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Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Memories

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!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck

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 , , , ,

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

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!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

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!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Addiction

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 . . .


Chuck

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

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.

 

Chuck

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Checking in

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jul 6, 2015

Good day to the most dedicated people on the planet! I hope all is well with you and that you’re secure in your quits! It’s really worth the effort it takes to find that freedom. To reach that day when you know that you’ll never smoke again!

 

The reality is we must always be on guard but it doesn’t have to be difficult forever. We only have to keep our commitment to life close to our hearts as we progress and over time the habit is to enjoy the world free of the ball and chain that we created for ourselves.

 

Though we must always be vigilant, we can still enjoy life in ways that we never enjoyed it before. To really smell the fragrance of the flowers that for so long were only the smell of our cigarettes. To really and truly see the world around us because we no longer have to plan getting that next cigarette in.

 

To find the power that can only come from commitment and to use that power in so many other ways in our lives. These are just a few of the many benefits that awaits us once we can get our minds out of addictive thinking.

 

One day at a time, we walk the road of freedom. One day at a time we start to forget the power that our addiction had over us. And each day we find that peace is just a little easier to realize. I know it can be hard at first. Change always is. But once that change is made I can tell you from experience that the new normal of our lives is almost beyond belief!

 

There’s no missing that smoke! There’s no longing to return to the old ways. No. Instead once the mask of addiction is lifted we can see through that cloud that we lived in for so long. And there’s a bit of pride that comes from knowing that what we’re doing is not only the right thing to do but is also life changing!

 

Go for it! Always remember that what you do right now determines what your future will look like. The choices you make now can change your life forever.

 

Try not to dwell so much on what you might think you’re losing. Instead, look to that future of health and happiness and know that one day this dream will be a reality. It takes a little work to get there but it’s time well spent.

 

As for checking in, I’m doing great! I still stand on the summit of Mt. Freedom and wave that banner of freedom high over my head, so happy to be free. So happy to have made those choices in my past that created the reality II now get to live. So happy to know in my heart and soul that though I will always be an addict, I’m an addict with an attitude and that attitude is called freedom!!

 

Keep going, taking it one day at a time and I promise you, you will never regret it!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Finding Peace

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 20, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

It’s so cool to feel the peace that comes from beating an addiction, but the thing is, it takes time to reach that wonderful feeling of peace that comes from freedom. At the same time, finding peace during the beginnings of our quits can seem almost impossible!

 

I know I write an awful lot about Mt. Freedom. I write a lot about the addict within. I write a lot about dreams. And yes, I constantly write about freedom and how wonderful it feels. And there’s a reason that I do this for you see, when I first started my quit, I longed to find peace. I longed for all the rewards that I knew I’d have to wait for. But you know what? I only thought I had to wait for a very short time because there’s a kind of power within our minds.

 

It’s a power that reaches every part of our beings, no matter what’s happening in our lives. And so long as we choose to understand that what we’re doing when we quit smoking is one of the best choices that we could ever make, than we can find peace.

 

For me, that peace existed on top of Mt. Freedom. The more I thought about that mountain, the better it made me feel. Why? Because by focusing on what represented the end of my journey, I found peace. Sure, the climb is hard but by looking to the goal rather than constantly regretting a choice that I made, I found peace. By knowing in my heart that I would one day stand on that summit, I found peace.

 

You see, I was so busy thinking about that wonderful life ahead that I forgot to fret over what I was currently going through. And it spurred me on. Every day, I climbed a little further. Every day I got past another twist in the road and knew that I’d learned how to handle the next twist. Every day I saw the summit of Mt. Freedom a little clearer. Even as I went through no man’s land, I kept my eye on that summit, never doubting that I would one day reach it. And yes, even in no man’s land, I felt peace.

 

There’s a Mt. Freedom inside all of us. It may not be a mountain. It could be a beach or a shimmering tower that shines with the beauty of our achievements, with the banner of freedom on top blowing in the wind and beckoning to us to reach it. To hold it. To wave it high over our heads for all to see!

 

Regardless of how one might see the journey, it’s still a journey filled with strange arguments with ourselves. It’s still a journey where we wonder why it seems so hard and yet continue onward.

 

But if we can keep our eyes on the prize that exists for all of us at the end of this crazy journey than it makes the trials seem so much easier. Fight on my friends! Live the life of freedom with every breath of clean fresh air that you breathe. Know in your heart and soul that what you’re doing is the right thing and before long, you’ll be standing on your own summit proudly waving that banner of freedom for all to see as the symbol of not only your own achievement but also the future achievements of others!

 

Keep your eye on the prize!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

The Dream

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 13, 2015
   Good morning EXer’s!!
   
   Have you ever woke with a dream that seemed so real that you really, really thought it was reality? Have you ever taken a single thought and turned it into a dream of a lifetime? Have you ever wondered just how it feels to be completely free? To see the world a little differently than the one in which you currently live?
   
   You see, there’s a journey that lives inside of us. A journey that is of our own making. We may have been shackled by addiction but the thing is, there’s a key. A key that lives inside of us. The part of us that will not be enslaved. The part that says, “NO! I will not live like this!”
   
   This is the part that makes our dreams possible. The thing that allows us to turn our dreams into an incredible reality! It starts with conviction and then a belief that we can turn that conviction into something real. For me, it started as a whisper and became the thunder that I could no longer ignore.
   
   I think most of us feel a kind of excitement as we approach that quit day so long as we’ve prepared. The reason being for me at least that I’d prepared for seemingly ages and when the day came, I was more than ready!
   
   Then comes the initial fight that we all must face and as the withdrawals kick in, we begin to see the dream. We begin to see our true resolve. We begin to take what was once a dream and turn it into a new reality. A new life!
   
   It’s great to dream, so long as the resolve is there to turn that dream into reality. A dream alone isn’t the answer but it is a means of reaching that answer because when in doubt. When we think we might not make it, it becomes a good time to remember why we started in the first place. To see the dream we had when we chose to take that first step. The reason we chose to beat our own personal demons. And in that dream lies power!
   
   So no matter what stage you’re in in your quits, always remember to hang on to that dream. The dream that contains life. The dream that contains a future so bright that without the dream you might not ever see it!
   
   Fight on my friends! Look to the summit of Mt. Freedom and dream of that banner of freedom that you too will soon be waving high over your head! Teach your heart, mind and soul that all you desire is freedom no matter what it takes! 
   
  ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!! 
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Perceptions

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!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

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 . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

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!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

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!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Determination

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!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

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 . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!