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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Thomas3.20.2010

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

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!
LLAP

Thomas3.20.2010

3000 DOF

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 6, 2018

Image result for walking side by side quotes

 

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....

Thomas3.20.2010

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!"

Image result for hermit in a cave

 

But I won't cave in to Addiction!

Thomas3.20.2010

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!

We understand your, my, their Addiction because Addiction is mundane, predictable, boring - the same old thing with

a different victim. It really doesn't matter all that much how many you smoked, how long you smoked, with whom you smoked (you smoked with other Addicts!)

 

We cannot predict your Recovery because it's purely individual. We can tell you what we know, what we did what worked for each of us but you have to OWN your Recovery! It's your chance to Re - Claim Your Self!

Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act.

Leonard Cohen – 1934-2016, Singer/Songwriter

Thomas3.20.2010

Grateful

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 13, 2018

Today my heart overflows with gratitude for my Beautiful Wife who raised our Sons into fine young men with honor and respect for Life! I'm doubly blessed for 2 marvelous daughter-in-laws! Our Kari has been no less than outstanding in raising my granddaughters with the highest of values! I think also of my Dear, dear GodMother - may her soul rest in peace who sacrificed every minute of every day to LOVE for our Family! And finally I Thank the Lord for my poor unfortunate mother who never knew the meaning of Love - who knows, perhaps now she has - one can only pray!

 

Happy Mother's Day Ladies!

Thomas3.20.2010

Russian Roulette

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 9, 2018

We played Russian Roulette by smoking and now we're playing Russian Roulette by not taking these tests - my opinion here - some people don't want to know! If Russian Roulette isn't your game:

 

Tests every smoker needs | Katherine Times 

 

Neither test is painful and they both are noninvasive plus you get the results very quickly.

 

Taking a Spirometry Test - YouTube 

What to expect during a low dose CT scan - YouTube 

 

Sleep well! Keep your head out of the sand!

Image result for head in the sand

Thomas3.20.2010

My Part

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 9, 2018

There's a lot of healthy discussion these days on what works. Is it the NRTs I select? The plan I use?  The app? The website?

 

All of these questions are good questions and I enjoy the open back and forth discussions about these choices because Smoking Cessation is all about personal choice. I decide if when, how, why I quit smoking!

 

But the bottom line is this:

Show Up!

This is your Quit! Although all of the above are important, they're only  as good as the participant!

Since the 1960s Philip Morris knew that Nicotine is very addictive and actually used that knowledge to their advantage in designing Sickerettes. In the year 2000 PM became the first tobacco company to publicly state that nicotine is addictive. Hooray for honesty and transparency, right? 

 

Hold your horses! 

"From the mid-1990s to at least 2006, at the same time as PM was making public statements reinforcing the idea that smoking addiction is driven principally by nicotine’s pharmacology, the company’s scientists had found that addiction was the result of interconnected determinants, with nicotine as but one component. PM’s internal models of addiction positioned biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors as equally important to nicotine in driving cigarette use; and in 2000 an internal document noted that, consequently, quitting smoking was “not simply a matter of replacing the nicotine”. PM continued to research the causes of addiction through the 2000s in order to create successful new nicotine products."

 

"The researchers said the papers showed that PM has internally understood since at least 2006 that its actions (for example advertising, lobbying, and litigation) influence addiction by shaping users’ psychology, social milieu, and environment; and that PM’s “public embrace of nicotine’s addictiveness currently works to redirect policy away from proven social and environmental interventions and toward the promotion of the industry’s potentially reduced harm products”."

 

"The analysis authors said: “As PM’s internal research indicates, positive health outcomes are more likely to be achieved by complementing [nicotine replacement therapy] and behavioural counselling with ever-stronger society-level interventions addressing the psychological, social, and environmental components of addiction.”"

 

"They concluded: “To help tobacco users quit, policy makers should increase attention on the social and environmental dimensions of addiction alongside traditional cessation efforts.”"

 

[Source: *Elias J, Hendlin YH, Ling PM. Public versus internal conceptions of addiction: An analysis of internal Philip Morris documents. PLoS Med 2018; 15(5): e1002562. The National Cancer Institute in the US funded (but had no other involvement in) the analysis.

OnMedica - News - Philip Morris knew nicotine is just one part of smoking addiction ]

 

There's no end to the smoke and mirrors that Big Tobacco won't go to get and keep you, me and our children and grandchildren hooked for Life!

 

Image result for big tobacco cartoons

Thomas3.20.2010

Possible!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Apr 23, 2018

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.

Paulo Coelho - Author

With Smoking Cessation, no need for hope, wish, doubt. 

It is 100% within your control! Even the depth and breadth of your cravings are within your control. 

You have it within you right now! Look for it and you will find it!

So what is the "it?" 

Faith, belief, confidence,.....Self Control!

You have the ability to decide your actions

and with Smoking Cessation, action is the only thing it takes!

Simple, not easy!

This is the most important time to decide which thoughts you listen to 

and which you choose to let go of...

Don't hate those thoughts or try to ignore them

because that only gives them energy!

Just let them slide into and out of view!

This skill will become a part of the New You!

Who doesn't have thoughts they dislike? 

Learning to let them float away releases you to become authentic!

Most important, it liberates you from fear.

Practice. Fake it till you make it. Become. 

It's a process that never quits giving you - You!

Thomas3.20.2010

A New Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Apr 22, 2018

Yesterday I had a tooth pulled - a molar. It had a secret root and even with the anesthesia the sound was horrendous! When I saw the disgusting thing that had been polluting my mouth, I was appalled! Then once the anesthesia wore off - holy molar! My whole face swelled up and of course, my dinner amounted to the biggest milk shake that Sonic sales. I worked at Dairy Queen for 10 Years so milkshakes are not a treat!

You could say that yesterday sucked except you can't suck when you've had a tooth pulled! Now, granted in the scheme of things having a tooth pulled is not on the list of worst possible outcomes - yet, I refuse to let it be "no big deal." For me in that moment it is a big deal! WHAAAAAAAAA! [How do ladies do it?]

It reminded me of how whacko some of my earliest days of Smoking Cessation were. Some of them were mind boggling crazy, Yet I just learned to ride the wave - feel what I feel - and to believe, to know, the "tomorrow is another day!" Poor Scarlett didn't get much right but that line she got perfectly!

If you're having a crummy smoke FREE Day - come here and whine - we'll provide the cheese!

Just stick to your commitment because you sure don't want to have to go back and do it again! That's the difference between my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day and yours! You have a choice to never go back! You just keep going forward no matter what!

I still have 7 more molars! LOL!

Image result for quote of the day motivation

In 1997, Joann pleaded guilty to third degree murder for killing her husband, Robert Curley, to claim his $300,000 life insurance policy.

 

Robert Curley was hospitalized in September 1991 with flu-like symptoms, complaining of debilitating pain in his palms and the soles of his feet, and began vomiting and losing his hair.

Just as Curley began improving in the hospital, his wife visited, bringing pizza and thallium-spiked tea, authorities say.

The same night, they say, he told a nurse, “Please help me. My wife is trying to kill me; she is not as she seems.”

His heart stopped the next morning. 

It took Joann more than a Year of constantly poisoning Robert before he finally met his demise.

His death was very slow, painful and expensive!

Sound familiar?

Nicotine is a Serial Killer that kills more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day. Far more Americans have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than in all the wars ever fought by the United States.

And they don't die quickly - smoke a cig and die - NO! They kill all of these people very slowly. painfully, and very, very expensive!

In a broad review of scientific literature, the nation’s top doctor has concluded that cigarette smoking — long known to cause lung cancer and heart disease — also causes diabetes, colorectal and liver cancers, erectile dysfunction and ectopic pregnancy. Bladder cancer was added in 1990 and cervical cancer in 2004.

Other health problems the report names are vision loss, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, impaired immune function and cleft palates in children of women who smoke.

 

Then there's the pain, chronic and unrelenting. Smoking is incredibly harmful to the body and can lead to diseases known to cause chronic pain. For example, smoking causes chronic back and neck pain by contributing to osteoporosis and the deterioration of spinal discs. ... Smoking also contributes to the joint pain found in conditions like arthritis.

 

A neurotoxin called acrolein is generally blamed for the heighExpensetened pain. Researchers found that mice accumulated this substance in their spinal cord tissue, among other places, when exposed to the equivalent of 12 cigarettes each day for three weeks. 

 

Not only does smoking cigarettes increase the amount of pain a person feels, it could also limit the effectiveness of drugs used to treat arthritis in the lower back, according to research published in the British Medical Journal.

 

Smoking has also been shown to damage joints, like the rotator cuff. Various studies suggests that smokers are twice as likely to experience a tear and 1.5 times as likely to have an overuse injury. New research also shows that smoking can have some devastating effects on many other parts of the musculoskeletal system.

 

Smoking can have a detrimental effect on the knee as well. Smokers have a greater risk of cartilage loss than those who don't smoke. It was also shown that smokers had a higher severity of pain in the knee.

 

The sad, sad truth of the matter is that these are just a few of the painful contributions of smoking. 

 

And the expense??? Wow! Just Wow! the American Lung Association reports smoking costs the nation $333 billion per year in health-care expenses and lost productivity to boot. But it’s hard for the average person—specifically, the average smoker—to wrap one’s brain around such an enormous figure.

 

 So what is it costing me? Well it depends on which State you live in but estimates determine Smoking Can Cost You $1 Million to $2 Million in a Lifetime.

 

I want my money back! Hell - keep the money - I want my Health back! I'd even settle for getting my Life back!