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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!


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 . . .




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!





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!!!





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!!





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!




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!




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 . . .





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!!




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.




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.





Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Feb 22, 2014

Good morning EXer's!!


I was just thinking about a part of our quits that can be rather illusive at times. That day that we can finally feel confident about our quits. I think there are several elements to creating that confidence. First, we have to have achieved a few months smoke free so that our perceptions of our new life are firmly rooted within us. You know, where we don’t think of a cigarette with desire first thing in the morning. When we think past that cigarette to our new world without them.


Then comes the part where we have to believe that we will never smoke again. I know! So often people say “Never say never” which brings up another point. Though we can be confident in our quits. Though we can be at peace and cherish our new smoke free life, we still have to find that belief deep within ourselves that we will never smoke again. We have to know in our hearts that smoking isn’t anything but a bad choice.


It’s easy to say it but to truly believe it takes patience and a belief in the fact that we have indeed overcome the shackles of addiction that we lived with for so long. We have to see ourselves in our minds eye as a nonsmoker.


You see, our perceptions can determine just about anything in our lives because how we see things determines how our mind will react to those things. When we miss the “old friend” instead of embracing our new reality, we begin to lose confidence. When life’s stresses become overwhelming we can lose confidence and more importantly, when we associate cigarettes to those stresses and perceive them as a way to make those stresses seem more tolerable than we begin to fracture our quits.


These are the times to take matters into our own hands and change that perception. The means is within all of us, but it takes a little work. A little active building of our own minds. At times after I’d first quit and thought of a cigarette, I realized that I always saw it lit and in my hand. I knew that this kind of perception could do me no good so instead I used my visualization tools and watched myself driving without a cigarette in my hand. I even went so far as to perceive myself rolling down the window and smiling as I took in a lungful of fresh air. I’d look down to where the ashtray was and see it sparkling clean. I’d feel the wind blowing into the car. Over time with these kinds of visualizations, we can help to teach the mind that we no longer smoke.


We can replace our triggers with mental images of doing those very same things without a cigarette. I’m in no way saying that we should actively think about smoking. What I am saying is that when those mental pictures come in. When we find ourselves romanticizing the cigarette, then that’s the time to take advantage of the very thing that might cause us discomfort and change the pattern of our thinking. Look at things differently and things will become different.


So if your mental images aren’t the best that you’d like to see, then take a stroll up Mt. Freedom. Cigarettes aren’t allowed on that mountain and besides, your climbing! How could you possibly think about a cigarette when you’re exerting yourself?


I’ve always believed that the mind creates mental pictures of just about everything. These are our perceptions. When the addicted mind sends us an image of smoking, replacing that image could help us get through a tough situation. And once we do that, we build confidence. And the more times we do it, the more confident we become. It’s how we focus on things that matters most.


Stay true to yourself and don’t let those mental images take over your reality. Instead, take a moment to actively change them! By changing the way we see things, we can change the way we live things!


Stay on the path my friends! There’s a lifetime of peace and freedom waiting for you just around the corner!




Memories . . .

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Feb 21, 2014

Good morning EXer’s,


Reaching my three year mark smoke free got me thinking about those first days of a quit. You know, the ones that matter because we all have to struggle so hard at first. And thinking back, I wondered what it was that made it so hard at first.


Learning is a process that takes a bit of time. Just as we learned to smoke, we must now learn how to not smoke. And most of us spent a long time learning to smoke. For most, so long in fact that we can hardly remember a life without cigarettes when we first quit. Personally, I like to call this the shroud of addiction. A way that our own minds try to deceive us.


I think that over time, we build our own roadblocks as a means to justify doing something that we know can do us no good. When I think back to those days when I was comtemplating a quit, those roadblocks were quite evident. There was no way that my mind was going to let me quit just because I wanted to.


I think for many of us, this can cause a kind of confusion within us. The constant mental argument with ourselves. I think how hard a quit is has a lot to do with how we deal with this internal argument where one part of the mind is still living in the past while the other part is looking to the future. And since the future is unfamiliar, the mind does what it always does when faced with the unknown. It creates a kind of fear of it. A self preservation mechanism within us that would always rather take the easy or “normal” road. The one we’ve lived for many years as we continued to feed our addictions.


And yet by choosing to quit, we create a conflict within ourselves. To me, this conflict is the core element that can decide if a quit will be successful or not because we cannot reach for peace so long as the conflict remains in place. We can’t escape the cravings of our own minds so long as we listen to the craving. We can’t move on until we deal with the past or at least make peace with the fact that we don’t smoke anymore.


By quitting, we’re creating a new norm for ourselves and as those who already know me know, I used visualization as a tool to overcome my own roadblocks, first naming my conflict “the addict within” and then assigning a vision in my mind that would define the journey. For me, it was a mountain but the fact is that it could be anything you want it to be so long as it defines the journey.


This worked well for me on a couple of levels. The first being that by creating my vision, I occupied my mind with something that was related to smoking and yet was something different for me to think about. As I progressed on my journey, it became a shimmering symbol of both the hardships and achievements that we all find along the way. My vision went something like this.


When I first decided to quit, I stood at the base of Mt. Freedom looking up the long slopes to the tiny point at the top where the banner of freedom resides. The shimmering example for my mind to focus on as it learns my new reality. The slopes are steep and filled with dangers which in reality would be the weakness of my own mind in those moments when we find ourselves missing our past.


The day I quit, I visualized myself taking the first cautious step on a path that I knew could be dangerous but also filled with wonder, but a path I intended to walk because I wanted that banner of freedom very badly. Each day took me closer to the top of Mt. Freedom and soon I could clearly see the banner of freedom blowing in the wind on top of that summit.


And as I got closer I could see all those who had gone before me, cheering me on and at times even walking down the path to me every now and then to toss me a rope of experience so that I can understand the journey just a little better.


The top of the mountain also symbolized the culmination of the journey, reminding me that yes; there really is an end to the journey. There really is a peace that we find and it’s always right there waiting for us.


I kept the addict within close to me because I didn’t want him to try to create any mischief while I wasn’t looking.


For me, these visions helped. It gave me something wonderful to focus my mind on during those hard moments when the internal argument is strongest. It gave me a belief in myself because it helped me to understand that though it’s a journey, it’s one worth doing.


We all have to craft our own ways of quitting. This is because it’s such a personal journey. No amount of knowledge or advice can really prepare one for something they haven’t yet experienced. No one can quit for us. We have to do that ourselves. That’s why it’s such an achievement each time a person makes that wonderful decision to seek freedom over a slow lingering death.


But rest assured my friends that so long as we stick to the path of freedom. So long as we never let the addict within convince us that what we’re doing is wrong. So long as we trust in that part of ourselves that knows what’s right. Then eventually you like me will reach the end of that journey. You will be the one on top of Mt. Freedom waiving that banner proudly and yelling to all that will listen, “Look at what I’ve done! Look at me now! I’m so free! So at peace!”


Keep climbing. All of you. I can guarantee that you’ll love the view from the top. I can’t wait to see you there!


Good morning EXer’s!!


I hope this finds you as well as you can be considering what you’re doing. I’ve come by to celebrate three years of smoke free living with you. At times it amazes me how much time has passed since the day that I made the decision to take my life back. That wonderful day when I decided that freedom was so much more important than the alternative. A consuming addiction that was slowly chewing it’s way into the depths of my mind to try to gain total control over my life forever.


It’s a day to be celebrated for all of us when we make that decision to quit because one thing is certain. When you find that freedom. I mean really find it then you want others to experience it. You want to see how that person can lift the cloud of addiction from their own minds and join a new kind of club. One that deals with life rather than a slow, suffocating death. One where there is so much more laughter simply because freedom brings happiness. And there’s a kind of peace knowing that when we do the things that always involved smoking, those things become different somehow. I still do the same activities that I did when I smoked but now I see more and feel more because all of my senses are involved in the activity itself without the endless nagging thoughts of when to have that next cigarette.


It’s a wonderful life to be sure but it has to start somewhere. I think we take the first step into our new lives the first moment that we accept the thought that we don’t want to smoke anymore. I don’t mean the day when you think of quitting but rather the day when you’re actually accepting the thought as a possible reality. The day we look past the fear of changing our lives and instead see the glorious future that we’re about to create simply by following our hearts instead of the fear that the mind can create when it comes to quitting.


I remember the fear well and I also remember that this fear can be overcome simply by looking past a reality that has been shrouded by the power that we give our addictions. That’s right. We give power to our own addictions because it’s more convenient to continue on the path that we’ve always walked. When we really make that choice to quit, we choose to do a lot of things. We choose to change our lives for the better and go through what it takes to make that change. We choose to see past the shroud of our addictions to the reality that lives there. To the peace and freedom. But most important of all, we choose to desire that peace and freedom more than we want to continue to fuel an addiction that can do us no good!


So it starts with that thought and soon the thought grows until it consumes us with a desire to see that freedom that only we can create by our own actions. As we grow we start to look past the discomforts that must first be dealt with and we start to see what life would be like without cigarettes. We break down the shrouds of our own addiction so that we can clearly see the goal ahead. The shimmering banner of freedom blowing in the wind high on the summit of Mt. Freedom.


I remember a time when that summit looked so far away. The banner seemed so unattainable. So hard to get to. But that didn’t change my resolve. Instead it built it because I knew that to get there, I had to first take that first step and put out that cigarette and then be willing to put one foot in front of the other, careful of my footing at first for this is the time that can be the trickiest. When our confidence first builds.


But soon I had many steps upward on the slopes of the mountain. I could look back at all that had been accomplished so far but I rarely looked back  for you see, my future lied ahead. At the top of Mt. Freedom. I wanted to wave that banner of freedom high over my head so badly that to even think about another cigarette was hard to do.


Don’t get me wrong here. I had to fight my battles just as we all do but now I’m here to tell you what’s past that. I’m here to attest to the peace that exists at the end of this climb. I’m here to tell you how wonderful freedom feels. All it takes is a little time and the will to commit to yourself for the long haul because this is a fight that no one can do for us. We have to do this fight ourselves and as such we must always remain true to the journey and never forget why we started it in the first place.


It won’t be long before you too are standing on the summit of Mt. Freedom, smiling happily and grabbing that banner of freedom so that you too can wave it high in the air for all to see! And like me you’ll be looking down the slopes at all who are still climbing and all you’ll want to do is coach them on. Throwing them a rope to grab onto in hopes of making the climb easier for them. Beckoning to them to make that final climb because we all want to share that banner of freedom. That day of success. The culmination of a dream that we took beyond just the dream and instead turned that dream into a reality that cannot be ignored because in the end when the freedom is felt; When the peace is felt; This is when we know that it was all worth the effort. Until then we just have to take it on faith.


So listen to those who have been there my friends. Listen to those who feel the peace right now that you long for so badly. Take what you can from them and build it into your own quit. It’s offered freely so what can it hurt?


Me? After three years I really do feel peace. And the Freedom? Amazing! In the last few months while I’ve been absent I did something I’ve always wanted to do. I wrote a book. I know, it seems like an odd thing to do for some but it reinforced some things in me. It taught me that there’s so much that can be done with all of that time we wasted smoking. My concentration has been perfect without the endless nagging of my addiction telling me it was time to smoke. And once that endless background noise of addiction is gone, there’s room in the mind for so much more!


Anything is possible and it all started way back in the beginning when I was still heavily addicted and made that choice to quit. That day when I looked ahead to where I’m at right now and stuck to that vision of a smoke free life. Sure, I had to live the journey. We all do. It’s just an unfortunate fact of addiction. But in the end all of the discomfort. All of the unfounded fear of quitting. All of the wars we have to have with ourselves to achieve freedom are worth it.


How do I know? Because the dreams I had in the past are the realities that I’m living today!


On another note, I haven’t really published my book yet. I’ve got a few looking at it but that wasn’t really the point with this mental exercise of mine. I call it a practice book. It started out as a little couple of thousand words story and blossomed into a 90,000 word novel. And along the way, I think it taught me the art of writing. Who knows where I’ll go from there, but one thing is certain. I now have the time. The clear mind and a new found confidence that came from my ability to be free. A confidence in myself that anything is achievable, so long as we stick to a plan to the bitter end no matter how hard it might seem at the time!








Good day EXer’s!!


Have you ever had a dream? A thought that becomes so powerful that it transcends all else. A thing that grows inside until it cannot be denied. To me, this is how it is when we first decide to quit smoking. To succeed we have to first take that thought and turn it into a tangible reality.


When it comes to addiction, we sometimes find ourselves working harder at finding reasons not to quit then we do finding reasons to do it. The thing is, when we choose to quit smoking, we also choose to live a life that we’re not used to. One that somehow seems lusterless without those cigarettes.


I think our addictions have been telling us little lies for so long that we actually tend to believe some of them. I mean really, why would anyone want to smoke? Is there a single good thing that we can find to make it worth doing? I think not. But the reality is that we have to find ways around those old dangerous beliefs. For some, this can be hard to do simply because we can’t seem to change those old thought patterns.


For me, looking at reality was kind of a wake up call. The lungs constantly feel the effects of smoking. Each cigarette can conceivably bring us closer to death. Every time we give up another minute of life just to smoke really makes no sense.


So I think what it boils down to is lifestyle changes. This is what we fear I think. For some reason we become convinced that doing the things we’ve always done without cigarettes just won’t be exciting without them. This is another of the lies of addiction.


And then on top of that, when we finally do quit, we get those darn withdrawals to deal with. That on top of the lifestyle changes can seem almost insurmountable at times.


But take heart! It doesn’t have to be this way! The first moment that we deny our addictions the food it needs to stay alive, we begin living a new reality. One that tells us that we really don’t need that cigarette to live. To enjoy life. Even as the addict within starts screaming at us, we see a new reality forming.


Stay focused on that new reality my friends! You’re not losing a thing when you quit and you’re gaining everything! Freedom. A newly found health. A new outlook on life that is just so much more positive! Always try to look ahead for that’s where your freedom lies. Not in the past where those thoughts of cigarettes still dwell.


You don’t have to miss your old life. Instead embrace the new one that you’re creating with every moment that you stay true to yourself. This is your new reality so why not try to enjoy it?


And never, ever forget that your new life is already there the moment you put out that last cigarette. When you feel a craving, look to the future where there are no longer any cravings. When freedom outweighs the old ball and chain. When the world calms and becomes a wonderful new life full of health and accomplishments.


It’s within all of us to quit. We have the power. All we have to do is believe in ourselves and never, ever think of the past with sorrow.