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Sootie Blog

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Posted by Sootie Nov 16, 2020

Yesterday, 11/15/2020 was my eleventh anniversary of quitting smoking. As most of us do, I can honestly say that on that first day in 2009, I never thought I would see 11 years quit. As any new quitter soon discovers, looking down the years isn't really possible. We do this one minute (one second?) at a time.

May I just tell everyone......I am proud of my quit......happy that I made the glad that I found all of you.
So, I find it INCREDIBLE that I did not even realize it was 11 years yesterday until I  was at CVS and a gentleman asked me if I knew where the gum was for quitting smoking. I did not. He asked me if I smoked and at that very moment I realized what day it was AND what day it was! You see...being Sunday, I wasn't as aware of the actual date as I am during the work week. I told him no...I was not a smoker and as a matter of fact I was a quitter and had quit 11 years ago that very day. He looked at me as if he did not believe me (I didn't blame him!). He found a clerk who showed him the gum and I heard him telling her he was trying to quit. She wished him luck, he got in line, paid for his gum and left. I paid for my things and left. When I got outside, he was waiting and asked me if what I had said was true and I told him it was. LUCK was with me and I remembered I still had those EX cards Mark gave us in my purse. I got one out, gave it to him and after a short explanation of EX ( hard to carry on real conversations these days with the masks and the 6 feet) I invited him to the site and left.
Driving home I was again overwhelmed by the fact that I had not remembered my anniversary. I thought about the beginning where you counted every day and then that great FIRST YEAR MILESTONE! Do not is not that my quit is unimportant to me any is and will always remain one of the most important things in my life. It is that freedom has become my way of normal.
It will be yours also if you just hang in there and keep counting AND CELEBRATING the days (minutes, seconds). Know now and always that you made one of the best decisions you have ever made in your life. 
Stay Strong.

SERIOUSLY! I post this blog every year and we simply slid into November without my remembering!!! I am on "viral overload" (HA!!!!). Mark---I couldn't get the @ thingys to work right.......


In November of 2009-----YES 2009, can you believe that??----a group of people from many different places decided to quit smoking and somehow found their way here---to the EX Community!!!  We are the November to Remember group.

Here we are in November of 2020 and we are now 11 years----ELEVEN YEARS----quit!!!!!  Bonnie11.3.2009

maynell debi12 molzep debbiem2 done .....and me-----Sootie!!!! Did I forget anyone? I want to wish you all a great November as we move into our nine year milestones. Many of you have become friends and I always look forward to your blogs and messages. Some of you I have not heard from lately and hope you are doing well.

There are other November quitters on here also----2012 quitters-Jordan.Quit.11-1-12 joyeuxencore_11-5-12 Danno_11-10-12-----they will be quit for SIX years this November.

A special shout out to jojo29 who quit on 11/1/11. Many of you know this fantastic EXER. She had a lung transplant but keeps on tickin (and kickin)! Hope you are doing well girl friend….long time no see on this site but I see you on fb "doing your thing".  And let's have some really LOUD and continuous applause for Sheryl who tops us all with her quit date of 11/11/2008---- YAY Sheryl!! TWELVE YEARS OF FREEDOM!!!!! 

WHO ELSE??? I don't have a "computer program" for this stuff so I just go by friends and people I can remember.  We’d like to hear from ANYONE who is a November quitter…..come on the blog and shout out your year. I am sure we will also have some 2020 November quitters…..welcome to our group. Be serious about your quit because the November to Remember quitters do not mess around !

  So---let’s celebrate all month long….ALL OF US----from January quitters to December-----whether you are quit for one day or one year or five or ten-------CELEBRATE-------you are an EX


The Flight of the Geese

Posted by Sootie Oct 28, 2020

As I said a few days ago----I seem to be "out of inspiration" for new material. So I hope you will forgive my yearly "re-post" on THE GEESE. Ignore if you've seen it too many times.....but I see lots of new names on here now, so maybe there will be a few who have not seen this.......I always find  this story inspiring.


One of the signs of Autumn here in Northeast PA is the sight of geese flying south. 

 When you see geese flying South for the Winter…know that you are watching an incredible feat of teamwork, support, and power.

The V formation used by geese provides "uplift" for each goose from the goose flying in front of this way the flight is 71% more efficient than if the goose flew alone. Isn't this true of us here at EX? Each of us who have gone ahead provide "uplift" for those coming up behind us. I don't know our percentages, but I know that I was much more successful quitting because of the "uplift" I got on this site.


 When a goose falls out of formation, it quickly feels the drag and resistance from not having the help from the others. So many of us know that feeling....especially in the beginning. It is hard to leave the site for even a day because we need the others on here to help us. Those of us who have longer quits now need the site because of the friendships we've made. The drag and resistance on our lives without these friendships make us hurry back to the site.  


When the lead goose becomes tired, he falls back in the formation and another takes its place. I think we've all seen that no one person can always take the lead here on EX. It becomes a burden and tires that person to a point of losing focus. Someone must step up and take the lead so that others may rest.  


All of the geese honk to provide support and encouragement to the goose in front of them. Here we all are "honking" to each other in order to provide say----I am still here!...are you?....keep going!.....stay strong! REMEMBER NOPE!!!


When one goose is injured or wounded and falls to the ground, two others land with it and stay with it until it is ready to fly again or until it dies. You have only to go to look at the blogs about those who have suddenly "fallen to the ground." Not only two but many EXes will daily check on the person through blogs, emails and messages---- asking and encouraging the person to return---until all hope is gone that they will return.  


The lessons of the geese are the lessons of synergy.......the concept that when we all work together the end result is greater than if each of us acts independently.  


Thank you for your "uplift"------it has been my honor to fly with you.  



Posted by Sootie Oct 24, 2020
I haven't felt inspired to blog in quite some time.......I guess I used up all I had to say in my first 10 years of quitting.
But today, I had a "feeling" and I wanted to share it. I hope you all understand where I am coming from.
We have lots of back roads in Northeastern PA and I love driving them......ESPECIALLY if they are really winding and ESPECIALLY when the trees have turned such gorgeous colors that you just can't believe your eyes. This has always been something I love to the curves on an Autumn day with the music blasting,  with a hot cup of coffee AND A CIGARETTE.  
Today-----for some reason----that thought hit me again, out of the blue, while driving the road. 
I wanted to blog about it to try to explain to new quitters that this DOES NOT MEAN that after 10 (almost 11) years of quitting I "want" a cigarette. I know when I first quit, I was worried that for the rest of my life, I would always want a cigarette. This isn't what happens......but at the time, it's hard to believe.
Today, when I thought about smoking a cigarette as I was driving, it was like a fleeting thought....just a flashback memory. I didn't need to avoid convenient stores.......I didn't need to find something else to do.....I wasn't going to smoke.
The way I think of cigarettes now is in a kind of dis-belief like......REALLY? Did I REALLY do that and for so long? WOW.
And guess what---10 years later I am still driving winding roads in Autumn  with a coffee from Dunkin and the music blasting. And I enjoy it just as much without a, I enjoy it MORE!
Stay Strong.


Posted by Sootie Aug 31, 2020


My dear friend Giulia sent me little slips of roots and leaves for brown eyed Susans in the Spring. They were fragile (much like new quits) and I was unsure if they would survive.

Through much nurturing and caring ( just like we receive here on EX), the flowers have thrived and blossomed into these beauties( just like our quits can if we nurture and protect them).

And now----brown eyed Tennessee Susans are growing and thriving in Pennsylvania. 

Thanks G!!!!



Posted by Sootie Aug 31, 2020

Hard to believe it is four years since our dear Betty (froguelady) passed away. Everyone on this site who knew Betty from her blogs or was lucky enough to meet her in person knows what a wonderful person she was.

Even after Betty received the diagnosis of lung cancer, she called me to let me know I should blog and say that she was STILL so glad that she had quit……she was sure the last few years being quit were so much better since she was free and she hoped she would defeat the cancer. Sadly, that was not to be and we lost one of our best.

I always use the term "LADY" very sparingly....bestowing it only on those of the feminine gender who have real grace, class and courage. Betty was a LADY and I miss her very much.

I always hope her spirit is remaining here at EX to remind us that quitting is for  life and for your life.


Metamorphosis 2

Posted by Sootie Jun 1, 2020

Thomas3.20.2010 blog on Metamorphosis reminded me of this story which I have posted on EX a few times......but it is a favorite of mine and it dovetails with my dear friend's blog so well...................


You want your quit to be easy? You don't like the struggle of quitting---you just want to be done? Here's a story that is food for thought.....

One day, a small boy saw a caterpillar/butterfly struggling to emerge from the stickiness and tight wrappings of the cocoon. Feeling sorry for the insect,  the boy got some scissors and cut away the remnants of the cocoon, freeing the butterfly. The butterfly looked kind of funny---it had a huge, bloated body and very small wings. After a few moments, the poor butterfly died.

Distraught, the child ran crying to his father who explained that the struggle the child had sought to help with was really very necessary. As a butterfly battles to emerge from the cocoon, the struggle pushes the fluid out of the body and into the wings...expanding them and making them ready for flight. It also rids the body of the bloating fluid allowing the butterfly to breathe.

So too are life's struggles necessary AND the struggle to quit smoking. While it would be nice if it were easy---would you value your quit as highly? Would you do everything you can to protect it if it were just so easy to quit?

Struggle on fellow EXERS----there is nothing wrong with needing to work at something and give it your all. the butterfly knows, struggle is life.



Posted by Sootie Apr 8, 2020

This is a personal story. I realize we are all different and that every quit is also different. However, maybe, my story can help one of you.

I quit for a very long time at one point in my life----I quit for 13 years.

That long quit of mine failed because it was doomed to fail right from the start. And this is why I want to share the story. If this is your “quit thinking”…….do everything you can to change that thinking right now…..or, sad to say, your quit will also not be forever.

The quit I am in now is forever. Yes….that sounds over confident…..but it’s true. The reason I can make that statement is I do not in any way, shape or form “want” to smoke a cigarette……ever. Not when work is at its most stressful, not when I am seriously worried about my kids, not when my Mother died, not even during this horrible, scary pandemic. During my first long but unsuccessful quit……I constantly “wanted” a cigarette. I talked about them, I acted like a martyr, I envied smokers….and I eventually became one again.

FULL DISCLOSURE--- I do, occasionally, think about smoking….a very fleeting thought that makes me smile and sometimes laugh…..such a ridiculous thing to do. I don’t ever “want” a cigarette…..I don’t ever “want” to smoke.

In my opinion(and my opinion only!)……your thinking HAS to be that cigarettes are nothing. Your thinking  HAS to be that smoking was a mistake…….a mistake you wish you had never made. A mistake which you are SO HAPPY you are no longer making.

You have to enjoy being a non smoker…..not feel sorry for yourself that you ”can’t smoke”. You cannot just “mouth” the words…….you have to internalize the feeling…….people who smoke don’t “get” to smoke….they “have” to smoke.

Once you realize how foolishly ridiculous smoking is……no excuse will ever have any weight with you. Your quit will be safe in your keeping……because you will have DIFFERENT QUIT THINKING.

Stay Strong...we're all in this together!



Posted by Sootie Apr 1, 2020

When all this virus stuff began, I had written on my blackboard message Winston Churchill's "THIS MAY BE OUR FINEST HOUR"

However, my children and husband, who are somewhat less "inspirationally inclined" than I am, kept making fun of it........

So, bowing to the pressure.....I changed it.

They like this one.


I HAVE BEEN.........

Posted by Sootie Mar 30, 2020

In the past approximately three weeks, many, many others.....have been:







>And yes sometimes.....................BORED!


However, for all of our new quitters who are wondering if they will ever, ever, ever not think about smoking.....I can ASSURE YOU never once did I feel like I either needed or wanted to smoke! I remember when I first quit I wondered if there would ever come a time when I could experience all of the above emotions and not absolutely need a cigarette.

Take heart....just like this crisis......we are all in this together.



Posted by Sootie Mar 15, 2020

For those of you who are retired or in a situation where you do not have to go out to work may view this virus scare a bit differently from people who must go out to work.

You're right......I guess. The more things that are closed the less it spreads.....I guess. I really don't know and it seems to me that even our most respected scientists are not sure for how long must things stay closed to stop the spread???
Because, nice as it may seem to stay off from work for 14 days, 20 days, whatever.....where is the money to come from? Where are the services and products to come from if everyone just stays home?
They closed the schools. Well ok. But tomorrow, my child care centers will be filled with the school age children who on Friday were in school. 
Don't take them?  Well ok. Where then will they go? And there is the small matter of an agreement that says when school is closed they are enrolled in our centers.
Close our centers? Well, ok. But then, where do ALL the children go----school age and the younger ones.  HOW do the parents go to work?
The parents should stay home from work because of the virus? Well, ok but what if these parents are nurses? First responders? People who keep the electricity on? Keep the water flowing......or MOST IMPORTANTLY....pick up the garbage.
I am in favor of  doing everything to stop this virus.........BUT there are.........................................
The only "easy" answer I have for you this evening is...don't use this virus as a reason to smoke. Keep your quit no matter how stressful it may matter how much you may want to tear your hair out over the matter how changed your daily life may become. 
Thanks for "listening". Everyone stay healthy out there.

We are always reading blogs on EX about how people are scared to quit, overcome with anxiety about quitting, worried about quitting..................I am sure I wrote some myself when I was first quitting.


Whenever I am scared, anxious or worried about anything, I always find it helpful to ask myself..................WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN? Meaning.......if I do the thing I am scared, anxious or worried about doing.........what is the worst case scenario?


EXAMPLE----I hate to fund raise! I hate asking people for money. So, every time I have to do this, I ask myself...what is the worst thing that can happen? Well, the answer is....they could say no and/or they could laugh at me and say no.

I can live with that.


So what is the worst thing that can happen if you quit? You have to answer this for yourself......but I'll bet whatever it is you can live with it.


Now, answer this......what is the worst thing that can happen if you DON'T quit?

Think you can "live" with it?



Posted by Sootie Feb 4, 2020

No no----GOD FORBID!!! Sootie IS NOT going to post a political blog on this site.


However, since I am sure many people's minds are on Iowa as mine has been.....I got to we have anyone active in the community from Iowa? I don't hear it a lot. But, have you noticed some States are well represented at times and some less so......for example....I feel we never hear much from the New England contingent.....particularly Vermont and Maine. Why is that? These are the things I ponder.


So-----IS anyone from Iowa and also how about a shout out of where you are located. Sure...we've done this before BUT, we have LOTS of new members and I'm just curious......


 So-- I am Sootie and I live in Northeastern Pennsylvania(the Poconos). But as some know....I ALSO consider myself a Jersey girl!


And you are..................................................?


Sometimes----things in life are all in the way you decide to interpret them....................

For EXAMPLE----today is Groundhog's Day-----

>If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow....we will have six more weeks of Winter.

>If Punxsutawney Phil does not see his shadow....we will have an early will arrive in about six weeks.


.............TEN YEARS AGO......................there lived a knight in shining armor in the Kingdom of Southwest Florida. The knight was kind, gentle, brave, caring and helpful.......but, unfortunately,  he was a smoker.

The laws of the Kingdom were changing....being a smoker was no longer going to be allowed for knights. This made the knight very angry. He felt his freedom was being taken away......and, he had always been SUCH a good knight!!!! But, since he WAS a good knight, he did quit smoking. On the eve of the new year 2010, he smoked his last cigarette and rode off on his trusty steed.

The knight arrived at the village of EX and told all there of how much he hated the fact that he had to quit smoking. Something was being taken away from him....he was angry, depressed and annoyed. But the little village of EX had a special magic about it-----the magic of commitment, the magic of support, the magic of understanding AND the magic of collateral kindness.

As the knight spent more time in the village----slaying dragons, rescuing maids and felling villains----he came to understand that the REAL FREEDOM was never taken away from him at all. The REAL FREEDOM is the freedom from the addiction of smoking and that had been his all along----he simply had to CHOOSE IT!!!!

Becoming tired of being a knight (the dragon slaying was tedious, the villains too easily felled and since women's lib the maids weren't anxious to be saved) he turned his trusty steed into a shiny train and became a CONDUCTOR!!!! Almost everyone here at EX rode on his train often. It was a train of friendship, fun and freedom and it served our community well for many, many years.

Sadly, this good man is now no longer very active here on EX…… and other issues have robbed us of his daily presence. But we remember him fondly on this his TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF FREEDOM!!!!!

pir8fan   My good friend----I wish you more and more and more days of health and happiness.........I am so glad I got to share this quit journey with you. Happy 2020.

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