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All People > Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 > Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Blog > 2018 > November
2018

~~We trade away some, if not much, of our freedom for the feeling of safety that comes with sticking with what we know because the known can only be as scary as it already is, whereas the unknown has limitless potential to be terrifying.~~  Philip K. Jason

 

A close friend of mine once told me that he would rather die a happy smoker than live a miserable quitter.  He said all the things that we tell ourselves when feeding our addiction...."it relaxes me", "I am healthy enough", "If smoking is the worse thing I do, then that's ok".

He passed away yesterday at the age of 49. Sudden.  Unexpected.  Smoking related.  He left behind a daughter who needed her daddy, parents who never wanted to outlive him, and friends who now have a huge black hole where his presence used to be.

I know how scary the thought of quitting can be.  Been there, done that.  But once you actually put them down, the scary fades away.  Because there is nothing to be scared of.  Nothing bad happens when you quit.  It doesn't cause excruciating physical pain, it doesn't render us helpless, it doesn't paralyze us.  Quitting also doesn't cause cancer, broken bones, memory loss, or psychosis.  Quitting is only scary because our addiction tells us it is.  And as well all know, addiction lies.

There is a world out there just waiting for us to live it.  It is glorious sometimes, boring sometimes (so I've been told), joyous, challenging, an adventure.  There is nothing out there that makes us smoke and there is nothing out there worth smoking over. 

So quitting, you see, is just a scary thought.  Do it anyway and you will find that you can push past that thought onto thoughts more positive and productive.

Dying a happy smoker?  No.  He died addicted to a substance that killed him.  And please don't get me wrong.  He was a happy man.  He was kind and funny and sweet and aggravating   I simply think he would have been just as happy an ex-smoker once he got past the fear of quitting. Too late, I know.  I miss him already.

It's for you to decide, of course, just like it was his.  I just would like you to make an informed decision and to do that, you have to know that quitting isn't scary, its just a choice that can lead to life.  On the other side of fear is freedom.

Let's Take a Moment to Be Thankful

by Doe Zantamata

For every accident that never happened,

For every grave illness that was not caught,

For every tornado that never formed, And every mean word withheld when we fought.

We can only see what's right in front of us,

And be thankful for all we've got,

But to really, truly embrace gratitude,

We have to also remember

To be thankful

For every "never", "didn't", and "not".

 

I am totally grateful for having three days off during Thanksgiving.  I will have my grandbabies, I will spend time with extended family, and I will also make time to just to.....nothing.  So my mind can be on vacation, my spirit be rejuvenated, and my soul remember how to breathe easily and calmly.  

 

I hope each of you take some time this Thanksgiving to be grateful for....you.  For every good decision that brought you peace of mind, for every bad decision that taught you a lesson.  For all your courage when things got rough, for all your grace when life gave you struggles.  For your spirit that keeps you trying, for your heart that continues to love.  

 

Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you!!  Even the silent ones who only read, the lost ones who feel alone, the happy ones who are doing well.  I wish you all the good life has to offer and the wisdom to see it when it appears   Continue your quit journeys with strength, focus, and gratitude.  

 

God Bless,

 

Sheri

 

 

~~Our greatest duty and our main responsibility is to help others.  But please, if you can't help them, would you please not hurt them.~~  Dalai Lama

 

A long time ago, I was trying to quit smoking.  It was a struggle, I was in a 'bad' place in my life, and had no clue at the time how smoking was addictive.  Some well meaning person told me that I needed to stop being a victim in life or I would never quit.

 

At that particular time, those words devastated me.  I retreated back into my self-preservation mode and stopped trying to quit smoking.  I didn't trust opening myself up to anyone else for quite awhile after that.  I healed with time, self-care, and the love of those close to me.

 

That well meaning person probably still has no idea that her words didn't help.  That well meaning person would probably still defend her position that you can't go through life with victim mentality.  But at that time in my life, I was a sexual assault victim who had yet to regain balance and her words cut instead of offered hope.

 

Elders are the best tool in quitting smoking, no doubt.  The wisdom and experience in recovery can be a tremendous help to those struggling in their quits.  But we don't know the person behind the avatar...behind the cute little user ID.  And since most of us aren't doctors or psychiatrists or therapists, we need to walk gently through the lives of others.  Criticism, no matter how well intentioned, can damage a soul that may not be whole.  Talking coping skills is one thing, talking medication changes is something else.  Discussing quit tool kits is helpful, discussing how everyone coughs after quitting is something else (always get a doctor's opinion about physical conditions!). 

 

We all want smokers to quit and we all have unique ways to assist.  But we simply need to keep in mind the fact that we have no clue what smokers are truly feeling or dealing with in their personal lives.  Anxiety for one person could be PTSD in another.  We need to tread gently and remember that these smokers are unique souls as well and may be working through a broken heart, the loss of a loved one, mental health issues, or some other life event that makes them fragile.  Handle with care.

 

Sheri

 

 

~~Always choose to heal, not to hurt; to forgive, not to despise; to persevere, not to quit; to smile, not to frown; and to love, not to hate.  At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought, but what we built; not what we got, but what we shared; not our competence, but our character; and not our success but our significance.~~  Unknown

 

I choose to believe that the good stuff matters.  The positive, the warmth, the gratitude, the kindness.  And I think I've understood that so much more when I quit smoking.  My thoughts shaped my quit and it made all the difference.  When I decided that my children didn't deserve me being *itchy because I was missing my cigarettes, I quit being *itchy.  When I decided that I wasn't going to let those cravings get the best of me, I stopped using them as a crutch to 'fail'.   When I fully understood what being 'committed' to my quit meant, I fully committed to my quit and let go of the fictional memories of feeling 'better' as a smoker.    Because all my positive thoughts mattered.  All my hopes mattered.  And they mattered just as much (if not more) than anything I thought I was losing.

What matters is not that you smoked, but that you cared enough about your life to quit.  What matters is not that you struggled through your quit but that you hung on to it with every fiber of your being. What matters is that you are doing it...step my step, minute by minute....rather than simply wishing that you were smoke free.  And sometimes it is hard and sometimes you will struggle, I'm not trying to say you won't.  Life can sometimes be a struggle.  Struggles, though, fade just as much as good times do.  Choose to persevere.  Build a quit that you can be proud of.  Be significant in your own life.  

Each and every smoke free breath you take is truly a miracle and you get to keep that miracle alive if you choose to.  I think that is one of our greatest gifts in life....seeing the miracle that life itself is.

 

May you find a little bit of peace today in your quit and a few more reasons to hang on to it

 

Sheri

~~Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.~~  Unknown

 

Too many quitters never realize this.  Some may not want to think about the addiction, others don't understand it.  A few more may even reject the idea that they are 'addicted' to cigarettes.

 

Take the time to educate yourself, please, about this addiction....because that is what it is.  Even if you only smoke three cigarettes a day, the fact of the matter is if you can't do without them, you are addicted.  If you have that 'need' to smoke, you are addicted.  If you feel more and more stressed until you finally get to take that first puff and the relief is so overwhelming, you are addicted.  Not just those who scrounge for change to buy that one more pack.  Money has nothing to do with addiction.  Not just those who sit and smoke three packs a day.  The amount you smoke has nothing to do with addiction.  Not just those who get ill.  Physical health has nothing to do with addiction (although poor health is one possible result of smoking). 

 

Addiction is all in your head.  It's how your neurotransmitters function with and without nicotine (and all those chemicals they add into it).  With the drug, your neurotransmitters happily shoot throughout the brain, making your body feel happy, relaxed, calm.  Without the drug, your neurotransmitters shoot "Something's wrong!!!!" throughout your body, making you tense, irritable, anxious.  And you will continue to feel this way until that first drag.  And so the cycle of "ah, I feel better" continues.  Trapped by wanting to feel good, you continue to smoke.

 

Playing Russian Roulette with your health....with life itself....is not in your best interest.  Being chained to your addiction is not in your best interest.  Shelling out money to feed your addiction is not in your best interest.  So what can you do?

 

The only good thing about addiction is that recovery CAN happen.  You can cut your ties, break free from that prison, and regain control over your life!  It's do-able.  It may be the hardest thing you ever do, but I promise you that it is the most powerful thing you'll ever do as well.  It is freeing, it is exciting, it is amazing.  You are saving your life and regaining control over it.  You will never regret quitting....and I can promise you that there will come a time when you will regret continuing to smoke.  Head to recovery....understand your addiction, make your quit plan, look forward to life!  You can.  But its up to you if you will.

 

God Bless Our Vets!!

Sheri

~~I guess the moment when everything changed was when I realized I deserved so much better.~~  Unknown

 

I often say things like this here.  You deserve so much better than to be tied to cigarettes....you deserve health...blah-blah-blah.  It's a Sheri thing to some.  She is positive or being kind and just like so many other posts here, mine get glossed over by the ones I'm actually trying to reach.  

That's ok.  I can only try, right?  My most powerful moments come from the world I created for myself after I quit smoking so I want others to have what I have found.  A beautiful, amazing, miraculous world.  

Tonight was a stunning example.  I supervised a visit where a broken child found his voice, his balance, his way.  He told his parent exactly what he was feeling....and those feelings weren't pleasant.  He told his parent that no child should ever have to go through what he went through when he lived at home.  He spoke of his anger when that parent forced him to parent his siblings, he relayed how he was angry he never got a birthday party or even a cake his whole life.  He ended with "You took the money you were supposed to be raising us with and you bought cigarettes instead."  That was only a small thing compared to the other things this parent had been doing....but it mattered to this child.  I witnessed a child breaking the cycle of abuse by refusing to be a part of it any longer.  It was heartbreaking and powerful and something I will never forget.

Early this week I was at the jail teaching math when one of my students opened up as well.  I was humbled that he chose to share his story and honored that he trusted me enough to open up.  It was painful, full of regrets, shame, and confusion but the hope was still there for something more...his GED, possibly a college degree later down the road.  His life had been horrible, riddled with generations of abuse, yet full of hope.

My heart is so full.  I am grateful for my life and recognize how blessed I am.  Even working two jobs, I have all I need to feel my world is amazing.  But it took me quitting to find that out.  It took getting past the victimizations, rationalizations, excuses to find out just how to live my truth.  

Maybe you think I'm dramatic.  Maybe you think it's too much for you to get.  Maybe you just want to quit smoking but keep the rest of your life the same.  Everyone is different, of course, but I can promise you that your life will grow when you quit.  It just will evolve into how you were always supposed to live and who you were supposed to be.  You won't have to work at it, no applications to fill out, no actions required.  Your life will take on.....life.  And it will be amazing.

 

Sheri