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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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I have been deeply depressed due to the Covid 19. I am letting fear rise up in me daily along with loneliness, helplessness, and despair. I have kept this to myself because I know it isn't uplifting or helpful. What I forgot is that we are all in this Quit Journey together.

Then I checked in today as I always do hoping I'll be inspired but somebody else's need. There it was lanerobin65! I just want to Thank you for taking the risk of coming into the light of our Community to express your need to quit! 

But I also want to let you know how you have helped me feel a bit less worthless, less hopeless, like I make a difference in this new world of isolation. 

For those who don't know me, I am 62 years old and just celebrated 10 years smoke free this month. I have done the hard work of searching and following that you are doing right now. I was desperate when I came to BecomeanEX. I had just been diagnosed with COPD and didn't know where to turn. Searching the web brought me here and I've made this Community my home ever since. 

But like so many folks with depression I climb inside a deep dark hole when I can't serve other people. I tend to disappear from this Community and feel like I have nothing to share - nothing to say.

What I can share is the importance of reaching out when you feel this way. I have lanerobin65 to Thank for that.

If you feel isolated and alone, like nobody can help you or even understand you, like smoking is your only comfort and trusted friend, remind yourself that now is the time to reach out - we do understand! We can help! We know the trials but also the path that leads to Freedom and whether you know it or not - you are worth it - to all of us! Keep reaching!

 

 

Free Reaching Hand Stock Vectors | StockUnlimited

Thomas3.20.2010

Life on Life's Terms

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 12, 2020

That's what it's all about!

Now, there was a time when I thought sickerettes helped me to come to terms with life. This Nico-lie like all of them can catch us up into thinking "I can't live without them." The truth is that smoking did provide us an excuse to take a few moments to think. Occasionally we may have felt inspired - but it wasn't the nicotine that gave us this insight - it was the time to our own thoughts. Now I'm not one to throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak so I had to learn a new medium of "thinking breaks." That's where mindfulness meditation comes in and the fact is it doesn't take 8-10 minutes any more (unless I want it to!) 

Mindfulness is simply paying attention without judgment. To right now right here right inside my brain and body. It's like smoking cessation - simple, not easy! 

Ask yourself - what do I see, touch, smell, taste, and hear? 

Ask yourself the primary question - am I safe?

If you think about that, you are not safe smoking and no matter how bad the cravings become you are safe withdrawing!

Everything is going to feel like quick sand under you but even in quick sand the trick is to slow down and tread water. To be in this moment. To look around you and come to fit in your skin. Or as Brene Brown says "Show up!" Be who you are where you are right now. 

Live Life ( minute by minute ) on Life's Terms! It's doable (not easy!)

LLAP!

Thomas3.20.2010

Sleazy Nico-Lies

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 8, 2020

What I dislike about the vaping industry is their Nico-Lies used blatantly to make money. Now I have nothing against money but I do have a problem with people who make up Corporations using Nico-Lies to keep people hooked on Nicotine. I'm not a fan of alcohol either but not everybody who drinks occasionally gets hooked. Social smokers are addicts and the damage is done from the first cigarette - or vape. 

Inhaling From Just One Cigarette Can Lead To Nicotine Addiction: Kids Show Signs Of Addiction Almost Immediately

Now the vaping industry wants you to believe that smoking is bad for mental health - True - but forgot to mention vaping is too!

Study Links Smoking to an Increased Risk of Depression and Schizophrenia | Vaping Post 

The info is accurate - I posted a similar article over the same study with CNN. But what did these folks leave out?

Study finds 'strong link' between vaping and depression

"A recent study concludes that people who use electronic cigarettes are twice as likely to report clinical depression as those who have never vaped. The correlation was particularly strong among younger people."

 

Now this makes sense when you get more familiar with Nicotine. It robs you of natural dopamine and replaces it with artificial dopamine. So when you withdraw from vaping -just like smoking - you are bereft of much needed dopamine. 

 

The function of dopamine is pleasure. Seeing a beautiful sunrise can produce dopamine but the sunrise means less if you are withdrawing from cigarettes or vaping. We have to relearn to stimulate the neurons of pleasure as we recuperate natural dopamine. 

 

If you want to succeed in withdrawal - do everything you can think of to give yourself dopamine. 

9 Ways To Boost Dopamine

Dopamine Boosting Foods Healthy Way.

Music ~ it's free dopamine!

Pleasure! Seek it - find it, naturally! 

 

(1) Always keep your Eyes on the Prize!

     Is your prize smoke-free? What are you doing right now to ensure success? I'm playing Sugar Crush!

(2) Look out for obstacles!

     Those chocolate bars and bombs can sneak up on you! So can those people, places and things that remind you of smoking! Avoid them at your quit's peril!

(3) Look for opportunities!

     Unexpected double candies can save your day! And so can those sweet treats you give yourself to reinforce your quit!

(4) Practice makes best!  

     There may be no such thing as perfect but you can keep stacking those levels and in quitting that translates in hours, days, weeks, months, and years! This could be your Smoke Free Year! 

 

You decide! Play to win and you will!

Thomas3.20.2010

Crazy Days

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 19, 2019

Only at a certain company that I won't mention can you get a promotion while on the verge of getting fired. That's right I am now a "professional" but if I can't straighten out my ADA it'll quickly be past tense. I have an appointment with my Doctor to fill out paperwork for ADA on Dec 23 and then we'll see what happens. 

I have no idea how this will all sort out but I have made up my mind to be satisfied with whatever God has in hand for me. Prayers are welcome. Meanwhile I'm setting this on the back burner of my mind and praising the Lord as his Birthday approaches. This is above my paygrade anyway! 

Happy Holidays to all! 

Live Long and Prosper!

HO! Ho! Ho!

Thomas3.20.2010

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

MMMM

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 | TIME.com (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!

LLAP

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

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

Thomas3.20.2010

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

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."

NICOTINE: HARDER TO KICK...THAN HEROIN - The New York Times 

 

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!"]

Thomas3.20.2010

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

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!

LLAP!

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