time, but I kept thinking I was grateful not to be involved in the accident--a hurt wrist and sore back were nothing compared to a headon car accident.


Could barely get out of bed Tuesday morning--my back was pretty bad. Called off work and was able to get my heating pad out of the closet and plugged in...knew I just couldn't lay there all day and after deciding I would keep taking the naproxen I get for my knee (and rarely take), and doing some stretches, etc. I was in much better shape at the end of the day.  I ended up grateful that night, too, especially since I had Wednesday off work.


Woke up feeling good on Wednesday, so good I sat at my dining room table in the morning with my coffee and worked on a jigsaw puzzle 'til noon.  WRONG!  My back was not good after all that sitting...Second not-so-smart thing I did last week.


Went to work on Thursday (had found a little wrist brace I had bought years ago and wore that to work to hide the bad bruising) and had a really good day--supervisor put me at the back again and I was able to cashier and even empty the cart holding the gift merchandise that belongs in that area--it was fun putting away all the new calendars, journals, dayplanners, etc.--we sure carry some pretty (and expensive!) merchandise.  Went home and fixed the big salad I usually eat for dinner on Mondays and proceeded to chip a front tooth on my fork. I was afraid to go look at it, but it wasn't as horrible as it had sounded. I got out my nail file and gently smoothed the rough edge but I had to keep looking at it all night until I convinced myself it wasn't bad (it's really not, but vanity, you know).   Went to bed grateful that it was just a little thing and realized I have to start being more careful with how I eat now that I'm "mature" far THREE "little" lessons this week....


Yesterday was Friday (TGIF) and I went to work, but had to work the front because the coworker in the back had to replenish the magazines (we have hundreds of magazines).  I must have waited on at least 60 people in 2 hours.  My wrist started hurting and I told my boss and he basically sent me home (I had gotten 4 memberships in 2 hours and so was still in great standing). Came home to a mess in my tiny front yard--the palm tree folks were trimming the trees on my street and had moved my potted plants and not put them back and there were hundreds of palmtree berries all over...everywhere.  I called the park management and it got taken care of, but not before I just broke down in tears when I was by myself.  After calming down, I realized I was very grateful I had been sent home early from work because I was able to get this situation rectified as soon as possible.  Otherwise I would have had to look at the mess all weekend and try to deal with it after the holiday weekend.


What a week!  Just a bunch of "stuff" compounded til I cried.  But it was a release to cry (I used to smoke instead of cry) and I was still in one piece (bruised, chipped, and sore) and my little yard looks nice again.  After a glass of wine (ok, two BIG glasses of wine) and getting into my jammies and watching some Golden Girls (I love that show) I went to bed, thanked GOD for getting me through a challenging week and got nine hours sleep.  I feel GREAT today!


I did reach 600 days nicotine-free yesterday.  As a former chronic relapser, I am proud of this.  However, the most amazing thing is that NEVER during this week did I think of smoking.  In the "old days" (that's what I call my former smoking life) I would have been up to a least a pack a day (I was a halfpack-a-day smoker) and would have felt worse mentally and physically, and would have spent $$$ I didn't have to feed my addiction.  When I was really "up" during most of this summer, the thought of smoking did enter my mind a few times.  The addictive mind is such an interesting one!


If you get to this point and you're a newbie, I just want you to know that there WILL come a time--it could be a stressful time (I always broke a quit under stress)--when YOU WILL NOT CONSIDER SMOKING AS AN OPTION.  It sounds like a miracle, but it does happen.


Grateful to get through this week in one piece, grateful to be a nonsmoker, and grateful for YOU.  Have a safe and hopefully smokefree weekend!  


601 DOF



Posted by Bonnie Aug 9, 2019

I'm tired, emotionally exhausted, drained, not enough sleep, etc....It has been a very challenging week so far--younger daughter having surgery, me taking care of the three grandkids while both daughters head to S.F. to get it done, managing these 5 relationships that are complicated and interactive and so fulfilling and challenging at the same time, while I could really use a vacation (HUH? what's that?--my last (unpaid) planned vacation from work was taken up by a case of shingles, and this week off is not a FUN thing, but a good thing) yadda yadda yadda...and it's all good...we all love each other and got through it--but "Nonnie"  (that's me), is the most tired one.  Thank GOD my older daughter is a natural mother and is doing the driving that needs to be done, but she's a bit bossy at the same time and needs to be in control, so I just let least she's talking to me these days (LOL!).


So..relationships:   Good.  This is very important to me.

       little garden:    Good.  I have 5 baby zucchini!  And some new Japanese eggplant!  

       health:  Very good, but... My knee doesn't hurt because I haven't worked this week .  It hasn't hurt since I started this job over a year ago, but with the "takeover" (Barnes and Noble was sold to a hedge fund and it hasn't been a positive thing for the low man on the totem pole--me: the cashier) I am being run ragged. My days are numbered at Barnes and Noble, but that's another post that I probably will never publish because it's so negative and I don't think anyone can possibly understand unless they worked at my shop.  As a cashier.  The #1 salesperson/cashier quit last week.  I had already decided I wasn't going to make it through the holidays before she left.  'Nuff said

       finances:   Bills paid this month and plan in place for the near future.

       attitude:  Positive and holding. So grateful my daughter's surgery went well.

       creativity:  Bursting at the seams.  Lots of ideas...a sign that I'm headed in the right direction--whatever THAT is!

       spiritual life:  in touch

       home:  getting so organized it's kinda scary.  Procrastination no longer is an option...YIKES!  The "to do" lists (I have them all over the place) are getting checked off!


So...just in the course of writing this, the urge/thought/compulsion/whatever has passed, but....I wanted to smoke....

So dang proud of getting through the morass of emotions I have dealt with this week that I had that amazingly ironic...after all the "wisdom" I have taken the time to try to share here on EX just yesterday....all I can say is:


Just proves that it does get easier, can blow your quit in the moment you decide (your addictive brain decides) you have to have a's totally ridiculous, insane and nuts...really!


Thanks for being here, I have NO desire to do the stupid thing now.


Love you all,





Having So Much Fun!

Posted by Bonnie Jul 21, 2019

Spending the $ I would have burned up in an ashtray the past year and six months or so. 


These are a few of the things I've purchased with my saved cig money:

1) A 3-wheel bike (will post pics when I find someone to help me put it together).

2) A new couch (bought online & wasn't sure of the process/quality/shipping process but it came this week and I LOVE it!)

3) Potting bench (always wanted one).

4) DNA package (have wanted to do this for years)

5) Various & sundry personal indulgences: new pillows for my bed; creams, lotions and potions for my bod; some new duds & summer sandals

6) Stuff to create a little shaded garden area in my yard---SOOOO happy with this!  Needed some shade so bought a couple of those market umbrellas, new cushions for my settee & chair, plants to fill pots I already had, some solar lighting...can't wait for my best friend to see it today.  I spend a LOT of time out in my yard now because of this and it makes me HAPPY.

7) Ticket and Hotel Reservations to the Celtic Music Festival in Grass Valley in September.  Have wanted to go to this for a long time & my girlfriends from my Truckee days and I are making it happen for my 70 birthday celebration.  Can't wait!!!


This is a materialistic post, but one to remind those in the beginning of their quit that the rewards are many if you stay the course.  I didn't buy myself anything to mark my year anniversary as a non-smoker...took myself out to a rather bad meal to celebrate.  Just didn't have anything in mind that I wanted to mark the occasion.  


HOWEVER, I have "flipped the switch" to an attitude of ABUNDANCE rather than LACK. The  "poor me" 'tude --the one that got me to break many a quit--has gone BIG BYE-BYE. I LOVE myself enough now to GIVE MYSELF some things that provide me joy, comfort, and pleasure.  Smoking was always cloaked (for me) in an attitude of self-loathing, no matter how buried that feeling was, every time I relapsed that feeling just grew stronger...


All this "personal growth" AND physical "gifts" from just saying "NOT ONE PUFF EVER AGAIN" (NOPEA??? LOL) and sticking to it.  The good things that continue to happen because of this DECISION continue to be showered upon me.


May YOU feel the same blessings as you continue on your journey.  The path is not straight, often has ups and downs and unexpected perils, but it is ALWAYS going in the same direction: up, Up, UP to FREEDOM...FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION!


Bonnie - Free and Healing for One Year, Six Months, Fourteen Days, 10 Hours and 3 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 19 Days and 11 Hours, by avoiding the use of 5604 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $2,867.63.


It's my Friday

Posted by Bonnie Apr 11, 2019

and it's been a strange and wonderful week...According to social media today there was going to be an "active shooter" at the mall today where I worked...not into social media but my coworkers informed me...very slow customer-wise for our store, but that turned out to be a good thing...I sold more memberships than I ever had in the past year (told my boss that my "demographics" aren't involved in social media so they came in and bought a membership...LOL!!!! 

My daughter's teacher union had a strike day today and she went to the rally...long story but am so proud of her...she came home safe, as did I.,

Joining my church on Easter Sunday. Have never been a "joiner" (did 12-step for awhile) but this church has been so embracing..just like EX has been...a year for both? Interesting...always felt like an outsider, but have to say, the last year has been AMAZING...because I FINALLY quit smoking???????????????????????

All I want to say is I don't feel like such an OUTSIDER...When I was a smoker, well, smoking helped me stay long as I smoked, that's where I wanted to be...outside...on the fringe...

But now?  I don't mind being "a part of", I still love my solitude..but when I'm alone, I don't sit there and smoke, and think about OTHERS, and how they "did me wrong"...I just come home, be glad for being able to get home and be safe, and have food to eat, and things to do...ok, I'm rambling...


NOT angry, resentful, bitter, or afraid..

Life can be a miracle...that's all from me 


Just checkin' in

Posted by Bonnie Mar 18, 2019

to say it's all good here in Sack-O-Tomatoes (River City, City of Trees, etc.).  Weather was 74 today and gorgeous...I am nicotine-free and am grateful for that.  Still working at Barnes and Noble and it's gotten a lot easier...enjoy sharing  smiles and laughs with my customers and coworkers.  Family doing well...older daughter and I have reconciled...patience is a virtue, lol!  Had the whole family over for Sunday dinner and to play Bubble Talk...what fun it was!


Haven't blogged in a while but have stopped by off and on and am glad some folks who said they were taking a break are back, grateful that the January-February "blues" have lifted for some of us, just basically glad and grateful for the most part every day.  Stay away from the news as much as I can, have been watching a lot of Netflix, listening to music and reading...enjoying the peace and quiet of a rather uneventful life these days and appreciating that fact.  Worry being kept at bay by faith, nurturing nearby relationships without expectation and looking forward to a milestone birthday next month.  


Thank you for being here and being part of my healing/maturing/ripening process.  Quitting smoking was just the beginning...staying quit is integral for me to keep on a forward trajectory.  So much more has been revealed. 

Love you all, my EX family...


Facing Fear

Posted by Bonnie Jan 18, 2019

So...I got through the holidays (which have been an emotional landmine for me for decades), including the retail craziness at work (which started in November and is just now winding down), and celebrated my first smokefree year (also in decades) on 1/7/2019 and prepared for the winter slump which I typically experience in January/February.  The Christmas decorations are sitting on my dining room table ready to be put back in my little shed, which involves a lot of stairs for me and which I wish I had a little help with...but I don' it's on the list for this weekend since it isn't raining...Also have to deal with the leaves on the gravel in my yard which I haven't been able to deal with because of rain...and I don't really like bringing out the blower with the long cord (so easy to trip on and so noisy), so I'm going to see if I can do it with my little rake--I really dislike blowers...thought this little yard that came with my singlewide mobile home would be maintenance free, because it's all gravel, but it's not...thousands of tiny weeds sprout up...I'd rather deal with dirt anytime...and also need to deal with the yearend paperwork purge and filing that needs to happen...Three tasks I am not looking forward to and which I would use as an excuse to smoke more than my former half-pack-a-day to get accomplished...but not this year...lots of coffee--YES...nicotine--NO.


So I have my list of things to do, goals to meet, a budget that includes a small Social Security raise ($39!!!!--I got myself some dental insurance that almost is paid for with this raise!), the California minimum wage raise and paying down my Christmas debt before my birthday in April, and my exercise plan (which I haven't started ).  I'm going to see how it goes at work for now (I work at a Barnes and Noble that is adding a café right near my cashiering of the reasons I liked my store was because it DIDN'T have a  café) but start looking at other possibilities to earn $$$.


I will turn SEVENTY in is huge, people...bigger than 30, 40, 50, or 60.  At least for me.  I look and act younger than my age (I joke that it is because of my immaturity) and have excellent health.  I am very fortunate that way.  But I am not fortunate financially--I lost everything due to the Great Recession, starting with my well-paying fulltime job as a librarian, then my retirement savings, and then had to sell my house.  If the first escrow had gone through, I would have been alright, but it fell through and left the house in a terrible state with the termite work that the buyer had started and I had to hire a contractor to put it back in saleable condition, while paying the mortgage and also the rent on the house my daughter and I were sharing.  It was a nightmare--the kind of financial disaster from which you don't recover...not when you're 60.  After two years of living together, my daughter and I needed to move on and I had no idea where to go.  Didn't want to rent an apartment and they were too expensive I saw this little mobile home for sale on the internet and went to see it and it had been refurbished and my antique dining room table fit in the kitchen and the color scheme went with my furniture and it had two large rooms and lots of light...a dove was nesting in one of the planters on the porch and that was my sign...that this was mine.  So I bought it and the same day I signed the escrow papers I found out I had a broken leg that hadn't been diagnosed properly and that I'd been walking on for 11 weeks (a little boy knocked me down on cement at my last job as a preschool assistant).  Was not a good day...I'm sure I smoked a lot...


But I persevered and moved in and emptied all the moving boxes myself and up and down the stairs (which I'm still supposed to avoid) and got no help from my daughters who both live less than 5 miles away.  I asked my one daughter to just help me move my dining room table to a new position and she rolled her eyes when I asked her.  Was going to quit smoking when I moved in but that didn't last long..


That will be four years ago in June...I have nice neighbors and it's OK here, but I miss the feeling of solid walls and the privacy of my old back yard.  At 650 sq. ft it's small, but I actually like the size and the fact that I can't just store things in my office or the large garage I once had.  I cannot "accumulate" . But I own the "coach" so have to do the homeowner maintenance and rent the space  (which I also have to maintain).  The space rent started going up $25/year a couple of years ago.  This is not a sustainable lifestyle for me in my current financial situation and I have a gut feeling that I'm not supposed to be here, that I have one more adventure in me and that this is not my last home.  I'm really not a city dweller...just living here makes me anxious...too many people moving too fast...


I got the bookstore job immediately after  my Workmen's Comp ran out--first and only interview I was granted and I got the was so stressful I had to go back on my anti-anxiety medication...but I persevered and told myself I would give it six months...and now I'm one of the top salespeople (you have to sell memberships to be a "good employee") even though I have never sold anything in my life.  The job has been good for me in a lot of ways, besides buying my food and gas and spending money:  it has helped restore my self-confidence (after my daughters shunned me for being narcissistic and lot of other awful stuff), reaffirmed my gifts as a "people person" AND the stress of the job did not drive me back to smokes  (I have blown many a quit over work stress)..


You see, I have to work, at least as long as I have this little place.  I've just been taking it a day at a time, but I have to face the future, too.  It can be incredibly frightening for a "mature" single woman on her own to face this type of "retirement".  I know I'm not alone but I don't know anyone who is in the same situation.  So I turn to my God and get my strength...and I persevere.


So work's been the pits after Christmas (returns, gifts cards, the "clearance customer", the seasonal staff gone, the after holiday letdown that everyone feels and that fills the air) and I'm tired, but I've got my plan for the rest of the winter (start exercising like I used to before this draining job, pay down my Christmas debt, lose 10 lbs by my birthday so I won't be "overweight" on anybody's weight chart, go to the dentist, get the colonoscopy that I should have gotten 15 years ago) and when I get my lists and projects going and a plan in place and start checking off items, I feel ok and in control of what I can change and know I can make it through the dark months without just curling up into a ball and hibernating.


I had a really good day at work on Tuesday--one good day can last me quite a while--then came home to a renewal application for the utility discount program that I qualify for as a low-income individual.  I get a discount on my electricity and gas and get a free cellphone from the government because I'm low income.  It all helps a lot.


Well, because of my little job (more than what I got on Workmen's Comp) and the Social Security raise, I probably won't qualify for any of those anymore.  A good day with a bummer ending and a huge punch in the gut to my "just hang in there" strategy.  I just wanted to get to my birthday and then I would start exploring "possibilities"--get through the winter, turn 70 in good health, and then face the future, and with my Maker's help, figure out a solution so that financial fear is not constantly in the background of my life as it has been for the last 10 years.  I would really, really like that. happens and it's not fair and it's been hard on me for a long time...I get weary of it...but I won't smoke over it.  Not anymore.  I come here and read other's postings and I am grateful for my health and grateful for my quit and grateful for EX and grateful for my little home and that I have food on the table and a roof that doesn't leak (yet) over my the midst of my plodding along I feel INCREDIBLE GRATITUDE, probably more than I've ever experienced in my life..and I feel it on a regular basis...the fear pops up, BUT I DON'T SMOKE OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just say my prayers, make my "to do" lists, thank God for what I have today, and persevere.


I have faced many things during this FOREVER quit that would have driven me to smoke in the past...the job, the holidays, the way my daughters treat me, the way some of my young coworkers treat me, the way some customers treat me, the loneliness, the stress, the fear, but this is my forever quit and it is golden...I can be proud of myself for accomplishing this, and I couldn't have done it with my EX family.  I have grown in how I handle difficulty since I quit smoking...and it is a precious gift that cannot be taken away EVER and that I gave myself.  And the new maturity came as a surprise bonus.


Yes, I'm an ELDER, in more ways than one...I'm going to be SEVENTY in April...many people don't get that privilege, I'm one of the fortunate ones and I must be here for a reason.  More will be revealed...and I get to face the rest of my life SMOKEFREE.


Thanks for being here...going to go make another cup of coffee and get to my chores.




376 DOF


One Year

Posted by Bonnie Jan 7, 2019

I made it...I really did...this is my "forever" quit and at 69 years of age, I can't tell you how many times I've "stopped smoking".  Dozens of times.  Closet smoker some of the time.  Smoked only at work some of the time.  Smoked only at home some of the time.  Rarely made it to three months, though I quit when I was 23 for quite a few years and then started again to lose weight for a lover who smoked thinking I could "quit again anytime".  Quit without a problem when I was pregnant with my two daughters but first thought after two difficult deliveries was "GIVE ME A CIGARETTE".

Joined Nicotine Anonymous and my shares helped others quit but I just couldn't get it together.  I actually married a man who didn't know I smoked.  Joined EX in 2009 and made good friends there who I'm still Facebook friends with...they quit and I kept relapsing.  I would have had 10 years..

Oh well.

What was different this time...

*I was really sick of the whole they say in another recovery program, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  Didn't really enjoy it anymore, smoked because I had to. Even that first cigarette in the morning, the one we really "enjoy" because our bodies are in withdrawal, would just zap my energy and leave me feeling tired.  I started noticing that...

*Didn't want to die a smoker.  Old people who smoke looked really gross to me and no matter what I looked like or how I  fooled myself, I was an old woman who smoked.  I'm even older now, lol, but I don't smoke

*I was spending $5/day on organic cigarettes...I couldn't afford to spend that kind of money on something that doesn't contribute to my quality of life. 

*I loved the "new" EX and came back.  Made a couple of false starts but DIDN'T GIVE UP.

*I made quitting smoking THE TOP PRIORITY IN MY LIFE.  Nothing was going to be more important:  my weight, my relationships, nothing.  

*Cold turkey works for me.  I found a scrip for nicotine patches from 2015 yesterday.  Patches didn't work for me...they burned and itched and I would take one off and smoke.  Lozenges I tried, too, and gum.  Wellbutrin helps, but it helps me with depression, too, and so I take it if I need it.  I didn't take it when I quit smoking a year ago.

*A little thing, but I think it is significant: I had my last cigarette at night, to get a head start on withdrawing while I was sleeping.  Every other time I would stop smoking I would have my last cigarette in the morning, which meant I would get a last "fix" when I really "needed" one. I would suck on the last cig with my morning coffee like I was heading to the electric chair, romancing it, saying goodbye with dread for what I was going to be facing (God knows I had had plenty of DAY ONES, HELL WEEK, etc., etc., to know!)

*I came here and wrote about how I was feeling and doing...the good, the bad and the ugly.  The self-pity, the anxiety, the pain, the fear, the revelations--I wrote about it all and my EX friends listened and understood and supported me and lifted me up.  And when I felt that I didn't want to visit because I just didn't want to think about smoking at all, I did that, too.  And then came back because I missed the sense of community and the friends I had made here and all the wonderful wisdom from people who have gone before me and know how hard it is.  And the newer folks who were taking their first steps on this amazing challenging journey of self-discovery and growth. And when I couldn't type much because of a broken laptop I still came to LISTEN AND LEARN, and give a little input when I could. 


So...I've got a new laptop which I set up today--can't believe I did something techie without smoking a zillion cigarettes, but I didn't even think about it at the time.  I could buy another 3 laptops and a printer with the $ I saved not smoking.

I weigh the same as I did a year ago.

I have gone through a lot of "stuff" without smoking. Smoking doesn't help and a lot of times it made it so much worse because I would relapse and then feel bad about whatever was going on AND about going back to smoking.

I LIKE MYSELF A WHOLE LOT MORE...something I really didn't think about until recently.


Everyone's life journey is their own, and everyone's quit is their own.  Two things that really worked for me are the black pepper sunflower seeds (which I still like to snack on) and smoking "natural" cigarettes before quitting.  For me, the withdrawal from Marlboros was much, much more difficult than the withdrawal from American Spirits.  The emotional dependency was the same and had to be dealt with in both cases, but the physical withdrawal was easier with cigarettes that didn't contain a lot of additional least for me.


Right now I feel content.  It is really storming outside, the electricity even went out for awhile.  My tiny home is cozy and warm...oh my, I just realized I would probably smoking inside tonight with a couple windows cracked and then wonder if my hair smelled like smoke tomorrow at work (I have had my current job since March....haven't had a job as a nonsmoker since I taught English in Japan in my early 20's over FORTY years ago).


I'm rambling now...and sleepy...and grateful for EX...and proud of myself.  But I will remain vigilant. Those nicotine receptors that I created in my brain with my addiction are still there, waiting to be fed.  If a craving or "desire" comes out of the blue, I will think of it as one of those starving receptors wanting to be fed and I won't give in.  If something unforeseen happens and my quit gets shaky, I won't hesitate to come here FIRST.  I NEVER WANT TO SMOKE AGAIN. N.O.P.E. and "I don't do that anymore" and all the tools that are available to me, I WILL USE.


My one concern these days is my relationship with my best friend, who is a heavy smoker and who has never tried to quit.  We don't see each other that often as our schedules are different, but the last few times her smoking really seemed to dominate our time together...when we smoked together of course it didn't matter, but now....only time will tell.  I love her and want to keep her as a friend, but her addiction just shows me how we can always justify smoking when we are in the throes of denial.  It is really, really sad that she doesn't seem to see how her health issues are all related to her smoking, but who can tell a practicing addict anything.  And who am I to judge: I've been there, too. I just hope someday she will see the truth.


That's it from me.  I just wanted to blog on my "big day", to capture my feelings and to say a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have helped me get here.  I did the work, but I couldn't have been successful without YOU.


Aloha nui, dear friends and fellow travelers,


365 DO


Quit Date

Posted by Bonnie Jan 5, 2019

So....I'm typing on my new nice!  It was easy to set up and I've already transferred my files from my old one...didn't take long (I shy from technical stuff typically and would have taken a zillion smoke breaks in the "old days", but I have so much more patience these days, even with myself).  I had a "quit counter" app on my old one that I checked to see if it showed the details of when I quit and it does:  11:00 pm on January 6, 2018.  So...when I put my FOREVER quit date down here on the "new" EX (dear friends, I've been a member since 2009...a little sad but true) I put "January 6th, 2018" because that's the day I quit (I am too literal sometimes ).   HOWEVER, I won't have a year SMOKEFREE until JANUARY 7TH, 2019.  Tried to change my quit date here on EX, but the program tells me my quit date is in the past (duh) and to pick another date in the future...NO WAY...I've done that too many times in the past, LOL!


And now I'm trying to "mention" Mark, the administrator, to ask if he could change it for me and I can't figure out how to tag him @mark as he doesn't come up in the list of "marks"...I'm done with tech stuff today...gonna save my movie treat until tomorrow, since I already ate my celebratory repast...


I learned in another program to be scrupulously honest...and so I am here.  I never lied about smoking or not smoking, but I did "hide" my smoking (what a joke, so much shame attached).


I did quit on January 6th, 2018, but my "quit date" is January 7, 2018... isn't it?  Or is it still January 6th because I quit at 11:00 pm?  Oh my goodness, I so overthink things sometimes...Just want it right moving forward...FOREVER...


25 to go...

Posted by Bonnie Dec 12, 2018

not a long post, still using my puter w/the broken keyboard. the holidaze are NOT my fave time of year for a lot of reasons but i've deep-cleaned, organized and decorated my tiny home because it looks so pretty and in the hopes that my daughters will be kind enough to let my grandchildren visit me..

I dream of moving away, away from the city and away from the children i raised pretty much on my own and who were my whole life for a long time but who don't seem to like me or even respect or acknowledge me these days.

but their behavior isn't worth blowing my quit...

Working retail at a mall when you're pushing 70 is not a walk in the park, especially during this joyous season of rampant consumerism, but i've been taking good care of myself--eating well & getting enough sleep--and I'm dang proud of myself 4 making it 9 months at this job and learning a lot about myself and other peeps in the process.  And being busy is good...

No words of wisdom, no sparkling revelations or words of wit..just me at 340 DOF



Posted by Bonnie Nov 4, 2018

I had a great day, since I finally had gotten a decent night's sleep. Ran a few errands in the morning, between 10 and 11 o'clock, and the traffic was already heavy and people were rushed--honking, swerving around other cars, going through yellow-red lights, etc. In 2017, Sacramento drivers were 'officially' the worst drivers in the US (My daughter had to take a driver's safety class for her county job)--just proved something I had thought for wonder our car insurance is so high...


My deduction from traffic being even worse than usual: HAPPY HOLIDAZE have begun! 


Got a call from my boss around 12:30.  She left a message practically begging me to come in and work a 3-7 pm shift--someone had called in sick and so far no replacement. I called back to say "NO" and talked to a coworker (no direct line to the manager--employees have to use the same phone number as customers, can't even leave a voicemail to reply to a call at home...really exasperating) and asked him if they were busy. His reply "Crazy busy." Confirmed what I already knew...and I'm scheduled to work Monday-Friday next week, first week ever in my  new 'career' as a Bookseller to work 5 days in a row. Thank God I put my foot down and said 4 hours was my max...and they're wasting they're time calling me to pick up extra shifts...I'm already at my max..

The taste of coffee and writing about work just brought about a 'cig thought'. That's all it is at this point but I don't like it.  I am NOT going to put a nasfy nic device anywhere near my face...many of my last relapses were brought on by stress and it's just NOT going to happen this time...365 days are right around the corner and I'm going to make it, by the GrAce  of God, my own determination and the help of my EX family...even if I have to blog 7 times a day (be forewarned).


Which brings me to the good news (well not maybe for you,lol).  Typ7ng 8n my broken 'puter has been a real pqin and tho ive gotten pretty good at it, it takes way too long to write anything.   so... ivhought a new one a NICE one, a RED oNE AND A PRINTER TOO.  ON SALE.  both arrive 4his week and with m5 newly res7rrected PATIENCE i'm pretty sure ill b able to set 4hem up.  


I calculated last night that with the $ i saved from stopping smoking i could have bought THREE such laptops and THREE printers. So...




gotta run..don't want to b late 2 church sermon is 8n Dysfunctional Families and i can hardly wait. no time to reread this or edit it so....bye fo3 u all!



302 DOF



Posted by Bonnie Nov 3, 2018

I finally got a decent night's sleep after 11 days of 3-5 hours a night. The sleep aid my neighbor recommended worked and I also put on my sleep mask and earplugs (thanks Giulia for the reminder) and wore them for most of the night. YAY!  I now have my toolkit for the time change hocus pocus that happens tonight..


It's all good...HOWEVER, as I was waking up, still in bed, hadn't even looked at the clock yet, THE THOUGHT OF A CANCER STICK FLITTED THROUGH MY MIND....HUH?


Can't remember the last time a thought of a morning cig crossed my mind...not for months. It really surprised me, lasted probably ONE SECOND and was gone, but there it was...a nicotine receptor in my brain flashing its little, weak signal, saying "feed me."


I'd like to think that because I didn't feed that nasty evil little thing that it is dead. But that thought sure came out of left field and surprised me. Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful.


Ever vigilant, 


301 DOF