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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Life Challenges

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 10, 2019

Sometimes life seems too hard. I have just been released from the hospital and may have lost my job in the process. I am doing everything I can to not freak out but it is Christmas and not a great time to look for a job. 


Recovery from addiction is much the same. We have to live life on life's terms even when it's hard. If you think you can't go on for the rest of the day then stay smober for the next 10 minutes, and the 10 minutes after that, and...You can do it!


I dont know what life will bring me but I do know that one way or another it will sort itself out! So will your recovery. Just take it poco a pocito - baby steps. Trust in your higher power and do your best for this next 10 minutes.


Live long and prosper!

Light Smoking Can Still Damage Lungs, Warns Research | NewsGram 

 I was one of those "light smokers!" Now I have severe COPD - 24/7 oxygen therapy and 9 + Years smoke Free! Don't do this to yourself with the Nico-Lie "I don't smoke that much!

Beating the Odds!

Today is a great day to Breathe FREE!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!!!


As all those wonderful aromas fill your house celebrate that tobacco isn't one of them! 

 Many of us have had experiences where a certain smell floods our brain with memories of a distinct event or location. Our sense of smell is linked closer with memory than any of our other senses. The reason is likely due to brain anatomy. Incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb has direct connections to two brain areas that are strongly implicated in emotion and memory: the amygdala and hippocampus. This may explain why the smell of something can so immediately trigger a detailed memory or intense emotion. 


Lots of us have reported phantom smoke smells. Replace them with smoke FREE memories!

I smell turkey, cranberries, pumpkin, ...yum! Can't wait to eat!


I was a serial quitter for the entire 20 years I smoked. The longest I quit was one year - just to pick up again while intoxicated. I didn't treasure my Quit at all. I quit because I mistakenly thought that there is a correlation between how much somebody smokes and the consequences. What I didn't know is that just one Sickerette is one too many!

One Cigarette Can't Hurt? Think Again | Live Science 


I also didn't realize that by giving myself permission to smoke - under certain circumstances - "I'm angry," "I tired and stressed," "I really, really want one," "I want to fit in," "I'm sad," "By golly, I deserve a vice!,"....whatever - we can always come up with an excuse to smoke even after weeks, months or years of smobriety! 


There is no such thing as one! AND that one is enough to change your DNA, to trigger cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and so much more. Not 20, not 100, not thousands - just one! And that one will inevitably lead to more - maybe not today but soon! And I was right back to my normal 10 a day.

 A Single Cigarette Can Raise the Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease | (2010 - now not so new!)


I social smoked, closet smoked, smoked "just one", and "quit" again and again and again!


So how did I stop the cycle? I educated myself about nicotine, dopamine, and addiction. It's all here! Read, read, and read some more. No excuses, no "just one" and you will succeed! The decision is yours to make!


The 6% refers to how many people who start to quit smoking actually make it to one Year Smoke FREE! If you don't like those statistics - remember nobody and nothing can make you smoke - except you! That means when you make an unbreakable decision to be in the 6% - you will!


The 2% refers to how many people relapse after 2 Years of smobriety! Now, there is no reason why you must become one of the 2% because you are the master of your Quit Journey!


Let's get you from Day One to days WON to 6% one day at a time. But Don't stop there! Let's make sure that you are never in the 2%! You can do this!


Today is a great day to LIVE Addiction FREE!


Live Long and Prosper! The decision is yours!


Brighten your Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 12, 2019

Quitting Nicotine is challenging - no question! Being nice to yourself becomes a necessity! Here we have tools which help. One of my favorite is called Positive Affirmations and Support. Check it out! We have ongoing contributions and affirmations are always fresh and very helpful on those good and bad days - any day - every day! Drop by and share!

LLAP! [Live Long and Prosper!]

Image result for every day in every way i am getting better and better


A Wedding!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 11, 2019

I realize there is a grief with the end of QuitNet and it's blend into our Community! To me, it feels like a wedding of 2 very successful and flourishing Families. It's Ok to be sad be happy, too! We ALL Welcome you Family to Family!

Image result for symbolic wedding illustrations

Let's Celebrate!


Step by Step

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 10, 2019

As you enter those first hours and days of your quit journey you may be filled with diametrically opposing yet coexisting feelings: joy and sadness, peace and anger, calm and nerves, and many more feelings. This phenomenon is not uncommon in the human experience but we generally are able to select one of the opposites to focus on and reject or ignore it's inverse. Smoking Cessation especially during physical withdrawal can make these emotions feel like they are rippling though us like a roller coaster.


I experienced these days with a pumping of adrenaline that left me wired and tired and sleeplessly energized. Others feel a deep depression and haven't the energy to get out of bed. After the physical withdrawal these symptoms don't disappear but subside into manageable increments. Extra rest whenever possible can help manage these early days.


But what about the following days? We might expect that after 3-5 days we're quit. Perhaps you have a family member or friend who seemed to lay down the pack and be done - just like that! I don't know of anybody who is asked more questions to be like that despite appearances - perhaps there are. Good for them but I wouldn't count on it!


Knowing what the triggers of cravings are does help: people, places and things. Some we can distance ourselves from and others we will need to overcome in the moment. The critical boss, annoying neighbor, fussy sibling - we all have folks in our lives some of whom we can stay away from (at least temporarily) and some we can explain our project of smoking cessation which will license them to take it easy and some who won't change their attitude at all. Be prepared - walk away if you can but when you can't walk away, have a plan of resistance. 


Places are easier - clean out your house, car, patio or other prior smoking places. Stay away from work break smoking areas. Don't go into or even near that gas station, convenience store or tobacco shop. I had my wife fill gasoline in my car until I was ready to take on temptation. I took it n steps. Soon I could fill my car with a card from the pump and not go inside. Later I could actually go inside and buy a cold drink or a pack of gum. It took a lot of inching in little by little and I still found it challenging.


Things - even easier if you really want to quit - no lighters, ashtrays, favorite paraphernalia and - certainly, no pack to prove you can keep it without smoking! Get rid of them! That's proof enough of intent. Alcohol - it's too tough to quit sober so why add fuel to the fire? You can make quitting easy or hard and you can make relapsing (i.e. "slipping") easy or hard.


Yes, you will have to get through some unexpected triggers but many can be avoided. Why make quitting harder than it already is? If you mean it - live it - one moment at a time. Ask yourself if the decision you make right now is in support of your smoking cessation or pushing the limits. If you push you will get pushed back. "Scientists have found, for instance, that nicotine is as addictive as heroin, cocaine or amphetamines, and for most people more addictive than alcohol."



Take it one step at a time and make Successful related decisions about people, places, and things!  That's challenge enough! You can do this! Not One Puff Ever! It's the only way - with or without quit aids.


LLAP! ["Live long and prosper!"]


Working from Home

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 8, 2019

I haven't been around a lot because I am transitioning to working from home. This opportunity is a huge benefit of my current job. No more driving in freezing temps, high winds, poor air quality. No more getting up at 3:30 in order to be ready for work at 6am.  No more lugging around my oxygen tanks and meds in case I lose my breath at work. No more missing a whole day because I wake up coughing and short of breath. No more strategizing how to get into the building past the smokers and vapers.


Not all of it is without it's challenges. I have to communicate strictly by computer (thank goodness I have experience blogging here!) Most communication is done with body language (65%), next comes tone of voice(28%) and a very small percentage in normal communication is based on word choice. I will have to hone my word choice skills just like we have to here. What one person reads as supportive another reads as critical! 


I also need to stay active. My plan is to walk 30 minutes during my one hour lunch, join a yoga class, and exercise at the Senior Center frequently. We also as a team will get together for non work related fun - a dinner or activity or movie, etc. If I don't follow through I will isolate and get lonely.


I need to stay focused and determined while I transition and throughout. Being at home could make me complacent and lead to failure. What I don't know for all of my planning and preparing is what it's really like. I can only envision based on speaking with folks who have had this job for some time. I rely on them and on those who are days before me to share their stories.


So what does this have to do with smoking? Everything! As you think of transitioning from smoker to EXer prepare a vision, look at the possible challenges, ask for insight from long term EXers and those who have just made the plunge, come up with a specific plan for each foreseeable challenge and set a quit date that doesn't move - no matter what! My first day virtual is Monday!


Things won't turn out exactly how you imagine just like my job will be different from my best of designs but due diligence leads to SUCCESS! That's the goal not "I gave it a shot!" but "i did it!"


Yes, you can! Yes, I will!


Nobody Will Ever Know!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 27, 2019

One of the biggest Nico-Lies we tell ourselves. This lie causes so many relapses and "slips!" Yet, like all things we know runs against our most fundamental values this is a whopper!

First, take the sneaking away, the smell, the bad skin, yellow teeth and nails, the dark circles under the eyes - anybody who has quit for a few months, even weeks, let alone those who have never smoked - oh, yes, they will! Even your pets will know - and be damaged by second and/or third hand smoke!

Your body knows, even if it's "just one!" 

Smoking even a few cigarettes a day leads to accelerated lung damage, study finds | MinnPost 

Your lungs, heart, brain and DNA "know!"

Then there's your Higher Power - you know and I know that (s)he knows and that you know! That's the most important part of all!

That's a lot of leaky information!

Don't go there! Your mind, heart, soul, and loved ones will suffer if you do 

...and it's harder to recuperate after a relapse than to stay quit so take it one day, one minute, even one second at a time - just don't light up! There's no place to hide this vice!


By now, most all of us know the dangers of smoking and vaping. But are you aware of the dangers of Nicotine Replacement Products?

Take Nicotine gum: Some of the side effects associated with nicotine chewing gum includes nausea, hiccups, hypersalivation and increased gastric acidity.


How about Nicotine patches? Some of the side effects when using the nicotine transdermal patch include an itchy rash, dizziness, sleep disturbances and even nightmares.


Then there's Nicotine Nasal Spray:  Some of the the side effects on a nicotine nasal spray include, watery, red eyes, nasal irritation like nasal congestion, a runny/leaky nose, sneezing and aggravation of pre-existing upper respiratory conditions, cough, itchy throat and disturbances of smell.


Nicotine Inhalers: Some of the possible side effects associated with Nicotine Inhalers include coughing, gagging, itchy throat and abnormal breathing sounds when used by a person with a pre-existing respiratory disease..

* Nicotine inhalers should not be used by a person with any form of respiratory disease.

Nicotine Sublingual Tablets: Some of the side effects include increased gastric acid, hiccups and nausea.

Nicotine Lozenges? The side effects of nicotine lozenges are similar to nicotine chewing gum and sublingual tablets, including increased gastric acid, hiccups, and nausea in addition to increased salivation (hypersalivation).

Does this mean I should not use NRTs? Not necessarily but Knowledge is Power and knowing the possible side effects of various Nicotine products can prevent a failure which may lead back into smoking and/or vaping. 

Other NRT Information and Facts

  • Most NRT products can be purchased without a prescription unless the person is below 18 years of age, but it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor first.
  • Combining two NRTs should only be done under a doctor’s guidance.
  • NRT should not be stopped suddenly because it can cause the same type of nicotine withdrawal symptoms that are seen when a person quits smoking suddenly.
  • Addiction to NRT is rare.
  • Tea, coffee, beer and soft drinks may reduce nicotine absorption and should not be used at the same time as a NRT product.
  • NRT should be continued for at 6 to 12 weeks after quitting smoking altogether. Recent evidence suggests that using nicotine transdermal patches for 6 months, instead of the prescribed 2 months, is more effective.

Source: Nicotine Replacement Therapy NRT Products, Dangers, Side Effects | 


Best advice: Ask your Doctor even about Over the Counter NRTs! 


You Can quit successfully! More people have quit smoking than currently smoke. There's no reason at all you can't be one of us!


Well, Thomas! Aren't you blowing things out of proportion? Things, I get that. Obviously I can't keep my favorite lighters, ashtrays, vape pens. But places......even, people? I have to change them too? They're only cigarettes!


I hear you. Now think about this. Smoking will kill one out of every two (yes, 50%) of those who don't quit! How do you like those odds? Each year, smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.


2) Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or cocaine. 


3) Nicotine robs us of our values, our natural enjoyment, our - selves!


It's no joking matter 


Get serious! Cigarettes (and now it appears to be vaping as well) are deadly! They hollow us out from the inside of our brains to every single speck of DNA. 


 Need I say: heart disease, cancer, lung disease  - Killers #1. #2. and #3. You know it and I know it but don't believe you're the lucky half. Today is a Great day to live smoke free!


People, places and things have to change. You won't be hanging out with your quit buddies and relatives. You won't be hanging around the smoke-break gang! You won't be keeping that memorabilia ashtray or Harley Davidson lighter. They go in the trash! Otherwise don't bother!


You can make it hard to quit or you can make it hard to smoke.  Which is the better option?

No half hearted quit "attempts" - get real! Be real! Become your best, blessed Self! 

You can do it but not if you sabotage yourself out the gate!


Please don't be dumb like me! Unless I get hit by a Mack Truck I'll probably die of smoking-related illness. But you know what's worse than dying because of Nicotine Addiction? Living as an Addict! I refuse to die an Addict to Nicotine! 


You can always tell when I have a bad COPD Day - I get emphatic. What do you think it is like to not! Hold your breath for awhile and multiply it by 150 times. That's close!

Smoking Cessation challenges our very sense of self. We have wrapped so much of ourselves into that paper filled with dead leaves and poison. Unwrapping is more complicated than getting through the physical addiction. In fact, if you choose smart turkey (or cold turkey) in just 3 days the physical addiction has been broken. 


So why so many relapses after the physical withdrawal? Nicotine robbed us of the ability to experience natural dopamine. So we have to relearn the reward of dopamine from the little things in life: a clean home, a delicious meal, a sweet moment with the family, a hug and lick from the family dog, - all the little pleasures of life. 


I use the gratitude list. Here's the challenge.. keep a gratitude diary with 3 things you're grateful for today. There's only one trick - you can't use the same gratitude twice. Before long you come to appreciate the Earth below your feet and the air you breathe, the rain that washes the skies and the grass in your lawn. Stretch - stretch - stretch your gratitudes! There really are enough to go around day after day after day - black days as well as clear days! 


The more grateful we are, the more filled with Love of our Higher Power the more we absolutely conclude that Addiction Free Life is gloriously beautiful! We have the God given strength to live Life on Life's terms no matter what! We are blessed because we recognize our blessings. And out of that abundance we share these blessings with each and every person we touch. The World is a beautiful place to be no matter what our circumstances. 


Many blessings upon each of you! LLAP!


Surf the Waves!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 2, 2019

Did you watch Morning Joe? Pull it up and listen to the vaping discussion after the 16th reported vaping death. Half a million people will die of smoking related illness vs. 70,000 of opioid overdose. Think about it! We're all freaked out about oxycontin but look at tobacco products!


Dale points out that the physical withdrawal is the small mountain and the psychological mountain is the Mount Everest of Nicotine Addiction! So true! So how do we handle the cravings? Ride the wave!


Resistance is futile - so stop fighting yourself! YOU are the NicoDemon! Jon Kabat-Zinn said "you can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf."  Give the feelings space to crest and fall while you surf on the top and pay attention to the shining sun, the cool breeze, the beauty of the day! 


It's a Win-Win! You enjoy your day beyond the cravings and you do the right thing for yourself! Pure Self-Love.... a gift from your Higher Power! There are hundreds of things you can focus on rather than the withdrawal! That doesn't mean that you ignore the cravings - you can't! You acknowledge them and then focus on the activity of your choice! Don't ignore and don't feed the cravings! 


Today is a wonderful day to live Addiction Free!



Early Days

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 24, 2019

My beginners story has to start on the day I was diagnosed with COPD - a beautiful Sunday morning on March 14. For me, nothing was beautiful. I had a severely high fever - my teeth were chattering and I was covered in blankets - one minute freezing and the next sweating with heat. Off to the E.R. and I heard a Nurse say, "inflated lungs." Little did I know that what she meant was Emphysema. Hours later, upon release I sat in my car and - yes, smoked a sickerette! The stress - you know!


I knew nothing about COPD. I knew that a beloved grandmother had passed away from Emphysema but she was old - I was 52 with a healthy past. I thought and thought and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I would have to quit! My addictive thoughts went bonkers! I so wanted to smoke because I had to quit! Now there's no other person on Earth, even Doctors and Nurses, even family and friends, even spouses and significant others, who can make a person quit! Only me! It came down to me!


I faithfully counted my last sickerettes - 10 and picked my quit day, March 20 - the first day of Spring! Then I solemnly promised myself that I would no longer beg, borrow, steal, or purchase any more coffin nails - I couldn't stand the idea of suffocating from Oxygen deprivation while I choked down another sickerette. 


I began by delaying as much as I could - just 15 minutes more, and 15 minutes more than that. And when I smoked I puffed one or two times and put the precious sickerette out for next time. And yes, those 10 sickerettes lasted me 5 days. On the sixth day I quit! 


Meanwhile I searched the internet for answers. I was a serial quitter, after all! I had quit every stretch from a few hours to over a Year and each time I relapsed. I knew how to withdraw - I'd done it dozens of time. But I needed more. Then I discovered BecomeanEX and remembered the funny commercials on TV. I read and then read some more...IT was still challenging and again and again I was tempted to give in and buy another pack - but I didn't. I came here and read and wrote instead. I went for walks, drank cranberry juice like a fish, allowed myself to break down, whatever it takes so I wouldn't lose this quit - this had to be my for reals quit! No more cheating and lying, sneaking and covering up, giving up and frustration at failure again!


No, it wasn't at all easy! But it was and is pretty simple. No matter what - don't smoke and eventually those days of misery become days of victory and then you forget to want to smoke. My forget day happened somewhere around 2 Months (we're all different  on this.) After 20 Years on smoking I actually forgot to want a sickerette!


But I was still very much in No Man's Land when most relapses happen (2-4 Months quit.) Some days I would have a guerrilla attack - like the sunny Spring day I was driving my car and BAM! Full blown desire to smoke right now! I went home and exercised like crazy! Or the time I walked into a convenience store and said without thought, "Marlbor - no, never mind! Give me this pack of gum!" Close one! Another time I sat in front of a discount sickerette store and stared at all of the offers in the window. Then, I drove away and got some chocolate instead. 


But I made it - because of Dale and Gulia, Rick and Mike @ Atlanta, Christine - Legend and Sheri, and so many more. But mostly I made it because of ME! I decided each day to pledge that I would not smoke and I honored that decision - just for today. I celebrated my milestones and took James' advice to become a Happy Quitter and Live4thedash's advice to Never Ever Forget! That's what BecomeanEX is all about! Find your superheros and most importantly, become your own Superhero! You can do this!



By the way that was 2010! LLAP!

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