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Giulia's Blog

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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

Image result for light bulb



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.



Image result for light bulb



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


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!


Personal Responsibility

Posted by Giulia Champion Jan 21, 2019

At some point in our lives and some point in our quits we have to take responsibility.  Whether it is past actions that we may not be proud of, or present actions that we can't get a'hold of and are not proud of.  We have to recognize that we are responsible for SOME things in our lives.  We can't blame EVERYTHING on everybody else and every stress and all our past history - all the time.  


Because if we DO, we will never get over ourselves.  We will never move on to the next stage of our personal psychological and most important of all - spiritual journeys. 


I'm gonna be 70 years old in July.  I continue to learn things every day.  Not only about my quitting journey but about my life journey.   But I was brought up with the teaching of personal responsibility. 


And as part of that personal responsibility I took responsibility for my quit.  I think that's what the current generation calls "owning it?"  


OWN YOUR QUIT.   Be responsible for your actions in the process.  Don't allow the every-ready excuses to undermine your resolve, your commitment, your hope and your dream for freedom.


Take responsibility for your choice to be smoke-free. I think when you do that you will have better success in becoming and remaining so.  


I offer this with so much love and hope you cannot know.


Envy Thoughts

Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 20, 2018

I think we're all a little bit envious of those who (can) still smoke after we've made the choice not to.  UNTIL we get to a certain point in our quits and truly grasp a) that it actually tastes and smells AWFUL;  b) really understand and BELIEVE the truth of what continued smoking will do to us, and c) come to the reality (usually after many failed attempts) that it doesn't change anything, make anything better, solve any problems, nor give us any succor after all.  All it does is keep us addicted to itself. 


And when we do get to that glorious point of understanding with our emotional bones, we have attained the opposite perspective.  (It's not the intellectual part of our brains that is the catalyst for change, it's the emotional part - MOO)   We don't envy, rather we pity the smokers who can't quit.  Not only do we not want to be like them, we  actually become afraid of being like them, and we want to encourage them to see the light of this addiction.  We're glad as heck we're free and never want to go back to that "envy period" of our journeys.


It's only in the beginning of our quits that we're envious of those who CAN still smoke (when we CAN'T).  As if  they're "allowed" to smoke when we aren't.  Really?  We CHOSE to not smoke, because we know better!  We don't have to give it up.  Nobody has a gun to ours heads.  Except our own better self who really knows better. It's that positive, life enforcing essence that tickles us, badgers us, pushes us, encourages us, love us enough to transform us.  Well, unless it's a diagnosis of COPD or lung caner or....  Then that choice becomes more of a non-choice.  SO DON'T WAIT THAT LONG!


But when we embrace that choice, agree to it, accept it, the "can't"- and that accompanying feeling of being denied some imagined pleasure - morphs into "I don't really need to."  Which then morphs - with time - into "I don't want to."  For envy is - on a biblical scale one of the 7 deadly sins.  And whether you're a Christian or not, envy makes us feel spiritually pretty needy and crummy and all that "I wish I were," "I wish I could have" which downgrades into feeling sorry for ourselves,  that we're not good enough, not capable enough, which is so depleting and denying and depressing.


But time away from our smoking selves is what changes the addict-mind thinking of our journeys.  Time give us the needed perspective and enables us the distance from our former smoking selves to become the masters - as opposed to the slaves of our addiction.  But it's not just time - it's how we use that time for further education and reinforcement of our choice.  Many have gone back to another Day One (instead of a Day Won), because they didn't keep paying attention to their quit.  Didn't keep reinforcing it by staying connected to a quit community, or continuing education on the subject.  I think to be ultimately successful (for the majority of us), we need to stay engaged in our quit journeys.  In whatever way each individual finds that participation.


When you stop envying smokers, you have reached a new understanding.  It's a beautiful one.  Wait for it.  May it happen for you soon.


(Thanks Dale for the brain spurring:  Love (d) To Smoke? )


Make Quitting Your Passion

Posted by Giulia Champion Nov 19, 2018

What do you love to do? What subject do you read everything you can get your eyeballs on? What motivates and engages your avid attention? What makes you curious and question and seek to find answers? It could be cooking - new recipes - or new crafting techniques, parenting, or it could be sports, or politics, or technological inventions... Whatever it is that you spend time and energy and thought and attention on - that’s the kind of focus and attention and curiosity that will help you overcome this addiction.


You need to become fascinated with quitting. It needs to become your focus in life. (MOO - my opinion only) Not forever, just until you “get there.” And what I mean by “get there” is - until you get to the point where you’re not suffering over the choice, that decision you’ve made; where every thought isn’t about how you want a cigarette; where you don’t even consider smoking in your life any more. That’s called Freedom.  That’s what all smokers who want to quit wish to experience. And I think in order to do so, becoming fascinated with the subject, isn’t a bad thing.


So become fascinated with quitting. And become fascinated with your own personal journey in regards to it. It’s a deep inner self-looking journey. There is so much discovery and thus so much potential for growth. But that kind of “inner looking” takes courage. And hard truth. I hope you have or gain that in this process.


It’s when we understand the emotional excuses we make, that we can overcome those excuses and thence overcome this addiction.


I hope all who are new at this journey discover the fascination with the process and make it your passion. As one who is passionate about the Freedom we attain from quitting - I want YOU to have what I feel. It’s amazing.


Never give up.

There was a guy in a truck next to me in the Walmart parking lot this afternoon.  When I was taking the 5 quart bottle of engine oil I'd purchased out of my cart (buggy for you southerners) into my car I slightly hit it against his truck.  I hadn't really noticed his truck at all, just that there was something next to me.  After placing it in my car, I turned back to see if there was anybody in the vehicle.  And there was, (window open, smoking in the driver's seat) so I just said "Sorry."  He acknowledged it and said it was an old beat-up truck and it didn't matter, just as long as I was ok.  I said it was only a soft plastic jug, so it probably didn't do any damage.  He again said something to the effect that it wasn't a problem, it was an old truck and reiterated as long as I was ok.   I found that really curious.  "As long as I was ok."  Am still left to try to understand that.


I noticed he was smoking a cigarette.  Had a couple of teeth missing.  I pondered whether to ask him if he ever wanted to quit.  I thought - what the hell, what have I got to lose.  I'm always afraid to ask "have you ever wanted to quit smoking?"   to strangers.  As a former smoker I know how I would immediately SHUT OFF and go into protective mode when anyone mentioned quitting.  But I've still got some of these EX cards left and just took the chance.


And I asked him "You ever want to quit smoking?"  He immediately  said he wished he could quit.  He has COPD.  Had conquered - I THINK he said - the drinking addiction.  Said he picked up drinking and cigarettes in the service.  This was his last thing to overcome.  I asked him if he had internet.  He said he did.  I said, "I want to give you something."  And I went into my car and found one last EX card.  I wrote my name on it.  I said, "This is a great quit site.  It's helped a lot of people.  I smoked for 35 years a pack and a half a day.  You CAN quit.  Just check it out if you want.  And that's my name on the site.  If you do show up, just give me a shout."  He took it and thanks me.


I was so elated and excited to find what seemed to be an open receptor there.  And I couldn't shut up.  I turned back and said, "You know, I still love the smell of a cigarette."  I was trying to tell him, I GET IT!  And I said "You know, it's so hard, because you don't want to turn somebody off, you can't MAKE them make the decision, it has to come from them, but I'm so afraid of saying anything because it makes people defensive,..."  and he said something to the affect that his step son? or somebody - who has some kind of a problem, when you try to tell him what to do he just shuts off...  so he "got that."  He thanked me several times.  I drove away feeling good in my heart.  That I had at least tried.  And who knows - maybe a seed was planted for a future harvesting period.


The whole point of this story is - don't be afraid to ask people if they've ever wanted to quit smoking.  And don't be afraid to offer them this website as a way out.  It  could be just the thing they need to hear at that time in their lives to move them forward in that process.  We never know.


EXProductManager   Megan - Those old cards are really uninteresting (as you all know).  I'm really looking forward to the new batch.  And yes, I'd certainly be willing to purchase them as an individual.  The WOW card is what has stuck in my mind as the most potent of the new graphic designs.  Meanwhile, can we get more of the old ones?



Update 6/18/19


Old Cards:

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Get some for yourself:  WALLET CARDS

To smoke? To give in to that weakest part of you?


Or to stay strong, get through this one day and awaken with another day of Freedom under your belt?


You can do this quitting thing.  Really you can.  You can say NO, to this silly Saturday urge.  You can chase away this monster by saying YES to that best part of you.


You don’t have to fail at this.  You just have to get through today.



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