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2018
Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Quit By Doing

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 31, 2018

~~Well done is better than well said.~~  Benjamin Franklin

 

While I believe in the power of words, I do so because words can motivate, inspire, and simply touch hearts.  But a quote from someone is never as powerful as watching that someone in action.  Mother Teresa touched more souls with her presence that with her words.  Her healing touch was felt by many.  Michael Jordan inspires many with his words but it was his presence and actions on the court that showed who he truly was.  

Same with quitters.  You can recite all the correct information, you can demonstrate a verbal knowledge of all the reasons why you should quit, and you can even share your life story as a perfect example of your need to quit.  But it is in your actions where your quit will happen.  When you breathe deeply through stress rather than smoke, you will remain a quitter.  When you do yoga in the morning rather than smoke, you will remain a quitter.  When you paint your anxiety away rather than smoke, you will remain a quitter.  When your actions demonstrate your ability to cope with life rather than smoking through it, you will remain a quitter.

Because well done is ALWAYS better than well said.  My quit is solid because of my actions, not my posts, not my quotes, and not my talk.  The elders here have used and continue to use actions to maintain their quit.  We create, we discover, we explore, we experiment...in other words, we 'do'.  Quitting is not an event, it is not a one time decision.  It is not a wish or a hope or a future endeavor.  Quitting is a process and an active one at that  

So...get active!!  Take charge by doing!!  Your quit is waiting for you and you need to own it, nurture it, and strengthen it.  Those things can only be done through actions.  Then, please, come here and tell us how you're doing and what you're doing so we can say, "Well done!!"  

 

Sheri

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I Did It!!

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 29, 2018

~~When you have something good, you don't play with it.  You don't take chances with it.  You don't take risks with it.  When you have something good, you give it every single thing you can.  Because when you take care of something good, that something good takes care of you.~~  Unknown

 

 

I was so very relieved and excited to hear that I got the job I applied for!!  It's a second job so it's only about 15 hours a week but the pay is so good I may be able to save my car AND pay off Jake's bass trombone.  And, secretly, I'm pleased because I'm not too old for anyone to hire me and I did worry about that.

 

So why that particular quote on top?  Because that something good is....us.  By quitting smoking, by getting healthier, by taking good care of ourselves, our bodies, spirits, and souls will take good care of us.  I can't even begin to tell you how true I believe it to be!!  I'm so pleased with myself for not shying away from getting a second job.  I'm pleased that my yoga keeps me fit, focused, and strong.  And I'm especially pleased to know that rather than relying on others to 'fix things' for me, I handle things.  I fix them.  It's a really good feeling after years of thinking I couldn't handle anything.

 

I'm so far from perfect it's not funny.  I have bad flaws.  I don't have all the answers.  I cry.  I feel vulnerable.  I am alone.  But I am so much in love with my life that all those things...well....I handle them. 

 

I hope for each of you here that you realize how good you are and that you feel the satisfaction that comes with handling things.  Knowing that you've got this.  Feeling a kind of joyous peace that comes from knowing yourself and really, really liking who you are.

 

Ok, enough   I just wanted to share my excitement of getting the job and being able to financially seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  Thanks for listening.  Really.  I appreciate you  

 

Sheri

~~Only those who care about you can hear you when you're quiet.~~  Unknown

 

I know sometimes you think some of us are unfeeling.  That we talk down to you.  That we feel 'superior' or 'cold'.  And sometimes you even wish that we wouldn't respond to your posts because you feel bad enough without our input.

 

Please know that nothing is further from the truth!!  First of all, remember that words on a screen can be interpreted by different people in different ways.  They are words.  Sometimes you simply read them in the way they weren't intended.

My suggestion there would be to message whomever wrote it and ask for clarification.  Please don't assume the worse because.....

We wouldn't be here if we didn't care.  Each and every one of us have been there.  The knowledge that we must quit sooner or later.  The dread of thinking we can't have that next cigarette.  The fear of failing that first day.  We've felt everything you've felt...and then some.  Every quitter is unique and some of us take emotions to a new level   I've always been extremely emotional and I recognize that...those who love me accept it.

 

We want you to succeed.  We do!  We also want addiction to lose another victim.  We want big tobacco to lose money.  We want you to know that there are people in the world who support you no matter where you are in your quit!!

 

But it doesn't matter what we want, really,  It's all up to you.  You don't have to believe us.  You don't have to listen to us.  You don't have to trust that we want the best for you.  But I will continue to support you anyway   Silently if I need to. 

 

Lastly, please know that even when I'm not here , I wonder how you're doing.  I send a silent prayer your way.  I hope you're doing ok.  Because you aren't just a name on the screen for me....you are a human being capable of doing remarkable things in life!  So I wonder, pray, and hope for you  

 

I can't speak for everyone.  I don't speak for everyone.  But I know others here care.  If they take the time to respond to your post, they are showing they care.  If they ask about you, they are showing they care.  If they send you a message or write about you or comment to you, they are showing you they care.

 

So please don't think people talk down to you or are harsh in their comments.  If they didn't care, they wouldn't respond at all.  So know, please know!, that you matter to people here.  You are important and we care  

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

You Are Magic

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 28, 2018

~~At any given moment, you have the power to say, "This is not how my story will end."~~  Unknown

 

You may not think so.  You may feel helpless and out of control.  You may believe that addiction is stronger than you are.  You may not feel like you have any choice when it comes to smoking.

 

But you are wrong.

 

There, I've said it.  I'm also going to say that it's your choice whether to continue smoking or deciding to quit.  It's not something you want to hear, I know.  You may be calling me all sorts of nasty names right now.  Believe me, I've been called worse and it doesn't hurt my feelings much   But I think sometimes you need to be reminded of the truth and the simple truth is that you can choose whether to continue smoking or not.

 

Millions of people have quit.  They are no smarter than you.  They have ups and downs in life just like you.  They even may have quit 100 times before they got it right....but they got it right.  And so can you.

 

Because underneath the addiction is you.  Your strength, your integrity, your courage, your wisdom.  You have everything you need to successfully quit within you.  You can choose to use it or you can choose to smoke.  But please believe that you can quit if you decide to.

 

It may be hard, but you can do it.  It may take time, but you can do it.  It may be scary, but you can do it.  It may have its struggles, but you can do it.  You aren't any less than anyone here or anyone out in the world who has quit.  You have the capability.  You just need to believe it.

 

There is so much courage and strength and beauty all bottled up inside you just waiting for your nod of "Let's do this"!  Allow all that good in your to work the magic that is you!!  You can quit successfully if you choose to.  I guarantee it.  But I also guarantee that when you fail to keep your quit, it's because you want to smoke.  It's not the scary nicodemon, it's not the stress, it's not any flaw in your genetic makeup, it's you doing what an addict does.  But the choice is still yours.

 

Truth and honesty are vital, I think, for recovery.  So take this post not as I'm mean or cold hearted, but that I know what's inside of you and I know you have all that you need to say "This is not how my story will end".  You are soooo much more than a smoker!!  You are magic  

 

Sheri

~~Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.  There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, or days.  All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.

  Your wealth, fame, and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.  It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.  You grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear. 

So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.  The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away. 

It won't matter where you came from.  It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant.  Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.  So what will matter?

What will matter is not what you bought, but what you build. 

Not what you got but what you gave. 

What will matter is not your success but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught. 

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered, or encouraged others to emulate your example. 

What will matter is not your competence, but your character. 

What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone. 

What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live on in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.  It happens by choice.~~  Unknown

 

Life happens by choice.  Choose wisely and choose well.

 

Sheri

~~Change can be hard.  It requires no extra effort to settle for the same old thing.  Auto-pilot keeps us locked into past patterns.  But transforming your life?  That requires courage, commitment, and effort.  It's tempting to stay camped in the zone of That's-Just-How-It-Is.  But to get to the really good stuff in life, you have to be willing to become an explorer and adventurer.~~  John Mark Green

 

If you decide to quit, gather your courage, honor your commitment, and make the effort to change.  Does it sound too easy?  Read that first sentence again....'change can be hard'.  Shaking up your auto pilot routine....exploring new actions...becoming an adventurer rather than a couch sitter....finding the truly good stuff in life.

 

Because there is no good in smoking.  It ruins you.  Not just your looks or your health but it ruins who you are as a person.  There is no pride in smoking.  No satisfaction in yourself.  No strength in the decision to smoke.  There is only addiction that needs to fed over and over and over again with no end ever. 

 

Quitting takes so much effort.  It takes movement and a different way of thinking.  It takes time and patience and a gentle awareness of how you are feeling and what you need to continue.  It takes courage and strength and acceptance and hope.  Most of all, quitting takes commitment.  100%.  When you quit, you close the door to smoking forever.  And once you realize that smoking is no longer an option, you really will find the good stuff in life.  It's there, waiting for you to notice  

 

Sheri 

~~Which part of my awesomeness do I want to pull out today?~~  Seran

 

How about letting today be the day you choose to be your awesome self.   Will you be creative?  Funny?  Kind?  Quirky?  Silly?  Charming?  Glamorous?  Expensive?

 

Pull out that awesome part of you and let it shine   Don't be afraid anymore.  Don't be shy.  Don't be embarrassed.  You've held yourself back long enough.  Much of your awesomeness was buried behind years and years and years of smoking....and now it's time to peel away those layers to be the you that you were always meant to be.

 

We hid, as smokers, you see.  Rather than get upset or embarrassed or hurt, we retreated to our addiction which allowed  us not to feel at all.  Then we emerged after a cigarette thinking we were better when all we really were was fake.  A hit of nicotine was all it took to mellow us out and allow us to function. 

 

Now that you've quit, your true self is peeking out.  Let her/him come out to play!!  Find out how much awesome you have inside and decide to show a part of yourself that makes you happy.  Flirt, laugh, tease, share.  Explore all those positive things you've got inside you.  Delight in them.  Cherish them.  Because the true you is not a smoker.  You are so much better than that. 

 

Sheri

~~The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think.~~  Harper Lee

 

I am curious about whether or not new quitters actually read the links that people offer in their comments.  Do you read the Best of Ex?  Do you read things like "What to Expect in the First Four Months"?  (Sorry, Dale, I don't know how to link)

While I love that you come here and post about your brand new quit or your plan to quit, it is so effective if you do some reading as well!!  Not because I don't want to respond to your questions or support you when you're anxious, but because knowledge is power!!  The more you know, the more you will be able to create a long lasting, never ending, forever quit

So many elders have taken the time to write exquisite words of wisdom for you.  Brilliant insight into how to quit successfully, what to pay attention to, and how to manage your new lifestyle.  So many other elders write about what addiction means, what COPD is, and how to maintain recovery.  We have elders who post energizing, enthusiastic blogs and those who bring you to tears with their compassion and kindness.

We can't tell you how to quit.  There is no magic 'one size fits all' formula.  But a successful quit takes a little bit of courage mixed with a whole lot of knowledge and shakes it with some bravery and self-insights to blend a combination of a strong, flexible quit. 

So go ahead and read some!!  You'll be surprised what you learn from the insights of others!!

~~If you believe you can, you might.  If you know you can, you will.~~  Unknown

 

I believe in the power of words, whether through thoughts, conversations, or posts.  And when I quit, I used my words carefully and thoughtfully because I really, really was ready to quit.  So on the day of my quit rather than thinking "I hope this one sticks",  I thought "I will never smoke again."  Rather than say "I don't want to fail", I said "I can't fail".  Rather than believing that I could quit, I knew this was it.

 

Now, not everyone is a word person like I am.  But the power of your quit is in your thoughts and your words.  It is your behavior, of course, that makes you lose a quit but it is your thoughts and words before you actually reach for that cigarette that reflect your intentions. 

 

So pay attention to what you're thinking as you quit.  Pay attention to what you're saying.  Do not leave that smoking door open!!  No more "I hope" and "Maybe this time".  Own your quit by owning your words.  "I will".  "Never again".  "No matter what".

 

Quitting won't kill you.  It challenges you. It changes you.   It is exhilarating and exhausting.  An adventure and an exploration.  You'll feel powerful and you'll feel fragile.  You'll be energized and you'll be fatigued.  But you'll never, ever regret saying "I will never smoke again."

 

Sheri

~~Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.  Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.~~  Martha Graham

 

How true.  Great dancers dance with passion.  Great singers sing with passion.  Great artists paint with passion.  And, I dare to say, when you find your passion in life, you do it with passion.

But when we quit smoking....the best, most wonderful thing we can do for ourselves....we do it with:

hesitation

fear

trepidation

anxiety

reluctance

 

And we justify these feelings by saying that quitting is the hardest thing in the world to do.  Quitting is agony.  Quitting is a battle, a struggle, a challenge.

 

And that, my friends, is the glaring truth about addiction.  It changes your brain chemistry to such an extreme that you battle yourself.  Because addiction isn't a tangible solid three-D figure....addiction is in your mind.  It's in how you think and what you think.  Nicotine has altered our brains and caused us to believe in something that chains us to a behavior that can kill us.  How messed up is that?

 

Where is the passion for getting our lives back?  Where is the passion for breaking free from addiction?  Where is the passion for living free?

 

I can tell you that it's there.  Just under the hesitation and the fear and the trepidation and the reluctance.  Your passion for recovery is what drives you to quit over and over when it doesn't seem it will stick.  Your passion is what brings  you here.  Your passion for life is what puts the whisper in the back of your mind that it's time to quit.  Nicotine strongly alters our brain chemistry but your passion for life is stronger so use it.  Use it when you feel weak.  Use it when life gets tough. 

 

I love my family and want to see my grandchildren grow.  I love my friends, my fur baby, my friends.  I love watching the sun rise and the rain fall and the wind blow.  I love the stars and the moon and the feeling of fresh air.  And I love being free from looking for the designated smoking area.  The nearest store where I can get another lighter.  The need to finish eating so I can have that after dinner cigarette.  I love breaking free from the isolation of addiction.

 

So find your passions in life and USE them!!  Use your desire to live to quit.  And know that no matter how difficult quitting is, your true strength lies underneath the lies of addiction so push on!  You can do it    

 

Sheri

~~You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.~~  Buddah

 

It's so easy to love ourselves when things are going well.  We're on top of our jobs, our quits are splendid, we lost that last 10 pounds, and we have a healthy bank account.  Life is looking good and so are we,

 

But the reality is that everyone has flaws.  Everyone has faults.  Life sometimes sucks.  We're angry.  We're sad.  We're lost.  We feel like we're the only one to feel less than perfect.  We're alone in our misery and sorrow.

 

What would happen if you loved those parts of yourself that are less than stellar?  Less than beautiful?  What would happen if all those scary, negative thoughts and feelings were embraced instead of rejected?  What if you decided to become your own best friend?

 

Being you means that not only are you lovely and kind and warm and graceful but you are also impatient maybe and obsessive and angry sometimes and unreasonable.  And let me tell you something......

 

That is so ok!!!  That is more than ok, that is FABULOUS!!!

 

We are made up of good and not so good and less than good and unusual and unique and weird.  When you can not only acknowledge that but embrace and celebrate that, you are truly in a good place in your life....well balanced and content. 

 

Life isn't just for perfect people, although some do feel they are perfect.  That's ok.  But life is for the unreasonable as well, and the uncertain and the scared and the impatient and the angry and the bored and...well, just everybody.

 

Love your flaws.  They also make you you.  Love your faults.  They are part of you as well.  Decide what you want to improve and decide what you are ok with.  Take pride in your uniqueness and forgive your mistakes.  Glory in your humanness and simply love yourself.  Accept yourself.  Take care of all those parts of you that you have been battling and hiding from.

 

No, it may not be easy for you.  You have your standards, after all.  No, it may not be clear for you on just how to get this done.  No, that doesn't mean that you go through life angry or hateful or depressed.

 

It does mean, however, that you stop hating yourself.  That you stop being who you aren't.  That you stop hiding your imperfect self behind a cloud of smoke because you are afraid to see who you truly are.  Because who you truly are is just perfect.  You are just perfect.  With everything you think is wrong with you, you are simply perfect.  There is no one in the whole world who could be a better you.  You deserve your love and attention, you deserve to be accepted.  Lift your chin, square your shoulders, and walk through life like a boss 

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

I Hurt Too

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 17, 2018

~~A heart that hurts is a heart that works.~~  Unknown

 

This is what I do when I am hurting.  I write it all out.  From beginning to end I work out my emotions through words.  And the last two days of work have been disheartening, frustrating, heartbreaking, draining.  All secondary, of course, except for a parent who is fighting me tooth and nail.  I have cried with parents, consoled caregivers, encouraged case workers, explained to my boss.  I have held screaming children, rubbed the back of one vomiting, sympathized with a heartbroken teen, and assisted a comp assessor.

All in two days.  I run this center by myself.  I have no volunteers yet and no coworkers except for a girl who is supposed to come on Thursdays and she does about once a month.  

I never once in the past two days thought of smoking.  Not because I'm 'better' than anyone who does.  Obviously not!!  But I've replaced that go-to over 5 years ago.  So now?  I write it all out.  I reach out to my grown children.  I do yoga.  I deep breath A LOT.  I drink water.  I sit out in nature.  I turn to things I love...automatically and without fail.

My heart still hurts right now.  It's supposed to.  That's what happens when situations occur like those here.  Hurting is normal!!  It should be felt.  It should be acknowledged.  It should be respected.  Live it.  

And then, when it's eased, you can nod and tell yourself you got through it once more.

A heart that hurts really is a heart that works.  I'm thankful that I am how I am.  I care about people.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  But it doesn't mean that I don't hurt, cry, feel, or crumble.  I do.

But I don't smoke.  

It takes 21 days to develop a habit, whether good or bad.  Start developing your habits to replace smoking.  Because you don't do that anymore  

 

Sheri

~~The real value of setting goals is not the recognition or reward, it's the person we become by finding the discipline, courage, and commitment to achieve them.~~    Unknown

 

"I'm sorry I let you down".  

"I finally gave in".

"I hid..."

"I waited...."

 

When I read someone lost their quit, I don't think that they let me down no matter how many times I congratulated them for each quit milestone.  I don't think that they are failures and I certainly don't think that they are losers.

 

And for those of you who have lost that precious quit, you shouldn't think so either.  Honestly, I think beating yourself up just makes it easier to smoke really because at least you feel bad about it.  Right?

 

You have to start over.  And when you decide to start over, please start over with the right mind set.  Don't think that if you don't start over we won't like you or we won't respond to you or you won't look like you're trying.

 

When you start over, find the discipline, courage, and commitment to quit successfully.  No more "I hope I can do it this time".  No more "I think I've got it".

 

When you quit, be disciplined.  No excuses, no wavering.  No maybes.  Honor your commitment and courageously stay your quit course.  It's the only way to quit successfully, you see.  It's all about personal achievement, not popularity.  It's about integrity, not 'fingers crossed'.  It is about actively living a life that does not involve nicotine NO. MATTER. WHAT.

 

So when you set your quit, remember that its all about discipline, courage, and commitment.  That's what will keep your quit.  We can't.  Feeling bad about yourself won't.  And keeping that door cracked to 'I failed again' will only keep your relapse cycle moving in circles.

 

Discipline.  Courage.  Commitment.  All you need for your quit.

 

Sheri

~~Next time you're stressed, take a step back, inhale, and laugh.  Remember who you are and why you're here.  You're never given anything in this world that you can't handle.  Be strong, be flexible, love yourself, and love others.  Always remember, just keep moving forward.~~  Unknown

 

Stress is no reason to smoke, we all know that.  But sometimes when you get caught up in feeling stress, it's difficult to find your way out.  Take a step back.  Slow down.  Breathe.  And most importantly, do not do anything in a moment of stress!!  Just stop.  Inhale, exhale.  Inhale, exhale.  And do nothing.

 

Then blow it all out with a laugh.  Or a sigh.  Or a scream.  Whatever you think will work for you.  But do nothing.

 

Now the excuses may come.  "But I'm at work and I can't stop", "But I need to make a decision", "But he's waiting for an answer". 

 

I say that taking three or four minutes to step back, breathe, and regroup is not going to annoy anyone.  Most people won't even notice!  You deserve a few moments to gather your thoughts.  You deserve a few minutes to breathe.  You deserve a little time to remember that you can handle anything.

 

It's only when we react to stress that relapse can happen.  Smoking is an action.  Thinking about smoking won't hurt you and can just be a fleeting thought dismissed by "I don't do that anymore".  But once you smoke, it's back to day 1.  Please don't risk relapse.  When stressed, step back and don't act.

 

Sheri

~~If you don't believe in miracles, perhaps you've forgotten you are one.~~  Unknown

 

You may not think you are.  You may even think you aren't special at all.  Not important, not terribly interesting.

 

I beg to differ.  You'll never know how many lives you've touched but I can assure you, you have.  Maybe you smiled at someone who, maybe like you, thought they weren't important.  Maybe your kindness meant someone didn't follow through with suicide.  Maybe a child feels special because of something you said.  It doesn't have to be major.  You don't have to give millions of dollars or be a saint of epic proportions to make a difference.

 

Maybe you've brought color to life through your art.  Maybe a coworker is doing a better job  because she watched you do your job with enthusiasm and energy.  Maybe someone heard you humming, smiled, and hummed along.

 

I could go on and on   But I think you understand.  You being here on earth means something.  Something really, really good.

 

What does this have to do with smoking?  Life can drag us down sometimes.  Stuff happens.  We return to smoking thinking that we 'might as well.  Or 'what does it matter?'

 

It matters because you matter.  You are important.  You do make a difference.  Smoking draws you right back in to hiding you behind the gray cloud of addiction.  You can't be your best...you can't give your best....when you don't take the best care of you.

 

You are, after all, a miracle. 

~~These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.~~ Najwa Zabian 

 

Quitting definitely brings out our inner warrior as we battle addiction for control.  Control over the cravings, over the lingering thoughts of smoking, over our emotions.  In those early days of your quit you may feel like it's one battle after another.  You wake up ready to battle and you lay down at night exhausted from them.

If you are not careful, those battles become a habit.  Your automatic response to stress, depression, anger, hunger, exhaustion, loneliness.  A crutch really from moving on and learning new ways to move through your life.

Don't you deserve more???  Or, let me please rephrase.....you deserve so much more!!

 

You see, these mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.  Quitting is a process...a journey, if you will.  But that journey smooths out after a time.  Gets easier.  Gets better.  Gets lighter as you climb.  You reach the top of that mountain when you have developed new skills, talents, and behaviors that get you successfully through your day.  You stop thinking smoking will 'help you through' and start thinking that yoga will help you through....or deep breathing...or phoning a friend....or running....or a good book....or a glass of ice water....see the difference?  You aren't supposed to hold that battles close to you and not let go.  Release them as you work through them.  You don't have to hold them.

 

Climb that mountain by all means!!  Quit smoking.  Whine, stamp your feet, cry, scream, and growl your way through.  But don't forget to let go.  Cry and then go for a jog.  Stamp your feet but then dance.  Whine but then volunteer at an animal shelter.  Develop these new, healthy, life changing experiences to replace the old, unhealthy life taking habit you always fell back on.

 

Let loose of those mountains because you aren't suppose to carry them.  Put your past to rest with loving care because it was a part of you.  Set it down gently and prepare yourself to walk away for good.  Turn towards that pretty little hill that now calls your name.  Feel the lightness and the freedom of letting those old burdens go.   Life is calling you.  Smile and head on out to meet it.

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

The EXperience

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 12, 2018

~~To often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.~~  Leo Buscaglia

 

So I came home from work yesterday heartsick.  The visit I supervised has been full of pain for all involved for since the visits started.  This parent is so full of anger and hurt and loss that when the children reach out for a glimmer of hope, they are left empty and sad.  So when I went home, those lingering thoughts and feelings trailed behind me like a tired toddler.

Then I got mail.  Not just mail but I got something so grand and beautiful and touching that, just for a minute, life was perfect.  So first, I would like to say thank you to Mandolinrain for the amazing gifts.  I am speechless and delighted with my gifts!!  My day was so much better because of you and I am humbled and awed.

So why here in front of all of EX am I thanking another EX member?  We do have messages for that, I know.  But I have been a part of ex for wayyyy too many years to not let the new quitters know that ex works because of the kindness, compassion, and empathy of its members.  We care.  We truly do.

So if you have the courage to share your story with us, you will be heard.  If you pour your heart out, you will be hugged.  If you need support, you will have shoulders offered. 

Quitting can be done alone.  I have friends and family members who quietly put them down.  But if you are here, use us!!  Ask for help!  Ask questions!  Share and be prepared to be touched by the kindness, generosity, and wisdom of those Exers who stay to share what they've learned. 

And thank you to those Exers who do stay because you know what it's like to quit.  You know the sadness, the struggles, the ups and downs of the quit journey.  You not only help, you change lives, you touch lives, and you turn lives around.  I will forever be grateful to each of you. 

And, Mandolinrain, you gave me a perfect moment and I love you forever for that  

 

Sheri

~~Trust yourself.  Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.  Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.~~  Golda Meir

 

From the moment we decide to quit smoking, many of us lose ourselves.  We feel lost, afraid, small, and insignificant when, as smokers, we felt content and...well...normal.

So as we forge our new path of recovery, we mistakenly long to smoke again when what we really want is that feeling of normal.  We want it back.  We want to feel contentment and the safety of routine that we had as a smoker.  

This tug between how we were and how we have yet to become is a struggle that can lead us right back to addiction OR we can fan that tiny spark of possibility into the flame of achievement.

Wouldn't it be glorious to be a non-smoker and feel good about it?  Wouldn't it be a relief to go through our days without the need to smoke? 

Trust yourself.  Really, really trust yourself.  Let go of yesterday and all you did then and trust that you can.  You can live this moment smoke free.  You can focus on today without the crutch of yesterday.  You can find that spark of possibility and nurture it.

Do not feel small and insignificant in your quit!!  It is YOURS.  You have made that decision to quit and it is now yours.  Treat it like it is the most precious thing in the world (because it is) and it is your responsibility to protect it, to grow it, to love it.  Take it firmly into your hands and shape it into what you want it to be.  Your creation...your quit.

You can if you trust yourself.  Allow your spirit and your soul to guide you into who you were always meant to be.  A beautiful human being   Smoke free. Strong.  Confident.  Fearless.  It just takes trust.

 

Sheri 

Dancingthrulife_6.4.13

Why Hold On?

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Aug 11, 2018

~~You are unrepeatable.  There is a magic about you that is all your own...~~  DM Dellinger

 

Don't you think that it's time?  It's time to stop looking for answers in others.  It's time to stop wishing for what others have.  It's time to stop beating yourself up for all you haven't done yet.  It's simply time to stop. 

 

It's time to start looking within.  Looking at you.  At all you are.  At all you have.  At all that you have yet to become. 

 

Because everything you've ever wanted is there.  You want to quit smoking?  Only you can do that and you CAN do that.  You have the courage.  You have the knowledge.  You have all you need to be successful.

 

But in order to focus on all that, you have to let go of all those negative beliefs you have about yourself, about your addiction, about the world.  You are NOT a failure, no matter how many times you've tried...and failed...to quit.  Your addiction is NOT more powerful than you are.  The world is NOT a scary place that doesn't care about you.

 

When you begin to embrace all that is good in you, your quit becomes a creation that is strong, lovely, lasting.  When you understand your addiction, it becomes simply a sad portion of all you haven't healed in your life rather than a powerful force that chains you to lifelong isolation and illness.  When you realize how vast and brilliant and welcoming the world can be, you find your place in it and that place is joyous and unique and meant for you alone.

 

You are unrepeatable.  That is so very wonderfully true!!  That also means that you are complete just as you are.  You don't have to wish for what others have or for what others are.  You have all you need and you ARE all you need.  You are complete.

 

I can't 'make' you believe in all that you are.  I can't force you to feel the positives that you have.  But I can ask why.  Why hold on to all those negatives with a fierce determination rather than release them?  Why not allow the positives in you to carry you through those tough times?  There is a magic in you that is all your own...but you need to believe in it, bring it forth, and allow it to protect and heal you.  Addiction will never win against the unrepeatable you.  You've got this

 

Sheri

~~Always ask yourself 'What else could this mean?' before jumping to conclusions.~~  Siren Soul

 

In the early days of our quit, we often mistake craving a cigarette to mean that we need to smoke or it won't go away.  We may misunderstand our stress as in we need a cigarette or we can't cope with life.  We may think we are 'going crazy' and smoking helps ease the tension

 

What if you stopped for a few precious seconds and truly thought about "what else could this mean?"  

 

Maybe a crave is just a memory that floats to the surface of your mind.  Maybe stress is your body's way of searching for that addictive substance you've been feeding it for years.  Maybe your anxiety and/or depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain that can be helped by medication.

 

Everything you trained your mind to think as a smoker was simply feeding your addiction.  Maybe that's what the craves, the headaches, the stress is truly about.  Feeding the addiction you are now trying to starve.  So those thoughts and feelings and aches and pains may mean something other than "only a cigarette will help".  

 

Don't jump to conclusions.  Don't decide to fail.  Don't think you can't.  Recovery is full of emotions and thoughts that actually make sense if you understand addiction.  So learn.  Figure it out.  Ask questions.  Getting to know addiction makes it less scary, less powerful, and totally treatable.  So keep calm and think it through

 

Happy Friday, all!

Sheri

~~Your second attempt does not have to look like your first.~~  Cassandra

 

When doing yoga, your left side may not respond to poses as your right side does.  It's to be expected.  Sometimes we use props like blocks and straps to get the benefits of the pose.  Sometimes we just ease up on one side so we don't injure ourselves.  Sometimes we angle differently or move differently or even become still differently.

 

Same thing with a quit, dontcha think?  If we relapse, we don't have to go back into our quit the same way we did the first time.  Maybe this time we'll use a NRT.  Maybe this time we'll ease up on the self-doubts.  Maybe we will restructure our routine.  Maybe we'll use humor.  Maybe we'll use our supports.

 

The possibilities are endless!!  Isn't that exciting?!  Isn't it freeing?!  You can create your quit to be anything you need it to be.  You can use gratitude in the morning, physical activity in the afternoon, and support in the evening.  You can use butterscotch candies, hot tea, cinnamon sticks, bubbles.  You can use visualizations, deep breathing, meditation.  You can laugh, sing, dance, jump rope, swim, garden, hike, roller skate.  You can use perfumes, lotions, oils, scented candles.  You can phone a friend, poll the audience, lean on family, utilize ex.

 

And when and if your quit doesn't stick, you can change it.  Learn from your mistake and bypass it during this quit.  Decide what works for you and what doesn't.  You don't have to use an NRT.  You don't have to avoid people.  You don't have to be stoic and bravely silent.  You don't have to fail.

 

And when it works, keep it.  Nurture it.  Pamper it.  Your quit is like your baby and you get to raise it on your terms in your way.  Own it, commit to it, and block any attempt by your brain to lose it.  Your quit is the best thing that you can give yourself.  Freedom from addiction is priceless.  You deserve it.  Make it count.

 

Sheri

~~Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in the lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It exists...it is real...it is possible...it's yours.~~  Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged

 

I think sometimes smokers can't even imagine themselves in a smoke free world.  What will they do with their time?  What do they do to relax?  Where does their happiness come from?  How do they unwind, distress, live?

 

And it's important to know what you are striving to achieve, don't you think?  While we want to let go of an addiction that is damaging...even killing...our bodies, we don't know what ideas to cling to.  What thoughts to hold onto. 

 

While I cannot speak for every ex-smoker, I can tell you that my smoke free world is like heaven on earth.  I found out so much about who I am and how I want to live.  I surround myself with colors and happy and hope.  I am filled with gratitude and joy.  And I decide my actions rather than my addiction deciding.  I have created a world I love and I am eternally thankful for the opportunity.

 

My smoke free world still has bumps.  Still has pain and anger and unfairness and even sometimes ugliness and devastation.  It's all part of life.  But the hero in my soul deals with everything I go through.  I don't rely on a false sense of control through addiction anymore.  I limp my way through it until I reach the other side, free from the chains of smoke and mirrors.

 

So while you are thinking of quitting, don't forget you get to paint your smoke free world any colors you like.  You get to mold it with your talents and skills and wishes and hopes and dreams.  Your life, your way.  Life is a glorious treasure and so are you.  Allow your soul the freedom it needs to shine.  And don't think of what you are losing for you are not losing anything to mourn.  You are gaining a world you deserve  

 

Sheri

~~One day it just clicks.  You realize what's important and what isn't.  You learn to care less about what other people think of you and more about what you think of yourself.  You realize how far you've come and remember when you thought things were such a mess that you would never recover.  And you smile.  You smile because you are truly proud of yourself and the person you've fought to become.~~  Unknown

 

I know you are reading this and shaking your head.  This isn't you and nothing is clicking and you just want to scream or throw something or cry.  Maybe you feel such anger because what I'm telling you is so off base that you feel like you hate me.  Maybe you just feel that this will never be you so it confirms those negative thoughts you have about yourself.

 

Go back, please, and re-read the very first line.  "One day it just clicks".  One day may not be today.  It may not have been yesterday or a year ago or a minute ago.  It doesn't mean it's not just around the corner.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe 5 minutes from now.  Maybe in a second or two.

 

Until then, trust that it's out there.  Trust that you deserve what everyone else seems to have.  Peace of mind in their quit.  Solid footing.  Wisdom and experience.  Joy.  Trust that by hanging on just a bit longer, it will be just a bit easier next time.  Trust that the freedom you long for is there, other emotions are just clouding your judgment.  Trust that by quitting, you truly are giving yourself the gift of life.  Trust that.  Trust that no matter how hard you feel it's getting, you have something inside you that is stronger and you can hold on.

 

One day, dear quitters, it really will click.  Until then, trust in yourself.  You can do this.  You are doing this.  You have it in you. 

 

One day you will smile because you are truly proud of the person you've fought to become.  I am smiling now because I see the person you already are and I see that fighter in you.  Just trust in yourself. 

 

Sheri

~~Courage isn't the absence of fear, it is the presence of fear yet the will to continue.~~  Unknown

 

It takes courage to decide you are going to quit smoking.  Even the thought can produce panic and paralyzing fear.  That is addiction talking and it talks loudly.

It takes courage to enter day 1.  The day begins with trepidation and may end in exhaustion and tears.  That is addiction talking and it talks loudly.

It takes courage to feel those craves, knowing that if you break down, its back to that damn day 1.  That is your voice beginning to talk even though it's meek and shaky.

It takes courage to hold firm in your commitment to your quit as you may feel stress, anxiety, and waves of sadness for something you can't put your finger on.  That is your voice growing stronger although addiction is still whispering in your ear.

It takes courage to feel all those emotions you buried beneath clouds of smoke and years of addiction but each day you hang on just for another day.  That's your voice raised in equal parts of determination and desperation, a tug of war between freedom and addiction.

It takes courage to explore your smoke free world.  To find your talents, discover your skills, and look at the world clear eyed.  That's you.  The warrior, the champion, the wisdom. 

Make no mistake about it.  The warrior is in you!  Your feelings of weakness are addiction fighting for control.  Your doubts are the voice of addiction, not wanting to let go of you.  But if you have not smoked, whether you are curled up into a sobbing mess or you are hiding underneath your blankets in bed, you have that warrior in you!  Gently holding on at first as addiction is loud and powerful but growing in strength, confidence, and courage as you ignore that voice of addiction. 

You, my friend, as Winnie the Pooh once said, are "braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think".  So addiction doesn't have a chance in hell of beating you once you believe in yourself! 

 

Sheri

~~The best things in life happen unexpectedly.  The best stories begin with "and, all of the sudden..."  The best adventures were never planned as they turned out to be.  Free yourself from expectations.  The best will come when and from you least expect it.~~  Unknown

 

Life surprises us.  I often read here how a crave "came from nowhere" and how some unexpected event made someone reach for cigarettes again. 

I say it's time to turn the tables.  Don't let life take you by surprise.  Surprise life instead.

You can, you know.  When life takes an unexpected turn, you can also take an unexpected turn.  Embrace it.  Embrace the negative feelings and let them flow.  Embrace the sudden turn of events.  Nod your head at the unexpected. 

That may sound silly, I know.  But life is going to happen.  We will lose people we love, we will get that diagnosis, we will lose a job.  No one WANTS to, of course.  But it happens.

And we used to hide from life as we lit up.  Smoking gave us a wall from life.  We didn't have to feel anything when we were actively addicted.  Just the relief as that nicotine hit our brains.  And then when we quit, we are left dangling in the air as life hits us from all sides.  What are we to do except retreat once again behind a cloud of smoke?

I say embrace life.  The daily grind, the unexpected, the anticipated, the best of it and the worst of it.  Take life by surprise.  Respond in an unexpected way.  Buck up rather than crumble.  Get through it rather than avoid.  Feel it rather than reject it.  Conquer it rather than allow it to conquer you.

Life just is. Period.  We get to make it ours.  In order to do that, we need to not sit passively by and allow life to beat us up.  We need to get actively involved, understand ourselves, and squeeze every ounce out of life we can.  Live it.  Fully.  Totally.  Completely. 

 

Enjoy,

Sheri

~~Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management.  Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.~~  Unknown

 

Are you busy?  Do you already have a list of things to do today?  Maybe you don't work on weekends but you have laundry, shopping, housecleaning, lunch with your church group, a dinner party filling your day.  Maybe you are one of those who think "I have no time for myself".   Maybe you've said 'yes' to so many obligations that you don't have a free evening until 2019.

Somehow staying busy has not only become the norm but is a badge of honor.  So many people trust you to do a good job.  So many organizations you belong to know they can rely on you.  Your family knows that you will take care of things.

So what do you do for you?  When is there time to simply sit outside and enjoy the fresh air?  When do you just breathe and enjoy NOT doing?  When do you listen to your body and relax, take care of yourself, and sleep in without feeling guilty?

It's time, you know.  When you quit smoking, it is the perfect time to start making those choices that you will enjoy.  That may mean saying no to some obligations.  That may be learning to avoid people who suck the energy from you.  That may be trimming your schedule down to only do those things that bring joy to your heart and light to your day.

Because living life in balance means you understand that your being is as important as everyone else's being.  Your time is valuable because you are valuable.  Quit giving yourself away to every cause that needs a body and start realizing that your time is precious and needs to be doled out in small increments rather than large lump sums.  

 

So again, what do you do for you?  Are you learning how to manage your stress?  Are you lingering over coffee and a good book?  Are you spending time in your garden, enjoying the sights, the sounds, the colors?  Are you tinkering with that engine in your garage that you've had forever?  What are you doing for you?

 

Saying no to those who may 'need' you isn't selfish, it's vital for your own piece of mind and overall health.  Those who know you  aren't going to reject you because you won't chair the white elephant sale at school.  Those who love you may be startled but will respect those boundaries you put in place.  Those who won't talk to you anymore because you won't serve on the woman's league board aren't worth your time anyway.

 

So please, find that balance.  Don't be 'too' busy to reduce your stress so that your marvelous quit will have the space and the calm it needs to flourish.  You, too, will flourish!  You are so incredibly unique that you need to take good care of you.  The world needs your heart, your kindness, your talents.  At your time, though, not because it's a badge of honor to be busy.  Enjoy your day, enjoy your quit!!

~~Being content doesn't mean you don't desire more, it means you're thankful for what you have and patient for what's to come.~~  Tony Gaskins

 

Emotions come and go.  We feel happy.  We feel sad.  We feel angry.  We feel joy.  But being content, I think, is more than just a feeling.  It's a sense of gratitude that you can actually settle into.  It's a comfort with your life.  And it's sustainable.  A fall back when you're stressed.  An ease when you're anxious.  A cocoon when you want to hide from the world.

Even when you quit smoking, you can feel contentment....gratitude for what you have and PATIENCE for what's to come.  Be thankful that you're here on earth and you have the chance to take control of an addiction that may kill you.  Be thankful that your legs work so you can walk off that crave.  Be thankful that you can whine to your mother or your spouse or your best friend, all of whom love you.  Be thankful that you can go into work and be distracted from your craves.  Be thankful that you can see your beautiful garden...the colors, the lushness, the sunshine.  And feel the patience of knowing that your quit will only get better.  You don't have to worry about getting sick from your quit.  You don't have to worry about smelling awful from your quit.  You don't have to worry about how much you quit is financially draining you.  Feel that patience in knowing your quit isn't killing you.  It will get better.  Bit by bit, hour by hour, day by day. 

So find your gratitude.  Those things you are so thankful for.  Maybe family, maybe your home, maybe your talents, maybe your health.  It could be your career or nature or yoga.  It may be your friends or your bank account or your therapist.  Find those things that tug at your heart and make your soul sing.  And remember them when you are feeling less than.  Less than perfect, less than happy, less than ok.  Gratitude spreads contentment all over your day   And it truly gives you patience for what's to come.  And what's coming with your quit is all...ALL...good things.  You will never regret quitting.

May your day be bright and your heart be filled

 

Sheri