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2017

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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

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BREAD CRUMBS LEFT BEHIND FOR YOU -- You CAN do it too!!!

http://www.whyquit.com (Educate yourself on your nicotine addiction!)

http://www.quitsmokingonline.com/course (Helpful for mindset.)

*  addictionsandrecovery.org (It IS an addiction not just a bad habit.)

http://quitsmoking.about.com/ (Very useful articles.)

*  "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" -- Allen Carr -- free download --  http://media.wix.com/ugd/74fa87_2010cc5496521431188f905b7234a829.pdf (Works for some; find & do whatever it takes for YOU!)

http://www.cognitivequitting.com/book.html (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.) 

http://www.thenicotinetrap.com -- A 10 min. crash course in layman's terms of nicotine addiction by "Jim" here on the site.

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ADVICE

* 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. 

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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU STOP SMOKING???

* 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.

IT DOES MATTER!!!  JUST QUIT & STAY QUIT!!!

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*** 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.

     (addictionsandrecovery.org)

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SERENITY PRAYER

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.

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5-3-13 

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   

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6-3-13 

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

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1-3-14 

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

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2-3-14

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!"  

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7-3-14

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!

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7-4-14

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."

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9-11-14

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.

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12-20-14

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.

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3-7-15

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. 

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3-30-15

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

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7-3-15

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!

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7-3-16

Four Years Smoke & Nic Free!  Breathing.  Onward!

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Brief Description

Non-smoker


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https://youtu.be/aJxrX42WcjQ?list=PLmcuxoewc6xPSCT1fdG8pnDRmrKe9x2HL


Countup Clocks, Fun Countups at WishAFriend.com

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