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PrimeNumberJD

In the Mountains

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Oct 12, 2020

Well, it has probably been since about the Ex-Virtual Reunion since I have frequented the EX. 3 major events have taken up the time in my life over these couple months. 

 

First, one of the biggest undertakings was the park we spent building. It isn't completely done and has a few items that will be done in the spring however, it is substantially completed at this point and has been frequented by the kids in the neighborhood. I spent most of my waking hours trying to complete this to a point where the kids will be able to enjoy it prior to the weather changing. They have definitely been enjoying it! 

 

I then spent several weeks traveling amongst the country for various reasons. I spent some time outside of Las Vegas for a course and went hiking or running every day (which was difficult as it was over 110 degrees almost everyday). My first peak came here, up to Turtlehead in Red Rock. I then ended up in Colorado for a bit; if you didn't know, I absolutely love the mountains so I absorbed them every unoccupied, waking moment. I peaked to Horsetooth Mountain, 7,208ft. I also Scrambled up Lily Mountain, which peaked just shy of 10k feet at 9,735'. Running in Colorado is difficult to say the least. Finally, I travel to South Dakota for what was an emotionally trying and mentally difficult course. While I was there, I ran several of the trails offered and hiked Buzzards Roost. I might say, South Dakota is not difficult to run in and hiking is super easy in comparison to Colorado!

Lily Mountain Peak

 

Then enter October. A good friend of mine, who I ran with in Highschool, was recovering from an injury and needed to put a team together of runners to complete an October running event for Lurie's Children's Hospital. He would normally fund raise for them and earn an entry into the Chicago Marathon. Under COVID, the Chicago Marathon is not being held, so Lurie's decided to have a month long event where a team will complete 262 miles (a play on the 26.2 miles in a marathon). As stated, he is recovering from a stress fracture and just recently put back to back run days together. I joined his team and to fund raise, I told my audience that I would run a mile for every $5.00 raised, and 5 miles for every $20.00 donation. I raised over $2,000 and I have been busy running. I have not yet run today, but will run some miles later today. Since October first, I have run 116.25 miles! Much of my waking time is spent running now! I will complete 262 miles single handedly in October, but probably more than 300 miles. I owe well over 500 miles total!

October Miles

PrimeNumberJD

Wicked Wednesday

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Jul 30, 2020

What a momentous day! For those who don't know, I've dubbed this particular day of the week Wicked Wednesday several weeks back. My high school running coach reached out and started and alumni track workout every Wednesday night. For the past several weeks I've been driving over an hour to my old haunts to meet with the guys and get a workout in. Like all hard work, that has paid dividends. 

 

Most Wicked Wednesdays are spent completing a grueling 30-45 minute workout. Half-mile repeats eight times, twelve by quarter mile repeats,  three by three mile repeats, and much more. Weekin and week out spending Thursdays recuperating my not so young bones anymore (I know I'm not old, but I definitely don't bounce back anymore). Sometimes licking my wounds through Friday because my legs just weren't ready to run yet. Adjusting my normal running schedule and routine to make sure my body is ready to accept the hate and discomfort I'm about to deliver it. 

 

All runners are weird and I believe that goes without exception. We seek out the maximum amount of punishment or bodies can take and try to see if we can do more. As noted in the picture, we will dress in a ridiculous manner (and I don't even know why). We have an affinity of weirdness amongst us and prepare to be weirded out of you get caught in the crossfire of two runners talking. 

 

We are rewarded with days like today and that is why we do it (I guess). Since Saturday I knew what punishment today would bring. As a good coach knows how to do, he mentally prepared us and posted what we would be doing. I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what I would do...I didn't know what I was capable of doing. I has been on my mind all week, a driving force, the perceived climax of the entire week. The excitement and anticipation would be best compared to The Christmas Story and looking forward to a Red Rider Bb Gun! 

 

All week I've mentally prepared and mulled over what my worth is; the distance was set my time was not. For those who have read my previous blogs or some of my posts know I run, marathon distances, but I don't race often. I don't normally set out with a time goal, only a distance I would like to complete. 

 

We were given the most basic unit of measurement as our distance. Wicked Wednesday would come and we would set out to complete one mile. A mere one mile...but this time it was for time. This time we were to pour our heart into the track, sweat it out, and leave it all out there. This time I would set out to see how fast I truly am right now. 

 

I had my previous workouts to gauge off but no idea where I should be. I set out and said today may be the day, I'm going to try to break a six minute mile. I haven't ran that fast in almost two decades. I've not run that fast since...I started smoking. I felt it was achievable, so I've pondered on a six minute mile all week. 

 

Wicked Wednesday came, I was there, present and focused. I thought about where I needed to be each lap, 90 seconds. First lap, 93...ok, pick it up... next lap 188...half mile to go I'm not out yet...next lap 285...15 seconds off I can get this...last lap...all effort forward...final 200, head up drive those arms, press it!

 

Done, euphoric, lungs burning so bad I imagine it is covid! Breathing so hard, my heart is pounding, and I'm spent. I accept that my last lap was the only lap that I completed in 90 seconds. I accept that I did not break a six minute mile this Wicked Wednesday. I accept that all but I know today was only as close as it was because I made a decision to never smoke again and I've stuck with it.

 

My 6:15 mile was the best me today and it gave me hope, it humbled me and has given me resolve! I'm not going to settle for 6:15, I'm not going to hold myself back because "I'm older and maybe I shouldn't be so fast". I'm not going to squeak under a six minute mile, I'm going to smash it and make it wish it never met me. 

 

Your body will heal, you can reverse the damage smoking has caused but you must do it now...never look back, only look forward to the new you, the best version of you, a you that is free from chains of nicotine! 

Independence celebration is now a double entendre for me! Yay! Our celebration began Friday and we haven't stopped moving until about an hour ago, it is now miserably hot and we are at a stand still until the concrete sets for several days. 

 

We repaired the drive way most of the way (no pictures yet) with asphalt crack repair and several patched spots. We will seal coat it in September as the patch needs time to settle prior to sealing. 

 

We tore down the decrepit park, which I'm glad my youngest didn't get hurt on because it should've been condemned a while ago. We began to build her new park, which is set in and the concrete is curing. It will have 3 platform and a multitude of activities to keep her busy for years to come. More to follow as we progress through to completion. Years of memories of us building it too (though, I imagine there will be a lot of bad memories due to me cursing, but my head pretty good and slammed a bit against my finger). 

 

We still found time to take out to enjoy each other's company. We all caught fish but my oldest caught the biggest of the day. She was watching my son bring in a decent size bass and didn't notice her bobber disappear. The poor guy swallowed the hook so we kept him to eat (I normally play catch and release because I don't care to take the time to clean them... but my son cleaned it).

 

We got out to eat, multiple people were inside and we were the only ones outside. The weather was nice in the shade and there was a bit of a breeze. My youngest had powdered sugar all in her upper lip. I had her replay scar face, ... I'm so immature! 

 

It really was a great weekend and great to be independent! 

PrimeNumberJD

The Bump in the Road

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Jun 15, 2020

I ran for a bit yesterday to clear my head of a rather fast paced, rough week. It was a fantastic, easy run. I didn't know how far I was going to go when I set out, where I was going to run, or really have any plan. Then, it hit me, I was going to go on an easy run with a challenging finish. 

 

The graph here is pace over layer elevation...that green blob the challenge. I hit this at about 4.5 miles, and then proceeded to gain around 170 feet over the next half mile (I think it is 6.5 percent grade, but i know it is very steep!).

 

The green blob is a hill I've always decided to walk, primarily because it is absolutely horrible. As I started towards the hill at the beginning of my run, I only planned to run to the crest and turn around, so I could avoid it. Then, as I reached the crest, I decided it was powerless over me and I was going to conquer the hill that day (I've never ran the whole thing). 

 

As I began down it, I went back and forth about lowering my pace to save energy for the eventual return up the hill. I had about 3 miles before I returned to the hill and continued charging ahead as the hill became a distant past, the return trip forgotten about as I lost myself in the beauty of the day...that is until just before I needed to conquer it. 

 

That is when a slight panic settled in, it is a large hill! Did I have the energy, was I prepared, will I make it? Self-doubt began to settle in... I've never done this hill before. It has pummeled me time and time again. I've purposefully avoided it as one carefully avoids failure. 

 

Then, I began to break it down, I looked at my heart rate, I was in a very comfortable zone. I looked at the hill, the entirety of what I could see, and began to mentally break it down. I'm at about 4.5 miles and there is a smaller part of the hill that plateaus around the 5 mile mark (judging by the telephone poles). Then there is a small flat portion that will give me a quick opportunity to catch my breath. There after, just keep moving, no walking, no matter how slow I get. 

 

Confidence began to come over me, everything was going to plan! I made it to the 5 mile mark and I was in the last mile...though this mile is not the "familiar mile", I still rejoiced there was not much left. Short break and then I began up the most difficult part of my journey, a quarter mile of pure hell! My legs are burning, I'm not certain if I have lungs anymore and, if I do, I dont have anything left in the tank. 

 

Every step became difficult, every breath labored, and every thought dark. It begins to seep in, slowly at first and then a flood of negativity. "You can't do it", "you're too old", "you're too weak", "you've had a good run, you can throw the towel in" and I almost believed them; I almost gave in! I'm not certain if I would still be writing this if I did not make it, if I have gave in. Perhaps I would but the message would definitely be different! 

 

It was in this moment of negativity and Self-doubt that I reached out to grab any thought that would keep me going and then I found it. Aaron (my daughter's boyfriend's step-dad) was there, at the top of the hill, with the farmer planning on what trees he was going to take down. I am almost there and if something bad happens, I have assistance close by. Self-preservation isn't an issue because I would only need to call out. I seen him on my way down and waved, he will be expecting me. 

 

So there I was, an empty tank, drastically slowed, but still fighting! I reached the top, gasping, choking for air but I remained vertical and like that, my pace picked up, I quickly recovered and I was driven by excitement of the inhuman feet i just completed. I felt like superman just then, even if he could fly and I can't. 

 

You see, while this run was real, it is also representative of My Quit! I've set out not knowing where I was going, and once I decided on a path I knew it wouldn't be easy. I settled into the moment and only concentrated on what I could control in the moment. Eventually, a rough part of the road presented itself and I only looked to the crest... just get to the hump and you'll be fine. I didn't even mention after the crest; I was high on my success, so high that the rest of the journey was completed with ease. There were more hills, they just didn't seem significant anymore! 

 

When things got tough, I had a plan. I had accountability. Had it not been for Aaron, or in the case of my quit journey, all of you, I probably would've failed! Even as doubt crept in and darkness surrounded me, I looked hard for the flicker of the candle. It may be a dull light, but it is bright if you look directly at it! 

 

When you hit your darkest moments, find your candle! 

PrimeNumberJD

Quick Article

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Jan 31, 2020

Lungs 'magically' heal damage from smoking - BBC News 

I've come across this article and thought it would be helpful to reinforce those who quit and maybe push those who haven't. It seems that while we were smoking and damaging our lungs, some healthy cells hunkered down and whether the nuclear apocalypse of damaging chemicals, just waiting for the day to come combat the mutated zombie cells and restore order to our ling systems.

 

Our bodies are bad 'butts' (insert mild curse), let them do their jobs! Happy smoke free Friday ya'll!

PrimeNumberJD

The First 100 Days

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Oct 15, 2019

As of late, it seems our society measures the success within the first 100 days of doing anything. One of the interview questions I was asked when applying for my current position was, “what do you plan on accomplishing in the first 100 days.” In retrospect, I very well would’ve said, “quit smoking”, which I’ve learned is possibly the easiest, yet most incorrect, answer out there. What is the correct answer; as you will find on the Ex and on the web, there are many ways to assist in quitting, but there is only 1 way to quit and that is to not smoke anymore. Here, I will shed light on my way out of the abyss. 

 

A quick introduction to Jdeering for those who may read this and not know me. My name is Jon, I did not start smoking until I joined the military; even then, I only “acted” like I was smoking for the extra breaks the smokers received. It was not long before my “Leadership” noticed I wasn’t smoking; instead of promoting a healthy way of living, they boldly stated, “you’re not smoking, you don’t get the break.” I showed them! Before I knew it, I was hooked, I really showed them. This tenacity plays a much more important part in quitting than it did in starting.  

 

I’ve had many quit attempts, some more successful than others, all of them ended in relapse… Until Now. I’m just shy of 20 years of military service (January 2020) and, while I have 6 years until I retire from the service, I always had the goal to be smoke free by my 20-year mark. Many of these “Marks” have come and gone over the years, such as the quit by the time I’m 30 or every New Year’s resolution since I began smoking 18 years ago. So many quits and dates had come and gone; there was always something missing and I would beat up on myself for my inability to shake this Habit. Each failure further pulling me into the dark of the hopeless abyss. I did not live there alone, but in the dark and cold, with everyone living in their own heads, you feel alone there; You feel helpless!

 

Fast forward to late June, 2019… in the smoking circle outside of work, other Soldiers present and I am now the “Leader.” I often would hide to smoke, find a quiet lonely place, one that mirrored how I felt on the inside. This time I was outside smoking not alone and yet, I felt that I should be and felt guilty for smoking in front of these young men. The great State of Illinois was increasing its corrupt government income structure at the cost of many things come July 1, 2019, one of those taxes that would be implemented was $1.00/pack of cigarettes. This became my motivation, this allowed me to spur these young men into action, this initiated a quit; we came together and decided we would not buy cigarettes past July 1st and will not give our greedy government another darned dollar. I finished off my last pack purchased prior to the July 1st tax increase midday July 2nd. If you know my quit date, and you have also blown a quit date, then you know the dark place I sunk to as I held onto the “Habit”.

 

I promised, only 1 more pack and I am done. Come July 3rd, 2019 at approximately 2000 hours (that is 8 PM ) I smoked my last cigarette for an eternity; I had an extended weekend due to Independence Day and some time off I had taken. I was determined that I would not smoke over the next 7 days! Time at home was always the easiest; I would, as you could imagine, slip away from everyone to smoke. They all knew but I somehow thought I was protecting them by doing it out of sight. I would always smoke less when I was at home, so this became an easy time to start my quit. The weekend was a blur, I successfully kept my self-busy, but I haphazardly muddled through it. I did not have a plan and I began to panic knowing that I was on thin ice that could break at any time. I needed something and I found what I had been missing, I found the Ex; enter into my life, the Sexy Exers, ALL of you beautiful people!

 

Somehow, I made it through the first 4 days into my quit blind to what I was facing. I posted about a Ted Talk video that discussed overcoming a “Habit”. Nancy (@youngatheart), pointed out I was not breaking a “Habit” I was in the midst of combat with an “ADDICTION.” So profound of a thought; I became combative with sweet, dear Nancy, because “ADDICTION.” “I’m not an addict” I thought, but then it happened, a seed was planted and the thought would be watered and nurtured by a loving and understanding group of people. I almost immediately began reading at www.whyquit.com, this became eye opening and, while I had been reading about quitting, it was the first I began to understand the true nature of my own “ADDICTION.”

 

The first week I had taken off and spent time building a bookcase for my daughter. As part of the money I was saving, I purchased a new Joint Jig. This was not an expensive reward; it was symbolic of my accomplishment up to that point. I had saved enough money in the first 6 days to purchase a tool, that I didn’t need, but became very helpful for that project. The first $50.00 spent productively versus destructively. On the 7th day of my quit, I headed back to work, this became day one all over again. “One time I picked up my stuff to go smoke, was half towards the door and realized, I don’t smoke anymore the best part of this note I recorded, I wasn’t even disappointed.”  

 

I began to come around with the advice given by the community, I picked up Allen Carr’s “Easyway to Quit Smoking” and prepared my bags for a training exercise. With 14 days under my belt, I was going into the biggest test of my quit, the “field.” Essentially, this is the time we head out and train. “HALT” is an acronym used by the Ex, Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired are the moments we are most likely to relapse. The “field” will trigger all of these, but it hits especially hard on the Angry and Tired.

 

I almost immediately told a good friend of mine that I quit but I wanted to see how long it would take him to notice. So, I began the game, and within the first 20 minutes he noticed; I wondered how he recognized so quickly than, but now it does not seem like such a feat. I would normally smoke more under the circumstances and almost always ask if he wanted to smoke one (he was a social smoker). He did seem to know what I did not, that I was going to be successful in quitting; he had been waiting for the day. I ensured I allied myself with people along the way, that they knew I did not smoke any longer, and I like that, there were many people watching out for my fragile quit.

 

The following is presented as mostly raw data; since I entered it while I was in the field, there were errors due to swipe. The content has remained the same but I did make a few small changes to grammar or misspellings for clarity.

18 jul- AT day 2, little sleep and training is a trigger, doing well, I will continue to become who I was before I started smoking. Got an hour nap, helped a lot. Still had multiple cravings after the nap. Didn't smoke any. Used get through the next 15 minutes, next day mantra successfully. thought in depth on why I would want to cheat on my quit. only logical reason is because I can and I can get away with it.  then thought about how horrible I would feel after and how shortly I would be up to a pack. Training has been a cheat period in the past, which led to great periods of smoking before getting the courage up to quit again. I don't feel I should subjugate myself to the torture. I've also started a new mantra, I think it is new, but it may have been breezed on any one of the sites I frequent to keep from smoking. The urge to not smoke will soon outweigh the urge to smoke. I usually started this after saying to myself to get through the next 15 minutes. 19 - jul definitely getting easier to not smoke and divert my attention. 20 jul - the overall desire to smoke has severely reduced here at training. Each day is getting easier and I am glad I'm not a smoker anymore! The Joy of quitting! 23 jul - Easier by the day 24 jul - had a particularly interesting trigger, which hit just after completing a particularly difficult task. Reward? 25 jul - I'm guessing at how many cravings I have anymore, they are neither long or intense, usually fleeting thoughts at best. I don't put much energy into identifying why anymore, I noticed a repetitive sequence and decided to just forget about them at this point. cigarettes do not own me anymore! 29 jul - I'm not having cravings anymore really, I think about them every so often, but that is all 30 jul - everyday is easier, I'm no longer a smoker!

 

I’m No Longer a Smoker!

 

I don’t have any more entries into my personal journal on my quit smoking application minus an entry of using some of my “smoking savings account” to purchase a grill. July 30th, 2019, we would’ve retrograded from the field and started to recover our equipment for movement back to home station. It was during this period Redman (or Woman if you need) was born. My mentality had changed; I was no longer quitting, I viewed myself as a quitter. The proverbial light bulb clicked and I knew I was done. Of course, I still think about smoking at times. There are times I still think about my first girlfriend, but the chances of me rekindling that flame are about the same as me smoking another cigarette. While it will take a year for me to become an “elder”, I do not need that validation because I already know I am there. Every quit is different, perhaps some it will take more than the 27 day mark to know, but there will also be those who know in less time. Our journeys all have the same destination but the paths to get there are different.

 

There are many things along the way that I would contribute my success; I will speak of 2 of them here. These 2 things are perhaps the most important two things one can have in their quit. First, start out with a great attitude and come back to that attitude whenever you can. Attitude is everything and reframing is necessary; practice this. Second, have a community! The Sexy Exers worked for me but perhaps your community needs are different. Find or create that community.

 

Third, which I previously said there were only 2 but this is important, do not rely on the friends that are quitting with you! I quit with 3 people, the other 2 are smoking. These are the young Soldiers I rallied up to quit. I’ve attempted to get them to come to the Ex, I’ve attempted to continually make mention of their past attempts, and I have left them with, I will be here still when you are ready to start your journey.

 

I’ll leave you all with the same; I will be here for you when you are ready to start your journey. For those who are at their destination, I am happy to have arrived to such a beautiful group of people. Selfless and altruistic, I aim to follow in those footsteps as I embark on a new journey with you. A journey to be the light in the dark of the hopeless abyss for those who are seeking to find their way out of their own heads. Stay Sexy my friends!

PrimeNumberJD

Redman: Inspire Me

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Oct 4, 2019

I was inspired by MaryRobin with her "living mantra" and her ripple effect yesterday. The positive ripple effect lead me to the understanding:

What doesn't kill your quit, makes it stronger!

This is what happens each time one successfully overcomes a trigger or urge! 

 

Though a mild misunderstanding, Amlatt helped define:

It is not love, it is lust!

Amlatt may still not (or ever) agree, but she inspired the thought. It is in reference to the relationship many of us had with nicotine. 

 

Discussion with Giulia led to the development of the blog The only thing smoking (vaping) is good for, which is meeting the great people on Ex that we wouldn't have otherwise met!

 

In response to a blog, sweetplt stated attitude is important. A community can inspire the right attitude

It Takes a Community to Raise a Quitter!

The Ex inspired that attitude and comes with an espiritu de corpe!

 

These are inspiring and motivating. This is the stuff that keeps me going, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who thrives on it. 

 

For this blog, I don't want to say anymore, I want to ask all of you, elder or newb, quit or attempting quit, to

Inspire Me

In a wicked turn of events, my brother had an accident at work. His leg was caught in a machine he was diagnosing; the result:

It crushed and broke bones from the ankle through his knee. He is unable to support any weight on it. While it is fortunate for him that I care, it is also unfortunate for him. I picked him up from the hospital last night, and he is with me for upwards of 3 months! 

I've spent the morning preparing the house to make it easier for him. I will be in and out of town the next several weeks, my wife is capable but there are some things a person cannot be expected to do, wiping my brother's arse is one of them. 

 

He spent 4 days in the hospital without a single drink or cigarette; he didn't even get a patch to day 3, which I was like,  "you idiot, the nicotine was gone". When my wife visited him Thursday, I had her tell him, "it looks like you are quitting smoking too". My brother, if you couldn't tell suffers from alcoholism as well as an addiction to nicotine. 

 

On our ride home last night, he stated how he was looking to quit anyways. He was like, without the patch he was fine. He pointed out how he could do it and so forth. I said, "that is great, I'm not taking you outside every hour to smoke, and my wife isn't either! "

 

As you all, even those who are just starting their quit, would figure, I woke up this morning to him wanting a cigarette. He didn't start pleading with me, but I told him, I refuse to pay the tax on them. He said, "I'll give you my card." I replied, "I don't think you understand, I vowed to never smoke again, and I also vowed to never but them again, your card or not."

 

My brother has always been respectful of my rules. He won't touch alcohol at my house, even when he is deep into a bender. It is too difficult for us to continually get him in and out. The great thing is, he didn't give me too much trouble about it. I also helped that out by giving him an alternative...

These are left over from a quit attempt earlier this year, prior to me finding the Ex. I placed them on the counter and said, the wife is leaving and it will be a while before anybody is to and from town (I live in the country). It didn't take long for him to put the patch on. 

 

I understand 2 things about addiction now. 1, this will not keep him quit. 2. I'm a ******** in his mind! I'm ok with both, perhaps he goes long enough that something clicks. I told him to read through whyquit.com, then I may break my rule and get him a pack. I also told him that he needs the circulation to be optimal for his leg to heal. We'll see what happens.

 

If this does work, it would have a very Stephen King's Misery feeling to it. We can get every one to quit...if we break their leg and have them bed ridden for a while! It also has a Saw feel to it! It is ok, I'm sadistic, I lived through years of his torture (he is the oldest brother) and now I will happily repay it!

If you are here reading this, you are an Ex, in your quit, or getting ready to quit. If you go to the resources that are provided by many, you will find that nicotine addiction does nothing for you. It does nothing for your physical well-being or your mental well-being. It slowly kills you and takes you from this world prematurely.

 

In discussion with one of my favorite elders Giulia, I had an epiphany, smoking is good for 1 thing, and one thing alone. That one thing is becoming a part of this community. All of our experiences have some impact on our lives, smoking is no different. So, if I had to pick 1 positive from this experience is that I have met some of the most kind hearted, loving people in the world. Perhaps, The Ex hides its mean people until a later date and time, if I find those, I will update this Blog.

 

What does this mean to you as a new quitter or someone going through their quit? You have found the only thing smoking is good for, and that is finding this community. Since you've recieved the only good thing smoking can offer you, you might as well give it up!  There is nothing that those cigarettes or vapes can offer you now that you don't already have!  

 

I promise you, the kindness you recieved here is addicting and it will do nothing except promote your self worth, and your self esteem! Congratulations on finding us, now it is time to quit!

I had a long drive to attend a conference over the weekend. Since I don't smoke anymore, I had a lot of time to think I instead (which can have dangerous consequences). One of the questions I was considering was what helped me quit. There were a myriad of things that I did to quit, but what were the items that assisted in quitting? I'm not going back to smoking so, I will not go through a scientific method to determine the precise elements that made me successful; the one item I continually go back to is mentality.

 

Your mentality has to be right, you have to want to quit, you have to reframe, you have ... but what do these mean? The following is an example of what quitting is like and what getting through a crave is like. The reference will be easier for parents to understand, I'll try to think of a non parent example for those who cannot relate.

 

Deciding to quit smoking is like being the adult and standing your ground against your 5 year old terrorist. It is responsible, it is the right thing to do, and the best thing for the child. This could be enforcing a bed time, limiting screen time, or God forbid, denying them a sweet confection. 

 

The first time you deny this terrorist a cookie, the seriously implode and all hell breaks loose. You are the parent, you are in charge, this tiny little terrorist isn't going to get what they want, so you stand your ground and the child finally passes out from exhaustion; you happen to be exhausted as well having to endure the ordeal. This scenario is the first 3 days of craves. They are lightning quick, intense, and leave you exhausted. They are a child screaming deep inside you trying to get their way.

 

Like all these tiny little terrorists, they grow wise to the game and realize, "I don't get what I want if I throw a tantrum, perhaps it is time to turn on the water works." So the next time you tell them, "no you can't have ice cream for breakfast", they drown you with their deep sorrow; they make you feel like you just flushed Goldie down the toilet and the world is going to end because of the sadness. You empathize with them and want to give them ice cream for breakfast to stop their tears but know it is not good for them, so you refrain. You have a deep emotional void that needs to be filled, but you are just empty. This scenario is the next several weeks. The sadness perpetuates, the void remains unfilled and you do not feel whole. This is the child in you crying for you, yearning for your attention. 

 

Then, when they come and ask you for that fifth piece of cake, you start to think about diabetes and how it is just not a good idea, so you say NO. Your resolve is iron clad, you are unwavering, yet that tiny little monster gets a vote in this game. The child knows now the tantrum will not work, and bestowing great sorrow will not bend your will; it seems the child is out of tools but they blindly hit you with quiet persuasion. This is not an overt method, it is very deceitful in nature, and it is their last ditch effort to Reason with you. "But Mom/Dad, I've already had four pieces of cake, what is one more?" The argument will be logically sound, delivered with absolute adorableness, and refined perfection; it will be a left hook you never seen coming. This demon is No Man's Land. It takes place after a month and will remain there for the rest of your life, just like that little terror child, they just get older and more dubious. Also, like that aging child, they pick and choose their fights, so they are less frequent only hitting home at those times where memory is deeply engrained with a trigger. This is the "just one" monster; it can not be trusted anymore than the I need $500 shoes argument. On the surface, the argument will be logical, once you begin to dig, you will see it break apart. 

 

Be the parent with a child who should not get a thing. It will be tough and you will want to cave, whether that be to stop the tantrum, the crying, or you just feel bad for them. You will not cave because you know this is the best for them and will stand your ground at all costs. 

 

Quitting is just like the parent and craves are the kid. When you quit, the craves will be strong and you will want to cave to make them go away. Then they will make you sad or empty, so you will want to cave to feel whole again. Then they will start to negotiate with you, anything to get you to have one more. Once you cave, you won't go right back to the tantrums once you say no again; it'll continue to negotiate, "1 more, 1 more" and you'll cave easier and easier. Eventually, once you decide to stand your ground again, you'll be back at the tantrums.

 

Moral of the story, don't negotiate with terrorists.

 

*no children were systematically or sadistically denied delicious, sugary confections in order to study the progress of their denial response system

PrimeNumberJD

Redman Manitou Incline

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Aug 27, 2019

Start Manitou incline

So, this thing happened today. I'm on a business trip in Colorado springs; I was stationed at Fort Carson 15 years ago. I had some extra time today and was thinking about what to do; I did this hike(Manitou Incline Hiking Trail - Visit Colorado Springs)  back when I was stationed here. I just decided to go do it and boy, was I glad I quit smoking! The abbreviated so what, 2,768 stairs (but who is counting), over 1 mile that climbs 2,000 feet! Maybe not a huge deal, but I came from Illinois, probably about 500 feet above sea level, and the start is at approximately 6,400 feet above sea level, ending at about 8,400 feet! That altitude is significant on oxygen, especially if you aren't used to it. It was difficult enough without having cloudy lungs! Hopefully more excursions like this to follow.

PrimeNumberJD

Redman on Nicotine

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Aug 16, 2019

Most days are easy, I flew the coop

Some days are tough, but I make it through

But ALL days are possible... without you!

Time to annoy everyone again. I have completed my field training and returned home yesterday evening. To provide a more chronological sequence of events, I'll start with the attached picture (Red man to me, perhaps red woman or person to you) . 

 

I'm not normally the artsy type, prior to me leaving for my trip, I took a day off and headed to a local museum with the family. There was Lego art on display. It was kind of cool (yet boring) as the guy (can't remember his name) reproduced famous paintings such as Starry Night. We were nearly at the end of the exhibit and I came across the attached piece; I was wowed and thought "I understand art, that is me." I felt like I was looking in the mirror and I was the Red Man, the grey, smoke like hands, trying to maintain a hold on me. In that moment, I realized, I'm out in front of the hands and they are powerless against me. It is my choice to continue forward into the clear open, or to turn and return to the smoky abyss I was in. Furthermore, for every occasion that occurs that reminds me of my past addictions that I endure with strength, promise, and joy, I feel another hand slip off and I resonate a brighter red as the momentum and energy gained feeds the light within. 

 

The following day I left for training. I knew there were several tests ahead, each would provide its own unique challenge. The drive, perhaps many would agree, is a place where I would normally smoke a lot. My first 2 hour trek was very lonesome. I was thankful I spent a lot of time in the car with my family the day prior, while I would have an urge every 15-20 minutes, they were not as strong as the day prior. I made it to my rendezvous point, one less hand upon me. The next 9 hours of driving was with my friend, who I previously disclosed to that I had quit. Though we drove into the dark of the night, I felt brighter than ever. 

 

Arriving at training, I ran into many friends that I had not seen in a while (many that I only see once a year). Smoking has a high prevalence in the military still, something I often thought of as an occupational hazard. Many of my friends still smoke however, when we linked up, I would let them know I no longer smoke (normally as they were lighting up). Some would move away from me, which I would tell them, "I'm all right, you can smoke around me." This after all is when we would normally socialize. Some would state how they would like to quit, and we talked about that. One friend I think is ready to quit, and I hope he will soon do that. Based on previous recommendations, I brought Allen Carr's Easy way to quit smoking, I told him if I finished reading it before we leave, I would give it to him (didn't realize that broke a rule at that point). I, despite Allen's rules, gave him the book and hopefully we will see him here this upcoming week. 

 

The first couple of days at training were like the first couple of days of quitting. There were many deap seated triggers and I was glad that I was a few weeks separated from my quit (2 weeks to be exact). My "cravings" shot up from a couple to a dozen plus. I thought deeply about each of these, and I realized how illogical they were, there isn't any nicotine in my system, and I have no "need" to smoke. I let my squad of people know I quit, as the good friend I traveled down with had a task that took him away from me for the duration. One smoking member of my squad took pride in my quit (that all did, but her especially) and boasted for me! My only hope is she receives enough energy from this top start her own quit. 

 

I'm now over the 30 day mark. My light is bright and continues to shine greater daily. EX has reminded me that I am now a Red Man in No Man's Land...

Once more into the fray, 

Into the last good fight I'll ever know.

Live and die on this day...

Live and die on this day...

This is my permanent quit, my final scene, the fight to end it all. Stay smokeless my friends! 

PrimeNumberJD

Quick update

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Jul 15, 2019

I'm still chugging away strong, no relapses and the urges are far, few, and easy to get over.

 

I had my first big test over the weekend, essentially a bbq. I openly communicated with my wife about my concerns with drinking at the party (I don't often drink, but this is an occasion I normally have a couple). She notified the host that i may not drink because I'm quitting (we were going to come late, so he stated I would have some catching up to do). She communicated this to the host and he started if he seen a cigarette in my hand, he would stomp on my foot (while he is short, he is very heavy and doing so would not feel good). He laughed when I got there and asked why I had worn flip flops, I stated, "you won't have any reason to step on my foot!" There were several people smoking in close proximity to me, I had a few small urges, but they were easy to get through. 

 

Being around smoking, I feel I've come to experience the second hand smoke. Sunday, the day after the bbq, I had a serious withdrawal symptom. This was not a psychological effect, but rather, what day 3 and 4 feel like when the nicotine and its byproducts are exhausted out of my system. A drop in blood sugar, shakes, and so forth. It wasn't an urge or a craving because it was not accompanied with any urge to smoke. Perhaps this is one of the reasons quit "doctrine" state to avoid these situations. The joy of quitting was temporarily overridden however, I didn't die.

 

Perhaps the biggest test of the first year is coming up. I play army every now and again and we are heading to the field for training. This is a time when nicotine happens in all its forms (cigarettes, cigars, pipes and so forth). I've already notified my battle and he will look out for me (he is a non smoker). So I've already set up my support while I'm there. To be on the hook to somebody else as well, I owe it to the group here to abstain from all forms of nicotine. The backup is carrying enough patches with me to get me through the training period if needed. I've gone cold Turkey and will have 14 days without nicotine at beginning of the training exercise, so the patches are more like carrying an umbrella to ensure it doesn't rain. My due out to myself, my family, my battle and the community here is a successful training period without nicotine! 

 

So you all will have a brief reprieve from me championing my joyful quit! Have a great couple of weeks!

PrimeNumberJD

1st week wrap up

Posted by PrimeNumberJD Jul 9, 2019

I've officially begun working on my 7th day smoke free. Today presented new scenarios as I've returned back to work after an extended weekend. I had some uncertainty and apprehensions heading back. I've quit for extended weekends and have ruined it all going back to work. The why I'm not certain of but I was amazed that I only had the tiniest of urges, and those were minimal, no more than a mosquito, small and annoying, but easily brushed away. 

 

Once I've made it through my seventh day, my next big challenge won't come until the 30 day mark. Reading here on EX, I have learned about no man's land, and this is where I usually fail. Knowledge is power and I've begun to prepare those cheering me on that the difficulties lie ahead and that will be difficult to face without them. 

 

Never the less, I've one resource I hadn't before, the EX. In a way, being a part the EX makes one feel obligated to stick to their guns. Only being a part of the community for a few days, I feel welcome. In a great deal of reading, it is our support group that will help us in our endeavors. And if Nancy, Joe, and Frank are not in or able to support today, Austin, Betsy, and Jill will jump in and cheer for the home team!  (All made up names, not a reference to anyone particular)

 

Here is to the joy of me annoying the rest of you for the next 123 days until I'm out of no man's land!