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   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...

1000 Days!

Posted by SkyGirl Jun 24, 2015

If someone had told me on my Day One back on 09/27/12 that I would be celebrating this milestone today, I don't know if I would have believed them.  I KNEW I was ready to quit forever.  I KNEW I had done all the reading and the preparation exercises.  I KNEW I had already made friends here on EX as my Quit Date approached.  I felt confident.  I felt ready.  The scales had tipped; I knew I wanted to NOT smoke more than I wanted TO smoke.

But...1000 days without a cigarette?  The very idea boggled my mind.  I couldn't even imagine it.

So I quit at 11am on 9/27/12.  (I had already had one failed attempt at Day One three days earlier.)  I had my last cigarette standing at the employee bus stop at Dulles Airport that morning.  As the bus approached, I threw the rest of my pack in the trash can, along with my cute little pink lighter from Paris.  (I think I had a harder time getting rid of the cute Parisian lighter than I did getting rid of the cigarettes!)  

I wore a really cute homemade sign on the lapel of my uniform that day.  It was a bit larger than a business card.  I used a picture similar to my avatar and it said, "I quit smoking today.  Please encourage me!"  On my three flights that day, I was the Greeter during boarding.  I couldn't believe the amount of notice that little sign got.  I got so many comments, smiles and congratulations that day.  It was absolutely instrumental in getting me through that first day.  But to be honest, I didn't dare think beyond Day One.

I remember having nothing to DO in my hotel room that night.  Usually, I spent the evening going in and out of the hotel to their smoking area until it was bedtime.  But I was on a real high on Day One and I remember thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad!".

Day Two was similar to Day One; on the plane and in the hotel.

But on Day Three, the day that the last of the nicotine leaves your body, I got home from my trip.  I spent the afternoon pacing around my condo like a caged animal.  I was frantic.  Climbing the walls.  Finally, I stopped paying attention to my withdrawal symptoms and I remembered some of the best advice I had ever been given about how to handle those first few days.  That advice was to "change things up", to do things differently, to try new things, to switch up my routine, to go places that I didn't associate with smoking.  Ah-HAH!  To go places that not only did I not associate with smoking, but that didn't even allow smoking!  So I did.  I took my iPad and sat in the Barnes & Noble bookstore for about four hours, madly blogging and messaging on EX.  Somehow, after four hours, the frenetic feelings subsided enough for me to go home.  I had gotten SO much on-the-spot support from all of you that third afternoon.  I know I wouldn't have made it through that afternoon without my wonderful friends here.

After that, I started stacking up the days.  It wasn't easy.  I had health issues related to withdrawal.  I had bad days and good days.  But I began to believe that it really DID get a bit easier with each passing day.  I bit a LOT of lemons during those first couple of weeks.  I did simple household tasks to distract me when a craving would hit.  (I had the best organized junk drawer and the cleanest toilets in the world during those days!)  I found that if I could do ANYTHING other than pay attention to a craving when it started, those few minutes would NOT be agonizing.  It's such a simple concept, but it is so effective.  I've written many blogs about lists of distractions, haven't I?

One glorious day, I realized that I hadn't even THOUGHT about cigarettes the previous day.  I have no memory of what number day that was.

And, while I've had passing thoughts of cigarettes over time, that's all they've been; thoughts and memories.  The quality of my life dramatically improved when I quit smoking.  No, it wasn't easy.  (And I always apologize to Allen Carr when I say that--lol)  It was difficult.  But I was committed.  And I LISTENED to every single piece of advice I got here on EX because I knew that the EXers who had already achieved what I wanted to achieve were my very best resources and my invaluable support system.

So, here I am, ONE THOUSAND days later.  I'm happier, I'm healthier (my lungs are, anyway!), I'm proud of myself, my wallet is a bit fuller, I've made life-long friends and I've added months to my life.   Is there anything in that list that isn't worth more than a cigarette???

So, to all the new Quitters, to all the new members who haven't quit yet, and to all those who have joined EX and read the blogs but haven't made themselves known to us yet:  YOU CAN DO THIS, TOO.  One thousand days ago, I was EXACTLY where you are today; I was scared, I was unsure, I felt I would be losing something important.  I get it.  But If I could do it, so can YOU.  As I have said a hundred times here on EX, YOUR nicotine addiction is no stronger or harder to beat than any of OUR nicotine addictions were.  You CAN quit forever.  And you will never, ever, ever regret any discomfort you may go through to get to your freedom.  I promise.

Thank you to ALL the people here who have touched my life and helped me gain my freedom from nicotine.  I couldn't have done it without all of you.  And I can keep doing it because I have all of you here on EX.  I'm so very, very, very grateful.  I love you all.

xxxooo,   Sky



Posted by SkyGirl Jun 23, 2015

Once again, I find myself making excuses for not blogging more often and not keeping in better touch with my dear EX friends.  

I don't know why I never remember that summer travelers are very different.  Every year, at the beginning of May, the demographic of the passengers begins to change.  Most of the year, we are full of business travelers and frequent flyers, who are experienced with air travel, familiar with the routines and know the best way to make their flights easier for themselves.  But, with the start of summertime, we see the number of vacationers increase.  

Most travel rarely.  Many have only flown a few times in their lives.  Some don't know even the basics of air travel, such as no liquids/gels, the allowed size of carry-ons, and that it's been years since free meals were served in economy.  They are excited, but are often quite unprepared.  They have saved all year for their vacations and expect the impossible in exchange for their expensive plane ticket.  They are stressed and get upset easily.

Some examples:  

"I need you to fill up my ice chest with ice"  (I'm sorry, I can't.  We are only given a few bags of ice for the beverage cart and we must use that ice for all the passengers.)

"My baby is hungry.  What kind of baby food do you have?"  (Really, you left home with a baby and didn't bring any FOOD for the poor thing?  No, the airlines don't provide baby food.  Nor do we have diapers, baby formula or sippy cups.)

"Why can't I move up to that empty seat in First Class?"  (Why?  Because you paid for an Economy seat.  Those people up in First Class paid three times as much as you did for their larger seat, more leg room, free drinks and hot meals.  I'm sorry, but I can get fired for moving you up there.)

"My suitcase won't fit in the overhead bin. I need you to find a space for it"  (If your suitcase is too big, well, then, it's TOO BIG.  I'm good, but I'm not good enough to shrink a suitcase. I'll be happy to check it through to your final destination at no charge, though.  That's a pretty good deal these days, so please stop yelling at me.)

"My medication needs to be refrigerated"  (Well, first off, I am not allowed to take possession of, nor even handle, any passenger's medication.  Think of the liability!  And even if I could, we don't have refrigerators on planes.  A couple of the carts have chillers, but they are filled up with food and ice.  I can give you a sick bag with a few ice cubes in it.  I'm sorry, it's the best I can do.)

"I only have 30 minutes to make my connection.  I need to get off the plane FIRST."  (Yes, I know.  And so does everyone else on the plane.  I'm sorry, I can't make 150 people stay in their seats while you waltz off the plane. I will make an announcement to please allow those people with short connections to deplane first.  But, guess what?  That's EVERYONE.)

"What do you mean you are OUT of snackboxes to sell?  I have waited 30 minutes for you to FINALLY get to me!  I'm STARVING"  (I'm sorry, but we have no control over what the caterers stock on our planes.  If you are in the back of the plane, I might not have your preferred snack left on the cart.  But why would you get on a 6-hour flight with no snacks of your own?  And, by the way, the reason it took us 30 minutes to get to your row is because all the inexperienced passengers on this flight are so excited to get free drinks that they are asking for two or three drinks at a time!  Geez, we'll bring the cart through again in about an hour.  Nobody will die of thirst.  I promise.

"Why is this drink service taking so long?  You stopped in the middle to let the pilots out of the cockpit and that took too much time!"  (Here's the thing: The Captain is exactly THAT--the CAPTAIN.  When he requests something, we do it.  He can't fly three flights a day without a meal, nor can he do it without going to the lavatory once in a while.  And, yes, it does take a long time to set up the security barrier, get the flight attendants in position to guard the cockpit door when it is opened.  Why is it so complicated?  Because of 9/11. Need I explain that, sir?)

"This has been a nightmare!  Our last flight was delayed!  Our luggage got lost!  The gate agent was mean to me!  There is no direct flight to Timbuktu!  The airport food was so expensive!  This seat is too small!  There are no pillows!  My back hurts!  And I forgot my wallet!"  (Um, yeah.  While I'm PRETTY sure that none of this is my fault, I'm happy to take your abuse, apologize on behalf of United and the universe, and keep my Perma-Grin glowing while I do so.)

I love my job.  You all know that.  But, summer travelers are sometimes enough to make a person smoke!  Not me, though!  There is nothing that will "make" me smoke ever again.  Thank goodness, I got smart about nicotine addiction.

So, why the blog title "999"?  Because tomorrow, I join the QUAD SQUAD!!!!  I quit forever on 9/27/12.


Just saw this...

Posted by SkyGirl Jun 7, 2015

"If you are tired of always starting over...don't give up"

It sure seems to apply to quitting smoking, doesn't it?



Thank goodness May is over!

Posted by SkyGirl Jun 1, 2015

I haven't been around EX since a couple of days after our Nashville EX3 and I can't believe the whole month of May has gone by... 

I had taken all of April off, using up accumulated sick time, so that I could stay at home with My Beloved in Oregon and then have a stress-free trip to Nashville with The Old Ladies. 

But when I reported back to duty on May 1st?  Holy Cow!  The Crew Desk acted like I was the only flight attendant in the whole company available for trip assignments.  They worked me so hard in May that on my last layover, I actually slept in my uniform! 

And my health has suffered as a result (Ellen gets this, I know!).  But May is over and I'm no longer subject to the whims of the Crew Desk, for June anyway.  So, I'm taking a deep breath and I'll be around EX more this month.

I have lurked a few times (Giulia caught me once!) but was too tired to blog.  But I still have a lot to catch up on in everyone's lives, so I'll be reading past blogs a lot.

I have a trip to San Fran tomorrow with a 26 hour (!) layover in downtown near Union Square.  I'll be looking for something to do all day on Wednesday, so if there are any EXers in San Fran that would like to come meet me for lunch, I would SO love it.  It doesn't matter if we don't know each other yet.  Because if we have lunch and talk about our Quitting EXperience, we will surely be friends by the end of lunch, right???  And meeting face-to-face is SO incredibly wonderful, not to mention strengthening for our Quits!  So, please private message me or make a comment here if you are an EXer in San Fran.

To the Old Ladies: I got us a Groupon for a wonderful brunch here in Reston.  So I'll be contacting you guys to see when we can all come hang out at my condo for a weekend.  And, Brenda M, YOU ARE COMING, TOO!  And anyone else who lives in the DC area.

I walked past a bunch of smokers just outside the door at the Seattle airport yesterday.  I usually take a deep breath and hold it when I'm walking past a smoker (and they are ALWAYS standing just outside the airport entrance getting that last fix before their flight, just like I used to do!) but I didn't see them in time.  Unfortunately, I took a deep breath just as I passed them.  It made me sick.  How could I have wasted so much of my life doing such a harmful, expensive, nasty thing?  Oh, wait.  I know.  I was ADDICTED to nicotine.  But no more!  Thank you, EX and all my friends here.  I love you!

xxxooo,   Sky