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Knowing about PAWS helped me. I hope awareness of it helps those who are wishing for it to just be all over. Patience. You'll get there! I promise; if you just don't smoke.




*** PAWS -- The 2nd Stage of Withdrawal ***


The first stage of withdrawal is the acute stage which usually lasts at most a few weeks. During this stage, the physical withdrawal symptoms experienced may be different for every person.


The second stage of withdrawal is called the POST-ACUTE WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME OR PAWS. During this stage you will have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional & psychological withdrawal symptoms.


Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain improves, the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms. Most people experience PAWS.


The most common PAWS symptoms are: mood swings, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, variable energy, low enthusiasm, variable concentration & disturbed sleep. It feels like a roller coaster of symptoms. In the beginning, your symptoms will change from minute to minute and hour to hour. Later as you recover further they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return again. As you continue to recover, the good stretches will get longer & longer. The bad periods of PAWS can be just as intense and last just as long.


Each PAWS episode usually lasts for a few days. There is no obvious trigger for most episodes. You will wake up one day feeing irritable and have low energy. If you hang on for just a few days, it will lift just as quickly as it started. Each episode is time limited.


Post-Acute Withdrawal usually lasts for 2 years. This is one of the most important things you need to remember. If you're up for the challenge you can get through this BUT if you think that PAWS will only last for a few months, then you'll get caught off guard, and when you're disappointed you're more likely to relapse.


* BE PATIENT. You can get through recovery one day at a time. If you resent or bulldoze your way through it, you will become exhausted. PAWS symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering. Don't resent them. Remember, even after one year, you are still only half way there.


* GO WITH THE FLOW. You'll have lots of good days over the next two years. Enjoy them. You'll also have bad days. On those days, don't try to do too much. Take care of yourself. Focus on your recovery and you'll get through this.


* PRACTICE SELF-CARE. Give yourself a lot of little breaks over the next two years. Tell yourself "what I am doing is enough". Be good to yourself. Sometimes you'll have little energy or enthusiasm for anything. Understand this & don't overbook your life. Give yourself permission to continue to focus on your recovery.


PAWS can be a trigger for relapse. You can go weeks without any symptoms & then one day you wake up & are hit like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. If you think that PAWS only lasts for a few months or that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you will not be prepared for it & will get caught off guard but if you know what to expect you can do this. Relax. Don't get caught up in PAWS.




(Modified Source:


Help Yourself

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Apr 12, 2019


One of the first things I recognized in my smobriety journey was that it didn't matter how many resources I had or people who wanted to help me out of my active nicotine addiction. The most important help I always had was the helping hand I found at the end of my own arm.


Help yourself. Educate yourself. Commit yourself. Choose for yourself. Do it for yourself. The common denominator is always YOU.


Everyone wants to help you but by the very definition of the word "help" we are secondary to you choosing to help yourself first. Who else is with you 100% of your time? Who else creates & listens to your own self-talk? Who else will be with you from birth to death guaranteed?


Help yourself first. You must always be your own best supporter. It's important & only you can provide this ongoing support for yourself.


Make it a great day for yourself!



Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Apr 11, 2019


What the heck is a Mini-Quit?  It’s not a “practice” quit but it sure can help you begin a quit if you are having trouble launching one for yourself.  It helped me. 


A Mini-Quit is changing up WHEN, WHERE, and WHY you normally smoke.  It’s purpose is to give you a head start on breaking some of the smoking behaviors, habits and associated cues you made for yourself.  As smokers we all had our rituals, patterns, and pacifier moments when we used smoking to soothe & calm ourselves.  


Although not the purpose of a mini-quit, a normal consequence is usually less smoking because it does not feel normal or as satisfying.  Smoke as much as you want just not in the normal places and at the normal times.  



Change the When.


If you smoke right after a meal for example, or first thing when you wake up … don’t.  Wait 30 mins instead.  Do something else first to distract & delay smoking to change up your normal routine.  Do the dishes, brush your teeth, take a shower, exercise, meditate, whatever you choose.   


Change the Where.


Smoke in different places.  If you have a specific place you smoke at home outside, don’t go there.  Smoke somewhere else.  Don’t get comfortable either. Don’t listen to music, read, text, or talk on the phone.  In other words, don’t multi-task; just smoke.  Keep your sole focus on smoking.  Observe what it looks like & notice how you feel when the smoke swirls around you. (Personally, I felt an overwhelming sense of all the time I was wasting just smoking.)


I’m assuming you already don’t smoke in your home or in your vehicle.  With all the known health hazards nobody should be exposing their spouse, children, pets, loved ones, or friends who visit you in your home or ride in your vehicle to second & third hand smoke.  If you do smoke in your home or vehicle, stop it!  Make those places off limit now for smoking.


Change the Why.


Change your smoking patterns/behaviors.  If you are used to smoking when angry or upset, to concentrate or think, while stressed or talking on the phone, etc., (and who of us as smokers didn’t) … don’t.  Wait 30 mins.  Do something else to distract yourself & delay smoking.  Walk around & breathe to give yourself time to let the “go to” ingrained smoking behavior pass.  The only way to change is to make/do the changes.  Don’t focus on wanting to smoke either during the wait.  Kick the thought(s) to the curb.      



Try changing up 3 or 4 of your cues/smoking association behaviors for a few days or a week.  Then add 3 or 4 more change-ups.  It takes 3 weeks to change a “habit” or before we become comfortable or “normalized” with it so I don’t recommend using the Mini-Quit process for more than a week or two (but whatever, it’s your quit; do you!).  The ultimate purpose is to launch your quit with fewer cues/smoking associations.


It IS important & necessary to replace the old cues/smoking association behaviors with something else to fill the void.  Strictly speaking, we don’t eliminate our “habits”  …  we change them into something else.  Make sure what you choose to replace them with is positive and can be sustained for the long term regardless of mental & physical status.


As far as being “ready” to quit smoking goes many of us weren’t ready or even wanted to but we chose to quit anyway and made the commitment not to smoke.  It’s not about will power either.  It’s WILLINGNESS, CHOICE & COMMITMENT.  If you can quit for one day, you can quit for two days, and so on.  One day at a time in the beginning.  


Again, the purpose of Mini-Quits is not smoking reduction although as you learn about yourself & change it up it is a wonderful side effect.  Be aware that If you intentionally focus on just reducing the number of cigarettes “way down from normal” (especially if it is 5 or less cigs/day) you may be putting yourself into constant nicotine withdrawal or you may be treating cigarettes as a reward which is the last thing you want to do.  You do not want to make a cigarette a “precious” commodity to yourself.    


Remember you are a nicotine addict; it’s not just a bad habit.  

You might want to consider doing Mini-Quits and then “just” jump off the scary cliff whether you feel ready or not & build your wings on the way down. That IS how it’s done.


Common Courtesy

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Apr 9, 2019


This is an edited version of a blog I posted "elsewhere" about 3 weeks ago when a lot of new members & returning ones started migrating back for Spring.   




Just some quick thoughts for consideration (in no particular order).


* You don’t have to like all the advice you get from community members (and chances are you probably won’t especially if you’re in the early stages of your quit) but common courtesy should be a given for those taking the time to respond to your post.


* If people respond to your SOS post you need to at least acknowledge them. People care & want to know if you were helped through your crisis. Don’t just disappear. It’s rude.


* I encourage you not to outright dismiss responses you don’t like. Those may be the ones you need to listen to the most. Kudos received over & over again may not help you achieve & maintain smobriety which is what you say you want. Give it a try listening to other insights.


* This is not a professional/medical site for advice regarding your depression, diet, bi-polar, breathing, or other medical conditions, diagnosed or not. Members may share their own experiences regarding a topic you post about but the best advice is always to seek professional help if the issue is a real concern of yours. Be safe.


* Treat people how you would like to be treated. Disrespect is one thing I do not tolerate well. I’m not here to waste my time on those that don’t’ appreciate it. I will simply choose not to support that person & move along to someone else. No skin off my backside! I’m already quit.


* Participation on-line is a risk & you never really know who you are “talking to” but if you hang around for a bit you can see who are the regular supporters. If you receive private mail from someone soliciting you personally (that you do not want of course!) notify admin. Help keep this site a Safe Zone.


* Don’t attack people. If you really don’t like the community or its members you can always choose to move on. There are many resources/sites out there one of which may be a better fit for you.


* If a post/poster/response rubs you the wrong way you have the option to scroll. Your input is not necessary. Let others respond to it. I do admit I tend to believe people when they show me who they really are in their post(s) the first time & they go on my ignore list.


* A good litmus test for making a post or while responding to one is to ask yourself … Is it helpful? Is it thoughtful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? If it doesn’t meet one of these criteria, you might want to choose not to make it.


* AND finally, take what you can use and leave the rest (notice I didn’t say take what you “need” because early in a quit it is questionable if we even know what we need).



It’s always your quit, your life, your choices, your consequences. Take what you can use and leave the rest! 



An addiction is an addiction but all addictions are also NOT exactly the same. Some are socially acceptable, some affect only you, some are visible and some are not; some have dire consequences, some are good for you and some are bad.


I can never have just one ‘Cookies N Cream Hershey kiss (lol).  If I have one, numbers 2 & 3 will quickly follow.  If I refrain from having one though it is easier not to have any.  I have never been able to have just one.  A chocolate addiction fortunately only mostly affects the person who eats it.   It can become addictive in a bad way.


Sometimes its hard to keep physically active during the winter time.  Once I get myself out the door into the fresh air & start off on a 10k walk it is so invigorating, both physically & mentally, that I am glad I made the choice to just do it.  I have found that if I say no one day that it is easier to say no the next day too and if I’m not careful it will become my “go to” choice.  On the other hand, a 10k walk done one day helps me choose it again the next day too.  It can become addictive in a good way.


We all know those addictions that are not good ones for ourselves, others in our life, or for society.    Alcohol, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, excessive on-line presence, gambling, shopping, and overeating to name a few.  


Addictions love to piggy back onto other addictions.  If you get one under “control” another one likes to bulge out.  Dual diagnoses are common. Addictions cannot be cured only arrested so it is not uncommon to extinguish one (let it become dormant) and then see another one previously not a problem (or even known) come to the surface with a vengeance.  


Physical exercise/activities can become a good addiction but … ever notice that those who choose to only exercise exclusively to redirect themselves away from smoking have a hard time or even relapse when they are physically compromised.  Smoking thoughts become rampant in their minds again as a good “go to” soothing choice.  Often they relapse back to smoking when their chosen physical activity is no longer an option whether it’s only temporary or permanent (ie walking, running, biking, etc.)


Replacing smoking behavior with healthy physical endeavors is great but don’t forget to include activities that you can do for the rest of your life if you become limited in your mobility.  Things like meditation, listening to music, knitting, taking a class, reading, playing an instrument, whatever you are interested in learning, doing & spending your time with that you can continue to do if you become incapacitated (now or later in life; temporarily or permanently).  


It’s important, because if we are fortunate enough to age our status will most likely change, mentally and physically.  Interests & activities should be in place which allow us to make a peaceful transition so we can stay on the road to Freedom when life changes things up for us.  Expect it.  Plan for it.  Keep yourself safe from relapse.


Being Afraid

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Mar 30, 2019


Ive heard this excuse a lot for smoking again.  Being afraid of feeling your emotions to get through something & choosing to smoke to stop them from bleeding you.  Who of us hasn’t felt fear or anxiety or fill in the blank?  Yet we long termers chose NOT to smoke again.  


What is going to happen to you if you feel those emotions that you’ve hid behind your smoking screen for many many years in most cases?  You’d finally have the opportunity to process them and let them go or put them in their proper places which is a good thing.  An absolutely positive benefit of not smoking.  


If you smoke again you may ward them off once again but if you really want to Be Quit you will have to deal with them eventually.  Personal growth is a required prelude to the Freedom you will eventually feel.  It’s worth every bit of the struggle or overdue processing of your emotions that you need to do to get to the point of gratefulness & peace in your smobriety and, more importantly, in your LIFE.  


If you are sick and tired of the same ‘ole same ‘ole smoking life only you can do something about it.  Nobody else can do it for you.  Other people (& NRT’s, etc.) can help but in the end its totally up to you to get & keep your quit.  The good news is it’s one of those things you have total control over.


You are not unique in this process.  You are not the only one that has had to go through it to come out the other side.  We not only survived it but gained so much of ourselves in the very doing of it.  The process itself is empowering.  Don’t be afraid of it.  Relish it.  



Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Mar 28, 2019



Have you ever looked through a Kaleidoscope?  If you turn the cylinder (or instrument) you are looking through a little bit to the right or left you get an entirely different picture or perception of things.  The shapes & colors change into a totally different visual experience.


That's how life is too.  We've all heard stories about how a person decided not to take a scheduled flight which ended up crashing.  The person who decided to take a different road to work or delayed leaving for work for a few minutes and avoided a catastrophic accident.


Again, that's life.  The choices we make results in changing the specific events we experience in our life.  When (not if!) you make the choice to become smoke free (or stay smoke free) your life will look & become different.  It shifts.  You will be changed.


If you are open to see, acknowledge, and appreciate the different possibilities now available to you because of your smoke free status you can get a different perspective on life. Your personal resources (time & money) can be used in more positive life affirming constructive ways.  A smoke free life allows for many more possibilities for us to choose from for ourselves.


Choose to quit.  Choose to stay quit.  Choose to then pick up your personal Kaleidoscope and don't be afraid to turn it to change your pattern & explore new pathways to make a different life & better ending for yourself.


Freedom is awesome!  Happy discovery! 




Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Mar 25, 2019


Do you think because of personal issues (mental, emotional, physical, financial, situational) that it is impossible for you to quit or stay quit?


Do you think nobody really understands just how hard it is for you?


Have you "tried" and "tried" and "tried" and just can't get quit or stay quit?


Do you tell yourself that there is something just "wrong" with you that doesn't allow you to be successful like others?


These thoughts need to be addressed (lies debunked) if you answered yes to any of these questions so you can quit telling yourself such nonsense. Until you change your self-talk, drop the helplessness, and start to believe in yourself (and do the honest work required) you'll continue to run around the relapse Merry-Go-Round "trying" to get a hand hold so you can jump on to smobriety.


Educate yourself about nicotine addiction (it helps to understand why you feel the way you do physically, emotionally & mentally when you quit) and put together your Quit Kit to help you get through the quitting process. The hardest part is always in the beginning. As far as "trying" goes -- remember TRIUMPH is the word "tri" with just a little more "umph". Lean on the community. Pledge daily and mean it.


You need to absolutely believe that no matter how bad you may feel at any given time in the first hour, the first day, the first week, the first month, or the first year, that it will change eventually for you, bit by bit, for the better as you go through the process if you just don't smoke. Not One Puff Ever.


It's doable. You CAN do it. A whole brand new shining smoke free world awaits you once you stop running around "trying" to catch the Merry-Go-Round. Jump on instead. No more Day One's for you. Every day can be a Day Won!


Why Me?

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Mar 23, 2019


Someone once said to me after being diagnosed with cancer,  “Why me?  I quit so I wouldn’t get cancer.  I should have just continued smoking & ‘enjoying’ myself instead of quitting.  I’ve been sicker since I quit smoking than I ever was before I quit.”


This someone was a former smoker who smoked for four decades.  He quit smoking and then four years later was diagnosed with cancer.  He lived another 6 years with treatment extending his life to the age of 72.  Instead of thinking why him, I was thinking “Well, why not him (or me for that matter)?” Quitting is never a guarantee we won’t have consequences from our smoking.  

I don’t wish cancer on anyone … a never, former, or current smoker.  Nobody deserves it no matter their part in it.  The chances of active & long term smokers getting a smoking related cancer is very high.  But the chance of getting cancer after quitting is less than that & the chance of getting cancer if you have never smoked is even less than that (to be precise & scientific lol).     

We never know as an active smoker which one will be “the one” that starts the process.  We do know that our risk stats go down when we quit and continue to go down each year we remain smoke free. (Of course most damage, like COPD, is from cumulative smoking which can’t be cured but can be slowed by quitting.)   


For those on the fence about quitting or choose to go back to smoking over & over again I honestly don’t want to hear about your concern of getting cancer as an active smoker.  I do have empathy & compassion but why are you still smoking if you’re so concerned about it?  Do something about it!  The risks are known.  Why continue to play Russian Roulette?  Quit & then stay quit.  We will all suffer the consequences of our own choices.                


The smoker referred to felt great despair at the end of his life much of it due to knowing that as a long term smoker he probably did it to himself.  He was actually very frightened of the end death process.  It’s much much easier to quit smoking & stay quit.  


A cancer death is not a “normal” process to participate in & witness.  Trust me, it’s not.  Please don’t let it be you.


Adulting 101

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Mar 21, 2019


Giving yourself permission to smoke again after you’ve quit can be worse for you than the actual physical act of smoking (bear with me here). The choice & permission given to smoke again really hurts us and may begin the relapse cycle many find themselves in.


I recently saw a post from someone who had been quit a month, smoked “just a few”, and then immediately got back on the quit train. The comment made was surprise that it was just as hard if not even harder to not smoke again thinking that since he had been quit for a month and only had a few and quit again right away that it would be easier.


First, I say congrats to this person for getting right back on his quit without allowing more smoking time to pass. It’s been my experience & what I’ve seen that many who relapse after being quit for a good bit of time (6 mos to a year or more) usually take longer to quit again than the actual time they had been quit. Again, it’s the permission you give yourself to smoke one (or a few) that can cause the most harm to you.


This was certainly true for myself. I had a previous quit of a year and a half but when I went back to smoking I smoked for a little bit longer than I had been smoke free (one year 10 months) before I quit again. Once you give yourself permission to smoke you may be thinking I can always quit again. You may be telling yourself that you just want to “enjoy” smoking a little while longer. That little while often turns into a lot of time smoking again.


I didn’t really appreciate my first quit. When I gave myself permission to have one it opened my “permissions” gate to eventually have another one (& then another & another). I fell back into the addiction trap of believing that I enjoyed it, could always quit again & that I could control the amount I smoked. I never really thought of myself as an addict back then.


The problem was the permission I gave myself. Smoking is not just a bad habit, it’s an addiction. The only way to control “it” is to not feed it until it becomes dormant. The only way for it to stay dormant is to never have another one again to be guaranteed 100% of no relapse.


I call it Adulting 101. Tell yourself “No” or “NOPE” out loud. Don’t give yourself permission for the first one. You know what it will lead to so don’t do it. Quitting again does not necessarily get easier with addictions because its the previous permission(s) you gave yourself that can make it harder to say no to yourself again. It’s up to you to parent yourself. Tell yourself no and mean it.


Six Years

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jul 3, 2018


Celebrating Six Years Smoke Free Today!!!!!!


Never doubt that you can get quit and stay quit too.  Remember to NOPE (Not One Puff Ever) and NEF (Never Ever Forget).







Quit smoking 7-3-12.

I was almost at six month quit when I joined this site.  I experienced quite an emotional upheaval at this point in my quit with many cravings to work through & was actively seeking out & using as many tools available to me to help me keep & sustain my quit for the rest of my life.  I wanted peace, acceptance & continued gratitude to be my focus in my quit instead of angst.  This is my very "mindful" quit.       

I had a previous quit of a year & a half and was very naive in thinking I could be a social smoker because I had this smoking thing "under control".    Typical negative thinking  -- the first offered puff didn't cause me to relapse so I felt OK with another puff a week later & then a month later which turned into why not just buy a pack.  It took two months for me to relapse.  I learned of course that a NIC addict can never be a social smoker.   

I am much more educated now about my addiction.  Knowledge IS power.

"The real key is to live in an environment where the mind feels free to choose the right thing instead of being compelled by habit and inertia to choose the wrong thing." -- Deepak Chopra


BREAD CRUMBS LEFT BEHIND FOR YOU -- You CAN do it too!!! (Educate yourself on your nicotine addiction!) (Helpful for mindset.)

* (It IS an addiction not just a bad habit.) (Very useful articles.)

*  "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" -- Allen Carr -- free download -- (Works for some; find & do whatever it takes for YOU!) (Highly recommend!)

*  "Hooked But Not Helpless" -- Patricia Allison & Jack Host  (She ran a NIC Addiction Treatment Program in Portland, OR for 17+ yrs.  Program was taught through 22 major medical centers from Seattle, WA to Eugene, OR.  Method taught is known as cognitive restructuring & rational emotive therapy.) -- A 10 min. crash course in layman's terms of nicotine addiction by "Jim" here on the site.



* Educate yourself about your nicotine addiction (it is NOT just a bad habit!).  The more you truly understand what nicotine has done to your mind as well as your body the easier it will be for you to take back control of your life.  It then becomes VERY doable for you to get & stay quit.

* Think out & put together a Quit Plan & Quit Kit.  Write down the reasons you have chosen to quit.  Make a list of the distractions & substitution tools you will use, and activities that will help you over the "humps".  Remember TRIUMPH is the word "TRI" with a little more "UMPH".

* Practice mini-quits for a week or two before your Quit Date -- change up when, where & why you smoke to give yourself a head start on breaking not only your smoking habits but the psychological associations & dependencies you've engrained within yourself & your life.

* Research & decide whether you will use any aids (NRT or prescription) -- how much & how long will you use it/them.  Plan when & how you will discontinue their use.

* Make a list of mantras you will use & positive affirmations (for mindset) that speak to you.  Ban all negativity from your self-talk.

* Pledge daily.  Commit yourself to one full year of focusing on your quit -- no matter how you may feel each day, no matter what you may tell yourself, and no matter what happens to you.  Keep yourself & your Stay Quit the priority.

* Consider keeping a daily journal for the first year (at least) of your quit.  It's easy to forget how those first 3 days, first 3 weeks, first 3 months were as more time passes so it serves as an insurance policy or reminder of how you felt, what you were thinking, and what you went through to gain back your Freedom & restart your Life.  It documents just how far you have come.

* Choose continued personal empowerment over instant gratification.  This will be a journey that is filled with self-discovery & will be life changing if you let it be for you.  It is absolutely worth whatever it takes for you to gain & keep your Freedom from nicotine addiction.  I promise!

The worst day to quit smoking is tomorrow.  The best day would have been yesterday.  The ideal day is NOW.  Do it TODAY. 



* 20 Mins -- Blood pressure & pulse rate drops to normal.  Body temp. of hands & feet increases to normal.

* 8 Hrs -- Carbon monoxide level in blood drops to normal.  Oxygen level in blood increases to normal.  Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream (if no NRT used) will have fallen to 6.25% of your normal peak daily levels (a 93.25% reduction).

* 24 Hrs -- Chance of heart attack decreases.  Anxieties peak in intensity & within 2 weeks should return to near pre-cessation levels.

* 48 Hrs -- Nerve endings start to regrow.  Ability to smell & taste is enhanced.  Cessation anger & irritability peaks.

* 72 Hrs -- Bronchial tubes relax making breathing easier.  Lung capacity increases.  Your body will test 100% nicotine free (if not using an NRT) & 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals it breaks down into) will now have passed from your body via the urine.  Symptoms of chemical withdrawal have peaked in intensity, including restlessness.  The number of cue induced crave episodes experienced during any quitting day will peak for the "average" ex-user.

* 5-8 Days -- The "average" ex-smoker will encounter an "average" of (3) cue induced crave episodes per day.  Serious cessation time distortion can make minutes feel like hours (any single episode lasts no longer than 3 mins; watch the clock!).

* 10 Days - 2 Wks -- Recovery has likely progressed to the point where your addiction is no longer doing the talking.  Blood circulation in your gums & teeth is now similar to that of a non-user.

* 2-4 Wks -- Cessation related anger, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, impatience, insomnia, restlessness & depression have ended.  If these symptoms persist get seen & evaluated by your Dr.

* 21 Days -- Brain acetylcholine receptor counts up-regulated in response to nicotine's presence have now down-regulated & receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers.

* 3 Mos -- Circulation improves.  Walking becomes easier.  Lung function increases up to 30%.  You may experience your 1st day of not thinking once about smoking.

* 9 Mos -- Coughing, sinus congestion, fatigue, & shortness of breathe decrease.  Your body's overall energy level increases.  Cilia regrow in lungs increasing its ability to handle mucus, clean lungs & reduce infection.

* 1 Year -- Your risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack & stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

* 5 Yrs -- Lung cancer death rate for average smoker (one pack a day) decreases from 137 per 100,000 people to 72 per 100,000.

* 10 Yrs -- Lung cancer death rate for average smoker drops to 12 per 100,000, or almost the rate of a lifetime non-tobacco user.  Pre-cancerous cells are replaced.  Risk of cancer of the mouth, larynx, esophagus, bladder, kidney & pancreas decreases.  Risk of developing diabetes is now similar to that of a never smoker.

* 13 Yrs -- Risk of smoking induced tooth loss has declined to that of a never smoker (2006 study).

* 15 Yrs -- Risk of coronary artery/heart disease & stroke is now that of a person who has never smoked.

* 20 Yrs -- Risk of death from all smoking related causes including lung disease & cancer, is now reduced to that of a never smoker.  Risk of pancreatic cancer is reduced to that of a never smoker.



*** PAWS -- The 2nd Stage of Withdrawal. ***

The first stage of withdrawal is the acute stage which usually lasts at most a few weeks.  During this stage, the physical withdrawal symptoms experienced may be different for every person.  The second stage of withdrawal is called the Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS).  During this stage you will have fewer physical symptoms, but more emotional & psychological withdrawal symptoms.

Post-acute withdrawal (PAW) occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal.  As your brain improves, the levels of your brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium causing post-acute withdrawal symptoms.  Most people experience PAWS.

The most common PAW symptoms are:  mood swings, anxiety, irritability, tiredness, variable energy, low enthusiasm, variable concentration & disturbed sleep.  It feels like a roller coaster of symptoms.  In the beginning, your symptoms will change from minute to minute and hour to hour.  Later as you recover further they will disappear for a few weeks or months only to return again.  As you continue to recover the good stretches will get longer & longer.  The bad periods of PAWS can be just as intense and last just as long.

Each PAW episode usually lasts for a few days.  There is no obvious trigger for most episodes.  You will wake up one day feeling irritable and have low energy.  If you hang on for just a few days, it will lift just as quickly as it started.  Each episode is time limited.

Post-acute withdrawal usually lasts for 2 years.  This is one of the most important things you need to remember.  If you're up for the challenge you can get through this BUT if you think that PAW will only last for a few months, then you'll get caught off guard, and when you're disappointed you're more likely to relapse.

Be Patient.  You can get through recovery one day at a time.  If you resent or bulldoze your way through it, you will become exhausted.  PAW symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering.  Don't resent them.  Remember, even after one year, you are still only half way there.

*  Go With the Flow.  You'll have lots of good days over the next two years.  Enjoy them.  You'll also have bad days.  On those days, don't try to do too much.  Take care of yourself.  Focus on your recovery and you'll get through this.

Practice Self-Care.  Give yourself a lot of little breaks over the next two years.  Tell yourself "what I am doing is enough".  Be good to yourself.  Sometimes you'll have little energy or enthusiasm for anything.  Understand this & don't overbook your life.  Give yourself permission to continue to focus on your recovery.

PAWS can be a trigger for relapse.  You can go weeks without any symptoms & then one day you wake up & are hit like a ton of bricks.  You'll have slept badly.  You'll be in a bad mood.  Your energy will be low.  If you think that PAWS only lasts for a few months or that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you will not be prepared for it & will get caught off guard but if you know what to expect you can do this.  Relax.  Don't get caught up in PAWS

Remember, every relapse, no matter how small undoes the gains your brain has made during recovery.  Without abstinence, everything will fall apart.  With abstinence. everything is possible.




God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change,

courage to change the things I can, AND

the wisdom to know the difference.



Today is my Ten Month Quit Anniversary.  I am so happy that I stopped altering my mind & moods and took to heart that there is no such thing as a social smoker.  If you are behind me in smobriety days -- keep going.  Put more & more days behind you because it does get easier as you continue to experience & embrace the new you that emerges in your smoke free journey of life.  Keep gratitude foremost.  Every day of your smobriety is a reason to celebrate as a milestone!

"A healthy perspective equals enlightenment, purity of heart, and the secret to a well-lived life."  "You do not see things as they are.  You see things as you are." -- Talmud   



Today is my Eleven Month Quit Anniversary.  My last pulmonary function testing (May 21st) showed a little improvement but health changes continue to be gradual.  I've had setbacks & challenges that come with the changing seasons & environment, and things out of my control.  The one thing  I can totally control is whether I choose to smoke or not.  I have pledged not to smoke every day since I quit.  I will keep gratitude as my focus as my body & mind continues to heal & recover.  "When you can't breathe, nothing else matters."  -- American Lung Association



Today I am celebrating 18 months of healing & recovery.  I remain so very grateful & am proud of this personal accomplishment.  This milestone is where I relapsed in my prior quit of a year & a half.  The specific reason(s) or excuse(s) I allowed myself no longer matter.  I assumed the responsibility, held myself accountable, educated myself to understand the why of it, and what I would do different.  In a nutshell -- I relapsed because I did not consciously change myself mentally & emotionally to stay quit permanently -- so I didn't.

Now -- my mindset, focus, determination, commitment, attitude, perspective, belief in myself AND so many other things in my life is very different.  To put it simply -- I changed ME & my life.  I feel calm, peaceful, happy & grateful for being a non-smoker.  I wish you the same.  "Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself."  -- George Bernard Shaw



I stopped setting the bar too low for myself 19 months ago today.  I wanted to quit smoking -- so I did.  Smoking has been taken off the table & is no longer an option for me.  I will not smoke no matter how I may feel OR whatever I may think OR in response to anything that may happen to me in my life.  I will keep my commitment to myself.  Period.  

Millions of non-smokers do just fine everyday regardless of their circumstances without smoking.  I chose to become one of them when I stopped smoking.  Now, not smoking feels normal to me & it's nice.  This is my life -- my quit -- my choice.   "Look at me -- I'm finally free!"  



TWO YEARS (730 smoke & NIC free days)!!!

It is NEVER too late to stop smoking, gain control over your active nicotine addiction, and take back your life!  Make it a priority to truly embrace & re-learn life without smoking.  Everything you have to go through to get & keep yourself smoke free for the rest of your life will be worth it.  It is very much doable.  We all deserve smobriety.

"Perspective, how we view ourselves & the world, makes all the difference in what the contours of our life will look like -- no matter what the external circumstances turn out to be." -- Robert J. Wicks

Onward to 800, 900, & 1,000 smoke free days (Quad Squad) AND then My Trinity Year!



On the anniversary of your release from the pain of this physical world my patriot  -- "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."  -- Tara Brach 

When we choose to forgive that which has broken us, we take away its power AND in time, forgiveness allows us to see that our cracks are, in fact, how the light finally trickles back in to heal us.  R.I.P.

"Life isn't about avoiding the bruises.  It's about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it."



Today I am 800 days smoke & nic free!  It just keeps getting better & better for me AND it can be that way for you too!  Do whatever it takes to get & then stay quit.  It is totally doable.



900 days NIC & smoke free!  I do not define this as my "Forever Quit" or describe myself as a "quitter" or "ex-smoker".  I am a WINNER & do not relate to an EX anything (refers to past status where I no longer live).  I am simply a NON-SMOKER now. 

"The inalienable right to live life free from addiction(s) is ours for the taking.  It belongs to us all." -- Bob P.



I spent most of this week as a jury member in a Superior Court case.  The presiding Judge afterward came to the juror's room to discuss the case.  She mentioned that we had made history for her courtroom in that we had the youngest juror to be selected at age 19 (which I already knew because I sat beside him during jury selection & trial and had teasingly asked him if he was missing work, school, or daycare by being there) AND the oldest at 88 years young (he did not make it past jury selection to sit as juror).

An analogy to my court experience & quitting smokers:

There were a lot of down times, boring times, and learning times but the process cannot happen without YOU being involved.  Sometimes the progress made getting the task done was slow, up & down or even non-existent at times but the job did get done.  No one is ever too young or too old to choose to show up & actively participate.  Patience is key.  Humor helps. 



Today I joined the Quad Squad and earned my comma for 1,000 days smoke & Nic free!  I am happy dancing (it's such a purrrrteeee looking number)!  I will never, ever forget those parts of me that I had to heal & say goodbye to in order to leave smoking behind me.  Gratitude continues to be front & center in my daily life.   

I highly recommend that in your ongoing journey of healing & recovery that you try to avoid the pitfalls of  "psychological homeostasis".   In changing our pre-conceived ideas of normal for ourself the mind will always accept changes better in small doses than all at once so one thing at a time or "easy does it" works here in the long term "stay quit maintenance stage". 

"No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself."  -- Friedrich Nietzsche



I'm happily celebrating 3 Years of smobriety today! 

Six (6) key words for those struggling to Get & then Stay Quit: 

Education - Mindset - Commitment - Determination - Focus - Support. 

YOU are in the driver's seat of your own life & can choose to regain your FREEDOM & triumph over this addiction.  I was not someone more capable or special than you or less addicted to nicotine.  You CAN do it too!



Four Years Smoke & Nic Free!  Breathing.  Onward!


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4 Years Smober!

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jul 3, 2016

Four Years ago today I made a life changing CHOICE & COMMITMENT to myself to quit smoking.  It feels great to be in control instead of nicotine running my life.  It is totally within my power to remain smoke free.



Every once in a while Nic O. Demon still presents itself as an option for my consideration.  I recognize & accept that smoking was such a big part of me while I dealt with life (events, people & emotions) for many, many years so that's OK.  Smoking memories or reminders of my smoking past are just that & are not commands for me to smoke.



In fact, I don't necessarily want to entirely kill the nic addict in me because it serves me well in maintenance now -- a reminder -- my Personal Relapse Insurance Policy.  I've become friends with mine (it IS a part of me after all).  I acknowledge it, laugh at the stinker & then dismiss it from my mind whenever it shows up (I don't romance it).  It moves along fairly quickly now due to my time smoke free & from practice.



I am GRATEFUL to be free of smoking & continue to appreciate & treasure my smobriety every day.  It's been such an awesome journey of self-discovery & still is as my personal healing & recovery continues at 4 Years Smoke & Nic Free (& Counting).  I wish the same Freedom for all of you too.





A NOTE TO NEWBIES (or those struggling in their "Stay Quit"):  If my smoke free time seems daunting to you just remember -- I have not smoked today.  If you have not smoked today either then we have the same time.  One Day.  Today.  It is the only day that counts.  That's how we all do it.  One Day At a Time. 



IF YOU ARE STILL SMOKING:  I encourage you to quit to have a better QUALITY of life & to make a better ending for yourself.  Smoking kills but when it doesn't -- it maims.  Choose self-esteem, empowerment & control rather than remaining an active nic addict and continuing to choose instant gratification & auto pilot smoking (& living)



JUST KEEP IT SIMPLE:  Quit and then no matter how you may feel, or what you may tell yourself (keep your self-talk positive!), or whatever happens to you in life -- DO NOT SMOKE!  It will always be YOUR choice.





Patty -- 4 Years & Counting! 


Where's Candy?

Posted by Ladybug--7-3-12 Jun 13, 2015

I'm sure many of you have probably noticed that Candy has not written a blog for several days.  She has NOT relapsed! 

She had a gall bladder attack on Thursday and was admitted to the hospital.  Her pulmonary doctor cleared her for surgery (even though she still has a wheeze) and she had BOTH her gall bladder AND appendix (it was squishy) removed by the surgeon on Friday (yesterday).

Her call to me was interrupted because staff wanted to begin prep for her being released NOW to go home.  She is doing great (except a little "shaky" because she has not been given her med for her Parkinson's Disease).  She was very upbeat & in good spirits and said that smoking did not even cross her mind!

I'm sure we'll see a blog from her soon but in the meantime join me in sending healing thoughts & prayers to our smoke free Candy! 

Love ya "kiddo".  Patty