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2013

Remember this?  I do.  I highly recommend biting lemons as a crave buster.  It saved my Quit more than once during those first difficult days.  Here's my "Tribute to My First Lemon" blog first posted on Day 18.

"Now that I've learned how to post photos, I wanted to offer a Tribute to My First Lemon.  During those really difficult first days of my Quit, my dear Lemon was always there for me.  There is truth in the statement that My First Lemon gave his life to help save my life.  Whenever an insane craving hit me during those tough first days of my Quit, I bit my Lemon.  I took this photo after the first bite and I think it looks like he was smiling.  Perhaps he was smiling because he was proud to be helping me keep my Quit.  By the time My First Lemon went to the Great Lemon Tree in the Sky, he looked more like scrambled eggs than a lemon.  He served me faithfully until the end.  There have been other lemons in my life since My First Lemon.  But I will always remember My First Lemon with love and gratitude..."

Hi, everyone!  I am busy like crazy, but I just wanted to come to EX and tell everyone that 11pm tonight (March 27), I will have had my freedom from smoking for a half year!

I am so happy with my new life and all the wonderful changes that beating nicotine has brought in my life.  

My very favorite thing about being a non-smoker is really a very tiny thing compared to some of the larger concepts of getting healthy, saving money, etc.  

But when My Beloved grabs up a handful of my hair, buries his face in it and tells me how great my hair smells nowadays...that does more to reinforce my Quit more than any extra dollars do!

Newbies, I would not have believed that I could quit smoking and, six months later, have gotten to a point where I almost never even THINK about cigarettes!  So, even if you find it very very very difficult at first, please hang in there.  I could have been voted the "Person Least Likely to Successfully Quit" before I found EX.  But when I came to EX, I did every single thing that the Elders and EXperts told me would help me to succeed.  I read all the recommended reading and did all the tracking and separation exercises.  I got  a little tote bag and put together a "Quit Kit" that contained all the things I would need to occupy my brain and my hands when a craving hiit.  Even when the suggestions EXers gave me make me think "Seriously? You really think that THAT will help me???", I DID IT ANYWAY.

And guess what?  I quit.  I am a non-smoker.  And it feels amazing.  

No matter who you are or what your situation is, you CAN quit.  It starts with making the DECISION to quit.  Then you COMMIT to that decision, no matter what happens.  And then you HONOR that decision every single day, minute by minute if that's what it takes in the beginning.   You gut it through the early days, and then you start to enjoy the days that the cravings aren't so bad.  Then you rejoice on the day that you wake up and realize that you don't remember the exact number of days you have under your belt!  You just keep on honoring your commitment to quitting as the days mount up.  And then the very best day comes...and that is the day that you no longer just feel like a smoker who has quit.  But rather, you really feel like a non-smoker.  And, boy, does that feel great!

So, yay me for half of a year!  (Darn, I should have hopped on the Freedom Train and pigged out!!)

xxxooo,   Sky

I was getting ready to make my hotel reservations tonight for the EX "convention" at Harrah's in Las Vegas tonight...and I got to wondering about some of the details and about people's plans.

How many people have already made plans to be there?   The EX Group called "Las Vegas Trip, May 2013" shows ten members, but I have to believe that more of us want to be there, right?  Who wants to come but isn't sure about the expense?

I know that the cost of both a flight and a hotel room can be prohibitive.  I do have many Companion Passes for my friends to use, but being able to use them depends upon flights having empty seats available.  And during the prime Spring Break months of April and May, unsold seats are few and far between.  Especially to destinations like Las Vegas. 

Which is not to say that my Companion Passes (which give my friends standby status for any empty seats at a really really low price) might not work for some of you.  It's just not a sure thing.  So I hesitate to offer them.  I'd  hate for someone to sit at the airport for hours on standby status and never get on a flight to meet us in Las Vegas.

But perhaps I could offer something else to EXers who could manage the cost of the flights but not the additional cost of a hotel room.  I would be happy to book one of the Executive Suites, if there is anyone who would be willing to share space.  I would, of course, pay for the Suite, but I wouldn't be averse if anyone staying in the room wanted to throw a twenty at me!  In the Harrah's suites, there is a separate bedroom (DIBS!!!), a sleeper sofa in the living room and lots of room for a couple of rollaway beds.  Just try to think of it as a throwback to a slumber party!!!  How much fun would THAT be?   

Having an Executive Suite would also mean that we'd have a large (680 sq ft) place to hold a private get-together/party, too. There is a large living area with tables & chairs, big screen tv and a full wet bar with refrigerator.  A perfect place for us, right?

I just want this Vegas trip to be a huge success.  I've gotten spoiled by flying for free for so many years.  Why not let me put what I save by not having to pay for the flights into a great space that will allow some EXers to come to Vegas AND give us a great place to party?????

Just saying...  Please don't be shy about PMing me if this is something that might help you.  If nobody responds, I'll feel like an idiot for even bringing it up.

Our friend cderrick13 just posted a blog with a list of eight healthy foods we should all be eating (all the time, really, but especially when watching our weight after quitting!)  Great list, Cheryl!  Some of the commenters were bemoaning the fact that chocolate wasn't on the list...  So for my dear friends jojo and youngatheart, here is a recipe that contains THREE of those eight healthy foods AND CHOCOLATE.  This healthy dessert will rock your face off, as Brenda M would say.  My Beloved begs me to make this for him!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

One large ripe Hass avocado (the dark bumpy-skinned kind), pitted & scooped out of skin, cut in chunks

1/2 cup of good quality unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup agave syrup (usually near the honey in the grocery store or health food aisle)

1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (comes in a carton in health food aisle or near regular milk)

1 Tbsp vanilla (pure extract, not the "vanilla flavored" stuff)

1 Tbsp orange zest (plus a little more for garnish)

Toasted sliced almonds for garnish

Put the avocado chunks in the food processor.  Add the cocoa powder, agave syrup, coconut milk, vanilla and orange zest to food processor.  Process on high for about 30 seconds or until smooth.  Spoon into serving dishes, garnish with sliced almonds and more orange zest.

(You can make a richer version by substituting 4 oz. of bittersweet chocolate (melted) for the cocoa power and by buying a can of coconut milk (found in ethic food aisle in the Indian section) and using 1/4 cup of the thick coconut cream that has separated from the milk and risen to the top of the can instead of using the drinkable kind of coconut milk in the carton.  Just be sure NOT to shake the can before you open it!  Of course, this richer version isn't as healthy.)

You can also throw on a few blueberries and say that it uses FOUR of the foods on the cderrick13's list!  Avocados and chocolate together...who'da thunk it?

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In the first few months of your Quit, try to think of your Quit as a newborn baby.

During the first few days, you are like a brand new parent with your newborn Quit.  You are a little frightened, unsure, worried.  You think you may not be cut out for this. You panic easily.  Your Quit is tiny and helpless.  Your Quit can't make it all on its own yet.  Your Quit needs lots of attention.  You must watch carefully over your Quit.  Your Quit needs you to take good care of it.  Just like a real baby.

So spend a lot of time nurturing your Quit.  Do the things you need to do to make sure your Quit stays healthy.  Spend a lot of time helping your Quit to grow stronger.  Just as you would do for a real baby.

You may need to cut back on your usual activities in order to take good care of your little Quit.

Stay away from the places that might harm a newborn Quit.  Don't take your sweet little Quit into bars.  Don't take your precious Quit into the homes of smokers.  You wouldn't take a real baby to these places, would you?  Of course not.

Hang around with other new parents of itty-bitty Quits for support.  Ask for the advice of older parents whose Quits are now toddlers, pre-teens, teenagers.

Just as in the case of a real newborn baby, your Quit will grow every day.  It will become stronger and smarter.  It will learn to stand on its own without you having to cradle it in your arms all the time. 

Maybe someday, as your Quit grows up, it will only need a hug, a kiss, a pat on the head once in a while to remind it how much you love your Quit and how important it is to you and how wonderful you feel to have your Quit in your life.

And don't ever forget that, no matter how grown-up your Quit becomes over time, it will always need your attention.  Grown-up Quits need love, too, right?

xxxooo,    Sky

SkyGirl

Just checking in...

Posted by SkyGirl Mar 15, 2013

Hi, Everyone!  I've been home on the Oregon Coast since we got back from Costa Rica.  Holy Cow, I''ve been off work for a MONTH!  And I've been so busy that I haven't been on EX much during this time.

I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm at 170 days today!  And I just love those moments when I realize that I'm in a certain place or situation where, in my previous life as a smoker, I'd either be smoking or frantically looking for a place I could light up.  Except NOW, I just smile at the memory and keep walking...because I have a much better life now.

To those of you who are new here, please listen to the quitters who came before you.  Follow their advice and believe the things that they say will help you be successful.  I was able to quit successfully by becoming a STUDENT of the people who had already achieved what I came to EX to achieve.  They know.  And, thank goodness, they share it!

xxxooo,   Sky

SkyGirl

Skygirl = Broken Record

Posted by SkyGirl Mar 7, 2013

1)  Smoking a cigarette does NOT calm you down, ease your stress, make you happier or more able to cope.  All that smoking a cigarette does is increase the level of nicotine in your body, which holds off the effects of withdrawal that started when you finished your last cigarette.

2)  You do not enjoy smoking.  What you are enjoying is NOT feeling a low level of nicotine in your body.

3)  Educating yourself about nicotine addiction gives you a HUGE advantage in successfully quitting.

4)  The way you THINK about quitting is absolutely KEY. 

It is important that you banish the concepts of "trying", "attempting", "hoping it works", "wish me good luck". 

It is important that you read enough about quitting until your thinking does a complete 180 degree turn from "giving up something", "sacrificing something I love", "doing without", "getting through this" into "FREEDOM". 

Freedom from what?  From a life that is ruled by an addiction, freedom to enjoy better health, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from worrying when and where you can have your next cigarette, freedom from the panic when you realize you are out of cigarettes, freedom from smelling like an ashtray, freedom from hiding and making excuses. 

And don't forget to think about all the free time you will gain, the money you will save, and the self-esteem that will rocket upwards when you quit.

So get that thinking flipped around so you are ready to quit successfully!

5) You CAN quit.  Your addiction is no stronger and no harder to beat than anyone else's.   If we can quit, then you can quit.  We can ALL quit.

6)  Yes, the first few days of quitting are not very pleasant.  In fact, they suck. Completely suck. 

But if you prepare in advance for how to handle those first days, you will make the whole process go a lot easier for yourself. 

Listen to the advice of those who have already achieved what you came here to achieve. 

Then FOLLOW that advice.  Don't just read it in the blogs and think, "hmm, yeah, that sounds good".

You must actually do the things that have been PROVEN to help make you a successful quitter.

7)  Be HAPPY.  This is one of the best decisions you will ever make for yourself.  Be excited to do this.  And be VERY, VERY proud of yourself.  We are.  And we will be here to help you all the way...

xxxooo,

Sky 

I've missed you all SO much!  I guess I forgot to blog that My Beloved and I were going to Costa Rica for a very long vacation.

It was AMAZING.  We stayed in a wonderful place on the Golfo de Papagayo on northwestern coast of Guanacaste Province called The Vista Bahia. 

We've been kayaking and hiking.  We've been ziplining over the jungle canopy and over canyons.  We've been rafting and tubing down whitewater rapids.  We've been swimming, sunning and getting couples massages.  We've been eating wonderful local Costa Rican cuisine.  We've been soaking in the mud baths and hot springs at the base of the Arenal volcano.  We've been fishing and taking moonlight cruises.  I've been wearing sundresses, flipflops and no makeup for two weeks. It was heavenly.

What I HAVEN'T been doing is smoking.  Day 158.  Woo hoo!!! 

So...how is everyone?  Did I miss anything? 

So many new names here!  I'd better get busy getting to know all the new people, hadn't I?  I'll start by saying "Welcome!!!!" to all the people who joined EX while I've been gone.  Congratulations to ALL of you for making one of the smartest decisions you will ever make for yourself.  I hope I can be helpful to you in some way. 

Bite a lemon, everybody!  (Btw, it's a good thing I wasn't in Costa Rica when I quit because there are NO LEMONS in Costa Rica.  None.  Only limes.)

xxxooo,

Sky