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2015
SkyGirl

Three Simple Rules

Posted by SkyGirl Mar 29, 2015
  1)  On your Quit Date, you MUST get rid of ALL your cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays.  Check your purse, your car, your pockets, your kitchen drawer, etc.  If you cannot put your hands on a cigarette during a strong craving, obviously you can't smoke one.  The craving is likely to pass before you do anything you'll regret.
   
  2)  Always be prepared.  NEVER find yourself in a situation where you haven't planned IN ADVANCE how you will distract yourself if a craving hits you.  And make sure you have whatever supplies you will need to accomplish that distraction.  Cravings rise, peak and ebb away.  Keep your brain and your hands busy during those few minutes.
   
  3)   Cookies are part of the journey.  This is important.  Also:    Where there is cake, there is hope.  Ask any Elder...   ;-)
   
  xxxooo,   Sky
   
SkyGirl

About Day #3...

Posted by SkyGirl Mar 28, 2015
  Day 3 is the hardest day in your first week.
   
  This is the day that the last of the drug nicotine is leaving your body.  Nicotine's half-life is about two hours and it takes about 72 hours before all of it is out of your system.
   
  Your brain realizes that this is happening.  Your brain starts to scream louder than on Day1 and Day 2.  Your brain will yell at you: "Give me nicotine!  You know I love it!   You know we NEED it to be okay!!"
   
  This is GOOD.  While your brain is screaming at you, it is very hard to see that this is a good thing.  The louder your brain screams "We are almost out of nicotine!!  We MUST have nicotine!!", the more evidence you have that that you are about to be nicotine-free.
   
  After Day 3, the physical withdrawal from the chemical nicotine is over.  But the brain takes a much longer time for the receptors to heal and return to a pre-nicotine condition.
   
  Your brain has nicotine-addiction memory.  It will continue to hound you: "Where is that nicotine we love so much?  You'll feel so much better if we get some nicotine!  C'mon, c'mon...it won't hurt to have one".
   
  How your journey goes from now on is up to you.
   
  You will get a million suggestions and tons of advice on how to keep your Quit.  Take what resonates with you.  And leave the rest.
   
  There is no perfect way to quit.  There is no magic formula.  Do what works for YOU.
   
  In the end, there is only one inviolate rule:  Do not put any nicotine into your body.
   
  As long as you follow that rule, you are victorious over nicotine.
   
  It's simple, right?  But it's not "easy".  Sorry, Allen Carr, but it is NOT easy.  But you can do it.  And it is easi  ER if you understand what is happening in your brain when you stop feeding it nicotine.
   
  Today, you are an ex-smoker.  You can be an ex-smoker tomorrow.  And everyday thereafter.
   
  And that makes you victorious.  Congratulations!!!
   
  (Please note that this blog refers to Quitters who have chosen not to use any NRTs.)
   
  xxxooo,   Sky
   
  When I first came to EX, I got a lot of welcoming support and advice from people who had already quit.
   
  I looked at the number of days, months, years that these wonderful, warm people already had under their belts. I thought,   "They don't understand how I feel.  It must have been so easy for them.  But I'm different.  Quitting is going to be SO much harder for me than it was for them.  They don't GET me."
   
  Now, here I am with almost 900 days under my own belt.  It honestly doesn't seem that long to me.
   
  But I know it sure seems like a lot to someone who is on Day 1 or Day 12 or Day 22...   And I absolutely know, for a fact, that some of you Newbies are thinking that   "You guys can't possibly understand me, because it sounds like it was so easy for you.  But I'm different.  It's going to be so much harder for me than it was for you.  I know you guys don't GET me".
   
  Sound familiar?
   
  Here's what I am inviting Newbies to do:  Go to my page and read my blogs from the day I first discovered EX.  Read how, when I was a Newbie, I was scared and unsure and didn't really want to quit.  Read my blog on the day of my original Quit Date and how I screwed up.  Read my blogs that detailed my struggles during the first few days.  Read about biting lemons.  Read how I craved and paced like a caged animal.  Read all the support I got from the people here who had, yup, you guessed it, 50 days, 100 days, 300 days,  two years under their belts.  I wasn't convinced I could EVER be like those successful Quitters!
   
  My point is this, dear Newbies:  ALL of us who have quit smoking have been EXACTLY where you are right now.  We ALL start in the exact same place.  We have NOT forgotten what Day 3 or Day 17 or Day 50 feels like.  Don't write us off because we quit before you. We DO "get" you.
   
  There will be Newbies that come AFTER you.  And they will need YOUR help, YOUR support, YOUR advice and YOUR understanding.  They will admire you and be envious of you.  And they will say,   "You don't understand how I feel.  It must have been so easy for you.  But I'm different.  Quitting is going to be so much harder for me that it was for you.  You don't GET me."
   
  And it will be time for you to pass on the valuable experiences you have had here on EX and the strength you have derived from those who came before you.  What a wonderful feeling that is...  Tommy (Pir8fan) calls it "Collateral Kindness".
   
  To everyone here who helped me quit (and who continue to support me every day!), thank you so much.  To everyone to whom something I've written has made any kind of a difference in their Quit, thank you so much for reading.  
   
  I wouldn't be here today, nicotine-free, without ALL of you.  I'm so grateful.  I will be alive longer because of all of you.  Is there any better gift you can give to someone? 
   
  xxxooo,  Sky
   
  Okay, so I am supposedly on vacation.  I finished a grueling 4-day trip on March 2nd and my vacation began on March 3rd.  I spent that day washing, repacking and making sure everything was in order for me to leave my condo in DC for two weeks of fun, family and relaxation.  No real plans, just a suitcase full of clean clothes and the ability to fly anywhere for free!  Sounds great, right?
   
  Then...the big East Coast mega-storm weather reports started...  I decided to get the heck out of Dodge (DC) before the storm hit.  I snagged a quick flight to Fayetteville, NC, on the afternoon of March 4th.  One of my sons and his wife live there, but my son is currently up in Ft Leonardwood, MO, completing his Captain's training in the Army.  I thought it would be fun to pick up my daughter-in-law (hereinafter referred to as DIL) and take her with me to St. Louis for a few days.  Another of my sons and his wife live there and my Army son said he could drive down for the weekend and it would be five of us together for a few days.  But...
   
  There was NO getting out of Fayetteville, NC.  The airport is small and the planes are all tiny United Express planes. (We call them "Barbie Jets".)  So I rented a car and drove us over to Raleigh-Durham airport, which is about two hours away.  Couldn't get on a flight out of there either.  When a storm hits and affects a few major hub airports, it has a devastating ripple effect.  No, there may not be bad weather in Denver or San Fran or Chicago, but you can bet when stuff shuts down in JFK and Newark and DC, the entire system goes bananas.
   
  So DIL and I sat in the airport in RDU for an entire day, rented another hotel room, then went back and sat another 1/2 day in the airport...until DIL, whom I love but is very young, egocentric, volatile and verbal, had had enough.  She announced she was done "wasting her time" and told me she had rented a car to drive herself back home to Fayetteville.  A quick, obviously irritated hug, and she was gone.  Um. Yeah.  I can't get on a flight either, dear DIL.  An invitation to stay with you would have been nice, Girl.  Whatever.  I love airports.
   
  So...I decide to take the first possible flight out of RDU to ANYWHERE.  I finally,after 8 more hours, get a jumpseat on a 50-seater ExpressJet plane to Houston.  Houston?  Do I have any reason to go to Houston?  No.  But it sounds better than renting another hotel room in Raleigh-Durham.  So I take what is offered to me: the jumpseat on this teeny tiny plane.  It is a rusty pull-out-fold-down thing that sits in the aisle in the last row in front of the lavatory.  Seriously.  It is so old and un-used that when I pull out the elastic seatbelt, it sort of shreds. (I didn't tell anyone this until AFTER the flight because I knew they would not let me sit there if they knew...)  As soon as the seatbelt sign went off, I had to fold up the seat and go stand in the teensy tiny galley for 3 1/2 hours until it was time to land.  But I got to Houston, which is a huge hub of United and I just KNEW I could get home (Oregon Coast) or back to DC (my base) from there.  Um.  Yeah.
   
  I sat in Houston (IAH) for a day and ended up getting a Priceline hotel room because there were NO seats available to ANYWHERE.  Seriously, this is three days (72 hours!) after the East Coast storm hit and the rollover of paying customers who got canceled and delayed is still taking up every possible seat.
   
  I went back to the airport early this morning (well, I guess it's "yesterday" by the time I post this...), and sat through eight flights from Houston (IAH) to other United hubs (DEN, SFO, LAX, LAS,ORD, etc) and didn't get a seat on anything.  I started checking out "hop-scotching".  "Hop-scotching" is what we flight attendants do when we can't get from one hub to another hub.  We look at all the cities IN BETWEEN hubs and try to put a patchwork plan together.  I tried to fly to Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Kansas City, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Reno, Orange County, Sacramento. El Paso, San Antonio, San Diego, and a few others...  NOTHING worked.  Finally, I got a jumpseat on a flight to Salt Lake City.  From there, after three hours, I got a seat (a REAL seat) on a flight to San Fran.  And from THERE...a seat to Portland (where My Beloved booked me a hotel room and will be driving in from our house on the Oregon Coast tomorrow morning to pick me up and drive my poor sorry exhausted ass out to our home so I can curl up with Barbie & Ken (pics to follow) and My Beloved for the entire day...  
   
  So far, this has been a NIGHTMARE of a Busman's Holiday.  And if you have to ask "what is a Busman's Holiday?", then you are much younger than I.  Like, waaaay younger.  
   
  On a lighter note, to all who have written to me in the last week...  Yes,YES, Nancy! I am so excited that you said "yes", that I can hardly stand it. I will contact you when I get back to DC about details.  YES, to G, it was my intention to see if you'd have me sometime during my vacation...but as you have read: the best laid plans... Nevertheless, I will contact you when back in DC to see if I can come to TN before we go to Nashville.  Brenda M, we need to talk about Nashville and doing that over brunch in DC is imperative.  I WILL answer the phone next time you call.  Or I will call you.  I'm so bad with phone calling...  Best you be persistant, Brenda, my dear, dear, DEAR friend.
   
  And Ellen!!!!!  My dear, dear, dear friend! Let's get this Nashville trip organized. I don't think I'd be planning this if you hadn't said you'd go, so you are SO going with me now!  DJ, you're still riding in the Old Lady Caravan to Nashville, aren't you? You'd better be! Don't back out.  We want you!
   
  More on T-shirts in my next blog...
   
  Deep breaths now....
   
  xxxxxooooooo,  Sky