Hello and welcome to Ex! I would like to post a blog that I received on my 1st day on this site. I found it especially helpful. The lady that sent it to me, Nancy - aka Youngatheart, normally greets each new member and provides information. Unfortunately, she is isn't able to blog at this time (Get Well Soon Nancy!) so I'm going to post her message for each of you.
I spent the first two weeks here reading and learning and traveled many a crave with this as my diversion.....
If you find someone whose advice rings especially true, you can get to their page by clicking on their avatar. Once there, you can read all the blogs they have written by clicking on their avatar and then on "Blogs' on their page.
The idea is to distract yourself through the cravings. Don't let that thought rattle around in your head alone! A crave will last about three minutes whether you smoke or not. Go for a brisk walk, march in place, do a few jumping jacks, clean a drawer, do a crossword puzzle, play a computer game...Here are links to lists of 114 things to do instead of smoke if you need fresh ideas:
The conversation in your head CANNOT be: "I want a cigarette. No! But - I WANT a cigarette. NO!" Instead, it needs to be "I want a cigarette. Well, since I have decided not to do that anymore, what shall I do instead for the three minutes this crave will last?" Then DO it!
Stay close to us and ask for advice and support as you need it. We all here want to help you be successful!
This has been a day of reflection, thankfulness and affirmation for me. I read an article this morning, Quit Smoking Cigarettes with Affirmations, that made me realize the changes I've made in my life using positive affirmations. My positive affirmations started within seconds of a surgeon walking into my hospital room and telling me that I required emergency surgery. He went on to tell me that I needed to call my family in. He stated that he was the best surgeon around but my chances of making it off the table were slim..but..I would definitelydie if he didn't perform the surgery. He also advised me that if I did live through the surgery, there was a good chance that my quality of life may be forever changed. Why? Because my carotid artery was blocked and the blood flow to my brain was less than a single strand of hair, which resulted in a stroke. The surgeon's concern was that I would have another stroke or heart attack, fatal or one that would leave me basically brain dead, during the high risk operation to remove the blockage. I started praying as soon as he told me and made deals with the good Lord that I would make changes in my life if I survived. I was, of course, terrified when it came time for them to put me under! I started visualizing myself running in a beautiful field, singing and happy. I didn't realize it at the time, but what I was doing was a form of self-hypnosis. I wanted to calm myself and have happy thoughts as I went out, possibly forever.
Before I go any further, I'll take the suspense off...I survived :) And this Saturday, April 19th, I celebrate the 5th year of my second life!
I'll come back around to "affirmations" but first, I'd like to tell you the story of my 2nd life. Upon awakening in CCU, I discovered I had staples that ran from behind my ear to the base of my neck (I looked like Frankenstein and still carry a horrible, jagged scar. But you know something? I'm proud of that scar and it never let's me forget to rejoice with every breath I take!) I discovered there was also brain damage. The right side of my face had dropped and my speech wasn't clear (Thank you God, this went away within the day). I tried to write but what actually came out on the paper was gibberish (some of you, reading this long story, probably feel that hasn't changed.) The right side of my body was damaged but not paralyzed. It feels like it's asleep and weighted down by cement. My balance was damaged and I developed vertigo. I'll never ride my beloved motorcycle again...but I can walk, I can still ride on the back of a bike, and I can still "sorta" dance. People just think I had a few to many tequila's when I do my little stumble-dance now ;/ I have visual disturbances and can't be around anything fast moving, 3D, strobe, etc. Things look different to me and I have problems judging distance. Sometimes I can't make the right word come out of my mouth or words come out backwards, and the real life changer....something happened to my numbers! My career, and one that I was good at, was working with numbers and files. A fast pace environment that required highly developed analytical and problem solving skills...and all at once... I had problems counting change or comprehending numbers. Prior-stroke, I was a very capable, independent and single woman. I raised and supported 3 children alone and had always lived a vibrant life. Post stroke, I was afraid to go to sleep, scared to be alone, afraid to drive or watch my grandchildren. I was a shell of the woman I had been. I've since discovered that one in four people who survive a stroke suffer from PTSD afterward.
So yes...I was brain damaged, however, it wasn't brain damage from the stroke that caused me to wait another 4 years, 3 months (something like, I've come a long way.. but...) to give up cigarettes! It was brain damage from nicotine addiction that caused that! Think I'm kidding or being flippant? Nope, dead serious! All those prayers and promises and deals I made...I kept every single one of them! I started acting on them the moment I woke up in CCU....with the exception of quitting smoking. Even the emotional, hard one of letting go of a person I loved. Now, I ask myself, how could I accept, regardless of how much I loved this person, that they were bad for my health and I must cut them from my life, but not be able to let go of the the cigarettes? Especially since the hardest 2 weeks of quitting was taken out of my hands simply because I couldn't smoke in CCU or the hospital. All the nicotine was gone from my system by the time I came home and the Dr had warned me that if I smoked it could bring on another stroke...and yet, I was smoking again within a month. So again, I ask myself...why could I make drastic changes in my life but go right back to doing the ONE thing the doctor told me would cause me to have another stroke????? The answer is..Because I'm an addict which causes NICOTINE BRAIN DAMAGE!!!! I'm not one of the people that believe cigarettes are the cause of every health issue. I'm working strictly on facts that I personally researched and know to be true. My blockage and stroke were due to hereditary/genetics. It would have happened even if I had never picked up a cigarette. But it would have happened (I'm basing this on family history of non-smokers) much later in life. Nicotine (keep that word in mind if you think smoking Ecigs is the way to go!) shrinks and severely narrows the the arteries that supply blood to the heart and brain. And don't stop there, every part of your body is alive due to blood flowing through the network of arteries to our vital organs! Narrowed arteries, vascular disease, and the decrease in blood causes stroke, heart attack, parts of the body having to be amputated, parts of the colon dying and requiring a colostomy, eye disease, blockages in arteries of the stomach, sexual dysfunctions ...and so much more. Now, finally, I'll get back to the meat of the story..the one about affirmations. How did I mentally and physically, not just survive but thrive, after all that? How did I finally stop smoking? Facing death has a way of making you take stock of what and who are REALLY important in your life! While reality is, each of us may be living our last day, my health issues put me in a high risk category so I know that each day is a blessing rather that an expected. The first thing I do, EVERY single morning is to check and make sure I didn't have a stroke during the night..I test each limb. I see if I can touch my nose, I do "Sally sells sea shells by the sea shore" to check my speech. And then...I rejoice, thank God I'm alive, and I smile and get out of bed determined that regardless of obstacles in my path...I will have a beautiful and blessed day! I have discovered that positive affirmations cause me to view everything differently. I have discovered that you can use affirmations to create a positive mindset and live life more consciously instead of blindly following the well-trod paths of the subconscious. Your thoughts are your reality – in a very real way. If you watch what you are thinking regularly, you will be amazed how many negative thoughts and assumptions you make about your everyday life. Affirmations can allow you to disassociate yourself from negative habits. Focus on what you want – not on what you don’t want. In my case, I learned to focus on what I have rather than what I lost. Focus on something you want to change about yourself. Start by saying it to yourself over and over. Visualize yourself being a non-smoker, visualize yourself in a happy place. Do it as often as possible but especially if you are having an urge. Know it, feel it, write it down, say it out loud...I am a NON-SMOKER and I am HAPPY to be a NON-SMOKER. I do NOT regret quitting, I am happy and I am proud!
Now go out and live today like it's your last! Smell the roses, dance in the rain, think beautiful thoughts and never let the failings of others (or your own), prevent you from living a full, happy and healthy life!
It's going to be fun kids! No need to worry about making that midnight run to the store for a pack! No need to worry about kissing your date because your breath stinks! No smelling like you just walked out of a house fire! Just living the moment and having fun...without a crutch. Have a wonderful weekend!