Nicotine Recovery means Living Life on Life's Terms!
Smoking is not only damaging my body, mind, spirit - my Soul - when I'm having a "good day!" It destroys my Life every single day - good, bad and very bad! It heaps pain, ugliness, decay on top of any other suffering or celebration, any joy or depression, anxiety or other illness I might be going through Today!
Recovery isn't just for those gentle, sweet, mundane Days we have when all goes as expected! Recovery is a beautiful GIFT we provide for ourselves when there seems like nothing else goes right and when everything goes marvelously right and everything in between!
There is no circumstance where smoking can add one iota of good in my Life! There are no circumstances where Recovery doesn't deserve my attention! It is literally the Gift of Life - living the way my Creator intends for me to Live!
Once you get through those first few challenging days the blessings blossom each day giving me more enrichment than all the Gold of Midas! The scales are tipped! I would never sacrifice this Treasure for anything - certainly not for a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in 7000 poisonous chemicals!
Nicotine Addiction damages our Brains in many unforeseen ways. With time even our beliefs surrounding sickerettes change. We begin to trust that we aren't harming ourselves in the face of all kinds of evidence to the contrary. This isn't a conscious choice - it's drug induced distortion! We might believe that we "don't smoke that much." Or we believe that by only smoking after work or weekends, etc.., we're not really hooked. Folks say that they don't wish to quit because they might gain weight, become grumpy, get confused, etc..., others believe that no matter how hard they try they will never be able to quit, etc.... I believed that because I could quit cold turkey whenever I decided to, I wasn't very addicted.
Recovery begins when we confront these beliefs one by one and call them out for what they are - Nico-Lies! That's where BecomeanEX comes in. Over and over you read about other folks who have had the same patterns of denial yet broke through them to discover the truth! Over and over again, quitters with EXperience tell you to READ, READ, READ and READ some more. What that will accomplish even more than learning about Nicotine Addiction is that it will break through your Addictive Belief System.
Researchers have pointed out that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, i.e. looking at what we do and the true reasons we do ir, is much more effective for Smoking Cessation than any NRT or pharmaceutical product. Support groups help us with that at no charge! We have to really look at our beliefs about Nicotine and decide for ourselves to let go of that pack of Nico-Lies! That is Recovery!
Amazingly we can actually talk ourselves into a very doable, rather easy quit or a very difficult, virtually impossible quit with the same amount of effort. Why not talk yourself into a very doable quit? What you believe about your quit becomes your experience! I believed that I could easily go through the first weeks but then would falter so that's what happened! When I got to BecomeanEX back in 2010 I learned that I can make this my long term quit by changing my mind!
Read, participate, face your demons, and live FREE from Addiction for LIFE!
A few people have asked lately the best approach to their Quit Dates.
This is a very important subject and you'll find that successful EXers have a variety of opinions which may even add to the confusion. The fact is that how you get there is very individual so take what works for you and leave the rest! To be helpful is our only goal!
First I want to recommend that you go to My Quit Plan which you can find in little blue letters at the upper right hand corner of your page. This page was designed by our sponsors the Truth Initiative and is very helpful in knowing where to begin step by step.
Now, I'll give you my take on it. I started practicing mindfulness lately so if you are familiar with this type of meditation you will recognize my description.
The next time you go out to smoke don't stop yourself Pay Attention! We can learn a lot about ourselves especially our Addicted Selves by simply paying attention. If I were to quit again I would keep a journal of these observations.
If you haven't set a Quit Date, do so! I chose the first day of Spring for 2 reasons. One, because it was 6 days after being diagnosed with COPD - a chronic, progressive smoking related lung disease. And two, because it has some significance for me and I wouldn't want to lose my Quit Date for anything in the world! Don't set it for six Months from now and don't set it for tomorrow unless you feel prepared. Many people disagree with me on this point. Some folks just up and quit!
As your Quit Date approaches your thoughts will almost certainly go bananas with why you should postpone or reset that date. Don't listen! It's perfectly normal! You have woken the monster within you that will stop at nothing to get you to your next fix! It's your job to maintain control through discipline - not willpower.
So what's the difference? Discipline means you don't argue with your Addictive Self. You don't debate or discuss the thoughts and feelings. You simply adult-like step over the belly aching, whining, criticizing, begging, nagging, ladadadadada that your brain will surely do! You made a decision. It's the correct decision and that is that!
Don't try to be stronger, wiser, tougher than your Addiction. It is you! And it therefore knows you like no other! Just stick with your decision. N.O.P.E.! Not One Puff Ever no matter what! Simple - not easy - but doable!
Meanwhile, instead of rationing X number of sickerettes per day or X amount of time from one to the next, when you have an urge to smoke please, just wait 15 minutes. Then if you still really, really want a smoke - go for it! Not guiltily - just paying attention non-judgmentally! I think you will find that sometimes you can even wait another 15 minutes.
This is what I did - remind you I didn't know diddly dodo because I joined BecomeanEX 2 days after I quit smoking....
I was diagnosed with COPD and like a true Addict I went out into the parking lot, got into my car and smoked a Sickerette! How else is an Addict going to cope with bad news??? Then I counted my pack. I had 10 left. I set my quit date then and there - still sitting in my car in the parking lot. I decided that I would never buy another pack again in my LIFE! So from then on instead of smoking a whole sickerette at once, I did the delay thing but instead of smoking a whole sickerette I would take a puff or 2 and put the da@% thing out! I made those 10 last me those 6 days.
Do I recommend this? Heck no! I was in a constant state of physical withdrawal - which is not pleasant! You know, headaches, weakness, dizziness, nerves. A lot of people say smoke 'em while you got 'em! Then when Quit Day comes destroy the rest in a bucket of water - the stinch is profound! More incentive to quit! That wouldn't work for me! I am a penny pincher and the waste would upset me to no end! Now, think about that a minute! Waste what?! Waste the ability to kill myself even faster?! Jeez Louise! But that's the Addictive Mind for you!
Warning: Do not let yourself get too into withdrawal before you Quit! Either Quit or don't Quit! But smoking 1 or 2 a Day is just plain unhelpful in every way! If you're down to 5 a Day - just stop already!
So I quit smoking out of pure ignorance. But I soon found BecomeanEX and read, read, read. I learned how Nicotine Addiction and Recovery works. I found support for my Quit! I became aware of the way to win the mental game of Smoking Cessation and I stuck with it! In time I detached myself from my Addiction. I put it into a very tiny space in my Brain in a very tight little cage and locked the door!
What does it take for a "Smokers' Rights Advocate" to become an EX-Smokers' Advocate?
As for myself, I actually used to ask to work in the smoking section of the Restaurant where I waited tables for 22 Years. Even in my last Months there, I occasionally had trouble breathing and had the smokers' cough. Back in those days I was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis with no further explanation after 2 bouts of pneumonia in the same Year. I still smoked for another 5 Years! I didn't know that chronic bronchitis was serious! My Doctor never bothered his busy schedule to educate me! Nada!
I sometimes think back on that with anger because once I was diagnosed with emphysema in 2010 I quit smoking 6 days later, By then I had moderate COPD. Woulda, coulda, shoulda,....
But while I sometimes stopped smoking intermittently for Months at a time, it was with the caveat that I could pick it up :after my lungs clear out!"
Let me tell you something, in case you tell yourself this Nico-Lie - sick lungs don't heal!
That doesn't mean you can't manage lung illness and feel better. But you will not return to healthy lungs ever!
The only proven way to prolong the life of your lungs, i.e., your LIFE is to quit smoking!
I mentioned the other day that I believe that smoking in cars with children absolutely should be prohibited but also smoking in apartment complexes. That's an informed opinion based on the fact that folks with lung disease, small children and pets become very, very sick when exposed to even third hand smoke let alone second hand smoke!
What a difference an education makes!
This is the stance of a famous Libertarian:
I'm in support of people doing anything they want in a free and democratic society—until their actions infringe on my freedom or anyone else’s. At that point, the state ought to step in, if only to maintain personal liberty. If the state doesn’t intervene in those instances, when minimal intervention would be required to rectify the situation, then the situation risks spiraling out of control to the point where extreme measures become warranted.
When I decided to Quit Smoking I told myself, “Buck up, Thomas! You’re going to be miserable but you have to do this no matter what!” I was doing the white knuckle quit! And guess what? I was miserable!
Then I joined BecomeanEX and started to read the Blogs by a guy named James, The Happy Quitter! I couldn’t believe my eyes! Happy? Quitting? Isn’t that an oxymoron?
James said that he decided to be a Happy Quitter and behold, his cravings were easier, didn’t last as long and his whole Quit was much more doable!
So who wouldn’t want that?
I began to realize with practice that thoughts are just thoughts. We have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts a day. And as so many of us have pointed out -
“Thoughts are not Commands!”
I also learned that feelings are a choice. We can make choices about how to feel when we know why we feel our feelings. I had unwittingly decided to be miserable because I was told that I would be miserable!
Could I decide to be happy?
So where do you get started?
I chose to “fake it till you make it!”
I stopped being miserable long enough to imagine what it might be like to be a Happy Quitter.
Then a put a smile on my face even when I didn’t feel like smiling!
I read more inspirational Blogs from Dale’s unique jokes to Marilyn's inspirational stories.
I simply made happiness a goal and tried!
Then I looked for glimmers of happiness throughout each day, paid attention and acknowledged that it was happening with gratitude!
And not right off but soon, I became a Happy Quitter!
I believe it made my whole Quit Journey more doable, I know it was more fun!
Being a Quitter isn’t about self-sacrifice and deprivation! It’s about becoming a New You and best of all, you get to decide who that person is!
Are You ever curious about how we're doing here? There's been a lot of talk about relapse and some folks are getting discouraged with seeing long termers jump off the FREEDOM Train! It's normal to wonder if we're making a difference and what kind of impact we have.
Well, this morning while browsing the news I got a clue!
According to our Sponsor The Truth Initiative in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic the EX program started in 2008 "has helped more than 800,000 smokers. Research shows that following the EX plan quadruples a smoker's chance of quitting.
...The EX Program is designed to be as effective as phone-based coaching, but more accessible, flexible and cost effective...93% of members say they would recommend EX to other smokers who want to quit."
This article quotes a 28% quit rate compared to 7% overall quit rates using other methods. Not too shabby!
Of course we want 100% but the fact is Nicotine is the most Addictive drug legal or illegal known and in the end it's up to the individual to go through Recovery and discover Freedom!
I remember my first 100 Days being a Big Challenge and lasting what seemed like an eternity! Each day was a struggle, first with physical withdrawal, then with emotional withdrawal, and all that entails including creating a New Normal for me! Lots of effort, lots of hard work!
Nine days ago I passed 2600 and didn't even notice! It came and went - another normal day with stress, yes, but the normal stress of living. No anxiety, no depression, less breathing problems, no coughing, just Quality Life! My mind is Free to focus on my Family, my work, my Friends, ME! I can be the Best Thomas I decide to be - all without Addiction!
I do put in a little effort - I remind myself of what I have and where I came from with gratitude! All that hard work was so worth it!
Life is AMAZING Smoke FREE! 2609 DOF and stacking them together one day at a time!
We know it’s bad for our health, yet we do it anyway. We say we are going to quit, but we pick up the habit once again after a few days. I’m talking about smoking, of course, the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Some individuals try to minimize their addiction by saying they only smoke on special occasions or socially—they are dubbed social smokers. But a large study conducted by researchers at Ohio State University found that their risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol is identical to those who smoke cigarettes every day.
This is the first study of its kind looking at this subset of smokers who are not well recognized in the medical community. Researchers looked at blood pressure and cholesterol levels in nearly 4,000 participants who identified as a social smoker. They were curious about the effects that intermittent cigarette smoking had on the body, if any. After adjusting for differences in factors such as obesity and varying demographics, the researchers concluded that about 75 percent of social smokers had high blood pressure, and roughly 54 percent had high cholesterol.
“Not smoking at all is the best way to go. Even smoking in a social situation is detrimental to your cardiovascular health. One in 10 people in this study said they sometimes smoke, and many of them are young and already on the path to heart disease,” said lead author Kate Gawlik, assistant professor of clinical nursing at The Ohio State University.
The researchers find this result quite disheartening, as the social smoking demographic often go overlooked by physicians. When a doctor asks if you smoke, most social smokers will say no, inevitably leading to a lack of care and counseling to quit cigarettes altogether.