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~~She sits alone hurting in the dark.  Not ready to reach for the candle I offer, blowing it out.  I sit down next to her and wait.  We'll light the candle together when she's ready.  For now, I'll trust in the darkness for us both and sit quietly beside her-letting her know she's not alone.  Letting her know that darkness is ok.  Letting her know that I'm there waiting with a candle.~~  Unknown


Holidays are hard for some people. They may be alone or they may be struggling financially or they may even feel too depressed too celebrate anything.


 Quitting smoking is hard for some people.  They may be fearful of quitting or they may be uncertain of their own abilities or they may even feel too depressed or anxious to quit.


Life itself is hard for some people.  They may feel unloved or they may think they're unworthy of good things or they may even feel too depressed to feel anything at all.


That's why support sites, I think, are important.  That's why elders are important.  And that's why humans themselves are important.  We are the ones with the understanding of what it feels like to....fear feel be suffer struggle.  We know.  And in that knowledge grows wisdom and courage and empathy so that the next need not feel so alone.  Or forgotten.  Or scared.


We can't fix others.  We can't quit for them.  We can't even make the bad times disappear.  But we can be with them.  Just be with.  To hold space for them...meaning that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they are on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome.  We instead open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control. 


We've been there, most of us.  And in going through it ourselves, some want to help the next in line.  Here on the EX site, there are many who are here every day offering support, encouragement, and knowledge.  Others pray.  Some offer laughter and lightness.  Some offer the healing of music and art.


Thank you to those people who stay.  Thank you to those who reach out even to one.  Thank you to those who document their own journeys to make it easier on the next.  Thank you to those who share personal stories.  Thank you to each heart which has hurt for someone else. 


And to those who may feel unloved...forgotten...unworthy...lost...alone, you aren't any of those things.  For where you are isn't who you are.  I have a candle...and so do others.   We will sit and wait with you in your darkness until you're ready for the  light. 


Your Vision

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Dec 24, 2019

~~A lot of things broke my heart, but fixed my vision.~~  Unknown


Quitting can feel like that, you know.  Like your heart is breaking for reasons you can't even explain.  Like nothing will ever be 'normal' again.  Like you have lost something that cannot be replaced.

Right or wrong, good or bad, that may be how you feel.  And that's ok.  You are not losing your mind and you are not being 'wrong'.  Quitting smoking is a life changing process that brings a whirlwind of emotions, thoughts, and ideas.  Some will help you.  Some will keep you down.  Some will make you waiver.

But, if you hold on, you find to your surprise that you've done something good.  Something that makes you feel a bit better.  Your vision is being fixed.  Because more and more you are beginning to take pride in your quit.  You recognize that smoking has done nothing good for you.  That smoking only masked the stressors of life, it didn't fix them.

And as your vision clears, you find enjoyment in what you see.  Healthier skin, brighter eyes.  More energy.  You will understand with sudden clarity that smoking was just an addiction.  Not your friend.  Not an ally.  Not your ability to cope with life.  Just an addiction that kept you tied to a 6 inch tube of paper, chemicals, posions, and nicotine.

And your heart?  It wasn't really broken at all.  Just bruised by all the changes.  Just torn between addiction and health.  Just afraid.

Use that beautiful vision and see a life free of huddling in the snow and rain to smoke....digging in your purse to find that last pack....seeing your loved ones turn away in disappointment as you light up.

I hope you see all you're gaining rather than what you've lost...because you're losing absolutely nothing good when you quit.


I Hope You Stay

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Dec 22, 2019

~~Cultivate a place of comfort, peace & safety.  One that allows you to be free of worries, stresses & fears.  A place where you can be yourself.  Your happy place.~~


Welcome to EX   A place to find information about quitting.  A place to find support when you quit.  A place to find encouragement, wisdom, knowledge.  And so very, very much more....


EX is filled with inspirational people.  Those who have gone through hell and now carry buckets of water for others.  Those who know the struggle and are willing to help you carry your load.  Those who offer comfort and understanding.  Those who challenge you and those who accept you and those who remind you that you deserve the very best life has to offer.


Ex is also filled with that touch your heart and make you smile.  Sharing.  Caring.  Helping. 


I hope you settle in here and find that it's your happy place.  A place where you can be yourself, whomever that may be.  A place where you feel accepted and welcomed.  A place where you feel at home. 


Because you belong.  We've been waiting for you and we welcome you with open arms.  We know what it's like to fear quitting smoking.  We know what it's like to lose a quit.  We know what it's like to not want to quit even though we all know we should.  And....most of all....we know what it's like on the other side.  The relief.  The freedom.  The joy.  The triumph. 


So welcome to EX.  I hope you like it here.  I hope you stay.  I hope you know we here for you.  To support.  To encourage.  To guide.  To walk with you.  To remind you that you can indeed quit smoking. 


I hope you stay.

~~I define connection as the energy between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when the derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.~~  Brene Brown



We had our annual Christmas party at church on Wednesday evening and one of my fifth graders brought me a present.  She was so excited and when we got into class, she asked that I open it in front of everyone.  This wonderful child searched her home for items that wouldn't be missed by her family but that she thought I would love.....and so I did.  I love that she took the time to decorate a brown paper bag.  I love that she thought I was 'fun' and would like toys.  I love that she thought of me and I so love that she was proud of herself for finding me a present!


Life is simply full of these moments of connection, aren't they?  Where you suddenly know you are valued.  Where you feel accepted just as you are.  Where there is pure judgment...just a welcome connection.


I love my students and the trust they put in me..the moments we share when they have questions or they gain an understanding of what I'm teaching.  I love my clients and those moments we share when they finally get it that I care.  I love just seeing my son enjoy his son.  Or friends laughing over lunch.  Or a stranger's smile.  


So very many perfect moments of connections.  Do you notice?  Do you recognize your own importance in someone else's life?  Do you understand that people need your unique way of making them feel connected?  Oh, my goodness how very important you are!!  How very much you matter in the world!!  How splendid your smile is to someone who is otherwise ignored.  How gentle your touch is to someone who has been hurt.  How magnificent your heart is to someone who loves you.


Don't waste it.  Don't waste your heart or your compassion or your brilliance on smoking.  It's a dead end street...empty, dark, and limiting.  Open yourself up to wonderful phenomenal sheer joyful moments with those who love you.  Addiction....ALL addiction....robs us of connections as we always run back to getting that 'fix'.  Even a cigarette.   Addiction chains us to a substance that keeps us from fully enjoying life.


Look around you and see that the world is full of connections.  You are needed, you are wanted, you are accepted and loved.  Immerse yourself in them, revel in them, and open your heart to them.  And know that this is why we are here on connect with each other and bring love to life. 

~~Something I have learned is that you just don't know how anything is ever going to really go.  And you are going to hurt hard on some days.  You will experience loss and tragedy and rejection.  Nothing can protect you from that.  Not money.  Not power.  Not even love.  But you will also experience beauty and healing and surprises that soften the walls around your heart.  They won't always make the painful moments feel worthwhile.  But sometimes they will.  And that's something we all deserve to experience.  That feeling of growing flowers where there used to be just wasteland.~~  S.C. Lourie


I marvel at people.  The tenacity that makes us get back up after life knocks us to our knees.  The graceful rise after a crashing fall.  And even the day to day routine that is made precious by all life's miracles we take time to stop and appreciate.

We try.  We retreat.  We wait.  We crumble.  But we take that next breath and that next step and we hope for comfort...for relief...for a miracle.

When we quit smoking, all the loss we experience...and the tragedy and the rejection....are felt without the crutch of addiction.  Please remember that smoking doesn't in fact make life better, but it does mask our pain through the chemical reactions of addiction to the brain.  The hurt is still there and will reappear once the cigarette is stubbed out, but for a few moments in time the pain is faded while we instead poison our lungs and heart and bodies.

We hurt hard on some days.  And there is really nothing else to do but to feel that hurt.  Don't fight it, don't hide from it, don't minimize it.  Just feel it, nurture it, walk with it.  Sounds funny, I know, but that hurt needs us to be there.  And on those days that we experience beauty and healing and surprises that soften the walls around our hearts, we need to feel that, too.  That feeling of growing flowers where there used to be just wasteland.  Those feelings like contentment...even joy.

I marvel at people.  Those who hurt but reach out to help others.  Those who walk quietly with someone in pain.  Those who lift the rejected and welcome the lonely.  We are all a miracle to someone else, you know.  And we are all needed in some way.  So learn to feel without smoking.  Learn to cope without addiction.  Learn to grow those flowers where once there was only wasteland.


Loving you all,



Make It Yours

Posted by Dancingthrulife_6.4.13 Dec 13, 2019

~~You can't save people from their growth.  You can't keep them from their lessons.  You can't do the work for them.  Even when your intentions are good, you rob others from their right to claim their suffering and transform it into healing.~~  Vienna Pharaon


What a lesson this is. Especially here, I think, where so many caring people gather to help.  To advise.  To hand hold and to listen.  Quitting is seldom as easy as "I quit".  It's a storm of emotions mixed in with growing stressors dipped in unfamiliar territories of fears and strengths and wonders.


Quitting is an adventure and one that you need to experience.  Your journey.  You may feel may may feel rage.  That's part of it.  You may feel bruised, vulnerable, shaky even.  That's part of it, too.  And then there will be those moments of secret thrill that you've done've quit.  Savor those feelings.  In between all the good stuff and the not so great stuff you may try to be 'normal' and live your 'regular' life.  But you'll probably find that you're no longer living that life.  You will feel....changed.  Different.  


I wouldn't save you from that adventure.  I can't do that work for you....and I wouldn't want to.  Because all those emotions you're feeling?  All that uncertainty?  All those savored thrills?  Like a caterpillar transforming into a breathtaking butterfly, you are transforming into the person you've always been.  Hidden behind the smoke...buried beneath the addiction...there you are.  Stronger than you ever realized.  A warrior cloaked in courage.  A success story filled with so much inspiration that others will marvel at your story.


Will you suffer by quitting?  You may think so.  You may have those horrible moments and you may even have doubts and you may waiver in your desire to quit.  But every step forward is a win and every moment not smoking is a victory.  And all those times you felt like you suffered are now behind you until one day you realize healing is occurring.  Life is happening.  You've moved on.  And you'll feel that secret thrill once again and you'll know to savor it.  You'll know that the battle has dwindled to small skirmishes that you know how to win.


No, I won't take that away from you.  It's yours to feel.  It's yours to grow.  It's yours mold and create and own.  Make it yours.   

~~When I really think about it, what matters most to living life is the raw and genuine connection we make to the things we do.  The people we meet.  The places we land and leave from.  It's ruthlessly believing in your own days and nights of both triumph and struggle.  Its working through the dirt and mud to build the meaning you want for yourself.  Even driving into the storm if that how you feel that's how you're going to make sense of your own journey.  Its your storm.  It's your own drive.  Sometimes, its really allowing yourself to sit at the bottom for a while.  That way, it humbles you.  It grounds you.  It reminds you we all equally go through mess.  The truth is that, the way to live life is a personal choice.  Its a personal decision.  And it can take many years to find.  What it is we really want.  Where we want to go.  Where we feel is truly and honestly real to ourselves.  When I really think hard about it, what really matters most is simply what makes us feel at peace.  Loved.  Happy.  Content.  Connected vulnerably raw and honest.  And unapologetic of the time that passes to get there.  Because the journey is enough.  The roads are enough.  The place we're working from is enough.  Right now is enough and you know what?  That still truly matters.~~  BraverHeart


I remember when I first found this site.  I wanted to quit smoking.  I didn't plan on making friends or causing waves.  I didn't plan on feeling deep connections to other quitters.  I didn't plan on reaching out and I didn't plan on walking their journeys with them.  I simply wanted to learn HOW to quit smoking.  A journey began.


A journey of self-reflection....a journey of hidden traumas...a journey of healing.  Questioning and struggling and avoiding led to acceptance, strength, and growth. 


Every journey is unique and every pathway individual.  Extroverts, introverts, bold, challenging, angry, hostile, shy, thoughtful, kind....each quitter different, yet all wanting the same thing.  A successful quit.


For those who think they haven't succeeded...for those who have yet to quit...for those who aren't sure....let me just say that by finding this site and by entertaining the idea of quitting, you are already on your quit journey.  Because that thought is there.  Maybe not "I want to quit"....but definitely "Quitting is possible".  And it is.  And that thought can grow into things like "Maybe I can quit" or "Can I quit?"  One thought can grow into a life changing journey.


And maybe you'll reach out to others.  Maybe you'll feel a deep connection to other quitters.  Maybe you'll make friends or cause waves.  Because your journey has begun with that one thought.  And once begun, your journey will take on a life of its own.  In its own time.  When you ruthlessly believe in your own struggles and triumphs and when you drive into your own storm because that's where you feel you need to be.


Thank you to those who have walked my journey with me throughout the years.  You made it bearable.  You made it fun.  You made it possible for me to quit.  I'll never forget any of you.  I can't be here as much as I'd like right now.  So many of my family, friends, and clients are struggling on their own journeys that I feel I'm needed elsewhere.  A piece of who I am will always be here, however, with so many of you.  The quitters, the looking to quit, the elders...all of you.


Yes, you can.  It's a journey you'll never regret.