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Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Blog

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She Gave Up

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Nov 13, 2019

~~Don't ever give up.  Don't even give in.  Don't ever stop trying.  Don't ever sell out.  And if you find yourself succumbing to one of the above for a brief moment, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, whisper a prayer, and start where you left off.  But never, ever, ever give up.~~  Richelle E. Goodrich


She worked so hard, this girl.  Got her addiction under control, got herself under control, got her life under control.  It took time and so much hard work, but she did it.  Worked through some unresolved trauma, forgave herself for believing that she was 'less than', and found her balance somehow in all the chaos that was her world.

And then she simply gave up.  And you can say it was her addiction talking and you might be right.  And you could think she just wasn't strong enough, and you again might be right.  But whether it was addiction or strength of character or mental health issues, the fact remains that she simply gave up.  The light was gone from her eyes and the spark gone from her spirit.  She didn't hear us anymore and she wasn't talking herself out of it....her hope was just...gone.

And when hope is gone, the will to do anything goes with it.  She left it all behind and is in her own kind of private hell now where no one is allowed in and she won't step out.  It's like watching someone you care about die without the closure of death.  It's a horrendously helpless feeling and I don't have any clue what, if anything, is going to bring this girl back to life.

So I'm here asking each one of matter who you are, what's going on, or where you are in life.....please don't give up.  Even if you falter.  Even if you 'slip'.  Even if you feel like a total failure.  Don't ever give up.  Because once you do, that mountain you were climbing gets ever so much bigger and further away until you're not even starting over but instead slipping backwards...away from the light, away from the relief.

So you got some bad news?  We'll help you deal with it as you cry, scream, rage, and sob.  So you smoked?  We'll brush you off as you get back up.  We'll remind you how far you've come.  We'll remind you of why you quit to begin with.  Do you're anxious?  Depressed?  Stressed?  Professional guidance along with support from friends as you learn coping skills can help.

Whatever you're going through, whatever you're thinking, whatever you feel you lack, please, please don't give up!!  When you quit, you are moving into a totally different world, filled with joy, hope, contentment, and strength.  Now, life will still happen and stuff will still go on....but the change is in YOU and YOU will feel able to get through it all because you'll have those coping skills in place.  So grow that pretty, pretty quit you have.  Turn towards the light.  And leave those feelings of hopelessness behind you.  Let them go...wish them well...close that door. 

She matters...even though she doesn't want to right now.  You matter.  We all matter.  We just have to remember that when things get tough.  So please....hang tough.



~~Strength does not come from winning.  Your struggles develop your strengths.  When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.~~ Gandhi's ok.  You can cry.  You can whimper.  You can crawl rather than run through your quit.  It happens. 

You see, quitting comes with challenges.  It just does.  It can be hard and it can be overwhelming and the power of addiction can grab you in a chokehold and take your breath away.


No one expects you to be Atlas....King Kong....Superman.  Strength, you see, comes not from powering mightily through your quit but through hanging on for that next moment...that next breath....that next reprieve.  Don't try to move that whole mountain....simply walk that next step.  Don't worry about possible storms up ahead....just move through this one.  Here.  Now. 


You're doing ok.  Just by holding on.  Even if you're trembling.  Even if you're weak as a kitten.  Even if you don't know if you can make it another day.  Sit in the moment and just be.  You don't have to roar through the day and you don't have to pretend.  Just be.  Tears streaming....body weary.  Just be.


Strength, you see, comes from deciding not to surrender.  That's all.  Don't give up.  Even if you're weak, even if you hate it, even if you wonder if it's all worth it.  Don't surrender.  And in your decision not to surrender, you will find power.  Power to get through that next moment.  Power to break that chain of thought.  Power to breathe one more smoke free breath. 


Every second you don't surrender, you build strength.  And in doing so, you begin to believe in yourself just a little bit more.  And you start to dip another toe into your quit, realizing maybe you can.  You may even feel a secret thrill of delight in getting through your day.  All while still holding your breath a bit because you don't know what you'll feel next.


Welcome to your quit...the good, the bad, the struggles.  Addiction versus life.  Put them down, please and don't look back.  Make it through your quit as slowly as you need to.  As carefully as you need to.  Strength is there keeping you quit.  Put the mountain down and just take that next step.  You'll get there.


It's ok to not be ok.  It's ok. 

~~The best kind of people are the ones who come into your life and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds.  The people who believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too.  The people who love you simply for being you.  The once in a lifetime kind of people.~~  Unknown


Oh, they are here, you know.  I know they are.  Because it was the people here who believed in me long before I finally understood I could quit.  They never gave up on me.  They never doubted I could quit.  Never.


What an amazingly spectacular bunch of people you all are!!!  Quitting is often a solitary endeavor in the 'real' world because our families have heard it all before and while they hope, they doubt.  But I found this site and no one!!...doubted that I could.  Quitting is often an amateur endeavor in the 'real' world because we never hear about quit kits or addiction or coping skills.  But I found this site and everyone had good tips, great information, and outstanding suggestions for me to have a successful quit.


And now?  Now I get it.  Now I understand.  That the best kind of people are here on Ex....the ones who make you see the sun through the clouds.  The ones who want you to quit as badly as they once wanted to quit themselves.  The ones who cry when a longtime quitter loses her quit.  The ones who empathize with those who are terrified to start.  The ones who cheer loudest when you succeed.  The ones who are there through thick and thin and serial quitting and never quite starting.  The ones here.  Because they get it.  Because they want to help.  Because they know what it takes to quit and they are willing to walk that quitting journey with you.  No matter if you yell at matter if you criticize matter if you ignore them. 


I thank these marvelous people often but there is no real way to let them know that not only did they help me quit, but they forever changed my life.  And they'll change yours, as well.  Because when you quit smoking, you gain confidence, insight, and the courage to take more risks....make more changes....try new things.  Life opens up in a way that you could never imagine and it starts here with people who will never give up on you. 


You don't have to go on Ex reunions in order to be influenced by these phenomenal people.  You don't have to give your phone number or get chummy or share your life story.  You can, of course, and these people will welcome you with open arms, but you don't have to.  You do have to put your trust in them and the wisdom they have.  You do have to read what they have to say and then trust that their advice is solid.  You do have to ask questions if you have some.  And then listen to their answers.


These are the best people.  And I am grateful to them and would do anything for them.  Because they were there for me when I truly needed them.  Because quitting can be hard and lonely and scary and just...well....BIG.  And I'm so glad they walked my quit journey with me because they made it bearable and less scary and even fun!!


Trust 'em.  Believe 'em.  Open your mind and open your heart and just let 'em in because they bring sun, warmth, and comfort to your quit.  I know....I used to be you.


Thanks, Ex people.  You are the best people    

~~The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you.  Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision.  So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.~~  Unknown


It's true that by reading posts here, you can gain insight, knowledge, and wisdom about quitting.  Over 6 years quit and I still come and read....a lot!!


But you also have a voice.  A story.  So write.  Talk.  Share your wisdom.  Share your vision.  Share your dance.


You may think that you don't have the words.  You may think that your voice doesn't matter.  You may even think that you have nothing to say.


Let me reply gently.  Nonsense.  Of course you have something to say.  Of course your voice matters.  Of course your story is important.  YOU are important.


How's your quit going?  What are you doing that helps?  What have you found out about quitting that might help someone else?  What have you found out about yourself? 


You are not just one in thousands of quitters here.  Not a face in the crowd.  You are a stand-out!  You are unique.  You are that one voice...that one story...that one in a million, extraordinary miracle we need in the world. 


Some of you may never post your story.  That's ok.  The point is to quit smoking and if you are quit, I applaud you!! 

I'd also be totally interested in hearing your story.  I'd be thrilled to read about your quit journey.  And you know what?  There may be someone who benefits from your words.  Someone who needs to hear that they 'can'.  Someone who finds comfort in YOUR words.  Someone who heals because of your voice.  Someone who learns to dance because of your post.


You don't have to comment here....but maybe you can post of a blog?  Maybe you want to comment on others, first, before you venture out into the posting world? 


No one in the world has what you have....your experiences, your feelings, your vision, your life.  How wonderful that you have a chance to shine your light here!!  I hope you can...I hope you will. 

~~Don't keep dancing with the devil and wonder why you're in hell.~~  Unknown


So you quit smoking and now you're wondering....."why is it still so hard?"  Maybe you 'slipped' once or twice, maybe you can't stop thinking about smoking, maybe you don't have a quit kit or a plan or any coping skills....maybe you can't get past the "I miss smoking, it was my best friend".


Stop dancing with that devil, my friends.  Stop holding on and wondering why it isn't easier yet.  Release that idea that you are 'giving up' something and embrace the idea that you are gaining everything  


Quitting isn't a punishment for your addiction.  It isn't a time out and it isn't a consequence of smoking.  Quitting is moving towards freedom...quitting is loving yourself...quitting is releasing yourself from an addiction that is deadly.  And when you can change your mindset from "I can't do this" to "I can't fail"'ll pull yourself out of hell.


Quitting is challenging, of course, and not always rainbows and sunshine.  But don't get stuck in your addiction.  Don't continue to believe those lies of you can't let go.  You aren't giving up anything worth holding on to.


Oh, but the letting go!!!  The relief, the joy, the power of your quit!!  You have absolutely everything to gain   No more poisoning your body, no more isolation, no more looks from your family/friends, no more stinkies, no more wasting your time, your money, your life. 


Climb on out of your self-imposed hell, guys.  Walk away and don't look back.  You may stumble a bit....that's ok, keep going.  You may hesitate...that's ok, rest for a moment and then keep going.  But never look back....keep your face to the sun, the hope, the freedom.  And see smoking for what it truly is.  No more lies, no more addictive thoughts.  Smoking is deadly.  Smoking is filthy.  Smoking hurts you, hurts the environment, and hurts those who don't even smoke.  Blinders off, reality on.


Don't dance with the devil and wonder why you're still in hell.  You know.

~~Everyone has their own path.  Walk yours with integrity and wish all others peace on their journey.  When your paths merge, rejoice for their presence in your life.  When the paths are separated, return to the wholeness of yourself, give thanks for the footprints left on your soul, and embrace the time to journey on your own.~~Unknown


So many of us wasted so much time searching for the 'perfect answer' to quitting.  We mimicked what others did, we tried every 'miracle' cure, we read until our eyes hurt, looking....always looking....for the way to quit.  And when others did and we didn't, our defeat was a heavy anchor on our hearts.  Why????  Why could they quit and we are unable to???


The secret )which is no real secret at all) is that you are the only one who can quit for you.  Right?  And in quitting, you acknowledge that the only way through is to start.  And it might get rough and it you might feel shaky, but it isn't going to get any easier waiting for another day.  It won't get better by smoking that 'last' pack.  You are not going to magically be done in a week, a month, a year.  Your quit is going to start when you decide you won't smoke again no matter what is in store.


Quitting is as much a part of who you are as smoking used to be.  It will be there when you are stressed.  It will be there when you are anxious.  It will be there when you are devastated.  Your quit is there for you always....letting you know that you don't have to hurt yourself anymore because you feel bad about you.  You don't have to inhale poisons to make things 'right'.  You don't have to risk cancers and disease because your heart is in pain.  Your quit is the best part of you because it cherishes who you loves you at your worst as well as at your helps you heal and feel and embrace and enjoy.


It may seem like a solitary journey, just like smoking was...but it doesn't isolate, it grows you.  It doesn't hide you, it celebrates you.  It doesn't separate you, it makes you whole.  So rather than long for what used to be, why not look forward to what's to come?  Rather than run back to something that harms, why not hold fast to something that helps heal?  Rather than risk illness, why not embrace no longer hurting yourself?


Walk your quit journey with integrity.  Honor your commitment and honor yourself.  You deserve this, you need this, and one day--trust me--you will want this.  But it all starts with you and your willingness to take that first step, no matter how scary or hesitant you may be.  Some day in the future, you will come here and tell a new quitter that you didn't regret a thing by quitting.  And you'll walk with them as they take that first step....

~~You have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you.~~  Unknown


Once there was a girl who wasn't loved by she learned how to love herself.  It was challenging and hurtful at first but as she grew she read books full of promise and she heard songs full of hope and she knew in her heart that the world....her world...could be different.  So she tucked all that hope and joy and anticipation of a good life deep inside herself and brought it out when she needed comfort or she needed a reason to go on.


She didn't quite understand her power, however, but she limped through her childhood with a smile yet a bruised heart.  She took up smoking as a teenager trying to fit in with a world she didn't trust.  And she found smokers who liked her and encouraged her and accepted her so life was now opening doors.


She still had her stuff to go through, just as we all do.  She was in an abusive relationship, she was sexually assaulted, she lost a loved one to cancer.  But she held close to the good in her life.  She had children she adored, she helped people through their own tough times, and she was grateful for her life.


The smoking, though, was a sticking point.  She knew she had to quit.  Her family wanted her to quit.  But smoking was that one thing that helped her keep her emotions in check....smoking helped her forget....smoking was her 'thing' alone.


But because through it all, she secretly loved herself, she gave herself the gift on quitting on her 50th birthday (well, a few weeks after).  In place of smoking, she gifted herself with appreciating her talents she never knew she had.  She gifted herself with doing things that brought her joy.  She gifted herself with the knowledge that she could, in fact, do anything she set her mind to. 


And in doing all that, she healed the little girl inside of her who was unloved and unwanted.  She grew wise and content and forgave herself for being less than perfect.  She forgave those in her life who hurt her or forgot her or ridiculed her.

Quitting truly broke the chains of all that negativity because she learned to get through all those times rather than run from them an hide behind all the smoke.


Her life is good now even when the times are bad.  She may get stressed but she brings herself peace.  She may get hurt but she still forgives.  She may struggle with bills and appointments and illness and family drama but she always, always comes back to doing the things she loves because they bring her joy.


Quitting isn't an event, it's a journey.  And that journey will change you, challenge you, and free you to becoming the person you were always meant to be.  Let the adventure begin  

~~So here's the thing.  Celebrate the days you can.  Say I love you each chance you get.  Wink at the stars each time they twinkle.  Blow kisses to the moon each time she smiles.  Dance when the music plays loud down the street.  Bow your head to the ocean whether she sings or roars and hold hands, be merry, cuddle close as much as is possible.  Fill your life with magic.  And one day, you'll no long regret a thing.~~  S.C. Lourie


Fill your life with magic????  Wink at the stars????  Blow kisses to the moon???  How silly.  What a waste of time.  Grown-ups need to move past the childish thoughts of magic.


But have you ever felt the warmth of the sun on your face so you automatically lifted your face up to enjoy the heat?  Have you ever buried your face in a bouquet of wild flowers to enjoy the sweet aroma?  Have you ever stepped onto the beach and felt life's stress just melting away?


Life is full of magic.  Life is full of silliness and lightness and wonder and joy.  The sheer majesty of the Alps...the sweetness of a child's laughter...the calmness of nature....the simple joys of friendship.  These are the things that will be our anchor when life isn't so fun or easy.  When illness knocks the wind from our sails or stress at work keeps us tense and irritable or the loss of a loved one breaks our spirit.  Or even when we quit smoking and everything we thought we knew about ourselves is suddenly yanked away.


Stay present and notice life even during the worst of times.  A gentle wind on your face, a friend who is silently walking with you, the calm blue sky, the release of stress as you take a walk can remind you that you are ok.  And when you get all wrapped up in just trying to get through each hour without falling apart, know in your heart that all the things you smile at and love are waiting for you on the other side of you not being ok. And if you remember to wink at the stars even when you hurt...if you remember to hug a loved one...if you remember to step outside to feel the sun on your probably love life as much as life loves you.  I hope you share your heart with others so that they, too, can begin to love life.


Don't regret being a smoker.  Instead, quit and begin living the life you've always been meant to live.  You can.  Life is waiting for you.....go enjoy.

~~Go easy on yourself today.  Whatever you do, let it be enough.~~  Unknown


I recently changed jobs again.  I was offered a chance to work with women in recovery and I couldn't pass up the opportunity so I left my other two jobs to take this one.  While I love my girls and love the challenges this job creates, it's a lot of paperwork   On top of that, my son is a senior so I have attended all of his band competitions including the ones he's had while I've had my three grandchildren...we all go!!  Plumbing problems in my home, a son who's been devastated with a short, life has been quite an adventure lately!  And you know what?  I never wished I had a cigarette.  Never thought "Whoa, I need to stop and smoke."


It gets easier.  Three little words but what power in them!!  Quitting gets easier.  And so very much better!!  Yes, it takes time...but time will pass anyway, right?  Yes, it takes strength....but look at all you've gotten through in life already.  You're still standing   Yes, it is challenging....but what you gain is so very much worth the challenges!!  Picture not looking for a place to smoke....picture not having to run anywhere to buy a pack....picture not having to get up after dinner to sneak off for a smoke....picture not feeling grumpy and irritable until you finally get to have that first drag.


So, whether you are breezing through your day or just taking baby steps...let that be enough.  If you need to deep breath every ten minutes, let that be enough.  If you feel shaky and fragile....let that be enough.  You are enough exactly how and where you are today.  A quitter.  Then maybe tomorrow will be even better.  Maybe later today you will forget about wanting a cigarette.  Maybe you will inspire someone else to quit or maybe you will crawl into bed tonight exhausted but still smoke free.  Let it be enough just for today.


Quitting is sometimes scary.  Quitting is sometimes a struggle.  Quitting is sometimes an emotional rollercoaster that you don't even want to ride much less enjoy.  But then there are the moments that make it all worthwhile.  The pride you feel in yourself, the money in your pocket, the confidence to face the day, the freedom you feel from addiction.  The life you now have that you would never have if you remained a smoker.....a life without the poisons, the stink, the chains.


So today, my friends, be easy on yourself.  You don't have to smile if you don't want to.  You don't have to struggle if it isn't in you.  You don't have to reach higher or go faster or be stoic.  Today, let you be enough wherever you are in your quit.  Time will pass and it gets easier.  And you deserve to simply be.  Today be easy on you.

~~In the end, we only regret the chances we did not take.~~  Unknown


We all know the risks of smoking.  Sometimes we even think about them as we puff away, hoping that those thoughts will be the magic we need to quit.  Then we get motivated to do a bit more...maybe discuss quitting with our loved ones or do some research about the best quitting methods.  And after awhile, we drift right back to it because....well, because it's what we know.  It's what we're comfortable with.  It's how we cope with life.  And so the cycle continues.


It only takes a moment for everything in life to change.  One moment that you never thought you'd truly have to consider, much less deal with.  That moment when you hear "It's cancer".  That moment when everything you've done in your life fades to nothingness as you contemplate your own death.  Those damn dreaded words that others have heard....but you truly never thought you would.  Devastated.  Destroyed.  Life changing in that very instant to something you have no control over and no idea how to navigate.


It's time to stop smoking, my friends.  It's time to stop playing Russian Roulette with our very lives.  It's time to stop NOT thinking about what we are putting into our bodies.  It's time to stop hoping we won't get sick.  It's time to stop thinking that it's no big deal and we can do what we want.  It's time to stop being controlled by a stick of paper filled with deadly chemicals and poisons.  It's time to stop thinking that just because it's legal, it's ok.


It's not ok to risk your life when you could quit instead.  It's not ok to have your loved ones watch you fade away from a smoking related illness when you could quit instead.  It's not ok to believe those addicted lies that you 'can't do it'.  It's not ok to wish for your want your reach for your quit, and then to give it away.  It's not ok to think you can't simply because you haven't yet.  It's not ok to think you aren't worth it. 


You are SOOOO worth it!!  You are valued and valuable and you deserve a smoke free life!!  We don't want to lose you.  Your loved ones don't want to lose you.  And if you quit smoking, you will no longer be damaging your body.  If you quit smoking, you have given yourself a better life.  If you quit smoking, you gain confidence to do other amazing things.  If you quit smoking, you break the cycle of addiction that has kept you chained to it for so long. 


It only takes a moment for your whole life to change before your very eyes forever.  You choose how you want that change to occur. 

~~Your body loves you, love it back.~~  Unknown


How amazing is it that our bodies work 24/7 and never give up on us?  They work to minimize the damage as we put poisons in them...they heal our broken bones....they keep us walking...they allow us to see, to hear, to touch, to smell....they work when we're sleeping and when we want to sleep and when we can't sleep....they do, in fact, love us.


And how do we love them back?  We withhold nutrients by not eating right.  We dehydrate it by not giving it enough water.  We push it to it's very limits as we don't get enough sleep, we don't know how to handle our stress or avoid it, and we poison it by smoking.  Smoking depletes the oxygen in our bodies....slowly suffocating our bodies cigarette by cigarette.


But there is good news.  Did you know that:

  • The large number of nicotine receptors in your brain will return to normal levels after about a month of being quit.
  • Stopping smoking will improve your night vision and help preserve your overall vision by stopping the damage that smoking does to your eyes.
  • Quitting can lower your blood pressure and heart rate almost immediately. Your risk of a heart attack declines within 24 hours.
  • Your blood will become thinner and less likely to form dangerous blood clots. Your heart will also have less work to do, because it will be able to move the blood around your body more easily.
  • . Within two weeks of quitting, you might notice it’s easier to walk up the stairs because you may be less short of breath.
  • Quitting smoking immediately is the best way to lower your risk of getting cancer.
  • When you quit smoking, your body will begin to heal from the injuries that smoking caused. Eventually, your white blood cell counts will return to normal and will no longer be on the defensive.
  • Quitting smoking will improve blood flow to wounds, allowing important nutrients, minerals, and oxygen to reach the wound and help it heal properly.


I got these facts from  But you can talk to people here and find out some of this same information.  I was amazed to notice that colors seemed brighter and more vivid....I could smell foods, nature, rain, people....I wasn't as cold....I slept better....and the list goes on!!


Back to your body, though.  Don't you think it's time to treat it right?  Don't you think it's time to make friends with it?  Don't you think it's time to say "Thank you" to it?  Don't hate it because you have high blood pressure.  Don't hate it because you gain weight.  Don't hate it because you can't breathe properly.  Chances are much of this you did to it, not the other way  around (although not always).  

Love your body.  It's the only place you have to live

~~Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.~~  Unknown


I do like spreading joy.  I like reminding you that you have worth in this world and that you matter.  I like to bring a smile to your heart and sunshine to your soul.  And most of all, I want you to feel some comfort...ease....with your quit no matter how many days you have behind you.


Not because I'm Mary Sunshine.  Not because I have a 'good' life.  Not even because I feel the joy and happiness I like to spread to others.


Quite the opposite, in fact.  My yesterday consisted of a mom explaining to me that she 'shot up' her meth because she didn't want to smoke it while her children were in the house.  And then she took her 'stuff' and hid it up high so that her children were in no danger.


I was told how one young mom graduated from rehab one day and the next was dead of a drug overdose.  Everyone was shocked because she 'was doing so well'.  


I had to list all the ways this other mother abused her children because she didn't see it.  She did not see herself as abusive even when she put a hatchet through her bathroom door.  She didn't see it when her son made friends with the rats in his room.  She didn't see it when her daughter had roaches crawling all over her as she slept on the floor.


This is the path I've chosen and this is the life I lead for right now.  It gets sad and depressing and ugly and hopeless.  But I do it.


I do it because I believe the world is a lovely place filled with hope and comfort and compassion and love.  I do it because people are inherently good no matter what their world tells them.  I do it because no one should feel alone in the world...ashamed of who they are....hopeless and helpless and crushed.  I do it because one voice can matter to the right person.  So I get up every day and try.


And I don't come here to tell you what addiction does to people simply because I'm mean.  And I don't come here to remind you that your addiction is no different that any other addiction because I'm mean.  And I don't come here to depress you or remind you that if you don't stop, you could die.


I come here making my own sunshine.  Because I want to believe in joy.  Because I care about you enough to try to say 'the right thing'.  Because I need the beauty of life to erase the sorrows of the day and this is one way I can do it.


So thank you, Exers.  Thank you for allowing me a voice.  Thank you for allowing me to make my sunshine.  Thank you for allowing me into your lives, if only for a moment.  You make a difference in my life.  You make it a bit brighter.  You leave hope and love.  And you matter to me.  Each and every one of you.  No matter if you smoke or if you serial quit or if you've been quit for 16 years.  You matter to me enough so that I can get up tomorrow and hear those sad stories and help those broken souls and not get sucked into their darkness as well.  I bring your light instead.


So thank you.

~~Give yourself time to be sad, frustrated, and angry.  Give yourself time to heal, accept, and to grow.  Time doesn't erase anything, but it can provide you with enough space to be able to breathe again.  And then one day you wake up and your heart has a little bit of sunshine in it.  And day by day people offer you pieces of their hearts to help remake your own.  Allow yourself to be where you are at, to feel what you are feeling, and to experience everything that means.  And during this process, look and listen for that glimmer of hope.  It is there, I promise.  And it is waiting for you to see it.  Because one of the most beautiful things about humans is their  capacity to heal, grow, and survive.  Facing it.  that is how you get through.~~  Jessica Jensen


It really doesn't matter, you know, whether you are angry that you have to quit smoking or sad that your partner cheated on you or frustrated that your boss is giving you a hard time.  Life events can hurt.  Changes can be uncomfortable.  Situations can take you by surprise and knock you down.


And, oh my gosh, it hurts, doesn't it?  The pain can take your breath away and leave you feeling totally exposed...all the pain, all the fear, all the shame....


The difference is that smoking used to be our 'go-to'.  When hurt, angry, sad, confused, we would simply retreat from the world with our 'best friend'...a lit cigarette....and the negatives would just melt away for a little while.  Later, we would feel like we could once again face a hard, cold world....until the next time we couldn't.


Now, though, we've quit smoking.  So every situation that leaves us angry....every event that is less than our stellar moment....every uncertainty and every frustration....has no place to go.  WE have no place to go.  No more hiding behind smoke.  No more disappearing with our 'go-to'.  No more making ourselves feel better with a hit of nicotine.


Scary, huh?  And unfamiliar, as most of us have smoked for most of our adult lives.  How can we cope?  How can we feel better?  How can we manage?


Moment by moment, of course.  Breathing through the craves, grieving for what you feel you have lost, feeling the uncertainty of how you can function without smoking.  Time doesn't erase things, but it will give you space.  Space to heal.  Space to grow.  Space to accept.  Don't rush through your quit, please.  Give yourself that time to grow into who you were always meant to be.


And one day, you will feel that glimmer of hope in your heart.  And one day you may hear that glimmer of hope throughout your day.  And then one day you will see it.  The fog will lift and the smoke will clear and there it will be.  Hope for your glorious smoke free life!!  Once you see it, you won't want to let it go.  And if you keep your eyes on that hope, your thoughts will turn towards it and your heart will reach for it and everything you thought you were losing will melt away as hope spreads, bringing with it happiness, love, acceptance.


Facing it is how you get through.  Because one of the most beautiful things about humans is their capacity to heal, grow, and survive.  This is true for you, as well.  Please just give yourself that grace of time.  

~~Alcoholism or addiction is a disease because it fits the definition of disease.  It is progressive and chronic, and left untreated, it will kill.~~  Unknown


I attended a walk for suicide prevention awareness today which was sponsored by a local mental health agency.  I was the only community member to attend....and it wasn't even my community.  I drove 35 miles to get there.  But I'm glad I went.  I walked because I have family members who struggle with dark thoughts and I have friends who have lost loved ones to suicide.


On the drive home, I got to thinking about the stigma of mental health.  Now if the heart is 'diseased', everyone nods and says "What medication are you on?"  If the kidneys are 'diseased', there is dialysis and meds.  There is insulin for a diseased pancreas...if the appendix is 'diseased', take it out.  All medical stuff and no one doubts.


When the brain is 'diseased', people recoil.  They whisper.  They say things like 'mental problems' and 'crazy'.  Keep in mind, my friends, that the brain is an organ in the body just like the heart and the kidneys and the pancreas.  The brain is an organ that misfunctions.  That misfunction means that the brain needs to be treated by medical professionals in the same way that the heart needs to be treated and the kidneys need to be treated and the pancreas needs to be treated.


Addiction is a disease of the brain, too.  When addiction occurs, the brain no longer functions properly.  It is in distress.  And when the brain doesn't function properly, things begin to happen to that person.  Thoughts become irrational (I will die without a cigarette!), other body parts begin to also misfunction (the blood pressure rises, headaches occur, jitters happen, anxiety appears), and the brain screams "Danger!!  Need drug to function!!"


If smoking were only a 'habit', you would get rid of it in 21 days.  Habits are formed or broken within 21 days and then within 90 days, new habits become second nature.  Habits do not cause you to break down, habits do not cause your blood pressure to rise, and habits don't make you feel like you're going crazy.  Do not beat yourself up because you can't 'break this habit'.  Understand that you are recovering from a disease.  Different, isn't it?  You need to give your brain time to heal.  You need to understand that your brain is not functioning like a healthy brain should.  You need to educate yourself on what you can do to help this journey you are on.  A few suggestions:


1.  Don't believe everything you think.  Again, because your brain is 'diseased', it is not firing those synopses like it should.  If you have ever thought things like "I will go crazy without a cigarette" or even "I can't make it through the day without one", your brain is misfunctioning, isn't it?  You will not go crazy if you don't smoke.  You can make it through the day without one and you certainly won't die if you don't have one.  All the rantings of an unhealthy brain.


2.  Understand that you have to go through the recovery process.  Not around it, not over it.  There are no magic cures, no miracle drugs, no easy outs.  Accept it, brace yourself, and just get through it one moment at a time.  Not every minute is going to be horrible.  Not every day will be filled with angst.  But there will be times that you may struggle.  Refer back to suggestion 1.  Don't believe you can't do this.


3.  While you are recovering, start new, healthy habits.  It will distract you and delight you.  Paint, learn yoga, take hikes, train for 5ks, learn to dance, get that college degree, make amends with your neighbors, volunteer, put yourself out there in the world.  It's been waiting for you.


4.  When elders say things like "It's so much better on the other side of smoking" and "I feel so free", understand that they are talking with HEALTHY brains!!  That poor organ has been through the wringer and is now better.  Healed, functioning as it should, and making our lives so very much better by it's clear thinking!!!  Elders aren't exaggerating or lying.....they are healing.


5.  It's hard, so hard, to get through the day with a brain that is diseased.  It gets tired, it doesn't know how to fix things, it needs help.  And because the brain is the start of all other processes like moving and feeling and understanding and reasoning, when you are in active addiction, you cannot be your best.  You just can't.  Even when you think you are.  You may be functioning fine....but take that cigarette away.  When you smoke, you are functioning towards that next cigarette, not towards anything else.  That, my friends, is the evils of addiction...even a legal one.


So I went for that walk today for suicide prevention.  And tomorrow I may sign up for another mental health gathering.  Because we need to break that stigma.  Mental health isn't all in your's also in your brain, which makes it a physical health condition as well.  Take good care of your body, please.  Even that brain which no one seems to think about.  


Sending all of you best wishes for a very healthy brain!!

~~Wherever you are in your life right now, just remember there is more for you, there is more to you.  There are days coming that are going to show you why it was important to hold on throughout all the dark times.  You are going to surprise yourself.  Life is going to surprise you in all the right ways.  Keep going, sunshine.  It will all fall into place eventually. And if it doesn't, let it fall by the way side.  It was never yours to carry in the first place.~~  S. C. Lourie


Changes are hard enough by themselves but when you quit smoking, change means recovering from an addiction that became part of your daily life.  Or, if you need prettier words, change means breaking a habit that you established 20...30...40 years ago and did 5....10....20 times a day.


Seems daunting, doesn't it?  That's why I don't recommend looking at it that way.  Instead, remember it will fall into place just think about today.  Right now.  This present moment.  And when you are in this present moment, remind yourself that there is so much more to you than being a slave to nicotine.  Remind yourself that there is more in this moment for you than putting poison into your body.   And with those reminders, keep going.


Life is going to surprise you in all the right ways, I promise.  If you keep going and your remind yourself that there is more for you than being chained to when that next cigarette with happen, life will surprise you. If you keep going and remind yourself that there is more to you than being addicted to a substance that kills your cells...your lungs...your will surprise yourself.  You will grow stronger.  You will last longer.  You will feel better.  Because it all falls into place eventually.


And all those 'reasons' to smoke?  They will fall by the wayside.  Because you will see so much more clearly that there is no reason to turn to cigarettes.  No problem that big, no stress that uncomfortable, no heartbreak that devastating that you need to cope with a cigarette.  All those excuses, all those false scenarios, all those potential disasters will fade into nothingness because you won't need them anymore...because you won't need smoking anymore.


Please don't overwhelm yourself with thinking about quitting as a HUGE burden you have to go through.  Think about it as something that just now, you don't need to do....because there is so much more to you than that.