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Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 31, 2011

As addicts we have to convince ourselves that we need to stop doing that which is bad for us.  Because, we really don’t want to have to stop the thing that SEEMS to make us feel good.  Shows you the nature of the sickness.  If you weren’t addicted, you wouldn’t have to try to convince yourself to stop killing yourself.

Don’t think you’re addicted?  Here’s an addiction test for those still smoking.  Real simple:  Wake up.  Have a cup of coffee without  your cigarette.  Or whatever it is you do first thing in the morning with a cigarette -  do it without a cigarette.  How hard is that?  Did you manage it, but are you thinking about nothing else ‘cept when you can finally have one?  That’s addiction.  It’s ok.  You CAN conquer it.  Millions of us have.

We make all these lists about “My reasons to quit:” why we shouldn’t smoke, why we should stop, about all the benefits of not smoking, of why we want to be free..., etc., etc.  I don’t know about you, but when I made those lists when I was getting ready to quit,  they were simply ways of trying convince myself of why I SHOULD.  Ultimately those lists weren’t particularly helpful to me.  If they are for you - GREAT.  Keep makin’ ‘em!  But if not, read on.

Where are the other lists?  Is yours  a commitment, a promise? -  or simply a hope, a dream, a wish, a “trying?”    You can’t walk into this struggle without preparation.  Quitting is life changing, make no mistake.  You have to dedicate your time and energy  to it.  It doesn’t happen by itself.  Don’t be afraid of that.  It’s GOOD for you!!  Lol.  Makes you stronger than you ever thought possible!    So you need to ask some serious questions of yourself. 

Like: What is it going to cost me emotionally to quit and what am I willing to undergo in that process?  Here are some of the in-depth questions I think you need to ask yourself when you’re getting your head into quit mode.  A strong preparation will help ensure a long-lasting quit.   And if you’ve already quit, you still need to continue to answer these questions for  yourself and come up with news ones.  Because the process takes maintenance.

Ask these of yourself and then make your own:
*What will it take for me to be free?  What am I willing to do, to put up with?
*How much am I willing to put into this endeavor in order to be free?  Spiritually, emotionally, mentally  and physically?
*What will I do when bad stuff happens in my life?  When all hell is breaking lose? 
*What am I willing to do to prevent a relapse?
*What  do I need to do and where will I turn when I’m about to fail? 
*How will I know the warning signals of relapse?
*What situations in my life do I need to change to make quitting easier?
*What resources will I seek out when I’m shaky ?
*What’s it worth - ultimately - for me to stay quit? 

When taking a parachute jump course we were taught about all the things that could go wrong when you jumped out of that plane and what to do about them.   Not about all the things that could go right.  So study the things that can go wrong and prepare for them.  And find out how deep your commitment really is.  Because by answering those questions, you’ll get a good indication of the reality you’ll be going through and it will determine your success. 

I know you CAN quit - if you haven’t - and can REMAIN so if you have.  Why?  Because I’ve been around a LONG time and have seen it happen on a daily basis, weekly, yearly basis.  It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself.  Please do. 
Keep - it - safe.  And don't forget to smile.



Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 23, 2011

I would ask each and every one of you to express, as CALMLY as you can, the problems you're having with the site.  Let's confine it to one area - this blog.  Simply because I thought of it - is all.  And if we confine it to one area, the mighty "powers that be" will be more able to "get it" in a nice package  than having to search and wade  through a million and one blogs, posts, etc. all over the site.

First simply technically explain what the problems are that you're having since the site first changed.  Give as much information as you can.  What browser do you use, for example.  What happens when you try to log onto the site.  Some people are being thrown off.  I read one post where someone got 809 or whatever new messages.  Describe your computer operating system if you know it - just give them as much help as you can in that area.  The very little I know about programming - it ain't easy and they need such help.  If you're not at all computer savvy and don't know a thing about your browser or operating system, then just explain what's happening when you try to log on and maneuver around the site.  Just state the facts, not your opinion about it.  That’ll be next.

Second.  You've expressed yourselves all over this site as to your dislike of the badges, EXpert status, etc.  We ALL think it's a bad idea.  It has created havoc within the community in a way I've never seen before.  And I've been here a while.  So - if you can, without rancor, plainly, honesty express  why you don't like it, and  why you think it's  harmful to the community.  Using humor in the process wouldn’t be a bad idea.  Just take a breath here and try to relax and explain it all calmly.  If you've put out a blog about it, you might want to just copy the blog itself and put it here.

I'm just trying to enable this blog to be a holding area for all this stuff to make it easier and more accessible for those who can effect the changes to the community website that a great many of us are requesting.

I've been a part of this community since May 2008 (it says on my "Quit Info” ‘cause I just looked it up).  I was just gonna say "a long time."  It means a lot me.  I would hate to see it's demise because of some ill-thought-out conceptual decisions on the part of the "Creators."  Whomever they be.  I was here for the first major site change which was, to my mind pretty bad, but we all weathered through it.  Well, some.  Some left because of it.  Then we had this recent one a couple of months ago.  And for some of us old timers, there were many good aspects to that change.  What is NOT good about it is the difficulty that people have been having connecting to the site, navigating around it, having it mess up their pages,  etc.  The new tabs and things like that are great.  But members are gonna leave if it takes too long to get where they need to for support.  Because support is what makes this community extremely unique.  To my mind anyway.  Because quitting smoking takes multilevel support.  And that’s what we’ve got.  But it’s waning with the capacities we’re losing.

Graphics and all those things are great fun.  That we no longer can put up blog pictures to attract members is ok.  We can live with that.  We are able to change and adapt to a great extent.  We're quitters after all.  We've chosen to alter our entire lives.   But we can’t receive and give support on here if we can’t get around to communicate with each other.

So my friends and fellow quitters.  Please do not lose heart, do not lose faith and above all,  please do not lose your quits over this.  Just keep breathing and as I said, as calmly as you can, just explain from your heart what is not working for you.  I believe we as a community are important enough to have an influence on the makers of this site.  I certainly hope so.  ‘Cause if we aren't, then there really is no point in being here.  Then this site is not better than any other.  And I happen to think we’re rather unique.

With love.  Giulia




Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 15, 2011

 This Dec.  15, 2011?
Are you contemplating quitting?  Know you can.  Read blog after blog on here.  You’ll see that possibility and reality  being manifested all over the place.
Are you wondering if you can make it?  You can.  Look at all  of us on here who are.  Again I say - read.
Are you thinking about cigarettes?  Stop it.  Now.  Change your focus.  Get away from those thoughts.  They are not good for you.  They are harmful.  Like smoking is.  Get up.  DO SOMETHING other than think about the elephant in the corner.
Have you quit but are fragile in it?  Then strengthen it.  Know that if you can make it through today, tomorrow you will awaken with another day smoke free behind you.  That’s a blessing.  And an encouragement.  Give yourself that.  You’ve come this far.  Don’t relinquish that portion of the journey by caving in to that STUPID, mindless craving  monster.  It has no intelligence.  You do.  That’s why you’re here reading this blog!  Lol
Are you about to quit your quit?  Well - that decision is totally yours.  I can’t help you with that one if you are determined to go in that direction.  I can only tell you, it’s not worth it to give up what you’ve earned through hard work and perseverance.  You know better.  Will you act on that knowledge?  That “knowing better” or not?  The choice is yours.  I hope, from the bottom of my heart that you make the wise decision and not the easy one.  The easy one will not get you forward.  The easy one will take you back to square one. 
What are you doing tonight?  Are you protecting your quit?  I am.  And I have protected it for 5 years, 9 months, 14 days, 17 minutes and .....the seconds are ticking along as I write.

Before you take that next “Not One Puff Ever” puff - just spend three minutes thinking about it.  Seriously.  Those three minutes might save your quit.
I had a dream the other  night that I was writing a blog about people who had quit who were forced to take a puff.  Like, ok, you’ve been quit for...however long, now I’m gonna MAKE YOU SMOKE A CIGARETTE!    My God.  You talk about smoking nightmares.  My smoking nightmares were not much of a big deal.  I smoked what.   I smoked.  Those were my smoking dreams.  I had lied to all these people and pretended I was smoke free for...however long...and then I just smoked, or just acknowledged it and no big deal.   Only a couple of times have I ever had what I call a smoking nightmare where I smoked and was HORRIFIED at myself in the dream for doing so.  In most of them I didn’t have a problem with smoking nor lying about it.   But I awake from these dreams and in the semi-conscious state I think - did I smoke yesterday?  Did I really light up a cigarette?  I just don’t remember.  And that’s a moment of pure panic.  Of course I didn’t smoke.  But - those are my smoking dreams.
But this last dream was a doozie.  And there’s the question for you.  Well, mostly for those who have been quit for a couple of weeks at the very least, preferably for a couple of months, certainly under a year.  At your stage of the quitting process, if someone came to you and MADE YOU take a puff of a cigarette (after all you’ve done to be free, after all that emotional and physical cost, after all the study, after all the continued upkeep, after all the time put in) - how horrified would you be?  In my case, knowing ALL I know about myself - the addiction and my susceptibility to such - I would do everything in my power to prevent that person from making me inhale one puff of a cigarette.  That’s how dangerous I think it is for me.
How dangerous is that one puff for you?   Tell us.  The truth will set us free.  How fragile is YOUR quit?  And what are you doing to prevent any possible relapse? 
Would it be easy for someone to make you take a puff of a cigarette, or would you fight them with everything you’ve got?  That might kinda tell you where you are in your quitting process.


What are you doing tonight?

Posted by Giulia Champion Dec 4, 2011

Are you thinking about cigarettes?  Well stop it.

Are you contemplating walking out the door to go buy a pack?  Well don't.

Are you wondering if it's worth it?  It is.

Do you want to go back to square one and start all over?  No, you don't. 

Are you listening?

Are you hearing?

Are you gonna pay attention?

Or are you gonna let that stupid inner craving voice win you over? 

Hold on until tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow you will wake up another day free.  And ....the possibilities are endless. 

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