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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:

                                     Front                                                                         Back








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.




What It's Like To Be Free

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 17, 2018

We all have a common denominator - addiction to cigarettes (or chaw or vaping) - although I suspect there will be web sites created just for the vapers of the world in the future and that’s a sad thought.  And we often talk about the journey to Freedom. But I thought I’d just yammer a bit on what it’s like to be free of this addiction. Or at least FEEL free of it from my 12 year perspective.


It’s not thinking about a cigarette all day long. That’s the beginning part of this Freedom journey.

The craving and back-and-forth dialogue in our heads:  “I want, I shouldn’t, I can, I can’t, I wish, I mustn’t, I need, I can overcome the need, it doesn’t matter, it does matter, I can’t make it, I can make it, I will make it, no I won’t”... yadda yadda yadda. That is without a doubt the worst part of this journey.  Because we haven’t really yet made up our minds and agreed to actually do this quitting thing. Because when you make up your mind, the yadda yadda tends to shut up a whole lot! (Unless you’ve finally “gotten it” after that last relapse which is after the last relapse when you said emphatically to yourself once more -  “I will never go through this again, this is my FOREVER QUIT” - and here you are again... what have you gotten?"   What is different THIS time with your emphatic "this is my forever quit?"  Seriously.  God how many times in the past 10 years on this site have I heard that.  It makes my heart ache.  And let me tell you, those of us who have been there, seen it ALL, we KNOW the kind of attitude it takes to do this thing.)  


But if you can survive that initial part of the journey, you move on to the next stage. Which is not thinking about a cigarette every day. Not constantly going through that back and forth dialogue in your head. It’s when you’ve agreed to the journey and settled into that agreement, that willingness. There’s still this “thing,” this awareness, this constant background psychological churning and noise in your head, but it’s in the background, not the foreground. It’s a discomfort, for sure, but not an all-encompassing one. It’s one you can swim through without feeling like you’re drowning.


Then the next part of the journey is not thinking about a cigarette every other day or every third day, but it IS being surprised by the thought of cigarette. Or more specifically a craving. “Wow, where did THAT come from after all this time?” It’s in the forgetting about thinking about cigarettes that we become surprised by the thought of a cigarette. And that surprise thought is a barometer of how far we’ve come. For in the beginning we tend to think about cigarettes more than less.


And then as the journey progresses even farther, we keep moving forward and those surprise cravings, thoughts about cigarettes, become a part of our smoke-free history. Though they may provoke a blip on our emotional craving radar screen, they are quickly moved into the past. We view them in a totally different way. They aren’t threatening.  We understand them, we know they will pop up now and then in triggered or non triggered situations - they just will do that.  And we know, through experience - how to deal with them.  Our quit kit, which we've developed and altered and maintained, is something we keep close at hand.  Because we are cigarette addicts.  Ya know?!


To me at this stage I consider blips on my radar - Freedom. It’s not perfect in that I never have an urge to smoke.  But I don’t want a cigarette 99.9% of the time. Once in a while I’ll experience a desire for one, but that’s ok. Why shouldn’t I? I smoked for over 35 years!  Doesn’t mean I have to act on the desire.


Perhaps as an addict, my Freedom is not in never experiencing cravings, but in understanding that such a desire will come, and that it will ebb and flow. And it’s okay. But I don’t need to be it’s slave any more. An occasional want is not the same as a desperate everyday need as in the beginning of the journey. Thank God the journey changes as we continue to hold on, persevere and go through it.


What’s your experience of Freedom from this addiction? And if you haven’t yet overcome it - what’s your “concept” of freedom from this addiction? As a newbie? I think my “concept” was in never wanting a cigarette again. My reality of freedom is different. It’s in not thinking about smoking every day. And it’s, when that seeming “need” arises - knowing that that need will pass by the time I walk to the kitchen from the bathroom.

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