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Giulia Blog

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Craving Time?

Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 2, 2017

Stop it in it's tracks.  

How? - focus on something else.  ANYTHING else.

Think about why you're on this site.  REALLY think about it.  Why did you join this site?  

Something in you is yelling that you need to quit smoking. Right?  Trust that kernel of the best of you.  It knows what's best FOR you.  


Our Mission Impossible isn't impossible.  If you're willing to accept it.....


Are you?


WE DID, and we we're no different than you.  So we know YOU CAN!





Posted by Giulia Champion Nov 20, 2017

Tomorrow.  I'll quit tomorrow.  If you're a serial quitter, there is ALWAYS an excuse to put that next cigarette in your mouth.  And you know that's the truth of the matter.  You can't quit 95 times and not "get" that. How many tomorrow's have you agreed to?  How many tomorrow's have you lost?


Even if you're brand new at this quitting thing - if you're not totally committed, there is ALWAYS an excuse to say "well there's always tomorrow..."  "I didn't make it today, but tomorrow....."


You know what?  There will always be a "tomorrow" as far as your quit date is concerned - until you eliminate the option to smoke no matter what, why, where or when.   


The problem is, there may come a point where there will never be another tomorrow to quit BEFORE the time when 

you've passed that point of no return healthwise.  Once you've gotten to the stage of COPD or emphysema or lung cancer or....   At that point the concept of "tomorrow" takes on a whole new meaning.


Don't wait to get there.


I hope you get to your "tomorrow" before today is over.  

Quitting is easy when we're in the mood.  Until we get rid of every excuse to do so, we will smoke. Why? Because this is an addiction. And excuses are the game that our brain plays with us.  


Quitting is about eliminating not only the excuses from our playbook, but agreeing with ourselves to do so. Which means ACCEPTING our decision.  Permanently accepting our decision. Not just today.


It's really EASY to quit when we're sick or run out of money to buy more, or when it’s New Years or our birthday, or when we're "in the mood" to quit. The problem is - there's the next day.  When we feel better, when we have the money to buy a pack, when the celebratory moment is over and our mood says I WANT one and there is nothing that stands in it’s way, because we haven’t prepared. We haven’t educated ourselves, we haven’t done our homework. We're just acting on impulse.


Quitting can’t be based upon our moods because our moods are constantly changing depending upon the emotions that bombard us every single day. And what are moods but emotions?


If you want to quit, you have to eliminate everything that your addicted brain can come up with that gives you an excuse to go to that store around the corner, bum that cigarette, or accept the one offered by a “friend.” And too, you have to ignore the one that you just found in an old coat pocket that has “Smoke Me” written on it.


How do you do that? You do it first by educating yourself about this addiction, and then making a rock solid commitment - a “no matter what” kind of commitment. There are numerous long-term quitters on here who have gone through hell and back in their personal lives and still maintained their quits. Because they had that “no matter what” kind of commitment.


That’s what freedom from this addiction takes. Are you willing?


Best of EX Advisory Board II

Posted by Giulia Champion Nov 8, 2017

Forgive me, Community, for not getting back to this discussion before now. I really just didn't know how to go about forming such an advisory board. And still don't. My forte lies more in the creative than the corporate mindset. Ever since Mark suggested the Advisory Board, I felt it was no longer appropriate for me to just add material to Best of EX on my own as I used to do. So I didn't. But I do have the many suggestions that have been presented to me over the past several months (the links to blogs recommended), and will readily pass them on to the Board once it's formed.


Most of the comments on my original blog concerning this feel that a 5 person Board would be an appropriate number with perhaps 4 active Elders and 1 newer active member. Most thought that a rotating board would be a good idea (possibly 2 permanent with 3 rotating).


To summarize some other suggestions:


  • Four votes would be required to carry a recommendation in.
  • The content should be perused to see if it’s still pertinent/valid, if not archive that which isn't.
  • Because the list will get longer and longer over time, the point was made that there should be a limit to the amount of material posted. When the limit is reached, those blogs/discussions would be archived.
  • There should be some permanent, non-archivable Bests (glued stickies).
  • Perhaps set voting periods (quarterly or once a month), with a limit to the amount of entries.


As Best of EX is no longer under my jurisdiction, I would suggest anyone who is interested in being on the Board, contact Mark to let him know.  He's much better at this kind of thing than I.


I apologize for not getting back to this discussion ere now. It’s more than past time for new Best of EX material.


You’re the BEST!

Sometimes after many days or months, or even years - a craving may take you by surprise.  Be prepared and stay strapped into your commitment.







Can Do It Street

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 28, 2017

This is a part of a blog I  wrote way back in 2008 here called WISE WORDS (that helped me when I first quit). The piece is not mine.  I wish I knew who wrote it.  I think it needs to be newly highlighted as it holds universal truths for all us quitters.  It speaks to all levels of our journeys through life.  Not just the quitting one.  But especially speaks to the serial quitter in us. The one who has tried and tried and is here to try again.  I hope it brings you to freedom.





I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed.

One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. GOD BLESS you in finding this great place. If you can find it -- it's in your own heart -- please look me up. I live on I Can Do It Street.


Quantum Leaps

Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 26, 2017

Eric (ChangoGrande ) turned me onto this blog by Steve Pavlina.  I thought it might be of value to many here.  I've edited it to make it a wee bit shorter, as it's even longer than what I copied here.  Those items in parens are my doing, as are the bold emphases. 

" thing I can tell you from all of this effort is that personal growth is very, very hard.... If you think you can read one book or article on (xxxxxx) and instantly erase (xxxxxx) disorder from your life forever, that’s an extremely unrealistic expectation. While a single book can potentially lead you to a big change, (i.e. the Allan Carr book) most won’t. When you experience a big change in your life, it’s probably the result of a long chain of events, of which reading a particular book was only a small but perhaps critical part.
Personal growth experiences often occur in the form of a quantum leap — a strong and radical shift from one mindset to another. There may be a number of small steps leading up to that leap, but at some point there is a big change, and it happens in an instant." 
"You decide you’re done smoking, and you quit for life. These decisions can happen in a mere second – a moment of clarity suddenly hits you, and you know what you have to do. A quantum leap occurs, and from that moment on, you’re never the same again. Some of these leaps appear more gradual than others, but virtually all of them can be traced back to a moment of decision. At some point you made a decision to change. And even before you manifest this change in your physical reality, you immediately know you’re not the same anymore."
"It’s rare that reading a single book will produce a quantum leap. Quantum leaps require a large amount of consistent input and energy..... It may also occur after lots of time spent thinking positively about what life will be like after the shift. Both positive and negative factors can help generate a quantum leap.
Most of the time when people pursue personal growth, they simply don’t invest enough time and energy in a consistent direction to achieve a quantum leap. Maybe you’ve read a book on getting organized, and while you were reading it, the positive energy you experienced moved you closer to making a leap. You felt fairly certain at the time that this was going to work. But then you finished the book (or got sidetracked and didn’t finish it), and the impact of the book gradually faded. You never reached the quantum leap that allowed you to break through to a new level of order in your life. Over a period of days or weeks, your old pattern reasserted itself. Sound familiar?
But it wasn’t the book or the ideas themselves that failed you. The problem was that you didn’t invest enough sustained energy in the same direction to achieve the quantum leap. You never reached the point of no return. Reading a single book was only a small, short-term nudge, albeit in the right direction."
"  In order for a rocket launched from earth to reach outer space, the rocket must exert a sufficient amount of sustained force to overcome the earth’s gravity. If the rocket’s engines cut out prematurely, the rocket will crash back to earth. Just as it can take a massive amount of sustained force to put a rocket into orbit, recognize that there are certain areas of your life where you may need a large force to knock you into a higher state. Small efforts over a long period of time may do absolutely nothing for you. "
"So what does work? How do you achieve a quantum leap? You need to exert some effort in a particular direction where you want to grow, and you need to consistently sustain it until you achieve a quantum leap. If you stop short, you’ll likely fall right back to where you started. So first of all, if you’re going to target a new quantum leap, you need to commit to sustaining that effort until you hit the leap.
"This is why I say personal growth is very hard. Effecting a quantum leap is tough work. It requires a strong force of sustained effort, and you can’t let up until you hit the leap. If you get sidetracked for too long, you have to start over again."
"But the bright side is that after you make the leap, you can rest for a bit. You’ve reached a higher state, and you’re going to stay there by default, just as a satellite in orbit will remain in orbit."
" Quitting smoking may be very difficult. But if you’ve been a nonsmoker for years, it doesn’t take nearly as much effort to remain a nonsmoker; you may need to make some adjustments along the way, but they’ll be minor compared to the initial energy required to quit."
"So how would you pursue such a goal as a quantum leaper?"
"Immerse yourself in your goal. Get clear on your exact goal, and write it down in your own words. Post your goal somewhere you’ll see it every day."
Educate yourself on what it will take to achieve your goal. And I mean really educate yourself to the point where you become an expert. Keep pouring knowledge into your head until you succeed — continuously. Don’t just read one book on the subject. Read 10. Then read 10 more. Then 10 more. Listen to audio programs. Talk to experts. Never let up on your self-education.
"Alter your environment to support the achievement of your goal."
"Consciously change the people you spend the most time with such that your goal is supported by those around you." 
"One reason people fail to achieve a quantum leap is that they make only a meager effort in these four areas. They don’t get really clear about what they want and keep their goals in their face every day. They invest only a few hours in education instead of several hundred. They maintain an environment that fails to reinforce their new identity. And they continue to cling to people who hold them back. Year after year they remain stuck."
"Yes it’s a lot of hard work to achieve a quantum leap in any of these areas, but I think the alternative of stagnation is worse. You can pursue the quick fix methodology and fall flat on your face over and over. Or you can accept that the change you want is going to be hard and that it may take years to achieve, but it will be worth it. And best of all, once you’ve gone through a few quantum leaps, you may learn to enjoy the process of building up to the next one. It’s deeply satisfying to look back on your previous state of being and see how much you’ve grown."

Badges and Comments Thereupon

Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 24, 2017

Just a point of information here.  If someone gives you a badge and you comment back to them saying "thank you" or whatever you may say - that comment is not a personal comment unseen by the rest of the quit community here.  It is a public response that everybody can see and everybody can then join in and comment upon themselves.  Think of it like a status update or a blog or conversation or anything else (other than a personal message).   In other words any response to a badge given is open to the community at large.  It is NOT a personal message.  This is important to understand.  Personally I find it an unfortunate aspect of badge commentary, but then that's Jive!


Some Wisdom from a Wisedom

Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 1, 2017

There's an active and ongoing blog here called Let's Get Moving Challenge   Interestingly the person who created the blog has never been back.  But it spoke to many of us who felt the need to challenge ourselves to Get MOVING!  And we have.  And there are many things discussed and shared there.  


I wanted to put one of these sharing out in a blog for all to see and to point it up.  Because it has so much wisdom.  (And I have been given permission to do so.)  If you want to know who wrote it and to whom it was written - well, you'll just have to visit that blog.  Just thought this might help some of you out there struggling not only with the addiction but with life in general.  



You asked for a really big favor.  There are many who can help you to 'get your butt moving".  I thought I would share some thoughts and reflections on why you feel social anxiety when alone.  You are alone but you are safe - no harm will come to you.  To often we forget to think of or reflect on ourselves.   If we are addicted to anything the first thing we have to ask ourselves is "What am I afraid of"?  Fear is the root cause of many addictions and fear of loss is why most people find it so hard to quit.  If we could fully understand this concept quitting or coping would become a lot easer.  If we take something away - something has to replace it.  Sadly at times we replace it with social anxiety, depression or anxiety.  We are not just bodies; we are mind, body and spirit.  If all are in balance we will be happy functioning human beings.  


You gave up cigarettes - what did you replace this habit with?  You gave up alcohol - what replaced this habit?  And why did you smoke or drink in the first place?  Many people experiment with alcohol or cigarettes but not all become addicted - why do you?  Why did I?  I feel something was missing in our lives; something was lost.  **What was lost was the freedom, choice and ability to be who we really are - the individual we were meant to be. **We lost the ability to think or speak for ourselves, we lost the gift of free choice.  Many were raised in an environment where there was no support - no bonding - little love and no choice to share our dreams or desires.  And all along the way we convinced ourselves we are in charge and doing just fine. 


I am going to present a challenge to you.  Grab a box of Cheese its and a box of wheat thins and lots of cheese.  Sit down with a blank piece of paper and pen.  Your first words will be "Tomorrow morning when I wake up I will...


Now of course comes the hard part.  Reflect on your childhood a bit - what did you want to when you grew up?  How did you want to affect people in your life?  Right now what would make you happy?  I want you to create your life as - right now - would like it to be.  Would you like to wake up in California on Rodeo Drive, or maybe a villa in the South of France, or a large city.  What is your position - are you a Doctor working in the ER in a prestigious hospital in Boston?  Are you a teacher, a swim coach, a beauty consultant, or an exercise coach?  


There are no restrictions here - you have the education, the money, the time and talents.  All you need is to dream.  

While doing some research early today I came across this article which I found rather interesting.  Especially the part about how long nicotine may be detected in your hair follicles.  "Traces of nicotine can generally be found in your hair follicles for up to three months after your last exposure. Depending on the hair test used, nicotine may be detected for up to a year after your last exposure."  I wonder if you shave your head after you've quit, whether it remains in the follicles?  Fortunately for those seeking free diapers, they don't do hair follicle testing.  I find it really interesting that the nicotine can be detected in our follicles for up to a year!  Makes that One Year milestone even greater!  (If that's possible!)


How Long Does Nicotine Stay in Your System? 



Posted by Giulia Champion Jul 20, 2017

Nyima sent me a PM earlier today and wanted me to pass on her well wishes.  So I will:


Since I retired and approaching my 5 year anniversary, I have often thought about coming back to Ex to play it forward......  I miss you, I miss all the peeps that helped and supported me in my quit! I miss the sweet, warm and fuzzy, comfy folks as much as the cool, tough as nails, prickly hardasses! Please feel free to share my gratitude! 

For all those who don't know her ....  Nyima_1.6.13 

FYI - I was just putting in a photo from my photoucket account and they have now disallowed free third-party hosting.  This is what shows up when I tried.  So, if you don't want to have to pay for it, you'd better download all your pictures from your account there to your computer, else they won't be available to use on this site.


Your access to 3rd party hosting is temporarily disabled. 




For the Best of the Community

Posted by Giulia Champion Jul 13, 2017

The “best thing for the community.” I keep hearing this phrase and it is becoming disturbing to me. We must do thus and so because it’s “best for the community.” My goodness. How did this site ever progress to the stage and state it has now become but for the Community - US.  And the grace and beauty and specialness of this COMMUNITY is the members who speak their speak the way they speak it. From the bowels and truth of the addiction.


I’ve gone along (challengingly at times) with most of the changes that have occurred when we moved to this new platform, but I’m just personally finding more and more “restrictions” and “proper” placement and movement of content and moderation “all for the best of the community” to be all for the best of a community which I didn’t originally join. And I’m finding less and less enjoyment in being here because of it.  And bit by bit more and more restrictive parameters seem to be being bred in little, almost unnoticeable increments.  


Having been a member of this site soon after it’s inception in 2008 (two years after I had quit), I’ve seen MUCH and been a part of two platform changes now. Have seen how those changes have affected the site.  Have seen hordes of member leave each time and a few core members remain, and obviously new member coming a’board.  And the greatest increase of the latter was during this last platform change.  Which is a good thing.


And I totally understand the need for “order” and certain discipline within a community support site. But I feel that restrictions, specific structuring and ordering, are beginning to stop the flow of normal conversation.  Now, every time I write a blog or discussion I’m cognizant of “is this word ok or not?  Is it all right if I add my own asterisk to ‘soften it’, or do I simply need to re-phrase my content?”  "Should I place my content here, or there?  Is it going to be moved?"  That’s not what’s “best for the Community” to my mind.  Just because of search engine needs and fear of offending.  When we write a blog or start a conversation or respond to content on here, the brilliance and gift of the support is in the free expression of our hearts.  And part of recovery from addiction is in self-expression and venting and becoming and sharing our new selves.  


My serious concern is that when we start paying more attention to the needs of the 'sponsors' and newly created ‘medical/insurance’ connections that are perhaps being made through the expansion of this site, then what is truly special and unique about the EX Community will be secondary.  I think then we begin down the road to being just like any other quit site out there.  And there are MANY.  And frankly they all teach the same concepts and offer similar tools.  The concepts and tools presented by the Plan are not unique to EX. 


What I believe IS unique, resides within the community.  It's the reason, for example, that we have EX reunions.  It is because of the free expression and emotional honesty that is created by the members here. The mostly ‘unconditional love’ (tough or soft) and empathy. There’s an incredible level of trust and thus depth of connection here. The more it’s tampered with by increasing rules and verbiage regulations and restrictions and altering of blog titles and placement of content - the less likely that same level of free expression and emotional honesty will come to the fore.  In my opinion.  I hope I’m wrong.  And I may just be ‘aware of it’ because I’ve seen the changes.  Those that don’t know the difference - well, it probably won’t hurt them.  But I think it's hurting those of us who do.  Life can be a real pain in the butt! 

MOO (my opinion only). 

This just occurred to me. “Currently Being Moderated” pops up willy nilly it seems for no reason at all on our responses to blogs and discussions on here. It could be a one word response, it cold be a multi-word response. Our Company Manager has explained that whatever the Jive platform spam settings are - are kind of a mystery. Even to him. And that’s to protect not only the proprietary nature of the Jive platform, but to ensure that certain knowledge doesn’t get into the wrong hands. The object of their game in computer moderation modules is to stop spam in it’s tracks. And a very good thing that is. Having been on this site since it’s inception in 2008, I’ve seen a lot of Chinese muckboot scammers on here. No they weren’t called muck boots - help me Dale???? But makes total sense to me. A spammer control robot that protects us within the community is obviously a good thing. Until you’ve been a witness to the amount of spam happening here - you won’t have a clue. Trust us that know - spam control helps. AND, sure it also hinders in certain instances and can be annoying. But robots aren’t perfect. Thank god. Neither are we.


Which really brings me to the point of this blog. And if you’ve read this far it means you’ll see it.


Are you currently moderating your quit? Are you blocking the excuse spammer in your mind? Do you HAVE a filter in place? Have you even given thought to such a filter?


If not - DO. You need a ‘pop up’ in your head that says “this content is being moderated.” And it’s being moderated by the ‘common sense’ receptors in your brain. No such thing, I know, by gee I wish there were! We need to find the trigger filters, the craving filters. Not the ones that allow them in, but the ones that block them. We need to use what’s between our ears to MODERATE our addiction.


And we do that by educating ourselves, educating ourselves not only about the addiction, but our particular relationship to it, our own triggers, our own excuses.  Education enables us to become our own moderators.


As an 11 year quitter, I think maybe I have developed my own excuse spam filter. I don’t need to moderate much at this stage of my quit. But when a red flag of a craving comes upon me - I definitely do. I’m not in constant “current moderation stage” at this point on my journey. But we all need that check and balance in our quits. Whether it be our first week, during No Man’s Land, or 11 years later. We need to have our own personal quit Company Manager that is currently moderating and managing our quits.


Quits don’t happen by themselves. They take constant attention. Are you currently moderating your quit?


Calling all Smorgys

Posted by Giulia Champion Jun 20, 2017

Anybody seen hide or hair of Sharon?  I sent her a PM four days ago, but no word back as yet.  

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