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Posted by Giulia Champion Apr 28, 2015

Whether you're just thinking about quitting, are a newbie on your first few terrified days, have a couple of months under your belt, are stuck in No Man's Land, or are an Elder.  Sing this song in your hearts and you cannot fail.




Family Reunion

Posted by Giulia Champion Apr 28, 2015

(You're all gonna be real tired of hearing about all our fun.  And if it makes you jealous - GOOD.  Might get you to the next reunion!)

How does one begin to describe this past weekend’s reunion in Nashville?  I guess I’d begin by saying it was everything I had hoped it would be.  Only much too brief.  There weren’t any surprises because our hearts have been read by each other for quite a while.  It truly was like a family reunion.  An easy, warm camaraderie with lots of laughter, many hugs, and a  beautiful solidarity of spirit.
One of the high spots for me  was the brunch and the reading of the blogs.  The intimacy of that is quite extraordinary and it tightened the bond between us.  I marveled at the ease with which people read their very personal words.  It's one thing to put up a blog in the safety of cyberspace about what you're experiencing, your raw emotions - quite another to read it out loud in front of your "family.”  But then I shouldn’t have been surprised, I guess.   The quitting journey is about facing the truth of our addition.  There is no hiding from it if you want to be free.  And when you trust your family enough, there's no NEED to hide.
There was such strength in that room.  It was a shelter full of champions.  Champions not only in conquering the Nicodemon, but champions of support.  And champions of Life in general.  
Skygirl (Nancy) and Strudel (Kathy) did an amazing job of organizing and setting up the room’s atmosphere to delight.  Sky made paper plate awards for each of us, capturing our on-line essences perfectly with just a few words.  We spent much time discussing how the community part of the site might be made more accessible.  How we might  better engage newbies in our family here.  
We actually spent a LOT of time talking about quitting over the entire course of the weekend.  We spoke of all of you who helped us on our journeys and how we might improve our assistance to others.  We all know that if it weren’t for each other and the education we’ve received about quitting, we would still be sucking on a cigarette in a corner out in the rain.
Speaking of sucking on cigarettes (Sarah beat me to this:) - it’s now time for Confessions of a Hooka Voyeur.  After the dinner at Margaritaville (which was a blast and BLASTING with a live band!) we walked around the totally packed streets, going in and out of stores, people watching.  It’s what I imagine Mardi Gras in New Orleans must be like.  It was a non-stop street party!  Eventually we were pretty tired puppies.  Some had already headed back to the hotels, but the remainder of us just wanted a quiet place to sit and have a last toddy and be able to talk.  We came upon one saloon that seemed to fit the bill.  Walked in the darkened arched entrance, found a table and all sat gratefully down.  The place was oddly almost empty.  And then we noticed a couple sitting in a booth along the wall.  And suddenly  someone came around with an enormous floor hookah (3' high?)  With a long hose, which they passed back and forth between them.  At times the guy blew on the glowing embers of the coconut shells used to heat the device, splaying sparks all over the carpeted floor.  I wondered why the place hadn’t burned down by now!  
The irony of this did not escape us.  Here we were, a bunch of quitters, ending up our night in Nashville at a Hookah bar.  $13.99 to suck on those things.  And all the flavors in the world.  Amazing.  What was interesting, though, that we noted on the streets, was there were very few people smoking.  And those that were - didn’t look too happy about it.  Damn but I’m glad I don’t have to do that any more!  
If you can save up your money to get to one of these reunions - do.  They are truly joyous experiences!

(Stac & Michwoman)








(our avatars)


(Storm & Sarah)







(My plate from Sky)














(Ms. J)








(Rick M)



















(Sky Girl)





Elder rant - read at your own risk!  (Thanks to Dale for that Blog title quote which I stole.)

Gotta speak my peace on NOPE and re-setting quit counters.  Can we put this quit counter question to rest.  Can we EVER?  And if not, why not?


Scenario - a newly quit quitter.  From Day One  to - whatever day after day one.  Could be day 3, or 7, 18 or 29, or... you name it.  A day in which a quitter puts a cigarette in their mouth and takes a puff.  They need it because they’re stressed, or they want to see what it tastes like after all this time, or they think just one won’t hurt, or WHATEVER the scenario (AKA EXCUSE) that made them choose to put that cigarette into their mouth, light it, inhale it and essentially blow their quit with that one puff.  


If slips are allowed in your quit smoking methodology and you feel free to not  reset your quit clock each time, you’re not taking responsibility for your quit.  I suppose you see it as a learning experience.  And they ARE certainly that.  But you know what?  For the majority of quitters on this site, quit clocks represent the day we never took another puff.  If you quit - you quit.  If you slip, you haven’t yet quit.  Have you?  Think about it.  What exactly determines the day you quit if you allow slips along the way?  How many slips are allowed before you become a serial quitter?  “If you quit and you smoke, you’re doing it wrong!”  Our definition of “quit” is the day you never take another puff.  It’s absurd to think otherwise.  


When you take that one puff, smoke that one half of a cigarette, or that entire one, or that pack, you have reintroduced your addiction unto yourself.  You have taken a step backwards in more ways than you can imagine.  For it’s not only the puff, it’s the permission for that puff which undermines you.  You have psychologically given yourself permission for future possibilities of smoking.   It’s also a step backwards to your self-esteem.  And chemically in your brain you’ve negated what you’ve achieved.  The object is to shrink those nicotine receptors that have been increased by smoking, not rebuild them.  


Ranting on....  Do you think we give you advice to make you feel bad?  To undermine your self confidence?   To bring forth feelings of guilt?  NO.  We give you our experiential wisdom to teach you about holding yourself accountable.  To teach you about honoring your commitment.  To instill, like a parent, the values, the ways and means of achieving lasting  success.  We want to protect you from failure.  But as is often true, the child doesn’t know what’s good for them until they find it out for themselves.  Experience IS, after all, the best teacher.

Often, hard-learned lessons are the ones that stick.  They’re good for us.  There are those on here who have had many days quit but took that one puff, fessed up, and then reset their quit counter.  What a blow it was to them to have to do so.  That takes guts, courage and honor.  And I would imagine that lesson will last a lifetime in their quit because their quit WILL last a lifetime.


I can say my quit is pure.  It has never been adulterated by a single puff.  The date I have attached to my avatar is my badge of honor.  The stop watch of my quit has never been reset.  Because I have never given myself permission to take that one puff.    I have stood by the NOPE Doctrine and it has proven successful for over 9 years.  (Make that 13 years as of 2019.)


What say ye?


"Understand what you're fighting."  "Don't let a slip put you back to using" - YouTube 


(Updated 11/7/19)  Just wanted to add this blog for more input on the subject - a lot of good discussion:  So if I “slip”, and have a cigarette, do I change my quit date? 

(Updated 11/21/19) Another blog on the topic:  The Question: To Reset or Not To Reset? 

(Updated 1/8/2020)  Adulting 101 


The Empowerment of Quitting

Posted by Giulia Champion Apr 6, 2015


I just read an article by Francie Diep discussing long-term space travel and found the following paragraph analogous to the experience of quitting (emphasis mine):
Isolated and confined environments can also be growth enhancing and salutogenic. For example, people in polar environments or space may experience increased fortitude, perseverance, independence, self-reliance, ingenuity, comradeship.... Some astronauts and cosmonauts in space have reported transcendental experiences, religious insights, or a better sense of the unity of mankind as a result of viewing the Earth below and the cosmos beyond.
Empowerment is one of the gifts quitting affords us, aside from the health benefits.  In a sense we ARE isolated from non smokers by this addiction.  People who have never smoked tend to think of our need as simply a bad habit.  And until we have done our homework, we may think the same.  It is education about this addiction that turns the page of our mind in new directions and understanding.  Thereby enabling our empowerment.
When we begin to learn about our internal addicted environment, we also gain the ability to change it.  For example when we understand what our triggers are, we can alter them, halt them by not putting ourselves in certain trigger situations,  or we can change our response TO them.  And once we learn we have the power to change that to which we were a slave, a new cosmos opens before us.
And as we progress on this long-term journey we discover our own ingenuity in conquering the beastie; our perseverance brings milestones, milestones promote increased fortitude, fortitude enables independence.
We gain a sense of comradeship through the sharing of the experience, but ultimately we become more and more self-reliant.  Because the journey to Freedom extends beyond the addicted environment into all aspects of our lives, we are empowered and emboldened to expand, grow, learn, adapt and change.  Who woulda thunk quitting would have enabled all that!


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