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2013

But your always in my thoughts.

One might wonder why that is. For me, the answer is simple. Because I’ve been where so many of you are right now. Just like you I had to embark on a journey that I was never sure I would succeed at. Just like you I had to wake on that first day as a nonsmoker, wondering just what that day might bring.

Like you, I had to earn my confidence to continue onward to the next day, hopeful that I will be able to soon say seven days smoke free. Like you, I learned the ways of a nonsmoker. I followed the path to freedom faithfully, always looking for that thing that might make me slip. Like you I lived the perils that come from first the awareness and then the endless arguments that are the addict within. The constant fight with ourselves that just makes no sense!

And like so many I can offer you a glimpse into the freedom that awaits you. I can offer you a look into what might be your future so long as you can stay true to yourself and never give in to the screaming addict!

For me, the calmness that we feel after kicking an addiction to the curb comes gradually. For this reason it’s sometimes important to look at the progress we’ve made. By comparing the first days to the current one, we get a feel for how much easier it now is. If we only look at the current discomforts then we cannot compare today to yesterday. Once we have a few days under our belts then we begin to believe in ourselves and the ability to continue the path to freedom.

But, while there’s value in considering the beginning of the journey, there’s so much more ahead to look forward to. After all, it’s the future that we really care about or we never would have started the journey in the first place. As I continued on, secure in my thoughts and beliefs as far as my quit went, I discovered quite by accident that though phantom urges will appear for no obvious reason, they also become less frequent and contain very little power. When this happens, you will know that you’ve reached a new phase in the journey for once we reach the point where we can just shrug off the desires of addiction then we have reached a point where the only one who can derail our quits is ourselves.

And believe me. Though it’s a process eventually one can live days on end, happy with ourselves and with the accomplishments that come from doing something so incredibly wonderful for ourselves. There is no gift more precious then the gift of life and when we prove by our actions that we choose to improve that life then it sets off a positive chain reaction within our minds and bodies that cannot be ignored. We must use that positive direction to continue to strengthen ourselves every day.

Soon the "habit" is living life and loving the freedom that we earned on that first day that we thought of quitting. It’s been a long ride but I will say it was also an interesting one. One where I learned things about myself that I never would have learned had I not chosen the path of life. Had I not longed for freedom more then fearing a little discomfort in the present.

And so like me and so many others it won’t be long before your writing your own story. Your own vision of how it was done. And eventually as the memories fade from all those days that seemed so hard, we all find ourselves wondering just what was the fuss all about?

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Losing Fear?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 18, 2013

Good day Exer’s!!

I hope this day finds you happily smoke free!! Remember back when we first thought of quitting. Do you remember any of those thoughts when that moment arrived? I know I do. I remember first a kind of disbelief. My mind actually couldn’t wrap itself around the thought of living life without cigarettes. The thought just seemed so foreign to me. It was as if quitting was a concept that I couldn’t grasp, like trying to understand an impossible physics theory.

Next came the realization with myself that I was serious and this realization actually carried a physical reaction with it. I was shaking and had sweaty palms. My head started pounding. I realized that I was terrified at the concept of quitting.

This was the first of many awakenings that I had and I wondered about this. Why was my mind rebelling against something that is obviously so good for the body? This was the first time I realized that I wasn’t kicking a "habit". No, I was preparing to end an addiction. A very powerful addiction. I realized that if I was going to succeed that I’d better get some help.

I dialed the quit line in our state and almost hung up before a counselor answered. I set myself up for nicotine patches and went to their web site where among other things I discovered this particular web site. As so many of you know or are discovering, there is a wealth of experience and knowledge here for the taking and it’s a great place for the exact kind of encouragement that we need.

Now, back to what I was discussing. When I looked at all of these things that were happening to me before I quit, I realized that I was gaining some insight into what it will be like when I actually did quit. And from that little bit of soul searching I realized that I’d better be taking this new idea of mine seriously.

This was when I began using visualization as a tool. I simply started imagining my life without cigarettes. At first this exercise was hard but as time progressed it got easier to do. What I think I was doing was allowing my mind to wrap itself around what I was about to do since for some reason my mind couldn’t picture me as a nonsmoker.

This also taught me just how addicted I really was. Of course this realization made me all the more ready to fight. It made me all the more ready to take my life back. It gave me the resolve to actually take that first step and knowingly put out that last cigarette without fear for you see, in the course of a few months I lost my fear of quitting and was really ready to experience that new life smoke free. Also I was ready to deal with the discomfort that I knew was coming.

Thing is, from the moment that I decided to quit, I’ve always kept my eye on the prize of freedom. I’ve always looked to the future knowing in my heart that what I do today will determine what my future will look like tomorrow.

Sometimes it’s a hard thing for us humans to knowingly create an uncomfortable situation in the present. But rather then look at that, try to focus on that wonderful future that is just around the corner. It may seem like it’s a long way off but really it isn’t. And the first day that you put out that last cigarette is really not a day of sorrow. No, it’s a day of celebration!

It’s the day that you tell yourself that you WILL take your life back. So if you haven’t already, take that first step into the unknown life of freedom. Take that first step into your future. Take that first step to a longer and happier life free of the self imposed enslavement of addiction and you know what? You just have to get through the first few days and then you can really start to relearn your life without cigarettes. You really start to understand freedom. You really start to understand the realities that were hidden from you. At last you understand why you decided to do this in the first place!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Chuck

I hope the day finds you happily smoke free! There are so many things to learn when we choose to take our lives back. There’s the science of it and the human side of it. The science is pretty straight forward. We have three days of withdrawals from nicotine and then a few months of relearning life without cigarettes.

The EXperts know the science well and can explain most every aspect of quitting. This is crucial knowledge when we prepare for our quits and long after for if we don’t have a solid foundation to begin with then it becomes much harder to complete the task of losing an addiction.

And then there’s the human side to a quit. This is really where a web site like this one is unique because the reality is that we all view our quits similarly and yet differently. Sure, we all have the craves and the science tells us that they only last a few minutes. This is one place where I think each quit is different. Some people seem to be able to accept this fact with ease and as such survive each crave with that basic knowledge while others seem to have one long endless crave.

I think the trick at this point is to differentiate between the physical and mental realities of our quits. If we can manage to separate one from the other, then we have a better time of it. Sometimes it takes some real thought to do this. To me this is because the brain is unconvinced of our quits and as such it continues to not only demand the nicotine but also for some it recreates the crave because that’s the method of communication that it always uses.

Once we survive the crave then we have to try to forget that the crave ever happened in the first place. As many on this site have mentioned, we have to find a distraction in order to get the mind focused on something else. This again is where there are differences in our quits. Some can distract themselves easily while others have a really hard time of it.

I used visualization as my tool for this. For me it worked well and was always available to me at the times when I needed that distraction. And because my visualizations also incorporated the very essence of my quit, it reinforced it at the same time. The mountain of freedom was a formidable goal in my mind but was also one that I knew was attainable!

And when a crave hit, I would see myself preparing to traverse a boulder field. Hopefully stable but filled with possible traps, depending on how firm the footing was. I would see myself on the other side, once again confident and continuing on in my journey.

We must all find our Mt. Freedom, I think. Whatever we choose to call it whether it be the ocean or a river that must be followed to the end. Perhaps for some Mt. Freedom means taking a walk or calling someone to talk about ANYTHING but smoking. Or perhaps deep breathing exercises. It really doesn’t matter exactly what distraction we use so long as it performs that all important task of calming our addicted minds.

So no matter what method you find, in the end it will help you to survive. Knowing how you will forget the addiction can make life so much easier during a quit. Always remember to stay focused first on the prize of freedom but never forget that to get there we must learn ourselves in ways we never thought of. We must learn to motivate ourselves with different incentives then the reward of a cigarette. We must never forget that it’s our future we’re fighting for and the love of life that we are living, right now with every crave that we beat. Every day that we succeed on the path to freedom. Every moment that we’re happy with the fact that we’re taking our lives back from the slavery of addiction!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Smile!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 12, 2013

Good morning Exer’s!!

Today’s a great Day! After all, if you’re here then you’ve decided to quit smoking. And whatever phase of that quit your in, it is indeed a fantastic day! How could it not be? We’re taking one of the most negative aspects of our lives and kicking it to the curb!

There’s no time for negativity my friends. No. But there’s always time to smile. There’s always time to take back our lives. There’s always time to step back and assess how we’re doing. How far we’ve come in our commitment. Sure, we have a screaming addict within us, trying to get it’s way. Trying to confuse us as to what we’re really doing. Trying it’s best to make us uncomfortable.

This can make one notice the negative when there’s just so much positive out there to look at. And every day that we continue on the path to freedom is another day to pat ourselves on the back and look ahead to the day that we achieve that freedom.

But we really don’t have to look at it as something we lost. No, instead we must find what we have gained. What we have learned along the way. We must smile at the fact that even though we quit smoking, spring is coming in all it’s splendor!

I think of the seasons a lot like I do quitting. We start out in the fall and as we begin ripping our addiction out of ourselves, piece by piece. I call this the winter. A kind of tearing down of the body in order to create a more perfect you in the spring for you see, once we get through the worst of it then the only enemy left is ourselves and since we know we’re not going to smoke then we should be feeling pretty good.

I know, I know; I’m not the one in the middle of my withdrawals right now. I’m not the one who must live with the screaming addict within. But once I was there. Once I felt what your feeling now. I remember back then when Dale told me that once we can laugh at our own addictions then we have won. Of course I didn’t believe him at the time but in the end I learned for myself that he was right.

And so now it’s my turn to tell you that things couldn’t be brighter. Things couldn’t be better. Your building a future that’s going to be so bright with love and health that it would seem absolutely silly not to smile at that.

Take a break from the internal torment and focus the mind on the peace that awaits you. Focus your mind on the wondrous healing that is going on inside of you as you progress. Look at that nice picnic down the road that you might not have attended were it not for what you do today. Think of all the celebrations of life that you will see. Think of how this future might have been had you not chosen to quit and if that doesn’t make you want to smile then I don’t know what will!

Onward to freedom!!

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Doubt?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 11, 2013

Good morning,

When we first quit, it’s a brand new experience for us and one that can seem unpleasant at best. We find ourselves wondering if this discomfort is really worth it. And day after day as we trudge along on our journey we at times doubt ourselves and our ability to complete this monumental task. And doubt can indeed be the hairline crack that could eventually become the shattering of our quits.

And yet it’s human nature to wonder. To fear that which we haven’t yet experienced. Thing is, in order to gain confidence we have to actually embark on the journey. There’s just no real way to learn what the smoke free future will bring until we decide to live it. That’s when it all starts. This is where confidence begins.

It starts with that first day and builds from there. Still, for some reason doubt will remain. Even while we’re taking those first steps to freedom and know that we don’t smoke anymore, the mind still tries to rebel. And this creates a doubt within us. We start to wonder just how long we’ll have to go through this private hell that we have created for ourselves. We wonder if we CAN go through this much longer.

Why won’t this stop? Well, first of all we have to consider just how long we played with this horrible addiction. We have to think about the deception that allowed us to continue. We have to think about how the mind created our addiction in the first place. Sure, there’s the physical or chemical aspect of withdrawal to think about but that only lasts about three days after our last intake of nicotine.

When our minds start to doubt then it’s time to do something about that. As many of you know, I always kept my focus on the future and the summit of Mt. Freedom. Rather then looking at my current situation, I instead found more value in longing for that prize of freedom. This in itself sets up a place in the mind that really is new for you see by focusing on the future and fighting for that future we tell ourselves what that future will look like.

The main thing to remember is that doubt in itself cannot derail a quit. However, if you dwell on your doubts then this will give those doubts a kind of platform to grow on. And one thing we never want to do is allow this to happen.

What really needs to happen is a focus on what has already been achieved whether it be an hour, a day, a month or a year. To me this removes doubt simply by proving to ourselves that of course we can continue to do what we’ve done all along. Of course we’re really not going to give in, so why think about it? Of course we believe in ourselves and what we’re doing.

The freedom that we seek is a prize like no other and so long as we focus on what we’re gaining rather then the illusion of what we’re losing then we will win. So long as we enjoy a breath of fresh air more then the thought of that nasty smoke then we win. So long as we can say that we will no longer be a slave to something that will kill us then we will win. And so long as we believe all of the above then how could there ever be doubt?

Onward to freedom!!

Chuck

Good morning,

When we make that all important decision to quit, the first thing felt is a kind of fear. And that fear translates into a fear of the unknown. It’s because we know that the experience of losing an addiction is going to be unpleasant and as much as we want our freedom we still question that we should take the steps to get there. We still wonder if we have it in us to defeat an enemy that is in reality ourselves.

This even seems to manifest after we’ve managed our quit for a while. For me there was a simple solution to this. I first of all began looking to my future. Not just a week from now but a year from now. I started seeing myself in the world without cigarettes. What amazed me was how hard this was at first.

It proved to me just how deep the shackles of addiction had attached themselves to me. Every thought seemed to have cigarettes in them. Was I alarmed at this discovery? A little. But at the same time I did learn something that I knew would help me to understand my addiction. Just how deep that addiction was.

Still, I continued my visualization exercise and slowly I could see myself after dinner, standing on my deck and looking up at those wonderful mountains while never inhaling anything but the crisp mountain air. I saw myself at work, enjoying the peace that comes with no addiction. I saw myself driving without a cigarette and in fact this became one of the first things I did during my preparations to quit. I quit smoking while driving.

This added a sense of reality to my vision of a smoke free life. Before long, I was excited rather then scared as my quit date approached. By the time I put out my last cigarette, I not only knew that it would be my last cigarette but I no longer had any fear of what I was about to do.

And as the first days of the quit began rolling by, my smoke free vision was once again reinforced because at last there really was no cigarette in my life. My vision was becoming a reality. All I had to do was keep thinking of Mt. Freedom, the addict within and my vision of my smoke free life.

Quitting is a very personal thing I think, and as such there are thousands of ways to quit and the only wrong way is the way that doesn’t work. I simply offer this message as yet another thing that worked for me.

But no matter what, so long as we can dream it we can be it!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Chuck

Good morning Exer’s!!

Though the sun always shines on the summit of my imaginary mountain of freedom, it doesn’t always look that way. In fact from the bottom, where the journey begins it can look quite ominous with thunderheads hiding the summit, shrouding the upper slopes in mist.

Still, even then I knew there was nothing but beauty at the top. Nothing but glorious freedom waiting for me. I stared at the slopes of that mountain for many months before I put down my last cigarette and slowly began trudging up the slopes. Looking up, the slopes seemed unfamiliar and as such kind of scary. But still, I put one foot in front of the other and embarked upon my journey to freedom.

After the first steps, I gained some confidence, aware that though there is still a long journey ahead I had taken those first steps. I was learning the craft of climbing (or quitting an Addiction in this case). Though the journey seemed so long and hard, I continued trudging upward until the mists cleared and I could see my prize shining in the sun high above me for the first time!

The beautiful summit of Mt. Freedom! And what a sight it was! I stared ahead knowing in my heart that I would make it. That one day I would stand on the summit of this formidable mountain and wave the banner of freedom high over my head for all to see. To inspire others with the prize that we all seek.

But first I still had a bit to go. Often I would look down the slopes to see how far I’d already come and this would give me the confidence and desire to push on. Sure, there were some bad moments on the climb. That’s just the nature of it. But with determination we navigate each boulder field. We test each snow field before stepping on it because to do otherwise might mean a slip and a fall down the slopes.

Inside we know that we’re getting closer and that with the knowledge that each step of the journey gives us, we grow inside. We grow more confident. We believe even more that we will reach that prize of freedom.

So though the journey may seem long. Though it may seem scary at times, it’s still a journey that we have chosen to take. It is a goal of ours to live a more healthy life. To see our loved ones grow older. To find a renewed belief in ourselves.

But it all starts with the first faltering step. And then it continues with each day that we stay true to the journey. With each day that we renew our commitment for that journey. With each day that we stare our addiction in the face and say that we’re not slaves. We’re not fooled any longer. We no longer listen to the addiction but rather to freedom!

Keep your eye on the prize and before long the journey will be but a memory . . .

Chuck

Good morning Exer’s!!

I hope this finds you relatively calm in your quits. After all, the best days are the ones where the addict within seems to be sleeping. Although those days also come with a challenge and that challenge is not to get overconfident because the addict within will once again wake up. The key is to not get blindsided when this happens. It’s the unexpected craves that can get us at times.

Still, so long as we understand our quits, we can enjoy the quiet days, thankful that they exist and yet ready for the next screaming fit from the addict within.

Have you ever noticed how quitting seems to be easier for some then it is for others? I think one difference stems from how our minds deal with the missing addiction that has been with us for so long. Some people just seem to feel a big hole in their lives while others seem to be capable of avoiding this part of a quit, seeing the hole for what it really is; the beginning of a new life of freedom.

True, at times it feels like we have to literally rip that addiction out of our brains just to get it to shut up but these are the times to really analyze what your feeling. The first thing to remember is that a crave only lasts a few moments. Everything else that we feel is not a physical reaction but instead is a mental one. We believe that we should be desiring a cigarette and lo and behold, we do desire one.

And one thing is certain. Once we convince ourselves that we desire a cigarette then we will desire that cigarette. At times like these there must be distractions available to us. We have to find ways to soothe a confused mind because if we’re feeling a crave all day long then there’s just no other way to address it.

Me, I visualized my mountain and not just the mountain but what I knew was going to be a wonderful view from the top for you see, when one reaches the summit of Mt. Freedom there’s a kind of calm that ensues. A kind of peace that comes not only from the new found silence of the addict within but also a peace that can come only from understanding myself.

And this internal understanding of ourselves and our addictions is indeed what the summit is because with understanding comes a kind of internal peace that we haven’t felt in a long time. You know, since we decided to pick up this nasty addiction and run with it.

So hang in there my friends. The end of the journey is more then worth it. The peace that comes from the end of an internal conflict is the prize.

Never for a moment think you cannot do this. Of course you can! Never let the addict within convince you to lose sight of the prize. Of the summit. Of the beginning of your new life!!

Onward to freedom!!

Chuck

Good afternoon Exer’s!

I hope this message finds you well and smoke free! Putting down an addiction is never easy. It’s a lot like life. Life’s not always rosy. The trick is to try to avoid the thorns. Quitting is a lot like that I think. We fight with ourselves constantly, trying to keep ourselves convinced that we’re doing the right thing while the very brain that is telling us this is also trying to tell us to smoke.

We argue with ourselves constantly even though we know we’ve already made up our minds. This is the part that is dangerous to our quits. We have to be able to shut down a part of our brain that has been a part of us for years. This isn’t always easy since that part of the brain is also like a child with no sense of right or wrong.

But just like a child, that part of the brain can be trained. It can learn that there is something wrong with the habit. Unfortunately, it takes time to train that renegade part of our brains. There’s just no way around the fact that we have to spend some time creating our freedom. But that’s not such a bad thing, now is it?

After all, what could be better then putting down the old ball and chain that we drag around the entire time we’re enslaved! What could be better then the new found health that appears when we quit. What could possibly be better then watching our children or grandchildren grow and become the wonderful human beings that we always knew they would be.

But the freedom really is the big prize. When I first quit, I did have an idea or a thought of what the freedom would be like. Thing is, I never knew just how enslaved I was until I was rid of my addiction once and for all. And when we take something away from ourselves like freedom then we really do lose a piece of our lives that cannot be taken back.

But that doesn’t have to be the end of it. We can take back our futures! We can take back our freedom! We can rise above the need to poison ourselves and prove once and for all that we will not stand for our lives to be sucked slowly away by an addiction that can do us nothing but harm.

We’re all better then that! That’s why we’re here. So climb on that horse and ride onward to your new life of freedom. It’s been there waiting for you all along. Now all you have to do is keep that commitment strong and before long you’ll have a new addiction, and that addictions called a love of life!!

Onward to freedom!!

Chuck