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Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 31, 2015

You know, there was once a time when I thought very little about freedom. I was very confident in my smoking world, gliding through life with a belief that smoking only harms other people. Comfortable in the fact that I could live out my days with those smokes firmly embedded in my world forever.


Yeah, I was a piece of work back then, not even thinking about my future or what I was doing to perhaps make it better. I think for me the idea of quitting started as a tiny crack in my addiction. A day where somehow, I’d let the thought of quitting sneak through my armor of confidence  and my belief that I was invincible.


And somehow, that tiny little crack grew and I started wondering just how invincible I really was. I started thinking about my father who had died from complications of throat cancer and that brought an incredibly enlightening memory to me that I’d comfortably hidden from myself for many, many years.


When I was in the hospital with my father after his operation, sucking the infection out of his neck wound so that he could breathe, the surgeon that did his surgery showed up to check him out. He taught me how to do deep suctioning by placing a tube through his nose to reach his lungs, and then suck out the infection. It was a horrible procedure that once again was necessary in order for my father to breathe during his recovery.


The surgeon was on his way out the door when he turned suddenly and poking rather vehemently at my shirt pocket where my cigarettes were he shouted, “Are you insane? Don’t you realize that those things in your pocket are what did this to your father?!”


Shaking his head in disbelief, he walked out the door but before he left he turned and said a little more calmly, “I understand that you’re hooked. Hell, most of my patients continue smoking through their trachs. I just get upset every time I see someone intentionally killing themselves. I love life. Don’t you?” And with that he left, still shaking his head in disbelief.


A little later the nurse came in to do her work and I was out of there! That guy had really upset my little world but you know what? I went and smoked a cigarette and rebuilt my armor, still somehow believing that I was invincible. This went on for several more years before that day where the crack appeared.


That crack became what is now my forever quit. It has to start somewhere. We have to be honest to ourselves and find a way to long for freedom. It took me a long time in preparation and a long time after to pull all of the tentacles of my addiction out of myself.


Now I find freedom to be my banner! I find health to be my calling. And while I’m at it, I now understand that I’m really not invincible. I understand that things can happen. But I also understand that every day I spent fighting my addiction was a day where I was fighting for my very life!


I’m on the other side of that crazy ride now and you know what? It feels incredible! Stay on the path my friends. Never let doubts weaken your resolve. Keep your eye on the prize of freedom and one day you’ll be feeling something so very amazing. You’ll be feeling a freedom like you never thought you’d feel! The rewards are numerous and so amazing! You just have to get through this little rough patch.


I know that if I could find a way through my addiction that you can too!




Ever wake up in the morning and think, “What the hell did I just choose to do?” That was my first thought on day one of my quit. When I went to bed the night before I was actually excited about the fact that after all of my preparations, I was ready!


But I have to admit, “What the hell did you just choose to do” was my first thought. The thing is, I don’t really work that way. You see, I’ve always believed that our thinking doesn’t have to be static and that the first thought of the day doesn’t have to determine the nature of the entire day.


So I got up, slapped on the old nicotine patch of courage and told myself that today was the first day of an incredible journey! Or so I hoped. I knew the reality of it all told me that this was the first day of training for my new life. Something important. Something that might transform my future! So yeah. There was fear and excitement at the same time.


I drank my coffee, wondering the entire time if this was a trigger that I had missed. I wandered outside, where I’d always have my morning cigarette. I looked around and realized that the world hadn’t really changed.


At that moment I understood that what had really changed was me. I no longer smoked! Hey now, wait a minute. This isn’t me. And yet it was. And so the internal argument began. How do we cope without the cigarette? How can we possibly live the day? So much confusion on that first day but also the glimmer of hope.


A glimmer of a future of life. A glimmer of what the world can be like if we can just get past this first day because if we can do that, we can start counting. We can start believing that maybe we can do this. That we really can quit!


But that’s just the first day. There’s always a lot of doubt within us on that first day but you know what? The next day gives us something to build on. The next day makes us realize that sure, we’ve got a long ways to go but look at what we’d already done! We’ve lived a single day without a cigarette and from this day we can build a new world, so long as there’s no doubt in our belief that life is really wonderful! So long as we want to be free once and for all!


My second day was similar in that my first waking thoughts weren’t the best. I kind of dragged myself out of bed and got my coffee, and then headed to the computer. During the time that I went through that first urge, I began telling myself that I was already well on my way and that a new beginning has to start somewhere, so how about another smoke free day?


I began to understand that my mind was divided. That there was this endless argument going on inside just under the surface. I knew that if anything could derail my quit, it would be this voice. So I listened, and none of it made any sense. It was like a continuous urge even though I knew better.


I realized that I was giving my addiction strength by thinking to much about the urges. This was making the individual urges seem like one long, constant urge. This was when I first conceived of the addict within. I put a face to the endless argument so that I could try to control it and for me, seeing my addiction as a screaming child throwing a temper tantrum seemed to help because after all, what do we do with a screaming child? We first try to rationalize but in the end we sometimes have to ignore them until they calm themselves down.


To make a long story short, after that day I talked a lot to the addict within. I treated it all with the patience of an adult training a child and before long that child grew up and I found the peace that I was looking for. I found a freedom that was incredible!


It’s all waiting there for you. All you have to do is get through those first hard days because then it’s a matter of getting through the first month and year. And each day that we train our screaming child is a day of achievement. And  each day of achievement soon becomes  a lifetime of achievement. Hang in there my friends! There;s so much waiting for you on the other side of this little rough patch , , , ,





I always like to look back into the days of my quit. I mean the days right after I got over my irrational fear of quitting and put out that last cigarette. Was I confident? You bet. Was I a little scared? Yeah, I was that too. But in spite of that, like so many of you here are now doing, I followed through with a long developed plan and put out that cigarette for good.


Like you, I had those first hard days. Days when my brain divided and the internal argument caused by addiction began. But at the same time, I embraced each day proud that I was a nonsmoker.


As most of us do, in the morning I’d assess things. And sometimes I’d wake up craving a cigarette. For a moment, I’d sometimes wonder why I’d quit in the first place. And other times I’d wonder why I didn’t buy the old pack to keep around “just in case”. But for me, these thoughts were very short lived.


As I got out of bed, I’d pull out my visions of the addict within and Mt. Freedom and I’d focus on these things until my mindset became one that was once again on an amazing journey. By the time I logged onto EX, which I did daily, I’d be in a pretty good mood, In fact, by the time I got here, I’d be celebrating both my past days of freedom and the new one that I was about to face.


By looking to the future, where my freedom was, I quit fretting over the present, even as I continued fighting the endless argument inside. I found a kind of solace in knowing that one day my vision would be a reality. That one day, the endless argument with myself would be over. That one day I’d actually forget that I ever liked smoking.


And yes, when I came here, I’d celebrate with others the one thing that this place cares most about. That I was still free!!


I was able to celebrate my journey even as I fought with myself by seeing myself climbing that mountain. By knowing that in a way, the mountain really is real because it was a means for me to see not just the current part of the journey, but the entire journey. How far I’d come. How much closer the end was and this always brought a smile to my face.


Everyone has a Mt, Freedom inside. It’s whatever we can use in our minds eye to symbolize our determination. To show us our goal. To think of the end result until one day it’s no longer the end result but rather our current reality.


Fight on my friends, and never think that you can’t be standing on the summit of your mountain. So many have already made the climb. So many have found the peace that awaits them at the end of the journey. So many are feeling a freedom like they’ve never felt before and for every one of us, it all started with that first step. With a commitment to life and with a desire to be free!





Good morning EXer’s!!


I hope all is going well in your quits. I remember those first days well, and there’s a reason for this. By keeping those memories close to my heart, it reminds me of the lessons I learned. It reminds me that though that time doesn’t seem so bad right now, there once was a time that it was and remembering this keeps my resolve strong, and just in case a phantom urge tries to blindside me, I still remember all of the lessons that I had to learn along the way.


I remember when I first dreamed of the addict within. That screaming child that was my addiction. I remember putting a face on it so that I could see my war more clearly. So that I could understand my divided brain. So I could cope with the constant argument that ran through my head. The one where the rational side of my brain was in constant conflict with the other side. The one that doesn’t know right from wrong.


This was the addict within. That part of my brain that refused to believe that our quitting was the right thing to do, and like you I fought with this part of my brain constantly, trying to teach it that I knew the right path for us to take.


As many of you already know, I used a mountain to signify my journey. I called the mountain Mt. Freedom. This made it easier for me to see the journey as a whole. One that might be hard at first but one that also has an end. I think at times it’s hard for us to focus on the ending simply because we’re doing everything in our power to get through the current day, or week, or month.


I remember waking up each morning and in my minds eye, I’d look to the slopes of Mt. Freedom, confident that one day I’d stand on that summit. Remembering the goal of freedom is a good way to get the brain motivated to continue winning the internal argument every day.


But I also remember that each step up that mountain became easier. Each lesson I learned along the way helped me to cope with the next one. With each agonizing step up the mountain, I felt a little more confident. A little stronger. And each step gave me a stronger belief that one day I would stand on that summit.


As I got closer, I could see the banner of freedom waving in the wind and all I wanted was to reach that magical place of freedom and peace that I knew was at the top. I wanted that prize of freedom more than anything! I wanted to be free so badly that I forgot that there was any internal argument or any discomfort and in the end, I did stand on that summit!


I stood on that summit and waved that banner high over my head for I could see others still climbing. Some so far down the slopes and other so close and I wanted them to see the prize. To see what was awaiting them! I shouted and threw down ropes for those who might need just a little help.


I still live on the summit of Mt. Freedom and it is everything that I dreamed it would be. The freedom is amazing but what surprised me even more was the peace that I felt. The peace that I feel right now. It’s waiting for you! All you have to do is plant one foot in front of the other and never waver. Never doubt that what you’re doing is the right thing to be doing.


Building a future of peace. Building a new life of freedom. What could be more special than that? So keep on climbing, my friends. Keep your eye on that banner of freedom and before long, you’ll be on the top and believe me, it’s a wonderful place to be!







Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 24, 2015

Today I woke up and for some reason I started thinking about addiction. I realized that in the first preperations of my quit that I didn’t think of it as an addiciton but more of a habit. This in a way added power to the addiciton itself because I think most of us percieve a habit as something relatively easy to change.


This can be a common mistake when we prepare to quit and I think that by realizing that what we’re doing is beating an addiction, we add strength to the quit itself. By admitting to ourselves that we are indeed addicts, it changes our mindset and I believe improves our ability to succeed.


We expect to have to fight more because we’re not just changing a habit but rather beating an addiction.


But take heart! Once we can stare our addiction in the face, it helps us to understand what is happening to us when we quit. It helps us to understand that yes, our addiction has clouded our thinking. The addiciton has created a means in our minds that makes us see things differently.


I’ve always visualized my addiction as an entity that lives inside of me. One that really doesn’t care much about health, the future or the quality of life that we might experience in that future. An entity that begins throwing a temper tantrum the moment we ignore it’s signals. An entity that has had it’s way for so long, it can’t understand any other way to live.


The addict within to me is a screaming child. But it’s also one that can be trained. One that can learn from the new information we give it. It does take time but eventually with each day that we remian free, we begin to rip out the tentacles that the addict within has placed within us over all of this time.


After a while, it becomes easy to see through the mask of addiction. We can find ourselves thinking about life and freedom more than we do our current discomforts. We can slowly remove the mask and calm the screaming child that would do us harm.


Eventually we find that we can rip that mask right off and see the world as it really is. A wonderful place of peace and freedom where we can hold our heads high and be proud of what we’ve done, not only for ourselves but also for those who we love.


And to think. It all starts with that first day that we no longer think about quitting but instead put out that last cigarette and turn our vision into a reality. The day that we decide to thumb our noses at that screaming child within. The day that we decide once and for all that we will have a new and wonderful life and that nothing is going to stop us!!!


There is peace awaiting you and there’s a feeling of freedom like you haven’t felt for a long, long time. I know. I’m living the results of that decision I made over four years ago and you know what? I have an agreement with what was once the screaming addict within. I’ve taught that part of me to love life over death and to cherish freedom above all else.


I remember what it took to get here simnply because I never want to go back to that place of slavery and deceit. Once you experience the freedom that’s coming your way, I can guarantee that you’ll never want to go back either. I look forward to that day where you too will feel that wonderful peace . . .



Checking in

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 22, 2015

Hello all of you wonderfully dedicated people!! Every time I come to this place, I am awed by the determination of so many. What a wonderful world this is, so long as we strive to improve ourselves. So long as we find a way to dig down into the very roots of our souls in order to achieve something that might seem so hard at first.


Change is never easy. But for every one of us, there was a beginning. A day when we decided to take our lives back. Over four years ago, I made that choice. It wasn’t an easy choice to make but I can tell you, I’m so glad I did!


I wondered what my life might look like without that so called friend of mine. How would I cope? What would I do with myself? How could I possibly face the world without my smokes? The thought of quitting seemed almost insurmountable.


But then, one day I took the plunge and decided to try an “experiment”. I found myself terrified and yet giddy at the same time. I prepped and prepped some more, learning the enemy that I would have to face. An enemy that existed within my own mind. I studied and studied some more, learning what addiction really is. Learning what my triggers and urges were. Learning that there really might be a life after addiction.


And you know what? There really is and it’s wonderful!!


Clinmb that mountain my friends. Focus on the bright future instead of the current discomfort because one thing is certain. That discomfort is temporary. What isn’t temporary is our futures and what we do right now determines that future. There can be no peace without taking that first step.


I came by to mention what it’s like to be free! Can you imagine it? Can you feel it? Can you long for freedom more than anything else? That’s where the prize is. I can tell you that after four and a half years, the prize is indeed wonderful!


There’s so much peace awaiting you. All you have to do is get through a little rough patch. Well, it might not seem like a rough patch right now but always remember that this is temporary. Stay true to yourself and before long, you too will be writing something just like this. You will be shouting from the top of Mt. Freedom about life! About how wonderful you feel!!


Keep your eye on the prize of freedom and before long, what your doing right now will be but a memory. Go for it! Life is so cool when we’re truely free! I can’t wait to see you there!


As for me, I’m having a fabulous life of freedom. Soon yours will be too.