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Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 24, 2015

Good morning Exer’s!!


I hope everyone is well. You know, when we quit, we have to create a kind of new world to live in. One that’s still the same and yet different. In this new world, so many things change. The way we look at others changes. The way we look at smokers changes and yes, we even have to see a change in ourselves.


When this happens, we tend to look more closely at that world around us and our new perceptions can seem kind of strange to say the least. The thing to remember is that the world hasn’t really changed at all. It’s us that have changed and as such, we have the power to perceive those changes any way we’d like to.


When we see a person smoking, it’s a good time to actually think of what we’re seeing because one can learn a lot about one’s self by this kind of reflection. If we feel envious of the person that “gets” to smoke when we can’t then we’ve identified a problem. Something that can be built upon. You see, so long as the smoker is seen as having something that we don’t, then it can cause us to think twice about our quits.


Me, when I see a smoker these days I feel a kind of sadness for them. The reason being that they live under the cloud of their own addiction and can’t yet see past it to the truth. They have no concept of the freedom that they’re missing simply because to comtemplate that is to take away the power from the addiction. I know this because that person was once me, confident in the fact that everything is fine. That smoking can’t harm me.


But I also know that somewhere in every smokers heart is a constant nagging because we all know that smoking isn’t right. Some embrace those thoughts and actually go on the path to freedom. Others choose to continue to feed the addiction because it’s just easier that way, as the addicted mind rationalizes these things at least.


But for us, the key is to see through our addictions to the realities. To know that we’re not losing anything and gaining everything! To understand that we’ve made a commitment to ourselves and that commitment is life! It really doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. They can’t make us smoke. What does matter is the path that we’ve chosen. What matters is what we want our own lives to look like. Down the road if we’d like, we can worry about those who still smoke.


For me, I understand that the decision to quit has to come from deep inside of ourselves. This is why I don’t harass smokers much, other than little digs perhaps. But for those that I know that made that internal commitment, I’m there to help if they desire it.


I guess the main thing I’m trying to say here is that before we can really be free, we have to understand ourselves and the things that motivate us. Seeing another smoke for example reminds us of a time that was different. A time when we were enslaved. A time before we made one of the most important decisions in our lives.


So keep that head held high! Be proud of the decision you’ve made and don’t fear that decision. Embrace it! Do whatever you have to to get past those first hard weeks. Take every crave and trigger as a learning experience. Find solace in the fact that this little trip is only temporary. The hard fight becomes easier with each passing day. With each passing month and before long all of this hardship that you’re feeling now will only be a memory, and I can tell you that if you stick to the path then you’ll feel it. The peace. The calming mind. The freedom!!




Living a dream

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 23, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!


When I first decided to quit smoking, it was simply a thought. I knew I should quit. After all, what is there that’s good about smoking? I looked inside to try to find the reason that I began this horrible addiction, and you know what? I couldn’t find a single valid reason for smoking.


This kind of thinking set off a chain reaction within me and my addiction began to battle me, using the fear of quitting to get me to keep smoking. And I did keep smoking for quite some time, but something had changed. I’d planted a seed and that seed seemed to keep growing inside of my thoroughly addicted mind until once again I thought of quitting, only this time the thought seemed even more real, and of course in response came the irrational fear of quitting.


But there was something different this time and I started rationalizing what my addicted mind was trying to do. I had to dig deep to the very roots of my addiction in order to understand why I feared quitting. Thing is, that reflection made no sense. All of the arguments to continue to smoke seemed to be irrational, hence the irrational fear of quitting.


It was during the preparation time that I forced myself to confront my addiction and learn about it. Not just external knowledge but also a lot of self reflection. To understand one’s self can indeed be a valuable tool in the quest for freedom. I think it was also during this time that I created my dream.


I saw myself doing all kinds of things without a cigarette. And in my minds eye, there was always a smile on my face. I think the smile came from a kind of confidence that I was building within myself. I saw myself learning how not to smoke. I would be driving without a cigarette. I’d be writing without a cigarette. I’d be finishing a meal and would just feel content to enjoy a nice view outside. And in my mind’s eye, this was the first time that I understood that it was freedom from addiction that was my quest.


Still, on my quit day I was concerned. But I went through that day, knowing the entire day that I would put out my last cigarette that night. After I finished my dinner, I went out and lit that cigarette. I was about halfway through it when I muttered., “Good riddance”. I remember I had a smile on my face and realized right at that moment that I wasn’t losing a thing and was gaining everything!


Don’t get me wrong, I had the same discomforts as we all have to go through. I had the same battles with myself that we all have and I still had to learn how to control those urges and identify my triggers but for some reason the moment I put out that last cigarette I realized that I was no longer dreaming of being smoke free. Now I was living that dream!


And so I took that dream a step further and could see myself in my minds eye not only doing all those activities without a cigarette but feeling peace at the same time. And then I saw the banner of freedom for the first time, though far off, high on the summit of Mt. Freedom and knew that one day I would hold that banner! That all I had to do was stay true to myself and before long I’d really, really be free!!


It’s been a little over four years since that time. And now, I really am living that dream. Every single part of it! And it’s just so amazing to think that so long ago, it all started with that one seed that I’d planted within myself. That desire to do something positive. To show myself that I really do choose life over what could’ve been a completely different outlook.


Remember, it never hurts to dream. It never harms us to see ourselves as we really want to be. What matters most is that we take a single thought and turn it into a burning desire that cannot be turned away.


Fill your minds with all that is positive about this new journey. Always believe that you will win and if you can do that then there’s just no room left in the mind for the negative thoughts that the addiction tries to give us.


Hold on to your dream and before long it’s no longer a dream. No. Instead that dream becomes a new and wonderful life! Go for it!! I can tell you it’s more than worth it . . .




Mt. Freedom

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 20, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!


The other day I mentioned a thing that helped me to quit and that was visualization. Enough people seemed interested in my vision of Mt. Freedom that I thought I’d delve into it a little more. For me, the mountain has always symbolized my quit journey. It has all of the proper elements that can be associated with dealing with life's problems. Especially when it’s something like quitting smoking that is in reality a long journey to say the least.


Mt. Freedom is a very tall mountain. When I first started my journey, I glanced up to the summit and it seemed to be so very far away. I stood and thought about my journey and when I was ready, I took the first cautious step on the path of freedom. My first steps were slow and careful as I was feeling out this new world that I’d thrown myself into.


Soon as the days past, I gained some confidence in my footing and began climbing a little faster. There were many twists and turns on the path and with each one that was encountered, I learned how to deal with the next one. Always looking to the freedom but also understanding that each step we take to get closer to the summit, more and more is learned.


And then ahead I saw the snowfields that could in itself become an important part of the journey, for you see to slip down the slippery slope would mean that I’d have to start over. That I’d have to do it all over again to get to where I now was. So I traversed the snow fields, careful of my footing.


And then I looked up and sure enough, the summit had grown so much closer. I could see the boulder fields just up ahead and there on the summit was the banner of freedom, unfurled in the wind in all of it’s glory! I so wanted to reach that banner. To feel the peace and calm that comes with freedom and I knew so long as I never lost my confidence that one day I would be standing on that summit, waving the banner of freedom high over my head for all to see!


And then one day I was there. Standing on the summit of Mt. Freedom, and yes. I grabbed the banner of freedom and waved it over my head. I wanted to show those down there on the slopes that they really can make it! I wanted to show them the banner of freedom to give them hope and so that they too could experience the peace that I was now feeling. I wanted to throw ropes down to them to help them on their own climb. I wanted to run down and meet them to give them knowledge that I had learned from my own journey in the hopes that it would make their journey just a little easier.


We all have to take a journey when we chose freedom. It takes time but with each day it get’s easier. With each step on the path to freedom it gets calmer and in the end, we get to learn what freedom feels like and you know what? It feels incredible!


So if you haven’t yet taken that first step on the road to freedom, than what are you waiting for? If you’re on the slopes working your way to that summit than never believe that you can’t make it. Every day gives us the knowledge that we need to get through the next.


Every challenge that we face smoke free is another step to freedom. Every urge and crave that we get past only strengthens us for the next until one day, we are free. The good thing is that I think the freedom comes in stages. We kind of start to feel it as soon as we recognize that we're addicts and that we no longer want to be.


There was many a scar put on our beings by our addiction, and it takes time to heal those scars. Many are healed along the way. Some take a little longer. But in the end it’s the belief in ourselves that wins. A kind of determination that was built on the path to freedom. In the end we can find peace and continue the healing process.


Never for a moment think that the prize of freedom isn’t worth the effort. I can tell you firsthand that it is and that the day you decide that you will stand on the summit of Mt. Freedom will be the first day of a new life. Don’t dread it. Embrace it!!




Good morning Exer’s!!


I hope all is well with you! When we decide to quit, we feel a real longing to be rid of something that at the time we still find to be pleasurable. This in itself can make it hard to do what we know is right. Getting past those first irrational thoughts are paramount to quitting for as long as we fear quitting more than we long for freedom, than we can go nowhere.


But somehow most of us find a way past that fear of losing that pleasurable thing we know we shouldn’t be doing. That’s why we’re here. To work together to find a kind of peace that belongs to any who seek to find it. A peace that awaits all at the end of a long journey.


So often we prepare for our quits. Something that I find to be extremely important in order to succeed. By giving thought to what we’re about to do, we begin to take the power away from our addictions. Not that the addiction is anywhere near giving up! No, that demon within us can only be defeated over time.


After we put out that last cigarette, we come to realize that our minds are indeed divided, one side seeking irrational pleasure while the other side seeks freedom. This is the beginning of an internal conflict within us. A seemingly endless chorus of thoughts running through our minds, none of which are really helping us.


I of course call this the “addict within”. For me, the addict within represents the face of addiction. The part that we don’t quite get at first. The part that’s hard, learning to calm the screaming child as we continue to move toward freedom.


But one thing is certain. Every time we win an argument with the addiction, we get stronger. Every time we fight through a crave, we weaken the addiction. Every time we learn a new trigger, we weaken the addiction. Every time we tell the screaming child that we will never give in, we weaken the addiction.


Soon we weaken the addiction to the point that we can actually see through the mask that the addiction has placed on our minds. And once the mask of addiction is lifted and we can see the reality of our quits, then we can start looking forward to the freedom that lies ahead.


It’s always there. It’s just hard to see at first. Within us we have the power to defeat our enemy. We have the power to find freedom.


So when that screaming child demands that you listen to it, recognize that it’s there and then dismiss it. Every time the temper tantrum of our addictions seem so very out of control, take a breath and look around at your new world free of the slavery of addiction.


And like any child, the addiction will in the end quit throwing it’s temper tantrum as soon as it knows that we’re never going to give in. I know it can feel confusing at first when we have to meet our addictions head on. I know it seems irrational to constantly argue with ourselves and yet this is one of the many phases that we must go through in order to win.


Stay on the path to freedom. Always try to look ahead, past the current discomforts to that day that you can call yourself free! That’s what the screaming child has to understand. That you will find freedom. That no matter how loud that child screams, you will not give in!


Eventually the child will take a nap, only to reappear down the road, waking up grouchy and screaming again. The first couple of times this happens, it might surprise you, but over time even that goes away.


Once we put the screaming child to bed forever, then we get our just reward. We get to feel a kind of pride in what we’ve done. We get to feel a love for life like we never felt before. The feeling was always there. It was just masked by our addictions.


So long as you never give in, you will find that peace. I and many others like me are living proof of this. Keep that prize of freedom close to your heart and soon you’ll no longer be seeking it. Instead you’ll be living it!!





Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 12, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!


I hope all is well in your lives and your quits. There’s something amazing that happens when we quit smoking. Something that is almost invisible at first but still a thing that is yet another of the many gems we find along the path to freedom. A kind of determination that isn’t so much felt as lived. A stubborn sense that we will make it to the end and find that prize we all long to feel.


When we first see ourselves as nonsmokers in the minds eye, it can create a whirlwind of emotions within us. I know that the first time I thought of myself without those cigarettes, I felt fear. To me, this was irrational. Why would I fear such a positive step in my life? Really, the answer is quite simple. It’s fear of the unknown. Fear of just what might happen when we quit. And quite possibly a fear that we might not succeed. That we might give into the addiction before we can really become free.


It’s normal to fear the unknown. It’s just the way we’re wired but on the upside, if we fear that we might fail than at least we’re actually serious about taking that first step. Thing is, it doesn’t really have to be the unknown. Sure, we have to experience our withdrawals to really know how it feels but there’s so much knowledge out there and to ignore that knowledge would indeed be a deterrent to success I think. Preparing for that first day can really help us to cope with that first day or week or month.


But to take the plunge! To decide once and for all that freedom from addiction can be the only answer is the beginning of something amazing! It’s not the horrible thing that we all see it as at first. No, this is the beginning of a new life!


What amazed me most on that first day of my quit was how calm I was. I expected to be a basket case. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t the easiest day I ever lived but it certainly wasn’t the hardest.


I’d prepared for this day and for some reason when it came I knew I was now living a dream and that the dream was freedom. Something I longed for. Something I’d actually planned for and rather than thinking it was going to be the worst day of my life, I found a kind of peace in the fact that I’d finally started. I’d finally found a way past my own crazy addicted thoughts and put out what I knew would be my last cigarette.


Of course we all know this is only the beginning of a long road. One that at first sparks confusion but at the same time a sense of pride because we’re doing what is right. We’re taking our lives back.


But I can also tell you something else. When you get past those few hard days and know that this quit really is going to happen, then it’s time to latch onto the pride that can only come from a winner. It’s time to create that new environment that will take us to the next plateau.


Each moment we live as a nonsmoker strengthens us to continue. Every urge and crave that we fight through helps us to get through the next one. And soon we can see through the cloud that has always been our addiction. We can cast off the past and look ahead to our bright future of freedom.


Oh yeah, it’s a fight. And it can be uncomfortable at times but so long as we can reach inside and find that powerful determination that we used to begin this fight, than we will succeed. So long as NO is the only answer to our addicted minds then we will win.


And in the end when our minds calm and we can see clearly through the mask of addiction we find that there’s something amazing waiting for us on the other side of this journey. There’s a kind of peace that an addicted mind can never feel. There’s a feeling of accomplishment and oh yes, there is that freedom. Something that I can’t wait for all of you to experience!




Good morning Exer’s!!!


Man, I was doing some thinking about those first days when I quit. Some of you may remember them but also, some of you may be living those first days right now. And what I remember is those whispers. That endless argument going on inside of the brain. That nagging argument living within us that seems so loud and yet so quiet. As if we could never actually hear it and yet we hear it all of the time!


I always called that whisper “the addict within”. It was a way for me to address that endless noise. A way to put a face on it and by creating that face or vision of my own addiction, I found a way to address it. A way to actually converse with what I considered to be my enemy. A part of myself that was addicted even as I knew that this could no longer be!


And you know what? For me, when I recognized that yes, a part of my mind was rebelling. That a part of me was still trying to stick to those old habits. Seeing that there was still a part of my mind that had to be convinced that I was a nonsmoker helped me to cope a little. It helped me to understand that though I’d won the first battle, there was still a ways to go.


One can try to ignore the noise but for some reason, I chose to listen. And you know what? I found a mind that was confused. A mind that didn’t yet understand that basically, the foundation of our lives had changed. That what was once OK and so pleasurable was no longer our reality. That one part of our minds had chosen to cast off the demon that was our addiction while the part that always made it OK for us to smoke was still unconvinced.


And so began that endless whispering within the mind. And now I understood what it was. At least for me. And once an enemy can be identified, it can be fought! It can be turned into the little whimpering child that it really was because I knew that what I was doing was right and that I still had to educate that little part of my brain; “the addict within” as I chose to call it.


Seeing the reality of what was the true face of my addiction allowed me to directly confront it. It’s really quite simple if you think about it. I began rationalizing to that part of my brain. The child that had to be taught. And when that child threw a temper tantrum I simply smiled, understanding that all children have to be taught and until they are, there will always be little bumps in the road. There will always be little temper tantrums until that last little part of the brain catches up with the reality that is a non smoker.


This is when that mask of addiction is lifted. That’s when we really start to feel our freedom. That’s when we learn once and for all that this really can happen. That we really can change our realities and yes, we can train that child. We can teach every part of our very beings that we don’t smoke.  And once that happens there’s just no stopping us!

I know from experience that the child eventually quits the temper tantrums. I know from experience that we first have to recognize our addiction before we can defeat it. But most importantly, I know that it can be defeated. I know that in the end every bit of discomfort and work is worth it for you see, I now live with that addict within. My addiction and I have a new understanding and that understanding doesn’t have even the thought of cigarettes in it and you know what?


It just feels so good! It just feels so free! It just feels like I was right when I chose life!! Go for it my friends! Show that screaming child within that the tantrums will not work. That we don’t have to listen to the screaming.


Always look to the prize of freedom. It’s there waiting for you. All you have to do is embrace it . . .




Good morning EXer’s!


I hope all is well with your quits. I was just thinking about triggers. What a crazy thing we’ve built into our brains with this addiction. I mean, it seems like we all slap the old shirt pocket or reach wherever we used to keep them for a cigarette even after we quit and the thing is, it seems like such a natural reaction that it’s hard to believe that it ever wasn’t.


I seemed to have all of the standard triggers. Driving was one where I always smoked. To me, it seemed like I couldn’t even figure out how to start the car without a cigarette because part of starting the car was lighting up one of those cigarettes first, before the key even hit the ignition.


Oh, and the famous one after a meal! Why we want that one I’ll never know. I mean all it does is ruin the memory of something we’d just enjoyed. And then there was the big one when I went outside and stared at the mountains that I lived at the base of, never realizing how little I was really looking at them because I was so involved with the act of smoking.


Learning our triggers is key to quitting I think. If we know when the addict within is going to try to attack our quit, then we’re not blindsided. Not only that, learning our addictions helps to take some of the fear out of quitting.


I identified and worked on my triggers mostly during the preparation phase. The first one I tackled was smoking in the car. I emptied the ashtray and just rolled down the window to breathe. At first it seemed really stressful to drive without the old crutch but over the next week, I realized that the car actually did start without first lighting that cigarette. I really could drive without one!


Staring at the mountains as I did every night with my cigarette was one I had to work on after the quit. Before I quit, I thought I would simply substitute decaf tea and sip on that as I looked at the view. But after I quit, I simply placed my hands on the railing and saw something amazing! What I realized was how little I’d really been looking to those mountains. After I quit, I really saw the beauty. I really felt the love for nature because I was no longer concentrating on my cigarette. Now, I was actually looking! And it was indeed wonderful to really see something that I thought I’d been seeing all along.


Of course, we can’t anticipate every little thing that might happen when we quit and I was obviously no exception. One day out of the blue, coffee was a trigger. Nooooo!! Not my coffee! But there was one thing cool about that one. You see, I’d already learned how to deal with my triggers. I knew that it only takes practice to beat the triggers.


It takes an understanding of ourselves to beat those triggers. That and understanding that the urges that these triggers create only last a few minutes. I think it’s actually easier than we might think to understand our triggers. Life events where we always smoked is the basis of them. After so many years of feeding our addictions, the mind becomes used to smoking during certain events. In fact, I think the addicted mind demands that nicotine during those life events after a while simply because it believes that this is normal.


I’ve got to tell you, nine times out of ten I actually found humor in the triggers. I laughed at myself for those “silly thoughts” that ran through my brain, seemingly uncontrolled. But I also tried to figure out the source of those triggers, at this point not so much because they bothered me but rather because I was curious.


And for me it all seemed to boil down to a previous lifestyle that I no longer lived. I realized that these triggers were remnants from the past. Little sticking points still in my brain. Though these triggers can drive us nuts on the first days of our quits, this is one of the things that gets better over time. This is one of the things that we learn to deal with and in the end, the “impulse” is no longer for a cigarette. Rather, we learn that these things that we always enjoyed are twice as enjoyable without the cigarette.


There’s no easy answer for dealing with triggers, but getting to know those triggers is a good start because those triggers are the main weapon that our addiction has to use against us. Once we can understand that what we’ve done in the past is not what we want to do in the future, than those triggers lose strength. Once we know deep in our hearts that we live in a new world that no longer has those triggers than we find peace. It doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen!


Stay on the path my friends. Learn your addiction. Understand that addiction and before long you’ll be standing on the other side and feeling so much peace. So much happiness. And it all comes from one thing. FREEDOM!!





Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 2, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!


I hope all is well and that you are secure in your quits! You know, we’ve always had some stress in our lives. It’s just the way it is. Even before we started our addictions, we had stress. What does stress do to us? At times it can make us angry or feeling out of control. It can make us wish things were different or that the darn stress would just go away.


Generally, we take actions to control our stress like finding a way to avoid the situation that stresses us out. But what if it’s what we’re doing that’s stressing us out? I mean, quitting an addiction feels really stressful. There’s so much to do. So much to learn and always those nagging fears, telling us that it would be easier to just give in.


And then on top of that, a friend or loved one starts getting on our nerves. The first reaction is to think, “To hell with it! I’ll just smoke and then I’ll feel so much better. This stress is driving me nuts!”


It’s normal to avoid stressful situations. It’s human nature to want to be as calm and happy as we can be. This is why I think a lot of dealing with addiction is so hard. It goes against the grain of our very human nature to quit the thing that’s giving our brain pleasure, even if that thing is killing us!


Beating an addiction in a way is irrational to how we think because it adds additional stress to a life that we might already see as stressful. I think this is a big part of where the fear of quitting comes from. We feel that the cigarette actually helps us cope with life’s day to day stresses. That somehow it makes them more tolerable.


Another lie of an addicted mind trying to formulate a rational response to what we’re doing. You know, the destruction of our own future.


Thing is, we’re better than that. We can look rationally at what we’re doing and see through the lies of our own addictions. We can find a way to believe that yes, we can become free. We can beat this demon that we’ve helped to create inside of ourselves. We can decide to take our lives back and as for that additional stress? So what! It’s temporary and most of it will vanish as soon as we realize that we’re really going to do this! That it’s not some little thought in the back of the mind. No. It’s the number one thought that we will win!


That’s how I remember it and by God, I was strong until I realized that I was serious! Well, you know. The doubt crept in. The fear of not having that cigarette to calm my days. But still like all of us, I got past the fear and put that cigarette out, feeling a little insecure but all in all happy with my decision.


I remember that first day smoke free. I had to work with a smoker and ride in his car with him on a road trip, watching him smoke. I just didn’t want to ask him not to even though it might have benefitted him in the long run but I’d decided right on that first day that if I couldn’t stand to be around smokers and protect my quit, then I was in trouble. When we arrived at our job, the homeowner was already upset because of what the previous crews had done, and how long it had taken them to do their work. There was a bit of stress right there as we talked to him and got him calmed down enough to let us get started on our own work. The moment we were done dealing with this guy,, my partner went outside and lit up a cigarette. I realized that just the day before, that would’ve been me, out there lighting up.


Instead, I went to work and realized that though a moment ago was stressful, it wasn’t like before. You see, I’d made that commitment to myself and rather than let life’s little problems bother my quit, I stayed committed to myself and passed the first test that a smoker must pass. Disassociating stress from cigarettes.


Smoking doesn’t make the stress disappear. If anything, we have more stress when we smoke. Be very cautious. If cigarettes were a coping mechanism for you in the past than it must be dissociated from your stress. If this can be accomplished than one of our biggest triggers is overcome.


Just remember that it’s the addiction that makes you think smoking helps to deal with stress. It’s a lie that you don’t need. If you can get past that first hard lesson when dealing with stress than I think you’re well on your way!


Enjoy your day my friends!