Skip navigation
All People > SkyGirl > SkyGirl Blog > 2015 > February
2015
SkyGirl

Road Trip to Nashville!

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 26, 2015
   A road trip it is, then!  I AM SO EXCITED TO DO THIS WITH YOU, Ellen !!!!!
   
   I'm talking to Nancy (youngatheart) and dj (among other Virginians, DCers, Marylanders) about going with us.  I have a nice big Dodge Journey.  Can you imagine how much fun it would be to fill it up with old ladies?  LOL  (Sheesh,I never say stuff like "LOL")
   
  I'm on a four-day trip now, and laying over in Cleveland (ugh) tonight.  Off to bed with me because of my 4:40am check-in.  I'll get in contact with you on my next layover...Seattle?  San Diego?  Sheesh, I'll have to check my paperwork, but I know it's on the west coast so there is a 3-hour time difference.  
   
  But, I am SO holding you to this, Ellen.  You won't regret it.  I've looked into motel stuff for halfway there AND for hotel rooms in Nashville. Having my car there gives us lots of flexibilty. (Hell, if I can't have flexibility in my joints, I'll be happy to have it in my hotel choices! LOL  Sheesh, I'm really thinking I'm funny tonight.)
   
  I know this is really fragmented and incomplete.  I've flown WAY too hard today...   Just know that YOU AND I GOING TO NASHVILLE.
   
  And I could not be happier about that, Ellen.  I mean that.  
   
  xxxxxxxoooooooo,  me
  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.  Feed it healthy foods.  Take it for a walk.  Cuddle and coddle it when you first bring it home with you.
   
  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.  Listen to their advice; they've already raised good, strong Quits.
   
  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.  But not right away.  Right now, give your baby Quit what it needs to thrive.
   
  Maybe someday, as your Quit grows up, instead of constant attention, it will only need a pat on the head or a kiss on the cheek to stay strong and tall. 
   
  It will always need loving attention from you, just like any growing child.  But as it grows up, it won't need your constant hovering devotion.  Just remember to make sure your Quit always knows how much you love it and how you will always be there for it, no matter how old it gets.
   
  But until then...do all that a parent can, and should, do to protect your precious newborn Quit.
   
  xxxooo,    Sky
   
SkyGirl

Sitting in Houston...

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 22, 2015

I'm just sitting here in my Houston hotel room on a loooong 23 hour layover.

I'm wondering if I should've called Stac.

I'm wondering why I ever bother looking at room service menus when I always have food in my lunch tote.

I'm wondering how cold it will be outside when my crew and I get picked up at 3:50am

I'm wondering if I will have the guts to show up in Nashville since this stupid prednisone I'm on has caused me to gain so much weight.  Yes, I'm THAT shallow.

I'm wondering how Ellen stands the pain.

I'm wondering if I should turn off the Oscars and get some sleep before that early pick-up.

I'm wondering why sometimes they only put decaffeinated coffee packs in hotel rooms.

I'm wondering how to get tumeric into my diet.

I'm wondering why United makes us wear such cheap, ugly uniforms.

I'm wondering where the layovers are on my next trip.  I can't remember.

I'm wondering why I ever picked up that first cigarette.

I'm wondering why people think they need some kind of nicotine replacement to quit. Plenty of smokers quit successfully long before NRTs were ever invented.  I'm not criticizing; just wondering.

I'm wondering if I re-post my old blogs too much.

I'm wondering what is the very best thing to say to newcomers on EX that will give them the most effective balance of encouragement and realism (and sometimes a much-needed whack-on-the-side-of-the-head.)

I'm wondering how I got to this place in my life.  It's not where I expected to be.  But it's really good.  Not easy.  But really good.  And I'm grateful.

I'm wondering what would've happened to me if I hadn't quit smoking.  I still don't know where I'll end up in my golden years.  But however I end up my life, it will be MUCH better for having found my freedom from nicotine. 

I don't wonder for one minute about THAT.

xxxooo,  Sky

SkyGirl

A Little Science Lesson...

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 21, 2015
  The following excerpts are from "Nicotine Addiction 101" by John R. Polito.  It's my go-to recommendation for learning about how we all got addicted to nicotine and understanding why we think we "need" our cigarettes.  If you take the time to REALLY learn how nicotine has changed the way your brain works, you will find it easier to step outside of that addiction while you are beating it.  You can find the entire article on the homepage of "whyquit.com" in the upper left-hand corner, marked with a little twirling yellow cube.  It's not an easy read, but it is SO worth taking the time to read the entire article.
   
   "Most of us became hooked while children or teens. What none of us knew prior to that first hit of nicotine was how extremely addictive smoking it was. Roughly 26% of us started losing control over continued smoking after just 3 to 4 cigarettes, rising to 44% after smoking 5 to 9 cigarettes.
   
   What we didn't then know was that within ten seconds of that very first puff, that up to 50% of our brain's dopamine pathway acetylcholine receptors would became occupied by nicotine, or that prior to finishing that first cigarette that nicotine would saturate almost all of them.
   
   No one told us that once saturated, that continued smoking would cause our receptors to become de-sensitized, which would somehow cause our brain to grow or activate millions of extra receptors, a process known as up-regulation.
   
   Every two hours the amount of nicotine remaining in our bloodstream declined by half (known as nicotine's elimination half-life). At some point in the process, continued stimulation, de-sensitization and up-regulation left our brain wanting and begging for more. An addiction was born as our brain was now wired to function with gradually increasing amounts of nicotine."
   
   "One cigarette per day, then two, then three, the longer we smoked nicotine, the more receptors that became saturated and desensitized, the more grown, and the more nicotine needed to satisfy resulting "want" for replenishment.
   
   Our priorities hijacked, our mental disorder having left us totally convinced that that next nicotine fix is as important as life itself, where do we turn once we awaken and realize that we've been fooled?"
   
   "The good news is that it's all a lie, that drug addiction is about living a lie. It's hard work being an actively feeding drug addict, and comfortable again being you. The good news is that knowledge is power, that we can each grow smarter than our addiction is strong, that full recovery is entirely do-able for all. In fact, today there are more ex-smokers in the U.S. than smokers.
   
   While the first few days may feel like an emotional train wreck, beyond them, with each passing day the challenges grow fewer, generally less intense and shorter in duration. Recovery leads to a calm and quiet mind where addiction chatter and wanting gradually fade into rarity, where the ex-user begins going days, weeks or even months without once wanting for nicotine.
   
   Recovery is good, not bad. It needs to be embraced not feared. The good news is that everything done while under nicotine's influence can be done as well or better without it.
   
   While no cure, there is only one rule that if followed provides a 100% guarantee of success in arresting it -- no nicotine today."
   
   "Each year, more successful ex-users quit cold turkey than by all other methods combined. Their common thread? No nicotine, just one hour, challenge and day at a time. The common element among all who relapsed? A puff of nicotine.
   
   On a conscious level, roughly 70% of daily smokers want to stop. But few understand how and even fewer appreciate that they're dealing with a permanent priorities disorder and disease of the mind. Instead, they invent justifications and rationalizations to explain why they must smoke that next cigarette.
   
   Subconsciously, you've established nicotine use cues. Those cues trigger urges or craves upon encountering a specific time, place, person, situation or emotion during which you've trained your mind to expect a new supply of nicotine. But the catalyst and foundation for both conscious rationalizations and subconscious conditioning is your underlying chemical dependency.
   
   Trapped between nicotine's two-hour elimination half-life and a gradually escalating need to smoke harder or more, the dependent smoker faces five primary recovery hurdles: (1) appreciation for where they now find themselves, (2) reclaiming their hijacked dopamine pathways, (3) breaking and extinguishing smoking cues, (4) abandoning smoking rationalizations, and (5) relapse prevention."
   
   "Successful recovery isn't about strength or weakness. It's about a mental disorder where by chance our dopamine pathway receptors have eight times greater attraction to a nicotine molecule than to the receptor's own neurotransmitter.  The first step in coming home and again meeting the real us is emptying the body of nicotine.
   
   It's amazingly fast too. Cut by half every two hours, our mind and body become 100% nicotine-free within 72 hours of ending all use. Extraction complete, peak withdrawal now behind you, true healing can now begin. While receptor sensitivities are quickly restored, down-regulation of the number of receptors to levels seen in never-users may take up to 21 days. But within two to three weeks your now arrested dependency is no longer doing the talking. You're beginning to sense the truth about where you've been."
SkyGirl

Ellen, you CRACK me up!

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 15, 2015

Ellen (elvan) just said something that belongs in the "Quick Quips" section of Giulia's "Best of EX" group:  

"I don't have to wear gloves anymore.  I can wear MITTENS!"

Think about it, folks.

I'm still laughing, Ellen.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxoooooooooooooo,  Sky

Well, bless my soul, I wrote that whole darn blog about the aborted landings and the terrified kids...and I didn't even MENTION smoking/not smoking!

Sometimes I do write blogs about stuff that happens in my life as a flight attendant, but I think I've always included a last sentence about how I made it through without smoking or how I didn't even think of a cigarette or how I would have smoked up a storm way back when.

But I didn't even MENTION smoking in that last blog.  I think that's a really good sign.  Smoking was never even a part of my thoughts during that entire time.  Not even a fleeting thought.  Nothing. Nada.  Wow.  I sure have come a long way from two packs a day to not even a single thought during a crisis!  I'm so proud of myself.  

I do remember the very first day after I quit that I went an entire day without a craving.  That was a good day.  A really good day.  I think it was in the middle of No Man's Land, probably at about two months into my Quit.  

And I remember the day that I woke up and realized that I hadn't even THOUGHT about a cigarette the previous day.  That was also an excellent day!  That must have been at about four months...maybe five months?  Maybe more and maybe less.  But how cool is it that thoughts about cigarettes and smoking are so faded in my memory now that I can't even remember some of my milestones?  (However, I may be feeling better about this than I should be; my memory is less and less sharp as I get older and sometimes, I feel like I can't even remember my own name.  Hmmm...)

Anyway,  my point is this (and I really DO have a point about quitting smoking this time!):  Everyone's path is different.  Everyone starts to have an easier time at some point.  You may stop having strong cravings at one month or at six months or at a year or...  You may go without thoughts of smoking at all at a few weeks or a few months or a few years.  

It doesn't matter what your personal timeline is.  Don't get frustrated with your own progress.  And DON'T compare your experience with anyone else's experience.  As you guys know, I'm very fond of saying to Newbies "Your nicotine addiction is no stronger nor harder to beat than our nicotine addictions were".  And I believe that with all my heart.  But it doesn't mean that there is one "right" timeline.  

Remember this: Every day that you don't ingest nicotine, you are a successful Quitter.  Simple.  Not always easy.  But truly a simple concept, isn't it?

(And, by the way, I might have given you guys the wrong impression about my required rest time.  The Crew Desk can give us as little 45 minutes between FLIGHTS and we sometimes work up to four flights per day as long as our "duty day" doesn't exceed 14.5 hours per day.  Our TRIPS can last up to five days.  The FAA  mandate is that we have 10 hours off between TRIPS, not FLIGHTS.  I know this doesn't matter much to anyone other than me, but I saw that I gave the impression that I lead this life of leisure, flying one flight and then getting ten hours off before another flight.  Golly, I WISH.  Being a flight attendant is exciting and I LOVE it.  But it's lifestyle.  There's no harmonious order or predictability to it.  And I gotta say it; I don't get why people don't like flying.  What's not to love?  ;-)

xxxxoooo,   Sky   (Don't smoke.  There.)

Happy Valentine's Day, EXers!  I guess since it's 1:35 am here in DC, I'm actually a day late but, OH, what a day I had on Saturday (without a minute to get on EX, hence the late Valentine's Day wishes).

I had a short layover in Orange County, CA, last night and we flew out of Santa Ana at 8:20am, headed to San Francisco.  We had only 53 minutes in San Fran to deplane the passengers and get ourselves to our next flight: a transcon from San Fran to Dulles Airport in DC.  The manifest included 85 (yes, I said EIGHTY-FIVE!!) 8th graders (13/14 yrs old) on a field trip to DC.  Well, I LOVE LOVE LOVE kids (heck, I had five of my own. Well, I still "have" them, but they are now between 28 and 37 years old.) but this was a younger than usual bunch and many of them had never flown before.

Ok, I'm taking too long to get to the point.  Here's what happened:  We flew 4hrs 45m across the country.  The weather was BAD in DC.  We (the crew) all knew it was going to be a bad bad bad landing.  The winds were so high and the plane was rocking side to side as we approached the runway.  The pilots suddenly aborted the landing, shooting back up into the sky.  I was the Purser (the head flight attendant) and I can hear the kids (all 85 of them, seated in the very back of the airplane where turbulence is always worse, crying and yelling to each other.  Air Traffic Control assigns our pilot a different runway where the winds might not be so strong and the visibility might be better.  But, nope, our second attempt at landing is also aborted, with another sudden shot upward into the sky.  Now I've done this before (actually many times) so I'm fine, in control and making announcements to calm the passengers.  But these poor kids are totally freaking out by this time.  It's like a virus; they are infecting each other with fear.  But because everyone, including the flight attendants, are all still strapped in because of the severe turbulence, there is nothing I can do to calm these poor kids down.

Again...I'm taking too long to get to the point.  The upshot:  Our flight diverted to Richmond, VA, where we sat for three hours  (FAA maximum) and then flew back to DC and made it down despite conditions that were still really windy and turbulent.  Okay.  Kids survived.  But now...I get off the plane and the Crew Desk calls to tell me that I'm not legal to fly my next trip.  The FAA mandates that flight attendants have a minimum of ten hours rest between trips.  This whole crazy night of aborted landings would only give me about six hours until my next trip.  Why do I care?  Because my trip tomorrow (today, actually) was to San Diego for a 20 layover.  I was going to take the train up to Oceanside (like I do whenever I can get a nice long layover in SAN) and spend the afternoon with Dale, eating chile rellenos at our FAVORITE restaurant, driving around, getting ice cream cones, visiting Hoggie, and sitting on the pier.  I was even going to see if we could skype with Nancy (Youngatheart) this time.  I haven't gotten to hang with Dale in several months. D$%&*^%&R%^*%*()*()^$$*&AMN IT.  I am so disappointed, I could cry.

But I have no idea why it took me so long to tell this story.  Sort of an anticlimactic ending.  Sorry.  I'm just so sad that I can't hang out with Dale tomorrow.  We always have such a nice time.  Phooey.  I hate the Crew Desk.

Growl,      Sky

  First, let me tell you what smoking does NOT do for you.  
   
  Smoking does not ease your stress.
   
  Smoking does not calm you down.
   
  Smoking does not make you feel more relaxed.
   
  Smoking does not make you feel happier.
   
  Smoking does not make you more able to cope.
   
  Lastly, you do NOT enjoy smoking.
   
  "But, wait!" you say, "Smoking DOES do these things for me!"
   
  No.  It doesn't.  But it DOES do something.  Here's what it does:
   
  Smoking a cigarette will relieve the beginnings of withdrawal (which started quietly when you put out your last cigarette.)
   
  Smoking a cigarette will raise the levels of nicotine in your body so that you mistake the feeling of feeding your nicotine addiction for a sense of calm.
   
  Smoking a cigarette tops off the nicotine in your system, making your body less worried about maintaining the level of nicotine in your body.  You mistake that rising level of nicotine in your bloodstream for relaxation.
   
  Smoking a cigarette feeds your existing nicotine addiction.  You mistake that sense of momentary relief for happiness.
   
  Smoking a cigarette does the same thing for your body that you see on those police shows when a scary heroin addict finally tightens the band around his arm and shoots up.  He's not less stressed, calmed down, more relaxed, happier or more able to cope with life...he's just upped the drug in his body to the point where he's not in withdrawal anymore.  That "aaahhhh" he emits means his body had avoided withdrawal, not actuallly experienced something GOOD.
   
  These are true and real and serious parallels, my friends.  The ONLY difference between a nicotine addiction and an illegal drug addiction is that nicotine is legal, somewhat socially-acceptable and the addiction has fewer real life rock-bottoms (losing your job, your spouse, your car, your credit).
   
  No, you may not ever be in danger of losing the important things in your life because of your smoking.  Unless you die from smoking.  And people do die from smoking, you know.  And those folks lose EVERYTHING.  And the people who love them lose EVERYTHING, too.
   
  Please let us help you quit.  We have so many tricks up our sleeves that help get you through!
   
  xxxooo,   Sky
SkyGirl

What's in YOUR Tool Box?

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 9, 2015
  You know how we are always talking about having the "tools" to help us when we are quitting?  We talk about using our "tools" to make it through a craving.  We talk about using the "tools" we've been given to protect our Quit.  Let's talk about these tools.  
   
  It would be great if you could walk into a hardware store and say, "I'd like to buy some Quit Smoking tools, please."  You can't.  But if you COULD...here's what you'd walk out of the store with:
   
  1)   Education:  This would be articles, books, websites where you can learn about nicotine addiction.  The tool of Education will be key in helping you learn that you CAN quit smoking and never smoke again.  You will use this tool before you quit to get yourself ready and keep using it after you quit to keep you strong.  This tool gives you knowledge and helps you benefit from the experience of others. Example: "The Easy Way to Stop Smoking" by Allen Carr and (my personal favorite) "Nicotine Addiction 101" on whyquit.com
   
  2)   Distractions:  You should have plenty of suggestions and ideas from other people here on EX about ways to distract yourself if you need ways to redirect your brain when you can't seem to stop thinking about smoking or when a craving hits you.  There are   two types of distractions:   Activities that will distract your hands/thoughts (examples: scrub your toilet, weed your garden, redo your nail polish, organize your tackle box, dance for an entire ABBA song, browse around on eBay, etc.) and  Flavors/tastes that will surprise (or shock!) your tastebuds and sense of smell (examples: a spoonful of peanut butter, a drop of Tabasco, a shake of cocoa powder, blue cheese crumbles, a squirt of pancake syrup, a whiff of curry powder, Fruit Loops one at a time, Red-Hot candies, etc.)  Make a physical list, written or typed, and keep it with you at all times.
   
  3)   Human Support:  Online (like EX) or in person (family, co-workers, friends) can be some of the best tools you have during the first few weeks of your Quit.  Obviously, it doesn't help to lean on someone who still smokes.  Never-Ever Smokers can't understand what you are going through, BUT they can be your biggest face-to-face cheerleaders.  Don't forget to educate Never-Evers before your Quit Date, using the  "Letter to My Loved Ones".  You can find this letter here on EX by doing a search for it.  Many quitters have said it made a world of difference in the way their friends and family were able to understand and support them.  EX is, of course, an invaluable support tool.  I don't think I need to elaborate on why EX is so amazing, do I?
   
  4)   Common Sense:  Your tool box should be chock full of common sense. Your common sense will tell you about things to do, things not to do, things that will help you, things that will hurt you, things to stay close to, things to stay away from.  This tool is different from the knowledge you got from Education (#1 above) because it requires you to be creative and think for yourself within the details of your own life.  It's that little angel/devil on your shoulder thing, right?  Oh, wait. That's called "Conscience".  Well, that's a good tool, too.  But be careful of Conscience because that can cause a very UNhelpful thing called "guilt", which has NO PLACE in the tool box.
   
  5)  A Bottle of Water and A Big Yellow Lemon in a Baggie:  Okay, okay, these both actually fall under Distractions (#2 above).  But they are SO basic (the water) and SO effective (the lemon) that I felt they deserved the separate category of "Honorable Mention Tools".  If you feel like you are losing control at any time during your Quit, take a big slug of water from the bottle.  It's easy, it's available and it takes no great thought.  Sometimes a few big swallows of water is all it takes to get you back on track.  Or...take a deep breath and bite into that lemon, peel and all.  It is not pleasurable.  But it is a Hall of Fame Crave Buster.  You will NOT want a cigarette after biting that lemon.  I promise.  (The baggie is so you can carry it with you.  I got some very odd looks when I took out my lemon and bit it in airports!   But...I don't smoke anymore, do I?)
   
  6)   Patience:  Quitting doesn't happen in a day or a week or even a few weeks.  As Youngatheart (Nancy) has said many times "Quitting is not an event; it's a journey.".  It doesn't happen all at once and the road can be rocky, at times.  Sometimes, all the best tools in your Tool Box aren't doing the trick.  That's when you need this tool : PATIENCE.  Thomas recently posted a blog about riding out cravings, experiencing the feelings, acknowledging the difficulty, not trying to fight it, and waiting for the urge to ebb away like a wave.  It was a brilliant blog; go read it.  Sometimes, you just have to be PATIENT.
   
  So, Quitters, go check your toolboxes!  Are you missing any of these tools?   And if you have counted "Willpower" as a tool, forget it.  Pitch it out.  It won't help you find a Fovever Quit and it's not a real tool at all!  Instead of "Willpower", use   Education.
   
  xxxooo,  Sky
SkyGirl

Just heard from Tommy!

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 4, 2015

Tommy came home from the hospital yesterday.  He's on IV antibiotics and will be having in-home nursing care.  (He probably thinks the in-home nursing will be 25 year olds wearing those Halloween nurse's costumes...sorry, Tommy...you'll probably get a crabby old Nurse Rached from "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest".)  

Tommy said the docs told him it was a nasty blood infection probably started when he had his biopsy.  They told him he could have died from it.  He told the docs that dying was never a possibility because of all the EXers praying for him!  

That's our Tommy...

xxxooo,   Sky

SkyGirl

"But I LOOOOOOVE to smoke!"

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 4, 2015

Um.  No, you don't.

Your brain TELLS you that you do love it.  And that you NEED it.  And that you can't give it up...

Wrong.

Why?

Because nicotine is a drug that has actually PHYSICALLY CHANGED your brain receptors and your dopamine pathways to trick you into thinking that the act of ingesting nicotine is a pleasurable experience. 

Understanding how nicotine affects your brain is really, really, really important when you are about to quit.

When you understand how your brain has been changed by nicotine, it becomes much easier to sort of step outside of a craving when it hits.  Not to be morbid, but it's like those hospital room scenes where the patient is hovering above their body, watching it all happen as though it's happening to someone else.

If you really want to understand, go to whyquit.com.  In the upper left hand corner of the homepage, there is a link called "Nicotine Addiction 101".

Read it.

You won't be sorry.  It will help you.  

xxxooo,   Sky

I left my high school sweetheart after 18 years and five wonderful children...waaaay back in the mid-nineties.  It hurt my chiidren, despite the fact that I continued to love the hell out of them, to show that, and to do whatever I needed to do to make ends meet.  I owned hot dog stands.  Six of them.  In rented spaces in Home Depot stores. I would come home to my children long after the dinner hour, with plastic bags full of one dollar bills that would keep the electric bill paid.  I tried to make them understand,  They didn't.  And when I fell in love with an imperfect man, they understood even less. Now, more than twenty years later (longer than I was ever married to their dad,who is a GREAT guy, and didn't deserve the divorce) the kids STILL don't understand that love is sometime found by imperfect people in imperfect ways.  But guess what?  After 20 years, I'm still an imperfect woman in love with an imperfect man.  I wish the last two of my five wonderful children would forgive me for not being the perfect human being...but I won't smoke over it.  I may have a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc...but I won't smoke.  That wouldn't change a thing.  

  Okay, so I'm in a re-posting mood today.  Here's another one that all the new folks who joined us at the start of 2015 haven't seen.  ALL of us should be doing regular reading to keep our Quits strong!  Here goes:
   
   
   One thing is sure here on EX: if you are a new member, you will be given recommended reading.  Some will be links, some will require you to go to another site, some are downloads.
   
   "I've already read all I need to know about how smoking is killing me" you may be saying.  Well, so have we.  That's some scary stuff.  But scare tactics are not an effective method.  That's not what the recommended reading is about.
   
   "I didn't come here to get homework.  I just want to know how to quit" you may be saying, as if we have discovered some magical secret that we can tell you.
   
   We ARE telling you how to quit:  Do the reading.  It's not exactly a magical secret, but the reading has played a HUGE part in the successful Quits of hundreds of people here on EX.  "How's that?" you may be asking.
   
   I'll bet that you, just like most of us here on EX, have had several unsuccessful quits.  And during those quits, you've used phrases like: "trying to quit", "making an attempt", "see if it works this time" and my personal favorite "Wish me good luck!"  And then you "try", but you end up smoking again.  Why is that?  Because you are still thinking of smoking as something that you are "giving up", "doing without", "sacrificing".  You fully expect to be miserable.  You can't even imagine your life without smoking.  (Neither could we.)
   
   The key is to change the way you are thinking about quitting.  You can flip your thinking 180 degrees so that you no longer feel like quitting is "taking away" your cigarettes.  Instead, you can begin to see quitting as a release from nicotine addiction.  You see it as freedom.
   
   "Freedom from what?" you ask.  Well, for starters...freedom from smelling like a dirty ashtray, from always worrying about  if you have enough cigarettes to last until you can get to the store, from constantly scheming how and where you can have your next cigarette, from hiding your smoking from your friends or family, from spending money you need for other things, from having to locate the smoking area every place you go.  Shall I go on?  Not to mention the health benefits!
   
   So how does the reading help to flip your thinking?  The reading will teach you all about nicotine addiction and why it has such a strong grip on you.  You will learn that nicotine actually physically changes your brain receptors, which then start telling you that you enjoy smoking, that nicotine relieves stress, that you need cigarettes, that you'll miserable if you don't have nicotine.  The reading will show you that these things are not true. 
   
   And somewhere during the reading, you will go from dreading quitting to being ready to quit being a prisoner of nicotine anymore.  You will finally, really and truly, WANT to quit.  
   
   And THAT is what makes for a forever, final, successful Quit.
   
   You can do what we have already done; QUIT.  Your addiction to nicotine is no stronger, nor harder to beat, than our addiction was.  If we can do it, you can also do it.  But the self-education that will flip your thinking around is absolutely KEY to success.  
   
   So...do the reading.  Over and out.
   
   xxxooo,  Sky

Yes, folks, I know I've reposted this a few times, but it's been a whole year since I last re-posted it. Perhaps some new people will see it...  Here goes:

   
   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