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Good morning EXer’s!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Stress

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 2, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Enjoy your day my friends!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Looking ahead

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Feb 26, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

You know, I just realized that before I came back to celebrate my four year anniversary with you folks that I’d been absent for almost a year. I really don’t intend to let that long of a lapse happen again. After all, this site was here when I needed it and it’s still here for all those who still need it.

 

The thing that got me most when I returned was the determination that abounds here. I’d kind of forgotten just how determined we have to be to win. We have to take our life and turn it around and what’s weird is that even though we know we’re doing the right thing, it just seems so hard at times to stay true to ourselves. It seems so much easier to just throw in the towel and forget that we ever decided to quit.

 

On those first hard days, we tend to look at our current discomfort rather than thinking of the future, where the reward of what we’re doing now really lies. Believe me, I’ve been there. Waking up with that first crave and telling myself that it’ll only last a moment or two. Feeling that dryness in  the throat as I thought about what I was giving up.

 

But the reality is that we’re really not giving up anything and by staying true to ourselves, we gain everything! And so the confusion starts. We begin questioning ourselves and yes, even our resolve. We find ourselves in a constant turmoil that seems endless.

 

Since I haven’t been around in a while, I thought I’d revisit some of the internal tools I used to make things easier. I had to find a way to quit dwelling on the present discomfort and begin looking to that future that I so badly wanted to see smoke free.

 

I’ve always known that visualization is an incredible tool when applied correctly in that the right thought or “pictures” can motivate the mind, body and soul to work together in ways that might not otherwise be achieved.

 

For this reason I invented Mt. Freedom and the addict within. Two ways to “picture” my journey into the unknown. Mt. freedom represented the journey to me simply because of the nature of climbing. There’s always a little doubt the first time one climbs a mountain. Doubts about one’s ability to make it to the top. Doubts about getting lost or wondering if we have the stamina to complete the climb. And to look upward and see a summit that looks so very far away. That was something I knew I could use.

 

And so on those first days of freedom I began that climb in my mind. I put out that last cigarette and that represented the first step onto the slopes of Mt. Freedom. For the most part I could use the image of me always looking ahead to the summit where the prize of freedom lives, rather than looking at the current steps that I was taking.

 

But then came the old internal screaming! That endless background noise that we all experience at first. This is what I named the “addict within”. I did this so I could put a face on my discomfort. So that I could understand what my mind was trying to do to me. And once I assigned a face to my screaming addiction, I was able to tell it to shut up!

 

I learned that if one can keep the mind involved in the reward rather than the actions it takes to achieve that reward than the journey becomes easier. If we have a thing that we can assign the craves to, then yes we can tell it to shut up, or even go to the point of telling it that it will not win. We can talk to our addiction as if it were a child throwing a temper tantrum.

 

There are as many ways to quit smoking as their are people, I think. We all have to find our own ways to cope but in the end, we all get to the same place. A place of peace and freedom and when we get to that place, it makes every day of hardship so very worth it.

 

I do hope you can find your mountain, whatever it might be and that you eventually reach that summit. The view is incredible from the top!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Random thoughts

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Feb 24, 2015

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

Just dropping in once again to leave a message for some of the most dedicated people in the world! At least I hope your dedicated because without complete dedication to the cause of freedom, you may run into a bump in the road or worse, a relapse.

 

We have to learn as we quit and at the same time keep ourselves secure. This in itself can create real problems within us. How can we possibly stay secure if we haven’t yet experienced what’s coming? I mean, any of us can explain what’s coming but the bottom line is that until we experience it ourselves, we really don’t yet have the knowledge to understand. We have to live it to believe it.

 

But we can sure heed the warnings and at least be prepared for what might happen, just in case it does. That’s where others experiences comes in. It’s a fact that no one can feel things for you and certainly no one can predict how another might react to a given problem but one thing is certain.  Many have made it on the road to freedom and many have experienced the same things. The days of doubt, and wondering what we were thinking when we put out that last cigarette. The fear of failure. The longing to be free. The endless crave that really isn’t endless. Getting rid of the idea that we’re losing something when we quit and so many others.

 

These are the things we have in common. Those things we share to help us to find a way out of this mess that we all at one time created for ourselves. Beating addiction isn’t easy. Anyone who has done it can tell you this. But again, this is stuff we all already know.

 

We seek many ways to make beating our addictions easier. Personally, I used the patches to calm my fear of that first smoke free day or week or month. Now I believe that all they really did was give me the confidence to put out that last cigarette but hey, for me it worked! I got past the initial fear that me and my addiction created within my mind and that was the first step to freedom.

 

Putting out that cigarette and knowing in that moment that it would be the last one. No one can coach that. That’s just something that has to come from within. But we can feel a compassion for one another and a belief that together we can try to make some kind of sense out of this thing we call addiction. That together we can not only dream of freedom without addiction but that we can help each other achieve this one goal.

 

And I can tell you one thing that means so much for all of us because four years ago I made a choice and I stuck to that choice. I chose freedom. And this is something that really is the same for all of us. FREEDOM!!! We all get to live the peace that comes with that freedom. We all get to feel lighter than air once we know we’ve beaten a formidable enemy.

 

This is when we understand what others were telling us. It has to come from within. We all have the ability to win, so long as we don’t take away the power from ourselves. Fight on! What matters most is that in the end each of us finds our peace. That each of us finds our freedom. But most of all, when you win this fight of a lifetime, your building the most incredible future for yourselves. We can all get through. It just takes a belief that we really want to because once we can see that freedom. Once we can long for it then nothing can stop us!

 

Never give in! The rewards are so precious.

 

Looking forward to seeing you in that future that you’re creating right now. The future you create is really up to you . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning Exers!,

 

Four years ago today I turned my dream into a reality, put out my last cigarette and took my freedom back from addiction. Sure, it was a little hard at first but I always kept my eye on the future, confident that this was where my success lied.

 

And now I’m there, living in that very future that I once dreamed of and it’s wonderful to know that this future is so much better than it might have been had I not decided to take that first step on a journey that is indeed long, but not horrible. In fact, every year of freedom feels even more precious than the last.

 

During those first days that I walked the path of freedom, I came here and believe me, it helped. There’s something about a group of people who have like thoughts and desires coming together. It’s simply a powerful weapon to use against our addictions.

 

But today, I’m not really here to talk about the current discomforts. No, today I dropped in to tell you of the future and how good that future feels when all of the work we do now gets us to where we can live it. I can tell you that down the road so long as you stick to your quit, there is peace. There is calm. There is life and yes, there is the love for our families that we thought of while we were quitting.

 

So often during my quit I’d find myself focusing on the future. Looking ahead and seeing myself doing things without cigarettes, I’d visualize working in my garden or taking a nice scenic drive without those cigarettes. At first those visions didn’t make much sense to my addicted mind. They were images of a world that I didn’t yet know how to live for you see, we have to learn our new world of freedom and this takes time.

 

But eventually as with all of us, my mind began disassociating the activities that I dreamed of from the cigarettes. It became easier to see myself doing these activities without the old crutch. And so, like all of us, I began living this life of freedom. I began facing those withdrawals that I knew would be there. I put one foot in front of the other and found that path to freedom.

 

It’s there for all of us you know. All it takes is a belief in our futures and a desire to see that future smoke free. It takes a commitment to ourselves to wheather those first hard days. And then, after the initial fight is over, it takes a commitment to our futures to really be free.

 

Stay focused on the reward of freedom and let that reward be the one thing you desire more than anything and before you know it, you’ll be writing one of these, four years later!

 

Oh and the freedom is everything I thought it would be. Life just seems to much more pure now. There’s no longer planning my days around an addiction because I just don’t have to anymore. No longer must I find those moments in the day to sneak a puff. No longer do I have to worry about damaging my body. Like we all do, I’ve made peace with my past and the mistakes that I’ve made and moved on to a brighter future.

 

So all I’m saying is stay on the path of freedom and in the end you’ll find that peace and believe me, it’s well worth the wait!

 

Have a wonderfully successful week!

Chuck

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

I hope all is going well for you. Me? I’ve been pretty busy with work and in my spare time, a little work on the yard even though here in the mountains it’s still a little early. But I’ve always believed that preparation is a key to success. That a strong foundation will support anything that we wish to achieve.

 

So often in life we find ourselves running blindly into a new situation only to find out that we didn’t do it right or that with a little more thought we might’ve done it differently. And in the end we have to take the knowledge that we learned the hard way and apply it to our situation in order to get where we want to be.

 

I think that when we quit smoking, the preparation doesn’t end on the day we quit. It might seem like it does because now we’re living the new life that we prepared for. But to decide that the period of preparation is over can be a mistake I think.

 

For me, each day of my quit was an opportunity to improve the next day, and it still is. To take the knowledge gained by experience and use that knowledge as a foundation for the next day. To use our newly found wisdom as a means of continuing to progress. Because though it’s a journey, it still takes a desire to maintain it as if it were a living thing. A thing that we want to keep with us at all times. A thing so precious that we refuse to let any harm come to it.

 

So, what I’m trying to say is that when we quit, the learning never stops. Every crave that we beat teaches us a little more about how to survive the next one. Every trigger that we take the power away from is another cornerstone in the foundation of our entire quits. And so long as we continue to learn our addictions through experience, then eventually the addiction itself becomes powerless to influence us.

 

Always stick to that commitment and try with each day to build for the next. A quit is a precious thing that has to be nurtured so that it can grow from a discomfort to a life of freedom and peace. Like a flower that we plant in the spring. At first we watch it sprout and then as it grows into a plant, we begin to discover what insects might harm it or perhaps along the way we discover a disease that must be overcome. But we learn these things and apply them to the plant, allowing it to grow ever stronger both by it’s internal desire to live and by the careful nurturing that we give it.

 

In the end and over time, we realize our dream as the first precious blooms begin to appear. This is when all of our thought and hard work pays off. So too is our quits. We must tend to it every day, almost as if it’s a living thing. We must learn every day how to change the nature of the next day in order to  give our quits the fertilizer that it needs while always remembering the beautiful flower that we’re creating with each day that we walk the path to freedom.

 

Stay true to yourself and continue learning and soon you will be on the other side of your addiction. You will have created a beautiful flower inside simply by learning and sticking to the endless plan that is our quits. And if you start now, then by the next spring, you’ll be living the freedom that you long for. You’ll be finding life to be so much more precious free of the distractions of addiction. But it has to start somewhere. There has to be a day when that seed is planted and from there, the rest is all up to you . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning EXer’s!!!

 

So often in my blogs I mention the future. What’s ahead in our journeys. There’s a rather obvious reason for this. When losing an addiction, the present can seem hard to say the least. It can be so easy to become trapped in our own private hell just by dwelling on the present change that we’re trying to create.

 

Thing is, we have to dwell on it to a degree in order to protect our quits. When we first quit, we have some idea of what’s going to happen and for most of us, we’re not looking forward to it because our addicted minds have put up as many roadblocks as possible to keep us on the path of slavery.

 

One be one we first have to recognize the roadblocks and then work to remove them. Most of this is done during the preparation phase for most. But then comes the beginning of our new life and it’s not the most pleasant experience to say the least. We begin grappling with our new world right away.

 

Because we’ve changed the very nature of how we react to the world and the problems that come with it without the use of cigarettes, we feel a kind of confusion. And on top of that, the addicted side of our brain seems to be angry at us! We have to quiet that part of the brain just to try to think straight at first.

 

We want to lash out at everyone we see! We wonder why they don’t understand what we’re going through and unfortunately for some, this unfounded anger is enough to get a person to give in.

 

This is why I like to look ahead to the future. Especially now that I’m living the future that I only dreamed of a little over three years ago. Just think of it. There was a time when I, like so many of you was just starting out on this journey. I was living with all of those discomforts that I write about.

 

I was seeing Mt. Freedom from the bottom and it was a formidable mountain indeed. In fact, it was the way I designed Mt. Freedom. To be a formidable mountain that could properly show me that first of all, the journey wasn’t going to be easy. That the first steps on the slopes were going to be slippery to say the least. That though it’s a steep mountain, I still intend to see the summit.

 

The summit represented my future. A means for me to keep my eye on the prize of freedom. And when I created the banner of freedom on that summit it was so I could look to it rather than dwell on my present discomfort.

 

I climbed slowly at first, watching for the pitfalls that might appear on the trail. But each day as my confidence increased, I would look more to the summit and less on where to plant my feet for you see, with experience comes belief. And once you truly believe deep inside of your heart that you’re going to win then guess what? That heart grows! It becomes a consuming desire not for a cigarette. No. Rather it becomes a consuming desire to be free once and for all!

 

So stay true to your quit. Be vigilant but at the same time, when you feel frustrated. When you begin to wonder if you too can stand on the summit of Mt. Freedom, then this is the time to look to that shining future ahead of you!

 

Since I’ve climbed to freedom, I can now tell you from experience what awaits you so long as you don’t stray from the path. I can now tell you how free you will become! How at peace your life will be! I can try to remind you every chance I get of the rewards that await you if you can just hang in there for another hour. And then another day. And then a week. And soon, as the years pile up you will be so happy that you did this!

 

If you’re feeling a little down and wondering if quitting was really the right choice then this is the time to look to that future. This is the time to look to the rewards. This is the time to tell your internal addict that it has no power over you for just like it was doing to you when day by day it enslaved you while killing you, you now are slowly killing that addiction with every day of freedom that you live.

 

So once again I must say. Hang in there! The future you’re creating now will be the reality you live tomorrow!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Memories?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 18, 2014

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

I had an interesting event yesterday. Something that seemed almost completely foreign to me. I had a smoking memory! That’s right, a memory. It just sort of popped up out of nowhere as a thought and then a single impulse and then it was gone just as fast as it had appeared.

 

Did it bother me? Not in the least. Did it make me miss my past life of smoking? Never even crossed my mind. All it really was was a remnant of some past life. An artifact that I once used to have to fight daily to generate the peace that I feel now. A thing that simply doesn’t exist in my world anymore.

 

But it reminded me of the power that an urge or memory used to have over me. How I would slap my shirt pocket, looking for the pack that I had removed from there weeks ago. It reminded me of just what everyone here is going through because it reminded me once again of what I went through here.

 

Life isn’t always perfect. sometimes we just have to make it that way and that all starts with our perception of it. I have to admit that deep inside of myself in the very beginning, I was uncertain about this new future I was about to create. I played tough but like all of us, we cannot hide from ourselves or our own true feelings.

 

I think it’s in those quiet times when we’re alone that a lot of our quit takes place. It’s important for us to understand ourselves in order to understand our addictions. We have to look inward so much to find the strength that we’re looking for. Inside is where the determination that lives with us even when we’re alone must be nurtured and built into a burning desire that can cast off all of the discomforts while keeping an eye on our futures.

 

It’s the determination that gives us the ability to look past the mask of addiction and see that what we’re doing is the right thing to be doing. And inside of ourselves. Way deep in there where our heart and soul lies is the gem of our freedom. The part that knows and has known all along that quitting a deadly habit is the best thing we can do for our futures. The part that always nagged us from the edges of our addictions until one day we find ourselves listening to that little gem instead of listening to the addiction itself.

 

And when we really listen to that little internal part of ourselves that wants the right things for us, it’s like watering it. This is a wonderful time in our lives though it may not seem like it because of the mask of our addictions. But it’s happened so many times already! People finding that little gem inside of themselves and nurturing it, ignoring the old whispers of the addicted past life.

 

And the gem grows! Over time it begins to weed out the shackles of our addictions, allowing us to see the truth more clearly. So long as we keep nurturing this little gem, it soon becomes the truth of our lives instead of the lies of addiction that we lived for so long. Love of life gradually replaces the fear of losing something that we’re not really losing. We just perceive it that way sometimes.

 

And the thing is, when we reach inside of ourselves and find that gem, we do this alone. We do this because we really want to and not because someone told us to. We find that burning desire of change to be so powerful that nothing can stop us and when we’re alone, we still feel that confidence.

 

And once we know in our heart of hearts. The one that lives with us when we’re alone. Once we know in that place deep within us that we don’t smoke then there’s nothing that can stop us! Our internal voice becomes one that speaks of freedom instead of slavery. A voice that speaks of a future that we can now look forward to. A voice that says that we didn’t just start this journey to fall back into the shackles. No. We started this journey to win it and nothing will ever change that!

 

See each day as an opportunity to tend to that precious gem. A day to build on the achievements of the last. A day to walk a little further on the path of freedom. A day to feel the joy that can only come from success and one day. Perhaps a day where you don’t even realize it at first. Everything calms and becomes that world that you’ve been dreaming about.

 

It’s within you my friends. The lighthouse to guide you through the storm. The mountain that we long to reach the summit of. The banner of freedom that is there for the taking. It’s all in that internal voice. The one that we hear when we’re all alone and believe me. Once that voice speaks only of freedom then that’s the day that we’ve been looking for on this amazing journey to our futures.

 

Stay true to yourself and you will win!!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Why?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 14, 2014

Good morning to all of you wonderfully committed people!

 

I was asked the other day why I still come to this site if I found freedom over three years ago. The implication being that I might still need the support. Bottom line is, once we become an addict, there’s always that chance somewhere down the road where the addict within will for some reason choose to make an encore appearance one day in our futures. For this reason I would always be grateful for a site like this one.

 

But there’s a bit more to it than that. For me, I come here to see the most committed people in the world tackle something that can seem so daunting to us at first. To see a group pull together for the good of each other and to commit a part of our lives to each other as we ourselves struggle and fight our own personal battles is something beyond inspiring!

 

It’s the reality of the addiction that brings me here. That, and the fact that I’ve managed to find peace in my quit. I’ve managed to find comfort in life rather than finding comfort in addiction.

 

This was done with the help of others when it was hard for me. In fact, this web site was an integral part of my quit plan when I quit. I used the strength of the many to bolster my own strength. I used the many beacons of success that shines here to help me to create my own success, for by seeing that it can really be achieved, I was able to achieve it myself.

 

Now I come for different reasons, though a lot the same. Now I come like so many others to help those new on the path to understand that there is a freedom like no other awaiting each of us down the road so long as we don’t waver. To understand that eventually the addicted mind calms and that there is peace ahead. A kind of peace that only comes from a mind freed of a consuming desire that can bring no good.

 

I come here to share stories of my own personal hell in in the hopes that some might not feel so alone when they must face their own. For though the journey seems so different to each of us, the reality is that it’s much the same. The reality is that we must beat the same internal monster that lives within us. It doesn’t matter how we do it so long as our ending is success. And for that I come here to see that success. To relish in the joy that comes from seeing yet another person make it to that shimmering summit that I call Mt. Freedom.

 

To see yet another brave soul free themselves from shackles that we spent so long placing within ourselves, pulling them back out one by one until all that is left is that incredible peace. That amazing wonder of life that we start to again feel as our bodies heal from the ravishing addiction that we forced upon it.

 

I come here to throw the ropes down the slopes of Mt. Freedom in the hopes that some can grab that rope and climb even more confidently to the summit for without a belief that we will get there, then how can we even start?

 

So stay true to your hearts my friends. Stay the course of your journey on the road of life and try to look to the rewards that await you instead of wallowing in your personal discomfort. Our freedom lies ahead in that wonderful future that we’re creating now. That’s where peace resides as well.

 

So grab a line and climb on up to the top of Mt. Freedom. So many of us are waiting there for you because when you reach the summit. When you can grab that banner of freedom and waive it high over your head for all to see well; This is the achievement that we all come here for! This is the day that we once again have the chance to see something magical!

 

Because every time another of us truly finds peace is a day of celebration for all. It has to be because on this site. With this group of people. We all understand just what it took to get there!

 

Keep climbing my friends!! I can’t wait to see you on that summit!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Opportunity

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 11, 2014

Good morning EXer’s!!!

 

I hope everyone is secure in their quits! There are so many elements involved in a successful quit. One of those elements fits right at the foundations of our quits. It’s something that isn’t just there, but rather it’s something that must be first discovered and then nurtured throughout our quits.

 

That element is belief. We have to know in our hearts that what we’re trying to achieve can be a reality. We have to believe that we’re no longer smokers. We have to believe that the addiction is weaker than we are. That we can beat up any urges or triggers that come our way.

 

In fact, I don’t think any of us would even try to quit if we didn’t first believe that we could. So that means that core element is there for all of us. It’s an element that can be grabbed onto, helping us to achieve our ultimate goal of freedom.

 

I found this one element to be a Godsend for me. Every morning I would bolster my belief not only in myself but in the quit itself. Every morning I would take a moment to reaffirm that yes, I will be smoke free today. Similar to our daily pledge groups on this site except for me, it was a private moment for myself to bolster my beliefs of the day.

 

This started with my quit but since then has become a daily ritual of mine. The reason for this is that I believe that when we first wake up in the morning, we have an opportunity to determine the nature or attitude of the day. We can believe that it’s going to be a great day and bounce out of bed rather than believing that the day might not be so good, and dragging ourselves out of bed.

 

We can wake up feeling insecure about what the day might bring, but we can change that feeling right away so long as we believe that things can be different. So long as we take a moment to assess our ever changing beliefs first thing in the morning and remove the negative beliefs so that they can be replaced with more positive ones, then we have the opportunity to change the day simply because our outlook on the day will have changed along with our beliefs.

 

With the right attitude, amazing things can be accomplished!

 

So if you ever wake up feeling like it’s just not worth getting out of bed. If you ever find a morning where you lose your belief in yourself or your quit, then take that as an opportunity to change that day simply by finetuning your belief of the day.

 

Before you ever get out of bed, assess your beliefs and take a moment to tweak the beliefs that aren’t the right ones. We can easily torpedo a day without even trying simply by the attitude that we face the day with.

 

If we choose to believe the day will be filled with discomfort and endless urges, then that’s probably what the day will be like. But if we realize that this is our belief then wouldn’t it make sense to try to change it?

 

Try to remember that each day is an opportunity. What those opportunities are is up to us. When I was quitting I always created a burning desire every morning to remain smoke free. I would spend a moment visualizing myself without cigarettes. This became easier to do with each day that I did it.

 

Each day, even now when I live in the land of freedom, I assess my feelings and take a moment to remove the negative ones. Then when I get out of bed, I understand that I’m living a new opportunity. A new chance to make a difference whether it be in my life or perhaps another. I focus on what’s going to make my day better. Which positive attitude do I need for this day.

 

Once I feel secure in the fact that I’m going to make the day as positive as I can, then I get up, ready to face a new and exciting day!

 

We don’t have to dread our days of quitting. We can instead reach inside of ourselves, find the right belief for the day and ride that positive opportunity all the way into the next one! And in the end, not only do we find peace from the effects of addiction, but we learn a lesson that we can carry with us for the rest of our lives!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

When we first prepare to quit, we start reading about our addiction, trying to understand it. Often we find as we read the various literature that the key to quitting is to get through those first hard days. The days when we must combat the physical part of our addictions as well as the mental part.

 

We get to the end of that first week and realize that it’s not over yet! There’s still so much more to do. How can this be? After all, I’ve already beaten the addiction. Or have I?

 

When our minds become consumed with thoughts of the past, especially such a recent past we tend to compare that past to the present. We’re so new on the path to quitting that we have no data to compare to other than the addicted life that we just left and when we make that comparison all we see is that now, things are uncomfortable. Now, life seems to be filled with stress. Now, our minds are in constant turmoil. Now, we find our minds focused on things that cannot benefit us or our quits.

 

So how can this be better? The answer is right there in front of us of course, it’s just hard to see right now. The realities that we must focus on are in the future and for some, this makes the journey seem so endless because it’s not a journey that offers instant satisfaction. No. Instead the journey to freedom takes a bit of time and commitment to achieve. We have to wait for our rewards.

 

We know that the physical rewards are almost instantaneous. Everything starts improving physically the moment we quit. But for some reason, that little piece of knowledge fails to bring us peace. We’re so focused on the past that we can’t seem to stab a ray of understanding into the future. And yet this is where everything we want to achieve resides. This is where the freedom resides and a kind of peace that we haven’t felt since we started this wicked addiction.

 

So I guess we now have to find a way to look past the temporary discomforts of the moment to the sunshine that lies on the other side of darkness. We must try to remember that even the stars of the night proves to us that there is light in our futures for the stars represent a reflection of what’s to come.

 

So never fall for the words of the addiction. Never believe even for a moment that there is no light after the darkness for the reality is that the light is abounding! It’s all around you just waiting for the moment of acceptance. Waiting for the moment that we can see it through the clouds of our own addictions.

 

The day that we can turn our focus to the future instead of remaining in a kind of static state of addicted hell, we begin to find peace. The moment that we understand that what we’re doing right now is creating that wonderful future where our peace and freedom resides and can look past the current discomforts and focus instead on the wonderful reality that we’re creating for ourselves. This is the day that we step out of no man’s land and walk for the first time with our focus where it belongs because so long as we stay focused on the truth that lies in the future, then this can change the realities of the present.

 

Go for it! The dream is there. It’s been there every since you put out your last cigarette! It’s embedded deep in your heart and all you have to do to see it is believe in the future. You know, the one that doesn’t have cigarettes in it. . .

 

Keep your eye on the prize!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

I hope all is well with you as you continue your climb on the path to freedom. There’s a lot to sticking to the path. And somehow the path can seem so hard to follow because our clouded and addicted minds want so badly to stray from the path at times.

 

The addict within whispering sweet little lies in our ears like, “One puff couldn’t hurt anything. Come on. Just for old times sake.” or perhaps, “This stressful situation we’re in requires a little nicotine to make it easier. After all, it’s alway worked before now hasn’t it? Remember how much calmer you were in these situations when you smoke?”

 

At times the whisper can seem like our minds are shouting these things at us. Compound that with the fact that we’re learning a new lifestyle and I could see how some could be tempted to stray from the road of life. Thing is, it’s up to us to decide what actions we take in those weak moments when the addict within seems to be speaking the loudest.

 

First off, we know the words of our addictions are based in lies. You see, they have to be because it makes no sense for it to be otherwise. Over the years while we calmly fed our addictions the nicotine that it needed, we also had to justify to ourselves why we continue to slowly kill ourselves.

 

As such I think we invent different ways to look at our smoking and at the same time, we continue to train the innermost parts of our minds to accept the addiction as something it is not. I mean really, the body rejects the noxious smoke the first time we ever try it. In most cases the body rejects it violently and yet we continued to train ourselves that it was a pleasure anyway. You see? The first day we ever smoke we’re forced to lie to ourselves in order to keep doing it.

 

So what makes us smoke that second cigarette when the body so violently rejected the first one? If we could find the answer to that one question then I think we would know the very foundation of our addictions because at the moment that we smoked our second cigarette, we have to lie to ourselves again. We have to invent a reason why that second cigarette is more important to our minds than the reality of a slow, lingering death that we do to ourselves.

 

In my case I think it was rooted in insecurity. I’m not horribly insecure but there was enough of it there to get me to smoke that second cigarette. To join the club of the addicted willingly because somehow I convinced myself that this one stupid act would give me the security I needed to achieve a happier and more confident life.

 

Now how could this make any sense at all? The reality is that it doesn’t. But that’s the root of addiction. A compulsion in the mind that has no basis in rational thought and yet has the ability to get the body to do something that in the end harms it.

 

And once we take that first step. Once we create the idea within our minds that it’s OK to smoke then the addiction begins to ratchet up a notch. Once we surrender to our addictions then we begin feeding the addiction and in a very limited amount of time, the body begins to demand that nicotine fix as we train our receptors to find the stimulus pleasurable.

 

We have to continue to lie to ourselves so what we do is find reasons why smoking is a better option than never smoking in the first place. I think our pleasure centers begin to respond to certain stimulus throughout the day. This creates our triggers. But I think it’s our own minds that make our craves so intense.

 

To me, the cravings are a physical manifestation of the addiction that we ourselves add power to by our thinking whenever we get one. Over the years, we surrender to the crave and teach ourselves that this is the normal reaction whenever we get one. The repetition of our actions begins to cement the cravings into the innermost parts of our beings. It becomes a natural part of our day and over time we don’t even think about it anymore when we light up.

 

We become comfortable in our belief that what we’re doing is actually making life easier. All of this is what I call the mask of addiction. The deception of our own minds. I think the fear we feel when we think of quitting stems from the fact that we’ve given in to our addictions and we don’t want to put a ***** in the addictive armor that we created over all of those years.

 

When we first think of quitting and think of it as a reality then the mind rebels just as it did way back in the beginning when we created this mess for ourselves in the first place. So how do we get ourselves out of this? By first listening to the lies of our addictions. Really once we do that then we begin to see just how irrational those thoughts are and once we do that we begin to see through the smoke screen that we have set up to continue feeding our addictions.

 

Understanding is a key to getting out of this because once we understand something and see it in it’s true light then we can start building our internal weapons against it. This is why preparation is so important to a quit. We need to build some of those weapons before we ever quit. We need to understand how and why we created our addictions in the first place and then we need to face the realities of what we built in order to tear it down.

 

So no matter how long it takes. No matter what kinds of strange thoughts we might be feeling. The key is to stay true to yourself. To remember that each day we live smoke free we come closer to the truth and lose just one more piece of the addict within. It does take time but it’s time well spent and most discover this as soon as the mask of addiction is lifted.

 

So keep up the fight! It takes a little time for a reason but in the end if you can keep your eye on the prize of freedom than you will be standing on the other side of your addiction. And when that happens. When we begin to feel the peace. When we finally see through all of those lies of addiction then this will be the first day of the future that we started fighting for so long ago . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   
Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Opportunity?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Mar 3, 2014

Good morning Exer’s!!

 

And so another day begins as the last one finds itself coming to an end. With every ending comes a new beginning. A new perspective. A new outlook on things that we thought we already knew. So goes the story of life.

 

Each new experience that we must face can be a stepping stone to continue to improve. Every crave that we beat gives us strength for the next one. Every moment of clarity that we find free of the influences of the addict within will give us the peace that we need each day to strengthen our resolve to continue on the path to freedom.

 

My point is that life brings us to the brink of so many wonderful opportunities. We can wake in the morning and assess how we feel but more importantly, we have the opportunity to change how we feel in the first few seconds of the day. We can wake up dreading yet another long day on the road to freedom or we can embrace our situation, proud of the fact that though the day before might not have been easy, we still stayed focused on our plan to remain smoke free.

 

At those times when we find ourselves thinking about those cigarettes, we again find an opportunity to improve for you see, at this crossroad we can either agonize over the misery of our quits or we can use this thought to remind us of why we want to quit. We can use that moment to understand that in our heart, we really want to be rid of this addiction. We really want to find our way out of the shackles and into that new and wonderful future that awaits us.

 

Me, I always fired up the old visualizations. I’d look to the summit of Mt. Freedom and understand that though I’m not there yet, the summit is getting closer. My new reality is up there waiting for me so long as I choose to continue climbing. So long as I choose freedom over slavery. And that banner of freedom is the true symbol of tranquility.

 

And by looking to that summit, I always understood that climbing isn’t always easy and yet we still do it in order to feel the satisfaction of achievement as we reach the hard fought for summit. We long to see the view from the top so much that we’re willing to forget our current discomforts in order to get there.

 

And as we climb, our experience gives us confidence that propels us onward past the slippery slopes of the snow fields and into the boulder fields where we learn a new method of walking because we normally don’t walk through boulder fields. But each step brings us closer to that summit. Each crave that we kick to the curb give us the strength to beat the next one.

 

Soon our new normal is ignoring those craves and by so doing, we take away their power to do our quits wrong. And once the craves lose their power, the climb to the summit becomes so much easier. But it all had to start with that first fragile step into the once unknown land of addiction. It had to start with an ability to see through that cloud of addiction to the other side where our freedom lies.

 

It had to start with a desire to make our lives different. A desire to walk an unfamiliar path to reach a goal that at one time seemed so unattainable. A goal of life is what it is! A goal of health is what it is! A goal of freedom is what it is!

 

So it’s really up to us how we want our day to go. And what determines that day is our perception of it. If things seem intolerable, use the mind to create your own little world. A place where you can escape to when the addict within screams at you. A place that occupies the mind with the wondrous joys of the world. With the light that is your shining future for you know you’ve found the path to freedom. You also know that you’re walking it. All you have to do is ignore all of the noise on the sides of the path and stick to that single goal. Freedom!!

 

See you on the summit!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

I hope all is well with you. I was just thinking about that period before we quit. A time when the journey is more of a thought then a reality. A time when we try to learn all we can to help carry us through what we know will be a confusing time in our lives. We study our enemy, the addiction and try to understand what makes that part of our minds tick.

 

It’s a time of self reflection and yes even doubt that we might not be able to complete a task that we have deemed the most important task of our lives, or at least the most important thing that we can do for our futures. I mentioned before the visualizations that I used to help me with the journey but before I quit, I hadn’t yet developed any of my tools.

 

I, like you was terrified of what I was about to do. Things were easy when I kept the thought of quitting as just that. A thought. But the moment I understood that I was going to transform that thought into a reality. The moment that I really knew that it was going to happen not in a world of scenarios but rather one of reality. This was when the fear really came to the surface.

 

I delayed my quit date several times looking for that perfect moment to quit. This was simply a manifestation of my fear trying to get me to delay the inevitable. But slowly I saw through the false realities that my addicted mind was trying to deceive me with. Slowly I came to the realization that on the 20th of February in 2011, I would smoke my last cigarette.

 

I remember building up to that fateful day. I studied and used my pack tracker to manage my addiction as the days went slowly by. And then at last the big day came. I would smoke my last cigarette at around 8:15 that night. The day was pretty uneventful. A perfect day to begin a new journey.

 

I remember stepping out on the porch and staring up to the summit of those 14,000 ft. peaks that I live at the base of. This was something I was always in the habit of doing. Smoking a cigarette as I stared at the beauty before me. But this cigarette was different for I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this would be my last, or rather the beginnings of something amazing! The first step on the path to freedom!

 

I lit that cigarette and inhaled deeply. Hmm. It didn’t taste any different than the ones that weren’t my last. Somehow I thought this one might magically taste different. Perhaps different enough that I’d never want to smoke again. But it’s never really that easy for us. And so I stared at the mountain and wondered if it would look different without a cigarette in my hand. Realizing how silly this thought was, I put out that last cigarette not when I’d smoked it to the end of the filter.

 

No, I put it out about halfway through it and walked into the house confident that I had done this right. That I had taken the first step on a path to something amazing! And I did indeed see those fourteeners in a new light for now the mountain symbolized my journey. The slips and falls that can happen if we’re not careful. I saw the snow fields as warnings and the boulder fields as a learning technique, symbolizing learning how to walk differently. How to leave the safety of the path and learning to travel in uncharted territory. I remember sleeping well that night. In fact better than I had in a long while. Perhaps this was because on this night I was no longer thinking about quitting. No, on this night I was creating a new and wonderful future for myself. On this night I was embarking on a journey that so far has been quite successful for me.

 

And everything I hoped for in my future came true. My health improved dramatically. My immune system is stronger than it’s been in I don’t know how long. My breathing is so much more precious to me and now, with the shroud of addiction lifted from my mind I can enjoy the peace that comes with losing an addiction. I can enjoy that freedom from what used to be my own tortured and addicted mind.

 

I can now live the new reality that started on that one day so long ago with a single thought that permeated my soul until it could no longer be denied.

 

So take that first step as cautiously as you can. Stay on the path and always keep your eyes on the summit. The place where you can finally find that world that you dreamed of when you first thought of quitting. It’s there. Just a bit of a climb is all but what the heck? We gotta start sometime and so long as we don’t waver from the path. So long as we stay true to our futures instead of worrying about our past. So long as we remain true to our new desires in life to be smokefree then there can be nothing that will stand in our ways for you see, once you finally make that commitment to quit. Once you see past the mask of your own addictions then there can be nothing but freedom!

 

Keep climbing my friends. Your prize awaits you in the future! What  you do today will determine what your future looks like tomorrow.

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

   

Good morning EXer’s!!

 

I hope all is well with everyone! So often in a quit we find ourselves saying things like, “This sucks” or “will this ever end?”. This is one of the most obvious manifestations of our divided minds when we quit. We know good and well that eventually there will be peace and we also know that smoking “sucks” a lot more than quitting.

 

The thing that we always need to remember is that quitting really is a temporary situation. There can be no real time frame for us other than understanding the physical part of a quit. Thing is, most don’t lose their resolve during the withdrawal phase. It seems to happen later after we beat the physical part of it.

 

I think this is partially due to the fact that we generally learn about those withdrawals and when we first start a quit, we expect those first days to be unpleasant. And so when all of the nicotine is out of our systems we feel we have really accomplished something.

 

But then we wake up and find a part of our minds still screaming at us! We know it makes no sense and yet this is a reality that we all must face. The physical part of a quit is over with fairly quickly but the mental part takes a while to overcome and as such we end up with the addict within creating an endless argument within us.

 

This is where the real fight lies in a quit I think because for one thing, this goes on for a while and since we try so hard to keep our resolve strong, we always end up arguing with ourselves. For some, this can become an almost unbearable situation. For me it was a case where I had to learn some new things to get around this one. '

 

The actual key to ending this is acceptance of the fact that we no longer smoke. But the reality is that this is something that generally takes time to see. Our minds have been so wrapped up with our addictions for so long that we’re almost blinded from the truth. And so we have to find ways to stay strong during this time in our lives, confident in the fact that eventually, our minds will once again be whole.

 

For me, I found that being aware of just what the internal argument was saying was a big help. When one really looks at the endless dialog, it really makes no sense. So why not listen to what the internal noise is saying. For me I found that the mind was comparing the new smoke free world to the past, when cigarettes were allowed. The mind may not see the addiction but rather it see’s a calmer time when we smoked. And now it compares it to the discomfort we now feel. It doesn’t see that smoking will kill us. It only compares the two scenarios.   

 

It’s up to us to see through the comparison and add the fact to our quit that really matters. The part that tells us what a wonderful future we’ve got to look forward to so long as we stay true to ourselves. We have to see the future that we long for, and present it to ourselves in such a way that we can accept it as a part of our new reality.

 

Sure, it takes a little work and internal reflection but the benefits outweigh the trouble. This is one of the reasons that a website like this one is so beneficial. Because though we may not be able to see past the shroud of addiction at times, others who are on the outside looking in can see it.

 

We can understand for each other those things that aren’t making sense. We can help each other see past the lies of addiction to the truth that resides within all of us. Together we can see a reality that we might never see when we travel alone.

 

It doesn’t have to be a journey of misery. No, it can instead be one of discovery! A means of learning things about ourselves that we might never otherwise know. Every time we delve into the depths of our own psyche we learn. Everytime we change our reality to a more positive one, we learn.

 

Though we all know that we never should have become addicted in  the first place, we have to look past that and allow ourselves to grow. We have to understand that thought we made bad choices in the past that we’re making the right choices now.

 

So get out there into that wonderful world! Thumb your nose at that addiction and look to the freedom ahead! You’ve already shown your love for life the moment you put out that last cigarette. Don’t degrade that love of life by giving in to a part of your mind that doesn’t yet understand the truth. Instead embrace your new reality.

 

Seek the truth that resides within you. Remember that behind every dark cloud lies a rainbow that was created by the very forces that also created the cloud. It’s up to us to seek out the rainbow rather than accepting the cloud for what it is.

 

Just remember the freedom and the peace. That’s the truth of your new reality and every step forward that you take is another step toward all that you seek.

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!