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Giulia's Blog

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Posted by Giulia Champion Jul 25, 2020

This is for those who have signed up for the EX Reunion on Sunday.  If you haven't accepted the invitation yet, please do so by clicking Yes on your invitation.




Hoping that the info I present here will help some of you who are unfamiliar with Zoom be able to connect and not tear your hair out.  I'm basing it solely on joining by computer/laptop as that's the way with which I'm familiar.   I've only used Zoom three times, so if I make any errors in this "How To," feel free to correct me!  The blind leading the blind here.




There are a couple of ways to get to the meeting.  The easiest would be to:


1.  Click on the https URL link provided in the Invitation email.

  "Recommended: Join Zoom Meeting via your computer / tablet / smartphone https://truthinitiative.....XXX"


That should take you directly to the meeting.  Then...


2.  Enter the Meeting ID number which is located immediately after the mobile call-in numbers on the invite.


If you do not have zoom already downloaded onto your computer/laptop, you may see the following screen:



If you see the screen above, then click on either "click here" if you already have the app or "download and run Zoom" to download the app.


If you see the screenshot below click on Join a Meeting.





The alternate way to get to a meeting - if you already have an account is:


1.  Open Zoom, sign in

2.  Click on Join




You will then need to enter the Meeting ID and your name.  Then click the Join button.



If you are asked to give permission to use your audio and video it's important that you accept.


If you want to join with video click that button otherwise click on "Join without."  But we encourage you to join by video so that we can see your smiling face.   That's part of the FUN!. 






On the upper right hand corner you should see a Settings Cogwheel.  









To make sure you audio is working correctly, click on the Audio button in Settings.  If you click on Test Mic, and then speak a few words and stop speaking, a moment after that you should hear a replay of what you just said.  I keep my setting on Automatically adjust volume.  But you can increase or decrease as necessary.  You can also test your speaker volume there.  


I'm not sure if Mark is going to put us all on MUTE when we join, but if not, you should click on Mute my microphone when joining a meeting.  Otherwise it's going to sound like the Tower of Babel!




If you see the following, you'll know your audio is muted and your video camera not active.  Simply click the appropriate button to unmute or start video:  



To stop the video or the audio simply click on the appropriate button again.



You can unmute yourself (if Mark has allowed that control) by tapping the screen (if you're using a touch screen) or by holding down the space bar continuously while you speak.  Once you stop pressing it, you'll automatically go back to mute mode.


In the Video portion of Settings you can select whether you want "wide screen" or "original ratio"  view.  You also have the opportunity to make your image a little softer with "Touch up my appearance."




If want to leave the meeting, simply click on Leave Meeting.


If you're still lost in Zoomland, the following video may help.  I think she does a GREAT job of explaining it:  Joining a Zoom Call for the First Time 


Looking forward to seeing you all!


A Study in Perseverance

Posted by Giulia Champion Jun 13, 2020

We have two cats.  One spends most of it's time inside, but does enjoy some outdoor activity especially if we're out there with her.  She's a bit of a scaredy cat.  Interestingly she was born and raised outside before we rescued her.  Her hunting abilities are limited to butterflies and small lizards.


Our other cat was a pampered indoor cat we rescued.  She is the killer.  She takes down squirrels.  She's the one that would prefer to spend all of her time outside.  Her name is Pillow.  Because - aside from when she's killing things - she's the most loving, gentle, soft create you could ever put your hands on.


Miss ingenuous genius has now figured out how to open the cat door from inside when it's locked.  You can lock either side (separately or together) so they can't push their way through.  It's handy at night when one is in and the other out for a late night mole snack.  Or if you're mopping the floor and want to keep them both out.  Eventually the outer one decides to come in late for a bit of R&R and then they're both locked in for the night.  Safe and sound.  That's our aim at least.  HA!


In this case Pillow was in and locked in.  I went out to the hammock for a 1 am soaking up of the eternity.  The glorious coolness of the night with it's attendant whisperings, croaks, rustlings and exquisite mockingbird's nightly solo symphony of a hundred different songs.  And at some point I was nudged.  By Pillow.  "How odd," I said to myself.  I thought she had been locked in for the night.  So I picked her up and brought her into the house.  That was the end of my respite, but I was ready to come in anyway.


But not quite ready for bed.  And I was in the kitchen doing some last minute clean up and hear her banging the cat door trying to exit.  Which I've heard before and wondered about, but never paid any attention to.  Until now.  And so I watch.
This lady is usually very vocal in her frustrations with not being allowed to go out.  Much yowling.  For a LONG ANNOYING TIME!  Not on this occasion.  I watched as she kept attempting to pull the cat door IN, because that's the only way it was set to swing.  She couldn't push it out with her head the way she normally does.  So she figured out another way.  And she kept at it until she DID.  She managed to pull it in enough to get a foot under.  And then an arm and then when it was wide enough open for her body she glanced back at me with a look I'll never forget.  It was a grin with a bit of an FU and a wink attached.  It was a glorious expression and moment.    She KNEW I could have stopped her at any time.  I didn't have to stand there and watch, I could have just admonished her and scooted her away.  And as she disappeared into the night - I just marveled and chuckled. 


I knew she'd eventually figure it out because I'd heard her at it for months.  Just had never watched the process.  And suddenly I realized I wasn't crazy after all.  She HAD been locked in when I went out to the hammock.  And so she'd figured out how to escape twice.  And now, of course I know she's an escape artist.


This isn't quite a shaggy cat tail story.  It does have a point.  I saw her determination and thought of my own - when I quit.  And the point is - perseverance, determination and ingenuity.  And that's exactly what we need to have when we undergo this quitting process.  We have to keep at it until we achieve it.  And if one method doesn't work, then we have to try another, and another and another.  We need that kind of determination, that kind of perseverance and that kind of ingenuity.  If cold turkey hasn't worked, nor an NRT,  we need to find another way.  If turning to vaping hasn't worked, then we need to find another way.  There IS a way out of this addiction.  Really there is.


One of those ways - is a support group.  Like this community on EX.  People who have been through it.  All of it.  All aspects of it.  Who have failed and returned to conquer.  Their wisdom is invaluable.  


But also, you need persistence and perseverance.  They're not the same.  I like this particular definition of the two:  "Persistence:  firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty...."  "Perseverance:  steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success."  (emphasis mine)


Both of them speak of "in spite of difficulty" but there's a subtle difference.  I think we need one or the other (though both wouldn't hurt!) as a necessary ingredient in our quitting program ingredient mix. 


Find your way out of the cat door.  Doesn't matter how.  Just figure it out.  And be free.  Persevere.


Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 1, 2020

You have the option to smoke or not smoke. If you’ve quit and have a craving, it’s your choice to smoke and give up your quit, or remain true to your commitment, that Best of You. If there were no cigarettes in the world, you wouldn’t have that choice. You simply COULDN’T smoke. Life would be easier. In your brain at least.


I think it’s the Option that causes failure and certainly the continued angst in most cases. When I ELIMINATED the option to smoke in my own mind, my journey became easier because it didn’t matter if I wanted a cigarette or not - they didn’t exist as a possibility in my world any more. I think it’s why today I’m celebrating a 14 year quit.


When we allow the option to smoke to rattle around in our brains, we suffer, because that back-and-forth dialogue drives us insane: the “I want” versus the “I know I shouldn’t.” The “I want” tends to be stronger because it’s visceral, emotional. Rational thought really is at the losing end of this battle. The intellectual “I shouldn’t” for all the reasons we list: the stink, the cost, health, family, etc. .... can’t compete with the visceral emotional “but I waaaaant it.” When you eliminate the option, there IS no choice. And the dialogue ceases.


If they stopped making cigarettes, vape, chaw, whatever - tomorrow and you KNEW beyond a doubt you couldn’t ever get another cigarette - don’t you think you’d get over this addiction a whole faster? I do. For example: when they stopped making 75 watt NORMAL light bulbs, I suffered for a while trying to find some but then I just gave up and now buy the LED version or something else. Though I miss that 75 watt warm incandescent light bulb, I don’t have a choice any more. Instead of buying a pack of light bulbs for $2.00 I now have to spend $8. The option has been taken away from me. So be it. I’m still kind of miffed about it, but - hey it’s the new norm. And I gave up trying to retain my old way. Didn’t give me any joy in fighting for something I could no longer have. Fighting to find a way to smoke without cost (healthwise), isn’t possible. Yet. They thought vaping would be the answer. Jury is still out on that.


If quitting is your new norm, you can accept your choice, remove the option to smoke, make this a “no matter WHAT” scenario, or you can continue to fight your choice by allowing the possibility of smoking to reside in your brain and so keep the fire of cravings alive. If you remove the option, that constant back and forth dialogue in your head will cease a whole lot faster. Right, Elders? If you can still come up with a reason to smoke then you haven’t eliminated the option, and that dialogue will continue and that next cigarette or vape or chaw will be right there waiting for you at the next convenience store counter to fulfill that potential option.


When the option is eliminated - there’s no hope for a cigarette. When you agree to relinquish the hope of smoking, you are on your path to true freedom from this addiction.


I hope you eliminate the option, I hope you stay true to that Best of You and accept the beautiful, tough, noble choice that you’ve made to be free.


With Love,


I'm going to add a little bit to this blog every once in a while. These were all the things I copied from other sites I was involved with when I was first quitting. They helped me. Maybe they'll help you. If I can I will cite the name of the person who wrote the piece. (Who knows, one of them may be you.)



I always tried to figure out why I smoked. I smoked to relieve stress, to feel better, to deal with problems. I smoked at people, places, and things. If only the world was a better place to live in, I could relax and not smoke or not smoke so much.. If life was only little bit fairer for me or if I could just get some lucky breaks, I wouldn't be smoking my brains out. Them damm drivers on the freeways always drove me to light up. I felt like a rat in cage and I had to smoke to calm down or I will go nuts.

Somehow I have to break this habit. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit and God only knows how many times I have tried to break this " smoking habit." I could break a lot of other habits if I set my mind to it , but I couldn't break this "smoking habit". It
had me by the *****……..! I was out of control with it and the insane part of this "habit" is that I thought it was normal thinking for a smoker to be like this.

The truth of the matter is that it isn't a habit or a smoking problem. The truth is that I am a drug addict addicted to the drug of nicotine. I smoked because I was addicted. Not because I was sad, happy, angry , joyful, lonely, contented………but because I was and am
addicted to nicotine, a deadly drug. That is why I smoked.

All the emotional reasons I smoked or psychological reasons I smoked didn't mean didly squat as to why I smoked. It had no bearing whatsoever as to why I smoked. I smoked because my body said "gimmee my fix dummy" And I did. It made me a slave

Here is the crux of the problem. I smoked because I am angry. Well I will work on my anger problems. I smoked because I am stressed out. So I will take stress management courses. I smoked because of my self worth so I read self help books. So guess what! I still smoked after working on my other problems. Nothing changed.

Recognizing that it is a addiction and not a habit or problem is the first step. Why I took the 2nd through the millionth cigarette is because I am addicted to nicotine. Once I quit and go through the physical withdrawal , then nicotine is out of my system. Now the
psychological reasons to smoke come into play for that 1st cigarette. After the 1st cigarette the body takes over for the 2nd cigarette and the physical addiction takes hold once again

I am not addicted to smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes is only a delivery system for nicotine. You get nicotine from cigars, pipe smoking, Patches, Nicotine Gum, Nicotine lozenges, chewing tobacco, snuffing it or inhalers. These are all delivery systems for nicotine.

I smoked cigarettes so therefore smoking was not an option for me anymore. If it was still an option and I quit for the better of my health or for someone else ,as soon as the pain got too much; then I take the option of smoking again. Human beings can not tolerate pain forever. You have to change in order to combat this addiction. If
smoking is still an option then you will not change and you will go back to smoking.
If smoking is not an option, then you will be willing to go to any lengths not to light up.

So there your are


There seemed to be endless obstacles preventing me from living with my eyes open, but as I gradually followed up clue after clue it seemed that the root cause of them all was fear.” --Joanna Field

"How often have we complained that we would be able to do something if only another thing weren't preventing us. I can't is our answer when we look around us and see only potential obstacles to accomplishing something. We need to realize, however, that I can't is just another way of saying I fear.

If we took away our fearfulness, think of all we could do. There would be nothing to prevent us from taking risks, trying new things, going new places, becoming more intimate, changing careers, going back to school.....

We can change our response of I can't to I'll try. We can take the first step away from our fear toward trying something new. There are no obstacles in our path only the ones we put there to protect us from things we fear. "

You are reading from the book: Night Light by Amy E. Dean

(This was taken from a very wise soul at Unofficial Nicanon July 2006)


The utter frustration of trying to quit is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I have
tried many ways of quitting only to fall flat on my face. There was that place where they electrocuted you every time you smoked. Well I didn't try that one, that was stupid. Who in their right mind would take a shock treatment to quit smoking. Then there was that way of sticking needles in you to make you quit. That was kind of stupid too. Then there was the hypnotist who hypnotized me when I think in all reality I was looking at hanging out boobs. Well if they are there , I am going to look at them. That cost me 85.00 and my therapist recommend me to try her again. He said she was good, well she was good looking but not for $85 am I going for a look.

I tried more saner things like sticking my head in a caged off box until my eyes burned and I was choking too death. Now any dumb fool would know to take your head out of the box and breathe fresh air and then smoke. So that didn't work. Went to a program where they stuck a needle in my neck to numb me and my wife had to drive me home and they gave me a bunch of pills to take in the morning and they told me I would lose the desire to smoke. Bullsh*t! I woke up and wanted a cigarette right out of the gate. That cost me $600 or should I say my insurance company. I went to a 7 day Adventist church program and as I walked in I had to throw my cigs in a trash can. Ouch! There were a lot of cigarettes in there. Well I listened to the talk and looked at all the scary pictures and left and went to a liquor store and bought another pack. So much for fear.

I went to smokenders program and I like that one. You didn't have to quit right away. You could smoke for 4 weeks I think before you hit the final day. And if you failed the program you could go back for half price. So I went back 2 more times and was going to go for the 4th time and found out they weren't around my area anymore. I went cold turkey and I won't do that anymore. I tried patches and got nowhere fast. I tried the gum and it tasted so horrible I threw the whole box away. And went back to smoking.

I went to another smoking cessation program my insurance company had and I thought that sucked. It was stupid. Wasn't dealing with issues about smoking. I tried pills that I ordered in the mail that was guaranteed to make me quit in 7 days or my money back. I tried praying and that didn't work, I was prayed over and that didn't work. So I decided I would just cut back , well that worked for a few hours. I put my cigs a far distance from me and would have to walk a block to get one, that was short lived too, too much work to quit….screw it.

Through all this process of trying to quit I am coughing my guts out, can't breathe, Checking my phlegm for blood.., Burning chest ready to explode any moment and I am swearing off the cigs on a nightly basis, month in and month out. I would climb into bed and cough like mad for about 45 minutes and sleep on 3-4 pillows and waking up through out the night and wanting it to be morning so I could go smoke a cigarette. Now was that insane or what! On top of all that I have my wife raising living hell with me about my smoking. Sh*t, I got enough to deal without listening to her!
I told myself once or twice when I get ready to quit, I will quit. Well that time came and I found out real quick that I couldn't quit so I rationalized that whole process into believing I really didn't want to quit. So therefore when I get ready to quit, I will quit………sure thing.

So I went to a few hospitals to get some advice on my health issues…….I was in for pleurisy, stress, possible heart attack, more stress, damaged lungs, bronchitis, you name it. And I still wanted a cigarette. Everyone of them damm doctors and nurses were on my case about quitting. I am not here to quit, I am in here to get better so I can go home……You might say I had a slight case of powerlessness over this smoking crap.

So I come to Nicotine Anonymous for the first time and everyone is laughing and having a good ole time. I sure the hell wasn't having a good time. I wanted to quit real bad and I wanted to smoke real bad. I was in a bad place in a bad way. I was so insane I thought I could quit without quitting smoking. I don't think I was thinking right. Hell I wasn't thinking right for a long, long time. I was a real frigging mess when I got here. I was told "Gary you got to get better before you can die" I literally had a few members taking bets on me I was going to die before I quit. I was powerless and I was whipped and I had no place to go and all I wanted was to be able to smoke my cigarette in peace…. insanity………And my life was unmanageable. How unmanageable? Take my cigarettes a way and I will kill you and I will go to jail but I will have my cigs. …insanity….

So I am powerless and defeated, so what do I have to do now? Well, don't smoke for starters. No sh*t Sherlock! How in the hell do you do that, I ask? Its easy for you to say that but I can't quit, its impossible to do so. And I am dying right in front of everyone and I feel doomed. So I am told, just don't smoke for now and don't take that any further. Drink water, cut back on coffee and go to meetings. And in time work the steps. Well I made a day. I was so happy that I haven't smoked for the day and thought, gee this is really doable. Until I woke up the next morning and thought to myself" What did I let myself in for?" Then it got tough. Went to a meeting the next night and heard a member said she slept the day thru just to get the day over with. I thought to myself., what a wimp! So I slept the next day through. Day three was a mother but I had 2 days already and it got me to hang on. I hung on to the group and the people there and watching them to make sure they didn't go back out and smoke again. They didn't. I wasn't sure if these people were telling me the straight skinny or not. They were. And I stayed. Thank God! I found this was the only place in the world I felt safe and actually for the first time found people who understood what I was going through and feeling. I felt like I belonged. They shared their hope, strength and experience with me and that encouraged me to keep on trying. When I had some time going for me like 30 days I started sharing with the new person and I felt I was returning what I have received.

Did the cravings go away right away? Oh no! It was probably about 6 months before I began to like the idea of being a non smoker and it was over a year when I could say I lost the obsession to smoke. From day one until that year It just got easier one day at a time. I found I could handle things one day at a time and not smoke one day at a time no matter what. Its here if you want it but you got to want it more than any thing else. All you have to do is hit your own bottom wherever that is for you. For me I didn't like the coffin that was being made for me……~Gary~




Mourn Not
Several times now, I have read that once one gives up smoking one must go through a period of mourning. A mourning defined by the loss of no longer being able to smoke; of losing a kind of companion who has been with me for almost all of my life through thick and thin. Cravings are the grieving process of that state of mourning; that emptiness of
the loss of not being able to smoke.

I have thought about that a great deal and I have come to a conclusion.

The way we speak and write affects the formation of how we think.

I refuse to mourn my friends. I absolutely deny myself or give any credence to such a notion.

I understand the signals my brain sends out as sensations of craving or emptiness but they are not valid. These are not true signals of biological need or desire. They are the signals of a sick mind. They are the signals of addiction and they come from a tiny minority of cells in my body that do not represent the vast majority of me as a living being.

I am in a period of liberation and I turn now to listen to the billions of cells in my body who proclaim their joy and independence from this terrible onslaught of poisoning I have brought upon them for the last 27 years. They sing out "hallelulia and amen" to each breath of fresh and smoke-free air that I breathe in and they don't miss smoking one bit. I have nothing to be sad about and the confused signals that a minority of my cells send out shall from now on be answered by the vast majority of cells who sing forth, "Free at last!"

I love my body and I will take care of it from now on and listen to the true signals it sends to me; not the confused and false ones.

I refuse to mourn my new liberation and road to recovery and balance. I refuse to wish for or miss or pine and sigh for the shackles of my former addiction.

Instead I will listen closely to the regeneration of my lung tissue and to the beating of my heart as I run up the mountain and with tear filled eyes rejoice that I am still alive and am very blessed to have stopped smoking.

With love and hope to all,
~~ David Callahan.




"I simply accept. I accept pain. I accept sadness. I accept cravings. I accept lonliness. I accept unexpected misfortune. I accept many of my own shortcomings and I accept that self change is a slow process. I accept that in order to become free of nicotine addiction, I must go through a long time of "not feeling very well". I just....accept it.

Now, it doesn`t frighten or anger me like it once did. Now I don't resist it or desire for things to be another way. It is not my place nor is it very wise for me to desire a change over that which I have no control over. I accept the way of the world. I am but a very small part of it and since I am blessed to be alive, I accept the terms of this world as I live in it
" ~~ David Callahan


I relate acceptance to love, and see them as the same thing. Love attracts. Acceptance is 'allowing to enter'. From what I can see they are both about 'non' resistance. I find myself resisting reality many times throughout the day. I can always spot it easily now. When there is pain in my life, there I must be resisting.

The paradox is that I am 'allowing' the resistance, I 'accept' the resistance, I 'love' this resistance to reality. So I am practicing acceptance. It is just a matter of how I wish to express acceptance. In pain, or in joy.

I would like to have that joyful companionship with acceptance more and more and leave behind bit by bit the painful resistance to reality which must, as you wrote, come from an unwise desire for a change over that which I have no control.
~~ Brenda




"If we could remember that every experience we'll ever have is unique and offers us a lesson we will grow from, we'd accept them all with far greater ease. What's there to be afraid of anyway?" ~~ "A Woman's Spirit" James Jennings, Karen Casey


"Redefine 'depressed.' Your body is trying to get healthy again that's all. Feeling run down and mentally "blah" is the body's way of protecting itself so that it can conserve energy and repair. It wants you to rest and get more sleep. That's what makes the healing process happen much more effectively and efficiently.

Quitting smoking has given the body a shock to your system, no different than being introduced to a new flu strain. Your body is working hard right now, don't downsize what you are feeling to a negative like being depressed. The way you are feeling will get better on its own the more days you do not smoke, period.

Keep drinking lots of water, get all the rest you can over the next several weeks, get some fresh air too. Your mind and body may feel a little weak right now, but that is part of the process, it WILL PASS. And as far as life goes right now, stay with the program and just get through today. As you have mentioned before, everything will fall into place and happen when it happens. As the days go by you will be in a better position mentally, emotionally and physically to conquer so much more. Just let it all happen in God's time and remember to express and feel love as much as possible to balance things out, especially with your child.

So, consider this, you are not depressed, you are healing! Let it happen! Be good to yourself! Stay positive about what is happening. It's ALL good! Believe me! You are doing great!!!"
~~ Carole



"Triggers-cravings 9-19-05

Now that I have taken a monumental step in quitting smoking and haven't smoked for several days. When in the hell are these cravings going to go away? I was told the withdrawal is about 3 days so why am I wanting a cigarette say 30 days later ? Am I being lied to or what? Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? I can't handle the thought of wanting a cigarette every time I turn around. I'd rather smoke and die than put up with all of these emotional thoughts. Its not worth it. These and other thoughts plague the crap out of me with a full force like I never experienced before. Let me assure, though, these are very normal feelings that all of us have gone through.

You have to go through the craving process to get to the other side. I was actually grieving the loss of my cigarettes and it was very painful. I had lost my mistress as I spent more time with the cigarette than my wife. It was a companion so to speak even though its aim was to kill me. It gave me solace when I needed it, gave me joy, and it let me hide big time from all my feelings. It was my mediator , my great guru, and it was the only thing I could hang on to when life just sucked!

So yes when we quit the cravings are enormous but we have to learn to accept them as something we have no control over. Its stupid to think I shouldn't have these cravings. I had to learn to accept them and move on. In the beginning drink a lot of water as water is nicotine soluble and is the best thing you can drink. Yes after about 3 days nicotine is out of the physical system but that devious mind works overtime like a true obsession that it is. The obsession does leave but not overnight.

Why don't the cravings go away after we quit for a few days or weeks. If it was all that easy to quit, I would of done that a long time ago. However that isn't the case. I smoked for 49 years and just because I am making another great attempt to quit I expect the cravings to go away. If everything I did during the day was preempted with a cigarette, 3-4 packs a day while I was in my hay day, it becomes presumptuous to think desires would go away automatically. My brain has been wired for 49 years to function a certain way.

When I quit, my brain didn't know what the hell to do. It went wacko, berserk and malfunctioned for some time before it got used to the idea there is no more nicotine for me. After it got over the shock affect it began saying to me .."feed me or change me" do one or the other. As an addict I cannot stay in pain forever. I have to move in one direction or the other. Either change my lifestyle or give in to the addiction I am trying to get recovery from.

The thought of a cigarette comes so subtly you really a lot of times don't know where it came from. It could be the wind whistling in your ear. Something your eyes seen, a gentle thought, an idea, walking on the beach, pain, joy, sadness, happiness. Drinking coffee, driving, working, talking, going to the bathroom, taking a shower. Everything but everything triggered a thought of a cigarette to me. It was hard to overcome but I did.

The craving goes away whether we smoke or don't smoke. O.K. I have a craving ,ok, I accept that but I just won't smoke for now. I have to change routine behaviors for new habit patterns that do not have triggers associated with them. Like driving a different direction to work, don't drink coffee or at best cut way back, don't drink alcohol as alcohol will let your guard down big time.

Eat out more often, go to a show in the middle of the afternoon, eat in a different restaurant that you haven't eaten before. Always try to do different things on a ongoing basis.

Always carry a water bottle with you. The hard thing to do is what in the hell do I do with my hands now? I am use to seeing them go to my mouth. You want a smoke, drink water instead.

That helps the hand to mouth problem. Replace the cigarette to the mouth with the water bottle to the mouth. Substitute one thing for another. In due course time the anxiety level will begin to decrease. And believe it or not the day will come and you will look back on it and think to yourself., My God I haven't thought of a cigarette today.!.

I had to do this one day at a time and even that was hard at times. So it became a moment at a time. As long as you don't light up, then whatever works, works. I had to not promise myself anything except for right now I won't smoke. I didn't commit myself to anything. I just didn't smoke for right now. And the nows became days and the days became weeks and before I knew it I was doing this one day at a time. Never play the forever game. It always has disastrous results.

Remember this. Cravings are a thought process that you have no control over coming into your brain. What you can do is reject the thought and not fantasize on it. Don't feel guilty because you think of a cigarette. That's a very normal thing to do for a smoker to think of. Its very abnormal for me not to think of a cigarette but I don't think of them anymore. It takes time. Time is your best friend. As time goes on you learn to trust in a higher power of your own understanding to help you along on this journey and that is what this is. A new journey, a new life, a new freedom.

I've been on this journey now for over 7 years and let me tell you, it feels damn good!


Aug. 4, 2006 (“We” can do what “I” cannot)

I will admit that the anticipation and anxiety each time I said "this next cig is the last one" or "tomorrow is it, no more smoking" always got me. It made me manic, emotionally ship-wrecked, physically hyped. I smoked like a fiend just before numerous quits. The last "hoo-rah," I threw myself a lot of "final suicide parties."

Even on this last quit, I had one burning in the convenient cigarette holder slot of the ashtray, one lit in my hand, and the end of a crushed butt still smoldering and trying to catch fire again amongst the other crushed filters and ashes crammed in such a small circle of hard plastic that once was my ashtray.

What I remember most about each quit was the fear. The Addiction Grip. I can't do this, I thought. It's going to be so hard, I thought. I don't have what these other people have to quit, do I? I'm so addicted! How will I function without a cigarette, I questioned. How can I get passed the cravings?! I'm going to be a wreck! I'm going to miss them, I'm going to need them, I'm going to want them. It is so easy to buy them. I'm going to lose it, I just know it! I need something to get me through this! Maybe I should talk to my doctor about some psychiatric drugs???????

Oh my God! Hello! Insanity? Hell yes...What a Mind F***! Sorry, sometimes certain words just fit the occasion. This is one that does for me when I describe this addiction.

Scary stuff if you ask me now. I cannot believe I ever allowed myself to get that screwed up. Sorry, but that's how I feel about it. Drugs will do that. Addiction will do that. I was not functioning on any level that can be considered "right" or "normal" for my mind or my body...especially knowing what I know now.

Well, here's the thing. Everyday I just got to want to stay quit and get through that day. And keep adding onto those days. As time passes, it is 1,000 times easier. I am sitting at 87 days right now. Evolving, emerging, maturing emotionally, and physically feeling the best I have in years.

I still have my moments and my days, but I quickly realize that it is simply habit as well as emotional and spiritual immaturity that sends me 'thinking for a cigarette.' Does that make getting through life not doable? No.

A toddler learns to walk, a toddler learns to talk, a toddler learns to express emotions in a healthy and more mature way, a toddler learns to think for themselves. I'm learning to do all four, as an adult. I am gratefully being given a second chance. That child goes to bed at the end of the day having made a little more progress. A child wakes up and starts it all over again. A child does not worry about the problems of tomorrow. No, a child lives for today. I am doing the same.

Now that I have started this journey, I can't stop walking, I can't stop talking, I can't stop learning. Nor do I want to, I am enjoying the emotional maturity, the better physical health, and the continual spiritual growth. Far cry from the smoldering "internal" life I used to have, that's for sure.

To arrive here I had to do one very important thing. Forget "I". "I" tried to quit for nine months on my own, it didn't work. Once "I" joined this group, "I" became "we." "We" can do a lot if you allow it, if you truly embrace "we."

"We" can do what "I" cannot. Try putting that on a big piece of paper taped to your refrigerator or some place that you will see it often. It helped. When the cravings are tough, read it, and surrender to those words. When the cravings are tough, DO something that supports that "we" can DO something about it. Call somebody, post, scream up to God if you must, call your quit buddy, get a sponsor, whatever it takes, make it a "we" situation instead of an "I." Because in the beginning, "I" was a using addict. "I" needed help beyond myself. That means one or more people.

There are no excuses in the Universe worth using nicotine. It's a chemical killer for the addict as well as his/her family and friends subjected to it, it's yet another toxic pollutant for the environment. Nope, no excuse at all. It has absolutely no benefits whatsoever, not one.

"We" can quit, as a matter of fact, "I" know "we" can.


Today's thought is:

"Depressions are transition times for me," an older fellow stated. "I look at my lows as a preparation period, an inner time to grow and change even though I'm not consciously aware of what's going on inside me. But I didn't always think this way.

"I used to get terrified when I got into one of those low periods. Every time I did, I questioned everything I ever believed in. I doubted myself and my abilities, my opinions and values, my friends and my boss. Nothing escaped my painful questioning. I thought for sure I was going insane. The pain was so unbearable I wanted to drink, work harder, anything, to distract me from my anguish.

"Now when I get low, I take it more in stride. I think of my depression as part of a natural cycle. Just as nature has its fall, winter, and spring, I, too, have a period of shedding old growth for new growth. I just endure my grey days knowing the sun will shine again just as the trees will bloom after winter. As part of the natural world around me, I, too, have my seasons of joy and sorrow."

Today I will remember that my lows are as natural as my highs. I will not become overwhelmed and exaggerate the significance of my depressions. I will endure patiently, knowing that whatever faces me will pass in time."


"As I continue to explore and practice self hypnosis, I have developed a dialectical relationship with my body and I have come to see any cravings as that of a small baby crying out or whining because he can't have his toy. My job is not to ignore my baby rather to console him and lovingly make him understand that he will be ok even if he can't have the toy. I love him. I hear him crying but I don't indulge his every whim. I must teach him with patience a new an better way to live our lives together. I must also forgive myself for not having cared for him better during all these years. Day by day.

Those are some of my thoughts. With love and hope,
~David callahan~



Feb. 12, 2006

"I quit smoking in 1992 with the help of the patch. I'm not going go say it was easy because it wasn't. One thing that bothered me was I never lost the cravings (thoughts)for that next cigarette. This kept going for 7 years.

Every time a stressful incident happened, I would say, "I want a cigarette". I didn't realize back then that we can speak things into existence and one day I asked a coworker for a cigarette with the idea it would be "just one". Well that one went to two and then a
pack and later a carton. They were always the cheap ones so I didn't think it was "that bad". I also remember lying to my husband when he said he smelled smoke in the house or on the porch. Eventually I was honest with him when he started to blame my youngest son.

I smoked another 7 years. I tried to quit once in that time when I was waking up at night coughing my insides out and not being able to breathe. It reminded me of my father who died when he was 49 of emphysema and congestive heart failure. Unfortunately once I went to the doctor and received medicine and could breathe again, I started smoking again.

Then this past August I got sick again and decided I was going to stop when I was still sick a month later. But I remembered how hard it was to stop in 1992 and didn't want to go thru that again. I did some studying about cigarettes and discovered for the first time WHY they were bad for me. I knew before - but yet - I didn't know - or it never hit home before what was really going on.

I had my last cigarette September 4th 2005 and I decided I wasn't going to use the patch this time. I didn't like the idea of withdrawals more than once and that's what I saw happen before. Each decrease in nicotine brought withdrawals. I didn't want to be alone this time so I went online to find a nicotine group - I found this one and then found a meeting close to my home and I started attending. It really helped knowing I wasn't alone.

My work schedule kept me from attending it as much as I'd like but when I craved a cigarette, I would visualize the group. That got me over the cravings each time.

It's now been 5 months and sometimes I wonder what is it all for? I'm 55 and am going to die eventually anyway. But I want to enjoy my days before that happens - I want to live life finally - not in an oxygen tent or with an oxygen tank next to me. And I can have many many more years ahead of me - according to my Quit date I have already added more days to my life and the longer I don't smoke, the more days I add.

I hope I haven't rambled. All I am doing is taking one day and sometimes even one minute or second at a time cuz that's all my HP the Lord has given me..
" ~~Dee~~




(Unfortunately I don't remember the source of this one, but it's a great one.)


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.


May 2006

Yet I have to say this. Please, please be vigilant. Some time ago I played the major part in mediating in a difficult family conflict, with some success as it turned out. I wasn't smoking. I felt contented and grateful to my HP. Quite soon after the thought came to me, 'If I can handle something like this without smoking surely I can take a wee puff or two, just to celebrate, just to feel 'normal' again, and no stress now, I will easily stop again, since I've done one of the hardest things without smoking.' And I smoked. I was hooked again and am still trying to get free.

We smoke when distressed, we smoke when bored, we smoke when elated. We smoke because we smoke. We're addicts. For life. Unless we maintain our vigilance and the help offered on a daily basis. Nicotine addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful and very patient. It always lies in wait once it's had us in it's grasp.

You may know this and not need to hear it. But I do. Sure I do.

Yet it's great, really great, what you've achieved and I trust it will be the true milestone you feel it to be. Never forget it. Always remind yourself of what you achieved today.



First of all , its not God"s will that you smoke. It was God's will that you never picked up in the first place but He allowed it as you do have a free will.

"If you do the crime, you do the time". That saying goes with criminal acts but can apply here. We reap what we sow. We took up the cig and smoked for years and got addicted to it and now we have to pay the price to get off the smokes.

The symptoms of quitting are irritability, restlessness, lack of sleep, muddled thinking or a feeling of disorientation, lack of energy etc. These are all short lived in time they will go the other way. Sharper thinking, more energy, feeling more rested and so on.

When one quits the body absolutely goes on a terror strike. You are feeling like this because you are in the withdrawal stage and is quite normal. Just don’t smoke just for today and don’t listen to your head as the thoughts are lying to you.

Grit your teeth and say no , I will not smoke for right now! Drink a lot of water as it is nicotine soluble and will help flush the system out of all the toxins that you put in by smoking. Post messages and stay close to the support to this program.

If you have a belief in God or a HP, pray to him for help and He will give it to you.

Yes this is a ***** of a thing to do and you will find out it will be the hardest thing you have ever done but it also has the greatest rewards as time goes on. One day at a time. That’s all you have to do.

You can do it if you keep it simple and not think down the road as to what will happen when such and such happen. That’s not reality. WHAT IS REAL IS THE FACT YOU ARE NOT SMOKING THIS VERY MOMENT. Keep it there and all things will work out. WE don’t do this forever. ~~



Aug. 2006 Re: I'm Getting Nervous About Quitting

Yeah, it is very scary to quit, especially when a quit date is made. The reality is there that you have to quit that date and it scares the hell of out you. You know first hand what your going to go thru and now your mind is putting up a mental block against quitting.

When that date comes, just try and not smoke for the moment and go moment by moment. You know its hard but try and accept it as being so and that will help make it easier. You can do this! The night before get rid of all ashtrays, hidden reserves, lighters and anything related to smoking. That will help in the resolve to quit.

I smoked for 49 years, 3-4 packs a day. I was in the hospital several times by me calling 9-11 and all smoking related problems. Everyone was telling me it was going to kill me and all I wanted was another damm cigarette. I cant tell you how many times I was flat on the floor unable to breathe and wanting a cigarette at the same time. I have emphysema, lower right lung destroyed, asthma, and been in the hospital for plurosy, heart pains, blood vein collapsed, unable to breathe and acute bronchitis was very normal to me......I did not know what life without pain from smoking meant. I was a dead man walking when I came to NicA....... As I have said meany times my motto is: I smoke, I die......... pure and simple. Your choice. Do you want to live or die. That will be the motivating choice in your decision to stop smoking one day at a time.

Its ok to be scared. Just go ahead in spite of your fears and find a trust in a power greater than yourself as this is something you cannot do on your own. If you keep trying to do it on your own, you will continue to fail. That was my problem. I spent 15 years trying to quit on my own and nothing but nothing worked until I came to believe in a power greater than myself would restore me to sanity. And this is an insane thing we do over and over again every time we light up full well knowing what it is doing to us.

Just tell yourself I can do this just for the moment. That’s all you have to do. Do not try and do it forever or for a week and see where your at that time. It will not work. Keep it as simple as you can.

You can do this. You are not alone, you are not unique.

You are addicted to nicotine and that is why you smoke. If you want to quit smoking you have to quit smoking. There is no easy way out but there is another side. The side of freedom and that is so awesome but you have to quit and go thru the wild ride to find

I hope you can.


Feb. 2006

I have been right where you are now! Believe me, I have even said those same words that you are speaking right now! I had burned so much energy in trying to quit smoking - getting myself all psyched up only to watch it all go up into smoke anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 months. Yes, it does take lots of energy to quit smoking and it is hard work. My sponsor in another program told me I needed to quit quitting, as it was making me all kinds of crazy and producing all kinds of negative effects. And it was. I absolutely had to go back into quitting under a different attitude. Each of my quits that I had, I had to take a look true, I had to look in a way that was not demoralizing or an attack on myself for being bad, but just as a learning tool to develop skills in coping. We are talking about a huge life style change that is being under taken. It can be done, but please know that you can do it, and no matter what - you are loved if you smoke or not smoke.

I am going to give you some suggestions that I used that help me the most. Take it easy on yourself, forgive yourself for being human and doing human things. Look at this thing as experiment in what works and what does not work. Even if that means you only make it for two hours - what did you do right during those two hours? When you find something wrong, look at ways that you might be able to correct it. See what you think that the smokes are doing for you. Is there something else that might work better? This is not about conforming, but about a life style change.

I decided to tell myself that it was okay to smoke and that I would smoke if I really needed too but I had only one special area that I did that in. At first, this area was very broad, and then I finally decided it would be outside only in one spot and that was not a pretty place. It was on my door steps that had a bad view on it. As I modified my smoking, I did some journaling on what I was feeling, wrote about some positive things and some troubling things that were coming up for me. I also talked to others who were trying to recover and I did a lot of researching on quitting smoking - just to give me some ideas. The day came when I found the courage and strength I needed to quit and stay quit. I have over 8 years today. The tools and coping skills each of us develops to use in recovery are very different from one and another. The way we deal with withdrawal is a very personal issue.

I don't know if this helps you are not. It is just my experience and what I have found to be true through my journey in recovery.
~~ Carol



12/08 - Just discovered this old blog. Thought it might be of interest:

Kelly Soudachanh's blog
Hey, Pass Me a Light Please
Submitted by Kelly Soudachanh on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:46am.

* Biology 103

What Causes Smoking Addiction: Nicotine or Dopamine?

Growing up, I have always been told that smoking is bad. Smoking is hazardous. Smoking costs money. Smoking looks unappealing. Smoking kills. Yet, despite all of these warnings and lessons, that surely most people have heard before, millions of people still light up. Why, why do people continue to participate in an activity that is commonly associated with health risks such as cancer? The most frequently used answer is an addiction to nicotine. And this notion that nicotine causes addiction was continuously lectured to me in past mandatory health classes. Yet, at the same time nicotine was used as an explanation, it was an incomplete reason. What role does the substance play to result in this need for a cigarette? Nicotine stimulates dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects learning, motivation and pleasure [1]. Scientists have further explored the role of dopamine on addiction and are now suggesting theories that dopamine is the cause of addiction. So, perhaps it is not nicotine that causes the addiction, but the role dopamine plays that causes the need to smoke.

Although cigarettes are the size of a finger and look like they are composed of paper and chopped up leaves, the composition of the sticks is complex. Cigarettes contain tobacco that is made of a blend of two leaf types. {Additives and flavoring are put into the blend to sweeten the taste of cigarette smoke.} Nicotine is found in the moisture that emits from the leaves when they burn. This moisture is taken in by the smoker because it attaches itself to the tobacco smoke that gets inhaled. It only takes a few seconds before nicotine reaches the brain. [2] Cigarettes contain 1.2-2.9 mg of nicotine, the amount varying by brand. About 3 mg of nicotine is inhaled from a single cigarette. For someone who smokes a pack in a single day, their nicotine retention is anywhere between 20-40 mgs. [3]

Depending on the dosage of nicotine, the effects vary as well. Short doses cause alertness and reduce fatigue. Long doses result in a sedation and euphoria. In this way, nicotine acts as a stimulant and a depressant. A person’s heart rate speeds up as their blood vessels constrict. When the drug goes straight to the brain, it impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and then affects the endocrine system. Through the system, it pumps up the level of endorphins and several other chemicals that affect stress. [3]
In a sense, the brain is told by nicotine to give ‘rewards’ and place the smoker in a relaxed state.

Nicotine also affects dopamine levels. When nicotine attaches it to nerve cells, the nerve cells affect glutamate. In turn, glutamate, a chemical signal, is stimulated. Neurons connected to the glutamate are told to release dopamine. The more the dopamine, the better sense of a good feeling ensures. [4]

As a neurotransmitter, dopamine affects processes in the brain. The transmitter is most commonly related to pleasure and desire but it is also involved in movement, memory and learning. [1]

Using illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine result in a massive release of dopamine. Because of this, it was believed that dopamine was just the pleasure switch. It has recently been discovered that dopamine has more than one role. Being the pleasure switch is one of its lesser roles; its main niche is to tell the brain and the body to acknowledge and remember certain chemicals that are important for survival. This is the salience theory- the release of dopamine happens during an important event whether or not it is good or bad. [1] Dopamine highlights the occurrence, helps the brain and body in recognizing what happens to oneself in this occasion and how it affects survival.

With the induction of nicotine or any other drug, dopamine levels skyrocket anywhere from five to ten times as much as a regular release. In drug users, the brain adjusts to this flood of dopamine by dulling the system through decreasing its number of dopamine receptors in the areas of the brain involved in motivation and pleasure. At the same time, the areas of the brain that control behavior (judgment and inhibitory) are weakened because of the dampening of the dopamine system. [1] This decreased amount of dopamine receptors coupled with the desensitization of the brain’s control of behavior leads to more use of the drug- an addict. Less pleasure is received, because of the depression of dopamine receptors, and to compensate for that lost, addicts need more of the drug.

What causes an addiction to cigarettes? Perhaps the first aspect that needed to be tackled is what an addiction is. According to Ann Marlowe, a former drug user and memoir writer, her continual use of heroin was chasing the memory of her first time with the drug. This chase, in my opinion, was an addiction to her initial experience with heroin. An addiction is the search of an experience that made a lasting impression. From my belief then, it would make sense that dopamine, not nicotine, is the cause of smoking addiction since dopamine tells the brain to remember this feeling of nicotine in the body. This lasting impression can be affected by anything, however. The issue raised then is whether or not this ‘outside’ factor on an impression also has an effect on dopamine levels.

And perhaps the smoker has a mental addiction to smoking. ‘Finding relief in the motions of smoking a cigarette’ was what one girl in my health class said. However, I am skeptical as to whether it is just the motions that she is addicted to. And what about those who have smoked a cigarette once and have never smoked another one again? Was their reaction to smoking not strong enough for dopamine to register the act as something needed for survival? Does knowledge of possible addiction affect chemicals like dopamine and tell the brain that smoking is not needed for absolute survival?

What causes an addiction to cigarettes- nicotine or dopamine? The answer may be an addiction to nicotine, but dopamine causes the actual addiction to occur. Nicotine is what affects the release of dopamine. And dopamine is what results in the craving for nicotine. But then, what about all the other factors, internal and external that may have a role in addiction or a role that affects nicotine or dopamine? When looking for a clear cut answer, I discovered that there is none. The problem in answering this question lies in the question itself. There does not seem to be a black and white answer, a simple explanation for what seemed to be a simple question.


I wrote the following as a response a couple of years back to someone asking the question:  "Why is it harder to quit this time?"  I think it would make a good stand-alone blog, so I'm re-presenting it.  When you get to a certain point, it's easier to stay quit than to quit anew.  I hope this might help those who have a quit in progress to better understand why slips and relapses are so harmful.  And I hope it helps to keep you in safe waters.



"Why is it harder to quit this time?"


I think it's because the first time we quit it's new and a rather exciting adventure.  We also don't know what we're in for.  With each successive time, however, the psychological tricks don't work as well - they lose some of their effectiveness.   Here's an analogy:  my aunt and uncle went to Tahiti and had one of the most amazing times of their lives.  They enjoyed it so much, several years later they went again.  But the bloom was off the rose, so to speak.  The repeat was not nearly as exciting as the initial experience, because they had already seen the hula dancers, and taken the ukulele lessons, received the leis, done all those touristy things.  Part of the thrill and charm of an experience is it's first-time uniqueness.  First ride in a hot air balloon is amazing.  I would imagine the 10th, not quite the same.


When I quit back in my early 20's I spent time getting my head in the right place for it.  I thought of it as a spiritual growth process.  It wasn't that I wanted to rid myself of the slavery of the addiction (I didn't even know it WAS an addiction) but rather that I wanted to OVERCOME my weakness and feel empowered.  I knew that in order to do so would take a great deal of self analysis.  I turned it into an exciting challenge and that challenge was motivation enough.  And I stayed smoke free for over a year.


But with each successive quit attempt it became more difficult to "get it up"  psychologically.  That's one of the penalties of relapse.  And that's been quite a motivator for me this time around.  That's why I coined the phrase Day Won, Never Another Day One.  


So what do you do if it seems harder this time to quit?  Well you must discover and develop new ways to motivate yourself.  Hanging out in this support group is one great tool.  Reading, increasing your knowledge base, communicating with others and holding yourself accountable are all part of the umph that can help push and pull you through.  For we need both the push and the pull I think.  


So, rather than trying to figure out why it's harder, try to figure out how to make it less hard.  That's part of your homework.


A Safe Space

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 31, 2019




I discovered tonight a safe space.  My car.  I was teed off, very upset and it was raining and I couldn't go to the hammock to be alone, and sometimes of late even the hammock doesn't sooth because there's too much traffic noise. 

I'm a person who loves utter silence.  Well, no, not utter silence, just the silence of nature, sans all human sounds.  Nature can be loud but it's a happy loudness.  Well, unless it's a constantly barking dog.  


So I sat in my car with the windows closed.  Silence.  I could lower the seat back in a position of repose.  Turn the light off in the garage, a happy sensory deprivation chamber.  Of course the engine wasn't running.  My desire wasn't to 'off' myself, just turn off the extreme emotions and sensory anxieties until I could catch my emotional breath and function once again without being in extreme selfish, bitchy stress mode.


I offer it to you as a suggestion if you need such a place of quietude and respite.  It may not be a garden with wind chimes, but it IS a place you can be alone, and stop the bombardment of external input.  Though you'll still be stuck with your own internal chattering mind.   I remember someone recently saying they wanted to be alone and so I suggest this "tool" if you will.  It really helped me.  


Oh, and you can lock the door if need be.   Though I hope that's never needed by anyone for physical danger reasons.  I mean it more as a kid's club house KEEP OFF sign emotionally.  Hey, bring a pillow.  BREATHE!  But do open the window every once in a while.  Stale breath exhalations I discovered are kind of nasty after about 10 minutes!  lol


And always remember your sense of humor!


Quotable EX Quotes

Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 12, 2019

There are some amazingly potent statements made by the new and and old members on this quit journey here on this site.  I thought it might be nice to capture some of them.  And so I'm attempting to do so. It's totally subjective on my part.  But it's open to all who have had something someone has said in a blog or in a response to blog that has moved them toward  a greater understanding or toward maintaining their quit or toward just spurring them on to trying to keep on trying.


Here's a starter.  It's what spoke to me in their response.   Other points in their response may speak to YOU.  As we say - take what works and leave the rest :



"Nobody can do it for you.  You have to do it for yourself.  But then you are the one who will benefit from having made the changes so it sounds fair to me.  Your choices.  Your life. Your rewards.  Your consequences.  All yours."  (Ladybug)


"but for once in my life I put me first and my quit thing I ever did."  (Colleen)


"So many times I put it off. Only EXcuses is what it boils down to." (Jackie)


"when the time came when I had a hard time breathing air, it was clear the time had come to quit." (Daniela)


So many internal blog responses are lost.  So if you see a response that made an impact - feel free to share the entire response here.  There are so many responses I see that just are lost.  Not to the person who received it (they read it) , but to so many others that need to hear it.  


Maybe this will be a blog that can contain those beautiful responses?


I don't know.  Just passing thoughts.  I for one will be grabbing those amazing responses to put in here.  



Posted by Giulia Champion Sep 12, 2019

Seriously. Are you waiting for the right time to quit? If so, what exactly IS that right time in your thinking? After the next vacation?  After your birthday party?  After some graduation or bah mitzvah,  or cookout or whatever celebration it is that is upcoming that you want to wait to get over?  Waiting ‘til after Christmas is over?  


Or perhaps its waiting until after putting down your pet, or getting the results of a biopsy, or the upcoming job interview or whatever THIS particular stressful time in your life is about.  


Oh yes your quit will wait. It can wait and probably has, FOREVER. But can your body wait? Can the effects of smoking on it wait? Can your lungs wait?  If you're afraid of getting a smoking related disease, quitting will help to alleviate that fear.  No?  To an addict, there is never a good time to quit.


Meanwhile you’re still doing precisely what you know in your heart of hearts is not good for you. Waiting.

What are you waiting for?


That diagnosis of COPD?  That spot on your lung?  Until your cough gets so bad you simply have to have it checked out?

Please don’t - wait - ‘til then.  Because then it’s likely to be too late to fix it in a happy way.  Oh yes, modern medicine can fix all sorts of things. There are nebulizers that can help open up your airwaves.  There’s portable oxygen you can carry with you in a nice small little bag now.  You can have lung reductions.  You have even have lung lobes removed. You can have lung transplants.  But those really aren’t the “happy” ways of fixing the problem after you’ve waited - too long.


The happiest way (for your body, at least), is to just stop smoking and vaping.  Put ‘em down and never look back.

The problem IS, our emotional brain doesn’t find it so happy during the quitting withdrawal process.  Guess what?  We’re addicted.  That’s why we feel the discomfort of quitting.  And that's the price we pay.


Quitting isn’t fun, I’ll grant you.  It doesn't make us happy, emotionally (until later).  But it sure does make our lungs happy.  And our lungs are what we inhale the breath of life through.  No lungs, no breath, no life.


Breathe.  Live.  Be ‘woke’, don’t smoke.  I think I'll make that my new mantra.


What are we waiting for

Waiting for the right time



Posted by Giulia Champion Aug 11, 2019

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I have quit several times and each time I made that “List of Reasons” chart. “My reasons for Smoking” vs “List of Benefits From Quitting.” You can tell right from the titles why that approach for me never worked. One was subjective, the other objective.  And I had to really fight to come up with all the benefits vs the desires (reasons/excuses) to smoke.


The obvious benefits:

To live longer
To be around for those who love us (our spouses, our grandchildren, our friends, etc.)
To not have lung cancer
To not have emphysema
To not smell like an ashtray
To not have to miss moments because we have to go out to smoke
To have whiter teeth, sweeter breath... Etc., etc
(Of course the only thing that need be on the list is to live longer in a healthier manner.  The rest is really padding.)

But the List of Reasons to smoke is as long as the excuses to do so. And that seems to be infinite. And because those excuses are in part physical and connected so strongly to our emotions, they o’erweigh the logical, intellectual side of the internal bargaining we go through. The List of Benefits is flat and dull and has no oomph behind it. It’s conceptual rather than felt. And the desire to smoke is stronger.


Of course we want to live longer, but that, like all the other items on the list, is rather removed from immediacy. When we’re suddenly slapped in the face with a disease and a diagnosis that proclaims “You now have a finite amount of time left and that time is SHORT!” then we’re immediately emotionally connected. It’s no longer just an intellectual, objective thought - it’s a visceral, in-your-cells experience.  It’s only when our heath is compromised that we finally “get” it.  And some don’t even “get it” then.


That’s why I find the Reasons to Quit list generally so ineffective, ultimately. Because the sane, rational mind can’t compete with the addicted, emotional one. It inevitably always loses. The desire to smoke, that NEED, is powerful and simply stronger.


So how do we finally “get it?” In our cells, in our viscera? What is it that transforms a smoker into a permanent non-smoker? How do we create an emotional drive, a desire stronger than the addition?


I think that happens in several ways. And it all begins with education.


When I quit I didn’t really want to. (Does anyone?!!) I had no motivation, felt fine, had no ill affects. I just knew I “should” and my husband kept pressuring me to do so.  I found a support group and asked them how to become motivated.  And I listened and I communicated and I learned.


Once I quit, the driving force that ensured adherence was to never go through another day one. I wanted THAT more than anything. I wanted that more than I wanted to smoke.  I knew if I smoked, I’d have to go through it all over again. And I just couldn’t bear it.  But I still had desires to smoke.


As I remained actively connected to support sites and began offering support myself, the reality of what smoking does began to clarify and become more visceral.  Education involves knowledge in all areas, not just book learning. Understanding the nature of this addiction encompasses far more than the discovery of brain receptors and triggers.  It’s, I think, the human connection that impacts our emotional beings and creates the driving force necessary to overcome this monster.  It’s reading day in and day out the struggles to quit, sharing the trials and tribulations of those who are suffering from the direct effects of smoking. That’s when I finally “got it.”  When it became very real.


What smoking does to us moved from the objective to the subjective point of view.  Not just what smoking does to us physically, but mentally. The slavery of it. I learned that Education + Communication = Motivation.


I am still driven to continued success by the thought of Never Another Day One!  But now I also “get it.”  And that’s when the slavery really ended.  Emotional Acceptance


May all you new quitters find your motivation.  May you “get it!”  And may all those with long-term quits never lose it.



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PS:  another blog on the topic of "getting it"  finally getting it 


QuitTude Song

Posted by Giulia Champion Jun 24, 2019

What is QuitTude?  


QuitTude is our attitude about the quitting process.  The more positive our attitude towards our quit,  the easier our journeys will be and the more likely our success.  Here are a couple of blogs on the topic:  QuitTude: and

Quititude:  Quititude 


Thought it would be fitting to write a little song on the subject that everyone could sing for the EX 7 Reunion in Virginia Beach in May of 2019.


Here's the video of us all singing it.  (Video credit our very own Community Manager, Mark!  Thanks!)




And here are the lyrics for anybody who wants to sing it for themselves.  To the tune of "I've been working on the railroad."  Change the WE to and I and make it YOURS!


We’ve been strengthening our QuitTude - all the smoke-free day
We’ve been gettin’ in a good mood - and we’ve kept those craves at bay
Can’t you hear the Elder’s calling - “You can Become An EX”
Can’t you hear the Newbies bawling - “We are all just wrecks!”


Come and take a hand, you can make a stand
Give yourself a quit to-day... ay... ay
Don’t you take a puff, even if it’s rough,
You can keep a quit today!


Life is so much better without them
Life is so much better we know... oh.... oh... oh
Life is so much better with - OUT THEM!
Believe us, ‘cause we tellin’ you so!


Singin’ - no, NOPE, we don’t smoke
We don’t do that any-more
We’ve closed and locked that door!


You are so dear

Posted by Giulia Champion Jun 15, 2019

As I sit here on a Saturday night my heart is full of all of you amazing people.  You open yourselves like clams to the pearl of your best selves.  You share your struggles, your humor, your determination, you love, your empathy, your anger, your sorrow, your seeming lacks, your hopes, your shattered dreams your "all of you."  I am humbled and grateful for that sharing.  And I think that's one of the reasons I hang out here, still, after 13 years.  I never stop learning. Not only about my quit journey, but about my life journey.   I never stop growing because you teach me and make me  question and change me and embrace my spirit as I embrace yours.  You are a part of my life journey.  And how lucky I am for that.


This is just a thank you to all who have participated here for years and those who are mid-term and those brand new on your journeys.  Quitting smoking changes our lives.  Usually in a good way.  How we choose to think of quitting, and what we do with our journeys is all up to us.  I hope your journey enables you to recognize how amazing you are (if you didn't already know it.)    And every day you keep a cigarette out of your mouth will add that sprinkle of amazement.  Until your smoke-free cake is glowing! 


 May you all be enriched and ultimately nourished by your smoke-free journeys.


EX 7 Notes in the Bottle

Posted by Giulia Champion May 28, 2019

Part of the Saturday morning get-together (which has become a staple in these EX reunions) was something new that was added.  In the past there was the “reading of the blogs,” where our wonderful leaders picked out an early blog from each member at the reunion and had them read it out loud (if comfortable doing so).  It’s a very emotional experience - for all.  Because we ALL have been there in that early, tough, emotionally fragile, whiny stage of a quit.  It takes guts to read your old words in those beginning moments of the striving to Freedom.  But then 'guts' it what it takes to quit.  And we are all on the same team, so the tears are flowing as the person reads of their experience.  It’s a bit of a rite of passage for a new reunion participant.  And it’s rather indescribable until you’ve done it yourself - a truly communing time of warriors in a shared battle.  Now, because the size of the reunions has so increased (happily!) only those who have never been to a reunion read their blog.


This year, because Kathy’s theme was “Message in a Bottle,” we were asked to write down a phrase, or words that someone said that stuck with us (‘best advice’) which helped solidify our quit and keep us on track during the journey.  Or we could write about what EX meant to us.  Many did both.  After writing them, the slips of paper were then passed out randomly and each person read one.  I asked to collect them after so that I could type them up and share them with the community at large.  Here they are in all their glory.  As you can read, EX means a whole lot to a whole whole lot of us.  If you’re new - come to the next reunion if you're able.  Experience the hugs first hand!  Cyber hugs are great, but first hand is..  pretty special.


Utmost thanks to Kathy and Laura who did the work to set this all up.  And how wonderful it was for me on my second experience to meet those I hadn’t met before and re-acquaint with those for a second time of soul nourishment.

These reunion experiences reinforce our quits. And leave us with many happy memories.


=======================  NOTES IN THE BOTTLE ===========================

“The most valuable advice I received was to prepare yourself for your quit. Read the links the Elders send and prepare for the weak times the NML times. Most of all reach out to the Elders they are all there to support you and to help you with your quit.  I still need them now!  NOPE  They taught me that too!” (Barb - Barb102)


“One thing I learned from EX is humility.  I lost a ton of quits to 'just one.'  I always thought I must be smarter than a cigarette.  Every time, it was going to be different, I was going to be different, but it never was.  Once I learned that I was, in fact, not smarter than a cigarette, I was able to be successful.” (Brenda -  Brenda)


“EX for me:
My safe place for human connection.
One comment: 'I quit smoking for me'
‘Vaping is just smoking with a battery’ - Dale to me.” (Daniela - Daniela-3-11-2016)



“Don’t try, do. This was written before my time in EX, but it’s the best advice I’ve seen.  Also, NOPE - I’ve used that mantra for almost five years now and tomorrow I hit 1,600 days!  (Donna Murray - djmurray_12-31-14)


“Persevere.  You are not alone.  You can do this.” (Donna Marie - DonnaMarie 


“When I had not been on EX for very long and I was seriously unsure of myself, someone reached out to me and kept telling me that she knew this was my ‘forever quit.’  I believe it was  NewfoundJoy but I am not sure.  Her belief in me actually convinced me that she knew something that I did not.  She talked about how she struggled when she first ‘quit.’ She used to drive to the shopping center and buy one cigarette from someone in the parking lot - because she was not buying packs - she considered herself ‘quit.’  One day, she bought some very expensive steaks to take home for dinner. She got stuck in a traffic jam on the way home and she noticed a driver next to her - smoking.  She considered offering him a steak for a smoke.  She quit for real that day.” (Ellen - elvan )



“There are so many pieces of advice that have been given by so many amazing people on EX, it’s hard to pick just one.  But the two that stick out in my mind are:  ‘Take what you need and leave the rest,’ (which is such good advice that isn’t taken often enough) and ‘Get over yourself.’  (Which I need to do OFTEN!)  Both of which I learned from Diane Joy (indingrl.01.06.2011 ).


As to what this site means to me - Well, I’ve been a part of it since it’s inception, practically, so that should kind of tell you what it means to me.  It’s a gathering place of the vulnerable and brave where we all tread a common ground and share an awakening of our best selves and a growing into that Best that we can be.


It’s a place of acceptance and shared experience.  And it’s actually a very safe space because of that.  Because we’re all on the same team, even if our support approaches  are different.  It is the difference - and the acceptance of that difference that - makes all the difference. 


EX is a heartful place full of wisdom and humor, encouragement, empathy, good advice, and sometimes a little slap upside the head!” (Giulia - Giulia)  



“Froguelady  froguelady_quit_3-16-11  - 'I will not smoke for today and that is how we become nonsmokers, one day at a time. Take care of you first. NOPE counts for No in some cases.'


Giulia - 'Each time you do something as a nonsmoker that you have never done before you just get stronger ‘When nothing is certain - EVERYTHING is possible!’  And depending upon how you view that statement, the possibilities for good things happening are limitless. ( Visit her web page)” (Jackie -  Jackie)


“Somewhere around my day 100, I was struggling because people were relapsing all around me.  Started doubting my ability to quit.  Shawn and Tommy realized that I was having a hard time and came to my rescue.  They gave me very simple advice - ‘Don’t compare myself to anyone else. I am the only one that can throw it all away.’  That day was a turning point in my quit.  Even though I still had craves, urges and struggled at time, I knew in my heart that I would never smoke again.” (Jennifer  Jennifer-Quit-05-01-14)  


“Being a member of the ex community means so much to me. I owe my quit to the support of all the members who came before me, who came the same time as myself and those who came after me.  The support I’ve received from the members has been my saving grace.  It was always nice to know that someone had been there before you and they had a world of great advice to share.  So I took what I needed and used it for my personal quit.  And that was by far my overall experience with the community.” (Jojo - jojo_2-24-11)



“The most effective advice I got on EX was to say ‘I don’t do that any more’ out loud whenever a craving hit.  You don’t see me on the site any more because it has done it’s job for me!  It is still my rock & my family!  Love you all!” (Laura - Michwoman



“Best advice I ever got was to take whatever you need and leave the rest.  I added to that by saying ‘Someone will always take your leftovers.’  EX community = extended family to me.  I learn from newbies and Elders.  EX helps me remain accountable - & I want to be here for those coming in just as the Elders were for me!  I love you all!” (Missy - Mandolinrain



“1. I learned, changed my way of thinking ‘go to’ mantras/mottos ‘make commitment and honor that commitment no matter what.’  ‘Don’t romanticize that cig.’

2. Community Spirit, Trusted Friends.  Was able to speak from my heart, got advice & comments of support.

3. I strengthened, became empowered, supported others, reinforcing my own quit.

4. Took that change and used it to succeed in other areas of my life, to grow, to be happier/healthier.


Quitting being the hardest thing to do in my life, made me believe I could do so much more.” (Patty -  Patty-cake)



The message I most remember was when I was at about 60 days and really grinding it out.  I believe it was HWC’s  (hwc's post.  It stuck with me 10 years later.  It read ‘Stay with your quit, it takes time for the brain to recalibrate from the loss of nicotine.  This simple message really gave me strength.” (Rick -  Rick_M


“My big go to was NOPE one day at a time.  Smoking is not required to deal with life on life’s terms.  Big eye opener was learning about not making excuses.” (Sharon -  shashort)  



“Per Dale - ‘If you’re quitting smoking and you are still smoking - you’re doing it wrong!  (Sudie -  Sootie)  



“I am tired of nicotine dictating my life. That is not really living.  I thank God for all of you. ou are truly family.  This is not a mere support group.  It is a family connected by pure and honest love. (Stacie - Stac2)



“Best advice - Stay Positive - I heard it from so many people who had such a huge impact on my quit - Sudie, Tommy, Giulia, Rick - along with James the happy quitter!” (Kathy -  Strudel)  


“The best advice I got at EX was a compilation of many bits of advice.  In the early days Dale & Peggy ignored me because I was a little negative.  But Sootie and so many others read and responded to my blogs and I came to understand that the fantastic people of this community cared about me and my quit!”  Smokers do not get to smoke, they have to smoke!  ‘I would rather be a quitter that sometimes wants to smoke, than a smoker that always wants to quit.’”  (Tommy - pir8fan)



“Piece of advice
- take one second at a time
-take one minute at a time
-take one hour at a time
-take one day at a time

EX means to me - Friendships that will last forever!  Support, encouragement, love & friend!” (Valerie - Valerie30)  




Solving Problems

Posted by Giulia Champion Apr 10, 2019

When we quit we need to solve the problem of why we smoked to begin with.  Then after that we need to solve the problem of how to stay smoke-free.  


Part of our homework during this quitting process is gaining an education about this addiction, then gaining more education about steps to overcome it, and after that more study on how to maintain that abstinence.  


A brief analogy/example of what happened to me yesterday may offer advice to others.


I have a very old AT&T Go Phone.  It's smart, so it's not THAT old, but in the realm of modern technology it's rather a relic.  Maybe 8 years old now?  Just past the flip phone stage before the larger screen I-phones.  Uses Window's 8.1, for those who are tech savvy.  


So I did something rather catastrophic late night-before-last attempting to erase a missed message from a phone number I didn't  recognize.  I erased that,  along with the main top portion tile of the phone.  Which meant there was no ability to dial out.  I still had access to the numbers of those in my address book, and other apps, but no way to make a new call to anyone else.  If I couldn't find a dial pad tile, there would be no point in keeping this phone, because we use it for making all sorts of long distance calls that would otherwise cost us more money on our land line.  Which would mean we'd have to buy a new cell phone.  This cell phone costs us $28 a month for the service.  Good luck on finding something similar.


Step 1, I tried every which way I could think of to locate that tile and reinstate it.  Nope.  Then I spend a little time doing a google search see if there were any answers on line.  None I could find.  Then I called AT&T.  They tried to solve the problem, couldn't, passed me on to Nokia (which is the brand of the phone.)  Nokia couldn't help me and passed me on to Microsoft, because it's a Windows program that runs the phone.  Needless to say, I couldn't even connect with anybody LIVE at Microsoft.  We're talking over an hour of time spent on this.  (I will say the AT&T guy really tried to help.  The Nokia person, - briefly.   Kudos to the AT&T guy!) 


Step 2.  Because I don't give up, I went on line AGAIN and eventually found the answer.  A very simple one, actually. As I have learned and have said to myself o'er and o'er - "God gave you a brain, you just have to  USE IT!"  When I use that brain, I usually can solve my problem. Thank you God!  Or at least find the answer to the problem.  Even if I don't have the technical acumen to fix it myself, I can then pay someone with the necessary skills to do it for me. 


It's like when we had a water leak SOMEWHERE underground on our property.  They wanted $1,200 to dig up the main water line in order to find the source of it in the pipe.  The guy said it was probably in a T-joint where the pipe came down from the top of our driveway and connected to another pipe that leads to the barn.  I said to myself I'd be darned if I was gonna pay somebody $1,200 to find that leak and dig up the entire water line with a trencher from the top of the driveway (500 feet away) to our house.  So I used my brain and found it myself!  How?  He gave me a clue - that was all I needed.  Imagination and determination carried me forward.  I got on my hands and knees with a paper towel and felt the earth.  I felt it with knees and with my hands.  I was willing to walk over the entire property on my hands and knees in order to find it.  I crawled along and then visually noticed the ground looked more damp in one area.  Then I pressed my paper towel, foot by foot, into the ground.  And it suddenly got kind of wet.  And then very wet.  And then I got a big iron pole out and stuck it into that spot, (just as he had probed at the top of the driveway with HIS iron pole) deep as I could and - water suddenly gushed out of the hole.  Then I got the shovel and dug and dug until I excavated enough dirt and guess what?  I uncovered that T-joint!


I couldn't FIX it.  But I found it.   And it only cost a couple of hundred dollars to replace instead of over a thousand.  The guy was kind of amazed that I found it.  And I was mighty proud!


My point - don't give up pursuing your goal.  Whatever it might be.   If you don't succeed the first time, keep at it.  Study the problem until you find your answer.  God gave us brains.    Education is our friend.  We can't give you a quit, but we can  help you find the answers.  You have to do the initial hard work.  


Perseverance pays off.  Stick with it.


I Really Need To Quit

Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 1, 2019

I’m gonna quit.  I really need to quit.  I’ve been thinking about it for years. I know smoking is bad for me.  I KNOW this. And it’s time.  It’s just time.  I’ve thought about it.  This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about it.  And I’ve tried a couple of times before but... anyway tomorrow will be THE DAY.  Tomorrow I will wake up and not smoke.  I will - just - not smoke. Tonight’s the night.  I’m DONE!  I won’t go buy any tomorrow.  I’m really scared, but ... tomorrow I WON’T SMOKE!


(Later the next day)  I slipped. I bought a pack.  I feel guilty.  I don’t know what to do.  I really wanted to stop.  But I couldn’t help myself.  I was just going crazy at work, and then my mother called and....


Is this similar to your story?  Then let us educate you about why you’re not alone in this thinking.


I remember thinking like that myself.  “OK, tomorrow I just won’t smoke any more.  I’m done.  It’s important that I stop and - I’m done.”  Never happened.  Because I didn’t understand A) that this was an addiction and B) that I needed education on the subject let alone C) a PLAN to make it happen.


Then there were those times I quit when I was sick.  And of course the moment I felt better I started right back up.

The reason so many of us never stay smoke free past the occasions of being sick or the “special occasion” quit times (like New Years & birthdays) is because we don’t understand the nature of this addiction.  And that it’s not based on WILL POWER.  Certainly self discipline is a part of the journey, so is an absolute committed resolve; but ultimately ‘will power’ is only as good as the next emotional stress point or when we’re feeling better again.


Talk to any long-term quitter here.  What do they say?  What do they emphasize?  Education is what set them free.

We all go to bed at night wishing we could stop smoking tomorrow.  Making a sorry and weak resolution to do so. The true resolution happens when the absolute, No Matter What, commitment is manifested and adhered to.


Think about it. But plan it. Don’t just say “finger’s crossed, wish me luck, here’s hoping.”  Luck has noting to do with it. Hope is good, but education and commitment are what make that hope come to fruition.


I’m celebrating a 13 year quit today because I found a support site and people who had wisdom to share.  And I listened.  And I moaned, just like every other who begins this journey.  But I stuck with it and stayed attentive and continued to listen and learn and grow my quit.  And then I passed it forward.  Support is what made THE difference.  It’s a beautiful two-way street.


Grateful for all here who continue to pass it forward.  Grateful that there is such a site for it to happen.  Grateful to those of you who have remained steadfast and true to your commitment, and also to those who haven’t.  For those who haven’t remind me of where I used to be and to what I don’t want to return, and those who have - give me a sense of pride and “I if you can I can, and I’d never want to let you down!”


May you all embrace your quits and may you all find the beauty in this journey.  I’ve never met a quitter who said they regretted quitting.  I’ve met many who’ve regretted the opposite.


Quit. Please.  It’s a gift to yourself you may not like much when you first open it, but once you’ve spent some time with it you will cherish.

(This is a response I wrote on one of Thomas' blogs back in 2016.  Thought it might be a good stand-alone blog.)


Quitting takes guts and gumption. If you can't face the hard truth about your addiction, and your specific relationship with it, it's likely you'll continue to relapse time and again.  And if you can't take some constructive critical behavior analysis, if you're that fragile, how do you expect to overcome this addiction?  The Elders are not here to beat relapsers up.  That serves no purpose and most relapsers do enough of that themselves.  But we do want quitters to stand up for themselves (against their addiction) and also be able to stand alone, without us.  That takes unvarnished Truth.  We want to make them stronger, not weaker.  What we're attempting to do is to teach relapsers to recognize that an excuse is simply a need cloaked in a lie.  And sometimes, especially with serial quitters, that analysis needs to be particularly blunt.


To my mind it's the behavioral aspect of quitting that's the most difficult to overcome.  Part of our education is self-analysis.  Quitting is about learning to get over ourselves in order to get on with ourselves.  Behavior modification takes work and one needs to be open-minded and able to receive constructive criticism.  It’s not for the faint of heart.


Your success is our success.  We want you to be the Champ of your quit.  And to do that you have to pull up your britches, stick out your chest and say YES I CAN!

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