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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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I know I did! I was a serial quitter who could quit easily - for weeks or months but not for good! When I came to BecomeanEX I did what I do best - research. What I discovered gave me the courage, fortitude, and determination to keep going forward. 

Nicotine is so poisonous that it sickens the people who harvest it - many of who are children.

Why Are Children Working in American Tobacco Fields? 

Cigarette butts pollute our beautiful planet.

Cigarettes and Planet Earth 

Nicotine related Illness costs Society more than $300 Billion each Year!

CDC - Fact Sheet - Economic Trends in Tobacco - Smoking & Tobacco Use 

Nicotine even damages pets, children and old people even when you don't smoke around them!

Third Hand Smoke 

In fact, recovery from Nicotine Addiction takes real effort but it is simple and it is doable. Keep them away from your face - just for today! Again, and again, and again - no matter what!

Within weeks you'll feel so much better. Healing begins the minute you put out the last sickerette!

Stay close and Know your Enemy!


Thomas: 8 Years, 7 Months, 3 Weeks, 5 Days, 6 Hours, 11 Minutes, 56 Seconds and counting........



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 11, 2018

Impossible is for the unwilling - John Keats

I'm Possible

You can let the fear-stress-yearning take over or you can make up your mind to stay Smoke Free!

Which will you decide today?

These are the moments that I live for! I spent 3 days with my Son and Granddaughters while my Daughter-in-Law made a major research presentation in Washington, D,C! I'm so proud of her! Imagine sharing your research with 360 to 400 veterinarians  from around the world! 

Tahlia is walking (sort of) and talking (sort of) and Miss Penny is quite the young lady and she's not even 3 yet! 

No smoke on me, in my hugs and kisses, on my clothes and hair. Penny plays bubbles with my oxygen putting my canula in a glass of water and Tahlia plays with the ***** and chews on the cords. 

I can only hope that I have enough Years ahead to share with these two Princesses. They are the love of my Life!

That's right! Preparing for winter, cleaning up the last of the leaves, and making plans for Thanksgiving gatherings! But also National COPD Awareness! Just think about it - at least one in five of us has COPD and half don't know it! 12 million people!


Here's a great article that covers the basics. Just read it and ask yourself if you think you need to be tested. The test is very accessible, affordable, noninvasive and you know the results immediately. It's called Spirometry Test.

Early diagnosis leads to better choices! LLAP

Shedding light on the silent killer, COPD | Columns | 



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 2, 2018

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You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.

Glinda - Wizard of Oz

A.K.A. The 3 As of AA.

Be aware of your triggers and smoking habits - the people, places, and things that stimulate your cravings. It could be second smoke, a lighter, a 7/11, a breaktime at work, your spouse, parents, sister, "friend," boss.  Just Pay Attention and write it down - X,y,z, started my craving.

Accept that a trigger is never responsible for being a trigger! You are responsible for your quit! So since smoking is 100% not an option, what will you do next time so-and-so or whatever sets you off? Have your answer in hand. The more you do this, the more prepared you'll be for both expected and unexpected triggers.

Action - walk away, change your thought, hum a tune, snap a rubber band on your wrist, pop a mint, get grounded and follow through to the other side of your crave - taking direct action is way easier than trying not to smoke!

Plan before you quit, plan the day of your quit, plan today no matter how many days you have quit and you will soon have your plan so ingrained that taking action is just normal - you new normal as a Smoke FREE Individual - not a slave to addiction!


Autumn Beauty

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 16, 2018

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There is a part of me that will forever want to be walking under autumn leaves, carrying a briefcase containing the works of Shakespeare and Yeats and a portable chess set. I will pass an old tree under which once on a summer night I lay on the grass with a fragrant young woman and we quoted e.e. cummings back and forth. Roger Ebert
Image result for roger ebertImage result for roger ebert


Don't let smoking steal the autumn days from your Life! Every single day is precious and worth it! You are worth it!

Never quit on your Quit!


Ending my MIA

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 3, 2018

I missed every one of you and appreciated every message sent during these past 2 Months. Now I am back and much better! Still smoke free and breathing better than I have in a long time. I changed up all of my meds and changed pulmonologists as well as speech therapy. My vocal cords were burnt with acid reflux. That is just part of a very challenging time in my life going back to July. But I never gave up!

Sometimes you really get challenged and you have to give it your all to get through. Quitting Smoking is one of those times. When you make the unbreakable decision that smoking is not an option things actually become much easier. My perspective changed and the questions in my mind changed from "to smoke or not to smoke" to "since smoking is not an option, what do I do instead?" 

We all have different answers to that question so take what works for you, make it your own, and leave the rest. There are literally dozens of answers to be found in these blogs. Try Best of EX if you don't know where to start. READ READ READ! When some person resonates with you go through their early blogs and watch their Quit grow right before you eyes!

We have lots of answers but only you can make them yours and become an EX and my guess, if you listen to what is said you can become a Happy Quitter! How sweet is that?


Walking the Walk

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 24, 2018

You've got to walk right into what you want and not look at what you don't want. Stay focused on the goal.

Calvin LeHew, Author

If you haven't already make a list of what you expect or at least hope to get out of Smoking Cessation. It's OK if you only have 3 things on your first list. 

Then work the list frequently! I still work my list and it's several pages long now!

Walk the walk!

It's worth it - YOU'RE worth it!


Newbie Advice

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 5, 2018

We have a saying here that I first heard from my friend indingrl.01.06.2011

Take what you like

And leave the rest...

to be helpful is our only goal!


We don't all agree, In fact we agreeably disagree on many, many things.

For example: once an addict always an addict.

Or you have to want to quit for it to work. 

Or NRTs vs. Cold Turkey vs. Smart Turkey.

Take your time to learn before you quit

vs. Quit Today! And fill your quit time with knowledge.

Commiserate with a relapser vs. Tough Love.


Well, this is just a small sample of how we each have our own opinions. And I can understand how this might be confusing to a newbie but in actuality, it's this diversity that makes our Community so dynamic!


The final word is yours! It's your Quit Journey. It's your LIFE! It's your Recovery - which means reclaiming yourself and starts out by not following anybody else's opinion more than your Own! By listening to various points of view you know what your options are. I have a saying - if you don't know that you have a choice - well, you don't! This diversity gives you choices!


Own your Quit! 

It is common for people to think that smoking is a way to calm your nerves and deal with feelings of anxiety. But the truth is, nicotine can cause anxiety symptoms or make them worse.
Some of us believe that smoking seems calming. But nicotine also ramps up blood pressure and heart rate, two physical symptoms that can mirror anxiety. Studies have shown that smoking actually increases anxiety it simply does so after the cigarette's effects have worn off which, inevitably compels a smoker to smoke yet again...In fact, the most common cause of anxiety in those that use cigarettes to cope is withdrawal. The effects of nicotine last a very short time, especially as you become accustomed to it, and so minor withdrawal symptoms start often throughout the day. One of those symptoms is anxiety, so while nicotine reduces anxiety after it's smoked, it then increases anxiety more than you would suffer without nicotine later, forcing you to go back and smoke again. Now, you're smoking to relieve the anxiety caused by smoking - and around and around we go!

Also, smokers with a history of anxiety disorders are less likely to quit, often because nicotine withdrawal symptoms can cause or worsen anxiety symptoms temporarily only to smoke to relieve - not the underlying anxiety - we never get to that - just to relieve the anxiety caused by smoking. It's like a loan shark! The interest gets paid first and you never touch the principle!
The other, forgotten reason that nicotine contributes to anxiety is because it essentially replaces your own natural ability to cope. Stress coping, a.k.a. resilience is a mental skill. When you don't use it, you lose it. Smoking numbs anxiety but it doesn't actually help you cope (since nothing you take for anxiety is true "coping"), and so your ability to cope with stress without nicotine gets worse. That's why so many people turn back to nicotine when they're stressed - their minds and bodies don't know how to deal with even minor amounts of stress without it. Anybody who has been through the diet yoyo or the exercise yoyo can relate. Any little "reason" can distract us from our newfound skills.
There's another wicked anxiety trap - we develop anxiety about smoking related illnesses, how your job is affected by your smoking, relationships based on and compromised by smoking, etc. But these are all secondary anxiety causes. We all know that smoking shortens your lifespan, damages your organs, and can have a negative effect on nearly every part of your body, not to mention your mind and spirit.So it should come as no surprise that smoking can contribute to anxiety as well. But smoking doesn't just affect anxiety in the brain. It also affects anxiety in the lungs.
It's the lungs that may contribute to some of the worst anxiety symptoms. Smokers are generally aware of how much they're putting their lungs at risk for cancer and damage because of smoking. But you may not be aware that your damaged lungs may affect your breathing.Those that smoke may start breathing faster or less efficiently than those that don't smoke. Faster breathing can cause hyperventilation, which is when the body breaths out carbon dioxide too quickly. Carbon dioxide is necessary for your body to function properly. Smokers can also hyperventilate from coughing too often, as this may cause accidental fast breathing.Hyperventilation is one of the most common triggers of panic attacks and severe anxiety symptoms, such as chest pains, rapid heartbeat, light headedness, and shortness of breath. These feelings often trigger intense anxiety (and further hyperventilation), which can be extremely difficult to manage and may cause the development of an anxiety disorder (most commonly panic disorder). Then we have anxiety because we have anxiety.
Speaking for myself, anxiety and panic attacks are embarrassing. They seem to come out of nowhere for no reason and my whole body shakes uncontrollably whether I'm with family or at home or conducting my daily business. The more embarrassed, the more I worry, and the cycle becomes completely out of my control. I can't even physically escape because I can't drive safely so I have to be vulnerable and admit to colleagues, strangers, as well as family that I'm caught in a panic attack and need a quiet calm place to bring myself back under self control. I feel like it will last forever - that time becomes infinite in my panic - but it's an illusion. Panic attacks don't have to last more than a few minutes - because I can take control back!
Due to the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine, when you quit smoking you may also start to hyperventilate, which may lead to further anxiety that could cause you to feel like you need to smoke again. In addition, smoking in general changes your lung health to such a degree that you may have developed poor breathing habits already that are going to be exacerbated by the way your lungs feel when they're free of cigarette smoke. That's why you should be prepared for these feelings before you quit smoking, and make sure you have a support system in place to help keep you away from cigarettes.
If anxiety is making you fear smoking cessation or keeping you in the relapse loop, start with the basics - breathing! The second that you begin to notice anxiety, focus on your breathing and make sure that you are breathing very slowly, exhaling much longer than inhaling and inhaling through your nose while exhaling through your pursed lips. The very act of smoking taught us to mouth breathe. Inhaling through your mouth causes hyperventilation and rapid breathing which causes anxiety. Breathe deeply rather than shallowly. Put your hand on your belly and breathe down to where your hand is. Feel the diaphragm expand and contract. Not only are all of the body mechanics correct for relieving anxiety, you also gain a sense of control - "I know this is anxiety. I know it is uncomfortable but I am in control and by breathing correctly it won't last long."
Smoking Cessation hasn't cured my anxiety but unlike smoking - it doesn't contribute to it. Now my anxiety is caused almost exclusively from COPD. But I have through the process of smoking cessation learned resilience = coping skills and although I dislike anxiety attacks, I know that they are temporary and that I am in control.
Neve Ever Give Up! Your Life is worth it - YOU are worth it!


3000 DOF

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 6, 2018

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Oh, how I wish we could always keep this in mind! I get in dark moods. I get taken down by illness on a regular basis. I'm very introverted which is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing lies in knowing myself profoundly - perhaps that is the curse as well, come to think of it! 

This moodiness - chronic anxiety and depression along with COPD - came with it's own challenges of grief. Grief is a natural part of the Recovery process in breaking the chains of Nicotine Addiction. Good Grief! To come to acceptance of the fact that despite - no, because of - my illnesses, both physical and mental I am not just "good enough." I am uniquely special and worthy of Self-Compassion and Self-Love.

As I pulled back the layers of denial and isolation, followed by anger - at people, myself, at society, even at God - for the natural consequences combined with a torturous upbringing, I bargained with my Soul and my Lord to be released from being who I am. I would have given just about anything to change so many things that cannot be changed. The past cannot be redone. 

Then piece by piece, time and time again I repeated these steps - each time securing acceptance, even seeing the blessings and finally, offering gratitude to God, not for the evil in the world but for the Lord's mercy that provides wisdom, understanding, compassion and peace of spirit to those who have been touched by it. Like peeling an onion, layer by layer, memory by memory, emotion by emotion, belief upon belief - living Life on Life's terms

.....and discovering the Rainbow that is the Gift of LIFE!

The Journey continues....


The Dream Cigarette

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 5, 2018

Enthusiasm and excitement overwhelm me! I'm finally going to do it!  

I get a hit of dopamine with every thought of anticipation: counting my money, getting into the car, driving to the gas station, buying the smokes and a brand new lighter in my favorite color, putting down the money and picking up my treasure. I want to make it extra special so I'll go to my patio with my large glass of iced tea next to me. Put my feet up smell the fresh cut grass, trees, and flowers in the garden. Then I pick up the pack, tap the bottom, carefully remove the cellophane, pull out the cigarette, stroke it, smell the tobacco. I get my my lighter out and now, I'm so excited my hand shakes a bit - I'm almost there!

I put the cig between my lips and even pretend to toke it a time or 2. It's time! I'm really going to do it - I'm going to have my first smoke in 8 years - WOW! I can just imagine the high I am about to feel!

I flip my Bic and......

UGH! It doesn't smell good after all! In fact it's disgusting! But I spent so much time and mental effort talking myself into this! It will get better in a second! Puff! Oh, the gross taste hits my clean mouth and rolls over my teeth and down my throat! *Cough*cough* My stomach starts flipping, What was the Big Deal?

Guilt! Shame! Disgust! Nerves! What the f*** was I thinking?

Yet I keep smoking! I'm not going to waste so much money for nothing! Toke!

Oh, what will I tell my wife? Oh Gosh, my Son will be soooo disappointed!!

My cheeks turn bright red and hot! I feel like a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar!

And BecomeanEX! I can't possibly go there and tell them what I did. And why? I can't even explain it to myself! Why? Why not? Oh yeah, those millions of reasons why not hit me like a brick!


And I wake up, the dream turns to ashes and like Scrooge, say "Freedom! I'm Free! Thank you, Lord, I am FREE! Not One Puff Ever! Never ever no matter what! Praise the Lord! It was only a dream!"

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But I won't cave in to Addiction!


World No Tobacco Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 31, 2018

Remember all of our fellow Addicts today and all those who lost their lives to tobacco. Honor their memory by staying Smoke FREE - just for today. Blessings on all who suffer from smoking related illness! Live Long and Prosper!