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2013

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Easter  Pasch, Pascha

 

The Jewish tradition of  Pesach (Passover) is full of ritual and tradition that exemplifies purification and preparation for the miracle of  hag hamatzot ( the feast of unleavened bread). Most Jews observe the holiday over seven days, others celebrate for 8 days. Observant Jews spend the weeks before Passover in a flurry of thorough housecleaning, to remove every morsel of chametz (leavening)from every part of the home. Jewish law requires the elimination of olive-sized or larger quantities of leavening from one's possession, but most housekeeping goes beyond this. Even the cracks of kitchen counters are thoroughly scrubbed, for example, to remove any traces of flour and yeast, however small. Any item or implement that has handled chametz is generally put away and not used during  Passover. This constitutes preparing one's house to be "kosher for Pesach."

Matzo has also been called Lechem Oni (Hebrew: "bread of poverty"). There is an attendant explanation that matzo serves as a symbol to remind Jews what it is like to be a poor slave and to promote humility, appreciate freedom, and avoid the inflated ego symbolized by more luxurious leavened bread. In the weeks before Passover, matzos are prepared for holiday consumption. In Orthodox Jewish communities, men traditionally gather in groups ("chaburas") to bake a special version of handmade matzo called "shmura matzo", or "guarded matzo", for use at the Seder. These are made from wheat that is guarded from contamination by chametz from the time of summer harvest to its baking into matzos five to ten months later. Shmura matzo dough is rolled by hand, resulting in a large and round matzo. Chaburas also work together in machine-made matzo factories, which produce the typically square-shaped matzo sold in stores.

There are many more rituals around purification and preparation and they remind the modern Jews of FREEDOM from slavery and from death.

"Perhaps in our generation the counsel of our Talmudic sages may seem superfluous, for today the story of our enslavement in Egypt is kept alive not only by ritualistic symbolism, but even more so by tragic realism. We are the contemporaries and witnesses of its daily re-enactment. Are not our hapless brethren in the German Reich eating "the bread of affliction"? Are not their lives embittered by complete disenfranchisement and forced labor? Are they not lashed mercilessly by brutal taskmasters behind the walls of concentration camps? Are not many of their men-folk being murdered in cold blood? Is not the ruthlessness of the Egyptian Pharaoh surpassed by the sadism of the **** dictators?"

"And yet, even in this hour of disaster and degradation, it is still helpful to "visualize oneself among those who had gone forth out of Egypt." It gives stability and equilibrium to the spirit. Only our estranged kinsmen, the assimilated, and the de-Judaized, go to pieces under the impact of the blow....But those who visualize themselves among the groups who have gone forth from the successive Egypts in our history never lose their sense of perspective, nor are they overwhelmed by confusion and despair.... It is this faith, born of racial experience and wisdom, which gives the oppressed the strength to outlive the oppressors and to endure until the day of ultimate triumph when we shall "be brought forth from bondage unto freedom, from sorrow unto joy, from mourning unto festivity, from darkness unto great light, and from servitude unto redemption. 

- Rabbi Philip R. Alstat  (1939)

The story of Passover, with its message that slaves can go free, and that the future can be better than the present, has inspired a number of religious sermons, prayers, and songs—including spirituals (what used to be called "Negro Spirituals"), within the African-American community.

What could be more redeeming than to also prepare our bodies with purification from Nicotine? By declaring ourselves Nicotine FREE we make ourselves  FREE from the slavery of Addiction of Tobacco!By doing so don't we   promote humility, appreciate freedom, and avoid the inflated ego of the Addict who puts their fix above self-care, family, friends, just about everything?" 

Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In many languages, the words for "Easter" and "Passover" are etymologically related or homonymous. The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus, which Easter celebrates, is a foundation of the Christian faith. Easter is linked to the Passover and Exodus from Egypt recorded in the Old Testament through the Last Supper and crucifixion that preceded the resurrection. According to the New Testament, Jesus gave the Passover meal a new meaning, as he prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper. He identified the matzah and cup of wine as his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. Paul states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to the allegory of Jesus as the Paschal lamb. 

Christians of Jewish origin were the first to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Since the date of the resurrection was close the timing of Passover, they likely celebrated the resurrection as a new facet of the Passover festival. The date of Easter was fixed by means of the local Jewish lunisolar calendar. This is consistent with the celebration of Easter having entered Christianity during its earliest, Jewish period. Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts such that  the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. In Western Christianity, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 included. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In Eastern Christianity, Easter  varies between 4 April and 8 May on the Gregorian calendar.

In Western Christianity, Easter is preceded by Lent, a period of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, which begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts forty days (not counting Sundays). The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial. Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week. Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent fasting in the desert before the beginning of his public ministry, where he endured temptation by the Devil.

The week before Easter, known as Holy Week, is very special in the Christian tradition. The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, with the Wednesday before Easter being known as Spy Wednesday. The last three days before Easter are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday (sometimes referred to as Silent Saturday). Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday respectively commemorate Jesus' entry in Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday are sometimes referred to as the Easter Triduum (Latin for "Three Days"). In some countries, Easter lasts two days, with the second called "Easter Monday". The week beginning with Easter Sunday is called Easter Week or the Octave of Easter, and each day is prefaced with "Easter", e.g. Easter Monday, Easter Tuesday, etc. Easter Saturday is therefore the Saturday after Easter Sunday. The day before Easter is properly called Holy Saturday. Many churches begin celebrating Easter late in the evening of Holy Saturday at a service called the Easter Vigil. Eastertide, or Paschaltide, the season of Easter, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts until the day of Pentecost, seven weeks later.

Source: Wikipedia

Again, I find Lent to be a Great time to purify our bodies of Nicotine Addiction and preparation for the coming of the Savior's ultimate sacrifice and Glorious Resurrection. He resurrects us from our own poor choice to beging the Addiction and lifts us out of the slavery of our sin. He gives us Hope of Eternal Life and exemplifies Courage to face our fears! We do as Paul asks, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed!" Let God give the oppressed the strength to outlive the oppressors and to endure until the day of ultimate triumph when we shall be brought forth from bondage unto freedom, from sorrow unto joy, from mourning unto festivity, from darkness unto great light, and from servitude unto redemption. 

Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you greater than any obstacle.

Christian D. Larson

Today is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!

Thomas3.20.2010

From my Inbox to You

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 25, 2013

Concerned for Her Mother’s Health

  

December 12th, 2012 | Author: COPD Coach

  

Dear COPD Coach,

  

My mother was diagnosed with COPD 4 years ago. She is only 63 years old. She is still smoking. I know she will not get better from COPD but I believe the smoking is negating all the oxygen and medications she takes for her symptoms. Over the past couple of months she has more fatigued legs and feet cramping and seems depressed.  She stays at home in her comfort zone. She does as much as she can but simple tasks like cooking exhausts her.

  

She doesn’t share anything on her COPD with me and I am wondering if there arestages of COPD? I fear she may be entering a stage where I may need to become more involved.

  

Do you have any suggestions?

  

Concerned Daughter

  

 Dear Concerned,

  

Let me begin by telling you how sorry I am that your family and particularly your mother are facing these difficulties. COPD does not only affect the person with the diagnosis, it usually hassignificant impact on the entire family!

  

You are very right in your assumption that by continuing smoking your mother is negating, or certainly significantly lessening, the effects of the oxygen and medications. By being more inactive, she is also not helping her prognosis. I have heard many stories of people recently diagnosed who, whether consciously or not, withdraw into their “comfort zone” and most amazingly continue to smoke despite the evidence that says smoking most probably caused their COPD! Those less educated about COPD will often assume the stance that “if this is going to kill me, I might as well continue what I enjoy!”

  

From your description of the situation at home, I believe that the time to get involved is NOW! Your mother’s continued smoking is not only destroying any benefit from the medications, it is also shortening her life dramatically!

  

While somewhat obvious, the first thing your mother needs to do is quit smoking. For some advice on helping her quit you may need to enlist the services of her pulmonary doctor. He might be able to provide you with a program that will allow her to quit. People with COPD often feel as if their lives are spinning out of control. Your mother should know that by quitting smoking she is taking control of the course of the progression of her COPD. It’s a known fact that quitting smoking is the number one way to slow the progression of COPD. For some advice on smoking cessation you can call our COPD Information line at 866-316-2673. The Information Line Associates are also individuals living with COPD, and can help you in your role as caregiver!

  

 

  

The second thing you need to talk to her doctor about is getting your mother enrolled in a pulmonary rehabilitation program. Through exercise, she will train her muscles to work on less oxygen, which will in turn cause her to get less out of breath on exertion. If there isn’t a pulmonary rehabilitation program in your area, talk with your doctor about exercises your mother can do at home (and maybe with you)! An increasing level of inactivity along with low oxygen levels may well be contributing to her problems with her legs and feet, and her inability to carry out everyday tasks.

  

There are indeed stages of COPD. The stages are now listed as A,B,C and D, with “D” being the most severe.  Usually, the need for full time oxygen would place the person at stage 3, possibly 4.  How long a person remains at each stage depends on a number of factors. If they are beginning to have exacerbations (times when COPD symptoms get worse), especially ones requiring hospitalization, this can hasten the progression of their COPD. Exposure to smoking (including secondhand smoke), dust, pollution, or chemicals can also greatly hasten the progression. Remaining inactive factors in, as does not following a correct diet and medication schedule.

  

One of the most important aspects of COPD is education. The more you know about COPD, the better you will be equipped in the role of her caregiver. Knowing what signs to look for to ward off an exacerbation is critical, as is knowing about diet and exercise. A good source of information is our Big Fat Reference Guide.

  

 

  

At some point, your mother is going to have to come to terms with the decision that she can either smoke and continue on a downward spiral, or seize control of her disease and learn to live with the highest quality of life possible and be a part of the lives of her family. I don’t envy the task you or your mother face, but rest assured that we will be here if you need us.

  

Best regards,

  

The COPD Coach

  

 

  
     
  
   

do you really know what your subconscious mind is thinking?

   
       
   
    

 

    
     

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Nancy doesn't seem to be here today so I wanted to republish one of my Favorite BLOGS by one of my Favorite Advocates! I hope this helps those of us who are waivering!!!

     

 

     

Your DECISION to stop smoking starts with your mindset and usually goes something like this. The first few attempts usually turn out to be dismal failures because you weren't actually serious when you quit! We saved the ashtrays, packs of ciggs (just in case) and even told ourselves we would only smoke if things got really bad, too stressful, or if we lost our job etc... WHY would we do that? Personally I believe it's because we had smoked for such a long time and we really WANTED to quit, but not FOREVER...that was way too much to realize at the time....So we left the "back doors" open in our subconscious mind to starting again.....But ONLY if something TERRIBLE happened...even though the TERRIBLE thing did or didn't happen, our mind kept drifting back to the old subconscious 'brainwashing' of "I'll never REALLY be happy without smoking", or "I love smoking" ", or blah,blah,blah....... Then, after awhile, when we become serious enough to quit, we come to the realization that we are CHOOSING to quit smoking (not just a "want to")...... we DECIDE we are choosing to quit smoking FOREVER, and the task becomes much easier. This time we realize that smoking will NOT BE AN OPTION, for any reason at all, no matter what . So on a conscious and a subconscious level, there is no internal arguement...we have CHOSEN to be free and will honor that decision to remain free to staying quit every day.....The quit process does take time, but the better your DECISION to quit is at the outset, the better quit you will have and all of the "back doors", where the old brainwashing is located, or REASONS/EXCUSES to smoke will be closed. So if you are a newbie or a long time quitter, ask yourself about the "what if reasons" to start back smoking are before they can happen and CLOSE those BACK DOORS.

     

 

     

- Lock that Door and throw away the Key!

     
      

   
    
   
   
       
   
       
  
Thomas3.20.2010

Thought for the Day

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 25, 2013


Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

N.O.P.E.

N.E.F.

- just for today!

Good Morning, Fellow EXers!

A snowy Spring Day for many of us. So grab a cup of hot coffee or hot tea. get comfortable and learn about the enemy! It will make your quitidue stronger!

 

NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY

True, false or utterly absurd?

Do nicotine replacements help smokers quit?

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/diet-and-fitness/true-false-or-utterly-absurd-20130315-2g5ub.html

SUPPORTING QUITTERS

New approach to help smokers quit: A little help from their friends

http://www.echopress.com/event/article/id/102966/group/News/

Smoking risks not considered by students

http://www.bgnews.com/campus/smoking-risks-not-considered-by-students/article_784649de-9509-11e2-96b7-001a4bcf887a.html

SECOND HAND SMOKE

Professors develop second hand smoking device

http://thedartmouth.com/2013/03/25/news/smoke

   Hcghappy_unclebig
   
  
   Second Hand Smoke: Creepy Dual-Smoker Ads (PHOTOS) 
     
     
  
   SMOKING AND THE LAW 
  
     
  
   Why cigarettes are here to stay 
  
     
     
     
  
   Is It Time to Ban Smoking in All Apartments and Condos? 
  
     
     
     
  
   SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH 
  
     
  
   Beat Back Pain by Quitting Smoking 
  
     
     
     


If you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), it's
important to understand how the lungs work and to know what happens when
these diseases affect the lungs.

When you inhale, air travels down the back of your throat (pharynx), passes
through your voice box (larynx) and goes into your windpipe (trachea). The
trachea is divided into two air passages (mainstem bronchi); one leads to
the left lung, and one to the right lung. The diaphragm, a dome-shaped
muscle, lies below the lungs. It flattens to draw air in as you inhale and
rises when you exhale.

The right lung has three sections, called lobes, and is slightly larger than
the left lung, which has two lobes. The mainstem bronchi divide into smaller
air passages called bronchioles. At the end of the bronchioles are tiny air
sacs called alveoli, where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.

After absorbing oxygen, the blood flows from the lungs to the heart. It is
then pumped through the body, providing oxygen to the cells of the tissues
and organs. When the cells use the oxygen, carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced
and transferred to the blood. The blood carries the CO2 back to the lungs,
where it is removed when you exhale.

Your lungs are protected from harmful substances in a number of ways. The
hair in the nose helps filter out large particles, and cilia (microscopic
hairlike projections on cells that line the nose and larger airways of the
lung) continually sweep back and forth to keep the air passages clear. Mucus
produced by the trachea and bronchial tubes helps trap dust, bacteria and
other foreign substances before they can enter the lungs. Normally, the
airways are open and free from inflammation and excess mucus.

In asthma, the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and swollen. The
lining can make extra mucus, which clogs the airways. The muscles around the
airways tighten, making the airways even narrower. Sometimes the airways can
become so narrow that air has trouble getting in and out of the lungs,
resulting in an asthma attack.
In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the bronchioles becomes inflamed and
produces too much mucus. In some people, the swelling and excess mucus
narrow the airways and restrict airflow in and out of the lungs, causing
shortness of breath. The cilia also are damaged, preventing them from
removing the excess mucus.
In emphysema, the walls of the alveoli lose their elasticity and become
enlarged. As they get bigger, the diaphragm flattens, making it harder for
the lungs to move air in and out. The bronchioles also become less elastic
and become narrow or collapse upon exhalation. As a result, CO2 gets trapped
in the airways and prevents oxygen from getting to the blood.

http://tinyurl.com/cwabses

This fell into my inbox and I just wanted to post it for those with breathing problems. If you have these diseases then PLEASE DON'T SMOKE! YOU ARE KILLING YOURSELF (100%!)

Thomas3.20.2010

Thank You!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 21, 2013

The celebration yesterday was so Special - I will never forget it! Most of all I'll never forget my EX Family and Friends that celebrated with me! A Special Thanks to Tommy who conducted the Freedom Train and my cocelebrants, Cyn and Brian! I hope everybody had a Great Time! 

"Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.

Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.

Just walk beside me and be my Friend."

  - Albert Camus
   
   image
  
     
  
     
  
     
  
     
  
     
  
   If you are just now investigating this site and contemplating the Quit World, you are teaching me and supporting my Quit Journey. You remind me of the days I EXperienced prior to quitting when I was full of FEARS and DOUBTS and what it took to actually set a quit day and then count those days off, saying 'goodbye' to my 'best friend,' even wishing that there was another way out than to give up my addiction for good. You show me just how hard it was to make the leap of faith that I could and would find the grass greener on the other side! Thank You for that! Thank You! Let me take your hand and walk beside you as you move through these fears with courage and these doubts with hope! 
  
     
  
   If you are on your first 3 days of your Quit Journey, you are reminding me what it was like to feel the physical aches and pains of physical withdrawal, the endless sleeplessness, jitters, the need to stay busy and yet feeling empty headed at the same time - all the time knowing that just one puff would relieve these symptoms but also keep me trapped and still facing withdrawal. You show me just how important it is to recognize that physical withdrawal is very temporary and yet, if I were to relapse I'd have to suffer all of this all over again! Thank You! Let me take your hand and walk beside you as you throw off once and for all Nicotine's poisonous physical hold on your body! 
  
     
  
   If you are in your first Month of your Quit Journey, you refresh my memory of those moment by moment struggles that you are living to keep your Focus on the Positive, to change your perspective in spite of bargaining thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere,to find your New Normal,  to wish for the day that you can not think about smoking and quitting for at least one whole day! Thank You for sharing with me! Let me take your hand and walk beside you as you discover your Quititude and the Real You that your Creator intends for you to BE! 
  
     
  
   If you are stumbling, tired and thirsty for wisdom through No Man's Land during those first 130 days of your Quit Journey, you encourage me with your brave vigilance. You actually experience that first day when smoking and quitting never crosses your mind, you lose the 3-D support system from those who consider your Quit a done deal while you know for a fact, you are more endangered than ever. And then it strikes! - the sneak attack! - it makes your knees shake! - it totally feels like it will obliterate you! - and just the fact of the attack makes you wonder if you really do have it in you! Often it happens at a special occassion like your 100th day! It's so aggravating and the anger just triggers another waive of self-doubt and cravings! Yet, you reach out for support, get out your Quit Tool Box, and pull yourself through even if it's one day, one hour, one minute at a time, again! Such perseverence! I see before me another VICTOR who will gain the Crown of the 6%er! Thank You for reaching out for my extended hand! Nothing makes me happier than to see another EXer make their way out of NML! Please take my hand and we will walk side by side into the fresh air of abundant living! 
  
     
  
   If you have broken free of NML and joyfully, confidently  add those Days, Weeks, Months until your first Anniversary, you describe to me all over again the enthusiasm of those Months of Victory while remaining always ready for those seasonal and situational triggers that although they may be new, you know what to do about them! And if and when you find yourself in over your head (I certainly do/have at times!) you unhesitatingly come here and plea for the support that you know works and will always be here! Thank You for walking the walk with me! I grin with Pride just thinking about you! Hand in hand we walk into the future together! 
  
     
  
   If you are a 6%er, and yet continue to pay it forward, not just for others because they were here for you, but for yourself because protecting our Quits is the most important decision we have to make today, you renew my determination to N.E.F.(Never Ever Forget) - to never lose perspective - to recall again TODAY that Today is the most important day of my recovery! Thank You for your contributions to all my friends' Quit Journeys, my own Quit Journey, but especially to your own Quit Journey because I sleep well knowing that you have the Forever Quititude! We walk side by side each and every day, reaching out in all directions supporting and receiving support with each, yes, breath we take! We are more than Friends - We are Family! And I love each and every one of you! 
  
     
  
   To those who went before me, my gratitude for your generous, patient, unwavering support as I made my way through all 1096 days - one day at a time - will last a lifetime and beyond! You took my hand and walked beside me, whispering EXpert advice in my ear, retraining my brain, giving me hope when I doubted, courage when I was afraid, cheering me on with each VICTORY both reaching goals and confronting my Addictive Brain. You grieved with me when I grieved, celebrated with me when I found life amazing, empowered  me to discover my True Addiction Free Self with your unconditional acceptance! No words begin to EXpress my appreciation that you are here beside me in this marvelous Life! 
  
   Thank You, Friends, New and Old! Not one of us is 'less' - together we are all greater than the sum of our individual parts! 
  
     
  
   "When we replaces I, then ill becomes well!" 
  
     
  
    Please join me on the Freedom Train to celebrate our Journey together!

Good Morning! Well, yesterday I was pulling myself up by my bootstraps so I didn't get this published. I share the current news that is smoke related because this info helps me to know the enemy and to protect my quit. I hope it does the same for you!

Well, tomorrow is a BIG DAY - It's KICK BUTTS DAY sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids AND my 3rd Anniversary Smoke Free! So I'm EXcited to celebrate with all of you! Here"s the website for KICK BUTTS:

http://www.kickbuttsday.org/

And without further ado - 

 

SMOKING AND YOUR HOME

Secondhand Smoke Lawsuit: Family Wins Judgement Against Landlord, Smoking Neighbors

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/14/secondhand-smoke-lawsuit_n_2870345.html

Committee to consider outlawing smoking at three Palo Alto parks

http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_22820617/committee-consider-outlawing-smoking-at-three-palo-alto

Ware apartment fire is the latest involving smoking and medical oxygen, says Massachusetts fire marshal

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/ware_apartment_fire_is_the_lat.html

 

TOBACCO MARKETING

Staten Island anti-smoking advocate: Hiding cigarettes at retail is a smart move

http://www.silive.com/news/index.ssf/2013/03/staten_island_anti-smoking_adv.html

UN expresses concern world tobacco fair in Philippines promotes smoking

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/un-expresses-concern-world-tobacco-fair-in-philippines-promotes-smoking/2013/03/19/764cc14c-9051-11e2-9173-7f87cda73b49_story.html

SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH

Spine patients who quit smoking report diminished pain

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-03/aaoo-spw031513.php

Smoking: A disability you actually can prevent or reverse

http://auburnpub.com/lifestyles/smoking-a-disability-you-actually-can-prevent-or-reverse/article_3339f53c-84ef-53d2-8e94-4cafdffbdbbe.html

SMOKING CESSATION

Can you give up smoking, and/or, meat for a day?

http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-news/ci_22815710/can-you-give-up-smoking-and-or-meat

 Effects of timing of initiation and planning on smoking cessation outcomes: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

http://7thspace.com/headlines/434316/effects_of_timing_of_initiation_and_planning_on_smoking_cessation_outcomes_study_protocol_for_a_randomised_controlled_trial.html

Helping the mentally ill quit smoking

http://bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/03/17/those-with-mental-illness-may-have-harder-time-giving-cigarettes/ggjRax0sY2v4jXKMKldc3K/story.html

More people are smoking e-cigarettes, but as a quitting tool, they may be all smoke and mirrors

 http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/people-smoking-e-cigarettes-evidence-quit-experts-article-1.1287795#ixzz2NzA4fhsb

Thomas3.20.2010

Never Ever Forget

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 18, 2013

Today I chose my theme from a saying that was introduced by Live4theDash! If you all don't know him, well, keep your eyes open - he drops by from time to time and really knows how to inspire a solid quit!

Never Ever Forget!
So why did I choose this one of so many inspiring slogans? Because for me this is the most important slogan of my quit! You see, I have "quit" many times before! But N.E.F. guarantees that this is THE QUIT!

Let me start out by the first cig I remember smoking with my buddies (not the guys in the picture, but coulda been - we were just like these fellas!) I was 5 years old and yes, I got caught! My punishment was to smoke cig after cig until I threw up! YUK! (Sorry Ladies!) So did it work? Heck, NO! We snuck them from our parents and went out something like that movie Lean on Me! Great Movie, folks! That WAS my growing up thing! So that's how I got started! N.E.F.!

As I grew older I was on the anti-smoking - "You'll get Cancer" Club until about High School when they told us marijuana was one step short of being a heroin addict! That's when I decided that Medical "Evidence" doesn't mean Doo-doo! If they can lie about MJ they could be lying about tobacco, too, right? N.E.F.

Still, I am the exact opposite of a gambler! The idea of losing so much as $1 on a lottery ticket seems like such a "pena!" - such a shame! So me being the thinker that I am, I came up with a "fail/safe" plan: I can smoke from time to time and quit from time to time and keep myself safe from Cancer and Lung Damage! And that's exactly what I did! I was a super-expert on cold turkey! N.E.F.

So, when my Doctor told me I had chronic bronchitis some 15 years ago, I marked it up to having pneumonia 2 years in a row - it couldn't possibly be cigs - I have the fail/safe plan! Right? N.E.F.

 

March 14, 2010 The day I will NEVER EVER FORGET! Sunday morning and I have a fever of 102 degrees! At the Hospital I hear the words burnt forever in my brain - Emphysema/ COPD! How is that possible? Because COPD is an auto-immune disease! It cares not what deals you made - how old you are or how much you smoked! ONE CIGARETTE is ONE TOO MANY! And my life changed in the most amazing and exciting way possible! I discovered my Ex Family and MY TRUE ADDICTION FREE SELF!

I no longer had a "reason" to give up my quit! This would be THE QUIT! The one and only FOREVER QUIT! Because Smoking is not an option for me anymore NO MATTER WHAT! N.E.F.

If GOD grants me 10 or even 20 more years of LIFE I will still be saying N.E.F. because my LIFE depends on it - and so does yours! God Bless You All and NEVER EVER FORGET YOUR STORY - YOU MATTER!

"If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice." – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

Wouldn't you like to increase your levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy? When we live with gratitude we have less depression and stress, are more likely to help others, exercise more regularly, and make greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude – is author of the book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”.

He finds that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. Those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”

Notice and Appreciate Each Day’s Gifts

People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”

There are Many Ways to Practice Gratitude

A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, a concept that was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude”. This exercise basically consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.

A variation of the wristband concept is to create a gratitude charm bracelet, with either one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you’re most grateful for. For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career, and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.

Becoming Grateful Every Day

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.

Today I am Grateful for

(1)my LORD 

(2) the SUN

(3) my FAMILY

(4)my FRIENDS 

(5) my HOME

(6) my JOB

(7) the gift of BREATH

(8)  my BODY and HEALTH 

(9) the FOOD I eat

(10) my FREEDOM from Addiction!


We all know famous people who have overcome adversity, and achieved success like Walt Disney and Nelson Rockefeller, who overcame learning disabilities, and people like J. C. Penney and J. K Rowling who struggled through personal bad times before finding their true legacy. For most, I think it starts with having the survivor instinct, rather than accepting the victim role. Applying these principles should  have a strengthening effect:


Use the power of positive attitude and mindset. Developing a positive attitude about adversity seems essential to tapping its power to enhance and improve your life. A wise man once said, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.”


• Meditation is the art of letting go. Practicing meditation creaates and sustains your positive mindset. Don’t think of meditation in the classic Zen sense, as exercising or swimming daily is also a way of letting your mind go. You may realize that adversity is just another name for the series of choices called life.


• Communicate your goals and desires. A great gift of adversity is coming to understand that you can only resolve your problems when you share your life with others. You simply must reach out to others, or you will never overcome adversity.


• Practice sharing, not controlling. Don’t confuse the need to control with connection. As you truly connect with others – revealing, extending, and expressing yourself – the layers of adversity will peel away like an onion. Surround yourself with strong people who can help you get through the tough times.


• Acceptance is the key. Adversity at some point in your life is inevitable. The more you refuse to accept it and deal with it, the more you will lose. Denial and running away never helps. Those who choose to be strong, rather than choose to suffer, will overcome it and may actually thrive.


• Embrace the bounce. It’s all about being resilient. That means look beyond the challenges of the moment, and identify and integrate the new insights and convictions that adversity so often presents.


Your challenge is to turn adversity into success. You have to be both creative and patient to discover the multiple solutions that will unravel the knots of your adversity. In these ways, you will move ever closer to mastering it, and be that much more at peace.

There are so many menbers that recently joined because they have COPD and today 3 years ago, I received my diagnosis! SO SAD for them and for me that we didn't learn about Nicotine Addiction before we had to adjust to this chronic, progressive, incurable smoking related illness! I want you folks  to know who do not have it - COPD SUCKS! One half of ALL SMOKERS die of smoking related illness! That's half of us, you guys! That just breaks my heart! Please protect your quit NO MATTER WHAT! Your LIFE depends on it!

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Thomas3.20.2010

Good Grief!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 13, 2013

The psychological recovery process is very similar to the grief cycle, how someone feels when a loved one dies. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross did research on death and dying. She found that anytime we experience a major change in life, we grieve for the old in order to make room for the new. She also found that there are usually five stages to a person’s grieving process. Think about how these stages of grieving relates to quitting for you:

Denial & Isolation

Denial and isolation are the mind’s first way of protecting us from a sudden change or loss. People who lose a friend or family member say they feel numb. This is called a psychological defense mechanism. What this means is that although you know the importance of quitting, you may not want to believe it. The denial phase probably happened before you even found this program. 

 Have you ever said any of these statements?

- I know I should quit, but I’m not sure I want to. 

- Cigarettes don’t affect my health like they do others. I’m not huffing and puffing.

- I can quit anytime I want to. 

- I’m not addicted. 

- I’ll switch to a low-tar cigarette. 

- Cigarettes haven’t been proven harmful. 

- My parents both smoked and they’re fine. 

These are denial statements. What are some other denial statements that perhaps you have used in the past?

Anger 

When we begin to accept a loss, we often feel anger. If you perceived comfort from smoking you are likely to feel angry about the change. You may be angry about the loss of your “friend.” You might be angry about many things, or everything.

Some typical feelings or statements made during this phase include:

- Why me? I’m mad I started, I’m mad I quit. I’m mad cigarettes are harmful. I’m mad it’s so hard. I’m mad that things aren’t going my way. 

- You might be angry with me and other participants on the Blogs and Message Boards. You might find yourself reacting angrily to things that normally wouldn’t bother you. 

- Your anger may be directed toward family members, friends, nonsmokers or coworkers. In fact, a lot of people avoid quitting because they feel so irritable during the recovery process. 

- Remember that anger is part of the process. Don’t try to resist it. Accept it, safely vent it, and take some time to feel it. You may feel angry and testy. You don’t have to have a reason to feel that way, you just do. It will subside. Sometimes naming the feeling lowers the intensity of your anger.

Bargaining

This is the stage where participants feel tempted to postpone the inevitable. You might try to switch brands, smoke only at home or only at work. You might also try to make deals and empty promises. This is a risky phase because a lot of people slip or relapse at this point, so be careful!

Some typical comments made during the bargaining phase are:

- I think I have the worst licked. If I just have one cigarette, I’ll get right back on track afterward and I won’t do it again. 

- I’ll just smoke on vacation. 

- I’ll just light your cigarette. 

- I’ll quit as long as my weight stays down. 

- I’ll try, but I’m not making any promises. 

 Do these statements sound familiar? Everyone is tempted to bargain. Realizing that it is a natural part of the process of quitting sometimes helps to move past it. Laugh it off and have a heart-to-heart talk with your inner self. Make a strong commitment to be in control of the cigarette. If you give in to bargaining, the cigarette is once again in control. Say out loud, “Nothing or no one controls me.” Put that statement on a sticky note and put it in a place where you’ll be reminded to think about it and repeat it often.

Depression

When quitters acknowledge and accept the loss of their “friend,” the cigarette, it’s natural to experience some sadness. This is especially true when no one else seems to know or understand this loss. People often experience this in one of two ways. They either feel a deep sense of sadness or a deep sense of deprivation.

 Some typical comments during the depression stage are:

- I feel so emotional. I cry all the time. 

- I feel so deprived. 

- Why can’t I have this one little pleasure? 

- Life without cigarettes is awful. 

- I feel lonely. 

This is the “ain’t it awful” stage. You may feel like you’ve lost your best friend. Don’t resist this stage or think it’s crazy to mourn the loss of a cigarette. Be as direct with this stage as you are with the anger stage. Accept it. Talk about it. Take some time to just feel sad. Then move on and focus on the benefits of what you’re doing. 

Acceptance 

A healthy person who has suffered a loss eventually accepts its reality and goes on living life. In this stage, you begin to realize that your former smoking lifestyle is over. You are finally resolving your sense of loss or grief. You can get on with living your new found, healthier lifestyle. A new and better life begins.

Some typical comments during the acceptance phase are:

- I think I’m going to actually be successful. I still don’t like it a lot but I think it will stick. 

- I’d still like to smoke but I choose not to. 

- I am going to teach myself to like my new nonsmoking lifestyle. I’ll do it gradually and positively. 

 

- I am living a smokefree life. 

- I am an EX-smoker! 

The key to moving through the psychological recovery is your attitude toward quitting. Continue to look at these symptoms as part of the process. Move through them with a sense of challenge, expectation and excitement over what lies ahead for you. You will make discoveries about yourself. Reject the feeling that you have given something up. It’s quite the opposite. You've gained something: your freedom and self-mastery. 

This is not an exercise in self-denial, but self-determination. You are giving a precious gift to yourself and to those around you. Be patient with yourself, but stay on track! Move forward and keep them away from your face! You didn't become addicted overnight - you won't heal overnight, either! Smoking is never the solution to your grief!

Thomas3.20.2010

Quititude!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 13, 2013

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Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. - William James

TODAY is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!

My name is Thomas and TODAY I celebrate 2 Years 11 Months 3 Weeks and 4 Hours (1089 days) since I quit making excuses to kill myself one puff at a time!

One Day at a Time!

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So what happens to Tobacco Row when they find their market for sickerettes shrinking? Globalize! Pick on places like Africa, India, Latin America and the Phillipines....Aggressively promote your products and especially target Youth = get them hooked early and keep them hooked for life! In developed nations, smoking prevalence is down about 8 percent over the past decade, yet it is up by about 14 percent in developing nations.  But there is help on the way!

February 26-27 the World Health Organization brought together representatives from 35 nations to address the problem of globalized world nicotine pushing. One of the presentators is Margaret Chan, the Head of the World Health Organization reponsible for the first International Treaty regulating the tobacco industry. 176 Nations accounting for 90% of the World's population signed the treaty. Here are some of her comments:

"We are experiencing the globalization of unhealthy lifestyles. Tobacco rests at the top as the biggest universal threat. It causes cancer at 15 sites and is driven by forces that lie beyond the control of health authorities. It is an economically and politically powerful industry -- our enemy -- bent on avoiding regulation and maintaining profits. But the tobacco industry needs to be worried.  Regulatory control has always been a deep fear of the industry, and it has come true."

"A disturbing trend is using trade agreements under the jurisdiction of the World Trade Organization to avoid regulation -- exploited by the industry to challenge tobacco control measures in the courts. They use lengthy and expensive litigation. It can provoke a domino effect so that when one country buckles under pressure of litigation, other countries will be intimidated. They fear that trade sanctions will be imposed by trading partners. But we have had significant recent victories. And another winning force -- the strong voice of civil society organizations. We are engaged in a very long battle between protection of public health and pursuit of private profit." 

Vesile Kulacoglu, Director, Trade and Environment Division of the World Trade Organization, addressed directly the tobacco industry's tactic of using trade agreements to thwart anti-tobacco laws:

"Case law confirms a policy space to take measures on justifiable public policy considerations applied in good faith, subject to certain conditions. These include non-restrictiveness of the measures, general exceptions under WTO rules, and flexibility to pursue legitimate public policies. This health dispute is not new. A number of health policies have been found to be legitimate exceptions. This includes asbestos in 2001, and retreaded tires is a recent case. WTO respects the rights of nations to determine the level of protection of health they consider appropriate in a given situation."

Lots of  compelling discussion and argument. From the conference, one truth is clear -- the tobacco wars are far from over. In some ways, we're clearly winning, and in other ways, we're clearly losing.  And the fight goes on... 

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Thomas3.20.2010

Time on my Hands!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 12, 2013

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When you quit smoking you soon realize that you spent something around an hour and a half or more just puffing away on those sickerettes! That's a lot of time on your hands all of a sudden! So here's an idea of what to do to fill that void:

Why not join the 128 Members of Our Positive Affirmation Group?

- You can sort through the 46 pages of affirmations and make a list of the ones you like the most!

- You can find and add affirmations of your own to add to the collection!

- You can share with other members and quit buddies the affirmations that struck a cord with you!

- You can print out or copy some of your favorites and post them on your fridge, front door, bathroom mirror, bedroom night stand, TV screen, computer work area, etc.....

You will stay very busy and you will be enhancing your Quititude all at the same time! 

Have Fun! 

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/positive-affirmations-and-support

Have you ever gone back to the way earlier blogs and just read for a while to see how things have changed? Well, I have! I was looking for the formula of WHY? Why do some people make it from the very beginning? Why do some people become chronic restarters? Why do some people restart several times and then find the missing element and from that point on are sailing free? Is it genetics, or gender, or life circumstances or support systems or NRTs or "stress"? Why this person succeeds with "ease" and that person battles for their life has kept me searching for answers. Well, I think I've got it but don't take my word for it  - take a look for yourself! Over and over again people say, "Get educated, Read, Read, Read!" Some folks take that advice and some don't and yes, those who do their homework do have better success, by far! So why did she read and he just trudge along slogging it out? Why did she read and nothing changed while he read the same material and reported a life-altering WOW! moment? Lots of questions, right? But it comes down to a fundamental ATTITUDE that makes the difference! If you believe that smoking cessation is an EVENT then you soon become impatient waiting for things to "get back to normal!" Some folks do manage to stay quit for a considerable time but their attitude is brittle - they could still relapse remarkably easily! Others can't stand the "not normal" and just give in and relapse back into their comfort zone!  Then there are those who even before they quit smoking realize that they are choosing a life altering way of life! They are looking at not an event but at a LIFE JOURNEY - the path of abundant addiction FREE living! They recognize the quit as a choice that you don't just make once but that you dedicate yourself to each and every day! They are open to a NEW NORMAL! There is no going back - ever! They welcome these changes and collateral changes that come with it - whatever they might be! They know that they will evolve and mature in ways they could never have anticipated! And they say, YES! That's where I want to go! I don't see the entire staircase, but I accept the direction as life affirming! I will take the next step up - the simple decision that I won't smoke TODAY ! Just for today I pledge N.O.P.E. no matter what and  I'll do whatever it takes to maintain my quit because I respect myself! Tomorrow is another day! The key to SUCCESS is within you but you must realize that you will change! Your relationships will change! Your PERSPECTIVE will change! Your future choices will change! And it's all for the BEST!

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It is one of life’s laws that as soon as one door closes another opens. But
 the tragedy is we look at the closed door and disregard the open one.

-Andre  Gide

 

When I first found out that I had Emphysema, it was very hard to imagine a door opening in front of me! My eyes were focused on the door that was being slammed behind me - smoking! The minute I heard the word Emphysema I knew my smoking days were going to have to come to a complete and abrupt halt! In the following days I had my share of fantasies about how wonderful a cigarette would taste, smell, feel - how all my stress would go away - how everything would be alright again if I could just have my fix, -er, friend back! Even knowing that all the above was a lie didn't take away my intense longing for the imaginary past I played with in my mind! I wasn't looking forward to giving up my constant companion! 

Fortunately, I came on this site and began to read not just here but also at whyquit.com and quitsmokingonline.com because I knew that the initial quitting is not my issue - I've done that many times before! But (see how devious the addictive mind works) only for awhile till my cough got a bit better and "my lungs cleared out!" Little did I know that the cough was Chronic Bronchitis and I was well on my way to COPD!!! My real issue even to this day is how not to be lured back into the addiction through Nostalgia! And one guy impressed me more than anybody else! His moniker is The Happy Quitter and his name is James! He doesn't write so often anymore so keep an eye out for him and you'll meet a true EXample! Happy Quitter! You gotta be pulling my leg! We quit because we're more scared to smoke than we are to quit which is scared crazy, right???? James made a breakthrough in my junkie mind and then, not really believing, but as AA says Fake it till you Make it - I filled my mind not with nostalgia but with anticipation! 

Now what on this amazing Planet is there to look forward to when you quit smoking (besides not dying quite so fast, of course!) ??? Well, I kept looking around at other quitters on this site and some did talk about being tough, fighting the good fight, struggling through another day - just what I expected! But A LOT of EXers spoke of FREEDOM and excitement, of amazing changes that were happening to them!Guess who had been here the longest? The folks who weren't talking the fight language but were talking the FREEDOM language - They gave me something to Anticipate! The quit was no longer couched in words of FEAR but of Liberation from Addiction! Abundant Living! Clean, Pure, Fresh, NEW! the NEW ME! Or as my Friend Rose puts it - Metamorphosis! 

 

When I stopped looking at that door behind me with Nostalgia and began looking at the Open Door in front of me with Anticipation then my whole outlook changed! I got it! I got excited about my quit! This was the first and last time that I could look at my Quit with PRIDE and a True sense of Accomplishment! Emphysema closed one door and opened another and the Exers told me to KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE!

LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS

You and I wouldn't be here if we were not contemplating some need for change - a conscious or subconscious recognition that smoking is in some way not or at least no longer enhancing our Quality of Life. My own personal reason for facing change was due to a diagnosis of COPD - a chronic, progressive incurable smoking related illness. My Hope for you is that you haven't waited until you were looking bulls-eye at your own mortality before you thought about the need to change. But even some of us who have been confronted with this reality sometimes unfortunately  don't have the skills needed to Succeed in Smoking Cessation and fail to acquire them!

I had been intermittently listening and shutting out pleas for my own change from Family, Friends and Loved Ones. I would compromise with my Addiction, quitting for Months even Years at a time but always with the understanding that I "get to" go back to my Addiction once I cleaned up my lungs and breathing issues. Just like a "dry Alcoholic,' I was a smokeless Smokeaholic! I temporarily changed my behavior but not my Mental, Social and Spiritual status. 

So what obstacles kept me from making the more fundamental life-enhancing change that I later was able to access? I believe that I wasn't able to confront my Fear of Change and tap into my Sense of Courage and of Hope!

 When I was confronted with my mortality I had to re-evaluate what living a Life that matters means! I came to the conclusion that reinspiring myself with Courage and Hope was an important aspect of facilitating my fundamental change. But how could I bring about a new perspective that stimulated the  Courage and Hope that naturally lived in me but had up to that point remained unaccessable?

Each of us as  individuals  decipher the nature of Courage and Hope based on their own unique belief system. This belief system is influenced by their religion and spirituality, ethnicity and other multicultural influences. So I can't tell you what Courage and hope mean to you but I can show you the process that I EXperienced and hopefully illuminate how you can find your own way.

COURAGE

Many definitions of Courage have been presented and depending on your cultural traditions and personal spiriual beliefs some of them ring true for you. One definition that fits my belief system says, "Courage, a moral virtue, is defined by the character strengths of bravery, perseverance, authenticity, integrity, and vitality." Now when I thought about my own Addiction, I realized that Nicotine Addiction had chipped away at my bravery to face my problems head-on; my perseverence toward stress-related issues; my authenticity due to the thousands of lies I told the World but even more damaging - to myself;  my integrity since I chose daily to deny my body, mind and spirit; and my vitality that was being sucked away with every puff I took! No wonder I wasn't tapped into my God-given Courage! My Addiction robbed me of a crucial element that could lead to a path of Recovery!

 One famous psychologist (Tillich) defines Courage as “…the power of life to affirm itself in spite of this ambiguity…” Thank God! Now that I had to actually EXamine the meaning of LIFE itself and MY LIFE in particular, I was stimulated to affirm Life itself in my search for the road of Recovery!

 Courage has a revealing power via our participation and individuation - it is a motivating emotion - the concept of will toward power. Courage implies ‘self actualization’, as an expansion of one’s self. “Courage is not the absence of despair; it is rather, the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair” (May, R. 1975, p.3). Well. I can't think of too many situations more despair provoking than being told that my Quality and Quantity of Life had just been severely downgraded. Yes, I like most folks receiving a davastating diagnosis felt despair! Yet, deep within me lived the power of Life to affirm itself (my God-created Courage!) i found that, yes, I DO have the capacity to move ahead in spite of despair! I re-discovered the courage to meet the demands of work, love, and friendship. I re-defined my own personal meaning of living a Life that matters.

Courage, a mature virtue, is preceded by Compassion and Wisdom.  I learned to have Compassion for myself and others with smoking related illness and yes, for all Nicotine Addicts, as well as their Family and Friends who long for the day that the Addict discovers his/her own Recovery Path. I learned to nourish that Compassion by reading many stories of surivors and victims of Nicotine Addiction and the personal suffering that they and their families suffered. Wisdom, led by  Passion (soul of life), leads to Courage by rejecting the worldly values of wealth and power. Such discernment is based on an Integrity in knowledge and the Gift of the Holy Spirit known as Grace.I learned to nourish that Wisdom with a fundamental EXamination of Holy Scriptures and Conscience - by saying "YES, LORD! Here I am!" to the gift of Grace!

I also learned to embrace Simplicity, Patience and Compassion that the Taoist masters  outline as a moral or ethical code along with the Judeo-Christian values of Faith, Love and Hope! Mantras such as N.O.P.E., "one day at a time", "today is the most important day of my Recovery,""the future is a series of NOWS" all reflect that Simplicity that keeps me focused on the Goal of FREEDOM from Addiction. And here we are back to HOPE!

HOPE

Psychologists say “Hope, optimism, and future-mindedness are a family of strengths that represent a positive stance toward the future” My own  Hope could only thrive in the face of despair as a way of coping. Despair provided that change motivator that provided me with the desire and drive to dig deep inside and to overcome.

" Hope is a concept that allows an individual movement toward a goal" (Erikson), and Hope is a way of thinking and believing that is goal directed that produces routes to desired goals with the motivation to use those routes (Snyder). Without Hope, there can be no change - why bother? Hope is both a cognition and an emotion. Having a sense of Hope is in the affective domain, and yet acting on the Hope requires motivation and a plan that is actively carried out. Sound familiar? Didn't I just say something very similar when looking at Courage? Both Courage and Hope are agents of change!

Now sometimes I possess a high degree of the affective domain of Hope [I hope I win the lottery!] but an inability to take action [I don't even buy lottery tickets!LOL!], while other times I seem to possess neither a sense of Hope nor the motivation to move forward in a Hopeful way - that was the rut I was into as an Addict for Years (both my using years and my dry years.) Only in the most despairing of times did I  access the power of choice and go through a great deal of humbling, if not outright humiliation, before I came to the Simplicity of Hope in Action! Hope is a choice and the more dire the circumstance the more likely I was to make a choice to Hope.

COURAGE AND HOPE IN CULTURAL AND SPIRITUAL CONTEXT

After reflection, I came to the conclusion that I had to know and acknowledge  my signature strengths and use those strengths in my relationships and in service of others in order  to acquire a good Life, to fulfill my meaning of Life and to embrace authentic Happiness.

I have from conception had the belief in the Christian virtues of Faith, Love, and Hope. Hope and Courage are both spiritual gifts in Christian tradition. Hope and Courage can produce endurance and encouragement for  individuals in the face of fear and despair. To conquer fear, Courage becomes an expression of Faith. Please remember that I'm speaking only of and for myself!  It is when we are most vulnerable and powerless we are given the most profound opportunities to risk believing that we are born in Love, of Love, and for Love. The Courage of Faith allows the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) to do its work: Grace brings us Hope as a manifestation of God’s most Supreme Love! I believe this and although I haven't always consciously dwelled in this First Principle to Life's meaning, it defines who I am. I have also learned much later in Life from the oriental  theme of Perseverance and Patience of  soft Courage EXpressed through Christianity as acceptance of God's Will and in the Eastern Religions as a path of least resistance.  In my mind, it is clearly shared in the Christian virtues of Faith, Love, and Hope. Hope implies waiting and stillness.  "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalms 45:10)

THE CHANGE PROCESS

So how did I recover Courage and Hope? I had redefined what living a Life that matters means to me and I humbly admitted that I need help to motivate my Courage and Hope. I was searching for an optimal level of functioning for the life tasks of work, love, and friendship by use of Encouragement. I acknowledged that I needed support to motivate change and improve my behavior but also to improve myself! For the first time in my life, I surfed the internet looking for Encouragement and I came to BecomeanEX. I was literally driven by despair! When defined using the root meaning of Courage, Encouragement is, “the process of facilitating the development of a person’s inner resources and Courage toward positive movement.” Encouragement is a natural way to find Courage in times of despair.

Rogers, the famous behavior psychologist, states that there are  three critical conditions  for accepting Encouragement and facilitating change - acceptance, genuineness, and unconditional regard. I found all of these here at BecomeanEX. But I also discovered other attributes such as Patience and Hope that gave me Courage. These attributes facilitated my change by “locating” and enhancing my EXisting desire to be Hopeful that I already possessed. Obviously change does not come easy. By facilitating Hope in and of itself, the Become anEX Community  created the opportunity for  change. For that opportunity to be realized, it requires Patience and that's especially what I could find here more than with my non-smoking Family and Friends - more than anybody in my 3-D World! These are the gifts that Tommy refers to as Collateral Kindness!

I was able to set achievable  short-term (obtainable within one-year), middle-term (obtainable within five-years), and long-term (obtainable within my lifetime) goals. This activity was the beginning of “locating” what Hope resided already within me waiting to be utilized and to reclaim the bravery, perseverance, authenticity, integrity, and vitality that I had forfeited through Addiction.  I became more willful  , thus connecting me to the emerging Courage and Hope that I possessed all along!I am  bringing my  overall life ideal to progressively manageable goals! I am living that meaningful Life that matters to me!

Spring is an excellent time to quit smoking and stop the self destruction of our body

To emerge and arise, spring, the season of birth can be the greatest period of personal awakening a smoker has ever known. Nicotine dependency is a brain "want" disease. The "want" felt for that next cigarette is born of slavery not choice. Feed the "want" and bondage continues. Say "no" and the process of rebirth can at last begin, a slow yet steady bloom into entire days where never once do we want for nicotine.

Try recalling what it was like before getting hooked, the beauty of going days, weeks, and months without once wanting to smoke? Can you remember the calm and quiet mind you once called home? If honest, the answer is no, you can't. None of us could. That's what drug addiction is all about, about quickly burying all memory of the comfort we left behind.

The mind's want circuitry, its dopamine pathways, were designed to assure our survival, to create "want" for food and water. Nicotine de-sensitized our dopamine pathway receptors, which in turn caused our brain to grow millions of extra receptors. A vicious cycle, one cigarette, two, three per day then four, the more we smoked, the more receptors nicotine numbed, and the more that were needed. Soon, any attempt to stop brought potential for an emotional train wreck that takes up to 3 days to peak in intensity and up to 3 weeks before the sensitivity and number of receptors return to normal.

The nicotine want feeding cycleWant for food, want for nicotine. The difference is that without food we die, while without nicotine we thrive. Recovery is a temporary journey of re-adjustment that transports us home.

Nicotine addiction is about living a lie. Hijacked "want" pathways pound home the falsehoods that smoking nicotine defines who we are, gives us our edge, helps us cope and that life without it would be horrible. Lies, all lies. In fact, within 2-3 weeks we discover that everything we did while nicotine's slave can be done as well as or better without it.

 

 

Although we each invented a long list of reasons to explain why we'd smoke that next cigarette, there was really only one reason. We did so because we had to, because a rising tide of anxieties would begin to hurt if we didn't.

There was always only one nicotine dependency recovery rule determining the outcome for all. It's called the Law of Addiction and it states, "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance." Like the alcoholic taking a sip, just one puff of nicotine and all our healing gets flushed like a toilet. "One is too many, a thousand never enough."

Studies show that just one puff and within ten seconds up to 50% of the brain's "want" pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine. While most walk away from relapse feeling like they've gotten away with smoking just once, it isn't long before their brain is soon begging for more. There was always only one rule, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time.

Freedom is our birthright. A spring recovery means that by summer we can begin experiencing entire days where we never once want to smoke nicotine. After the first such day, they become more and more common, until they become our new sense of normal.

As I'm sure you've heard, smoking costs half of adult male smokers an average of 13 years of life and female smokers an average of 14 years. For each of the five million smokers claimed by nicotine addiction this year, 20 others are suffering from a smoking related disease. Smoke's more than 3,500 chemical particles, 500 gases and 43 cancer causing chemicals destroy additional cells and tissues with each and every puff. Smoking truly is a brain priorities "want" disease that had us committing slow suicide.

An ashtrayIt isn't that we loved or liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke, up to 72 hours to empty the body of nicotine and reach peak withdrawal.

While it felt like nicotine relieved stress, truth is, all nicotine relieved was its own absence. You see, stress, alcohol and vitamin C are each acid events that cause the alkaloid nicotine to more quickly be removed from the bloodstream. The more stressed we became, the greater the urge to replenish. But once we satisfied our addiction the underlying stressful problem remained. If the car's tire was flat it was still flat. One of recovery's best gifts is an amazing sense of calm during crisis, as we are no longer adding nicotine withdrawal to it.

Imagine a spring awakening where we discover that years of fears about coming home were unwarranted, that even the love in our heart, we get to bring it with us. Imagine lots of extra time, money, improved breathing, enhanced smell and taste, fewer root canals, less hair and vision loss, and a permanent end to ash and the stink. Most of all, imagine not dying by our own hand, of enjoying up to 5,000 extra sunrises.

 

A few quick tips. Don't skip meals (especially breakfast) and if your diet allows, drink natural fruit juices the first three days. Eating little and often will stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing or eliminating a host of needless symptoms. If concerned about weight gain, consider fruits and vegetables as healthier alternatives or a temporary increase in daily activities.

If a heavy caffeine drinker, you need to know that nicotine doubled the rate by which caffeine was removed from the body. If feeling anxious or jittery consider cutting daily caffeine intake by up to one-half.

Remember, crave episodes are good not bad. See each as an announcement that you are about to be rewarded with the return of another aspect of life, the destruction of a time, place, person, activity or emotion smoking cue during which you had conditioned your subconscious mind to expect a new supply of nicotine. While crave episodes are less than three minutes, time distortion is normal during early recovery, so be sure and look at a clock. The number of crave episodes usually peaks by day three and is down to about one per day by day ten.

A smoker awakening from her addiction to smoking nicotineTake a few minutes to write down your reasons for wanting to stop, carry them with you and read them during moments of challenge. Also, try not to be afraid during craves as its like pouring fuel on a fire. Instead, fully embrace each as they cannot cut, hurt or harm you. It will soon be over and you'll be rewarded with return of another piece of a nicotine-free life.

How and when to begin? Contrary to pharmaceutical industry brain washing, each year more long-term ex-smokers succeed by quitting cold turkey than by all other methods combined. As for when, as strange as this may sound, two recent studies found that unplanned attempts are twice as likely to succeed as planned ones.

Why allow a mountain of needless anticipation fears and anxieties to build and fester when there has will never be a better moment to reclaim your freedom than here and now?

Knowledge is power. It allows us to become vastly smarter than our addiction is strong. Visit WhyQuit.com to download free stop smoking books, watch free counseling videos or visit Freedom from Nicotine, our free online support group. Remember, spring will birth freedom so long as no nicotine enters the body. There was always only one rule that if followed provides a 100% guarantee of success to all, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time.

Top o' the Morning, Everybody! I hope this Month is providing all of you lots of reasons to enter Spring Smoke FREE! There's something about green grass and trees, flowers and natural renewal that just doesn't live comfortably with killing ourselves one puff at a time but does fit comfortably with Nicotine Recovery! One of the most important tools in my Quit Tool Box is KNOWLEDGE! That's why every Monday when health permits I publish this series of current tobacco related articles. I find that reading them enhances my Quititude!

Take the article about Third Hand Smoke! WOW! It makes you think twice about the Third hand smoke we're exposed to each and every day - let alone Second Hand Smoke!!!! What a hazard to all people of all ages and the health care costs that all of us are paying! Something to open your eyes this morning....

So get comfortable, grab you cup of coffe or tea and learn more about tobacco and smoking!

 

SMOKING CESSATION

Photo smoking warnings studied

http://www.daventryexpress.co.uk/news/health/photo-smoking-warnings-studied-1-4062372

The ills of smoking

People with mental illness and nicotine addiction struggle to kick the habit

http://scienceline.org/2013/03/the-ills-of-smoking/

Who Has the Real Power to Stop Smoking? Hint: Not Smokers

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scout-phd/quitting-smoking_b_2582247.html

Association between use of contraband tobacco and smoking cessation outcomes: a population-based cohort study

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/03/04/cmaj.111861

SECOND HAND SMOKE

Secondhand Smoke Riskier than Cholesterol

http://www.medpagetoday.com/Cardiology/Atherosclerosis/37750

Studies find that toxicity caused by second-hand smoke remains long after a smoker leaves the premises

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-toxicity-second-hand-smoker-premises.html

Mount Sinai Study Demonstrates Connection Between Secondhand Tobacco Smoke and Coronary Artery Calcification in “Never Smokers”

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10512961.htm

SMOKING AND GOVERNMENT

FDA's New Tobacco Scheme, And Its Legislative Underpinnings, May Go Up In Smoke

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottgottlieb/2013/03/08/fdas-new-tobacco-scheme-and-its-legislative-underpinnings-may-go-up-in-smoke/

Legislator Grills NIH Over Tobacco Grant

http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/03/legislator-grills-nih-over-tobac.html

What does it take to tackle inequalities in the burden of tobacco-related harm?

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2013/03/11/what-does-it-take-to-tackle-inequalities-in-the-burden-of-tobacco-related-harm/

SMOKING AND YOUR FAMILY

Smoking during pregnancy harms mother, child

http://www.kjonline.com/opinion/letters/smoking-during-pregnancy-harms-mother-child_2013-03-09.html

‘Care’ and ‘cure’ for tobacco!

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/care-and-cure-for-tobacco/article4491960.ece

TOBACCO AND BUSINESS

Harmon’s takes tobacco products off shelves

http://fox13now.com/2013/03/08/harmons-takes-tobacco-products-off-shelves/

The Good Parts of Nicotine Addiction

The reason people stick with addiction is that addictions aren’t all bad at least in the beginning before we have forfeited our desire to choose. Sickerettes  helped me escape from the boredom of everyday life. They helped me to feel 'cool',' rebelious', 'independent'. They gave me a sense of belonging to a social group of edgy 'in your face' friends. They often remind me of happy times in the past and relationships I’ve formed with friends and family over the years. I joined my smoking friends so that I could be included. Over time, I got used to enjoying these pleasant qualities. Then I wound up spending a lot of time with my smoking buddies when all I really shared with some of these folks was Addiction! But instead of using sickerettes to enjoy life, I used them to escape from it and that's the EXact point where Nicotine Addiction became destructive.

The Cycle of Escapism

Everyone feels the desire to escape. No matter how good you have it, there are times when, instead of dealing with problems, you’d rather pretend they don’t exist. I turned to sickerettes because they allowed me to postpone, to numb, even to forget. They gave me a pleasurable sensation that seemed to push problems out of my mind and I related this escapism with "stress relief." The downfall of this solution is that it’s only temporary. The feeling wears off and the problems remain, often made worse by my indulgence and avoidance of real solutions to my problems. Once again faced with those problems, the natural reaction was to escape again.This is the cycle of escapism. I felt pain each time I faced reality, so I used Nicotine to escape, which only increased my pain, making me more desperate to escape. Each time around it took more sickerettes to escape, increasing my dependency on Addiction. Once I got caught in the whirlpool of escapism, it  felt impossible to get out.

Developing Positive Beliefs

The only way I could permanently break the cycle of escapism was to develop a positive perception of reality. When I associated reality with pain, I constantly wanted to escape. It was essential to find happiness in reality that outweighed the suffering caused by its problems. I had to find the things in life that gave me true joy rather than temporary pleasure. These are the actions that built up my belief in a positive reality.Changing my attitude towards reality was easier said than done. When I was accustomed to the cycle of pain and escape, reality felt hopeless. The truth is that reality is neither bad or good, but an equal mix of the two. My attitude is a reflection of the parts that I choose to focus on, hence "The Happy Quitter!"  By fixing my attention on sources of hope and joy, I created positive beliefs and reduced the desire to escape.

Breaking Free of the Past

Perhaps the two most powerful factors influencing my behavior were my actions in the past and my expectations of the people around me. This creates resistance to change. My friends and family members could only judge me by my actions in the past -  my family reluctantly accepted that I would continue to smoke in spite of how they felt about my Addiction and frequently some of my friends had a stake in my addiction as well - take my smoking buddies, for EXample.  They shared my Addiction and we acted as mutual enablers. Many were afraid of losing me–that I'd  start to consider myself superior and decide to abandon them or find that we actually had nothing in common beyond our destructive mutual behavior. By simply quitting I was bringing to their attention the fact of their own Addiction.  These relationships made Addicion Recovery  more difficult because we all need love and acceptance from the people around us. When I was  trying to break out of the old pattern and the people around me weren’t, it might have been  likely that I'd  eventually give up and return to my old ways because of my need for belonging. The best way for me to permanently change my lifestyle  was to surround myself with people I wanted to emulate who  naturally pulled me up to their level - enter BecomeanEX elders! That’s not to say that I  ditched all of my old friends in search of new opportunities but I did sort out those whose companionship was based on more than sickerettes and those who only wanted to share the fix. The truth is that change involved difficult choices. I couldn't remain bound by the past and change for the better at the same time. I certainly couldn’t force other people to change with me. Ultimately, I had to decide which is greater, the fear of loss and the unknown, or the fear of stagnation and perpetual mediocrity as a person and forfeiture of quality and quantity of LIFE!

Creating the Future in the Present

Another mistake I once made was to wait for the future. I had a picture of the “ideal life” I would have liked to live. I invisioned  an “ideal Thomas” I wanted to become. I lived based on the past, waiting for a revelation to make me who I wanted to be. It didn’t work this way. My actions in the present determine my future. The only way to create the future I want is to start living it right now.I have a favorite saying, "The future is simply a series of NOWS!" Once I started living according to the future I want to create, it became easy to spot the behaviors that detracted from it. When I realized that giving up Nicotine Addiction and all it's fantasies was a necessary and inevitable part of creating the life I desire, addiction began to lose it’s power over me. Temporary pleasure and escape didn’t have the same appeal.The more progress I make towards my ideal future, the weaker my desire to escape from reality. Just like the cycle of escapism, the pattern is self-reinforcing. Over time, I have become able to delight in lifestyle choices that are congruent with my vision — that strengthen a positive reality instead of numbing pain. Eventually there was no need or desire to rely on addictions for relief.  Pleasure can be enjoyed for its own sake. Problems can be concretely permanently resolved rather than postponed or avoided. Reality became an EXtraordinary place to BE!

image

These are some of the Gifts that come to mind as I CELEBRATE my QUIT:

(1) I feel more SELF-CONFIDENT because I made a choice to change my self-destructive behavior and followed through.

(2) I feel more HONEST because I am not evading truthfulness about the consequences in order to support my Smoking Addiction.

(3) I feel more SELF-RESPECT because I made a decision to QUIT SMOKING and honored that decision.

(4) I feel more SECURE because I no longer have that constant battle "I want to smoke"vs"I don't want to smoke."

(5) I feel more OPTIMISTIC because I no longer attack stress with another cigarette, I attack it with a constructive plan of action.

(6) I feel more SPIRITUAL because when I called upon my higher power for assistance I felt his/her response.

(7) I feel more DECISIVE because I saw how I can set a goal and accomplish it one day at a time each and every day.

(8) I feel more SELF-AWARE because I sense days or situations of weakness and have a winning back up plan to protect my QUIT.

(9) I feel more INTEGRATED because when my body said "I need...." my mind and spirit responded affirmatively.

(10) I feel more JOY as I experience COLLATERAL KINDNESS and CELEBRATE each and every daily VICTORY over my Smoking Addiction with my BecomeanEx friends!  THANK YOU for CELEBRATING with me!!!!!!

  

I can't say what day it happened. Yet I know that there WAS a point where the war between I want a cigarette( IWC) and I don't want a cigarette (IDWC) was over!  Of course the battle has been fierce especially during the first week when the IWC found out that IDWC was life and death serious and not just playing around with an entertaining idea! I followed James advice and most of the time was able to ignore the war which is probably why I can't point to an AHHH moment!  Thus, the war went on and I went on a semi-Happy Quitter (I'm not as good at it as James - wish I was!) Inevitably the war was over and the winner IDWC was declared and I looked up and knew IWC doesn't have a chance! I AM TRULY A HAPPY QUITTER! I decided to QUIT SMOKING and I decided to ignore the battle but most importantly I didn't let a cigarette near my face NO MATTER WHAT! I have said N.O.P.E. each and every morning! And some days several times an hour  - whatever it takes because this was for me the single most important thing I could do for myself to improve my HEALTH and LIFE!  Then I found that I was changing!  I became a more confident, concerned person!  I'm concerned about LIFE but I'm also concerned about QUALITY OF LIFE!  That means not only not dying but LIVING ABUNDANTLY!  Those of you that know me well have seen these motifs rising one by one to the surface of my blogs and comments and by no means do I think that I am done growing and changing! I feel that at 52 years old that I am in many ways just beginning to LIVE - to LIVE ABUNDANTLY the way my Creator  intended! This is the gift I want for those of you out there who are just beginning this journey ! Give your QUIT a chance and all that sense of loss, deprivation, sadness, regret, suffering and self sacrifice WILL turn around 360 degrees and it will be the cigarette that is the obvious source of the suffering and you will KNOW in your total being that you have made the absolute BEST DECISION in your entire LIFE! Best Wishes!  

   

Positive and insightful quotes, affirmations and stories can be a very valuable part of a good recovery plan. These quotes can be used as prompts for journaling, reflections in meditation or quiet contemplation or for meeting discussion topics.

 

 

“Without an understanding of myth or religion, without an understanding of the relationship between destruction and creation, death and rebirth, the individual suffers the mysteries of life as meaningless mayhem alone.” - Marion Woodman

 

“The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“The Breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep.” - Rumi

 

“People are hungry for messages of hope and life. What are you broadcasting?”  - Morgan Brittany

 

“You can't take flight without looking up and letting go.” - She Who Weaves the Web

 

“It is no accident at all that wheels give us the ability to navigate with intention, direction and momentum.” - She Who Weaves the Web

 

“Don't reinvent the wheel, just realign it.” - Anthony J. D'Angelo

 

“Earth teach me to forget myself as melted snow forgets its life. Earth teach me resignation as the leaves which die in the fall. Earth teach me courage as the tree which stands all alone. Earth teach me regeneration as the seed which rises in the spring.” - William Alexander

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne 

Find many more of inspirational quotes and join  the 127 members of Our Group - Positive Affirmations for Success. Take what you want and leave the rest. If you have a contribution please leave it for others to share.  Everybody is welcome!

The tobacco industry continues to spend billions to keep people addicted to its deadly products, while public health is shortchanged. The American Lung Association annual "State of Tobacco Control" report reveals a tragic money trail leading to tobacco-caused death and disease that shows federal and state governments are largely failing to combat tobacco industry tactics, while diverting or misusing life-saving tobacco control funds.

"State of Tobacco Control 2013" helps you follow the trail of money misused by policymakers and strategically invested by Big Tobacco to discover how the leading cause of preventable death is often entangled in a financial web of neglect and deceit. The report tracks annual progress on key tobacco control policies at the federal and state level, assigning letter-grades based on whether laws are adequately protecting citizens from the enormous toll tobacco use takes on lives and the economy.

"We are faced with a deep-pocketed, ever-evolving tobacco industry that's determined to maintain its market share at the expense of our kids and current smokers," said Paul G. Billings, American Lung Association Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Education. "State and federal policymakers must battle a changing Big Tobacco and step up to fund programs and enact policies proven to reduce tobacco use."

The federal government's progress on tobacco control over the past several years nearly ground to a halt in 2012, earning it the worst report card in years, three Ds and an F. Most notably, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) failed to exercise its oversight authority allowing for the proliferation of a new generation of tobacco products aimed at hooking youth smokers. The one major success for the federal government in 2012 was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) wildly successful Tips from Former Smokers advertising campaign, which spurred a dramatic rise in smokers seeking help to quit.

The state section of the report card was awash with Ds and Fs. State governments again failed to invest income from tobacco taxes and tobacco settlement payments into programs proven to keep youth off tobacco and help current smokers quit. Despite receiving $25.7 billion in tobacco settlement payments and tobacco taxes this year, more than 40 states received an F for not investing even half of what is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in proven tobacco prevention programs. According to the most recent U.S. Surgeon General's report, if states begin to invest in tobacco prevention programs, youth tobacco use could be cut in half in just six years.

States and the federal government have also failed to raise taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes. This led to a surge in the consumption of certain cheaper tobacco products, including flavored cigars that are popular among already vulnerable populations—youth, low income communities, Hispanics and LGBT.

Smoking costs the American public almost $200 billion every year in healthcare costs and lost productivity and wages – a staggering bill that the country can ill afford.

According to data from a report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics in a report called "Big Tobacco Wins Tax Battles," the tobacco industry was also hard at work making campaign contributions to candidates for political office and bankrolling efforts aimed at defeating ballot initiatives. Candidates for state office during the 2011-2012 election cycle accepted $53.4 million and the industry spent a whopping $46 million to defeat Proposition 29, which would have increased California's cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack. In addition, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the tobacco industry contributed over $3.7 million to candidates for federal office.

"It's no wonder we're losing ground in the fight to end tobacco-caused death and disease," stated Billings. "Elected officials are getting cozy with Big Tobacco."

What grades did your state receive? Our new infographic tracks where tobacco's money trail is leading the health of our nation – especially our children. Visit "State of Tobacco Control 2013" to learn more.

Have you "tried your best to fight the craves and can't seem to win?" Are you sitting there scratching your head about what went wrong and feeling like you can "never win?" I'll tell you something I learned Thanks to the Elders who helped me launch the adventure of my lifetime - Smoke FREE Living! 

I came here like most of us not knowing anything about Nicotine Addiction and was told to read and I did! It really helped but there was this guy who I thought was goofy (Thank Goodness I now know that he was spot on!) His name is James and his moniker is the Happy Quitter! ....Say what? what's there to be happy about? Strong, yes! Determined, yes! Stubborn, fierce, a fighter! But happy??? As I thought about it, something really clicked and the light bulb came on! 

image

I had been fighting the Nico-Demon with willpower! What could be more effective than that? But I was missing the essential...The Nico-Demon is ME!!!!!

image

 

So when I was fighting myself, how could I win without losing??? And guess what, the loser had been the part that wanted to be FREE! You can't be FREE when you're fighting!!!! 

This fellow James had something - something I really, really wanted! he was not just Quit - He was Happy being Quit! 

So how do you handle the craves if you don't fight??? What do you do instead? 

There's a fellow here named Tommy who repeatedly told me to use Focus and Determination. Could I combine these 2 great pieces of advice? Think about Focus for a minute....

image

 

When you focus with determination instead of fighting with determination, the whole picture changes! I had changed my perspective! The Nico-demon became more blurry, less important and the object of my Focus increased in POWER - the POWER to WIN! And what was that very important object of my FOCUS?

 

 image

 

KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE! FREEDOM!

FREEDOM from the Chains of Addiction! 

FREEDOM to be the ME that my Creator made me to be!

FREEDOM from pain, suffering, illness, devastation!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize and ignore the Nico-Demon - but don't fight Him because HE IS ME! Just Focus on the Prize! Will He scream for attention? Oh yea! But when you ignore Him long enough, He loses energy - your Energy is on your Prize! And He gets weaker....and weaker...and weaker...and becomes a little bitty gnat that once in a great while bugs you but you easily have the POWER to swat Him back into His place ...so tiny! So worthless! 

image

AND YOU WIN!

Thomas3.20.2010

Dealing With Stress

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 5, 2013

Many people, including my prior addicted self, thought that we smoked in order to deal with stress. In reality, smoking creates even more stress because the second we put out that sickerette, our Addictive Minds are already planning how to convince us that we "need, deserve, have to have" the nEXt one! So the only time addictive stress is relieved is while we're smoking! 

But taking away sickerettes for whatever reasons doesn't change the fact that we dealt with virtually all stress by smoking and don't know another way to face it!

I've seen people discuss many great stress management skills on this site that not only relieve stress but keep it in check in the first place,  including:

* exercising

*stretching

 *meditating

 *using sensory strategies to relax

 *practicing simple breathing exercises

 *challenging self-defeating thoughts

*building spirituality

*sharing with friends (especially here at BecomeanEX) who empathize with your quit

 All of these are very effective and the more you use them the better the results. We also need in our Quit Tool Boxes quick Stress Relief Strategies. Some that come to mind are:

*Exercise releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being. Try running in place,  jumping rope, or walking around the block.

*Step outside and savor the warm sun and fresh air. Enjoy a beautiful view or landscape.

*Tell a friend a funny joke.

*Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to bust stress and find balance.

*Play with your dog or cat, enjoying the relaxing touch of your pet’s fur.

*Put on some calming music.

*Light a scented candle.

*Breathe in the scent of fresh flowers or coffee beans, or savor a scent that reminds you of a favorite  vacation, such as sunscreen or a seashell.

*Close your eyes and picture a peaceful place, such as a sandy beach. Or think of a fond memory, such  as your child’s first steps or time spent with friends. 

*Make yourself a steaming cup of tea.

*Look at favorite family photos.

*Give yourself a neck or shoulder massage.

*Soak in a hot bath or shower.

*Playing Sports

 

I'm sure you can add to this list now that you get the idea!  You can learn to get through difficulties without falling back on your addiction. Different quick stress relief strategies work better for some people than others. The key is to find the one that works best for you, and helps you calm down when you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When you’re confident in your ability to quickly de-stress, facing strong feelings isn’t as intimidating or overwhelming.

Often I see stress referred as triggers but we all know that stress is a part of life so if we want to quit smoking when there's "less stress" in our lives, it will be the day we're declared dead! Actually in the long run, Nicotine Addiction may very likely lead to smoking related illness - now THAT'S STRESS! So we need to learn to differientiate between triggers and stress. Triggers can be avoided, stress cannot! But it can be kept in check and it can be addressed in health ways! It's a set of skills that all successful quitters have developed - and YOU CAN TOO!

Good Morning, All! March is a big Month for Smoking Cessation because we have the Kick Butts campaign on the 1st day of Spring, March 20! One of the best ways I fortify my Quit is to learn as much as I can about Nicotine Addiction. That's why I publish the newest in Smoking related News. Please grab a cup of coffe or tea, get comfortable and read the newest. If this helps even one person to learn to save their life then it's worth it.! Today is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!

 

SMOKING CESSATION

Stubbing Out Cigarettes for Good

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/04/opinion/two-paths-to-the-gradual-abolition-of-smoking.html?_r=0

Kicking butt! Find your reason to quit smoking today

http://www.lcsun-news.com/las_cruces-healthy_u/ci_22710893/kicking-butt-find-your-reason-quit-smoking-today

Benefits, health risks of electronic cigarettes are debated

http://www.azcentral.com/healthyliving/articles/20130301electronic-cigarettes-benefits-health-risks.html

For Many Smokers, It’s Quitting Time

http://knowledgetoday.wharton.upenn.edu/2013/02/for-many-smokers-its-quitting-time/

Nicotine Vaccine May Help You Quit Smoking

http://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2013/02/26/nicotine-vaccine-may-help-you-quit-smoking/

Smoking Cessation in Old Age: Less Heart Attacks and Strokes Within Five Years

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220123417.htm

UT MD Anderson study shows new approach connecting smokers to quit lines increases smoking cessation treatment enrollment

http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2013/02/ut-md-anderson-study-shows-new-approach-connecting-smokers-quit-lines-increases-smoking-cessation-treatment-enrollment

Young Adults Need 'Extra Support' To Quit Smoking

http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/young-adults-need-extra-support-quit-smoking

SMOKING AND YOUTH

Group says Reynolds markets to teens; company says no

http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/local/article_9673265c-8398-11e2-813c-001a4bcf6878.html

SMOKING AND THE LAW

FDA names new head of tobacco governance group

http://www.journalnow.com/business/business_news/national_international/article_b47cf1b6-7d56-11e2-81dc-001a4bcf6878.html

Proposal to Ban Smoking in Cars Headed to Hearing

http://granby-eastgranby.patch.com/articles/proposal-to-ban-smoking-in-cars-headed-to-hearing-f69715c8

SECOND HAND SMOKE

Your smoke gets in their lungs

http://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/columnists/ci_22708588/your-smoke-gets-their-lungs

Recent Lawsuit on Secondhand Smoke: A Court Decides If a Co-op Is Liable

http://www.habitatmag.com/Publication-Content/2013/2013-February/Featured-Articles/Recent-Secondhand-Smoke-Lawsuit#.UTSc9zD2gmE

California Smoking Ban Would Prohibit People From Smoking Inside Their Own Homes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/california-smoking-ban_n_2792719.html

SMOKING AROUND THE WORLD

Big Guns Take Aim at Big Tobacco

http://harvardmagazine.com/2013/03/big-guns-for-big-tobacco

Thomas3.20.2010

Beating the Odds!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Mar 3, 2013

"What's wrong with the occasional cigarette as long as your lungs don't look like down town L.A.? After all, a cigarette once in a while can't be all bad - it may be a vice but it's a legal vice and it doesn't hurt anybody - at least not like alcohol or drugs! besides nobody's perfect! Look, I just smoke a pack a week! Yea, I know about Cancer and such, but surely that's people who smoked 2 or 3 packs for 40 or 50 years not me! Heck, I was over 30 when I started smoking and I've quit now and then just to give my body a break, so I'll be O.K. Everything in moderation ain't all that bad! "

That was me talking 3 years ago, completely confident that I had successfully dodged the silver bullet by carefully playing the odds! I would be the last person on Earth to get sick from smoking-related illness! But guess what? I was wrong! Boy, was I ever wrong! Holy Smokes!!! ( pun intended)

When I woke up that beautiful Spring morning with a fever of 102 there is absolutely no way I would have predicted the path that my life was about to take! That trip to the Emergency Room (it would have to be on a Sunday!) changed my life forever! I, Thomas, was diagnosed not just with a lung infection but with Emphysema!!! The guy who was so careful to beat the odds just lost the game of poker and there's no going back! Emphysema is chronic, permanent, and progressive! Most likely, although only Our Creator knows for sure, it will be my cause of Death! How does a young (relatively) healthy (usually) active fella like me get Emphysema, for crying out loud?

What I didn't know was way more than what I did know about Emphysema and COPD!!! Oh, I'd seen the pictures of the happy retired folks puttering around in their gardens or playing with their grandkids because they were smart enough to take Advair or Spiriva! That's about it! My Grandma who lived in another State died of Emphysema when she was in her nineties but we all have to die of something, don't we? Eventually! But heck, I was 52 and had never really been sick much at all my entire adult life! I worked 60 to 80 hours a week and never thought anything of it - hard physical labor, not a desk job!

 

Here are some facts that I have since learned about COPD: it is an auto-immune illness. it doesn't care if you are 20 or 80 years old! It doesn't care if you smoke 2 or 3 cigs a day or 2 or 3 packs! Just one cigarette will trigger your body's defense mechanism and there you have it! About half of the folks who have COPD don't even know it! Meanwhile the damage that they are doing to their lungs can NEVER be repaired! Your body creates all kinds of mucus in your lungs and bronchials that is a perfect breeding ground for any kind of bacteria or virus you cross paths with like pneumonia! Every time you get a lung infection a bit more irreparable damage will have been done and your condition deteriorates. Because your lungs don't work so well you can inhale fairly well, but you can't exhale so well at all. What people exhale is Carbon Dioxide - you know, poison! That CO2 stays in your system and makes your whole body in a constant state of being poisoned! Because your body wants Oxygen and not CO2 your heart overworks itself trying to get enough Oxygen to where it's needed. Eventually, the heart deforms itself from working overtime! Then you have Congestive Heart Failure! Don't forget, you're still getting those lung infections from time to time! The toxins make your limbs feel like wet spaghetti so that such things as getting dressed or washing dishes become monumental tasks! When you cross a room you huff and puff like the Big Bad Wolf! And know you can't even blow out a candle - let alone blow down a house! This is my reality! Oh you remember that part about not hurting anybody but myself? What do you suppose my Family and Loved Ones are feeling knowing that I did this to myself?

Now, do you still want that occasional cigarette? You still think it won't happen to you? Do you know that people die of smoke related illnesses in their TEENS? Check out Brian's Story at www.whyquit.com! Do you know that one single cigarette can not only trigger COPD it can cause a life-altering Stroke? Do you know that one single cigarette can change your DNA permanently setting you up for Cancer? ONE CIGARETTE! Do you believe it? I am testimonial that in this business you can't beat the Odds - the Odds can beat YOU - down! Forever! Get Smart! Be honest, at least with yourself! Smoking KILLS! Every time you light a cig you are committing the little suicide! You are spitting on the Gift of LIFE that your Creator bestowed on you! Enough is enough! Stop playing the Odds! TODAY is the Right Day to becomeanEX  and to protect your Quit - Smoke FREE for LIFE!