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2012
Giulia

Photo Impact

Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 10, 2012

Stumbled upon this.  If you don't know about stubleupon.com - check it out.  Hours of staving off cravings for the newbiey there.  And if you don't have cravings - it's still a fun place to visit.

I came across this photo on piccsy (through stumbleupon) and it so blew me away that I copied it to photbucket to share with you. 


I named it "Freedom's crawl."  Sure looked like that to me.  

I'd be interested in hearing your title for it.....

Giulia

THE FIRST YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 8, 2012

Jonilou asked me for my thoughts about my first year anniversary.  Had to go back a ways to find this on the site where I started, but I did.  I wrote this to the folks at Unofficalnicanon.com on my first year anniversary.  They are the group that helpled launch my quit. 
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    Day 365 and Counting      

Hello My Motivations,


Exactly one year ago I took my last puff of a cigarette. I emptied all the ashtrays and sealed the garbage. I was NOT looking forward to the next morning. Or the morning after that. Or the long craving hours of the day.  I was afraid of the gnawing I knew I'd have in my gut, that desperate hunger for a cigarette.  And I didn't want that feeling. Smoking was a pleasure to me and I didn't want to have to give up that pleasure.


So how did I? How is it that I am writing this a year later without a cigarette in my hand?  Determination, pride, the support of a loving husband, a bit of saving Grace and a lot of wisdom and encouragement from many people in this group.  I'm here because of those who have made it and because of those who haven't.  Those who made it showed me it was possible.  They were the standard bearers.  Those who didn't showed me how quickly failure can catch us.  And I still wonder about them.  Why was I able to quit, and not them? Or perhaps they have, and I just don't know it.
To those of you who are new at this - I wish I could give you a template to follow. But my experience is not yours necessarily.  I joined this group and began reading and posting about a month before I quit.  It was my training period, my "gearing up."  I was an avid 
poster in the beginning.  As a newbie I read every single post and put out a lot of support.  You cannot encourage others without having some of it rub off on yourself. What I was telling them to do, I was telling myself to do.  There was an echo coming back at me.


And I had fun.  It was as if all the energy from those miserable, unending cravings got plugged into something else.  Posting became a highly creative experience.  My mind was ALIVE with excitement.  And so were other minds.  The James Bond posts were an example of where those quitting energies can go.  I demanded and commanded a sense of humor within myself.  Is that what saved me?


For those of you who were with me during that journey - thank you.  I don't think I could have done it without your fellowship, support and wisdom.


For those of you who know me not, know that you CAN become a non-smoker.  It is there, within you.  But you must say "no," and continue to say "no" to the desire.  For it lurks in waiting and can take you by surprise.  It can rear it's ugly head in a moment, in a month or a multitude of months.  And one whispered "yes" will be your doom.


To those struggling - I wish you shelter from the storm, but most of all I wish you health.


To those who were my mentors - Blessings on your heads.


Giulia - One Year Old
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Current thoughts about that first year anniversary now six years later:


That first year anniversary was an incredible one of pride for me.  The minor milestones along the way were just little bon mots.  But to get to that  first year mark was just kind of unbelievable.  That quit year was hard for me.  I still wanted a cigarette.  Not every day, but enough days to feel like it was a bit of a struggle.  It’s one of the reasons I created the group Relapse Traps later on on this site.  Because I knew, and know,  I’m still vulnerable.


While searching for that post above, I came across another one of mine, maybe two years after I quit (can’t find it again now).  In which I said I still want a cigarette.  I’m one of those quitters who’s had a pretty rough go of it all along the way.  (Peggy/ckoalaco can attest to that, among others.) 

 
Now that can be really distressing for a newbie to hear.  Or even for someone who is celebrating their first year quit.  But I can’t lie about it.  While searching for that material I found something from an 8 year quitter who said he had to remain vigilant.  This is someone posting on a quit site with an 8 year quit.  Do you hear that?  Do you get it?  You have to remain vigilant if you still experience cravings.  The more cravings you experience, the more vigilant you have to be.  Because if you’re still experiencing them,  you’re still vulnerable to losing your quit.  Truth. 


Perhaps because I always had a tough time with my quit, I’ve always been the one on this site to point out the dangers.  My support seems to be less about how much you CAN do, and  more about how easy it is to fail.  So if you’ve done it, hold onto it dearly.


I will say this at this point in my quit.  And it’s only taken me six bloody years to say it:  I think I’m finally at the place that most quitters get to a lot sooner.  And that is, craving free.  I actually almost feel safe in my quit.  YET - why do I still take notice of a smoker outside a store?  Why do I, when I smell a cigarette at times, just think it’s the best smell since popcorn?  My mother, when my step father died, asked me for a cigarette.  She hadn’t smoked in ?  I don’t know how many years.  Over 10 at least.  I gave her one.  She smoked a couple of puffs and put it out and that was that.  Fortunately.  These are lessons in addiction.  And in the abetting of it. 


So, I guess I’d say to one year celebrants - This is perhaps one of, if not THE, most difficult things you will have accomplished in your life.  And the most ultimately rewarding and life affirming.  And God I know how great that feels and you are a validation of my own quit (and so many other’) and just...relish it and be careful.  Be ever vigilant, because I’ve seen beautiful things vanish in a puff.  And that breaks my heart.

 

Giulia

A Shared Quit

Posted by Giulia Champion Mar 2, 2012

Six years ago when I quit I was not alone.  I was then on another support site and there was a fellow by the name of David Callahan who had quit two months earlier than I.  And we connected in a way that has kept the beauty of communication open since.  We wildly danced together in creative prose during that initial quit journey.  Alive with the fire of cravings.  He wrote me a poem for my 6th which I'd like to share with you.  Because it's not just about OUR journey, but speaks to all journeys I think.  For they and we are not that differen't, after all.

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WE BREATHE

Nicotine’s bad love.
Bad love, spotted from a mile away,
But there we were,
Back for more
Watching ourselves
Sucker lick the rusted chain that bound us
With the yellow tongue of a cowards.
Our conscience fell lighter than ash
At the flick of a wrist
And thoughtlessness
Blended without effort into space
Like a grey blue ghost feigning peace.
We got awfully good at trading in faith for fatalism.
But somehow, we won,
We quit.
Despite our love for losing.
We dug the silver dagger deep and steady,
Spit on that tyrant’s grave and walked away.
Two cageless birds are we now
Peering down at that old woman in the courtyard.
Talking to the other 98 sparrows
Who huddle in homely habit
And fear fall-frightening flight.
But are we any wiser?
Are we more like lions
And less like goats
When it comes to that enemy within us;
That thing experts call addiction but
You and I could never pronounce
Because of its shapeless intimate face?
We still walk warily
Past that haunted house on the corner,
Where we used to live,
Eyeing the tiger lady and
Smelling Hyde’s sweat on Dr. Jekyll’s perfume.
Nicotine,
That sly slaying Cain
We once enabled,
Is never far away
But our growing distance
From him is much closer.
And today, Giulia,
After six years,
We breathe.
We breathe.                (By David Callahan)

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Keep breathing, my friends.  And if you haven't quit yet - please do.

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