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2013

Learning to fight an addiction can be an incredibly monumental task, although it's quite doable. When we first started smoking we added to our addictions each day. Every cigarette that we lit continued to fuel our addictions. Slowly the addict within began to form new neural pathways into the various parts of our brains, like a parasite attacking a host.

 

We don't really feel this as it happens because an addiction is quite sneaky and our minds have to learn to accept it's presence. At first we ignore that it's there as it continues to shoot out tentacles deep into our minds. By the time we realize that we're addicted, the addict within has already got us under it's spell.

 

And then I think most of us reinforce the addict as we try our best to ignore the fact that not only are we addicted but we're also changing our very lifestyles as the addict within gains more and more control over our lives. I think we all remember the need to get somewhere where we can smoke that cigarette and rather then feeling like we're harming ourselves we get upset because we don't have the “right” to smoke wherever we want. We start to realize that we get angry when we can't have that cigarette and yes, one day we realize that not only are we addicted but the addiction seems stronger then we ever imagined it could be.

 

Still we continue on, ignoring the fact that we're living a life of enslavement until one day we wake up and think, “Why in the heck am I doing this? What's wrong with me?”

 

When this happened to me the first thing I did was light a cigarette. I mean after all, isn't this what we always do when we're stressed? But on this one day there was something different. On this day we decide that it's time to squash our addictions. It's time to break away from the old friend. It's time to kick the addiction to the curb.

 

And then what happens? The fear sets in. I think the reason for this fear is because the addict within is firmly rooted into the various parts of our brains. The brain is used to receiving it's dopamine from cigarettes and as such can't think of a better solution to remain happy. The addicted mind cannot see past the addiction to the realities that we all know to be true. That cigarettes are killing us. That they are enslaving us. That they are ruining almost every aspect of our lives.

 

And yet somehow, we all seem to find a way above our addictions. We slowly realize that we need to be free. That we need a new and different life and that this new life cannot have cigarettes in it. We face a reality that we never wanted to face. This is the day that we actually rip the first tentacle of addiction from ourselves. Once we accept the fact that we really are going to quit then it becomes easier to see through the mask of our addictions. And once we can start lifting all those deceptions from ourselves well, that's really the first day of our quits even if we're still smoking at first.

 

From there we prepare. We learn our addiction in order to understand how to beat it. And yes, on that first day when we take back our freedom, we're just a little more aware of a reality that we long to see. A reality of freedom. A reality of peace. A reality of love of life.

 

This first day of not smoking is the beginning of something incredible! It's not a day to be sad. No, it's a day to rejoice for who wouldn't want to be free of slavery. Who wouldn't want to enjoy a life that is so full of wonder that we might not have even noticed because we were to busy feeding our addictions.

 

So take that first step my friends, and if you already have then always look ahead to that day of peace when you can finally feel a calm like you haven't felt in years. It's within all of us to climb out of the jaws of addiction, and because it's hard, we're here to help.

 

I'll see you all on the summit of Mt. Freedom soon!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Dual reality

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 29, 2013

To me, this is one of the hardest parts of quitting. We still have all those memories of a past life and yet we have changed a thing that was so much a part of us that it begins to feel almost unreal. Our minds try to grasp new concepts while still remembering in vivid detail what our smoking life was like.

 

This sets us up for that endless chatter that goes on inside of us. The constant argument that can seem at times impossible to turn off. When we first quit, our memories of smoking are still so vivid that we can almost taste those cigarettes. And yet we don't want to taste them. We want to move on. To get away from how we used to be. To look to the freedom ahead but first it seems we have to whip that addictive voice so that we can focus on our new lives rather then think of the old.

 

Keeping the mind occupied can help a bit I think but even when we succeed in that we must be on the lookout for the return of that persistent little voice. I think the reality is that at first we just have to live with that voice and do our best to ignore it. This of course brings the stress we feel at first because it really is a hard thing to tune out. Mainly because this internal argument is so new to us.

 

We find it hard to focus on our new reality because we still aren't completely convinced that we want to rid ourselves of the old reality. This is the part that has to be done one day at a time. This is why I dream of Mt. Freedom. For me it makes it easier to realize that first of all we are on a journey and second of all that every moment that we progress on this journey is a step forward. A step closer to the success we want so badly.

 

As the voice continues on I can learn over time to tune it out. This is just another part of the journey that we all must face but each time we succeed in blocking that voice, it loses power. Each time we live another day of freedom it builds upon the next, teaching us as we go until before long our old reality is no longer in the forefront of our minds leaving room for our new reality to take hold.

 

And I think the progression continues. Each day that we walk our new life makes our reality of freedom seem more real. Each day that we progress away from our old reality of smoking is a day where our old reality is replaced with the new.

 

So though it may seem hard now, the thing to remember is that your on a journey. One that will take you away from a life that you don't want to live anyway. And each day that we progress further on that journey it becomes our way of life simply because we chose life over death. We chose health over sickness. We chose freedom over slavery and yes, we chose happiness over what would become endless sadness had we not made the decision to change our reality once and for all!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

I caught a cold!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 26, 2013

And yet, it's now gone before it ever got started. I haven't had a bad cold since I quit smoking. Just something to remember I think. Smoking can and does effect our immune systems just as it effects almost every other part of our bodies.

 

By ridding ourselves of the toxins, we begin to heal. To grow. To become physically more perfect, the way nature intended for us to be. What we're doing when we quit is exactly what nature wants us to do. To become a more perfect and harmonious self.

 

And as we continue to heal in both mind and body, we actually discover that there's time to see nature. There's time to observe the world through the eyes of freedom rather then the eyes of addiction. There's time to actually take stock in our futures because since we became free we realize that there really is a brighter future to look forward to.

 

There are so many wonderful benefits to quitting and no real valid reason not to.

 

So be proud of your achievement each and every day that you stay on the path. Be proud of the fact that because you care enough about your future your willing to go through a little discomfort today.

 

Keep those eyes looking forward to the wonderful freedom that awaits you and before you know it what your going through right now will be but a distant memory . . .

 

Off to work I go!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning Exer's!!

 

I hope all is well with you. I was just thinking about something that I noticed when I first quit. We always seem to have really strong emotions during those first hard days. I remember thinking that I could hardly stand to be around myself at one point!

 

I think a lot of this comes from the internal conflict that we must face when we begin our journey. There's always this constant nagging in the background, almost like an annoying itch that you can't quite reach. This adds tension to the day and because this internal argument is so new to us, we seem to feel our emotions more strongly.

 

When we spend a good part of our day telling the addict within to shut up, it adds just a bit of stress to an already stressful situation. On top of that on those first three days, we have the physical withdrawals to deal with as well.

 

For some this can be an overwhelming burden, and perhaps the cause of so many slips during those first days. In order to combat this at first, I learned before my quit during what I called “practice quits”, to separate my true emotions from those that the addiction is creating. For instance when I became angry I would look at the situation and ask myself if I'd have been this angry before. Of course I realized that I wouldn't have been. In fact, I realized that most of what was making me angry was really nothing at all other then my addiction amplifying things in order to make me smoke.

 

I realized that our own addiction had weapons that it would use. Starting with the endless screaming that the addict within does on those first three days, almost demanding that we smoke. Most of us expect this part of the quit and are generally surprised that it wasn't that bad after all.

 

But then comes those days of beating the mental side of our addictions. This is when we have to be aware that some of our thoughts and emotions are coming from that part of our brains that doesn't know right from wrong. The part of our brain that only responds to stimulus like nicotine. That child that I call the addict within, who doesn't know that smoking is killing us.

 

It's up to us to change those thoughts and emotions. It's up to us to train that part of the brain. To teach it that yes, every time it sends a signal to smoke, it's really sending a signal for us to kill ourselves. And when the addict within tries to generate those feelings of loss, telling us that it's unfair that someone else can smoke and we can't then it's time to reach an understanding with yourself. One that makes sense. You know; N.O.P.E.

 

So whenever you have a thought of smoking or of loss, think about it for a moment. If you look at that thought in the true light of itself then it becomes easy to understand that by listening to that thought, we're really listening to that part of the brain that doesn't know any better. By listening to that thought, we can raise the level of our emotions to the point that we might slip.

 

All I can say is that if you can separate those two sides of the brain, then one part will lose power over the other and it's easy to find the addict's thoughts because if you really think about it, those thoughts don't make any sense. And they shouldn't because we all know that taking our own lives just doesn't make any sense!

 

Still, we must continue the fight and rise above the addict within. We have the strength to do this if we just listen to the side of ourselves that really has the answers. The side that really wants to be free. For that matter, the side of the brain that is actually rational!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Never give up!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 23, 2013

Good morning all,

 

I hope today is a day filled with life rather then a day filled with smoke. You know, at times it's so easy to forget those first hard days of our quits. In a way this is a good thing because it shows that we've moved on and yet, it's so important to remember not just the good parts but also the hard parts as we progress.

 

This in a way helps to strengthen even a long term quit. By remembering those first days, we understand even more why we don't want to go through those first hard days again. But what about a relapse? What happens then? The hard days are still ever present in our minds and this in itself can bring us to a kind of crossroad with the fear of quitting on one side and the longing for freedom on the other.

 

I think anyone that slips feels really bad about it. It feels like failure the moment we light that cigarette. But the reality is, it's not the end of the world. So long as we find the courage and strength to look to the top of Mt. Freedom not with the thought of how far it is to the top but rather with the knowledge that we will one day get there then we still haven't failed.

 

The only true failure is giving up completely. We must stand up, dust ourselves off and once again take that first step on the path to freedom. We must lose the fear that the addict within continues to feed us and we must also never listen to it's sweet lies that if stripped to reality only means sadness and death.

 

Each day that we thumb our noses at the addict within is a day of progress. Each day that we understand that the addiction will not win is yet another day to build upon. The real war isn't so much the physical side of the addiction. No, that part most of us make it through. The hard part comes when the internal arguments begin.

 

We know that smoking does nothing good for us and yet we can't seem to get it out of our minds. It's a seemingly endless war and if we allow ourselves to dwell on that then it fuels the addiction even more. As soon as those thoughts begin to appear we must find something else to think about. Anything else because if we continue to dwell on those memories then soon we have a day that feels like one long endless crave.

 

So never give up on yourself or on your ability to quit. It's within all of us to succeed. So long as we never give up or never give in then one day we can stand together on the summit of Mt. Freedom and cheer everyone else on and throw ropes down to those who are still wandering the path.

 

I can't wait to see you there!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

The long crave

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 22, 2013

Good morning Exer's!!

 

You know, every day can be a good day if we chose to make it so. It's really up to us how we want to feel on a given day. I think at times our brains can form a kind of pattern within itself. In other words, if we dwell to much on a given thing then the brain will continue on with those thoughts throughout the day.

 

To me this is why we sometimes feel that a given day is just one long agonizing crave. It starts with the old standard signal sent to smoke and right when that happens, if we choose to fixate on that crave then it really will turn into a very uncomfortable situation that will continue until we find a distraction strong enough to change that thought pattern.

 

With time and practice, I think we all learn to simply dismiss a crave as soon as we feel it. But this does take practice and this is why NML exists. I think this is why we can be blindsided by a crave even when we're totally confident in our quits. It's as if the brain has found a thought pattern from the past and chosen to recreate that pattern.

 

Even after reaching toward three years, I found myself reaching into my pocket for that phantom cigarette. Of course I simply laughed at myself and continued on with what I was doing never giving that little phantom crave a single thought and because of this my thought patterns remained focused on the task at hand and I never actually had an unpleasant experience.

 

Now, I don't want to discourage anyone with that last statement. I was simply stating a truth. That for no reason those ancient thoughts can pop into the mind but the thing to remember is (at least for me) that the craves have no power over me eat all. They exist at times but are essentially meaningless bits from a past life that I once lived. A past that is no longer me. I can find no reason to dwell on them so they have no power to change anything about my life.

 

That's what's so cool about a quit over time. At this point the addict within is meaningless. This is why I live in peace. This is what I mean when I talk about freedom. This is the future that we all strive to reach!

 

So take that old addict within and drag him up Mt. Freedom with you. Let your new life become the shining banner of freedom that others can see from below and never think for a moment that you can't do this. Never believe that it's too hard. Never convince yourself that you don't have the strength to complete this wonderful task for you do.

 

You've shown that strength the moment you chose to take your life back. And you continue to show that strength every moment that you live free of the slavery of addiction. Hold your head up high my friends because what your doing now will determine just how wonderful that future will be tomorrow!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Perception

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 20, 2013

Good morning Exer's!!

 

I hope this day finds you calm and smoke free!! I was just thinking about something when we quit and that is perceptions. I think those perceptions begin the very moment we really decide to quit. Do you remember what you felt? I do. I was terrified!

 

I perceived what I was considering doing as a nightmare! I started shaking just at the thought of quitting. That's when I realized that I might need a little help changing those perceptions and so I called the quit line in our state and ordered some patches. I also received a link to the quit lines web site. This was where I first learned about triggers and craves. This was where I was first introduced to the fact that I was an addict.

 

There was something about accepting that I was an addict that changed my perception of the whole concept of quitting. Suddenly I realized that I had a real fight on my hands. Suddenly I knew that this wasn't going to be easy. Beating any addiction has to be hard. And at that moment, I suddenly knew that I really was going to quit. I felt the resolve burning inside of me.

 

Still, like most do, I started thinking about my life without cigarettes. I started thinking about all that I was losing. How could I possibly do all I did before and still be happy without smoking? I knew that these thoughts weren't helping me and yet I continued to think about them as I lit another cigarette. It was as if the cloud of addiction wouldn't let me perceive a world without the old friend.

 

I think this was when I first started to perceive the vision of the addict within and I also realized that I was thinking the wrong things. I was looking at loss when I should have been looking at gain. I was seeing a friend who was no friend at all. I mean really; does a friend enslave you? Does a friend eat up so much valuable time in a day? And most importantly does a friend try to kill you?

 

And so I came around to seeing through that cloud of addiction and started looking to the positive aspects of what I was about to do. This simple change in my perception calmed me. I continued in this positive vein until my quit day and you know what? When I put out that last cigarette I didn't feel any of the fear of quitting that I'd had when I first thought of the idea. I didn't even finish the last one and I was actually smiling when I went to bed that night.

 

I continued on the path to freedom with a positive perception. I wasn't losing anything and I knew deep inside that I was gaining everything!

 

It's really up to us how we want to perceive our quits. We can look at it as a loss rather then a gain. We can look at it as torment rather then freedom. Sure, it's hard to rip each and every shackle of addiction out of us. It took us a long time to place them there and when it comes to addiction, those shackles run deep, seemingly intertwined into every part of our consciousness.

 

This is what takes time. This is why quitting is a journey. But so long as you long for freedom. So long as you want to find a kind of peace that was never known since before you started smoking. So long as you can find the strength within yourself to continue the path for just a little longer and look ahead at what your gaining rather then back at what you might perceive as a loss, then one day you will step out on the other side of your addiction. You will feel that peace and yes, you will be free!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

The endless climb

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 19, 2013

When we take that first step onto the path of freedom, we're generally confused about what might happen next. We wonder if we have what it takes to say no to ourselves when the real war begins. For some the first days are easier then might be expected while for others those first days can be a nightmare, taking every bit of willpower just to fight through to the point that we're happy to go to sleep. If we can sleep, that is.

 

I think preparation is key to a successful quit so long as we don't lose our resolve during this period. To me, this is a time to train ourselves for what comes next. The time to learn our triggers and how to deal with them. A time for education and learning our addictions. It's unusual that we smoke during this period and yet I've always believed that a strong foundation is the key to a successful quit.

 

And then comes that first day and since I'm hoping to be around again for a while, I'll describe something that helped me along the way for those of you that haven't heard it yet. I've always been a parson who believes in visualization, as in using a vision to keep the mind focused on a given task. This was when I created Mt. Freedom.

 

It is of course a very formidable mountain and on the first day of my quit in my minds eye I looked at the tiny summit so very far away, and so very high up some very steep slopes. As I gazed upward I realized that I actually intended to reach that summit no matter what it took.

 

And so I took that first step, and like all of us I was unsure of myself. And then I took another step on the path to freedom and another and another as the first days past me by. Soon my steps became more sure footed. I was understanding the journey because of what I'd learned earlier on the path. Soon I could visualize myself running up the slopes, sure that in no time I would be standing on that summit.

 

But like all of us, I'd sometimes run into a rock wall that I'd have to go around and on the other side of that wall I could see the snow fields that could make me slip back to the bottom. Not wanting to start over again, I'd find the safest way to continue. Each crave that I dealt with I saw as one of these obstacles. And each time another one of those craves past I knew that I had learned how to deal with the next obstacle. But one thing was certain. I was determined to reach that summit no matter how long it took for you see, I was so very anxious to feel that freedom that I so badly wanted.

 

I climbed Mt. Freedom with the addict within right beside me because I knew that to be aware of him would be safer then to try to ignore him. That way he couldn't sneak up on me as I turned a bend in the path, causing me to possibly slip.

 

Soon I could see the summit so much more clearly and there on the top was a large banner. By this time in my quit I had made it through no man's land and had a lot of experience as a nonsmoker under my belt. Just because I was close to my goal, I didn't get over confident and it was a good thing because every now and then the old addict within would turn and try to trip me. But now I could laugh at him and I saw him diminish in the sound of my laughter.

 

I did eventually reach that summit and when I did I waved that banner of freedom high for all to see because I knew that one persons success could help another to succeed and I wanted all below to see that banner so that perhaps they too could join me on that beautiful summit.

 

And then we fixed ropes so that perhaps if others are shown the way that it might be just a little easier for them.

 

It's true that those who have gone before you have blazed a trail for you simply by sharing our own experiences but the bottom line is that only you can take that first step. Only you can traverse the slippery slopes. Only you can one day laugh at the addict within and diminish his power.

 

And only you can take that climb to the summit, grab that banner of freedom and wave it high for all to see. And when you look back at this journey, when you look down those slopes that you fought so hard to climb. You'll be smiling for you see, in all of he excitement you never realized the peace that you now feel. You never realized how sweet freedom tastes and once you discover this then there's just no going back to the old world that we chose to leave in the dust.

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Good day Exer's!

I remember those first hard weeks of my quit. At first it didn't seem nearly as bad as I thought it would and I think this is the case for a lot of us. We dread that day when we put out that last cigarette because we're not sure what's actually going to happen. It's the fear of the unknown that gets us at first I think.

But regardless of our fears we still choose to take that first step on the path of freedom and yes, those first days seem hard but just not as bad as we'd imagined. By the end of our first week we start to feel a little more confident and some even look forward to week two.

And then we move on and things seem to calm a little until one day we wake up and seemingly out of know where the addict within awakens once again and starts sending those signals to smoke and we're like, “What the heck is this???!!! I've already done all of this!!!”

And yet the day wears on with what seems like one long endless crave. The reality is that the crave lasts only minutes and yet that seems to be enough to renew our thinking about smoking. And because of this it seems like the crave lasts forever, like we're suddenly on a roller coaster ride that seems to be spinning out of control while we hold on as tight as we can and try to get a grip.

Even though we've heard of these “phantom craves” as I like to call them, until it happens we just don't expect it. But this too is a natural part of quitting. It took us many years to create our addiction so of course it takes a bit of time to completely rid ourselves of it.

Me, I saw this endless internal conflict and I knew that this didn't make any sense. How could I be arguing with myself when I know that I'm doing all of the right things for my future. How could I even think of going back to that horrid life I'd lived before.

And so I named this childish part of my brain the “addict within” just so I could tell that part of my brain to shut up! I saw the addict within as a child that just couldn't grasp right from wrong. It was a part of my brain that still had to be convinced that what I was doing was right.

And you know what? Once I assigned a name to this internal torment it actually helped me to get a handle on the rest of my quit for you see, I knew that this little screaming child only thought it had control over me. I knew that I had the upper hand but I also learned to keep the addict close so that he couldn't sneak up on me again.

These were indeed strange times and ones that we all go through. But the bottom line is I never gave the addict within a good foothold to try to make me miserable. I simply told the beast to shut up and went on to something else. Now, don't think that was the only day like that for me. Oh no. There were others but I started to notice something. Each time I had a phantom crave, it held less power over me.

Soon I could laugh at these strange little stimulation's that my mind sent to me and now? After 878 days I have found a peace like I never thought I'd know again. And the feeling of freedom is so wonderful! There's nothing like ripping those shackles of addiction out of ourselves and one thing is certain. Even though it takes time. Even though it might suck at first. Even though we have to change our lives in so many wonderful ways I still never had a single doubt about my journey.

I am free!! So very free and I can't wait to see all of you on the other side of that addiction because when it comes to the beauty of freedom. When it comes to the moment where we can smile and yes, laugh at our past transgressions. Then this is something that we want to share. This is something that we want everyone who has the courage to walk that path to freedom to experience!

Go for it! Never look back and never ever give in!!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

After all, we all know that part of beating an addiction is ridding ourselves of the hand to mouth actions that we perform when smoking. To me, the E-cig does nothing to promote an actual quit. No, instead it helps the addict within to keep us on the track of addiction.

 

I do believe in NRT's simply because of personal experience. For me the patch helped on those first hard days but I know I never would have considered using an electronic cigarette because if I'm using that then I might as well just keep on smoking.

 

Thankfully I've achieved the peace and freedom that eventually comes to all of us with time and tender nurturing, and not because I used a crutch. On this web site we believe in finding freedom. What we DO NOT believe in is trading one addiction for another.

 

I just don't see the point of these devices other then to line a lot of greedy peoples pockets at the expense of others health.

 

Well, I've said my peace. . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Good morning Exer's!

 

Man, what a world we live in. You just never know what might happen next in our lives. Sometimes it's good stuff and sometimes it's bad stuff but I think the bottom line is that if life were perfect, it would get rather boring. So I guess it's probably for the best to take the good with the bad.

 

And yet when we quit smoking, everything seems to be so magnified! Every little problem becomes a monumental burden that the addict within tries to use to derail our quits even when we know that smoking won't fix a thing! It's so easy to look for excuses to start again and every time we create one of those excuses within our minds, we have to fight even harder just to stay quit.

 

This is why it's so important for us to stay in-tuned with ourselves. This is why we can never let our guard down in those first weeks as we travel the path to freedom. I always found that for me it was good to look forward at first. To start visualizing that freedom that we so badly desire. To think about what life will be like when we're finally free of the monster that is our addictions.

 

This is where the hope lies. In that place in our minds where we finally find peace. That place where we know that though we made mistakes in our past, we also know that we have learned and will never make that mistake again. That place where the addict within can send that old signal to smoke and we can go “Huh?” And then find ourselves laughing at that very thought that used to torment us so much.

 

Oh yes, there is so much to look forward to once we take that first step. Once we commit to ourselves once and for all that we will never ever smoke another puff. That we will never again give into ourselves as we learn our new life.

 

So never look back to that old life that we had other then to remind ourselves why we quit in the first place for once you find that wonderful freedom then suddenly that past life of smoking doesn't look so rosy. It doesn't look anything like we remembered it on those first hard days. You won't be able to find a thing that was pleasant mainly because once the mask of deception that we created for ourselves is lifted then we can see things so much more clearly. We can see things as only a free spirit can see them.

 

Don't ever give up! Never give in to yourself! Always remember the incredible rewards that await you if you can just stay free long enough. If you can just cast aside those old thoughts and never let the little problems in life effect your resolve. The problems will be there whether we smoke or not. The difference is that when we're free what used to seem so monumental and so upsetting suddenly doesn't seem like much at all. And you know what? Since I no longer smoke when I think of those problems, I suddenly have the time to do something about them!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!