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2015

What happens when your expectations don’t happen?  Do you keep on - or give up?  “But they said the cravings would lessen after....”

We’re not lying to you.  The craving DO lessen.  The problem is you don’t realize it, because it's a subtle process.  You think that after X number of days you’re suddenly gonna pass a magic timeline of cravings and they'll all disappear.  Not so.  They ease and ebb and grow and flow and ebb again.  That is the nature of cravings and also the nature of this quitting journey. 

 

I personally thought that I’d suddenly reach a moment when ALL CRAVINGS WERE OVER, DONE, GONE!  And Yippeee!  Wish I could tell you that was the case, but it ain’t. 

We give you these happy points of reference (3 days, a week,  No Man’s Land...)   to keep you going in your quit.  To keep you hopeful.  To keep you psychologically eager and active in pursuing the positives along the way.  


There are monumental crossings that we are unaware of in life  When we cross the Continental Divide (in New Mexico) do we grasp it in any way but intellectually?  Do we feel it?  No.  When we cross the International Dateline in a plane do we sense it?  No.

 

Every newbie wants to know HOW LONG??? will it take???  It takes as long as it takes.  For You.  The question you need to ask and answer for yourself is:  ”Am I willing to hang on as long as it takes?  No matter what?”    If you aren’t -   you won’t make it.  Truth.  ‘Cause that’s what it takes.  Each quit is different.  Some fight the process longer, some accept the rite of passage sooner, some didn’t make a strong enough preparation, some come to a stress crisis and blow it.  But ALL successful long-term quitters have accepted that it will take as long as it takes to get to that place of Freedom.  

 

How long will it take to get over the cravings?  To get to the point where you can say “I’m free” - there is no specific time.  Because this is a journey.  Not an event.  The day you put them down is THE EVENT.  The day after that begins your journey to freedom.

 

And that journey is incredibly empowering.  IF and only IF you want it to be.  Otherwise it can be a journey of merely hope, whining, loss and relapse.   Your quit journey is as YOU make it.   You’re in charge.  Truly.  We can help to try to attract your mind to the positives of it, and distract your mind from the negatives - but ultimately it’s up to you.  If you want to dwell in whining mode, you will.  If you want to get over it ASAP - you will.  If you read the blogs here you will learn of the type of mindset that leads toward success and the mindset that attracts failure.  The difference is as clear as day.

   

What’s your choice?  IN (with all the costs) or OUT with all the relapses and ‘wish I had,’ ‘wish I could,’ ‘back again," ‘I know better,’ ‘praying that THIS time...’...  

 

My point is - be proactive, take the reins, don’t let yourself be a victim to your addiction.  Choose the way you want to experience quitting.   When you understand that quitting is a choice - and part of that choice is in how you view it -  you’ll know YOU are in control.  Hang in!
 

Giulia

Speaking of Vaping....

Posted by Giulia Champion Feb 12, 2015

I was at a friend's house last weekend.  And we were sitting jawing.  I was talking about EX and addiction to cigarettes and he said he was given an e-cig by some vendor for free to try.  (He doesn't smoke any more.)  Never having seen one up close and personal I asked him to show me how it worked.  It looked exactly like a normal white cigarette with a tan filter made of ?  plastic? (Not one of those hookah looking things) I stupidly asked "What do you do?  Do you light the end?"  He said, "No, you just draw on it like you would cigarette."  And he proceeded to take a puff, er - vape, then exhaled the vapor.  Really cool I thought.  The end turned red just like a real cigarette.  He then handed it to me and said, "you wanna try?"  I said, "Oh, no no no.  Not one puff ever means Not One Puff Ever.  I don't need to reintroduce nicotine into my body."  He said "these have nicotine in them?"  I replied in the affirmative.  He didn't know that.

 

But I did hold it in my hand and examine it.  Wished like hell I'd had one when I first quit back in my 20s, I thought.  Though back then, of course, they hadn't been manufactured.  They only had those fake plastic cigarettes that had a little hole in the end and some mint flavor.  But do I really wish I'd had one back then??  I wonder if I would still be vaping 40 years later or whether I would have been able to get off them.  Or would I have gone back to the real thing?  I'll never know.  I do know, however, that I quit smoking almost 9 years ago.  And I know that I am free with no vaping strings attached.

 

If vaping enables people to become permanently free of smoking I would have to say that that is a good thing.  My fear is that, just as with cigarettes when they first were heavily advertised, before all the studies came out that informed us of their slow-killing nature, vaping may ultimately prove to cause different but equally long-term damaging lung function disorders.  Even if it's LESS than what cigarettes do to us.... why introduce that to yourself?  In a way I have to admit I'm kind of jealous of vapers.  Hey, I'm a cigarette addict.  I'd like to be able to vape.  After all, it's "smoking without penalty," right?  Isn't that what we all want? 

 

The problem is it's not without penalty.  Nicotine IS addictive and the e-cig is still giving us that nicotine which enslaves us.  And it is also keeping the hand-to-mouth "habit" alive and well.  It also takes our money, just like cigarettes did.  And we don't yet know what, if any, the long-term damage may be.

 

I think I'll just stick with my quit.  Day Won.  Never Another Day One.

Giulia

When Does It Get Easy?

Posted by Giulia Champion Feb 5, 2015

As an oldtimer here, sometimes it's difficult to come up with new material.  How many times can you say the same thing in a new and different way.  Well, unless you're Dale (lol).  Since I've been on here almost since the inception of the site I'm thinking, why not repost some of my old posts from Relapse Traps.  There are a lot of newbies that might find them beneficial.  (Some of the responses are quite interesting also.)  So here's one:

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WHEN DOES IT GET EASY??????  (originally posted in 2009)

I was responding to another person when I learned something about this quitting process. Yes, even after 3 years. So I pass it on. Some of this is directly quoted from what I said to her.
It was hard for every single one of us long-term quitters too to quit. I went through months wondering when the easy part came? I mean, there WAS supposed to be an easy part, right? And then I learned, gradually, that it doesn't all of a sudden become easy. You don't awaken one morning and discover the hard part's over SLAP BANG THANK YOU MA'AM! No. (Somehow, in my naivete', I thought that would be the case.) But you may have an easy couple of hours. And then a few days later, an easy couple more. And then you'll start to have whole days that are easy. Maybe only a couple in the first month, then a couple more and a couple more....
The point is, which I suddenly realized after over three years being quit is: it doesn't SUDDENLY become easy. This may be obvious to most, but it wasn't to me. There isn't a magic gate you pass through to the "easy side." You can't say to someone that after the first three days it becomes easy, nor after "hell week," nor after the first month celebration. For that's not the truth of this process. Easier, emphasis on the er, yes. But not momentously easy.
Oh, yes, for some it may be. For some, they put the cigarettes down and that's it. They never never look back. And God bless' 'em. If you're one of those, then you obviously don't need to be reading a thing in Relapse Traps. I wish I were one. But I'm not. And I can only relate my own experience here. So don't take it for the gospel truth, 'cause there is no such thing when it comes to the individual quitting process. There IS no gospel truth. Well, except the gospel truth of never putting another cigarette in your mouth again. That IS a gospel truth if you want to be free forever.
But I digress.
So, my point here is that there IS no magic moment when it all turns suddenly EASY. It's like losing a loved one. You go along and the first weeks, months are horrible. You constantly think about them and you grieve. And you wonder if the ache, the sorrow, will EVER go away. And then day by day the ache aches a little less. And you're surprised when you've gone through a whole day without thinking about them. And so guiltily relieved that you haven't. And then the next day you hit a moment in the day when you feel like that first hour after they died. And it's hits you full force again.
The quitting process is the same. There is no door where there's a CRAVINGS STOP HERE sign on one side. So don't be lured into thinking that. Always keep your guard up. And stay outta the traps.

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The Effects of Smoking on the Body

Tobacco smoke is enormously harmful to your health. There’s no safe way to smoke. Replacing your cigarette with a cigar, pipe, or hookah won’t help you avoid the health risks associated with tobacco products.

Cigarettes contain about 600 ingredients. When they burn, they generate more than 7,000 chemicals, according to the American Lung Association. Many of those chemicals are poisonous and at least 69 of them can cause cancer. Many of the same ingredients are found in cigars and in tobacco used in pipes and hookahs. According to the National Cancer Institute, cigars have a higher level of carcinogens, toxins, and tar than cigarettes.

When using a hookah pipe, you’re likely to inhale more smoke than you would from a cigarette. Hookah smoke has many toxic compounds and exposes you to more carbon monoxide than cigarettes do. Hookahs also produce more secondhand smoke.

In the United States, the mortality rate for smokers is three times that of people who never smoked, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s one of the leading causes of preventable death.

Central Nervous System

imageOne of the ingredients in tobacco is a mood-altering drug called nicotine. Nicotine reaches your brain in mere seconds. It’s a central nervous system stimulant, so it makes you feel more energized for a little while. As that effect subsides, you feel tired and crave more. Nicotine is habit forming.

Smoking increases risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and poor eyesight. It can also weaken your sense of taste and sense of smell, so food may become less enjoyable.

Your body has a stress hormone called corticosterone, which lowers the effects of nicotine. If you’re under a lot of stress, you’ll need more nicotine to get the same effect.

Physical withdrawal from smoking can impair your cognitive functioning and make you feel anxious, irritated, and depressed. Withdrawal can also cause headaches and sleep problems.

Respiratory System

imageWhen you inhale smoke, you’re taking in substances that can damage your lungs. Over time, your lungs lose their ability to filter harmful chemicals. Coughing can’t clear out the toxins sufficiently, so these toxins get trapped in the lungs. Smokers have a higher risk of respiratory infections, colds, and flu.

In a condition called emphysema, the air sacs in your lungs are destroyed. In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the tubes of the lungs becomes inflamed. Over time, smokers are at increased risk of developing these forms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Long-term smokers are also at increased risk of lung cancer.

Withdrawal from tobacco products can cause temporary congestion and respiratory pain as your lungs begin to clear out.

Children whose parents smoke are more prone to coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks than children whose parents don’t. They also tend to have more ear infections. Children of smokers have higher rates of pneumonia and bronchitis.

Cardiovascular System

imageSmoking damages your entire cardiovascular system. When nicotine hits your body, it gives your blood sugar a boost. After a short time, you’re left feeling tired and craving more. Nicotine causes blood vessels to tighten, which restricts the flow of blood (peripheral artery disease). Smoking lowers good cholesterol levels and raises blood pressure, which can result in stretching of the arteries and a buildup of bad cholesterol (atherosclerosis). Smoking raises the risk of forming blood clots.

Blood clots and weakened blood vessels in the brain increase a smoker’s risk of stroke. Smokers who have heart bypass surgery are at increased risk of recurrent coronary heart disease. In the long term, smokers are at greater risk of blood cancer (leukemia).

There’s a risk to nonsmokers, too. Breathing secondhand smoke has an immediate effect on the cardiovascular system. Exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease.

Skin, Hair, and Nails (Integumentary System)

imageSome of the more obvious signs of smoking involve the skin. The substances in tobacco smoke actually change the structure of your skin. Smoking causes skin discoloration, wrinkles, and premature aging. Your fingernails and the skin on your fingers may have yellow staining from holding cigarettes. Smokers usually develop yellow or brown stains on their teeth. Hair holds on to the smell of tobacco long after you put your cigarette out. It even clings to nonsmokers.

Digestive System

imageSmokers are at great risk of developing oral problems. Tobacco use can cause gum inflammation (gingivitis) or infection (periodontitis). These problems can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, and bad breath.

Smoking also increases risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, larynx, and esophagus. Smokers have higher rates of kidney cancer and pancreatic cancer. Even cigar smokers who don’t inhale are at increased risk of mouth cancer.

Smoking also has an effect on insulin, making it more likely that you’ll develop insulin resistance. That puts you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. When it comes to diabetes, smokers tend to develop complications at a faster rate than nonsmokers.

Smoking also depresses appetite, so you may not be getting all the nutrients your body needs. Withdrawal from tobacco products can cause nausea.

Sexuality and Reproductive System

imageRestricted blood flow can affect a man’s ability to get an erection. Both men and women who smoke may have difficulty achieving ****** and are at higher risk of infertility. Women who smoke may experience menopause at an earlier age than nonsmoking women. Smoking increases a woman’s risk of cervical cancer.

Smokers experience more complications of pregnancy, including miscarriage, problems with the placenta, and premature delivery.

Pregnant mothers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to have a baby with low birth weight. Babies born to mothers who smoke while pregnant are at greater risk of low birth weight, birth defects, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Newborns who breathe secondhand smoke suffer more ear infections and asthma attacks.

 

   10 years after the last cigarette  
       
  • Pre-cancerous cells are replaced by healthy, normal cells.
  •    
  • There is a 50% to 70% reduction in the risk of developing lung cancer.
  •    
  • The risk of pancreatic cancer is reduced.
  •   
   10 to 14 years after the last cigarette  
       
  • The risk of developing Heart Disease drops to that of someone who never smoked.
  •   
   15 years after your last cigarette  
       
  • The risk of developing lung cancer is the same as non-smokers.
  •    
  • For Congestive Heart Disease, the risk reduces to the same as someone who has never smoked.
  •    
  • Life expectancy is as long as that of a non-smoker!
  •   
- See more at: http://www.stopsmokingcenter.net/education/benefits.aspx#sthash.sfGIVKTk.dpuf

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