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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


Seattle, anyone?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 26, 2017

I’m flying into Seattle tomorrow night (Thursday, 10/26) for a nice long 25 hour layover.


I arrive at my hotel, which is about five blocks away from Pike Place Market, at about 9pm tomorrow night.


I’ll be hanging out in Seattle all day on Friday, the 27th, until about 10pm, when I’ll be working the red-eye flight back to DC.


Do we have any EXers in, or near, Seattle?  


I would love to meet an EXer while I’m here!  It doesn’t matter if you have a successful Quit or if you are brand new to EX and don’t really know anyone yet.  Heck, I’d really love to meet up with someone who is even just starting to THINK about setting a Quit Date.


Lunch at a restaurant in Pike Place is on me.  Or brunch.  Or a snack.  Or even just a cup of coffee.  Or at any place you want to meet up that I can get to via public transportation or Uber.


Are there any EXers in Seattle?  C’mon, don’t be shy, please!  I WANT TO MEET UP.  (Photo op, too!!!)


Respond to this blog or send me a private message here on EX.  Or ask me for my phone or email in a comment on this blog.  


Let’s make this happen!


xxxooo,   Sky


What’s in YOUR toolbox?

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 23, 2017

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'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

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 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. And patience in action means this: When you think you can't stand it another minute? Just wait a little longer. It WILL pass.

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


Sharon (Shashort)

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 13, 2017

The banner photo was taken at EX5 in Virginia Beach last spring.  From left to right: Sky, Chris, jojo, Sharon, Pat, Pops and Laura (Michwoman).  Sharon is undergoing serious surgery on her hand and I would like to know if anyone has a hospital address for her and if anyone knows how long she will be in the hospital so we can send letters or flowers?  If she will be going home soon after surgery, please let us (me) know her home address so we can all send cards and flowers there while she recovers.


By the way, Sharon caught MORE water balloons than anyone else at the EX5 First Annual Water Balloon Toss.  So look out for Sharon at EX6 with her new thumb!


xxxooo,  Sky

September 27th came and went.  


It was my fifth year anniversary as an ex-smoker.


Granted, I was up to my eyeballs in wedding details just three days before my daughter’s wedding.


Even so, I really love the fact that this anniversary came...and went...and I didn’t even notice.


It’s the first anniversary that I wasn’t hanging around on EX all day, and loving the kudos I was getting.


It is bittersweet to think that I’m so successful at beating nicotine that a milestone like FIVE YEARS could just pass me by.


But, at five years...I’m so happy to be NOT thinking about smoking at all.


Love, love, love, love to all the wonderful people who came here before me and helped me to find my Forever Quit.


We find EX, we get involved, we support each other,  and WE QUIT.  Every one has a diffferent journey.  But the one thing we ALL have found is that SUPPORT MATTERS.


So please, let us support you.


xxxooo,  Sky

Sorry I’ve been MIA for a couple of weeks!   Both weddings in September were a huge success and I survived all the Mother-of-the-Groom and Mother-of-the-Bride planning and festivities.


I promise there will be something about not smoking in this blog, but if you guys could just indulge me for a few minutes, I’d really like to show you a few photos of the two weddings.  I appreciate your patience with me being the proud Mothership!


This first picture is me with all my “babies”!   From left to right:  Whitney (41), Max (33), me (old lady; age unknown), Spencer (30), Hayley (34), Oliver (36).  And to all you young mothers and fathers here on EX, this, yes, THIS is why you want to quit.  Because your “babies” need you to still be around when they are grown-ups and have children of their own.  Do you really want to miss being a grandma or grandpa?

This is the official family picture after Max & Jennifer’s wedding.  From left to right:  Peter (Hayley’s fiancé, now hubby after last weekend), Hayley, Whitney (with three of their four children), me (still an old lady), Max, his bride Jennifer (they’ve been together for SIXTEEN YEARS, since they were just teenagers.  We are so close after all these years that I sometimes forget that she’s not one of my birth daughters.), Spencer, his wife Evelyn, Oliver.  The kids in front are Claire (8), John (10), Graham (12) and then, at the far right, Oliver’s daughter, Vivienne (Vivi, age 6).  Missing are Whitney’s husband, Ben, and their oldest daughter, Addie (13).  Addie wasn’t feeling well, so Ben took her home.

Below, Max and Jennifer after their wedding.


Okey doke, that was the FIRST wedding in September.  Now, on to the second wedding in September, in which I was Mother-of-the-Bride (which I already knew was much more expensive and complicated!  But, to be honest, it’s also much more fun when the bride is your daughter.)


It was a smaller-ish wedding, with only 90 guests.  It was held in Glen Lake, Michigan at the Homestead Resort on the edge of Lake Michigan. This specific locale information is for @Michwoman (Laura!) and my other EX friends in Michigan because they will know how beautiful the entire Sleeping Bear dunes and Leelanau Peninsula is!  Michigan is my home state; I lived there from age 12 until age A-Lot-Older.  (Crap, I just realized that I have to count my decades in Ann Arbor on TWO hands!).


Anyway, I will post a bunch of photos of Hayley and Peter’s wedding (because I’m sure you folks are all getting tired of seeing pics of people you don’t know) without a lot of explanation.  Suffice it to say that it was an amazing wedding and I am so happy to have helped Hayley and Peter plan it.  But the very BEST THING about her wedding was when Hayley told me that she wanted me to come stay with her in her room at the Lodge on the night before the wedding.  The fact that she told me that she wanted to snuggle and talk with her Momma on the last night before she became a wife meant THE WORLD to me.  


So, in no particular order, here are a few pics from Hayley & Peter’s wedding.  I know I’m sharing WAY too much on EX about these two weddings, but I’m hoping my dear EX friends will understand...




And I said there’d be something about smoking in this blog, didn’t I?  Well, I had tripped and fallen during the night before the wedding when I was setting up the centerpieces.  I smashed up my right wrist AGAIN (remember when I broke that same wrist about four years ago?  Mascara applied with a left hand ain’t pretty!). It got kind of hard to hide how much it hurt during the reception.  So I slipped outside to just take a breather and to ice my wrist with a baggie full of ice during the festivities.  And what did I happen upon?  Four guests who had taken time out to go outside and smoke.  I am not one of those EXers who still loves the smell of second-hand smoke, so I got as far away as possible from them, but I overheard their conversation.  Here are some of the things they said: “I hope they don’t cut the cake while I’m out here”, “Do you think there’s anyplace around here that I can get cigs this late at night?”, “I’m so glad there are other people here that smoke”, etc.  It made me remember the days when my addiction to smoking made life choices FOR me:  How many cigarettes did I have left?  When is the next time that I’d be in a place where I could smoke?  Do I have enough time to go outside Security, smoke a few, and then get back though Security to my next gate?  If I buy a pack, will I have enough cash to give Oliver for his lunch money tomorrow?  This list goes on and on and on... 


I cringe when I think about how I let my nicotine addiction make my choices for me.


And I love that I found EX and GOT MY LIFE BACK.


To you smokers who are brand new here on EX or have stumbled into the site by accident:  You CAN quit.  Nicotine is a strong addiction; some studies say as strong as heroin.  But look at all of us who have broken free from that damn addiction!  Now listen to this carefully and believe it:  YOUR ADDICTION TO NICOTINE IS NO STRONGER OR MORE DIFFICULT TO BEAT THAT OUR ADDICTIONS WERE.  If we have found a way out of this addiction, SO CAN YOU.  There is nothing special about us.  We have no magic formula that you don’t have.   We were not stronger or more dedicated than you are.  So, please stay here on EX.  Start to blog so we can get to know who you are.  Ask questions.  Make friends here on EX.  And know how a strong support system can make all the difference.  WE can be your support system.


xxxooo,  Sky