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Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Blog

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~~I saw a lady in her 80's checking herself out in a mirror today.  She said, "Once I was young and beautiful.  Now I'm just beautiful."~~  SLAY


It isn't what I see in you that matters.  It isn't what your family hopes for.  It isn't what this site says you can be.  What matters most is how you see yourself.


So what do you see?  Possibilities?  Strength?  Hope?  Courage? 


Or do you see flaws?  Weakness?  Confusion?  Faults?


Just as that lady in her 80's sees beauty, what you see defines you.  So don't worry about what others see or what this site wants or what your family wishes for.....worry, instead, about what you see.  Because if you see anything less than incandescent perfection, you aren't seeing yourself clearly.  It's your flaws as well as your strengths that make you who you are and its your confusion as well as your clarity that gives you the courage to try.


Imperfectly perfect.  We all are.  We were born who we were meant to be, yet the years of others expectations....the trials of living...the hurts, the lessons....beat us down into something less than who we really are.  Smoking is one of those negative coping skills that allowed us to hide from a world we couldn't always face.


It's time, though, to get rid of that negative coping skill and face the world with all the grace, courage, and strength we have.  You do have it, you just have to look in that mirror and see it. 


So what do you see?


Life Has You

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Jun 15, 2019

~~The thing to remember when everything feels like too much or there's no way through, the thing to remember is that life wants you. It's all around us and inside.  It's in the changing seasons and your heartbeat.  Everywhere.  Life has you.  Always has.~~  Jacob Nordby



Funny thing about knows what it's doing.  We can fuss at it, dig in our heels...and yet it has it's way in the end.  Pointing us in the right direction, gently shoving us along when we lag behind, and generally making it utterly impossible for us to NOT do what we were always meant to do.


Quitting, in this case.  Once that thought gets in your know, the "I need to quit" lingers there.  We try to ignore it but it pokes at us relentlessly.  So we resentfully 'try' to quit.  Go back to smoking only to find that...darn it...something pulls us towards quitting again.  We fight it...we smoke...we quit...until BAM!!  Life has us.  And before you know it, you're celebrating your 6 year quit anniversary  


Life knows our path and it sets us on our journey.  When we waiver, when we will nudge us.  When we plant our feet and say "NO!", life laughs and simply continues to get in our way. 


We were never meant to be nicotine addicts.  We were never meant to smoke.  Life knows that and once we know stays in the way of ever really enjoying puffing on a cigarette again. 


So let life take you.  Let life guide you and let life fill you with all the good it has to offer.  You aren't losing a thing by quitting.  But you are

~~If the universe didn't need you, you wouldn't be here.~~  Unknown


In the midst of heartbreak, people turn back to smoking to cope.  In the middle of agony, they pause and light up.  No hesitation.  No second thoughts.  Just mindless chemically produced relaxation for a few precious moments.

Or so say a mom and dad who visit their little guy at my center.  Their parental rights had been terminated on their other children...during that time she got pregnant...the state came and took this child as well.

And so they smoke.  They say they have nothing anyway so why not?  It produces a few minutes of not thinking in a world that is too painful to think about. 

What am I supposed to say?  I recognize this mother's agony.  I see the hopelessness in this father's eyes.  There is nothing to say.  They won't get this baby back.  I told them that I don't know why life happens the way it does.  It can be unfair, it can be devastating, it can be painful.  But you are here for a reason.  You are here because God needs you to carry out His mission.  You are here.  And you need to be aware of your purpose and move towards it.  Maybe you need to help out your children when they come back home years from now.  Maybe you need to help other parents get through their pain.  But whatever your purpose, you will be unable to do it to the best of your ability if you are once again addicted to nicotine.  Please treat yourself better than that.

That's all I knew to say.  No answers....I never seem to have any answers.  But I do know that smoking through your pain isn't the best way to cope.  Do I understand it?  Yes.  But I know that smoking leads down a road full of illness, isolation, selfishness that comes from addiction...well, we all know, don't we?

I can't ease their pain.  I can't do anything about their journey at all.  But I walk it a bit with them.  I listen.  And I remind them that if the universe didn't need them, they wouldn't be here. 

The mother didn't smoke today. 

Thinking of smoking?  Walk with me instead and tell me why you hurt so much that you would lose your quit.....


You Can

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Jun 13, 2019

~~Your faith can move mountains, your doubts can create them.~~  Unknown


So I was teaching my students math this week when one said, "I just can't do it."  Several more then chimed in about how they couldn't 'do' math, either.  It was too hard, they were too dumb....and the snowball rolled. I listened for over 15 minutes as they spewed how stupid math was and it was unfair to think they could understand it after taking so many drugs over the years (yes, they did go there).  And then I just asked one simple question "What can you do in math?"


I pointed out they could add and subtract fractions with different denominators.  I reminded them they could find the slope of a line....the volume of a cube...they could use F.O.I.L......they could find simple interest.  I reminded them how we had laughed as they worked polynomials on the board while those who looked into the classroom had no idea of what they were doing while my students understood it.

Just like my students, I will ask you...what can you do?  Stop thinking "I can't quit".  Stop thinking "I'm too stressed", "Too hard", "No support".  And start somewhere else.  What can you do?

You can get educated about addiction....because if you can't quit smoking, you are, in fact, addicted.

You can build a support system...both here and out in the world.  Join a cessation class, join a gym, talk to your family, ask friends for support.  You will do much better if you have someone on your side

You can research NRTs.  You can talk with your doctor.  You can explore your options.  You can build a strong, solid quit with all those things you CAN do.

As with my students who now think they can do some math, you will start thinking you can do some things to help you quit.  The more things you do, the easier the actual quit will be.  And no, I'm not saying you won't have some hard times.  I'm saying you will get through those hard times knowing  you 'can'.

Doubts build moves them out of your way.  You can.

~~I love when people who have been through hell walk out of the flames carrying buckets of water for those still consumed by the fire.~~  Stephanie Sparkles


While quitting can make you feel like you are consumed by the fire, there are soooo many wonderful survivors of hell who carry those buckets of water towards you!!  Please pay attention when they pay attention to you   They've been there.  They know.  They understand.  And if they don't, they will ask questions until they do understand.


You are never alone in your journey even though you are the quitter.  Your choices, your decisions, your path.  But those who have forged the way have not forgotten what it's like to start the journey.  They lag behind, holding out hands for you, walking beside you, and lifting up obstacles so you don't trip over them.  There are here early morning, they are here during the day, they are here late at night.  Just paying attention.  Distracting you from the heat.  Encouraging you every step of the way.


Some are compassionate.  Some are no nonsense.  Some are fighting battles you will never hear about.  Kindness is never be kind.  Ask questions.  Wonder.  Share.  Offer.  Shine your own light.  And know, please know, that these people...some called 'elders', others who will be....are here for YOU.  They have your back and they light your way.  

Heroes.  Warriors.  Healers.  Nurturers.  And their only purpose is to help you quit.  Wow.  How magnificent is that?

~~Learning to believe in yourself won't always be easy.  There's no simple cure to self-doubt--that voice inside you that says "I will never be good enough."  That is why you should take care of your doubt--hold its hand in the rain and remind it that you are a human being and it's okay for you not to be perfect.  It's okay for you to take longer than others.  It's okay for you to fail, it's okay for you to learn and it's okay for you to try again.~~  Juansen Dizon, Be Your Own Kind of Magic


Addiction is sneaky, people.  It lies and it preys on your weaknesses.  It knows your secret fears...your unspoken doubts....your overwhelming worries.  Because all these things go around and around in your head as you try to shield yourself from a world that can be challenging by smoking.


So if you are doubting you can quit, don't.  If you are doubting your strength to quit, don't.  If you are doubting your ability to live smoke free, don't.  Don't believe those nagging little whispers that 'you can't', 'you can't', 'you can't'. 


Battling your own mind, however,  can be exhausting...and futile.  How about trying to make friends with your doubts instead?  How about taking care of them?  How about making peace with those sides of you that are less than perfect? 


While your addictive brain exploits your doubts, you yourself can accept them.  So you are afraid of change?  That's ok.  It's not anything to be ashamed of, right?  So you have some secret shame that stops you from really living?  Nurture that part of you....take good care of the broken parts can heal, even if they heal crookedly.  Scars are proof that you are stronger than your open wounds.  Allow them to close by simply loving them.  You failed at quitting before?  That's ok.  You haven't lost, only regrouped.  You aren't supposed to be perfect...just human.  And as humans, we have flaws as well as skills, faults as well as virtues.  But that doesn't make us 'bad' or 'unworthy'.  It makes 


Yet, addiction will tell you that you aren't good enough to quit.  Addiction will slyly bring all your doubts to the surface until you run back and hide behind that cloud of smoke you've called safety for so long.  Addiction lies.  Addiction exploits.  Addiction finds excuses.


If you make friends with your doubts....if you love your wounds....if you are okay with those flaws and faults...addiction will lose.  It won't have anything to use against you.  It loses its power. 


And you gain life.  You gain your place in this world.  You learn that you've always been just needed to remember that. 

~~When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here.  They are no accidents and those moments weren't in vain.  You are not the same.  You have grown and you are growing.  You are breathing, you are living.  You are wrapped in endless, boundless grace and things WILL get better.  There is more to you than yesterday.~~ Morgan Harper Nichols


You may be finding it hard to quit smoking.  Every time you 'think' you've quit, it's only lasted for a few weeks or fewer days.  You think you're letting people down who have supported you and encouraged you and shown you how to quit.  You think no one understands what you're going through.....because, maybe, you don't understand what you're going through.  You don't understand why others seem to quit so beautifully while you struggle each and every day until you simply can't do it anymore.  You return to smoking but promise yourself you will quit again....when you are ready.


These moments you are experiencing with your quit are not in vain....because they've changed you.  You've grown without even realizing it.  An awareness has entered your mind, your heart, and maybe even your very soul and opened up possibilities that you didn't even know were there when you were a smoker.


You may still be smoking, but think about all you know now.  That there is a world out there for you that doesn't involve being chained to a habit that is harming you.  You have endless support here from people who were where you are right now.  You know quitting is possible.  All of this information has changed you in a subtle yet undeniable way.  Because now you can't go back to smoking without the nagging thought of "I need to quit this" or even "I shouldn't be smoking".


You, my friend, truly are wrapped in endless, boundless grace.  And that means that your time WILL come.  You will have your 'ah-ha' moment when the door to quitting is simply there and you can walk through...easily and readily.  That won't mean that there won't be struggles....but it does mean that you won't go back to smoking.  Quitting is not going back no matter what's happening in your life.  That's all.  You won't smoke.  


There is more to you than yesterday and that more will keep growing.  Have faith that quitting will happen....that you will MAKE it the exact right time you are supposed to quit.  The rest?  The slips, the relapse, the hesitations?  They are the things that change you....they are the moments that aren't in vain...they are how you grow.


So be kind to yourself, please.  And rather than battling your thoughts and hating your actions, love that growth and nurture the possibilities that are within you.  Feel better about who you are and what you are capable of doing.  You will get there.


I say prayers for us.  For the elders to always love their quits, for the new quitters to hang in there one day at a time, for the smokers to remember there is more to you than yesterday.  You are all remarkable.

~~Don't live the same day for 75 years and call it a life.~~  Robin S. Sharma


It's safe, isn't it, to stay in what you know.  Your work schedule, dinner with family, maybe a vacation every now and then.  Routine is comforting and we feel in control of our lives.  


Yet.....did you know that if we stop learning, we start dying?  Maybe that is due in part to our smoking because heaven knows that is where we are comfortable.  Maybe it's partly due to the fear of starting something new.  Something different.  Maybe we've been 'burned' in the past and have retreated into the safety of our comfortably boring daily routine.  When routine makes you live automatically instead of actively, life kinda leaves you behind.


Quitting screams "Danger!! Danger!!".  How do we live without that first smoke in the morning?  How do we stay in routine when our whole routine circled around our next cigarette?  What do we do when we lose control of our habits?


I started by giving up.  Oh, my gosh, I was soooooo tired of starting and stopping my quits.  I was tired of centering my whole life around cigarettes....smoking them and then trying to not smoke them.  So I gave up.  I laid down and said, "Addiction, do your worst.  I'm not going to play anymore."  I didn't see it as 'surrendering' to my quit at the time.  I saw it as giving up fighting my addiction.  I was ready for it to actually materialize and kill me because I didn't want to do this anymore.


Of course, the worst never came.  Not when I was lying in bed, craving a cigarette to the point I was crying.  Ultimately, I fell asleep and forgot that crave.  Not when I was stressed to the point of physically tensing up and wanting to scream.  I learned deep breathing really did help with stress so I turned to that.  Not when I woke in the morning wanting that first cigarette....I chose to wake up late so that I had to get the kids off to school and me off to work.  I didn't have time to remember I wanted to smoke.


I turned to yoga, I turned to deep breathing, I turned to exploring who I was.  It was a gradual process but one I took an interest in.  My giving up morphed into recovery and I didn't even see it coming.  And asking addiction to do its worst?  The worst never came.  I didn't go crazy, I didn't die, I didn't even make a fool out of myself as I learned to deal with my emotions.  Instead.....the best of my life began.  And now every day is something new or different or delightful.  Even in bad days, there is good as well.  And I'm so grateful each and every day that I quit...that I am who I am....that life itself loves me.


I am not living the same day anymore.  I continue to change, to grow, to learn.  You can't do that fully when you smoke because smoking will always pull you back.  


Call it giving up.  Call it surrendering.  Call it quitting.  Whatever you need to call it to stop the cycle of addiction from killing you.  Life truly is waiting for yourself to live it.

~~Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight.~~  Judy Belmont


The packaging on cigarettes has always warned us of possible consequences.  I remember reading the 'warning' as a teenager.  Of course I didn't understand all the probable repercussions of smoking back then.  Teenagers are invincible, right?  And as I got older and the consequences of smoking were more prominent as tobacco companies were being sued, I began to better understand the dangers of smoking.


But I still smoked.  For years.  And most of us did.  It wasn't because we wanted to tempt fate.  We weren't thumbing our noses at COPD.  We didn't dare cancer to come get us.  We were addicted.


That is it.  Simply and truly.  We were addicted.  And addiction addles the brain.  We cannot think rationally and fully about consequences because our brains were wired to only think of that next cigarette.  Now I'm not excusing our behaviors.  I'm not trying to justify or rationalize our behaviors.


But I am trying to put it in perspective.


We do not deserve death because we smoked.  We should not suffer silently because we 'did it to ourselves'.  We should not accept illness as our punishment. 


Unintended consequences.  Unintentional.  We did not smoke to get COPD.  We did not smoke to be diagnosed with cancer.  We did not mean to become ill.  So while we take responsibility for these illnesses, we also have to remember that addiction itself altered our brain chemistry in such a way that the consequences of our actions were lost in the overwhelming need for nicotine. 


It's time to forgive ourselves....not for not knowing, because we all did in a superficial way....for getting caught up in the sickness of addiction.  It's time to forgive ourselves for putting our health and the health of our loved ones at risk.  It's time to heal our hearts, our spirits, our souls.  It's time to walk away from regrets, from guilt, from sorrow for what we did.


We deal with the consequences each and every day.  Labored breathing.  Weakened bodies.  Fear of illness.  But we can deal with those consequences better if we leave the negative remnants of smoking behind us.  We did what we did.  But we face tomorrow with courage...with strength...with hope.  


For OldBones-Larry, for Thomas3.20.2010, for jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007 and for all of us who are dealing with health issues due to smoking.....I hope you have forgiveness yourself for being less than perfect.  I hope you know that you DO NOT deserve your diagnosis.  I hope you know that you are prayed for daily and loved beyond measure.  And I hope you know that you are  not in this alone.  We will walk with you, we will hear you, and we will hold your hand through all of this.  We don't know what tomorrow brings but we do know that it won't involve addiction any longer.


Check Yourself

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 May 18, 2019

~~Check  yourself.  Sometimes you are the toxic person.  Sometimes you are the mean, negative person you're looking to push away.  Sometimes the problem is you.  And that doesn't make you less worthy.  Keep on growing.  Keep on checking yourself.  Keep on motivating yourself.  Mistakes are opportunities.  Look at them, own them, grow from them and move on.  Do better, be better.  You're human.  It's okay.~~  Vin (The Winds Journal)


I like this quote.  It reminds me to check myself and be aware of where my heart is at.  Am I trying to understand another person or am I so frustrated that I'm being mean?  And I don't mean 'mean' in a blatant, obvious way because I'm not like that.  But I can insist on pushing my point home, I can decide the other person is simply know, that kind of mean.


Sometimes I find that I'm not the one being mean.  The other person is in their own toxic moment and I can step away feeling ok about myself.  But I always try to check myself first just to make sure I'm centered and balanced.


Quitting smoking can bring out the worst in us.  Most of us never really wanted to quit to begin with (addiction talking, by the way).  But the resentment, the resistance, the opposition to our quits can turn us into people we don't even recognize.  And once we do, we run back to smoking with relief.....a reason to quit on our quits. 


One way to keep that precious quit is to understand that mistakes are opportunities for growth.  Were you mean?  Figure out why, apologize, and move on with greater knowledge.  Are you toxic to be around?  Again, figure out why.  Decide you don't like your thoughts, behaviors, ideas....and do better.  Be better. Being human is natural, being toxic is optional.  You don't have to be that way.  And you don't have to smoke to 'unbe' that way.  


We're human.  We make mistakes.  We can be the problem.  We can be negative, toxic, mean.  It's ok.  Whether or not others forgive you or not, it's ok.  Because as long as you learn from your long as you own them, grow from will do better and be better.


Don't allow addiction to talk you out of your quit.  Don't allow bad behavior to be the reason you go back to smoking.  Because it will do  it to you time and time again if you allow it to.  Check yourself.  Learn.  Grow.  Forgive.  Move on.  That's what being human is all about

~~I didn't even know I was addicted until I tried to stop.~~  Unknown


Finding your quit difficult?  Finding yourself stressed, anxious?  Finding it difficult to get through your day without crying, getting angry?  Feeling tired? 


All parts of the thing called "addiction".  Addiction isn't over when you quit smoking, you know.  In fact, quitting brings your addiction out full force.  And it doesn't fight pretty.  It will lie to you, get you to doubt yourself AND everyone else, and beat your body down, your mind down, and your spirit down.


You need to know this.  You need to truly understand that addiction is a battle you can't have to surrender to.  Battling only makes addiction stronger.  Surrendering lets it go.


Even if you don't battle your addiction, saying things like "I feel like I'm missing my best friend" is nurturing it.  Thinking that you would rather smoke than be so angry all the time is nurturing it.  Believing that your pain is so great you need to get away from it is nurturing it.  Turning away from the freedom you have had for 30+ days is nurturing it.  "Slipping" is nurturing it.


As much as you need to understand addiction, you also need to recognize that when you nurture it, it also grows.  When you are resentful of your quit, it grows.  When you hate the discomfort of your quit, it grows.


Surrendering to your addiction weakens it.  That doesn't mean you smoke, it means you understand that you can't EVER smoke because one will never be enough.  It doesn't mean that you try maybe in a month or two, it means that your quit needs to be nurtured each and every moment.  It doesn't mean that you go back to smoking, it means that you look forward to a life without smoking.  We will always be addicted, we just refuse to feed it anymore.


And nurturing our addiction needs to stop.  We have not lost our best friend, we lost a killer.  We do not need to smoke to manage stress, we need to manage stress.  Stop babying your addiction and start babying and nurturing your quit.  It will keep you alive.


I often say that we can't believe everything we think.  Because our brains search for what they are used to....and in addiction, they are used to nicotine.  We need to rewire it.  That takes time, effort, and intelligence.  Choose wisely the thoughts you invest in.  It could be the difference between life and death. 

~~Fitness isn't a punishment; it's a blessing.  Nutrition isn't restrictive; it's healing.  Health isn't a one-size-fits-all thing and may not look the same for everyone, but it is something worth fighting for.~~  Festini Fitness


~~Exercise is a celebration of what you can do, not a punishment for what you ate.~~  Unknown


Why is it, do you think, that when we deprive ourselves of something we want....even if it's not good for us...we see it as a punishment.  We resent that we 'have to' exercise for our hearts.  We hate that we can't have that slab of chocolate cake for dessert.  We move grudgingly into better health, missing that after dinner drink, that first morning cigarette, that extra bread with dinner.


Addiction, whether it's to nicotine or food or alcohol or street drugs or pharmaceuticals, makes our brains feel so good that when we take the addiction out of our lives, we feel deprived.  Cheated.  Resentful. 


But in reality?  Your body needs to be free of addiction so that you can call it home for a long, long time.  It needs to be rid of chemicals that kill it's needs to be free from those chemicals that make it sluggish and unresponsive.  It needs to breathe cleanly.  It needs to be light enough to move you through 24 hours every single day for the rest of your life.


And when you take good care of yourself?  Your body moves better, breathes better, recovers better, is happier, is healthier, is....finally....being allowed to do what it is made to do.  Keep you alive.


Quitting smoking?  What a joy!!  What a celebration of life!!  It's a marvelous, wondrous, miraculous gift you are giving yourself   It's something to look forward to.  It's something to get excited about.  It's something to be happy about.  You are giving yourself a chance to live a better life. 


I can't tell you to not be resentful.  I can't tell you to not be angry or depressed about your quit.  It's your choice to go into your quit anyway you want to.  But I can say with 100% certainty that you are doing a great thing for yourself!!  I can say with 100% certainty that your body needs you to quit so it can live.  I can say with 100% certainty that you will never regret quitting.  In fact, you will thank yourself for the rest of your life  

~~I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not.  The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.~~  Robin Williams


It's not just Mother's Day.  It can be a birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Holidays mean family....and sometimes dysfunction, thoughtlessness, unkindness...emotional pain.  Oh, my goodness it can hurt so much to think you aren't worthy of their time or their love.  When you know there must be something wrong with you because those who are supposed to love you unconditionally find nothing but fault in who you are.


Of course you are going to feel it and of course it is a devastating, debilitating pain that simply cuts us down and leaves us breathless.  And while normally we get on with our lives, its the holidays that bring reminders that we aren't good enough, that we are flawed somehow, and our family whom we would move the world for has once again dismissed us.


We used to smoke through the least I did.  It was a self-fulfilling prophesy in a way.  I was punishing myself because I wasn't 'good enough' to fit in with my family. 


But then something shifted when I quit smoking.  Part of my quit involved learning to love flaws and faults as well as my talents and skills.  I learned how valuable I was as just me and I learned to like who I was.  In fact, I liked myself so much I refused to feel worthless anymore.  I started speaking up for myself and that included saying things like, "That was harsh.  I would never talk to you that way and I don't like it when you talk to me that way" or "I know you wouldn't call me to thank me for the Mother's Day gift but I wanted to make sure you got it.  It makes me feel good to treat you well."


I can't change how people treat me....that is a reflection of who they are.  But I can change how I respond, I can change how I think about what they say or do, and I can let them know how I feel about how they treat me.  Some now treat me better.  Some leave me totally alone.  And some have smiled and said, "What took you so long, Sheri?  You have come into your own."


No one will ever be able to make me smoke.  No one will ever make me feel worthless.  They can still hurt my feelings, of course, but I will tell them so and then I will love myself better again. 


To Nancy and Colleen and Annette and all those lovely people who are hurting today, I am so sorry for your pain.  I get it.  I hate it for you.  And you do not deserve it at all.  You truly deserve all the good and the light and the beauty that this world has to give.  Maybe this is why you are so good and compassionate and empathic and gentle with others...because you know what it's like to feel less than. 


My heart goes out to you.  I know you won't smoke but I hope you also won't punish yourself by not shopping or not treating yourself kindly or by not allowing yourself love.  You deserve it all.  You really, really do. 


I Hesitated

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 May 9, 2019

~~Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences.  No good is ever done in this world by hesitation.~~  Thomas Huxley


So I was reading blogs like I enjoy doing and someone was stressed while wanting to quit smoking.  Of course, being the wonderful ex community it is, several lovely people jumped right in to welcome the new Exer and offer support.


I hesitated.  I didn't mean to.  I am good at making people feel welcome 99% of the time.  I have experience, I know what I'm doing, and I love doing it.  But I hesitated.  What if.....


  • what if I sounded indifferent
  • what if I sounded self-righteous
  • what if I sounded like judgmental


I am human....excruciatingly human.  When someone jabs me with their idea of me over and over again, it hurts.  It leads me not to wonder if they are right....I know they are not....but it leads me to wonder if others are seeing me that way to.  Because social media doesn't show faces....because social media isn't conducive to good communication...because we often don't know how we appear to others.  


This is me at my worst.  Self-doubting.  I'm also tired, overworked, and busy so I know I'm not thinking as clearly as I should.  


But I know this is a quit smoking site....the BEST in the business!!  And that's what we should focus on.  Since I am hesitant right now, I believe it's time to take a break, rejuvenate, and not stir up anything but happy thoughts and contented quits


To that new Exer who is stressed, may you learn how to take one step at a time into a world filled with self-love and glorious peace.  To the other new quitters who face their own self-doubts and fears, quitting is the opposite of all those negative emotions.  Keep your face to the sun and its warmth will remind you that you can, in fact, quit.  


And to the elders who keep the site filled with magic, God smiles at you and nods His head in approval.  You give with love.  Thank you  

~~Every story has an end.~~  Unknown


A few months ago, I agreed to write a post about Donna and tell you all her story.  I couldn't do it.  The words weren't there and they wouldn't come so I just put it off.  The words still aren't quite there but I do understand the importance of what she wanted to say so please forgive me if this is a bit disjointed or confusing.


Donna was one of those smokers who liked to smoke.  We used to smoke together back when I also smoked.  I quit and she didn't want to hear why or how or how I felt being a non-smoker.  She teased me about being a "Debbie Downer" when she would light up around me.  Eventually she didn't smoke when I was around but was not thinking about quitting, she just said she didn't want to give me a chance to change her mind.


I don't think I could have changed her mind.  Smoking is an individual choice...or maybe not a choice, I don't really know the name for it.  Anyway, she told her kids she enjoyed smoking and didn't want to quit.  She told her grandchildren they shouldn't smoke or they would end up looking as old as she did.  She told her doctor she wasn't interested in medicines or patches or treatment for her 'addiction'.


About two months before she died, she came to me to discuss something.  She was tearful and angry and lost.  She said her son told her that he was mad at her because she chose smoking over them.  He said that she knew smoking could kill her and she chose to risk death over quitting to be with her family.  And rather than deny it or explain it, she looked at me and asked, "Did I do that?"


I could have talked about addiction or dependencies or neurotransmitters or any of the other things that smoking is linked to.  It's often my way of staying away from emotion while helping them find their answers.  But this was Donna.  My dear friend.   I pointed out the numerous ways she showed her children she loved them.  Because I truly know she did.  And then she said something unexpected and stunning.  "Sheri, I don't know why you always point out the good in stuff, but just stop.  This isn't anything good and you know it."


Smoking killed her.  And it killed her even before she took her last breath.  Because she lost hope, she had tons of regrets, and she retreated even more into herself....just as she did when she smoked.


She asked me to come her and write a post about her.  About her children thinking she chose smoking over them.  About her dying.  About how her love of smoking finally took everything from her.  And so I am writing that post.  And I am not being positive, am not pointing out the good stuff, and not trying to teach any lessons here.  I am just telling you about what she wanted people to know.


And she wanted people to know that her love of smoking took everything away from her...even her life.  She left a hole in the universe that no one can fill.  One less light.  One less heart.  A tremendous amount of grief and suffering for those she left behind.  


Every story has an end.  She didn't get to chose her ending.  And that, I think, is the saddest part of all.