My quit is over for me. I no longer have to decide to stay smoke free, or reconsider it each & every day (or month or year). The choice to not smoke was made by me a long time ago, it’s been kept by me for a while now, and being smoke free is my normal way of living.
Yes, I took smoking again off the table for me as an option from Day One/Won. Yes, I acknowledge that I will always be physically addicted to nicotine. Yes, I know I can’t have “even” just one or I will put myself at risk of a return to full-fledged smoking hell again.
So what?! I chose to quit smoking. So I did it. I’m quit. The only requirement in order to Stay Quit is that I don’t smoke. As long as I don’t smoke my addiction to nicotine lies dormant. I don’t crave one and if I get a smoking “memory” it passes easily enough for me now & life goes on smoke free.
Smoking is never a solution to anything. It never has been & never will be for anyone. Smoking just adds a new problem to everything. There will come a time in your smoke free life when you’ll need to just stop quitting & let everything having to do with the old smoking you go.
I’ve arrived. I am at peace and so very grateful for my smoke free life. When you get there yourself you will be able to take the trainers off & just get on with the living of the rest of your life smoke free. This is when the “End Journey” becomes the “New Journey” you get to actually design & live smoke free for yourself.
It’s doable for everyone regardless of their circumstances or obstacles. It truly is and it’s worth every bit of angst it takes to “arrive”. Believe in yourself so you can achieve it too. Best Wishes.
More thoughts to ponder. On Motivation …
"A healthy fear of the consequences of smoking is an important part of the motivation to stop. But there is another necessary component which people often neglect. By stopping smoking, I greatly diminish my chances of getting cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and emphysema. But I also create other benefits, in which I can take a genuine pleasure which goes far beyond the mere absence of fear. I can smell the air on a beautiful day in the country. I can feel more relaxed and clean. I have a freedom I haven't known in years. No matter what happens with my health or life in the future, these are consequences of stopping smoking I can take real pleasure in today."
"You create your own motivation. If I am having a bad day, or feeling poorly motivated, I do not have to passively accept the situation. I can actively take steps to reinforce my motivation. I can remember how I felt as a smoker, and how badly I wanted to stop. I can look for physical and psychological benefits I have gotten from stopping smoking. I can be more honest when I start to rationalize and justify smoking. I can think about how I want my life to be, and how I don't want it to be. I can find a friend to talk to. A day may start out hard, but there is always something I can do to make it better."
"The best motivation is a selfish motivation. I need to see reasons to stay off smoking that don't involve anyone else. I am the only one who is always here. If I stop smoking to please my children, what happens if I get furious at them? If my motivation is to get along with my spouse who hates smoking, what will happen if we get divorced? One of my most important goals is to look for selfish reasons to stay off smoking. Reasons that will matter to me even if no one else ever knows or cares that I've stopped."
"A "victim" mind-set undermines motivation. "I can't smoke" makes it impossible to evaluate the pros and cons of smoking versus not smoking. Smoking simply becomes the forbidden fruit -- romantic, attractive, unattainable. A more responsible attitude, such as, "I can smoke. I'm stopping of my own free will, and I can change my mind if I want to.", makes real motivation possible. If I acknowledge that I have choices, I am free to evaluate those choices. It is only the conviction that I am free to smoke or not smoke that enables me to weigh these two options, and form an opinion about which is more important."
From "Out of the Ashes" by Peter & Peggy Holmes
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What motivates (ed) you to not smoke?
For me … health, dental & financial concerns were not major factors or motivators for me to quit smoking (although health & dental reasons should have been and nobody I know likes burning their $$$ up in smoke). I didn't quit for anybody else either. In fact, I had the attitude that it was a "just for me reward" vice. The annual "Smoke Out Day" became a joke in my circle. No day designation by someone else was going to "make" me stop smoking.
The reason I quit … was to get back my CONTROL over my own life once I educated myself, recognized, and admitted to myself that I was a nicotine addict. It made me angry. That was my motivation not to smoke. I also changed what smoking meant to me. My reasons for staying quit now are numerous and still keeps accruing each & every smoke free day. I keep gratitude front & center in my smobriety.
Is YOUR reason(s) good ones and will they hold up until the end of your life? If not … I encourage you to find ones that will hold up no matter how you may feel at a later time, what you may think or tell yourself, or whatever happens to you in life so that you are not at risk of relapse.
Perspective IS important. Some thoughts to ponder.
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On Difficulty to Quit ...
"Life is difficult. It is a series of problems to be solved. Contentment and self-esteem are not ends in themselves -- they are the by-products of facing challenges honestly and courageously. I can run from the difficulty of my cravings and conflicts, or I can embrace and experience them for a much more satisfying life. Today I will embrace the difficulty of not smoking as a small price to pay for a very worthwhile end."
"Stopping smoking has positives and negatives. The positives are the wonderful physical and psychological benefits that come from not smoking. The negatives are the difficult moments -- lots of them early on, fewer as time goes by -- that are part of being an ex-smoker. If I don't accept the negatives, I won't get the benefits. If I'm not willing to pay the price, I don't get the payoff. I will either have both the good and the bad, or I'll have neither because I'll be smoking. For now, I choose to embrace not smoking -- both the difficult moments and the wonderful rewards. I accept it all, good and bad alike."
"Smoking is much harder than not smoking. As a smoker I was obsessed with stopping smoking. I thought about it all the time. Not a day went by when I didn't say to myself, "This is crazy. I've got to stop doing this to myself." When I first stopped smoking, I was totally preoccupied with smoking for the first week or so. But the amount of time I focus on it has been declining steadily, and it is quickly becoming a very minor issue in my life. I think about smoking less and less all the time, and much less than when I was still smoking."
"There is no free lunch. Anything worth having requires effort. And this is especially true of stopping smoking. To successfully control my addiction I need to accept moments of craving and make decisions to forego instant gratification for the greater long-term satisfaction. I need to spend time occasionally in conflict, thinking about what's important to me and what kind of life I want to have. I need to work at honesty and keep stopping smoking a high priority. If I don't bemoan the intrinsic difficulty of stopping smoking -- I can welcome it as a worthwhile task, freely chosen."
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From "Out of the Ashes" by Peter & Peggy Holmes.
Do your homework!!!
This is your life and the quality of it we are talking about here. The American Lung Association is the ONLY responsible agency that has had it right from Day One in that there is NO safe E-Cig or Vaping use no matter what any other entity tries to sell to the public. Be smart!
The latest news from the CDC today is a warning: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html.
A repost of mine from less than 2 months ago is even more important than it was then and is worth a repeat here.
You say you really want to quit smoking (or substitute the word vaping for smoking here as applicable; the same addiction & habit rules really DO apply no matter what others may tell you).
You say you don’t want to make excuses for smoking but you just couldn’t handle x, y, or z problems so you chose to smoke because it helped you cope in the past and felt familiar and so … ya … understandable maybe, but still excuses.
You don’t like it when people give you advice that you don’t want to hear, feel that “they” just don’t understand you or what you are going through, and that they may come off as being self-righteous & even mean.
Has doing it the same old way helped you get quit or stay quit? If you have it all figured out & feel that you can still do it “your way” then what is the point in even asking for help or sharing it with the community? Communication IS a two way street which involves taking turns speaking but the change & growth I have personally found is in the hearing & listening to someone else other than myself.
Being frustrated or angry at yourself or even lashing out at others, although understandable, will not get or keep you quit. Making excuses or doing the same ‘ole things over & over again when life events happen to you, will not get or keep you quit.
The definition of support does not mean someone agreeing with every BS thinking or action you have taken & want to continue to take when you say you want to get yourself quit or to stay quit.
In order to make any changes to yourself & your life, which includes smoking, you really do need to change your behaviors (smoking IS a habit & a behavior as well as being addictive) and then keep them up so that they become your new normal. If you want to quit smoking you do have to actually quit smoking. If you want to learn how to go through life events without smoking you really do have to not smoke through them.
The only way to achieve any changes in your life is to quit talking about the “want to” and to actually “just begin”. Forget about the “trying” to and focus on the “doing” of it. That’s how we learn to not smoke … by doing it no matter how we feel, what we think or tell ourselves, or what happens to us.
Nobody can do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. But then you are the one who will benefit from having made the changes so it sounds fair to me. Your choices. Your life. Your rewards. Your consequences. All yours.
We all have our own life circumstances but it really is what we choose to make out of those circumstances that really defines us & creates our own life. To paraphrase an old saying, “ The same boiling water that softens the potato also hardens the egg. It's about what we choose to make out of our circumstances, not necessarily the circumstances themselves."
It’s doable for you too. It is. Just make better choices and then keep making them. Best Wishes.
Do you sometimes feel like you are on auto-pilot when you smoke (you are!)?
Do you feel like you are a robot to the Master nicotine (you are!)?
Do you feel like this most of the day (you most likely are depending upon how much you smoke!)?
Do you like feeling this way (who does!)?
Do you want to change it (say yes!)?
Do you feel that you can’t change it (believe that you can!)?
As smokers we live on “auto-pilot” having to feed our nicotine addiction every 30 minutes or so. Name one other thing in your life that absolutely required your personal attention that often each & every day (excluding kids of course lol). It not only called to us during our waking hours but often woke us up so we could pay ritual homage to our “need” for it.
Did you smoke after a dental procedure when it was recommended not to afterwards so you wouldn’t get dry socket or it wouldn’t hamper your healing? Why have a bone or gum graft surgery or get an implant if you’re going to risk its success by smoking? But we did it anyway. (Smokers are at high risk for dental problems as it restricts the blood vessels in our mouth.)
We don’t always have a choice in what happens to us in life, good or bad, but the good news is smoking is one of those choices we have total control over. We can choose to change it for ourselves by doing whatever it takes for us to break the active addiction hold on our lives and kick it to the curb. Get rid of the robot.
Your attitude when you quit smoking is important. How we choose to think about the process can make a difference in its outcome or at least in the hardship we endure to stay quit. Instead of looking at what you are changing/losing look at what you are gaining & are free to improve upon in your new smoke free life.
I hope you choose self-esteem, empowerment & control rather than remaining an active addict and continuing to choose instant gratification & auto pilot smoking (& living).
Smoke free is a wonderful way to live!
I used to see smoking as a reward … as earned ME time. The difference is I now see smoking as the addiction it really is and NOT in any way is it a reward. It never was & it never will be for anyone. Cigarette rewards are not REAL rewards.
I decided that I was worth better rewards than smoking.
I educated myself about nicotine addiction to change the way I saw smoking. It is a manufactured reward I needed to feed (over & over again) only because it is an addiction to nicotine. No more, no less.
It was important for me to change what cigarettes meant to me in order to change ME & my perspective. Education on nicotine addiction was my ticket to Freedom. I latched onto anything & everything I could read about nicotine and addiction & Big Tobacco and found some amazing resources (whyquit.com being one of them).
I no longer could close my eyes to what Big Tobacco put in cigarettes to make us inhale deeper when we smoked.
I no longer could close my eyes to what Big Tobacco put in cigarettes to soothe our throats with menthol so we wouldn’t cough up a lung.
I no longer could close my eyes to … etc. etc. etc.
No more closed eyes for me.
Educating myself opened my eyes & I could no longer toss away my denial thoughts of being an addict. I realized what I had become and what Big Tobacco had done to not only me but millions upon millions of people all in the name of $$$ for themselves.
Get angry at Big Tobacco.
Get angry at your addiction.
Get angry at yourself for allowing it to happen.
AND then begin to do something about it.
Go after the REAL reward for yourself … SMOBRIETY.
Quitting is not always easy but it really is simple. It was doable for me and it can be for you too. Educate yourself to change what smoking means to you, and then take your power back from Big Tobacco.
AND … Don’t trade one addiction for another either by using E-Cigs/Vaping. They are NOT smoking cessation devices (no matter what others may try to tell you & that you want to believe). You really do need to quit smoking to quit smoking. Your lungs only love fresh, clean air inhaled into them.
Time to really reward yourself!
Quit anniversaries have passed & been celebrated quite a few times now for me. Many who celebrate their anniversaries after many years of smobriety state that they have even forgotten that they used to smoke. If true, good for them.
I remember myself as a smoker. Time has certainly changed things up and has changed ME but I still remember how it was to be entangled in active nicotine addiction. I remember how I felt, how I thought, how I was daily paying homage to cigarettes and what it took to get myself free from it.
Is it a curse to remember I used to smoke? Maybe but maybe not. I don’t think of it every day or every week or even every month but there are reminders or “flashbacks” of it still for me at times. I may be doing something, may be somewhere, may be thinking about something or even just get a whiff of blooming flowers with the change of seasons that can bring back a memory of my past smoking behavior. It’s not a craving. It’s a memory.
I don’t want to erase my memories. I occasionally get a memory of times in childhood … and I smile. I even have some very specific memories of myself at a very very early age. They are a part of me.
I don’t want to erase all my smoking memories. When an occasion causes me to remember myself as someone who used to smoke … I also smile. I use it to pause to remember & appreciate that I am smoke free now. I see a smoking memory as a precious gift which reinforces my smoke free choice no matter how much time has passed. It keeps my gratitude front & center. These memories are also a part of me.
Smoking was such a huge part of us so why wouldn’t it be a part of our memory DNA? It’s realistic & perfectly normal to still get glimpses or memories of our smoking past sometimes even after being quit for some time. Our old smoking life includes both good & bad memories just like our childhood memories. Our past is still a part of us. To deny our memories is to deny a part of ourselves.
It’s OK to remember. It’s a gift for many of us not a curse or even a predictor of a bad outcome. It’s really okay. You are normal. Remember, kick the thought out (don’t romance it), and then just keep moving forward smoke free. Smile! Keep enjoying your Freedom!
An on-line community is just like IRL in many ways. Not everybody on it will be everyone’s “cup of tea”. Advice given may not be seen as great or even good for the individual it’s directed at (and it does seem that way sometimes even to others reading it).
Words matter. Specific words used have different meanings & connotations and of course are then interpreted by those reading it. Your interpretations are based on your own personal experiences, perspectives, and even mood that day. (I try giving the persons “intent” the benefit of the doubt.)
Some people also just have different opinions entirely on how best to go about doing something or dealing with issues than you and this is no exception when quitting smoking. There are some that are so dug in as to how they did it themselves that they have extreme tunnel vision and don’t see alternatives to their way. They are not open to modify their advice to an individual person’s situation they are trying to “help”. To them their advice is always clear, black & white, and right.
There are a few things I don’t tolerate in 3D and most certainly have less tolerance for them on-line. Disrespect and passive aggressiveness are some of my irritants as are helplessness, negativity & defeatist attitudes if ongoing.
But that being said, here’s the thing. An on-line community is just like a buffet. You don’t have to like everyone. You don’t have to listen to or follow the advice of everyone. You have choices.
You can just skip that dish on the buffet table offering & move on to the next dish that has something more to offer you to your own taste. Remember why you are here ... to get quit, to stay quit, or to help others do the same. Anything else is optional and can be freely discarded.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed the variety of people buffets. I have found listening to others ideas & suggestions on a topic/issue can be very valuable. People think differently than you, value things differently, say things differently, mean things differently, and come up with things you never even thought about much less seriously considered as an option. We can learn from each other if we keep an open mind.
I encourage you not to quickly discard advice you don’t like because it may just be the key you need to unlock your successful quit/stay quit. Listening to others POV or experience may be important. Be slow to eliminate them from your plate because that’s how we all grow out of our own opinions & perceptions AND it can be not only a good thing but just the thing you need to hear to help you out.
Trying something new might work out for you better than doing your same ‘ole things over & over again. This is especially true in a quit.
Aside from the fact that lungs only love fresh, clean air, why is it acceptable to YOU to exchange one addiction method for another? You don’t learn anything from smoking. You learn from not smoking. Using E-Cigs/Vaping IS smoking IMO. (Doesn’t it require inhaling a substance into the lungs whether it emits smoke or visible vapor? Does it even matter if the substance is labeled nicotine free? Do you trust it? It’s harmful to your lungs!)
Why would I sanction using these devices? Follow the money. Look at who is manufacturing them. We humans were given a brain so we can learn something. Big Tobacco & other “entities” took us for a ride before so do we really want to go down that same path again? The teenagers in the world are depending on us to get it right.
Notice the manufacturers don’t provide a Plan for usage of lower, measured, doses for gradual reduction of E-Cigs/Vaping to eventually eliminate them (it's up to the individual). Noteworthy also is the fact that they have only claimed it to be an alternative to smoking not a cessation method.
Cessation communities should only “bless” alternatives whose goal is to eliminate an addiction. To cite it being a better alternative to “smoking” is nonsense. Manufacturers want to keep you hooked on buying their merchandise and at a higher volume than when you first start using their products.
Again, don’t be fooled. Cessation communities now include information (& make $$$ from their premium services) on quitting E-Cigs/Vaping. Nobody should be surprised about this result, especially the professionals who sanctioned their usage previously (& still do) as a better “healthy” alternative to smoking. Let’s ask your lungs their preference (which would be NONE).
Our lungs don’t care that E-Cigs/Vaping is being mistakenly deemed as such & such percentage better for us. It’s still being addicted to nicotine (do you even trust the labeling of these products? If you use them as a alternative to NRT be sure to plan on how to stop using them.). Time will tell the truth regarding the damage from them just like with cigarettes. Popcorn lung anyone? Don’t be their lab rat.
The ALA (American Lung Association) has it right. As a volunteer certified facilitator to teach their 8 week smoking cessation course we have to sign a contract that we will not smoke for its duration which includes E-Cigs/Vaping. Lungs don’t know the difference. Don’t let your standards down when helping people quit here. (I recently saw an Elder suggest E-Cigs to help someone quit smoking.)
Quitting smoking can be scary & cause much anxiety but if you are going to quit then go full out & don’t settle for less than the full prize … total freedom from active nicotine addiction and other “stuff”. You & your lungs are worth it!
(As always, take what you can use & leave the rest. My thoughts, my opinions, my post.)
(Just in today's news: https://www.wearegreenbay.com/news/local-news/eight-teens-hospitalized-vaping-believed-to-be-cause/ )
Celebrating 7 Years of Freedom!
I have not smoked for 7 Years.
I have recovered a year of my life time.
That's ONE FULL YEAR that I would have wasted smoking.
How many terminally ill people do you know that are told they have 6 months to a year left to live that would love to extend their time for another year of QUALITY life?
You & your time are valuable!
Take your life & your precious time back.
Tell Big Tobacco to take a hike.
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Celebrate whatever smoke free time YOU have (& keep building on it)! No “Seven Year Itch” nonsense for me. Happily living in Freedom! Join me!
My Dad quit smoking when he was 62 years old.
He was diagnosed with cancer when he was 66 years old and went through numerous treatments … surgery, radiation, hormone replacement and was declared "cancer free".
He passed away from cancer when he was 72 years young.
The last full year of his life (cancer returned) he had weekly chemotherapy treatments. If you have difficulty quitting or staying quit I suggest you spend some time in a Chemo Room.
I miss him. I always will at times. I don't miss seeing him suffer. Those of us that have walked the path with someone at the end of their life due to cancer (I have done so more than once) cannot ever forget or not see what we did while helping them transition from this world. It changes you forever. It is not a "natural" movie maker's ending. Trust me.
If you are still smoking … please stop.
If you have already quit … stay that way.
Two ingredients to a quit that are 100% guaranteed to eventually stop the cravings (or at least no longer have them rule over our life) and a potential third one is offered for your consideration.
#1 DON’T SMOKE.
Don’t smoke & eventually you will not crave to smoke or have incessant thoughts to do so. Keep smoking and you’ll continue to have cravings every 30 mins or so. Simple (I didn’t say easy).
Every single one of us starts at Day One and goes through whatever it takes to keep moving forward smoke free. It’s not harder for you than it was for most of us. You are NOT unique in that way. Neither were we special “snowflakes”. Choose it for yourself & then give yourself the time to find the peace & gratefulness in it. That time varies for each of us.
#3 STOP THE NRT.
I’m adding a third to this “simple” formula because I’m seeing more & more people abusing their chosen NRT aid & wondering why they are craving. Overuse of self-administered nicotine products will cause more cravings (ie mist spray, gum, lozenges). Think. It’s no different from when we smoked. We would have one which then would cause us to want another one 20 or 30 mins later.
Self-administering individual doses of nicotine in another form (NRT) whenever we want one does the same. It may tamp down your “need” but only because you “fed” your addiction. You then want another “hit” later. Understandable.
Be sure to use NRT self-administered doses of nicotine appropriately as directed and then follow a planned reduction schedule to eventually get yourself off them. Total freedom from nicotine should be your goal. Don’t sell yourself short of this goal.
DON”T SMOKE (#1), give yourself the gift of smoke free TIME (#2), and if used, STOP THE NRT (#3) eventually to reach THE Ultimate Freedom from active nicotine addiction. It’s a
truly wonderful place to be!