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SkyGirl Blog

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I came to EX because I kinda, sorta, maybe wanted to quit smoking. Not for just a while. FOREVER. I wasn't sure I was ready. I wasn't sure I had what it would take... Because being a smoker was part of my identity; my life revolved around when I could smoke, where I could smoke, how many cigarettes I had left, where I could buy another pack...(I KNOW this sounds familiar to you!)

 

But I came to EX and I opened my mind... I listened (even to the things I didn't want to hear...)

 

I recognized that many of the people here had already achieved the exact thing that I wanted to achieve: Happily living a life without nicotine.


So I read what they told me to read. I read Allen Carr's book. I did the Tracking and the Delaying exercises. I went to the other sites that were recommended. I was scared and not sure, but I DID all the things that all these successful EXers had to tell me... And I set a date. A Quit Date. A day that I would do whatever it took to start living my life without being a slave to my nicotine addiction.

I was a STUDENT and I learned how I could stop being a nicotine addict. It wasn't easy. But I spent a LOT of time here on EX and got to know people and accepted the support and friendship they were so happy to give to me.

It was like a lightbulb went on in my head on the day that I GOT it. Poof!

I understood COMMITMENT instead of "trying", "attempting", "hoping".

I understood taking PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY instead of wishing for "luck", and blaming "stress", "weakness" or "being around smokers".

I understood seeing quitting as FREEDOM instead of seeing it as "sacrifice", "giving up", "suffering through" or "losing" something.

I understood that the feeling of so-called "enjoyment" and "need" was no more than my physical addiction calling out to me...and that I didn't have to listen to it!

When I quit, it wasn't "EASY". Sorry, Allen Carr, it wasn't. But I had a whole new way of thinking about it and that made it EASIER.

I've been here for a while now. I have about four and a half years of freedom from nicotine. I still can't belive it's been that long when I see it in writing. But I have more than that.  I have the knowledge, the understanding, the thinking, the confidence and the TOOLS to know that I will never ever smoke again.

And I have all that because I LISTENED to the people here and I FOLLOWED their advice.

To all the new folks who have just joined us here: Whether you stumbled in here by accident while browsing or if you researched carefully in order to find a great stop-smoking site...it doesn't matter.

Because your addiction to nicotine is no stronger nor harder to beat than our addiction was. You CAN quit. If we could do it, so can YOU.

Leave all your assumptions at the door. Be a student here on EX. You won't ever regret it. We promise.

 

xxxooo,  Sky

SkyGirl

About Day Three...

Posted by SkyGirl Mar 2, 2017

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 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.
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 the 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 easiER 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!!!
xxxooo, Sky


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

I'm totally lost here...

Posted by SkyGirl Feb 23, 2017

I am totally intimidated by this new site.  I read the advice on how to use it, but I can't figure it out.  And I'm not stupid.

 

Do I have an Inbox anymore?  If so, where is it?  How do I contact people privately?

 

I somehow clicked on something called "authored" and got a ramshackle, disorderly list of blogs I had written as far back as September of 2012, yet all were shown with dates of January of 2017.  Huh?

 

Do I have my own page anymore?  If so, where is it?  If we do have individual pages, how do I find my friends' pages?  Or see pages of new folks so that I can get to know about them?  Did our "Friends List" carry over?  If so, where is it?

 

Is there ANYTHING that resembles the way the old blogs were posted in real time?  If so, where is it and what is it called?

 

Is there a way to tell who is currently on EX at any given moment?  

 

What is the EX Cafe?  I've seen people mention it, but where is it?  What is its purpose?

 

I have come here several times and tried to look around a bit.  I don't even remember if I logged in or not...either way, I have sensed my level of frustration rising (and it takes a LOT to get me frustrated, as my friends here well know!) so I throw up my virtual hands in realtime despair.  And just leave this site.  WHY does this new site have to be so complicated to learn to use?  In the times I've been here, I've felt completely alone.  Completely.  I get NO sense of community at all.  I feel like this is a huge building that I'm running around in, down hallways, opening doors, yelling...and can't find anything or anyone.  

 

If I were new to EX, didn't know anyone here, and was scared and nervous about quitting smoking...well, I'd be gone from here real fast.  But since I know that my old friends are SOMEWHERE around here and that there MUST be some new stuff here that works well and is user-friendly, I'm going to trust that there is also a tutorial or a new user page or a "manual" of some kind.  Where is it, please?   And, hello, can anyone see this?  I don't even know where it will be posted?

 

xxxooo,   Sky

SkyGirl

SkyGirl Archived Profile

Posted by SkyGirl Jan 23, 2017

Description

 

About me?  I'm 61. I am a flight attendant with United Airlines.  And, NO, I do not drag passengers off the plane or swing strollers at their heads.  (Current news of 4/17)

 I was married to my high school sweetheart for 17 years. We have five children and 5 grandchildren, I have been amicably divorced for 23 years. My ex is a great man and my children are lucky to have him as a father.

 I have been in an amazing, supportive, loving relationship with Jeff, since the year I was divorced.  Yes, I had the same boyfriend for 22 years!  We finally got married on the beach in 2016.  We felt married already anyway, but it was still cool. 

I am based with United Airlines in Washington DC, and live in a condo in Reston, VA, most of the time.  Jeff & I have a small home on the beach in Cape Meares, Oregon,(near Tillamook), where he lives and is the General Manager of a resort hotel in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.  I get home to Oregon about once a month for a week or so each time.  "Absence makes the heart grow fonder..."

I picked up smoking when I was 16 and quit when I was 30. I quit with the aid of a program called "Smoke Stoppers" which was offered by a local hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, which is my hometown.  It was my first attempt to quit and I was successful because I was SO committed to quitting.  I quit for 23 YEARS! 

My sister came to DC for Obama's first inauguration and she smokes.  For SOME unfathomable reason, I took one of her cigarettes and was IMMEDIATELY hooked again. I couldn't let another inauguration roll around and still be smoking!  So I quit on September 27, 2012.

Oh, and I LOVE cats.  Jeff and I have two cats: Kenneth (Ken) and Barbara (Barbie).

 

Brief Description

61 year old flight attendant

 

Website

No website in profile.

 

Location

if not up at 38, 000 feet, then either reston, virginia or cape meares, oregon or ann arbor, michigan.

 

Interests

traveling, reading, internet, crabbing & fishing at my other home in cape meares, oregon

 

Skills

cooking, writing, making people comfortable & welcome

SkyGirl

1492 Days Ago

Posted by SkyGirl Dec 8, 2016

1492 days ago, I had my Quit Day all planned out.

I'm a flight attendant, based in DC and had traded into a long downtown layover in Seattle, with plans to meet My Beloved for a celebratory night.  

BUT...I screwed up.  Big time.  I had read all the recommended reading.  I had done all the practice runs without cigarettes.  I had done all the tracking exercises.  I thought I was READY.

On the morning of my Quit Day, I overslept and missed my flight.  I woke up, felt like **** and immediately drove to the 7/11, bought a pack of cigarettes and smoked them, while feeling like a complete failure of a human being.

I blogged about my failure and the way I hated myself.  I got a lot of responses.  The most pointed one was from Dale and called me out about purposely sabotaging myself. He was probably right.  Thank you, dear friend, for not letting me get away with anything...

However, the one response that stood out was from Owlfeather:

"I want  to see you stop smoking in such a big way.  I can see such a butterfly there suffocating"

I am not, nor have I ever been, a butterfly.  But the idea that someone so wonderful like Owlfeather could ever see me that way??  

I was inspired and I was determined after that.   Three days later, I quit.  Forever.  You don't need anyone to help you quit.  But it really helps.  And I will be here for ANYONE who needs a boost, a song, a story, an anything to keep them strong.  I promise to help.  Just never be afraid to ASK for help.

xoxoxo,   Sky

SkyGirl

A Smart Turkey

Posted by SkyGirl Nov 23, 2016

Hi, Everyone!  It's been a hectic month and I haven't been able to be here on EX much.  But sitting in a hotel room in Seattle and realizing that tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I think it's time for my annual re-post of my blog called "A Smart Turkey". So here it is!

Quick!  Tell me what comes to mind when I say the words, "cold turkey".

  

Let me guess.  Miserable withdrawal.  Endless cravings.  Curling up in a dismal ball on your bed.  Feeling horrible.  Pacing anxiously.  Am I close?

  

Here are two ways to quit:

  

1) You decide to quit.  You get rid of your cigarettes.  You gut it out.  You spend your time FEELING all the effects and symptoms of the nicotine leaving your system.  You feel out of control.  You don't know what to do.  You don't think you can make it through...because all you are doing is FEELING...without understanding it.

  

2)  You decide to quit.  You educate yourself.  You read about nicotine addiction and how nicotine usage has hijacked your brain receptors and your dopamine pathways.  You learn exactly why your brain has told you that you LIKE and NEED smoking.  You start to understand what will happen to your brain and your body when you quit.  And you prepare for those emotions and physical symptoms by planning how to handle them when they occur.  You get a support system of friends, family and EX in place. THEN you get rid of your cigarettes.  And when urges to smoke hit you, you are able to step outside of them emotionally and see them for what they are...making them much easier to deal with.

  

Gee.  One of these methods is cold turkey.  The other is smart turkey.  Not hard to tell the difference, is it?

  

Oh, what about nicotine replacement therapies?  They have their place.  But only if you understand that there is no commercial NRT in the entire world that will do your quitting FOR you.

  

Your BRAIN is the biggest, best nicotine replacement therapy available to you.  Use your brain to make the decision to quit, to commit to that decision and to honor your commitment every single day.

  

Then, if it helps you, use NRT to take the edge off during your early Quit.  Anything that you use temporarily to help you quit smoking forever is great.  Just don't substitute one way of using nicotine for another!

  

Smart turkeys are more likely to join that small percentage of forever quitters.  Be a smart turkey.  Gobble, gobble.

  
     
  
   I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow, wherever you are.  I'll be flying a red-eye tonight (Seattle to Washington, DC) and three flights tomorrow (Wash, DC to Phoenix to Houston to San Diego).  That means I'll be personally involved in helping 712 people get to be with their loved ones this Thanksgiving!  It doesn't exactly make up for not being home on a holiday, but it sure helps.  And knowing that My Beloved won't be alone again this year (he's spending the holiday with my in-laws at their winter cabin on Mt. Hood) also helps.  I have a tiny 12 lb. Butterball turkey waiting in my freezer, which I'll be cooking up with all the fixin's when I finally get a day off.  And, in my eyes, that teensy bird will be as glorious as the big 24 lb. turkeys I used to make every Thanksgiving before I was a Sky Person.  
  
     
  
   Enjoy lots of gravy, my dear EXers!!  Love you all.  Don't smoke.  It's bad for you. 
  
     
  
   XXXOOO,  Sky 
   
   

To Everyone who has just joined EX, who has tried to quit, who is lurking and wants to quit but is scared..

Here is my post on the day I planned to quit.  I had come to EX, unsure, uneducated about nicotine addiction, frightened and not really sure that I even wanted to quit.  Actually, I'd come a couple of weeks earlier.  I'd done the recommended reading.  I'd done the trigger exercises.  I'd done the "practice runs".  I was SO ready.

Yeah.  I thought so.

But my Big Day came and I screwed up.  Read it and look at how I blamed being SOO tired.  Read how my now dear friend Dale (jonescarp) called me out.  I thought he was being so mean to me!  He just didn't understand how quitting was so much harder for ME than for anyone else!  Yeah, right.  Dale, how'd you get so damn smart??

My failure was a real wake-up call.  

If I really intended to rid my life of smoking, then I was going to have to do three things:

Make a DECISION to quit.

COMMIT to that decision.

And HONOR that commitment.  No matter what life threw at me.  No matter how I felt.  No matter WHAT.

And so, three days after my failed Quit, on 09/27/12, I claimed my Forever Quit. 

It wasn't always easy.  But if I could do it...so can YOU.

xxxooo, SKY

 

 

Sky Girl   Comments (15)

  

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Well, so much for my big day.  I've been flying tons of extra hours this month and I've been getting more and more exhausted with each trip.  And this morning, of ALL mornings, I slept through FOUR separate alarms.  What finally woke me up was a call from the Crew Desk, screaming "WHERE ARE YOU?????"  I got a "DNF" in my work history, which stands for "did not fly".  I got three penalty points on my record.  And I got reamed by my supervisor.  They replaced me on the trip and wouldn't give me another trip to make up the time.  So I don't have a 28 hour layover in Seattle, I don't get to see my boyfriend after not seeing him for four weeks, I don't get to enjoy all the wonderful surprises he had planned to celebrate my quit, I had to call him and tell him not to fly to Seattle because I screwed up, which disappointed him greatly.  So, I was sitting in bed after all this, still in my nightgown, feeling like a total loser for messing up everything.  And what's the first thing I do to feel better?  I throw on some clothes and run to the 7/11 for a pack of cigarettes.  Then I sit in my car in the parking lot, crying my head off and...smoking.  I couldn't be more disappointed in myself.

   
   
       
   
    
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      Share    |    I screwed up.    I screwed up.     
      
            
     
     
           
    
   
  

Comments (15)

  
   
     Sky Girl    

10 badges

   
  
  
   

And did it make me feel better?  No, it made me feel like even MORE of a loser.  

   
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Sky Girl 1492 days ago

   

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     yaya Feb 2010    

6 badges

   
  
  
   

Check your inbox

   
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yaya Feb 2010 1492 days ago

   

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     ItsTimeNow    

5 badges

   
  
  
   

Ahh' Babe, what a hard day!  I know that you will get back on this wagon and for real this time.  Don't be too disapointed in your self just use that energy to get through the next crisis!  

   

J.

   
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ItsTimeNow 1492 days ago

   

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     mygirls_2-14-14    

10 badges

   
  
  
   

I'm so sorry this happened,  jump right back in, you can do it!

   
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mygirls_2-14-14 1492 days ago

   

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     Thomas(3-20-2010)    

10 badges

   
  
  
   

Failure is only the opportunity to more 







intelligently begin again.








Henry Ford

   

You learned a lot! Now, you can use that knowledge to tear yourself down or you can use it to intelligently begin again! You are an intelligent Lady! I have every confidence that you will make the correct decision! We're talking about FREEDOM here - we're talking about LIFE - Happy, Healthy, BETTER in every way! It's yours for the taking....

   
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Thomas(3-20-2010) 1492 days ago

   

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     Patty-cake  (Quit 6-8-12)    

11 badges

   
  
  
   

I'm very sorry that this all happened as well. Like everyone said, don't beat yourself up. You really can do this. Easier said than done, but you gotta pick yourself up and do it again. You know you can. We are all here to support you. 

   
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Patty-cake (Quit 6-8-12) 1492 days ago

   

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     SmokedOut ♥QUIT♥ 04-14-2012    

9 badges

   
  
  
   

Sounds like a really bad day :-(You've already added that smoking didn't make you feel better---only Worse, soooo let it go, collect yourself, and get back here with us. You know you will never be a happy smoker so it's time to become a non-smoker. We will be here for you when you are ready.

   
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SmokedOut ♥QUIT♥ 04-14-2012 1492 days ago

   

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     oceanstar2    

7 badges

   
  
  
   

I'm sorry about your bad day!  Don't give up, you can do it!  

   
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oceanstar2 1492 days ago

   

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     jonescarp aka dale (1-2007)    

9 badges

   
  
  
   

well you had lots of opportunities to not go to the 711.

   

I'm absolutely positive quitting smoking made you oversleep.

   
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jonescarp aka dale (1-2007) 1492 days ago

   

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     cyn    

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cyn 1492 days ago

   

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     CindyMac    

8 badges

   
  
  
   

It takes a commitment that is unwavering. You must really want it for yourself -no matter what! What do I think? I'm here for you today, tomorrow or next week! There will come a day when there's nothing to do...and you still won't smoke. Like you- I picked a "packed" day- a huge schedule change-to start my quit. I understand your thinking-get it back- stronger than ever-for YOU!!! Don't feel bad...don't cry...Get back on the horse and Ride!

   
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CindyMac 1492 days ago

   

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     stonecipher    

10 badges

   
  
  
   

I think you need to get more sleep. If you slept through 4 alarms you obviously were not well-rested enough to fly again. Don't you have to be alert and aware in your job?  I don't think it's a job you can just sleepwalk your way through your shift. So, you screwed up.  You had a horrible day, and now that you know smoking didn't help, you have all the more ammo to fight with when you quit "for real". :)

   

Hang in there, we'll be here.

   
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stonecipher 1492 days ago

   

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     Owlfeather    

9 badges

   
  
  
   

You are not going to like me after this, but here goes.  I think you subconsiously sabotaged yourself .  I recognize it because I did it for years and years.  Always, always some reason I could not, simply could not do without smoking.  You were not ready to commit to N.O.P.E.  NO MATTER WHAT.  That means NO MATTER WHAT, NOT ONE PUFF EVER.  It is so easy to commit to quit while you  are still smoking.  You did not have to go to the store.  You could have rolled over, and gotten some much needed sleep instead. OR YOU COULD HAVE COME HERE AND BLOGGED HELP!!!!!!! Before you went to the store.  That's why you joined a support group right?  To help you stay smoke free?  Use us.  You did not choose to quit.  You must DECIDE.  Decide means Final by the way.  I want to see you stop smoking in such a big way.  I can see such a butterfly there suffocating under that smoke.  DECIDE.  NOT ONE PUFF EVER.  NO MATTER WHAT. 

   
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Owlfeather 1492 days ago

   

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     Youngatheart (7.4.12)    

12 badges

   
  
  
   

Listen to Owlfeather.  She is a very wise

SkyGirl

Sky Girl = Broken Record

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 24, 2016

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 

SkyGirl

Preparing For Your Quit

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 17, 2016

Many people decide to quit cigarettes on the spur of the moment.  They may have been thinking that they WANT to quit for a long time, but the actual moment is a knee-jerk response to smoking too much the night before or some other trigger that makes them toss the pack in the trash and declare, "That's it.  I'm done with cigarettes!".  And then they feel really good about it...until the first craving hits them and they can't figure out how to get through it.  So they say, "Ohhhh, this is TOO hard.  I can't do it!".  And then they smoke.

  

They did not PREPARE for their Quit.  And as Miguel de Cervantes said, "Forewarned, Forearmed, To Be Prepared is Half the Victory!".  (Good old Miguel wrote "Don Quixote"  Here's a pic of him.  Isn't he cute?)

  

And he wasn't just a pretty face!  He was right about this. 

  

Forewarned?  It means gather knowledge about your enemy (nicotine), it means learn all that you can about addiction, about quitting, about what works and what doesn't work. It means listen to the folks who have already quit successfully here on EX and take their advice seriously.  Do the reading.  Do the Tracking and Separation exercises here on EX.  Understand your addiction BEFORE you attempt to quit.

  

Forearmed?  It means spending time thinking about, and choosing, how you will handle cravings.  These are the weapons with which you will be forearmed (a fancy way of saying "armed beforehand", get it?)  To do this, I suggest you start with two separate lists. 

  

The first list is "Things I will DO when I am Craving".  This should be small simple tasks or activities, such as take out the trash, play solitaire, start a load of laundry, do 15 jumping jacks, trim your toenails, go yell at the people who work for you (ok, maybe not THAT), a crossword puzzle book, write a real postcard to someone, rearrange your desk, call your mother, take the dog for an extra walk, clean out your kitchen junk drawer, play Solitare...you get the idea, right? 

  

The second list is "Things I will Put into My Mouth INSTEAD of Cigarettes".  These are oral substitutes.  Flavors and textures that will distract your senses from a craving, and keep your mouth busy until the craving passes.  The obvious things are gum, hard candies and mints.  But think outside the box, too.  Other items on this list could be licorice sticks, whole cloves, olives, flakes of red pepper, Cheerios (one at a time, like a baby does), teeny cubes of cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on your tongue, pistachios, butter rum Lifesavers, swigs of bottled water, a Tootsie Roll Pop, sticks of fresh zucchini, cherry tomatoes, a spoonful of peanut butter...have I got you thinking?  Not only does this direct your taste buds from the memory of what smoking tastes like, but it also can help with breaking the habit of the hand-to-mouth motion.

  

Now, assemble your "weapons" against the cravings.  Buy or find the items on these lists that will allow you to put these ideas into actual practice when a craving hits.  Find a suitable totebag or box.  This is your "Quit Kit"  (This may seem like overkill, or even silly, to some new Quitters.  But, dying from smoking is pretty darn serious and you need an arsenal to beat your addiction.)  Don't forget to include your two lists in your Kit.  During the first days of your Quit, and for as long as necessary, keep your Quit Kit near you.  And utilize it when the urge to smoke hits you.  When a craving comes over you, you can just, oh, say, grab a handful of breadsticks and go run around the block while you munch on them.  Or how about crack open a can of coconut water and go paint your fingernails?  Or eat six black olives while dancing around the coffee table, humming ABBA songs?  Crazy, but effective.

  

Finally, don't forget the most super-secret effective Crave Buster EVER:  Bite into a whole lemon, peel and all.  Nothing will kill a crave faster.  I promise.

  

The point is this, folks; IF you prepare properly for your Quit, you are more likely to succeed.  Don't just sit there and feel reeeeaallly bad when a crave comes over you!  Take ACTION until the crave ebbs away.

  

"Forewarned, forearmed; to be prepared is half the victory".  It works.  And if I can quit, YOU can quit, too!

  

xxxooo,  Sky

  
     
   
   
SkyGirl

Mad! I was so MAD!

Posted by SkyGirl Oct 5, 2016

Today, I went out to sit on my patio.  I don't often do that.  Why?  Because when I was a smoker, the patio was my private smoking haven under an extended roof that protected me from rain and snow.

I had it all arranged just the way I wanted it so that I could sit out there for HOURS and smoke one cigarette right after another...and another...and another...

I had a comfortable big wooden rocking chair with comfy seat and back pads.  I had a round side table, always covered with a tablecloth that could be washed when stray ashes dirtied it. I had my favorite 1960's aqua glass ashtray.  Sometimes I switched that out for one of my other cool mid-century, kidney-shaped, dripped-glaze ashtrays.  I had a lamp on my table so I could read when it was dark.  I had a chrome wastebasket with a foot pedal-controlled lid, close enough that I could dump my ashtray full of smelly butts without having to leave my rocking chair.  I had a magazine stand, stocked with reading material, within arm's length.  I had an oscillating fan a few feet away to blow the smoke away from my neighbor's balcony (I thought that I was SOOOO considerate to provide that for them!).  And finally, I had a small electric heater under the side table, pointed at my feet to keep me warm in the winter.  What a set-up!  I only had to go inside the condo to eat and sleep.  I spent HOURS out on my patio.

When I quit, I dismantled the entire set-up out there.  It had too many associations with smoking.  I had learned that one of the most important things you have to do is to break those associations, not only with things like coffee, driving, talking on the phone...but also with physical surroundings and daily activities.  

It's a very effective tool to do things like: sitting in a different chair to watch TV, getting up from the dinner table to take a short walk outside immediately after eating, to take a shower in the evening instead of your usual morning routine, to play different music in the car, to brush your teeth at random times during the day.  You may not realize how many unconscious associations with smoking that you have in your daily habits.

But, back to why I was SO mad!  When I went out on my patio today, it was only to sweep the autumn leaves off.  But I immediately spied a cigarette butt.  It probably came from the guy two floors up who smokes.  Or maybe from one of the guys who drives the lawnmower past my patio.  Or...heck, I don't care WHERE it came from!  I only know it was there, sitting in all its nastiness on MY patio.  Mad.  I was SO mad.  

And then it struck me.  How many times had I tossed cigarette butts on other people's sidewalks, out my car window,  in parking lots, outside buildings before I entered them and in all kinds of random places that would be considered littering at best and causing a fire hazard at worst?  Lots of times.  Thousands of times.  And never thought one single moment about how wrong it was.  

I plead guilty.  And to all those people, known and unknown to me, I humbly apologize for infringing upon your spaces with my nasty, thoughtless addiction.  

I am so thankful to be free now.

xxxooo,   Sky

Hi, Everyone!  It's been almost two weeks since I last found time to sit down and spend some time here on EX.  Time goes by so quickly, doesn't it?  It really seems like the older I get, the faster the world spins!  I've flown every single day since 9/13!  Only two nights in my own bed in Reston, VA.  And NONE at home in Oregon with My Beloved.  I will finally have two days off in a row on October 3-4.  A whole 48 hours!

Anyway...I missed my own 4 year anniversary!.  I can't believe it!  I'd been thinking about it earlier in September but then promptly let the big day pass without a single thought of it.  

I suppose that is good, in a way.  I mean, we quit smoking so that cigarettes won't control our thoughts and actions anymore, right?  So that we can live healthier, happier lives without a nicotine addiction, true?  It's the desire of every single EXer to jettison tobacco and never worry again about when our next cigarette will be, isn't that so?

If those statements are true, then I guess the fact that tobacco occupies my thoughts so little that I would let this big anniversary pass right by me without a thought, really does mean that I've achieved complete freedom!  Yay, me!!

But I never forget that, with one small thinking error, I can become completely addicted all over again.  The brain remembers nicotine.  You can jumpstart your addiction all over again with just one puff.

How do I know, without a doubt, that this is true?  Because I did it to myself.  Here's a quick synopsis of my story:

I smoked from age 15 to age 30.  I had always said I wouldn't smoke as a grown-up.  At age 30, married with four children, I deduced that I must be a grown-up now.  So I quit, with the help of a hospital-sponsored program called "Smoke Stoppers".  It was considered a "bad habit" back then, not an addiction.  It was hard but I did it.  

I did not smoke a single cigarette for TWENTY-THREE YEARS.  Yes, I said 23 years,

  Eight years ago, my smoking sister came to visit me.  One night, as we sat on the patio, drinking wine (first red flag), I asked my sister for one puff of her cigarette "to see if I still liked it" (second red flag).  Surprise, surprise, I DID like that puff.  So I borrowed a whole cigarette (nail in the coffin of my 23-year Quit).  
   
  From that day on, I began smoking a pack a day.  23 years down the drain.  Pfffft!   Gone in a puff of smoke.  Literally.
   
  Thank goodness that I only smoked again for four years before I came to my senses and found EX.  Randomly browsing with no concrete quitting goal in mind, I came across this wonderful site that has saved me from nicotine addiction.  Well, actually, I saved myself with all the information and loving support I found here.
   
  And, here I am now.  Four years smoke-free.  Never again will I forget the power of nicotine and that an addiction can be rekindled with one puff.  I will always stay vigilant.  No cigarette will ever touch my lips for the rest of my life!
   
  xxxooo,   Sky.  (P.S.  Thank you for all the LOVELY anniversary wishes on my message board!!!)

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 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.   (This is a re-post that I first wrote and posted a few years ago)

SkyGirl

9/11

Posted by SkyGirl Sep 12, 2016

Today was the 15th anniversary of the horror of 9/11.   

At United Airlines, which is my airline, eleven flight attendants died that day, on Flights 175 and 93.

Flight 175 was flown into the second tower. 

Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, PA, but was intended to fly into the White House.

At American Airlines, thirteen flight attendants died on Flights 11 and 77.

Flight 11 was flown into the first tower.

Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon.

It's always a hard day for me.   And for every other flight attendant.

Those 24 innocent flight attendants died doing the same job that my flying partners and I do every time we fly.

It is always a little hard to go back to work the day after 9/11 each year.

And we are always hyper-vigilant, overly-observant and carefully suspicious on 9/12.  

And 9/13.  And 9/14. And 9/15...  And every single day of the year.

We never forget.  We never will.  But we will always fly.  We will not live in fear.

Pray for peace in the world.

xxxooo,   Sky

It seems like the change in seasons always brings lots of new people to EX. This post is a time-proven help to those Quitters who need their family and friends to better understand the process of quitting nicotine.  This letter has been reprinted so many times in so many places.  But it's a gem.  Use it.  It's one of those "tools" we are always promising you.  It WORKS.

xxxooo,  Sky

  
     
  
    Dear______,
  
    I am about to try and change my life for the better. I am going to quit smoking. I just wanted to write this letter to you so you know what to expect for the next couple of weeks, since the process of withdrawal can be very challenging for me, and for those around me. (Most people do not realize it, but nicotine addiction is literally one of the hardest drugs to kick, even harder than heroin).
  
     
  
    Everyone reacts to the withdrawal symptoms differently, but in general, during the first two weeks (Hell Week and Heck Week), don't expect much from me. I will most likely not be my normal self. All of my attention will literally be taken up with fighting the physical and mental urges to smoke. I may cry, I may yell, I may ignore you. Worst of all, I may say very hurtful things to you, but I want you to know that this is the nicotine talking, not my heart. I WILL apologize afterwards, once the poison has left my body and my mind has cleared, but for the moment, please, PLEASE remember that I love you, and let it roll off your back.
  
     
  
    You need to know that when a smoker quits, the body and the mind will try almost anything to trick the user into taking another puff. I may rationalize that "now is not a good time". I may question the worth of my existence. I may talk about feeling a sense of emptiness and loss. My body may develop aches and pains. I may not be able to sleep. I may act like the pain I am experiencing is all your fault.
  
     
  
    But be aware that I am doing this for ME, not for you. In this one important way, I have to be selfish, so that I cannot give the nicotine a reason to put the blame on anyone else. So you must not feel responsible for my discomfort and depression. Even if you feel you can't stand to see me this way, whatever you do, do NOT tell me it's OK to smoke, just to stop the pain. You have to be strong when I am weak, so do not agree with any "junkie thinking" I may come up with.
  
     
  
    Here are 10 things you CAN do to help:
  
    Be there when I need a hug, but don't be hurt when I push you away.
  
    If I tell you to leave me alone, give me space, but don't go too far...I need to know you are near no matter what the nicotine says.
  
    Don't try to argue with me when I start to rationalize...silence is a more powerful message.
  
    Avoid the topic of cigarettes (because I'm trying to get them off my mind), unless I bring it up first.
  
    Do the best you can to act as if everything is normal. The more "normal" you act, the faster I will get there.
  
    Consciously avoid putting me into situations where I will be in the presence of smokers. This may mean avoiding favorite restaurants or bars, or hanging out with certain friends for awhile.
  
    Consciously avoid letting me get into stressful situations...if something stressful can be put off for a couple of weeks, please try to do so. If not, please try to cushion me.
  
    Help me avoid "trigger" situations...places or activities where I usually light up. (For example, don't plan long road trips for the next couple of weeks if I usually smoke in the car).
  
    Just keep telling me it will get better, that the emptiness and pain will fade, that you love me, and that this effort is worth it.
  
    Tell me I am strong. Tell me you are proud of me. But also, tell me you will be there no matter what I say or do.
  
     
  
    I just wanted to prepare you because the first two weeks are usually the worst, but be aware that it doesn't suddenly get better...it will be a gradual process. Also, please be aware that while I am doing this quit for me, you and those around me will benefit as well. I will be free from the shackles of needing to know where the closest cigarette store is. I will be free of the smell and stains. I will be free of an early death. And I will be free to spend more quality time with those I love.
  
     
  
    Thank you in advance for being strong enough to love me, and help me through this.
  
    Love, _______
  
     
  
   This letter has made a real difference in many of our Quits.  I hope it helps some of you new folks