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Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Loss

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jun 2, 2019

Hello all,

 

Just wanted to check in with all of you dedicated people because it’s been a while. I’m discovering that loss can be such an overwhelming emotion to us and I think it also explains a part of what makes quitting smoking so hard. The loss that we feel when we quit. It’s amazing how our addiction can create the illusion that we have a friend in our addiction. A part of ourselves that can make us feel like we’re not alone.

 

Illusions that we create in order to be comfortable as we nurture our addictions. I know when I first thought of quitting, I felt a hollow feeling inside. I felt like I’d have nothing to do when I quit when the reality was that the cigarette took away all of my time. I realized early on how much I’d developed my addiction and how I interacted with it.

 

Even when I knew all this, nothing could prepare me for the loss I felt after the first week. Thinking back now, it almost seems irrational. Actually, it was irrational. I mean what is rational about becoming such a good friend with a plant?

 

I know we don’t have these realizations right away when we start smoking. I think we create them over time, perhaps as excuses to keep smoking and over time the mind accepts these things as fact, or rather a lie that can be lived with. The only thing I know of to get rid of this is to know that the feeling of loss is actually a lie, created by our addicted mind. It doesn’t necessarily get rid of the illusion but to understand it before it happens can be a lifesaver to a quit!

 

I think writing a goodbye letter to the cigarette is always a good idea. When I wrote mine so many years ago, it became something that I would refer to often, because there ended up being so much in it. I remember telling myself that a friend wouldn’t enslave me. A friend wouldn’t take all of my money. A friend wouldn’t offer a slow and agonizing death as a condition of friendship. I think that post is in my blog somewhere.

 

All I’m saying is to be ready for that feeling of loss before you quit. It’s one less thing to have to worry about when you do quit and as always,

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

 There are times in our lives that we must face great adversity. Sometimes these things can derail a quit because somehow we see this smoking addiction as a comfort. A way to fill a hole that just can’t be filled. Thankfully I didn’t fall into that trap that we can so easily create for ourselves.

 

You see, eight years ago I chose to change my future. I chose to look to that future that I wanted so badly to guide me and I put out that last cigarette with a belief that I would never smoke again.

 

This didn’t happen without a bit of work to get ready to transition to a new life, but every bit of preparation that I did paid off in such an incredible way because now I have the biggest gift I could ever give myself. Freedom from a smothering addiction.

 

Did I see it as a gift when I first quit? Absolutely not. In fact, like many of you I thought the hard part would never end. Like you, I fought through those first days slowly finding the belief that I was going to win. I had my ups and downs, but never did I lose sight of that shining banner of freedom that I intended to wave high over my head, proudly declaring my freedom to all at last!

 

When I knew I had a tough day coming during the beginnings of my quit, I’d fear it simply because I didn’t know whether this day would present me with a trigger that could make me cave. But by fearing that day, I also prepared just a little more for it. Like those first days when we quit and prepare for the worst, I did the same before those tough days.

 

Sure, thoughts of smoking entered my mind on those days but like the first days, I was ready. I knew I’d have to fight just a little harder to get through and over time as I faced these hard days, it became more normal to live them without the cigarette. And once an event becomes normal, we begin to believe in ourselves and not only our ability to remain free, but we reinforce our belief in our desire for freedom as well.

 

Most of us create a tool box before we quit, filled with all the ideas, supplies, knowledge and suggestions we find during our preparation that we hope will help on those first hard days. It’s wise to keep those tools handy for a while longer, but eventually you won’t need them for you see you’ll have found that wonderful peace that awaits each and every one of us if we’re just willing to fight to get there.

 

My addiction is now completely separated from the problems that life throws at me. In fact, the thought of smoking a cigarette never crosses my mind for any reason at all. Even if I think of a cigarette it has no power over me and is now simply an image of the mind. A picture that has no meaning.

 

This is what drives that amazing peace and freedom at the end of our quits for you see, the world really is different now. For me, it’s now my normal not to smoke! I can’t wait to see you get there. There’s just no better feeling!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

When we first quit, we find ourselves in an agony of memories of the past and what we allowed ourselves to do. And as we leave the road of addiction to follow a new path of freedom, those memories become our worst possible enemy at first.

 

We constantly think back to those days before, and we compare it to the moment that we’re living in the present and realize that there was no discomfort in those memories. That the past was way easier to live than the one we’ve chosen to follow now. This sets up the internal argument that we all must face when we quit. Our minds constantly comparing our past to our new and hard present.

 

On the first days when the lack of nicotine begins its attack, it’s really hard to stay free. And most of us felt horrible on those first days. What makes it even harder is that we have nothing new to compare our past to. The future hasn’t happened yet so we can’t see the amazing feelings that come from losing our addictions.

 

We can’t see the health benefits. All we can see is the discomfort and even though we knew we’d have to face it, it still attacks our minds with the fury of a tornado, spinning our thoughts into a whirlwind of emotions.

 

This is when it’s most important to reach out. To ask questions. To busy ourselves with anything besides listening to the thoughts of our smoking past that will occupy our minds. And I think there’s a big change once we have a few days under our belts for you see, we begin to believe that we actually can win this hard war. And with belief comes confidence that we really can achieve our goals.

 

With belief comes some calm because we lose one more stressor at a time where every little stress can seem monumental. And as we continue to move forward on the path to freedom, slowly building a resolve that cannot be shaken, we begin to find new things to compare our past to. Memories that aren’t filled with a cloud of smoke. Thoughts of a new future free of addiction begins to permeate our minds and before long instead of looking at past discomforts, we begin to see the possibilities that await us in the future.

 

Our minds begin to focus on thoughts of health and freedom and every day we reinforce our desire to be free for once we see the possibilities that freedom can bring and keep a constant desire to live those possibilities, there’s just no stopping us for you see, we no longer live in the past.

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

From our hearts

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 May 9, 2019

There is a place deep within our hearts where the reality of freedom lives even when we’re completely in the throes of an addition. The only time we seem to realize this as we fulfill our desire of living in the world addiction is when we let our guard down just a little. When we let that nugget that lives within all of us come forward.

 

Most addicts push that thought away very quickly because you see, remaining addicted and liking living that life really does take a lot of work and the same self reflection that we use when we do quit. When we begin the quit process so often we forget all the work it took to maintain our addictions.

 

We had to plan our every move, lest we get caught with a moment where we can’t smoke. We had to make sure that all those cigarettes were securely listed in our budgets. In fact, if an addict is to blow a budget, it’s always to feed the addiction. And more importantly we have to constantly push back against ourselves to remain addicted, simply so that the old self preservation thinking doesn’t kick in and make us uncomfortable while we feed the addiction because after all, that place in our hearts always remembers that little nugget of freedom that’s just waiting to be noticed.

 

I think one of the hardest things about a successful quit is that it has to come from inside. Being told to quit just doesn’t fit into the addicts recovery program. In fact, whenever someone even brought up the possibility of me quitting, the first thing I felt was anger. Looking back, I realize just how hard I fought to keep my addiction intact.

 

Which brings me to the actual quit and to be honest, just getting there was half the battle for me. I mean I repelled the thought of quitting like the plague for many long years. After all, bad things only happen to others, right? I was sure I was safe even as loved ones around me succumbed to the final effects of this nicotine addiction and I can tell you, the picture was never pretty. But I continued smoking for many years.

 

But when I did quit, it came from inside. That little place in the heart blossoming for the first time because for once, I let it. And then I embraced these thoughts of comfort and of a new future if I was just willing to fight to see it. And so I did fight, at first just to take that little glimmer of freedom and turn it into something tangible. Something that I could use to propel me all the way to a new and wonderful life.

 

For me, that’s where it started. But seeing the realities of what I’d at last chosen to face, I knew that I wasn’t one that could just jump in with both feet for you see, as much as I wanted freedom I still lacked the confidence to truly seek it. So I studied my addiction and how I interacted with it and how it interacted with me. I bagan to see through the barriers that I’d created for myself, and using that knowledge of what made me smoke in the first place, I created my quit plan.

 

For me, that plan was successful. And now I’m living that freedom that I could only dream of on those first hard days of my quit. There’s something amazing that happens when we can finally see through the cloud of addiction. The mind, body and soul seem to come together to create a will that cannot be stopped. A desire for freedom that will not fade unless we let it and in the end a single action transforms our futures for the better life life that we now see. Keep fighting my friends! It always starts with a single glimmer. It’s up to us to take that glimmer and turn it into something amazing!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

As we all know, there’s so much thinking involved with quitting. We first have to learn what we’re planning for in the first place and then we have to figure out our addiction, how we interact with it and how to change the way we deal with basically every aspect of our lives.

 

To put it simply, we can’t just use an NRT and be successful without dealing with the mental aspects of our quit. After all, in order to smoke we had to change our entire belief system as we tried to justify the negative things we were doing to ourselves. Our minds didn’t create the nicotine receptors,a modified plant did, but our minds did create the lies that bolstered that addiction and there’s a very good reason for that I think.

 

I don’t think that there’s a person here who could honestly say that they enjoyed that very first cigarette nor as I remember did I enjoy the next twenty or so. They tasted horrible, like my body was trying to purge me of the noxious stuff that it knew was harmful just from the original reaction to it.

 

But my reasons for starting smoking had to do more with wanting to belong. And it just seemed like all of the cool kids even when I was twelve were smoking and to be honest, I wanted to be cool too! And somehow I thought that smoking would be the magical formula to make me cool! You have to give me a little bit of a break. After all, I was only twelve!

 

And so I told myself the first lie of my addiction. That somehow, the smoking made me cool. And I continued on, careful of when I’d display my new found friend and yet at the same time displaying that new friend in front of the cool people was really important to me. So important that I even told myself that this new found toy was an incredibly helpful thing!

 

And as a child I continued to feed myself the lies for now I could feel what seemed like almost physical pain when I couldn’t smoke. I often wondered if starting at such a young age, while my brain was still developing changed the very nature of how my brain developed.

 

But there’s a cool ending to this story for you see, I used that same mind to help me rid myself of this horrible addiction. Makes sense doesn’t it? That the only way out of addiction is the same way that you got there. By teaching the mind the realities that us adults can now see. By changing the focus of the mind from one of surrender to one of power. And what I mean by power is the ability to change our very future by looking deep inside. Finding the lies that created our addiction and changing those lies into something more useful.

 

Changing those lies into a new reality. That’s why I say that it’s within all of us to quit. We just have to find how we got there in the first place and then have a desire to change it. Once you find the original foundation, accept the mistakes of the past and then choose a new foundation to live by, then you can begin getting there.

 

Remember that the very thing that got us into this addicted mess is also the very thing that will get you out. See your addiction for what it is. Know that the addicted foundation of your life is not the foundation you want to live and then take that incredible brain and turn it into your friend instead of your enemy.

 

We all want harmony. The entire essence of our being wants harmony. That’s just how nature made us. And so the mind will actually seek harmony if we just let it and believe me, even though it might not seem like it at first, deep inside the mind does want that new reality. All we have to do is agree with it!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

 

First off, I just want to say thank you to all those who went through this quit experience with me. Just like so many here, there was once a day when I was addicted. Of course to me, I had to have been more addicted than anyone else ever was! I mean, I knew deep in my heart that there was no way that I could ever quit smoking.

 

 Back in those crazy and addicted days  my thinking was that death would be easier than quitting. And yet in the back of my mind, there was always this nagging thought. It stayed there in the back of my mind, being suppressed by the very addiction I was feeding with every waking moment of my life.

 

When I first thought of quitting, my mind was at first confused by the thought, like it was an entity that wasn’t really a part of me. An alien thought, so to speak. But there was a crack in my addiction. One that I was sure I had somehow created and this gave me the strength to really consider quitting.

 

Then came the fear. I really was terrified at the thought of quitting, and so many times, I let the addiction control my mind and always noticed that the fear of quitting seemed to be a fear of doing something that just didn’t seem to make sense. Of doing something different. Or crazy.

 

I remember how hard it was to even think of quitting at first. But one day, I forced myself to call a quitline and to be honest, when someone answered, I hung up on them, never saying a word. I was clammy and shaking and so I reached out and grabbed a cigarette. As I smoked it, and felt the fake calm that comes from smoking, I realized that if I was going to do this, it had to be for real. Failure could not be an option. So I picked up the phone again and called that number. This time I was able to stay on the line and when I was finished, I had patches on the way and the very beginnings of a quit. I was on my way!

 

I mention this because I know we all feel like quitting is an impossible task when we first decide to do it, and seven years later, I can say it’s not only doable but also is a life changing event like no other!

 

But that was the past. After living the life of an addict for so long, I discovered something incredibly amazing. FREEDOM!!! For every day that I fought to be free, I’ve gained another day of freedom, and I’ve gained another day of peace wich will be with me for the rest of my life!

 

Just remember. Quitting is a journey that takes many days. I saw it as a mountain. Mt. Freedom is what I called it and with each passing day, I saw myself on the slopes of Mt. Freedom, fighting and clawing to find my dream of reaching that summit. When I first stepped on the slopes, I looked up and the summit looked so far away. I wondered if I could ever reach the top of that summit.

 

I stayed on the path of freedom, navigating the slippery slopes of the snow fields and working my way through the boulder fields until one day I realized that I was standing on that summit!! I waved the banner of freedom high over my head proudly for all to see!

 

And now I’m living the dream that I created for myself so long ago when the dream was nothing but a thought that occasionally found its way into my consciousness. When I grabbed hold of that thought and turned it into the wonderful quit that I have lived, I changed my life forever in so many wonderful ways.

 

And you can too! Grab that dream! Look not to the current discomfort that must be felt but rather to the future where your freedom lies. It’s right there waiting for you! All you have to do is fight for it like you’ve never fought before.

 

The freedom is incredible and I want every person who dreams of freedom to succeed! I want everyone who has ever had to face addiction to be free, simply because once you feel it, you’ll never want to go back to the old addicted ways.

 

So as I celebrate my seven years of freedom, those of you still fighting will always be in my mind. You’ll always be in my heart for you see, you’re not just fighting for your health. You’re also fighting for your future. Your fighting for your life and to see your children or grandchildren grow into their own new and wonderful lives. You’re proving once and for all that you care more about life then a slow, agonizing death, and what could be more noble then that?

 

Onward to freedom my friends,

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

I got this blog from six years ago to share with you so that you can see how I was doing in the beginning. Couldn't figure out how to re-post it so I copied and pasted it.  Now, off to work I go!!

 

Yesterday was my first smoke free day. It was a day of discovery. A day of challenge and a day of understanding. It started with a wonderful encounter with nature wich I spoke of yesterday. When I left for work, I kept coming back to my room. I was forgetting something and for the longest time I couldn't figure out what it was. It was the cigarettes of course. I realized this when I tapped my pocket and the old familiar shape of that pack of smokes wasn't there.

 I smiled to myself and went happily out the door, for this was the first day of my new life. This was my first day smoke free. The day went on and I never really had the urges I'd expected or perhaps I did and just chose to ignore them. Of this I can't be sure. Later in the day I did feel one of those urges after our job was done. This was a time when I always smoked before. Actually, it was more of an impulse and as such I hadn't prepared for this particular urge.

 When I felt it I smiled, knowing that I was ready for it. And just as expected, it passed. I drove home and felt a few urges in the evening, when I used to smoke the most. I was mostly able to ignore them but when I couldn't I conce again told myself that they would quickly pass. And of course they did.

 To me, using patches to help myself quit is like quitting with training wheels. I'm learning how to live a smoke free life while getting a little help to control the urges. Still, this would have been hard had I not prepared for this day. If it wasn't clear in my mind that this was something I was going to do and there was no other option. It proves to me how important prearation and a good quit plan is.

 Every person is different. Some of us need to start out with training wheels in order to succeed and some don't. Some must prepare and become one with themselves and some can just say, "I quit!" In my opinion there is no right or wrong way to quit so long as it works. And once we get past that first day and have something to build on, we build on that. Once there is no fear in our hearts, the journey becomes easier.

 If my week continues to go as well as yesterday did then I will send my 21MG patches back and ask for the 14MG ones. As jonescarp mentioned, there's no reason to become addicted to the patches themselves and as such I will shorten the duration of their use as much as I can. I heard you jonescarp! I will step down as quickly as I can until I am nicotine fee. The true and final day of freedom.

 I know I can do this because I no longer fear quitting. I'm at peace with myself and happy to live a smoke free life. Now on to day two . . .

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Changes

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Feb 21, 2017

Good morning! Just stopping by to share a little. First off, thank you for sharing my six year smoke free anniversary with me yesterday. These kinds of days are good for remembering just how far one has gone.

 

Quitting smoking is in reality an amazing event for many reasons. We find that we have to look inside of ourselves and really learn the innermost parts of our beings in order to quit. We have to first understand how we got in this mess of addiction in the first place before we can understand how to get out of it.

 

To me, thinking of the beginning helped me to reach that part of myself that needed to be reached in order to succeed. I was quite young when I first started smoking, and for me I started mostly because of peer pressure. You know, as a kid we tend to not think of the consequences of our actions when we make decisions. It’s really not an excuse. Rather, for me it’s just a fact of life.

 

When I realized for the first time why I started building my addiction, I was able to forgive myself of my past mistake. To me, this is important. Taking a moment to say, “OK! What I did in the past was stupid, but that was then and this is now. I will fix my past transgression, and move on!” was a first step for me.

 

One cannot change the past, but the present can be used to change our future. I always try to remember that what I do right now, on this day will decide what my future will look like. On the harder days of my quit, this was like a mantra to me. Thinking of the future and wanting that future of freedom more than anything makes it easier to deal with what we’re feeling right now.

 

But the main thing that we do when we quit is create a change in our lives. One that might not seem easy at first, but one that completely changes the future.

 

It’s human nature to fear change. It’s just a natural part of us that’s related to the survival instinct. Just like climbing a mountain, the task can seem insurmountable when we take that first step upward. But looking to that summit and longing to be there no matter what it takes distracts us from the reality that we must now live.

 

So take heart! Never believe that this new change in your life will be anything but wonderful! Try to see yourself in a month or a year, holding your head high and being proud of what you did back in the beginning. And each day of success builds for the next day. Each day of success takes us to new heights and soon, like on the mountain, we can look back and see just how far we’ve come.

 

Soon, we can see just how close the summit really is. And yes, with each passing day we find strength. With each passing day we find a better life. Soon rather than dwelling on our current discomfort, it becomes easy to look ahead and grasp the coming freedom and in the end I can now say from experience that you’ll be glad you took that first step. Life will just look so much brighter! It’s within all of us to win. All we have to do to get started is get past that fear of change and embrace what lies ahead!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

Description

 

I'm a 52 year old male who has been smoking for about as long as I can remember. (But they say the memory is the first thing to go.) I have quit once before for about a year when I was 30. I stupidly started again when I lost my life partner and never looked back until now. I am looking forward to a smoke free life for several reasons. One is of course overall quality of life. Feeling better, smelling better, breathing better and most of all with any luck I can reward myself by doing something I haven't done in years, mountain climbing.

 I've used support forums before when I went through treatments for the hepatitis C virus and found it to be more then helpful. It was a life saver! I am greatful to have found this web site and hope to prove that the tecniques listed here work!


Brief Description

Quit smoking on 2/20/2011 at 8:15P.M. using the nicotine patch. Loving life smoke free! Onward to freedom!!


Website

No website in profile.


Location

Buena Vista, Colorado


Interests

writing, hiking, camping, Music, Reading


Skills

No skills in profile.


Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Checking in

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Oct 22, 2016

Hello all of you wonderful and committed people! It’s been awhile since I last blogged here, but I ran into a little blast from the past last night. It consisted of two straws. Both cut a little short. One intact and one with the end chewed on. One might find it strange that something like this would remind me of all of you, but in reality to me, it was wonderful to see for several reasons.

 

You see,  five and a half years ago I chose to claim my freedom from the addiction of cigarettes. I knew it would be hard and feared perhaps another failure, not that I’d really tried to quit but rather fantasized about how good it would feel to be free. Of how wonderful it would be to no longer wonder just how lousy my future would be if I didn’t quit. Of wondering just what I was doing to my body as I continued to feed it the two headed snake, one head being the addiction and the other being what that addiction was doing to my health.

 

To make a long story short, I chose to change my entire life on Feb. 20, over five years ago. I’d only really tried to quit one time before and using the patches, I did manage to quit for a year, though for six months of that time I was addicted to the patches.

 

I took up smoking again for quite a few years and then one day made the necessary commitment to myself. I again used the patches but vowed that in this quit I would only do the recommended six week course of treatment. I prepared for months, trying to learn my addiction in order to win forever this time around.

 

And I actually took that first hard step one day. Now, at first I consumed so much food that was not good for me at all, but I didn’t care! Anything to keep me from starting again was OK with me. Now comes the straws. Eventually for some reason Dale (jonescarp) told me in as reply to a blog that I might as well be smoking air, though I no longer remember what he was replying to.

 

I took this message to heart in a strange way. I bought a pack of straws and cut them to a length that fit into my pocket. Rather than consuming tons of food, I started using these straws and yes, smoking air. Somehow this helped me to keep a grip on my addiction. I used them for some time, realizing that it was going to be much easier to quit smoking air than it was for the cigarettes.

 

And I must say, though the entire experience was hard, it was well worth the benefits! I find life to be so much more enriched, even as I battle with mild COPD that developed some time after I quit. I consider myself to be lucky in my new life. I really only feel symptoms of COPD when I catch a cold, and though it becomes a fight for a while, I get so much good health in between those bouts. So yes, I’m incredibly happy to live this new life.

 

My heart goes out to all of you who still must struggle to win a new life. If you can just take that first step, then there’s so much life still to live in freedom! There’s a future out there that is incredible! And yes, every day that you wake up free, is a day to smile. A new day of achievement! Yet another day to be true to oneself. And when we wake up free of the worries of what we’re doing to ourselves, we just end up with a new spring in our steps. An awareness of just how wonderful the life is that we chose to fight for really is.

 

So fight on my friends! Do what you have to do to win and one day you too will wake up to a new day with that smile not only on your face but with a happiness and confidence in yourself that reaches all the way to the soul.

 

I’m kind of a transient blogger here, though I think of all of you often. I will be in touch again for a while!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

 

  

Good morning EXer’s! A while ago I wrote a blog about severe breathing problems that I had encountered. After I wrote the blog, I ended up on steroids for a couple of weeks, along with inhalers and oxygen.

  
  

My blood oxygen level back then was tracking between 86-88%. Not good! When I first started the steroids, I found that I could breathe once again! It was a wonderful feeling to say the least. I saw a pulmonologist and he ordered some breathing tests. While I waited to take those tests, I continued to get better. I quit using oxygen and each day my blood oxygen level increased until today I’m between 92-95% nearly all of the time.

  
  

I just got my test results back and was told that I have a very mild COPD, coupled with mild asthma. My lung capacity is down ten percent, but that’s considered pretty good for someone my age!

  
  

All in all, I had a bit of a scare when I couldn’t breathe. But that exacerbation might have gotten my COPD diagnosed at a very early stage. The doctor believes that with aggressive treatment using the inhalers, that the damage can be minimized.

  
  

Sure, there’s going to be some differences to things now that I have this diagnosis. Colds and viruses can set off another incident, but now I’m aware of it, know what to look for and how to treat it earlier on so that it hopefully doesn’t get so bad.

  
  

All in all, I feel pretty good about things. I’m happy with my life and love my freedom. In fact, every morning when I wake I take a nice deep breath and thank myself for making that decision that I made over five years ago. Every morning I look to my vision of Mt. Freedom and smile for you see, I really did make it to that summit. I really did find freedom! And it was as wonderful as I always believed it would be.  

  
  

So never for a moment think that the journey of life isn’t worth it. Never lose sight of the love of life that can help us to succeed. Always keep your eye on the summit and remember, what you’re doing now will determine what your future will look like!

  
  

Myself, I’m pretty happy that I chose life over slow, lingering death. Sure I have some complications from my addiction but those could’ve been much worse by now if I hadn’t quit smoking when I did.

  
  

And now I can still look forward to planting my garden. To creating a landscape that will always remind me of the freedom I have created for myself. If you haven’t quit yet, then there’s no better time than right now to do so.

  
  

Go for it!! You’ll be so glad that you did!!!

  
  

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

  
     

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

The other day I wrote about the fact that I was having breathing problems. But that’s not what this blog is about. This blog is about a celebration! A celebration of life and the desire to live that life to the fullest, no matter what tries to stand in our way.

 

I’ve never been one who believes in darkness. Rather, I always choose to see the rainbow on the other side of the thundercloud or the diamond in the lump of coal. I believe that what we do now determines what our future will look like later. And I always look for a positive one, because there’s just no room for negativity.

 

Funny thing is, I was an addict. For some reason, when it came to smoking, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel or rather, I tried to ignore that light because in order to see it, I would have to give up my addiction. And somehow deep in my mind, I listened to the lies of that addiction rather than seeing the light that I somehow always knew was there. I was firmly in the grip of a lie! A lie that I fed myself over and over again until one day a small glimmer appeared off in the distance, like a star shining through the clouds of an overcast night.

 

And I stared at that little point of light and it grew for you see, on that day I saw through the lies of my addiction. On that day all that I knew was there became reality. On that day I chose to once again look to the light rather than dwell in a darkness of my own making. On that day I chose to take my life back!

 

And as soon as I thought of the idea of quitting my addiction, I felt fear. I don’t mean the thought bothered me but rather, I started shaking! I was terrified of just the thought of doing this one positive thing that I could do for myself. And so, I lit a cigarette. Huh? What the hell was I thinking! Darn it!

 

This was a day of confusion and triumph. The confusion of facing a new reality that I somehow wanted to face and yet I was terrified of facing it. I picked up the phone and called the Colorado quitline. A pleasant voice answered the phone. I hung up on her! I lit another cigarette. My palms were sweaty. In fact, I was sweating all over!

 

I calmed down a bit, put out that cigarette and made the call again. This time when the pleasant voice answered, I found my voice, though it was a trembling voice. We talked for about a half and hour and when I hung up, I had nicotine patches on the way, and a request for me to start removing triggers. I started with a big one for me. Smoking while driving.

 

OK, so now I’d decided to go on an unfamiliar journey. One filled with mystery but also one filled with life! I went to the quitline website and from there, I found a link to becomeanex.org. I came here and lurked for a while before I introduced myself. Of course, once I did introduce myself I discovered how wonderful and caring the support could be.

 

Fast forward to about three months later, the day I actually put out my last cigarette. (If you’re curious what I went through up to that point, it’s in the first posts of my blog.) I’d studied, learned my addiction and worked on most of my triggers. I decided that on the evening of Feb. 20, 2011 that I would smoke my last cigarette.

 

That evening, I went out on the porch and looked up at the fourteeners that I live at the base of, a beautiful mountain, and I lit that last cigarette. I never even finished it. I put it out, went into my house and began a journey for life. For my future.

 

Was I scared? Sure I was. The unknown is always scary. But at the same time, after all those months of preparation, I was confident. I was as ready as I could be. My mantra became that “what I do today will determine what my future will look like tomorrow”.

 

And of course there was the mountain. My vision of the journey. I saw myself at the trailhead, looking up the slopes and seeing how far I was from the summit. But I wanted that summit so badly. The symbol of my freedom.

 

When I put out that cigarette, I took the first cautious step onto the slopes of Mt. Freedom. As my journey continued to progress, I saw myself climbing that mountain, past the snowfields and through the boulder fields , always careful to not lose my footing for to slip would mean that I’d have to start over from somewhere down below on this mountain.

 

And as the endlessly arguing voices filled my head, I named those voices the addict within so that I could put a name to this strange argument going on inside of me, and somehow this helped. Somehow, visualizing my journey with the symbol of Mt. Freedom helped.

 

For me, I think it helped because when I visualize things, especially positive things it helps me to bring the mind, body and soul together for a single task and when one can do that then they become unstoppable!

 

Soon I was high up on the slopes of Mt. Freedom and I saw something their. A banner blowing in the wind, beckoning for me. I longed to reach that banner and before long as the addiction calmed within me, I did reach it.

 

It was the banner of Freedom and I grabbed it and waved it high over my head for you see, there were still so many others on the slopes, looking up and longing to be free. I saw myself gesturing to them, encouraging them to continue the journey so that they too could wave that banner proudly.

 

And now, five years later today I live in a land of freedom. A place of peace both with myself and with my body. A place that is free of the shackles of addiction. And it’s been the best five years of my life! The freedom feels every bit as good as I was told it would feel. Seeing life, and I mean really seeing life with the mask of addiction lifted makes the world so beautiful, because now I actually look at the world and not at when I can have my next cigarette.

 

Now I can see what freedom looks like. I can feel what freedom feels like. I can smell the sweet fragrance that’s all around in nature. But mostly I can smile for you see, though the journey was hard. Though it was confusing at times. In the end I did finish that journey. I did find out how wonderful it is on the other side of addiction.

 

And it all started with that first faltering step seemingly so long ago . . . .

 

Soon that will be you if you can just take that first faltering step to begin a journey of life. Go for it! There’s so much waiting for you on the other side of addiction. Remember the mantra that what you do today will determine what your future will be. Every choice you make today is a chance to change your future.

 

I hope I see you at the top of your own Mt. Freedom. It’s just an amazing place to be!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

   

Good morning EXer's!!

 

I wanted to share a story with you. It’s a story of fear but also one of triumph and the human spirit. Please bear with me, as I wanted to include as much as I could in this one life experience that I have recently faced.

 

It started with what I assumed was a small cold. So many things were going on in my life at the time that this cold began. My wife and I were preparing our home to care for someone who was about to join hospice, as we agreed to help him and give him the best quality of life for the end of his life.

 

I live in a high mountain valley and the guy, who I’ll call Don from here on out was originally flown to Denver in a flight for life, before anyone realized how bad he really was. Well, to make a long story short, it wasn’t long before we had to go to Denver ourselves to get the paperwork going and get him back up here to Buena Vista.

 

We converted our living room to a basic hospital room with the help of hospice and eventually got him here. During this time, this nagging cold that I had continued to worsen, but only in the lungs.

 

Soon I found that I could hardly breathe! At last I realized that this wasn’t going away without some kind of help so the next morning, my wife and I got up, determined to get me to the hospital. But there was a problem. We had to do intake paperwork for hospice before we could leave.

 

As we continued onward,  I found that I could barely catch a breath. The hospice nurse checked my oxygen level and found that it was at about 85%. We rushed through the paperwork and when we were finished, we began the half hour trip to the hospital.

 

As luck would have it, on the way we ran into road construction and a one lane road. My wife got out and told the flagger that I couldn’t breathe and he actually waved us through. By the time I got to the hospital, I couldn’t even get enough breath to say my name. It really is horrifying to be in a world full of air and still be suffocating like a fish out of water.

 

They got me in and used the standard nebulizer technique to get me breathing again. After several tests, more of the nebulizer and a shot of steroids, I was released and feeling better with a script for antibiotics which I started the next day.

 

I made a doctor appointment a week later and during the wait, my breathing worsened again to the point that by the time my appointment day came up, I couldn’t even make it to the desk to check in, and that was with oxygen!

 

They checked me out, asked a few questions and sent me home with a prescription for five days of oral steroids. I remember thinking that if that didn’t work, that I didn’t think I could make it through the night alive.

 

One thing that helped and maybe even saved my life was a breathing technique that I had previously found on Thomas’s page where one pursed the lips while breathing. I used that technique a lot during those scary days. Thank you Thomas for that simple life saving technique!

 

The steroids worked overnight, making me feel much better by the next morning. I finished the prescription and saw the doctor in a week, feeling pretty good. We set up breathing tests in a month in order to try to make an official diagnosis of COPD.

 

Over the weekend, my condition worsened and by Monday, I could barely breathe again. I called and got another prescription for steroids to get through to my next doctor’s appointment. So this story is still ongoing.

 

One might wonder what I was thinking during this process. Was I angry? Sad? Depressed? Scared?

 

At first I was really scared! But after that, when I had time to reflect, the first thought that entered my mind was that If I hadn’t quit smoking almost five years ago, I probably wouldn’t have survived this event, and wouldn’t be writing this right now.

 

I realized that the temporary discomfort that I’d gone through in the past when I quit actually saved my life! And the fact that I’d already done the most important thing I could ever do to help my current situation gave me a sense of pride.

 

Sure, I’d messed up in the past with all of those endless cigarettes I smoked. Sure, I lived the lie of addiction that so many of us have, and so many still do. But I climbed out of that world and entered a world of freedom that was so wonderful!

 

I’ve been given five wonderful years with no real problems just because I took that one step so long ago. Sure, it was hard but it was so worth it! And not just because of how it helped me now, but because of that freedom that’s just waiting for us! All we have to do is desire it enough and then take it. All we have to do is long for that moment when nothing can stop our desire to be free!

 

Take that step my friends. Don’t worry about what this person or that person is doing. Just take that step for yourself. You’re the only one that can truly make the decision and the only one that can stop yourself!

 

Take that dream and turn it into a reality and I guarantee that you will never ever regret it!

 

I’ll see on the the 20th when I return to share the five year anniversary with all of you wonderfully committed people!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Fall Thoughts

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Sep 14, 2015

Hello EXer’s!!

 

And so we’ve found ourselves in the middle of September! The fall always reminds me of the cycles of life. It reminds me of how nature must tear down it’s beauty in the winter in order to create a more perfect being, whatever that being might be. It reminds me that no matter how a certain day might appear to us that so often the next day can be so much brighter!

 

When we quit smoking, we do a lot of what nature intended for us humans to do. We take what we’ve got and strive to make it better. The reality is that it’s human nature to seek harmony in our lives. To find the best means to a more perfect future.

 

At times it can seem like an impossible task but if we really stop to think about it, when we quit smoking we’re actually embarking on a path to a better future. We’re kind of tearing things down to make a more perfect self. We’re deciding that we want change so badly that we’ll do anything we can to achieve it! We’re even willing to overcome our own fear of change in order to embrace a new future!

 

And eventually we find a belief that we really can! That we’ve got what it takes to look ahead rather than dwell on our current discomforts. Sure. it’s hard. Change always is. But to see the glory on the other side of that change is such a powerful motivator.

 

All we have to do is remember what we want so badly. All we have to do is long for freedom and make that desire stronger than anything else in our lives. Stronger than the screaming child inside that longs to derail the quit.

 

It is indeed an unusual battle. One that very few have ever fought before for you see, this battle is personal. This battle is one that we must fight within ourselves. One that lives inside but the thing is, every reward that we long for lives inside of us as well.

 

It’s the dream of freedom. A dream of life. A dream of a future that might never be if we don’t make this commitment to ourselves. Go for it! Take that plunge and keep your eye on the prize of freedom and never forget that with freedom comes a kind of peace that hasn’t been felt for a long, long time.

 

A peace that comes with confidence and pride for though we got ourselves into this addictive mess, we can also get ourselves out of it!

 

Stay true to yourselves. Never for a moment think that you can’t do it. We’ve all been at the beginning of this journey at one time. We’ve all gone through what you are going through and in the end I think all of us who have found that freedom. All of us who have found that wonderful peace on the other side of addiction long to see others find the very thing that we found. It’s waiting for you after just a little time.

 

On step at a time my friends. One step at a time . . . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Random thoughts

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Sep 2, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!

 

I hope all is well with you. Me? Still enjoying the future that I created for myself seemingly long ago. It’s wonderful to feel freedom. To feel peace. To understand that the endless nagging of our minds really does end. To know from experience that what I thought would be my future really is that!

 

It all started when I had a dream of freedom. A dream that quickly became a burning desire within me. Don’t get me wrong. It took some time to develop that desire to the point that there could be no other answer. That’s why preparation is so key to quitting. But over the course of a couple of months after I’d really decided to quit, the desire to be free became stronger and stronger within my being until the day that I put out that last cigarette.

 

Of course like you, my first days of freedom didn’t seem like freedom at all. It seemed more like a roller coaster of emotions and endless conflicting thoughts. Like you, I found confusion at first but I never lost sight of my quest for freedom because I ended up caring more about my future than I did about the strange world I was now in.

 

It really is hard at first. I know and so do so many others who found their way to the other end of this mess that we got ourselves into. We became enslaved by false signals sent to our brains. Signals of pleasure. Signals of false peace. Signals that are quite real and yet totally wrong!

 

No wonder we’re confused at first. But in the end, I found a way to  embrace the freedom that I so desperately wanted. We can embrace a future where we might have a chance to live it with a bit more quality of life. Was I worried that I’d already done damage to myself? Of course I was! But that didn’t matter. What mattered most was that I didn’t do any more damage to myself.

 

In the end, it was the happiest decision I ever made. And I do mean happiest for you see that’s what’s waiting for you in your future. A feeling of accomplishment like no other, and the peace! It’s amazing after that crazy voice inside of our heads shuts up. And it does shut up! It does learn that we don’t smoke anymore. That endless argument does end!

 

Slam that door on your addiction. Look to the door that you want to open. There’s a light coming through the crack under that door. It’s the light of freedom. The moment we put out that last cigarette, the crack appears. We need to look to the door of freedom and not that wall of addiction that we’ve stared at for far to long.

 

We’re better than that! I think we all come here to beat a monster of an addiction because we love life. Because we found a way through the lies of this addiction and decided that we wanted to be free!

 

The decisions we make today will determine the future that we live tomorrow. Embrace your decision to quit. Keep looking ahead to the freedom you’re creating right now and before long, you’ll be on the other side of this addiction and I have to tell you, the peace in the end is amazing!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck