Like Marilyn said earlier, it is Christmas Eve Eve today; it it still early at our home, but hubby can't break the habit of waking up early and coming into the living room where I try to sleep while the kids are visiting (they got my bedroom). It is quiet in the house, I made myself a cup of steaming coffee and came here to speak with my friends.
But most of all,to express my gratitude to have you in my life!
I am grateful because one day I decided: "that's enough" and quit on my own.
I am grateful the day I felt it was too hard (about the 3rd week into the quit), I called the help line of the insurance company and they gave me the EX site.
I am grateful, despite my reluctance to belong to yet another (what I thought was ) impersonal website, I did set up my profile with EX.
I am grateful to have found you all: Ellen, Dale, Nancy, Marilyn, Giulia, Sherri, Jennifer, Shawn, Missy, Thomas, and I can still add many names, and probably never mention every one who had an impact on my quit; a positive impact that is.
I am grateful to have learned the power of NOPE, and the power of honest, helpful feed-back from you.
I am grateful you accepted me, and guided me, encouraged me at every step.
And I am grateful for the Internet, and Facebook, allowing me to stay in touch with so many of you, outside EX, to be in your lives, and open a door for you into mine.
I am grateful for my family, who, even if they did not really understand my journey, or cheered me up as I was hitting milestones (but I have you for that), they love me, and show it to me at every opportunity they have.
I am grateful for my health challenges, because they teach me how to make my life better.
I am helpful for my 2 aging puppies, they make me smile and give me so much love every day.
And I am thankful and giddy for the day to start, so I can enjoy everyone in my home today!
I've said it many times, and I will keep saying it: the most significant change in my life when I quit smoking is the incredible freedom I gained: to spend time with family, to travel, to watch a movie's credits till the end, to have my coffee right here, by my laptop while talking to you... I am not scared of another Day One, I am not scared I could die sooner than later, but I value my freedom and won't give it away easily!!!
And the event prompting me to talk about it again was meeting my neighbor yesterday. I had just finished washing my car in the carport. We really need 2 new cars, as both hubby and I are the same age, and will retire at the same time, and we still have 5 -5 1/2 years to work and commute, and 2 old cars. For once in our life I wanted him to have, and drive the new car. Tomorrow we are going to get his new car. My 2001 Subaru Outback, 160,000, still holds pretty well and I believe will give me another couple of years. I wanted to give it a makeover: I cleaned it really well inside, replaced the old, burnt carpets, really scrubbed any accessible area, and got a new wheel cover. And yesterday I washed the outside and did my best to make it spark!!!
My neighbor was a smoker her whole life, until about 6 years ago when she told me she quit; and I believed it, because I could not smell any smoke from her backyard, but when her son was visiting. Last week her son was helping her re-plant her front yard and we were speaking; and I smell this heavy, almost nauseating, tobacco smell, thinking her son replaced the cigarette with the chewing tobacco, maybe?.
Yesterday, as she was approaching my car, she kept coughing, then when she was near me, I smelled the same heavy, stale tobacco smell. Did she start smoking again, or is she chewing too?
No idea, but I can't even describe the feeling of happiness for standing on the other side of the fence, imaginary fence, the fence between a smoking addict, and being an addict who does not do that anymore.
Thanks Giulia for reminding me I have to write my own bout of reflection about the freedom I gained, and to say Thank you EXfor helping me get here.
Ever since I joined EX, I learned more and more to be in tune with my feelings, needs, forcing me to disconnect way more often from autopilot.
Here is an article I found interesting in relation to our work we need to do when we quit, of replacing the automated hand to mouth moves, with a conscious activity. I find it overwhelming we live nearly 50% of our lives in autopilot.
Of course, many of us still have to make a living, and we need so much the autopilot work; and others, retired, they still need to function on autopilot, they drive, work on their hobbies, have people/pets to take care of, and so on. We'd be exhausted at the end of 8-10 hours if our focus would be on every step of our jobs.
On the other hand, I think "stop and smell the flowers" should be a reminder we should all set for ourselves to do just that, at least several times/day.
It helped with quitting, it helps with our mind/body relationship, every minute, of every day.
Be mindful, and the harshness, the difficulty of quitting is going to light up, the crave will be accepted with a certain detachment, as being part of a process (quitting), and not as a punishment for quitting smoking.
I think we are a very cosmopolitan group: from many descents, from many religious beliefs, from different countries, first time immigrants (I know one, really well ), speaking different languages.
How about we try to learn more about our friends while speaking about our own traditions, in our native language using the Alphabet Game.
Hoping many would like to play, I would love to find out more about my EX friends, their gatherings, holiday dates and traditions around them, including but not limited to food
So here it is:
AJUN the night before Christmas day, Romanian word meaning the day which precedes an event, or Eve. Traditionally we celebrate Christmas Eve, people attend the evening mass, they go around singing carols, then have dinner, Santa stops by, then presents are being opened.
Impatient as a kid on Christmas morning, I can’t wait to celebrate my 1,000 Days of Freedom!
But 999 seems such an interesting number, I decided to blog about it, rather than wait for the 1,000.
To tell you the truth, I went to bed early last night, finally slept 7 1/2 h and decided to spend the time I got in my hands before heading to work, with YOU.
Because I would not be counting my 999 DOFs if it were not for YOU.
And I know, I know, we each own our Quit, and nobody can quit for us, but quitting alone, without YOU, is not something I wish on any smoker who decided to quit.
So this blog is not about my milestones, not about the difficult first month, or the confusion, and frustration sometimes experienced through NML, or the journey after that.
Because at every step of my quit, and I say it out loud, my last quit, I had, and still have YOU.
Our relationship evolved from the first day I joined, much as my quit evolved.
There were times when I felt left out (but that was mostly about me learning some new “old” English, which while old enough to know it, I don’t know it because I came here in my early 40’s). Little by little, you learned me, who I am, and accepted me, with my flaws, and you keep teaching me every day: about quitting, about honesty, family, friendship, love and respect.
I am not going to name anyone in particular, YOU know who you are, who never let me down when I needed help, who laughed at my jokes or my innocence when it came to understanding jokes, who are friends, parents, teachers to me, YOU are my people. It is here I come every day (more often, way more often than I go to the office), I just wish we were closer by distance and we could meet personally, and I could hug YOU and say Thank you looking into your eyes.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for changing my life for the better. I have my own health challenges, like we all do, but I am working on them as an EX!
And I will be coming back, for as long as I can, to give back to the community who gave me a new life as an EX!
I don't need anything more, I am happy with what I have. And the one thing I am happy the most about, I am happy to have mom living with us! I can remember years back, when I would call them for the holidays, and have the feeling of having accomplished my duty by starting my day speaking with them; but then living the rest of the holiday thinking of them, and how much they would have wanted us to be there with them (I never traveled home for Christmas, the tickets are just crazy expensive).
Of course there are challenges, or days when I wish our interactions would be better, but that prompted me to look at my own actions/reactions, and realize I was feeding into the frictions between us. She is 87, she won't change much, but I can if I am aware of the way we communicate.
Hubby is working today, he gets paid double, so I let him work, and decided to give the whole day to mom. She suffers from idiopathic peripheral neuropathy, basically she can barely feel the sole of her feet (and that impacts her balance), but she does not have diabetes, it is probably just old age, and bad circulation. She takes Gabapentin for it, it seems to help a little, but finding her the right pair of slippers is a HUGE deal. We probably purchased at least 25 pairs in the 4 years she's been here, I have one pair which should arrive today from Amazon.
So this is going to be my Black Friday chasing for SLIPPERS for mom. It is so important for her and her balance, when she has not yet resolved to use a walker.
We are going to spend the day checking out store after store, for some good slippers, and not because I want to save on the price, but because I am off, I cooked yesterday, we have leftovers, and decided to give the day to mom!
It took years of contemplation and denial, and one moment of clarity and action: "I think my time has come; there would never be a "right" time, if I can barely breath in air, why oh why, am I forcing myself to inhale the smoke which I feel is hurting every cell on its passage". I had to accept it was time for me to quit.
This was the beginning!
Then I came here and learned from the elders, and partners alike. I studied, like never before, how the addiction to Nicotine works, and what is my own responsibility in my own quit. For the elders can teach you, guide you, every step of the way, but the journey is ours, we have to take these steps. We have to accept will be living some uncomfortable times, but keep the objective in mind, at all times. Despite tears running down my cheeks during the most difficult withdrawal period, I put a smile on my face and started walking (metaphorically and literally) my quit journey.
And the days keep pilling up!
My friends reading this, quitting is possible, quitting can be a breeze if you align your mind with your objective: quitting.
You can switch to a "quit" mode, and all challenges along the way will seem easy to overcome if you make your own mind your biggest, smartest friend. You know it will work for you and with you!
Why did I keep the whole set of vaping device and all accessories in my mom's closet till yesterday?
Your guess is as good as mine!
Here was an EXcuse: I was going to take it home to my niece in Romania (she smokes nearly 3 paks/day), but she has no desire to quit, and as we all know, no one but one self can make the decision, do I did not.
Then I thought (another EXplanation for holding onto it), maybe my friend at work would want to use it as I did, as a quitting aid, but even if he quit while sick, 1 month after quadruple bypass, he started smoking again, and has not reached the point of decision.
We all know by now that anything in this text starting with EX is jut the lie I was telling myself every time I was thinking about it! Something to hold on to my smoking past, maybe, one day, what if, yes, it is the naked truth of how my addicted mind was working.
But it changed eventually, and yesterday, the whole bag of smoking paraphernalia went to garbage.
Because I have no intent to ever go there again, and the gesture was an act of faith in my ability to keep my quit as intact as it is now, at 980 DOF!
I hope you'll have faith in yourself, and believe with all your might, that you too, can guard your quit for the rest of your lives!