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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Covid Tragedy

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Nov 23, 2020

I received word a week ago that my cousin Fernando passed away from Covid in Mexico. We grew up together and I feel grief and loneliness because I obviously can't join the family for the funeral. 
But what worries me even more is that in Mexico grieving is a huge gathering for nine days after the burial - hundreds of people attend to recite the rosary. I am petrified that this is a super spreader!

So along with grief and loneliness I am suffering a lot of fear! 

Please pray for my family and friends in Mexico and please - don't gather in large groups for Thanksgiving! 

I want to spend time with my sons and grandchildren but alas, not this year! I want them and me around for Christmas!

Stay safe - don't smoke and pray for all those who suffer from Covid and those who have passed away!



My Apologies

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 29, 2020

It was unfair of me to ghost. If you can forgive me please read this blog. If not, I understand so skip this blog please. Know that each and everyone of you are important to me. 

So, first, I want to ask for forgiveness and second, may I whine?

I got sick with COPD, was hospitalized and fell into a deep depression. I live in Colorado where we are not only dealing with Covid but also wildfires. The biggest wildfire in Colorado history has been burning very close to where I live. Midday the air is so poor that the sky is orange with pollutants. This has been going on for 2 months now. 

Under the circumstances I can't leave my home or have people over. I am virtually isolated from everybody. 

Let me just say that I believe that tough feelings like these contribute to why we smoked and smoked and refused to quit. I also believe that this type of feelings often leads to relapse in our recovery. 

And now I admit that ghosting is not the answer. Folks share answers that work for them here every day. So please come here often if you want to quit but or feel like you might relapse. This is a safe place to share your tough feelings and get supportive feedback on what to do instead.

So I will be here continuing my recovery with the knowledge that ghosting is not a good answer. 



A Good Day to Quit!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 1, 2020

I often thought that vacation days would be good for quitting - until vacation days came...

And then I thought work days are better - when I'm in my "normal" routine - until no day felt "normal"...

I hoped choosing a random day would work best - but I found them easy to relapse...


Then I was diagnosed with COPD and you know what? It didn't matter what day I quit but that I set a date and not back down! I chose the first day of Spring  3-20-10 for so many reasons:

- it was only 6 days fro my day of diagnosis (not too close or too far)

- it has special meaning for me (I hate Winter and love Spring!)

- it had to be permanent (I was done fooling myself!) A good date can be hard to sacrifice with a relapse.

- it followed my Son's Birthday (3/16) but didn't take the oxygen out of his celebration.

- it worked because I was not going to let myself down again!


So what's a good day to quit? How about Today? It will be filled with the meaning you give it!

Please share your quit date story with us...



We All Are Stressed

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 11, 2020

But we no longer smoke over it! So how do we keep from running back to the sickerettes?


There are dozens of lists. I typed in destress and got this article among others:

10 Ways to De-stress Your Mind and Body 


I like to use mindfulness for my mind, exercise for my body, and prayer for my spirit. The more you do it the more you do it and the better they work. 


What I can never do anymore is smoke. I wouldn't even think of it and when I have -I simply rule out smoking and say, "Since I don't do that anymore, what can I do instead?" 


What can you do? Be ready with various answers. Find your answers when you feel good and be prepared for when you feel weak. We all have our favorite go-tos. When one doesn't seem to help we have Plan B, etc.


Nonsmokers never think about smoking. EXers can get to where they almost never think about smoking but more important they know that a thought is not a command and they get to choose rather be lead by the chains of addiction. But you have to have your go-tos ready to roll on a split moment"s notice.


Make your own destress list and live it! Smoke FREE!



Why Bother?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 5, 2020

I have been reading BecomeanEX for weeks and been left speechless. My depression and anxiety have been so intense that I related to a recent post, "why bother?" 


Well, let me tell you why. EXers are not just fair weather friends. We're like Family through thick and thin. We're here for each other when we lift others up and when we are the ones in need of a lift. We have bonded over the Recovery of Nicotine Addiction - no small task! As smokers our priority over anything and anybody were our sickerettes. As recovering addicts we now realize how important people and relationships are to all of us. 


Sometimes I ask which came first the chicken or the egg. I was socially awkward before I picked up smoking - motivated by the desire to fit in! And yes, we did build relationships around our shared addiction, but those relationships were as nebulous as smoke clouds that surrounded us. 


When I became an EX I recognized that we are friends of recovery - not addiction. Addiction stunts our growth and recovery nourishes self growth. So we grew up in front of our Community. When you go back to your favorite EXer's earliest blogs and then progress through the blogs toward the present you see this growing process right before your eyes. 


We come here timid and doubtful and grow into confident and secure. It's the gift of Smoking Cessation. That doesn't mean that we don't get depressed and or anxiety as well as other life challenges. It means we don't have to go through these tense times alone.


And we don't have to celebrate our Quit Anniversaries, milestones, and accomplishments alone.


Why bother? Because we have each other - just a blog away!

If I can't be here some days, my friends have my back. When they can't be here, I have theirs. We're in this beautiful, magnificent, wondrous recovery together! 


when you need a lift | Kittens cutest, Kittens, Cute animals


Forever Quit???

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 16, 2020

Is yours a Forever Quit? That's a looonnnnnng time - forever! I could have never reached a forever quit if I hadn't started out with an O.D.A.T. Quit! ODAT=One Day at a Time! When I first heard about Mindfulness I wondered how you get anything accomplished! Then I realized that the future is simply a series of "nows." I can set my goal - for whatever length of time and still set my daily goal as one step closer to that goal. 


So is yours an ODAT Quit, a Forever Quit, or both? Mine is both, even now!

As many of you know I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. In fact, I get very suicidal and need hospitalization to see me through the darkest days. That's why I disappear for weeks at a time. 

I was on sabbatical recently because of a deep depression following the loss of a young friend of mine to suicide. I am still recovering but now in more of a state of natural grief.

When I get into the funk I feel that nobody wants to hear/read anything I have to say and suspend blogging.

What I don't do is think of smoking! 

I have come a long way on my quit journey with 10 years plus quit. Yet I still work my quit journey each day at a time because as Giulia points out - even long term quitters have relapsed and I choose not to do that!

I call smoking the "little suicide" because of all the damage it does to folks. Smoking is dangerous and destructive. We all know this but because it is an addiction we act as though it weren't true. 

I was driven to quit smoking by COPD. When I first quit it was 6 days after being diagnosed with Stage 1 - now I have Stage 3 COPD and use oxygen therapy 24/7. Now, COPD contributes to my depression.

Had I not quit smoking when I did I most likely would not still be alive to share this thought with you. 

Folks with depression may think, I can't quit - it's too stressful! Yes, you can! You will face your own challenges during your quit journey but you can do this! Actually, quitting smoking will lead to less depression and anxiety. And it's important! You may need more support from your therapist and Doctor but you can do this.

"Persons with serious mental illnesses die up to 25 years earlier, often from tobacco related diseases." 

Embrace life, care for yourself, and stop looking at mental illness as an insurmountable barrier to quitting!

If I can do it so can you! 

Live Long and Prosper!


Return to Normal

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 29, 2020

We are often asked "When will I return to normal?" Although that's a common sentiment - I wondered the same thing - it misses the mark. "Don't look back - you're not headed that way!" Smoking Cessation will bring you to a New Normal. But in the rush to normal, use this time to consider which parts of 'normal' are worth rushing into. 


One of the most freeing things about the new normal is that you get to define how that looks! I changed some people, places and things in my life and I don't regret it. Some of my smoking buddies only shared one thing - addiction to nicotine. I had to let go of these relationships for awhile at least because I associated with some people only over tobacco. 


I had to changed my places at work, at home, even my car! I used to have my patio set up primarily for smoking. I did a complete overhall of it to be non-smoker friendly. I cleaned out and detailed my car making it nonsmoking only. At work I stopped going to the smoking areas and learned to hang with the nonsmokers - because that's what the goal is - Nonsmoker. 


I threw away my ashtrays, lighters, and matches - all my paraphernalia. It took me along time before I could play cards again. I replaced all of these objects with life fortifying objects.


Yes, I snatched at  my pocket for that missing pack of sickerettes. I hunted for lighters any number of times, I was compelled like a magnet to join my friends to the smoking areas. I felt nostalgia at times for the old normal. But I pursued my new normal. You see, commitment is the little choices we make every day that lead to the final results we're striving for.


There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you're interested in smoking cessation, you do it only when it's convenient. When you're committed to quit smoking, you accept no excuses - only results! Make those small decisions about who, what, where you'll be and keep your eyes on the prize


You're worth it! Never quit quitting - No regrets!




Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 28, 2020

I doubt very many of us have found smoking cessation easy. We learned how to quit smoking by relying on each other and then as we got our confidence by paying it forward. 

Here's something to remember - more folks have quit smoking than those who are still fighting the addiction. There is absolutely nothing different about the quitters and the wannabes! What we have chosen is to stay committed to ourselves. How many times did I say "nobody will notice if I cheat?" I lost count!

What made this quit journey successful for me is the daily pledge:

"I Thomas pledge that I will not smoke today for any reason whatsoever!" I had to honor that pledge, yes, to the Community but most important of all - to myself. 

I had plenty of days of wanting to throw in the towel and go back to nicotine. It was especially tempting when vaping became popular. But I honored my pledge and found something else to do which gave me something else to think about. 

It's important to note that anybody who comes near third hand smoke really does notice so you aren't sneaking around after all! They notice! Even if you changed clothes afterward, took a shower, brushed your teeth, applied perfume and ate an altoid. It smells! Your hair smells, your hands smell, even after all that covering up you do smell. 

Another tell-tale sign is your attitude - there's a big difference between a quitter and somebody who relapsed - honesty! You can be as honest as you like but if you're lying about smoking to yourself it shows! 

Commitment isn't about going 10 years without smoking! Had I promised myself 10 years of smobriety I doubt that I could do that! It's about not smoking this minute...and this minute...and this minute so that minutes stack up to hours, hours to days and days to years! 

Make a commitment to yourself today - just for today. And repeat your pledge tomorrow. That's how you make this quit journey doable.

Use all that energy of sneaking around to be 100% accountable - to yourself and you will achieve Freedom from Nicotine Addiction. We're here to help but the commitment has to come from you. 


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


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!)



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!


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!


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!

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