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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.

James Clear - Author - Photographer

As we leave 2018 behind and begin another Year, New Year's, like Birthdays, brings us to review our lives and set new goals for health, money, and love - as we say in the Spanish toast - Salud, Dinero y Amor!


What we can decide to keep in mind is that successful habit building is not black and white but many shades of color! Color doesn't come into our lives by serendipity - it is invited in each and every day! 


Often New Year's Resolutions don't last because we forget to reset for - One Day At a Time! That is the foundation of organizations like AA and also, true for BecomeanEX! 


We did not magically become EXers by signing up - or by trying to be perfect always - or by going through an Event or Milestone just to stop processing our Quit Journeys! We came willing and able to reset and reset and reset our mental attitudes about smoking and recovery. 


We stepped into the unknown just as you are without knowing or even being able to imagine what being an EXer for Life can be. Some of us believed it was a lifetime sentence of austerity. Others believed it was an endless emotional roller-coaster because the first few days really do feel that way! We all had core beliefs - about ourselves - that could have held us back from recovery!


But we came here and learned to perceive and thus, believe differently! Identifying a core belief is like solving a mystery of the illusions in your mind. You have to follow some clues to get down to the hidden beliefs in the unconscious.  The package of false beliefs and assumptions starts to seem a bit unbelievable and then become ridiculous!

- smoking does not make me happy! 

- smoking does not relieve my stress!

- smoking does not make a good basis for friendships!

- smoking does not keep me from getting fat!

- smoking does not help my creativity or coping or job skills or anything, actually!


Smoking just takes my precious, health, money, and yes, even love of others and trades a slow suicide in it's place. That's the transaction we make with a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped into thousands of deadly chemicals!

Put that way - what do you have to fear? Smoking! Not all of the rest of the allure we have built into our belief system since most of us were teenagers and incapable of seeing what we were agreeing to!


 Fears associated with smoking are very common.  However, the thought is not a core belief. When finding core beliefs, like a detective, you follow the emotion.  We have to keep questioning how the emotion of fear is created by the act of smoking. In essence the fear of quitting isn't a fear of coping. It is a fear of the emotional pain that results from believing something negative about our self.


There's emotional pain in believing that I'm too addicted to quit as well as "I can quit whenever I want - I just don't want to!" And I won't lie to you - facing emotional pains like these is the essence of recovery!

Every fear




It's very uncomfortable to let fear rise to the surface of our awareness rather than to sit tucked into the recesses of our mind in the form of core belief! That was for me, the biggest obstacle to my Quit Journey! 


Coming here and glimpsing through others' minds' eyes helped me to know that something better - something worthwhile awaited me after the first 3 days of physical withdrawal, the first few weeks of emotional upheaval, the hectic first 4 Months of my Quit Journey and onward, continuing to grow in Self Discovery. I came to learn, understand and the, yes, believe that yes, I can quit - not all at once, but for this day, and this day, and this day, no matter what! That's how I got to Day 3210 - one simple, doable day at a time! 


During that time I gave myself permission to investigate my core beliefs and to root out those - not only related to smoking - but related to Self Identity - that really were ridiculous to me once discovered!


I was able to turn my beliefs to my Higher Power in whom I learned to trust to guide me into more and more Self Discovery/Recovery - not once but over and over again. Each blog I read, each comment I made, each discussion I constructed led me to a closer understanding of who the Real Thomas is - not the poor, addicted, hijacked, self destructive Thomas of addiction - but the person gifted to me by my Creator - free of the agreement I had made so many decades ago! 


Breaking through my core smoking beliefs and self concept beliefs would not have been possible without my participation at BecomeanEX because I didn't know where to begin to break the package agreement down into it's parts. This is what the blogs and relationships gave me - and I needed it every single day for a very long time to reset my stinking thinking again, and again, and again - layer after layer - and discover the Real Thomas!


My biggest Fear is that I wouldn't like this person but I learned not only to like but to love ME! This is the gift of Recovery! It's a work in progress. And there's no better place to start than right now! And now! And now! If you missed your January 1 Quit Date or just didn't manage to keep from smoking - it's not too late! It's never too late! Right now I choose to strive for Addiction Freedom!


Please join me now! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain - 

God Bless! LLAP!






Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 30, 2018

Why do we refer to Addiction Freedom as Recovery? Because nicotine, like all addictive substances, robs you of YOU! Recovery literally means finding yourself. 

Each man's life represents a road toward himself.

Herman Hesse - 1877-1962 - Poet - Novelist - Painter

You can make 2019 the Year that you find your true self. All you have to do is stop your addictive behavior. Your brain will follow. This is one time - there are many others - when you can't just trust your thoughts. You have to step up to choosing which thoughts to "listen" to. For example, have you ever been tempted to haul off and slug somebody? My guess is that you decided not to do that because it isn't worth it. Well, you can decide not to give in to stinkin' thinkin', too! The decision part of your brain is different from the thought generating part of your brain.It's the reason positive affirmations work. It takes a lot of work to stop negative thinking, right? But we can re-learn and train our thinking to be positive - first by giving your brain positive thoughts and second by ignoring negative thoughts. Now, here's where some of us get confused because we try to fight with our negative thoughts - but it doesn't work! We have to stop paying attention to our negative thoughts and yes, pay lots of attention to our positive thoughts! We decide! Simple - not easy! 

Decide to ignore your cravings - not fight them and they will fizzle out. Decide to build yourself up for your Freedom Journey and you will see yourself become stronger, clearer, more perseverent than ever! You will see the you that doesn't need a Sickerette! It's here right now - trying to get your attention. Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this! So pay attention! Let you grow into the Real You!

My Little  Miss Penny was jumping on the couch and fell off and broke her leg! Please pray for her pain both physical and emotional and send Christmas blessings her way!


Give It Time!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 17, 2018

It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.

Lionel Messi - Argentine Professional Football Player

You won't be cured in a week or a month even.But you've been smoking for how long? This is a process - not an event! 

Image result for messi



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 9, 2018

Image result for what the caterpillar calls the end of the world

Image result for butterflies gif


Quitting smoking is a metamorphosis - have no fear - 

You will become incredible! Trust the process! You were meant for more!

Take just one more step toward Freedom. Then another. There is a path and you are on it!


The Vortex of Wisdom

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 22, 2018

Image result for sucked into evil vortex

Every decision we have is not based on every thought we have. Yet every decision builds upon the decision before it. We lead ourselves into the vortex of Good by seeking, acknowledging, accepting the Light in our Life. 

There are many reasons why we sometimes do not choose Light. We always as humans have the choice. It may start out as simple curiosity - "I wonder what it would be like to embrace the darkness?" But curiosity killed the cat. darkness also has it's vortex. The more we choose a dark path, the more it draws us in and the harder it is to turn around and get out - to literally escape!  

As young Folks we investigated, explored light and darkness and were occasionally caught up in the vortex of darkness. But there is a blessing even in that phase of our maturity. We know more about what we don't want as well as what we want in our lives. Changing directions can be very challenging and take a sort of courage - we are out of our comfort zone. We are fighting against the norm. We don't actually know what this other direction leads to - perhaps we are going from the frying pan into the fire? 

But no! As you reach for the light you can even in your discomfort feel the rightness of it! Lean into it! Allow that vortex of light to sweep you up and bring you to your full potential! Goodness begats goodness. Blessings begat blessings. Light brings you into a brilliance you could never have imagined. Then you can let go and relax into the momentum of light and goodness and pass through the shadows again and again being drawn into the light!

Addiction Free Life!

Image result for sucked into a black hole


Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12


Addiction Freedom leads us toward the Light of our Higher Power. 



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 22, 2018

No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm.

Charles Kettering - 1876-1958 - Inventor - Engineer

The Holidays can be especially challenging to the newly Quitter. You can give in or step up - the choice is always yours. There will be annoying relatives, burnt Turkeys, no Tartar Sauce for your special recipe, traffic and weather issues for those traveling, etc, etc, etc.....

Life is stressful - especially when we have high expectations of the Hallmark Thanksgiving!

But Recovery from Nicotine Addiction depends on living Life on Life's Terms! 

So be flexible and adaptable and keep your Eyes on the Prize


I am Thankful for my Freedom from Nicotine Addiction every single Day!

Thomas, Live Long and Prosper!

When we read that only 6% of those who try to quit will succeed for 365 days while 70% of smoking Americans state that they want to quit we can get the impression that it's superhuman or that it takes perfect emotional climate or that there's just too much stress in my life to make it happen.

But the facts are that this is doable! The folks here have shown me the way from Rick to Mike, from Dale to Giulia, from Sootie to Tommy to Christine (Fortune). You see Christine didn't just win an emotional lottery of Fortune - she made her own one day at a time! Each of them are just like you and me with their share of daily life hardships, challenges, and even emotional meltdowns!

They were able to Quit Smoking and you Can do this, too!

Over and over they come back long after they have won their Freedom to tell us their testimony of this works and this doesn't work - watch out for this relapse trap! They bring as much story-telling and information, cheerleading and tough love as they can muster because feeling Quit feels good and they want you to know that. I only mentioned a few Folks above so you still may think they are rare! And they are - not in the fact that they Quit Smoking but because they are still here - still sharing - still doing their best to capture in words the beauty of Recovery! There's hundreds of us out here that have passed through BecomeanEX and moved on in their lives. Every once in a while you'll see a glimpse as they come back to check in. 

Every single one of us went through the Hell of Hell Week, the 3-4 Months of Vigilance needed to pass through No Man's Land, the golden gates of the 6% Club, and the Amazing thrill of joining the 2% Club! You can, too! If this is your first introduction to BecomeanEX - No Man's Land describes the hardest part of quitting after the 24 first hours when nobody seems to care that you have the worst cravings seemingly out of nowhere. The 6% Club has made one whole Year Quit and the the 2% Club has made it through 2 Years Smoke FREE and have lowered their statistics of relapse to only 2% - not zero but we still and will always have the opportunity to say yes or no to addiction. It doesn't mean that how you feel at first is how you will always feel. It also doesn't mean that one sickerette won't put you right back to Day One. 

The decision is yours to make - yours to keep - no matter what! Read, read, read! It's all here! How to get through the Holidays to how to get through the day at work (or home)  that sucks, from facing unemployment, natural disasters, divorce, even family death to personal health challenges, even mental health and just as important and often overlooked, how to get through the fun times in your life that you have addictively associated with smoking. Because we are just like you and life goes on but we no longer choose to smoke through it - we live life on life's terms abundantly - Smoke FREE!

You CAN, too!

Live Long and Prosper!

Image result for addiction free

Part II of a pair: For more read:

Don't Underestimate the Enemy!

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........

Part I of a pair. Read more at: 

Don't Overestimate the Enemy



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!