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2013

According to the National Institute of Health: exposure to secondhand smoke evokes cravings among smokers and EX-smokers.

Just one hour of secondhand smoke in an enclosed space results in enough nicotine reaching the brain to bind receptors that are normally targeted by direct exposure to tobacco smoke. This happens in the brain of both smokers and non-smokers. Secondhand smoke acts on the brain to promote smoking behavior.  “Chronic or severe exposure could result in even higher brain nicotine levels, which may explain why secondhand smoke exposure increases vulnerability to nicotine addiction."

What will you do to Protect your Quit?

Thomas3.20.2010

This Holiday Week.....

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 29, 2013

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This or this?

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Many of us have to make the hard decisions in order to Protect our Quits!

While researching for my Monday morning Blog called Knowledge is POWER, I came across this Great News and just have to share it with all of you today! I'll republish it on Monday so hopefully many people will see it, but I don't want it to get buried in the mountain of info I publish Monday mornings!

  

Why Smoking Rates Are at New Lows

  

The New York Times June 25, 2013

  

The smoking rate among adults in the United States has dropped again, an encouraging trend that experts on smoking cessation attribute to public policies like smoke-free air laws and cigarette taxes, as well as media campaigns and less exposure to smoking in movies.

  

Eighteen percent of American adults were cigarette smokers in 2012, according to a report released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics, down from 18.9 percent the previous year. From 2009 to 2012, the rate dropped to 18 percent from 20.6 percent, the first statistically significant change over multiple years since the period spanning 1997 to 2005, when the rate fell to 20.9 percent from 24.7 percent.

  

“The fact that we’re below this theoretical sound barrier of 20 percent is important,” says Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the university’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education. “This data shows that the whole premise that there is this hard-core group, where no matter what you do you can’t get them to quit, is just not true.”

  

Doctors and researchers who study smoking cessation point to a number of factors that may play a role in the latest drop.

  

“Now there is a strong evidence base about what works and what doesn’t work,” Dr. Glantz says.

  

School education programs, for example, don’t appear to be very effective, most likely because schools are difficult places to change social norms and it is hard to do the programs well given all the other demands in the school day, he says. But educating people about the tobacco industry’s marketing efforts can have a big impact. “We now have empirical evidence that people who don’t like the tobacco industry are about five times as likely to quit, and a third to a fifth as likely to start,” he says.

  

Dr. Richard Hurt, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he directs the Nicotine Dependence Center, says that two public policies have had significant effects on smoking cessation: increasing the price of cigarettes and creating smoke-free workplaces. “They reduce the number of cigarettes that people are smoking, usually between three and five cigarettes less per day for heavier smokers,” he says, and “increase the chances of a smoker stopping smoking.” Since children can’t as easily afford cigarettes and don’t see smoking as the norm when it is banned in so many public places, these policies also “decrease the chances of your child or grandchild ever starting to smoke,” he says.

  

“People smoking less is a really important part of the story,” says Dr. Glantz. “The overall pattern we’re seeing, both nationally and in places like California,” where the prevalence of smoking is now down to 12 percent, “is as smoking goes down, the remaining smokers are becoming lighter smokers, intermittent smokers, or not even smoking every day. And as you smoke less and less, it becomes easier to quit.”

  

He also notes the importance of smoking bans. “When you create smoke-free workplaces, bars, casinos and restaurants, it sends a strong message that smoking is out,” he says. “It also creates environments that make it easier for people to quit smoking.”

  

Dr. Mary O’Sullivan, director of the Margarita Camche Smoking Cessation Program at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan, said: “In New York, we’ve gotten it down to 14 percent, and one of the big reasons is price. Here it’s $12 a pack. Even our schizophrenia patients, who are the most addicted, who used to smoke two and three packs a day, even they are smoking less because of the price.” She says that many of her patients who are trying to quit head to city parks, where it’s been illegal to smoke since 2011; people caught smoking in parks face a $50 fine.

  

Richard Grucza, an associate professor in psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine who studies tobacco policy, cited the 62-cent-per-pack federal tax increase that took effect in 2009, as well as laws that ban indoor smoking, cigarette vending machines, the sale of packs of fewer than 20 cigarettes and the distribution of free cigarettes, as major contributors to declining smoking rates.

  

“For cigarette and tobacco taxation, it’s very clear the effects get larger over time,” Dr. Grucza says, noting the same is true for indoor air laws. He argues that such policies are particularly successful because they are a “universal intervention,” something that affects everybody, as opposed to, say, a smokers’ hot line that only certain people might call.

  

According to these experts, also at play may be increasingly graphic ad campaigns, including the “Tips From Former Smokers” campaign begun last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and fewer incidents of smoking in popular movies. Research shows that the more times a young person sees smoking in the movies, the more likely he or she is to take up smoking, and from 2005 to 2010, young people saw far less smoking in PG-13 movies. (Many of those youths are now adults and would have been captured by the new report, though smoking in movies has since increased.)

  

The cigarette smoking rate among young people has been declining slowly but steadily over the last decade, and the latest estimates were 15.8 percent for high school students and 4.3 percent for middle school students.

  

Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, sums up the current confluence of reasons: “It’s harder and harder to avoid the message that smoking is a major health risk. It’s easier and easier to find ways to quit. Finally, it’s just becoming more expensive to keep smoking.”

  

He says that prescription drugs, along with counseling, can help people quit if the patient is motivated and if the benefits outweigh possible side effects, but he cautions that “we can’t say that those are the reason the rate has declined.”

  

Instead, he says the reduction has more to do with having a strong relationship with one’s doctor, and being able to have an ongoing conversation about smoking. The C.D.C.’s newest smoking cessation campaign, “Talk With Your Doctor,” is about just that, leveraging the finding that a smoker is more than twice as likely to quit if given advice and support from a doctor.

  

“I’m going to bring it up every time,” Dr. Blackwelder says. “I’ll ask, ‘What would it take today to prioritize giving up smoking cigarettes?’ Then, I’ll be there when you do make the decision, and I’m going to mobilize resources for you.”

   
   
   YOUR ADDICTIVE SELF DRAGS YOU DOWN WITH IT!
   
  Your Addictive Self is a part of   YOU! That being said there is another part of you that is being dragged down with it - the part that knows that what you're doing is wrong and contradictory to your every moral value!   Your Addictive Self  won’t stop smoking, and you who can’t stop forking over the time and money that make the sickerettes possible.
   
  Of course you can easily to see the problem from the outside. Why would an Addict stop smoking when they can squeeze thousands of dollars a month out of you and keep right on doing what they’ve done their whole lives? And how can you say no when your Addiction seems impossible to break? Besides, it’s a disease, isn’t it? How can you deny your sick addiction?
   
  You probably already know that that’s how the daily cycle continues for years and years, and how it’s apt to go on until you get very, very sick or  die or the money runs out. The Addict within will continue to manipulate you, and you will continue to feel guilty and wonder what you did to cause your decision to smoke that first sickerette and go down the Addict road.
   
   Nicotine Addiction  is a Choice, not a Disease
   
  Of course you've always known that the promise of tobacco never really came to fruition. You weren't really cooler, more rebellious, more popular, sexier, calmer and whatever else the commercials depicted just because you smoked your cancer sticks. Even when childhood quest for those things played a role, it doesn’t excuse ongoing childishness. Searching for the current problems’ beginnings, even finding them, does nothing to fix the mess. As you’ve probably noticed, everyone just stays trapped in the swirl of emotions, habit, myth, and despair.
   
   There is an Alternative
   
   This time I have different  suggestion. Instead of pouring on battles and willpower, I recommend a carefully planned disengagement. No threats, no expectation that your addictive self  will change, just a gradual change in the personal dynamics that will, over the course of a year, result in your Addictive Self being on it's own.
   
  Concentrate on YOU! What values do you have? What activities would you like to do if you "had the time." Imagine your perfect self in line with your values and then decide on one activity that brings you closer to becoming that person and do it. You are the part of yourself who wants things to change so ignore your Addictive Self who obviously has a vested interest in things staying the same.
   
  It works because you are focusing on that part of you who wants to change rather than force change onto your Addictive Self. Success means working with the part of you that is motivated; skipping labels and self-justifying EXcuses; focusing on the present and future, not the past; and actively instituting new behaviors.
   
   The Temper Tantrum
   
  Your Addictive Self will certainly protest, especially if it got it's fix by carrying on loud enough or long enough! But just as you wouldn't given in to a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, that's obviously not the solution here either.
   
  But you can defuse the tantrum using similar methods as good parenting skills. You can acknowledge that your Addictive Self is frustrated. You can let it know you feel it's pain, too! Even just saying "I know you're upset," you're telling it you're there to help it feel better. That might be enough to calm it down so you can add, "I wish we could have a cigarette, too. It's too bad we can't right now."
  Be silly. Laughter can be a great tantrum buster. If your Addictive Self starts to pitch a fit about walking past a temptation, try singing a goofy song  -- anything to make yourself giggle.
   
  Try a distraction. Give yourself something else to think about. There are several lists of 100 things to do instead. Get busy and if it's an activity for which you're passionate, like art or music, even better! 
  Ignore it. Sometimes, tantrums escalate because your Addictive Self  thinks it will get what it wants if it screams loud enough. If you don't react, it will give up.
   
  Leave the scene. When all else fails, get out of public and let yourself have the meltdown, tears and all - just keep those sickerettes away from your face! But do it without making a fuss  -- you'll be proving to yourself that even when you don't feel calm you can display calm behavior. It may be inconvenient, but it shows who's in control: 
   YOU!

Confidence on the outside begins by living with  integrity on  the inside.          

Brian  Tracy

 

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Just in case you're new here today and haven't heard, we are JUNKIES! I am and YOU ARE, Too! Here's the difference between us and those guys jonesing for a fix! When you have QUIT SMOKING you break the cycle of dishonesty that says anything to "justify"  my next hit! You know, "Oh I don't smoke much, everybody deserves a vice!", or "just one won't hurt!", or (I love this one!)" I can quit any time I want!" (and here's the other half!) "I can't quit - I've tried a dozen times!" There are an infinite number of LIES that we tell ourselves in order to give in to that next craving and keep the Monster happy!

 Now, once you stay quit for a good while,that smoke cloud rises and you are left standing there in all your natural beauty! The REAL YOU! The Rose with thorns! You have to learn to live with yourself just as God intends for you to be! You have to become INTEGRATED! You can't run for a cig and hide behind the smoke any more! This is YOU! And it's a Great Opportunity to look at yourself - really take a good look! - and say "I like what I see!" There's a person with so much courage (s)he kicked the addiction for LIFE! There's a person who had FOCUS, who had DETERMINATION, who RESPECTS themself, who HONORS their DECISIONS! That's a darn AWESOME PERSON! You set a Goal and made it happen even though you were afraid, anxious, upset, disoriented! You made it happen! YOU DID THAT! WOW! If you could do that you can do all kinds of things! You have EXcellent reason to be CONFIDENT because you have INTEGRITY! Now, seriously, folks, how many people do you know who can say that? Feel PROUD of YOURSELF! 

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! 

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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!!!!!

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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....

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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?

 

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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! 

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AND YOU WIN!

Hi, fellow EXers and New Members! 

A week ago I went on "Blogcation" so some of you may not know who I am. My name I Thomas, I'm 55 years old and I have 3 Years 3 Months and 1 Week on my Quit Journey. I also have COPD, a chronic, progressive, incurable smoking related illness. 

I won't go through the strenuous details of what it's like to have COPD EXcept to say that the Advair and Spiriva Commercials aren't even close! With every single breath I take I am clearly reminded of my reason for quitting and also of my reason for doing my best to help you quit (so you don't have to live like this for the rest of your life, like I and so many of us here do! )

Last week we had a rash of relapses. Simultaneously, I had a very difficult week breathing. A perfect storm that led to disillusionment. I asked myself why should I spend time day in and day out here cajoling others to protect their quit when they obviously don't prize their health enough to listen? Folks, you have no idea how I believe that I would treasure my lung health if I could have it back and do a retake! I was afraid!

I posted something recently on MLB's Blog that settled like a grain of sand on the bottom on the ocean floor. Love is the opposite of FEAR! And I had let Fear creap into my heart! I was terrified of all the consequences for the health of the relapsers! But I chose to do something counterintuitive - I ran instead of confront! A natural response but not helpful! Well,  I'm not running now!

There are absolutely NO EXCUSES for relapse - None! That is the truth and the truth will set you FREE! 

I will, of course, continue to encourage you to recover - that's what I want with all of my heart! But you and only you get to/have to make the decision to protect your quit! And honestly, I wouldn't be much of a Friend if I didn't truthfully say that there are no EXcuses and that rightly or wrongly my feelings have been hurt, too! 

There is HOPE! Hope for me means maintaining my health to the best of my ability and supporting R&D in their quest for a cure for COPD and then to trust in my Creator for the outcome. Hope for you is to enter once and for all your Forever Quit and to Protect your Quit NO MATTER WHAT! 

Hope is full of LOVE so I wish you to hear the LOVE that I have for each of you and my sincere desire that you live a Healthy and Happy LIFE - Smoke FREE!

  Relapse - The Lesson Learned
  One of two things happens following relapse. Either the user will think they have gotten 
  away with using and, as a result, with the passage of time a "false sense of confidence" will 
  have them using again, or they'll quickly find themselves back using nicotine at their old 
  level of daily intake, or higher.
  Although it sounds strange, as Joel notes, the lucky ones are those who quickly find 
  themselves once again fully hooked.
  Why? Because this group stands a far better chance of associating that first puff, dip or 
  chew of nicotine with full and complete relapse. 
  Instead of learning the Law of Addiction from some book such as this, they stand a chance of 
  self-discovering the law through experience and the school of hard-knocks. 
  It's a lesson that's become increasingly difficult to self-discover since 1984, when the FDA 
  approved the first of a now vast array of nicotine replacement products (NRT), the nicotine 
  gum. 
  Today, the lesson that just one hit of nicotine spells relapse gets muddied and buried by 
  promotion and marketing associated with ineffective nicotine weaning schemes. 
   Those standing to profit from the sale of NRT have re-labeled a natural poison medicine. 
  They teach that instead of ending nicotine's use that you need to replace it, and describe 
  doing so as "therapy." 
  It's why teaching and sharing the "Law of Addiction" with those still in bondage is the most 
  important gift we can give. 
  Pre-NRT generations enjoyed clean mental chalkboards upon which to record prior relapse 
  experiences. Today the chalkboards of millions are so filled with conflicting messages that
  identifying truth has become nearly impossible. 
  This generation needs us. They need our insights. 
   No Legitimate Justification for Relapse
  Over the years we've heard nearly every relapse justification imaginable. Some relate 
  extremely horrific and brutal life situations and then put their back against the wall as if 
  daring you to tell them that their nicotine use and relapse wasn't justified.
  Guess what? Again, there's absolutely no legitimate justification for relapse. None, zilch! 
  As Joel puts it, we understand why the person failed. They "violated the Law of Addiction, 
  used nicotine and are paying the mandatory penalty - relapse. We also know that any excuse
  that the person is attempting to give for having re-awakened an active chemical dependency 
  is total nonsense. There is no justification for relapse."
  Don't expect any serious support group or competent nicotine dependency recovery 
  counselor to allow relapse excuses to stand unchallenged. They can't, as silence is a teacher 
  too. Here, a deadly one. 
  It's "like someone standing on a ledge of a building," writes Joel. "Do you want the people 
  standing on the ground giving the person on the ledge reasons not to jump, or after listening 
  to all the woes in the individual's life saying, 'Gosh, I understand what you are saying.' 'I 
  feel that way too.' 'I guess if I were in your shoes I would jump too.' 'Don't feel guilty, 
  though, we understand.'" 
  "I don't want this statement to be read like a mockery of those attempting to offer help," 
  says Joel. "I am trying to illustrate an important point. Obviously, if the person on the ledge
  jumps he or she will die. But understand, that if a person relapses and doesn't quit, he or she 
  is likely to face the same fate, just time delayed."
  "Yes, if you saw a person on a ledge you would try to use empathy to coax him or her back. 
  But, empathy would be in the form of explaining that you understand his or her plight but 
  totally disapprove of his or her current tactic for dealing with it. There are better ways to 
  resolve these problems than committing suicide." 
  "You may understand the feelings the person had. You may have even felt them at some 
  point yourself. But you don't give into the feeling," writes Joel. 
  We are nicotine addicts: real, live honest to goodness drug addicts. If we were all heroin 
  addicts sticking needles into our arms, when one of us relapsed and started again injecting 
  heroin into their veins, would the rest of us pat them on the back and tell them that "it's ok"?
  Would we tell them "don't worry about it," "it's just a little slip, nothing big" "you just keep 
  slipping and we'll just keep hugging you each time you come back." "Hey, we all slip every
  once in a while, it's just part of life," that "it's no big deal"?
  No big deal? Surrendering control of life to an external chemical is a big, big deal. The 
  smoker waiting for the sky to fall while committing slow motion suicide is massive. 
  Continuing Use Rationalizations
  While the relapsed addict may feel that their reason for relapse was sufficient, it will not be sufficient to explain the fact that they find themselves still using. 
  They now need a new rationalization to explain why their relapse justification has passed, 
  yet they haven't stopped using.
  "I'm just too weak to stop."
  This excuse dismisses or ignores having been successful up to the point of relapse. 
  Obviously, they were not too weak then. 
  This user would benefit by focusing upon and breathing renewed life into freedom's 
  neglected dreams and desires. 
  During their next recovery they need to master putting and keeping those dreams in the 
  driver's seat of their mind, especially during challenge. 
  They'd be wise to review the crave coping techniques shared in Chapter 11 and prepare for 
  battle by arming themselves with additional coping skills. 
  They need to appreciate that the growing pride they felt before they relapsed can take root 
  anew in just a few hours, as they navigate withdrawal again, just one challenge at a time. 
  "Well, at least I tried."
  As Joel notes, chalking the attempt up to "experience" will mean absolutely nothing unless 
  the user "objectively evaluates what caused his relapses." 
  "Instead of recognizing his past attempts as failures, he rationalizes a positive feeling of 
  accomplishment about them. This type of rationalization all but assures failures in all future
  attempts." 
  He needs to understand that claimed use justifications never cause relapse. Administering 
  another dose of nicotine is what causes relapse, not the circumstances surrounding it.
  "I know I will stop again."
  This addict justifies continued use today by promising to navigate withdrawal in the future.But what if their now shattered dreams and desires never again become sufficient to 
  motivate them to stop? What if there just isn't time? 
  What if continuing use causes the fats and plaque building and gathering within an artery 
  delivering oxygen to their brain to become fully blocked before arrival of the courage to again say "no." 
  Once sufficiently re-motivated, why should they expect a different result if they still have 
  little or no understanding as to why the last relapse occurred? 
  If their motivations are sufficient now and they understand why they relapsed, what are they
  waiting for? 
  They are likely waiting because they've invented some new silly drug use rationalization as 
  to why now just isn't the right time. 
  "I've tried everything to stop and nothing works."
  Joel tells the story of a clinic participant named Barbara. She "told me that she had once 
  attended another clinic and liked it more than ours. I asked her how long she had stopped 
  after that program and she said, 'Oh, I didn't stop at all.'"
  "I then asked her how many of the other people succeeded. She replied, 'I don't know if 
  anybody stopped.' I then asked, if nobody stopped then why did she like the program more?
  She answered, 'When I completed the program, I didn't feel bad about smoking!'"
  I often hear, "I've already tried cold turkey plenty of times!" What this person doesn't yet 
  appreciate is that education is a recovery method. 
  In contrast to uneducated abrupt nicotine cessation it's like turning on the lights. Products 
  and procedures clearly can fail to produce as advertised. But it's a little hard to blame 
  knowledge and understanding when our actions are contrary to them. 
  Like any tool, knowledge cannot take credit for being used, or blame for being ignored. 
  Unlike products, this book can never claim credit for having endured a single challenge for 
  any reader. 
  Credit for their ongoing victory will always be 100 percent theirs. Likewise, responsibility 
  for allowing nicotine back into their bloodstream and brain is totally theirs too. 
  "Maybe I'm different."
  "Maybe I can't quit."
  It isn't that this person is different. In fact, they're the same as us. Relapse after relapse, 
  with at least a dozen serious failed attempts of my own, I eventually came to believe that it 
  was impossible for me to stop. 
  After one last failed attempt in early 1999, I surrendered to the fact that I was a drug addict, 
  hopeless and would die an addict's death. 
  What I didn't then realize was that each of those battles was fought in ignorance and 
  darkness. I was swinging blindly at an unseen opponent. 
  What I didn't realize was that I'd never once brought my greatest weapon to the battlefield, 
  my intelligence. 
  I'd made recovery vastly more challenging than need be. I skipped meals, added hunger 
  anxieties, mind fog, experienced caffeine doubling associated with at least a pot of coffee 
  daily, and leaned heavily upon others for support. 
  Insanely, more than once I celebrated and rewarded myself with just one cigarette after three
  days, once the early anxieties began easing off a bit. I knew nothing of the body's ability to 
  rid itself of nicotine within 72 hours. 
  And having inter-spaced cold turkey with at least four NRT attempts, I was totally lost. Was
  nicotine medicine or was it what was keeping me hooked? 
  How could I possibly self discover the Law of Addiction via one puff and relapse when now
  being taught that nicotine was medicine? 
  Was I weaker than the hundreds of millions who had successfully stopped? Was I 
  different? 
  Certainly not with respect to what happens once nicotine enters the brain. As Joel notes, it 
  is impossible to locate any person who relapsed who didn't introduce nicotine back into 
  their bloodstream.
  More Excuses Coming
  As far as relapse excuses are concerned, life will provide an abundant supply for anyone 
  looking for them. We will have friends or loved ones who will get sick, diseased and die. 
  Dying is a normal part of life. If the death of someone close to us is an acceptable reason 
  for relapse then the freedom and healing of nearly a billion now comfortable ex-users is at 
  risk. 
  Expect imperfect humans to do the unthinkable. We change, disagree, sometimes break 
  promises, argue, and start and end relationships. 
  Expect financial distress as food, medicine, fuel and living costs continue to rise. The loss 
  of a job or inability to work may be an injury, disease or pink slip away.
  Floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes will happen. People die,vehicles collide, sports teams lose, terrorists attack and wars will be waged, won and lost. 
  Life promises loads of excuses to relapse. But freedom's promise is absolute. It is 
  impossible to relapse so long as all nicotine remains on the outside. 
  We each have a 100 percent guarantee of staying free today so long as no nicotine gets 
  inside. 
  Harm Reduction
  What if we do relapse? What then? Hopefully, relapse will instill a deep and profound 
  respect for the power of one hit of nicotine to again take the mind's priorities teacher 
  hostage. 
  Hopefully, belief in the Law of Addiction will thereafter forever remain beyond question. 
  Hopefully, we'll immediately work toward reviving and strengthening our dreams and soon 
  start home again. But if not, what then?
  And what if our relapse was to the dirtiest, most destructive and deadliest form of nicotine 
  delivery ever devised, the cigarette? 
  We're told it accounts for 20% of all deaths in developed nations. According to the World 
  Health Organization, smoking is expected to claim more than one billion nicotine addicts by
  the end of the 21st century.
  Respected nicotine toxicologist Heinz Ginzel, MD writes, "burning tobacco ... generates 
  more than 150 billion tar particles per cubic inch, constituting the visible portion of cigarette
  smoke. But this visible portion amounts to little more than 5 to 8 percent of what a lit 
  cigarette discharges and what you inhale during puffing. The remaining 90% of the total 
  output from a burning cigarette is in gaseous form and cannot be seen.
  Many health officials wish they could immediately transfer all smokers to less desstructive 
  forms of nicotine delivery. And some are now strongly advocating it. 
  "If NRT were ever able to replace smoking, which is highly unlikely," writes Dr. Ginzel, 
  "morbidity and mortality caused by nicotine itself would manifest over time and replace that
  of cigarette smoking. It would probably be lower for the adult, but nicotine exposure during 
  fetal development and infancy could have alarming consequences for affected populations." 
  How many fewer deaths would occur? We don't really know. Although most harm 
  reduction advocates are extremely optimistic and expect massive reductions, their 
  suppositions ignore the fact that most smokers have already logged years of tobacco toxin 
  and carcinogen exposure. 
  How does their continuing use of the super-toxin nicotine factor into the damage already 
  done? 
  What are the long-term risks associated oral tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and replacement 
  nicotine in long-term ex-smokers? It may take decades before science can untangle relative 
  risks and draw reasonably reliable conclusions. 
  As for any traditional combustion-type cigarette claiming to be less harmful than other 
  burning cigarette, don't buy it. Inhaling gases and particles from a burning mini toxic waste 
  dump is inherently dangerous and extremely destructive. 
  A recent study examined the effects of smoke from three brands claiming harm reduction 
  upon normal embryonic stem cell development. It found that smoke from these so-called 
  harm-reduction cigarettes inhibited normal cell development as much "or more" than 
  traditional brands.
  Some public health advocates are alarmed that harm reduction campaigns may actually 
  backfire, keeping millions who would have successfully arrested their chemical dependency
  hooked and cycling back and forth between cigarettes and other forms of nicotine delivery. 
  They are also concerned that harm reduction campaigns tossing about terms such as "safe," 
  "safer," or "safety" may actually entice ex-smokers to relapse.
  I hold in my hand sample packets containing two 2mg pieces of "Fresh Fruit" and "Ice 
  Mint" Nicorette gum with tooth whiteners.
  I was told that these sample packs were being sold at self-service checkout counter displays 
  in Canadian beer stores for one penny.
  How many ex-smokers will be tempted to give it a try while drinking alcohol? How many 
  will relapse? How much of this sample gum will end up in the hands of youth?
  The second sentence on the back of each Canadian sample pack tells smokers that Nicorette 
  gum isn't just for stopping smoking. 
  "Nicorette gum can also be used in cases in which you temporarily refrain from smoking, 
  for example in smoke-free areas or in other situations which you wish to avoid smoking." 
  Imagine pharmaceutical companies dove-tailing their marketing with that of tobacco 
  companies in order to make continued smoking easier or more convenient. 
  Have you ever wondered why you have never once heard any pharmaceutical industry stopsmoking product commercial suggest that, "Smoking causes lung cancer, emphysema and 
  circulatory disease, that you need to buy and use our product because smoking can kill 
  you"? 
  You haven't and likely never will. But why?
   As hard as this may be to believe, the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries have operated 
  under a nicotine marketing partnership agreement since about 1984. The once secret 
  documents evidencing the agreement are many, and suggest that neither side may directly 
  attack the other side's products.
  The primary purpose of their partnership is to ensure the purchase and use of each side's 
  dopamine pathway stimulation products. 
  They want you to pay them to satisfy your dependency's wanting. This book's purpose is to 
  aid you in arresting it. 
  Back to harm reduction where both sides in the debate appear to be overstating their case. 
  Some opposed to harm reduction have argued that the risks associated with a smoker 
  transferring to oral tobacco is like getting hit by a small car instead of a large truck, like 
  shooting yourself in the foot instead of the head, or like jumping from a three-story building
  rather than one ten stories tall. 
  Lacking accurate relative risk data themselves, the harm reductionist counters by asserting 
  that, "Based on the available literature on mortality from falls, we estimate that smoking 
  presents a mortality risk similar to a fall of about 4 stories, while mortality risk from 
  smokeless tobacco is no worse than that from an almost certainly non-fatal fall from less 
  than 2 stories."
  "We estimate"? It's disturbing to see us stoop to educated-guessing when it comes to life or death.
  It is also disturbing that no serious harm reduction advocate has yet been willing to provide 
  an accurate accounting of known and suspected harms associated with chronic nicotine use. 
  They know that the amount of nicotine needed to kill a human is 166 times smaller than the amount of caffeine needed to do so
  (40-60 milligrams versus 10 grams). Yet, in order to sell smokers on "safer" delivery many have resorted to falsely portraying nicotine as being as harmless as caffeine.
  Harm reduction advocates have also done little to quiet concerns about the impact of marketing upon youth, messages already bombarding them with a wide array of tempting flavors being portrayed as vastly safer than smoking. 
  They seem unconcerned by an increasing number of adolescent nicotine harm studies showing nicotine's horrific toll on the developing adolescent brain.
  Let me give just one example among many. Ever wonder why those who started using 
  nicotine as children or early teens tend to have greater difficulty learning through listening?
  Research shows that adolescent nicotine disrupts normal development of auditory brain 
  fibers. This damage may interfere with the ability of these fibers to pass sound, resulting in 
  greater noise and diminished sound processing efficiency.
  Harm reduction advocates not only ignore the harms inflicted by nicotine, they ignore 
  nicotine's greatest cost of all, living every hour of your life as an actively feeding drug 
  addict. 
  They must, otherwise they couldn't sell it. They focus on dying not living. Some have resorted to accusing cessation educators and counselors unwilling to incorporate 
  harm reduction lessons into their recovery programs as having a "stop or die" mentality. 
  It is as if they have no appreciation for the fact that bargaining is a normal phase of 
  recovery, and there may be no more inviting bargain for a drug addict than one which 
  invites them to keep their drug.
  It's why it pains me to include this harm reduction section here at the tail end of this book.
  I worry that some new struggling ex-user reading this book, who would have succeeded if 
  this section had not been included, will instead seize upon the words that follow as license 
  to relapse.
  But the alternative, the potential for relapse and then smoking yourself to death because 
  relative risk had never been discussed or explained, is totally unacceptable. 
  Still, as Dr. Ginzel notes, it would be nice if we knew the actual relative risks in contrasting 
  oral tobacco to NRT but we don't.
  What is the relative risk when comparing cigarettes to oral tobacco or to electronic 
  cigarettes or replacement nicotine?
  We know that cigarettes currently contribute to nearly five million deaths this year, and that 
  cigarettes release more than 4,000 chemicals while oral tobacco releases 2,550 chemicals. 
  We also know that 81 potential cancer-causing chemicals have been identified in cigarette 
  smoke versus 28 in oral tobacco.
  The only as yet known harmful agent in both the new electronic or e-cigarettes (which uses 
  an atomizer to create a nicotine mist) and replacement nicotine (NRT) is nicotine, and 
  trace amounts of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNA's), which should be correctable via 
  quality control.
  Still, additional research is needed as we have little long-term data for pure nicotine, as 
  nearly every user has years of cigarette or oral tobacco exposure, which makes it nearly 
  impossible to determine direct and proximate cause.
  Clearly, smokers face serious risk of many different types of cancers, a host of breathing 
  disorders including emphysema, and serious circulatory disease as carbon monoxide 
  combines with nicotine to destroy vessel walls and facilitate plaque buildup. 
  Smoking's risks and roughly 50% adult kill rate are well known. What wasn't being studied 
  until recently were the health concerns being expressed by long-term NRT users.
  Although we still don't know whether or not NRT user health concerns are in fact directly 
  related to chronic nicotine use, online complaints among those who have used nicotine gum 
  for one year or longer include: 
  Addiction with intense gum cravings, anxiety, irritability, dizziness, headaches, 
  nervousness, hiccups, ringing in the ears, chronic depression, headaches, heart burn, 
  elevated blood pressure, a rapid or irregular heart beat, sleep disruption, tiredness, a 
  lack of motivation, a heavy feeling, recessed, bleeding and diseased gums, 
  diminished sense of taste, tooth enamel damage, tooth loss, jaw-joint pain and 
  damage (TMJ), canker sores with white patches on the tongue or mouth, bad breath, 
  dry mouth, sore or irritated throat, difficulty swallowing, swollen glands, bronchitis, 
  stomach problems and pain, gastritis, severe bloating, belching, achy muscles and 
  joints, pins and needles in arms and hands, uncontrollable foul smelling gas that 
  lingers, a lack of energy, loss of sex drive, acid reflux, stomach ulcers, fecal 
  impaction from dehydration, scalp tingling, hair loss, acne, facial reddening, chronic 
  skin rashes and concerns about immune system suppression.
  While smoking's harms are clearly vastly greater and far more life threatening than 
  nicotine's, how do we weigh and balance pure nicotine's ongoing use harms against 
  smoking's? 
  How many millions of additional air sacs would these lungs have today if I'd permanently 
  transferred my dependency to nicotine gum the first time I used it in 1985 or 86? 
  If my goal had been long-term gum use instead of 8 to 12 weeks during cessation, would I 
  have been more willing to accept gum's slower, less precise and less controllable delivery?
  If I'd permanently transferred my dependency to cleaner delivery in 1986, would I be able to
  run for more than a few hundred feet today? Would I have more teeth?
  If I had allowed myself to become hooked on the cure, as an estimated 37% of U.S. nicotine
  gum users were as of 2003,451 would I have had the motivation to eventually break free fromall nicotine, as I did on May 15, 1999 when I stopped smoking? 
  Would I have created WhyQuit two months later in July? Would I have met Joel in January 
  2000? Would this book have been written?
  I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. Hopefully you understand a bit better my reluctance to 
  suggest that if you relapse to smoking nicotine, that if a non-pregnant adult, that you 
  consider attempting to adapt to a cleaner form of nicotine delivery.
  There, I've done it. But my dream isn't about seeing you develop the patience to allow 
  yourself time to adapt to and remain slave to a cleaner less destructive form of delivery.
  It's that you develop the "one day at a time" patience needed to go the distance and allow 
  yourself to sample and taste the freedom and healing beyond. 
  Once free, I pray you never forget the most important lesson of all. As Joel says, the true 
  measure of nicotine's power isn't in how hard it is to stop, but in how easy it is to relapse.
  Thousands of words but still just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all ... 
  no nicotine today! Yes we can!
  Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

image

Maybe I'm just an eternal optimist - maybe, just maybe, every single time I run toward the football, Lucy will swoop it out of place and I'll fall with a klunck right smack on my back! And maybe just maybe I'll spend hours believing in people more than they even believe in themselves - EXplaining to them patiently once again how I became a 6%er and that they can, too - just to have them come back at me with, "You don't understand! I'm not like you, it's harder for me, I relapsed too many times, I never "tried' to quit before, I smoked more years than you, I'm a closet smoker, I'm a chain smoker,..........I'm different!" And then they swoop that football right out from under me and -klunck/smack - here we go again!

But I just don't give up! I believe! I believe in you, Newbie! i know - even if you are determined to prove me wrong - that if you really want to quit and do your homework, you don't really have to quit 6 - 8 times - you can do it the very first time! 

I know that each of us is an individual with our own personal quit history but it doesn't change the Law of Addiction! The Law of Addiction doesn't even know or care who you are! It's an equal opportunity law, like the Law of Gravity! The Law of Addiction says "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance." It applies whether you've been hooked for 2 weeks or 50 years and everything in between! It applies to the social smoker just as it does the closet smoker and the chain smoker. It applies to the 15 year old and the 60 year old. It applies to the healthy and the ill, to men and women, straight and gay, religious and atheist, all of us equally! Bottom line - the only way to quit smoking is to Not take One Puff Ever!!!! N.O.P.E.!

N.O.P.E. is not just a mantra - although it is, it's not just a slogan, although it is. N.O.P.E. is a way of LIFE! LIFE is what we're all about - your LIFE! No less! LIFE free from Addiction! LIFE healthy and happy and unhooked from a deadly, albeit legal, EXtremely Addictive Drug! N.O.P.E. is the foootball that you, Lucy, er Newbie hold in your hands - that you jerk away from the successful punt again just to prove that you're Special!

Lucy, YOU ARE SPECIAL! That is the very reason I believe in you and I'll continue to run, klunck and smack myself around trying to prove it to you! Because, maybe, just maybe, one of these days you'll keep that ball lined up and you and I together can SUCCEED!

Never Quit the Quit! I won't quit believing in you!

 

I'll be taking a Blogcation for awhile due to unbelievable frustration overload. Take care of yourselves and work on your Quititudes! It's all here right now! We're simply repeating ourselves with different words! Read the Blogs and you will find your answers!

Thomas3.20.2010

The Push and Pull

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 22, 2013
   image
  What do we do if an urge pushes us in one direction and our values pull us in another? We don't want to struggle with that urge because then it's hard to focus o effective action. So rather than try to resist, control, or suppress it, the aim is to make room for it, to give it enough time and space to expend all it's energy. And one marvelously useful technique for this is known as "urge surfing."
  Have you ever sat on the beach and watched the waves? Just noticed them coming and going? A wave starts off small and builds gently. Then gradually it gathers speed and grows bigger. It continues to grow and ove forward until it reaches a peak, known as a crest. Then, once the wave has crested, it gradually subsides. the same happens with urges in your body. They start off small and then steadily increase in size.
  All too often we get into a struggle with our urges; that's why we talk of "resisting" them. In urge surfing, though, we don't try to resist our urges - we just give them space. If you give an ocean wave enough space, it will reach a crest and then harmlessly subside. But what happens if that wave encounters resistance? Ever seen a wave crash onto the beach or smash against the rocks? It's loud, messy, and potentially destructive.
  So urge surfing is a simple but effective technique in which we treat our urges like waves and "surf" them until they dissipate. The term coined back in the 1980s by psychologists Alan Marlatt and Judith Gordon, as part of their groundbreaking work with drug addiction. 
     
      
        Women in their mid-30s are now developing fatal lung cancer as a result of starting to smoke in their early teens, according to reports from doctors across the UK.    
      
             
      
        Lung cancer is perceived as an illness of the middle-aged or elderly but doctors throughout the country are seeing increasing numbers of women in their 30s or early 40s dying from the disease.    
      
             
      
        Dr Jesme Baird, director of patient care at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: "A very worrying trend appears to be emerging. What we're hearing from lung cancer consultants across the UK is that the incidence of lung cancer among younger women has been on the increase over the last couple of years. This is a devastating disease and the impact that this must be having on these women, the majority of whom will have young families, is unimaginable."    
      
             
      
        Professor Elaine Rankin, who holds a Cancer Research UK chair of cancer medicine and is a consultant at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, is now treating women in their mid-30s. She says the type of lung cancer killing these women is slightly different from the illness that targets older men.    
      
             
      
        "We see women from their mid-30s onwards. This is an increasing phenomenon. These women have a slightly different disease. Older men with lung cancer often have a history of bronchitis and their cancer comes to light due to repeated chest infections.    
      
             
      
        "In the younger women, we are seeing the disease behaving slightly differently. It tends to be more advanced when it comes to light. That, we think, has something to do with the type of cigarettes women are smoking. More women smoke low-tar cigarettes. Women tend to be inhaling deeply smaller particles which travel further in the lungs, towards the ribs, and that is where they start causing damage."    
      
             
      
        More women die from lung cancer than breast cancer and ovarian cancer combined. Lung cancer survival rates are extremely low. Only 6.4% of women survive five years compared to 77.5% of women with breast cancer.    
      
             
      
        Recent research showed that a woman who smokes the same number of cigarettes as a man is twice as likely to develop lung cancer. The study from Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York suggested that the key to the double tumour risk lies in men having a greater ability to detoxify toxins and the presence of the female hormone oestrogen which is known to help cancers.    
      
             
      
        As the most recent national statistics on lung cancer are only available from 1999, the increase in younger women dying from the disease remains anecdotal, but Professor Ray Donnelly, founder and president of the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, is not surprised by what the charity is hearing from doctors. He says this is due to women starting smoking at the age of 10 or 11.    
      
             
      
        "This is a logical consequence of girls starting to smoke at a much younger age. If we have girls starting to smoke at the age of 10 to 12 it is not surprising that they develop lung cancer by their 40s.    
      
             
     
     
      
             
      
        "I have seen patients in their 30s with lung cancer. My guess is this is happening because the women coming through started smoking at 10, 11 or 12.    
      
             
      
        "In the 50s and 60s women would start smoking in their 20s or 30s and lung cancer would come through in their 50s or 60s."    
      
             
      
        Professor Stephen Spiro, of the British Lung Foundation and University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, has treated a 33-year-old woman with lung cancer, and regularly sees women dying from the disease in their 40s. He believes advertising targeted at adolescent girls has played a part.    
      
             
      
        A recent study by the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Strathclyde University, and the Department of Community Health Sciences at Edinburgh University, said that youth style magazines contribute to high levels of smoking among young women. It found that the casual promotion of smoking in fashion shoots and by personalities carries most influence.    
      
             
      
        Philip Morris marketed Virginia Slims at women with slogans such as "You've come a long way, Baby", and "It's a woman's thing". Critics also claim the brand hinted at the fact that smoking helps women to lose weight.    
      
             
      
        "We are now seeing cancers more frequently in younger women than we used to and this is going to continue until they reduce their smoking.    
      
             
      
        "The problem is that the advertising is directed at girls, with brands such as Virginia Slims. We have got to target teenagers who smoke. They are the next generation of cancer victims in their 30s," Spiro said.    
      
             
      
             
     
     
      
        Dr Tariq Sethi, a British Lung Foundation chair and con sultant at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, added: "There was very aggressive marketing by cigarette manufacturers targeting women.    
      
             
      
        "Smoking was seen by women as something their favourite celebrities did and as a way of keeping their weight down. There is no doubt that smoking does keep your weight down. Teenage girls also think smoking gives them an air of sophistication.    
      
             
      
        "We are now seeing much younger women coming through with lung cancer for reasons we don't understand. Lung cancer was seen as an old person's disease but now it is not uncommon for us to see women in their early 40s."    
      
             
      
        Lung cancer attracts a fraction of the funding awarded to other forms of the disease. Campaigners believe this is because sufferers, mostly smokers, are perceived to be responsible for their own illness. Lung cancer causes 22% of all cancer deaths yet attracts 3% of total research cash while breast cancer accounts for 8% of cancer deaths but attracts 18% of research money.    
      
             
      
        ©2003 Newsquest (Sunday Herald) Limited. all rights reserved.    
      
             
      
        http://www.sundayherald.com/38194    
     
  
    Women in their mid-30s are now developing fatal lung cancer as a result of starting to smoke in their early teens, according to reports from doctors across the UK.
  
     
  
    Lung cancer is perceived as an illness of the middle-aged or elderly but doctors throughout the country are seeing increasing numbers of women in their 30s or early 40s dying from the disease.
  
     
  
    Dr Jesme Baird, director of patient care at the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation, said: "A very worrying trend appears to be emerging. What we're hearing from lung cancer consultants across the UK is that the incidence of lung cancer among younger women has been on the increase over the last couple of years. This is a devastating disease and the impact that this must be having on these women, the majority of whom will have young families, is unimaginable."
  
     
  
    Professor Elaine Rankin, who holds a Cancer Research UK chair of cancer medicine and is a consultant at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, is now treating women in their mid-30s. She says the type of lung cancer killing these women is slightly different from the illness that targets older men.
  
     
  
    "We see women from their mid-30s onwards. This is an increasing phenomenon. These women have a slightly different disease. Older men with lung cancer often have a history of bronchitis and their cancer comes to light due to repeated chest infections.
  
     
  
     
  
     
Thomas3.20.2010

Sean Marsee

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013
  It was early on February 25th.   Sean Marsee smiled a tired smile at his sister, pointed his index finger skyward, and an hour later, at age 19, Sean Marsee was dead.   Just ten months earlier, Sean, an 18 year-old high school senior and star of the school track team, was just a weekend away from competing in the state track finals, and just a month away from graduation.   It was then that Sean opened his mouth and showed his mother an ugly sore on his tongue.   His mother, a registered nurse, took one look and felt her heart sink.
   
  A user of smokeless chewing tobacco and snuff since age 12, rarely was Sean without a dip.   Living from nicotine fix to nicotine fix, he went through a can of snuff every day and a half.  When Sean's mother finally discovered his secret she hit the roof.   She tried explaining just how hazardous that tobacco was for him, smoke or no smoke, but Sean refused to believe her.  He argued that other boys on the track team were dipping. He argued that his coach knew and didn't seem to care.   He argued that high profile sports stars were using and marketing smokeless tobacco.   How could it be dangerous, he pleaded.   In the end, his mother simply dropped the subject.
   
  But now, an angry red spot with a hard white core, about the size of a half-dollar, was being worn by his tongue.   "I'm sorry, Sean," said  Dr. Carl Hook, the throat specialist.  "It doesn't look good.  We'll have to do a biopsy."   Sean was stunned.   Aside from his addiction to nicotine, he didn't drink, he didn't smoke and he took excellent care of his body; watching his diet, lifting weights and running five miles a day, six months a year.   Now this.  How could it be?   "But I didn't know snuff could be that bad for you," Sean said.   "I'm afraid we'll have to remove that part of your tongue, Sean," Dr. Hook said.   The high school senior was silent.   "Can I still run in the state track meet this weekend?" he finally asked.   "And graduate next month?"  Dr. Hook nodded.
   
  On May 16th, Dr. Hook performed the operation.  More of Sean's tongue  had to be removed than was anticipated.   Worse yet, the biopsy results were  back and the tumor tested positive for cancer.   Arrangements were made for Sean to see a radiation therapist, but before therapy began, a newly swollen lymph node was found in Sean's neck.  It was an ominous sign that the cancer had spread.   Radical neck surgery had now become necessary.
   
  Dr. Hood gently recommended to Sean that he undergo the severest option: removing the lower jaw on the right side, as well as all lymph nodes, muscles and blood vessels except for his artery.   There might be some sinking, he explained, but the chin would support the general planes of the face.
   
  His mother began to cry.   Sean was being asked to approve his own  mutilation.   This was a teenager who was so concerned about his appearance that he'd even swallow his dip rather than be caught spitting tobacco juice.   They sat is silence for ten minutes.   Then, dimly, she heard him say, "Not the jawbone.   Don't take the jawbone."   "Okay, Sean, " Dr. Hook said softly.  "But the rest; that's the least we should do."   On June 20th Sean underwent his second surgery.  It lasted eight hours.
   
  At school, 150 students and teachers assembled in June to honor their most outstanding athlete.   Sean could not be there to receive their award.   His Coach and his assistant came to Sean's home to present their gift, a walnut plaque.   They tried not to stare at the huge scar that ran like a railroad track from their star performer's earlobe to his breastbone.  Smiling crookedly out of the other side of his mouth, Sean thanked them.
  With five weeks of healing and radiation therapy behind him, in August Sean  greeted Dr. Hood with enthusiasm, plainly happy to be alive.  Miraculously, Sean had snapped back.   He really believes his superb physical condition is going to lick it, Dr. Hook thought.  Let's hope he's going to win this race too.
   
  But in October Sean started having headaches.   A CAT scan showed twin  tentacles of fresh malignancy, one snaking down his back, the other curling under the base of his brain.   In November, Sean underwent surgery for the third time.   It was the jawbone operation he had feared - and more.  After 10 hours on the operating room table, he had four huge drains coming from a foot long crescent wound, a breathing tube sticking out of a hole in his throat, a feeding tube through his nose, and two tubes in his arm veins.  Sean looked at his mother as if to say, "My God, Mom, I didn't know it was going to hurt like this."
   
  The Marsees brought Sean home for Christmas.   Even then, he remained optimistic until that day in January when he found new lumps in the left side of his cheek.   His mother answered the phone when the hospital called with the results of the biopsy.   Sean knew the news was bad by her silent tears as she listened.   When she hung up, he was in her arms, and for the first time since the awful nightmare started, grit-tough Sean Marsee began to sob.  After a few minutes, he straightened and said, "Don't worry.   I'm going to be fine."   Like the winning runner he was, he still had faith in his finishing kick.
   
  One day Sean confessed to his mother that he still craved his snuff.  "I catch myself thinking," he said, "I'll just reach over and have a dip."   Then he added that he wished he could visit the high-school locker room to show the athletes "what you look like when you use it."   His appearance, he knew would be persuasive.   A classmate who had come to see him fainted dead away.
   
  Shortly before Sean's death he told his mother that there must be a reason that God decided not to save him.   Sean's mother believes that Sean's  legacy is in having his story spread and hopefully "keeping other kids from dying."  When Sean became unable to speak, a friend asked him if their was anything he wanted to share with other young athletes.   With pencil in hand Sean wrote, "Don't dip snuff."  On the morning of February 25th, Sean Marsee, age nineteen, exhaled his last breath.
   
  
   First, the good news. The risk of relapse declines with the passage of time! While roughly 
  
   95% of uneducated smokers who attempt to stop smoking relapse within a year, the relapse  
  
   rate declines to just 2 to 4% per year from years 2 to 10, and then falls to less than 1% after  
  
   10 years. 
  
   Keep in mind that those rates were generated by ex-users who generally had little  
  
   understanding of nicotine dependency and no formal respect for the Law of Addiction. If  
  
   obedient to Law our risk of failure remains zero. 
  
   But just one powerful hit of nicotine and the addict is back.  
  
   While ignorance of the Law is no excuse, the vast, vast most ex-users do not remain exusers because of understanding or respect for the Law, or because of "one puff" relapse rates 
  
   seen in studies. 
  
   They do so because once home they discover that life without using is vastly better than  
  
   using.  
  
   While the relapse rate for years 2 though 10 may seem small, when added together the risk  
  
   becomes significant. One recent study suggests that as many as 17% who succeed for 1  
  
   year may eventually relapse. 
  
   These ex-users don't relapse because they dislike being home. They do so because they lose 
  
   sight of how they got there, who they are, and the captivity they escaped.  
  
   Among educated ex-users there appear to be three primary factors associated with relapse:  
  
   (1) a natural suppression of memories of recovery's early challenges, 
  
    (2) they rewrite, amend or decide to test the Law and  
  
   (3) they pretend that they have a legitimate excuse to break or ignore it.  
  
   Should these factors combine with an offer of a free cigar, alcohol use around those still  
  
   using or occur in an impulsive-type person, the risk of relapse gets magnified.  
  
     
  
   Recovery Memory Suppression 
  
   It's normal to slowly grow complacent during the months and years after ending nicotine  
  
   use. Complacency is fueled by failing memories of daily captivity and the factors that  
  
   compelled us to seek freedom. 
  
   It's also fueled by an inability to recall the intensity of early withdrawal anxieties, the power 
  
   of cue triggered crave episodes or the duration of conscious fixation.  
  
   Most of us failed to keep a detailed record of why we commenced recovery or what those  
  
   first two weeks were like.  
  
   Without a record to remind us, we're forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and  
  
   vividly preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But now, the memory  
  
   in which we placed our trust has failed us.  
  
   It isn't that our memory is bad, faulty or doing anything wrong. In fact, it's working as  
  
   designed to preserve in as much detail as possible life's joyful events, while suppressing and 
  
   helping us forget life's stressful events, anxieties, trauma and pain.  
  
   To do otherwise would make life inside these minds unbearable. In fact, post-traumatic  
  
   stress disorder (PTSD) is believed to reflect a breakdown in the mind's ability to forget. 
  
   If women were forced to remember the agony and pain of childbirth, most would likely  
  
   have only one child. We are each blessed with the ability to forget.  
  
   So how does the recovered nicotine addict who failed to record their journey home revive  
  
   their passion for freedom and recall liberty's price? If we forget the past are we destined to  
  
   repeat it? Not necessarily.  
  
   But just as any loving relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we should not take our  
  
   recovery for granted or the flame could eventually die, and the fire go out.  
  
   It's my goal to protect my freedom until I draw my last breath.  
  
   If you feel the same, then we need to nourish our desires. If we do, we win. If not, we risk  
  
   complacency allowing nicotine back into our bloodstream. We risk dying as slaves.  
  
   Whether daily, monthly or just once a year, our recovery benefits from care. But where do  
  
   we turn if our recovery memories have been suppressed and we've kept no record?  
  
   Our best resource is probably our brothers and sisters still in bondage. Why not enlist their  
  
   help in revitalizing our own memories of active dependency?  
  
   Talk to them. Let them know what you seek. Encourage them to be as candid and truthful  
  
   as possible.  
  
   Although it may look like they're enjoying their addiction, their primary objective is to stay  
  
   one step ahead of insula driven urges and craves.  
  
   Tell them the truth about where you now find yourself. Although not always the case, with  
  
   most you'll find their responses inspiring. Be kind and sincere. It wasn't long ago that those 
  
   were our shoes.  
  
   Try hard to recall those first two weeks without nicotine. Think about earlier uneducated  
  
   attempts. What were they like? Can you recall your mind begging to be fed? Feel the  
  
   anxieties. Were you able to concentrate? How was your sleep?  
  
   Did you feel depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated, restless or anxious? Were there rapidly  
  
   cycling emotions, irrational thinking or emotional outbursts?  
  
   Do you remember these things? Do you remember the price you paid? Do you recall the  
  
   reasons you willingly paid it?  
  
   If you have access to a computer, go online and visit any of the scores of smoking cessation  
  
   support groups. There we'll find thousands of battles being fought, hear a multitude of cries  
  
   and watch hundreds struggling for survival as they dream of the calmness and quiet you  
  
   now call home.  
  
   The newbies you'll see cannot begin to imagine traveling so far that remembering the  
  
   turmoil they now feel will someday soon become their greatest challenge of all. 
  
   If permitted, send a message to those in need. The most important thing you can tell them is 
  
   the truth about why you came. If still in the first few days they may be facing significant  
  
   anxieties. Their mind may have them convinced that their emotional storm will never end.  
  
   Don't pretend that you can feel their anxiety. Instead give them what they need, the truth.  
  
   Let them know that you've traveled so far that it's now difficult to relate.  
  
   Tell them how comfortable and complacent you've grown. Describe last week and how  
  
   many seconds, if any, that you devoted to thinking about using. 
  
   Fear of the unknown is frightening. Teach them what life on Easy Street is like. By aiding  
  
   them we aid ourselves. 
  
   It may be that complacency has you at a point where thoughts of wanting are again taking  
  
   root. But think back. How long had you gone without wanting?  
  
   If it is happening, rekindling pride in the amazing journey you once made may silence such  
  
   chatter. 
  
   If occurring, I suspect that you've either developed a romantic fixation with using, or failed to let go of one during recovery.  
  
     
  
   Amending the Law of Addiction 
  
   The second complacency factor working against us is a strong, natural desire to want to believe that we've been fully cured, that we can now handle "just one," "just once."  
  
   But just one puff, dip or chew and "do not pass go, do not collect $200." Go directly to the addict's prison and surrender your freedom.  It isn't that we don't believe the Law. It's probably more a matter of growing to believe that we're the exception to it. 
  
   We convince ourselves that we're stronger, smarter or wiser than all addicts who came before us.  We amend the law. We put ourselves above it. "Just once, it'll be ok, I can 
  
   handle it." "I'm stronger than them." "A little reward, it's been a while, I've earned it."  
  
   Such thoughts infect the mind and feed on themselves. Unless interrupted by reason and  
  
   truth, our period of healing and freedom may be nearing an end. 
  
   If allowed to fester, all our dreams and hard work risk being flushed like a toilet.  
  
   Instead of pretending we can handle" just one," such encounters demand truth. Before  
  
   reaching the point of throwing it all away we need to be honest about what's about to  
  
   happen.  
  
   If this moment should ever arrive, try telling yourself this before bringing nicotine back into 
  
   your body: 
  
   "My freedom will now end!" "I'm going back." "I can handle all of them, give them  
  
   all back to me, my entire addiction, all the trips to the store, the buys, the money, and 
  
   the empties." "I want it all back." "Go ahead, slowly harden my arteries and eat my  
  
   brain."  
  
   If a smoker, "fill my world with ash, cover me in that old familiar stench, and let  
  
   morning again be for coughing." If an oral user, "take my hair, destroy my teeth, and 
  
   put sores back into my mouth." 
  
   "Put me back behind bars, make me an outcast, throw away the key and let me die  
  
   with my master still circulating in my veins." "I accept my fate" "I'm ready to  
  
   surrender!"  
  
   It's far easier for the junkie mind to create a one puff, dip or chew exception to the "law"  
  
   than to admit the truth.  
  
   Instead of picturing just one or once, picture all of them. Try to imagine fitting them into  
  
   your mouth all at once. Because day after day, month after month, year after year after year  
  
   that's exactly where they'll be going. 
  
   "To thine own self be true." You navigated recovery. You paid the price, if any. You  
  
   deserve the truth! 
  
   If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the Law, stop, think, remember, reflect, read,  
  
   revisit, revive and give to others, but most important, be honest with you!  
  
     
  
   The Perfect Excuse 
  
   The final ingredient is an excuse. For many, any excuse will do, even joy! It could be a  
  
   reunion with an old buddy who uses, one too many drinks with friends, a wedding, a  
  
   graduation, or even a baby's birth and someone handing you a cigar.  
  
   Imagine being curious about the new electronic or e-cigarette with its atomization chamber,  
  
   smart chip, lithium battery, and cartridge filled with apple, cherry, strawberry, chocolate,  
  
   vanilla, coffee, mint or tobacco flavored nicotine. 
  
   Imagine watching an e-cigarette instantly vaporize nicotine when sucked and seeing a little  
  
   light at the end imitate a real cigarette's heat. What about a chance encounter with a self service display offering two pieces of Nicorette's new Cinnamon Surge," "Fruit Chill" or 
  
   "Cappuccino" flavors of nicotine gum for one penny!  What about being tempted to 
  
   try one of the other new nicotine delivery devices now hitting the streets? It's exactly what  
  
   those selling them are hoping will happen.  
  
   Imagine being offered the new fully dissolvable tobacco/nicotine toothpicks, sticks, film or  
  
   candy flavored orbs. 
  
   But joyful or even stupid nicotine relapse is harder to explain to ourselves and to those we  
  
   love.  
  
   The smart addict waits for the great excuse, the one that will be easy to sell to both  
  
   themselves and others. As sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell is probably the death of a  
  
   loved one.  
  
   Although everyone we love is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for the  
  
   reformed addict it's the perfect excuse for relapse. I mean, who can blame us for ingesting  
  
   highly addictive drugs upon the death of our mother.  
  
   Anyone who does would have to be extremely insensitive or totally heartless! Right?  
  
   Wrong! There is no legitimate excuse for relapse. 
  
   Losing a job, the end of a relationship, a serious illness, disease, a terrorist attack, financial  
  
   problems, a flood, earthquake, hurricane, an auto accident, are all great excuses too - it's  
  
   drug time again! The addict is back!  
  
   Utterly terrible events will happen in each of our lives. Such is life. Adding full-blown  
  
   nicotine relapse to any situation won't fix, correct or undo our underlying concern.  
  
   Take a moment now and picture yourself fully navigating the worst nightmare your mind  
  
   can imagine.  
  
   Sooner or later it will happen. When it does, staying clean and free may be the most  
  
   positive factor during this period of darkness.  
  
   Remember, we've only traded places with our chemical dependency and the key to the cell  
  
   is that one hit of nicotine that will force your brain's survival instincts teacher to teach a  
  
   false lesson, and make that lesson nearly impossible in the short term to forget. 
  
   As long as we stay on freedom's side of the bars, we are the jailers and our dependency the  
  
   prisoner. 
  
   There are only two choices. We can complete this temporary period of adjustment and enjoy 
  
   comfortable probation for life, or introduce nicotine back into our bloodstream, relapse, and  
  
   intentionally inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon these innocent bodies for the  
  
   remainder of their time on earth.  
  
   If the first choice sounds better - lifetime probation - then we each need only follow one  
  
   simple rule ... no nicotine today! 
  
     
Thomas3.20.2010

60 Seconds

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013

Within the last 60 Seconds the following Smoke related Deaths occurred:

All Causes: 107

Tuberculosis: 3

Respiratory Infection: 7

Trachea, Bronchus, and Lung Cancer: 2

COPD: 5

Don't be one of these folks! LIVE Smoke FREE TODAY!

Thomas3.20.2010

It's Simple:

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013

LIFE vs. SLOOOOOW DEATH! 

What we used to call a no-brainer! Quitting most likely will make you uncomfortable - maybe even for several weeks but Smoking will sloooowly kill you! Now let me think about that!

Thomas3.20.2010

To Act or Not to Act

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013
  Whenever a craving or urge arises, you have two choices: act upon it or don't act upon it. Therefore, once you are aware of an urge, you need to ask yourself, "If I act on this urge, will I be acting like the person I want to be? Will it help take my life in the direction I want to go?" If the answer is yes, then it makes sense to pick up that sickerette, put it in your mouth, find a lighter or match (or stove!), light it and puff away! 
   
  On the other hand, if you really don't want to be or become a smoker, recall the Law of Addiction: 
  "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependenceupon the addictive substance."
   
  In this case, knowing full well that you will be full blown addicted all over again and that you don't want that in your life anymore,  rather than acting on your urge to smoke, it's sensible not to act on the urge. 
   
  So when it comes to handling your urges effectively, the first step is simply to acknowledge what you're feeling. Just silently say to yourself, "I'm having the urge to smoke a sickerette."
   
  The second step is to check in with your values: "Will acting on this urge help me be the person I want to be? Will it help me take my life in the direction I want?" If the answer is yes, then go ahead and act. But if the answer is no, then instead take action that's more in line with your values. Come here and tell us which values you have which conflict with slowly killing yourself - one puff at a time!
   
  adapted from   The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
Thomas3.20.2010

Facing Fear

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013
  Fusion
  
   Excessive expectations 
  
   
    Avoidance of discomfort  
   
    
     Remoteness from Values   
    
         
    
     
      Fusion    
     
      As soon as you start setting goals, Radio Doom and Gloom will start to broadcast, "I can't do it, " "It's too hard," "I'm wasting my time," "There's no point in trying," and a whole playlist of other golden oldies. If you fuse with these thoughts, you're in trouble.     
     
           
     
      The scariest of all these demons is called, "You will fail!" which usually hangs around with several of it's pals, "There's no point in trying," "You're wasting your time," and "Look at all the times you failed in the past."    
     
           
     
      When they appear, it's helpful to remember this quote by Henry James: "Until you try, you don't know what you can't do." In setting goals for ourselves, we're talking about what is possible, not what is certain. None f us can ever be certain that we'll achieve our goals. But what we can be certain of is this: if we don't even attempt to achieve them, there's no possibility of success.    
     
           
     
      The solution is to use your defusion skills: see these thoughts for what they are (just words), let them come and go, and return your focus to taking effective action. Make your choices based on what you truly care about instead of on the voices of defeat.    
     
           
     
      Excessive expectations    
     
      Your expectations may be excessive in several ways:    
     
      1. Your goals are too big. You expect to do too much, too soon.    
     
      Ask yourself, "What's the next small, easy step that would bring me a little closer to my goal?" Then go ahead and do it.    
     
      2. You expect to achieve goals for which you lack the necessary skills and resources.    
     
      If you lack the skills to achieve your goals, then you will need to take the necessary time to learn them.    
     
      3. You expect to do it all perfectly, to make no mistakes.    
     
      As for making mistakes, that's a fundamental part of being human. Making mistakes is an essential part of learning, so embrace it. Let go of aiming for perfection.     
     
           
     
      Avoidance of discomfort    
     
      The more you try to avoid discomfort, the harder it will be to make important changes. Change involves risk. It requires facing your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone - both of which point to one thing: change will usually give rise to uncomfortable feelings.    
     
           
     
      The only effective solution is true acceptance (not tolerance or "putting up with it.") Make room for your discomfort, and focus on taking effective action.    
     
           
     
      Remoteness from Values    
     
      It's not enough to clarify your values - you need to connect with them on a regular basis. You need to know what's important in your heart and to remind yourself often. And you need to make sure your goals are in line with those values. Doing this will provide you with motivation, inspiration, and meaning.    
     
           
     
      If you're remote from your values, it's all too easy to lose heart, give up, or get sidetracked. The more remote you are from your deepest values, the more your goals seem pointless, meaningless, or insignificant. Obviously, this doesn't do much for motivation.    
     
           
     
      The solution? Connect with your values. Write them down. Read them through and change them as required. Share them with someone ou trust. Reread them on a regular basis First thing in the morning, mentally go over them. At thhe end of the week, take a few minutes to check in with yourself and ask:  "How true have I been to my values?"    
    
   
  
Thomas3.20.2010

The EXer Within!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 21, 2013

There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it,
perhaps,  for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle
for less.  Kurt Hahn

 

Each of us has within us a person who wishes to live LIfe Abundantly! We want Happiness, Health and Well-being! But so often we can't find our way to this way of life, especially as addicts! Yes, Smoker, I am speaking of You and of Me! I'm not saying that smoking caused every unhappiness that ever came my way, but I DO know that in spite of my diagnosis of COPD that when I quit smoking and began living addiction free I discovered something remarkable! For me, emotions are a choice! If I want to be Happy, it's not dependent on what job I have (or if I have a job), what home I live in or even how lucky I was to pick and get a FANTASTIC Wife! I could have all of these things and be miserable or none of them and be Happy! Happiness depends on ATTITUDE! And attitude is a CHOICE! All I have to do is make a DECISION and HONOR it with my total being! Living Life Abundantly is all I'm willing to settle for with whatever life I have left in me! You see, I don't believe that I have less Quality of Life than the next guy, no matter what the medical community says! My Quality of Life is Better than ever!!! Every single moment of health I have I use to the max - I don't have time for emotional bloodsuckers (you know who I'm talking about!) My time is preciously valuable and I will use it to affirm LIFE with every action I take! I'm more honest, direct and assertive because I have no time for game playing! Imagine somebody who thinks they'll live forever and so never strive to excell ! But only the Father knows the length of his days! I don't know if I live longer than him but I do know I will live Better than him because I know that time is a very limited commodity! LIVE LIFE to the fullest! Embrace each day with a grin on your face and gratitude in your heart! It really is up to you! Why settle for less?

Thomas3.20.2010

Beating The Odds!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 20, 2013

image

"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 1/2 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!

Thomas3.20.2010

One Day at a Time!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 20, 2013

TODAY is the Most Important Day of my Recovery!

1188 and counting!

Thomas3.20.2010

We ALL Need to Know!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 19, 2013

Are You Living With COPD Symptoms and Ignoring Them?

Only half of the 26 million people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) have been diagnosed, reports Everyday Health. Are you among those living with COPD and ignoring the symptoms? If so, it is imperative to talk to your doctor and find out. Here’s what you need to know.

What is COPD?

MSN Healthy Living defines COPD as a disease that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, both of which make breathing more difficult. Smoking is the cause of 80 to 90 percent of COPD cases, reports Everyday Health, though other causes include genetics and prolonged exposure to pollutants that damage your lungs.

COPD Symptoms

The most persistent COPD symptoms, according to Everyday Health and MSN Healthy Living, include:

      
  • Shortness of breath while completing everyday tasks, such as bathing, dressing and walking up stairs
  •   
  • Continual cough that you might call a "smoker’s cough"
  •   
  • Excess mucus production (called sputum)
  •   
  • Tightness in the chest
  •   
  • Wheezing or whistling while breathing
  •   
  • Feeling unable to take deep breaths
  •   
  • Blue lips or fingernails, a severe symptom that means you’re not getting enough oxygen (in which case you should report to the ER immediately)

COPD Testing

Instead of making excuses for your symptoms and simply cutting back activities to feel better, talk to your doctor about getting tested for COPD. All your doctor needs to do is run a non-invasive breathing test called spirometry. In essence, all that’s required is for you to breathe through a tube into a machine that measures how much and how quickly you can expel air from your lungs in a certain amount of time. The results can reveal if you’re living with COPD.

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Once you've been diagnosed, you should plan to make some important changes to make living with COPD easier. Here’s what Everyday Health suggests:

      
  • Quit smoking - If you still smoke, it’s important to quit. That’s the number one lifestyle change you can make to improve your breathing ability.
  •   
  • Avoid pollutants - Avoid harsh chemicals, dust, toxic fumes, secondhand smoke and indoor pollutants to decrease COPD symptoms.

At this time of uncertainty, be honest with yourself and your doctor. Early diagnosis helps you get control over your condition. 

http://www.domorewithoxygen.com//bid/297868/are-you-living-with-copd-symptoms-and-ignoring-them?source=Blog

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!!!!!!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. - Gail Devers

 

O.K. So you've "tried" to quit several times and you "always" made it so many hours or so many days and then.... failure! So you convinced yourself that you will probably die a Smoker! Well, you might! But only if you DECIDE to! You certainly don't "have to!" So put that thought behind you! It comes from your addictive mind ( often referred to here as the NicoDemon!) Your Addictive Mind is part of YOU and knows you intimately! LOL! But what it doesn't know is that you CAN change! You CAN LIVE ADDICTION FREE!!!

 

But you can't just do what you've done before and expect different results! So ask yourself, seriously, what are you going to do differently! One of the main things I did was to admit that I need help! So I came here and read what the folks here were saying! I listened to the people who had established a good solid quit! They told me to read about Nicotine Addiction so I READ! They told me to talk about my quit, don't keep it a secret! SO I TOLD EVERYBODY - EVEN STRANGERS! They told me to take it one day at a time - SO I PLEDGED on a daily basis I, Thomas, promise myself that NO MATTER WHAT I will not smoke for this day! Just for today I will LIVE Smoke FREE! If something comes up that I have to face I won't ask "Can I smoke, now?" I'll ask, "What can I do instead?" But I will not smoke even one little puff! I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR my DECISION for the next 24 hours under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!If I need help thinking with my determined Quitter's mind then I'll come here and BLOG before I blow my Quit but I won't give up or give in!

Today I CELEBRATE 1187 Smoke FREE Days! It was no "easier" for me than for you! I have had many challenges, especially at first! But I NEVER GIVE UP! I Believe in ME! I work hard at my Quit! And that means giving myself permission to make ME my First Priority at all times! I can't do anything for anybody if I can't take care of ME FIRST! LOVE YOURSELF! You deserve to LIVE Smoke FREE!

Good Morning, Fellow EXers and Almosts! This series of Blogs is posted on Monday to help encourage all of us to find our Quititude! For EXample, using texting and hypnosis for smoking cessation or knowing the insidious nature of Big Tobacco - still doing all they can to rope in new Addicts with their adds and Vapes. Although I don't always agree with everything that's posted here, I post them so that you can decide what helps you to quit smoking for LIFE! Today is a Great Day to LIVE Smoke FREE!

  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
   
  Types Of Nicotine Replacement Therapy
   
  Cutting back is not the way to beat tobacco
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
   
  Doctors urged to adopt clinical approach to target smoking
   
  Letter: Give families gift: Quit smoking
   
  I Was Too Clever to Quit Smoking 
   
  App might help smokers quit by teaching them to be more aware
   
  Text Message Smoking Cessation Program Sees Success Among Teens
   
  How to Quit Smoking: Four Tips to Live by
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
   
  UK Campaign Raises Awareness of Children's Deteriorating Health Due to Second hand Smoke
   
  Empowering Healthy Communities: Young Lungs at Play
   
  Passive smoking isn't just bad for humans, it can give PETS cancer, too
   
  SMOKING AND THE LAW
   
  Canada's war on smoking turns 50
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
   
  Tobacco Ads Light the Match for Teen Smokers
   
  Tobacco Laws for Youth May Reduce Adult Smoking
   
  Group lowering teen tobacco use
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
   
  This is your brain on smoking
   
  Young smokers, beware! You are under threat from thrush
   
  BIG TOBACCO
   
  Big Tobacco Goes High-Tech To Convince You That Smoking Is Cool Again
Thomas3.20.2010

My Best Wishes to YOU!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 15, 2013

All high achievers plan their work and work their plan, for they are keenly aware that "luck" is most often being prepared to take advantage of a situation.

 

Hello, Everybody, especially you Newbies! I want to speak directly to you today, folks! As we see dozens of people coming through our doors this time of year, We have learned to read those who will be here a Month, 6 Months, even a Year from now! Statistically we're speaking of approximately 6%! But I want to make it clear! This process called Quitting is not a crap shoot! Smoking is but quitting is not! With smoking you have a better chance at Russian Roulette than you do at surviving without a smoking related illness. For those who smoke lifelong the odds become 50/50! But with quitting it's all about your ATTITUDE!  It has nothing to do with "luck" - it has to do with being prepared !So many times one thinks it is a question of will-power! Again, not so! Do you win a sports title, an election, a business adventure, a scholarship through willpower alone? NO! You prepare!

 

Most of us coming here have an inkling that quitting smoking is hard. We've been told that we'll need not just one but multiple NRTS and prescriptions in order to survive the quitting process. They make it sound like an operation or curing an illness! Quitting is neither! Quitting is a lifetime journey based on a daily decision that you make for and to yourself! It starts with the understanding that I didn't "quit March 14, 2010" - I launched my quit journey! I packed my paraphernalia, cleaned my house, cleaned my mind, washed inside and out (remember the Bible where Jesus speaks of whitewashed tombs?) and left behind my addictive lifestyle while beginning my ADDICTION FREE LIFESTYLE! To this day I might decide to end my journey and buy a pack of sickerettes! By the end of the day I could be a full blown ADDICT all over again! I DECIDE! It has nothing to do with stress! It has nothing to do with luck! It has to do with a simple suicidal decision!

So did you ever begin a journey such as assuming a new job or moving out of the country without research? I think the intelligent person can see that it wouldn't be the sensible thing to do! Same here! You can just jump into this thing blindly or you can acquire KNOWLEDGE of Nicotine Addiction! Who do you suppose is "luckier?" Acquire knowledge! We'll even map it out for you:

 

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Thomas3.20.2010-blog/2012/01/03/nicotine-addiction-101

 

http://www.whyquit.com

http://quitsmokingonline.com/

Allen Carr's book - "The Easy Way To Stop Smoking" - free download - http://joga.365.lt/Allen-Carr_Easy-Way-To-Stop- Smoking_Download-free-PDF-EBook

 

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007-blog/2011/06/26/what-to-expect-in-the-first-four-months

 

 

You can decide to read these or not. AND you can DECIDE to Quit just for today! One day! 24 hours! If you've been cutting back then you're almost there already! So make a commitment to yourself! 

 

I, Thomas, pledge that just for today I will not take so much as one little puff under any circumstances for any reason! I will respect myself enough to honor this pledge NO MATTER WHAT! N.O.P.E. Not One Puff Ever!

Then what happens when push comes to shove? That's where preparation comes in! You will reframe the question! No longer may you ask "should I, could I, would I smoke if....." because the answer is simply NO! Ask yourself this: "What can I do instead?" We'll even help you answer the question:

 

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Maggie_quit_8-1-2010-blog/2011/06/10/things-to-do-instead-of-smoking

 

You see, we're here to help because every single one of us was EXactly where you are now and we want you to CHOOSE BREATH NOT DEATH but the DECISION is Yours and your alone!

  Dreading the weight gain, bad mood, or chance of failure? Think again.
   Face
   Everything
   And
   Recover!
   
  You know you should quit smoking for your health's sake. So what's holding you back?
  Maybe you’re afraid of the weight gain, that it will wreck your mood, or that it won't work. But what if that wasn't necessarily so?
   
   Fear: I’ll Gain Too Much Weight
   
  Many people worry about gaining weight when they quit smoking. But not everybody who quits gains weight.
   
  “There are some physiological effects that cause people to crave carbohydrates when they quit smoking,” says Michael Steinberg, MD, MPH, director of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Tobacco Dependence Program. “Nicotine is an appetite suppressant, so when people do stop smoking, they tend to have an increased appetite.”
   
  But if you do pack on pounds, the average gain is between six to nine pounds-not the 50 or 100 that people fear.
  Plus, you’d need to gain more than 100 pounds after quitting before you even start to diminish the benefits quitting provides for your health, Steinberg says.
   
  Weight gain typically happens early on, in the days and weeks when you’re withdrawing from nicotine.
   
  If you use a nicotine replacement therapy like the patch or the gum, you tend not to even see much of a weight gain during those early weeks, Steinberg says. And by the time you’ve withdrawn from the drug, you’re better able to tackle watching your weight a little more carefully.
   
  If you’re still concerned, take steps to thwart weight gain by keeping your exercise routine up or launching a walking program. Stash only healthy snacks and replace empty-calorie carbs for healthier noshes like peanut butter on an apple or one ounce of cheddar with crackers.
   
   Fear: My Social Life Will Tank
   
  If you glance at personal ads or online dating profiles, people almost exclusively prefer nonsmokers. You’ll rarely spot “Looking for a smoker” among the listed entries. In fact, quitting may actually improve your social life because your hair, skin, clothes, and car will smell better.
   
  When you visit a restaurant, party, or social event where smoking isn’t allowed, you may end up huddled outside as an outcast. “The overwhelming majority of states have some laws on the books about limiting public exposure to tobaccos smoke because we know what a health problem it is to be exposed to secondhand smoke,” Steinberg says.
   
  However, there is an element of smokers banding together and establishing a common bond over smoking.
   
  “When someone quits, that group solidarity may be at risk, but that’s a small part of the overall social interactions people have,” says Michael Eriksen, ScD, director of the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University.
   
  It may help to skip hanging out with smokers for a few weeks until you’ve got a handle on your quitting, anyway.
   
  The bottom line: It’s more difficult to find places you can smoke during a social activity, and it’s getting harder to find other people who smoke, so quitting may actually be a boon to your social life in the long run.
   
   Fear: My Creativity Will Plummet
   
  If you work in a creative field or enjoy an artistic hobby, you may fear that quitting will stifle your creative juice. But there’s no research that suggests smoking affects creativity.
   
  “One of the withdrawal symptoms from nicotine is difficulty concentrating, so if you’re a smoker and you try to quit smoking, you may notice during the first few weeks that you’re having more difficulty concentrating. And certainly concentration is an important characteristic for being creative and getting work done,” Steinberg says.
   
  Impaired concentration is a short-lived symptom and not even noticed by some.
   
  Creative types may have an association of working on a project and lighting up. They associate the cigarette with the creative process. “In reality, they’ll do just as well once they quit smoking at putting out those masterpieces,” Steinberg says.
  Fear: I’ll Be in a Chronic Bad Mood
   
  “Nicotine is clearly a very powerful brain drug that gets into the brain quickly and results in dopamine release,” Eriksen says.
   
   In other words, smoking makes you feel calm and content once you’re addicted.
   
  One of the known nicotine withdrawal symptoms is depressed mood. It’s a physical response to taking tobacco smoke and nicotine out of your system and your brain.
   
  “The good news is that for those who do suffer blue mood as a result of quitting, using FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapies to treat the withdrawal symptoms improves mood.
   
  “Since depressed mood is a withdrawal symptom, we do stress that people seek some type of treatment, whether it’s their primary care doctor, a tobacco treatment program, or a telephone quit line,” Steinberg says. That way if you do become depressed when quitting, you can discuss it with a professional.
   
  By the time you’re smoke-free six weeks to two months, most of the physiological symptoms, including depressed mood, are history.
   
   Fear: The Damage Is Already Done
   
  It’s never too late to quit smoking. The benefits start within hours of your last cigarette and they continue for years down the road.
   
  For example, Steinberg says that quitting smoking today reduces your risk of heart attack starting tomorrow -- and by the first year your risk is cut in half. “It’s a lame excuse to say you’ve smoked too long, you already did the damage, or you have to die from something,” Eriksen says.
   
  If you continue to smoke, Steinberg says, your risk of dying from lung cancer over your lifetime is about 17%. Someone who quits at 50 years old, who has smoked 30-35 years, reduces their risk of lung cancer down to 5%. If you quit earlier, at age 30, your risk of dying of lung cancer is almost that of a never smoker. The results are similar across the board with many diseases.
  In fact, people who quit have fewer complications from their medical problems, have fewer additional medical problems, and their response to treatment for medical problems improves if they’re not smoking.
   
  “The earlier you quit the better off you are. But it’s never too late. Even if you’ve already been smoking for 30 years,” Steinberg says.
   
  More people have quit than continue to smoke.
   
   Fear: I’ll Fail
   
  No one likes to fail. Quitting smoking is one of the hardest things someone can do.
   
  “We see people come to our program who have successfully quit heroin addiction, cocaine addiction, alcohol addiction, and they come in and say, ‘I’ve given up all these things but I can’t get rid of my cigarettes,’” Steinberg says.
   
   
  That’s because nicotine is one of the most addictive drugs there is.
   
  If you’ve tried quitting several times in the past, seek a different method. If you went cold turkey, look into a nicotine replacement therapy.
   
  If you previously went about it on your own, join a support group or call a quit line this go round.
   
  People who quit on their own have a less than 5% success rate. Yet people who use all the resources available to them often quit successfully on the very first try, Steinberg says.
   
  There’s no magic number that you have to get to the second, fourth, or sixth quit attempt before you are successful.
   
  Eriksen says two things can ultimately ensure a successful quit attempt. One is a desire to quit for yourself -- not for your spouse, your boss, or anyone else. The second is confidence in your ability to succeed. If you couple those two things, you boost your odds of success.
   
  Data show 70% of smokers would like to quit and wish they’d never started, Eriksen says. Once you’re ready and you have the desire and confidence, you’re on your way to success.

I'm absolutely fascinated by the Blogs I've seen these last few days! I hear people talking about how they "can't"because it's just "too hard!"I can't help but remember my first days of my quit journey 1182 days ago! I had just been diagnosed with a chronic progressive illness that's incurable. My life expectancy just went waaaaaay down with one little word. What's more I was convinced that my Quality of Life would really be looooow. In other words, don't expect much from life except pain, suffering, and early death. Talk about STRESS! Please Newbie, don't tell me about stress!!!! And do you know the worst part of it? The personal knowledge that I had done this to myself......with yes, smoking! So I was diagnosed with COPD/Emphysema on March 14 and had my last puff March 19! That's all the preparation time I gave myself! Not weeks.....not Months....not NRTs.....not chantix.... just one tool you folks would be smart to use - KNOWLEDGE! So where did I acquire this knowledge so fast? Right here at BecomeanEX. I didn't join to fool around with slips and relapses. I didn't come here with an "I already know it all" ATTITUDE! I didn't come here with a line about how we are all different and nobody understands me!!!! I came here to be included in the 6% who SUCCEED in their first year of quitting!!! I came here to listen to those who had already achieved what I wanted! I didn't blame them for being too harsh! I listened! Because they had something that I not only wanted - but something I needed!I had a clear cut choice: QUIT or DIE!!! Simple! I humbly asked questions and accepted advice. I did my homework without hesitation! I made friends and exposed my ADDICTIVE SELF to these EXers with integrity and honesty! I let that smoke cloud of distorted thinking lift because FIRST and most important - I kept them away from my face!!!! So my issue was never to smoke or not to smoke!!! My issue was "What do I do instead?" 

Folks, do you really want to wait until you have a smoke related illness before you quit? Or worse, continue to smoke knowing that you are literally killing yourself????Are you even aware that HALF of all smokers will DIE of smoke related illness????? Or do you want to pay attention and follow the road map that has been put right in front of you and shows you each and every step to take if you really want to be in the 6%? No excuses! Keep them away from your face and listen!

 68.8 percent of current smokers say they want to quit and 52.4 percent tried to quit during the past year. In addition, 48.3 percent of smokers who saw their doctor in the past year say they got advice to quit. Moreover, 31.7 percent had counseling alone or with drugs to help them quit in the past year. And about 6 percent quit successfully in the past year.

 

Do you want to be in the 6%? LISTEN to the people in this Community! Do your reading:

whyquit.com

quitsmokingonline.com

The Easy Way by Allen Carr

Blog, Comment, make Friendships, join Groups, come here before you are in over your head!!!!

The folks who contribute a lot to this site SUCCEED! The people who don't take it seriously don't last! You will have plenty of time when you quit smoking - I spent 1 1/2 HOURS a day just smoking!!!! That's a lot of time!

TODAY is a Great Day to LIVE Smoke FREE!!!!

Does the way we see ourselves effect how we speak or does how we speak effect the way we see ourselves? Yes and yes.  It's called psycho linguistics!  It is proving that when you change your mind, your brain becomes neurologically wired in a different way.  Like cussing - people who cuss see themselves differently than people who don't.  People who no longer cuss actually change how they think of themselves. That's just one example of how language changes our brains.  The need to  smoke exists only in the mind.  When we say craving or "i crave a cig" it brings back all kinds of brain connections both mental and physical.  To break the cycle we have to break the language pattern.  If i no longer say "crave"  the energy of that word is taken away.  So I had an inkling or a fuzzy moment or a drat but I don't say  that four (yea I know I can't count) letter word!  I don't say try ( another miscounted 4 letter word) or slip or luck.  They cease to be in my vocabulary and cease to have power!  

Now I put a substitution in place.  It's called an affirmation!  An affirmation is a thought that I choose to make a belief. N.O.P.E. is an affirmation. I choose health and life is an affirmation.  I don't do that anymore is an affirmation. Don't feed the monster is an affirmation.   When I read an affirmation I am engaging my eyes and brain.  When I hear an affirmation I am engaging my ears, my eyes and my brain.  When I read an affirmation out loud I am using many organs ( eyes, ears, throat, mouth etc) and my brain - a VERY effective way to rewire an unspoken thought!  Every day when I get up the first thing I do is read WITH MY VOICE the message next to my bed -- I, Thomas, pledge to myself to NOT ONE PUFF EVER NO MATTER WHAT beginning with today!  I credit this to having very few drats a day and of much less intensity than they might have been!  Today I don't remember even one drat moment!  I also see much more of the positive side of the QUIT than I might have because I BELIEVE I am having a positive quit (Why? Affirmations say that it's true!)   I absolutely know that this quit is for life because I KNOW that SMOKING IS NOT AN OPTION! There is no -  but...If you don't think this helps just give it a try for one day - for 1 day I'll try Thomas' crazy idea!  I'm sure that you will find that it makes a difference!  It sure won't make things worse!  

 

Here's where you can find 46 pages of Affirmations - take as many as you want and if you want to leave some of yours, just join!

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

Thomas3.20.2010

DAY ONE!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 10, 2013

Hi, and Welcome all you Day oners! So many! That's Great! Here's a don't miss Video you will want to watch no matter what quit smoking tools you have decided to use! 

http://www.whyquit.com/joel/dayone.htm

Everything you need to make this your Forever Quit is right here! And we'll support you every step of the way! But you have to do the work yourself! You Decide - follow the advice of those who have what you want or blaze your own trail. I know which one worked for me!

Good Morning, EXers and almosts!

Today in Colorado the weather is (in my book) perfect! I will be EXercizing in the great outdoors - not a stuffy gym today! :~))

In the news today is a special salute to Frank Lautenberg the 5 time Senator from New Jersey who passed away this week; a very disappointing giving in by the English N.I.C.E.; the nefarious digging in of Big Tobacco and much much more that makes me glad I'm Smoke FREE and want to protect my quit today! My wish is that this info will fortify your Quititude as well! 

TODAY is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!

  SMOKING CESSATION
   
  So, You’re That One Friend Who's Still Trying To Quit Smoking. Me Too.
   
  Continuing smokers have reduced lung function
   
  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPIES
   
  Combination nicotine replacement therapy beneficial in pregnancy
   
  To cut down on cigarettes, UK advises smokers to use nicotine products even if they don’t quit
   
  Meta-analysis Confirms Smoking Cessation Therapies Work
   
  Reynolds subsidiary expands nicotine gum offerings
   
  Is Big Tobacco Back as a Big Advertiser?
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
   
  Group targets teens with texts about smoking
   
  California anti-tobacco advocates urge FDA to ban menthol in cigarettes as part of World No Tobacco Day
   
  German Snuff Championships: Where Shoving Tobacco Up Your Nose Is a Sport
   
  SMOKING AND THE LAW
   
  Utah landlord to HUD renters: Quit smoking or move
   
  Smoking in Portland is getting harder to do
   
  An E-Cigarette Company Wants To Make Smoking Socially Acceptable Again
   
  Starbucks Bans Smoking at Its Outdoor Cafes
   
  Kent cancer scientist nominates smoking ban inventor for Nobel Peace Prize
   
  Tobacco growers win unexpected battle in Washington, but more are likely to come
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
   
  From the Archives: Frank Lautenberg on Drinking Age, Secondhand Smoke
   
  Campaign spotlights dangers of secondhand smoke
   
  Secondhand smoke causes longer hospitalization in infants with respiratory infections
   
  Campaign launches to help protect pets against second hand smoke
   
  Second-hand smoke 'hidden' dangers revealed
   
  Secondhand Smoke Impacts Infants With Family History of Atopy
   
   
   
   
   
   
  Relapse happens. In fact, it happens a lot. The relapse rate for smokers who try to quit the habit is discouragingly high: About 94 percent ultimately begin smoking again at some point down the line. Most of those smokers relapse in the first three months after the decision to quit, when cravings are particularly strong and withdrawal symptoms are still occurring, or are fresh in the smoker's mind. That extremely high rate of relapse is the result of the addictive nature of the nicotine in cigarettes. A million people go on diets and start exercise programs every day and a million people give them up every day. That’s just the way it is.
   
  So are you doomed to relapse? No, it isn’t required. I’ve known a good many addicts who quit smoking years ago and haven’t relapsed yet. I relapsed  cigarettes after quitting, but that happened when I was trying to quit on my own. Since I sought and received help here at BecomeanEX, I haven’t relapsed. The tools and strategies that I learned from the EX Community  have worked so far. In fact, the smobriety tools have worked for my diet and EXercise plan, too.
   
  The common thread among those who avoid relapse is their commitment to keep working at it. They make smobriety and healthy living their first priority. They don’t make EXcuses. They are committed to a better life and nothing's going to take that away from them.
   
  Unfortunately, though, relapse is a reality for the vast majority of us who are trying to get better. And here’s the great danger: many people who relapse feel so badly about themselves, are so embarrassed, are so depressed about the relapse, that they give up. They don’t try again. Or, they go through the misery for many more years before they hit a new bottom sufficiently horrible to motivate them to try again. A lot of them die.
   
  Be Prepared
   
  Don’t plan to relapse. That’s dumb. If you quit smoking with the notion that relapse is normal and acceptable, you’re flat doomed. Instead, learn and practice relapse prevention strategies so you avoid it. You should however, think about what you will do if you do relapse before it happens.  Latch onto the Boy Scouts’ motto: Be Prepared.  Don’t wait until you wake up the morning after a relapse and have no idea what to do next EXcept feel really, really lousy. You should have thought about how you’re going to get back on your program if relapse happens. Don’t let embarrassment or regret threaten your life by keeping you in your addiction or other self-destructive behavior. Our nicotine addiction is just sitting there waiting, like a vulture. It is incredibly patient. It’ll wait a day, a year, a decade, and more.
   
  Don't Want to Change? Expect Relapse
   
  Over the years, I’ve watched Nicotine Addicts relapse. Some decided that if they’ve been able to keep from smoking for a while, they must be able to control it. They can’t. Never happens. Others tried to keep from smoking, but don’t change their lifestyles. They still hang around at their favorite smoking spots, keep the same friends, and do the same things. They smoke again. Some try to white knuckle it without doing anything to change the way they respond to life. When bad things happen, they have no defense against them. The misery, anxiety, fear, or any other feeling they tried to change by smoking never goes away. Eventually the continuing misery leads them to say, “To heck with it.” They smoke again.
  So how do you avoid relapse?
   
  Priority One
   
  The first defense against relapse is to stay centered in the desire to remain healthy by making smobriety and healthy living an absolute priority in our day-to-day lives. I’ve heard EXers use this analogy: Before every airline flight, the flight attendants tell passengers what to do if cabin pressure is lost. Oxygen masks will drop from above their heads. Passengers are instructed to put their on masks on first. Even if you have a child gasping for air next to you, put yours on first. You have to take care of yourself first, then care for your children and others after that. If you don’t put your mask on first, you will be disabled and will be unable to help anyone else. Same with smobriety. Some of us put it in second place. Family is first. We're proud of that. Here’s the deal: You can’t be there for your family if you’re Addicted. Smobriety has to come first. It’s not selfish to put healthy living first. Absent that, you can’t be there for others.
   
  Complacency is the friend of relapse. If we ever believe we have our problems licked and quit working at the solutions, we’re doomed. Don’t do that. Like diabetics, we are never cured. Instead, we have to manage our conditions to stay healthy. Keep doing the things that helped you to quit in the first place, whatever that is. For me, that means doing all those things I've suggested regularly in my Blogs – things like living one day at a time, reordering priorities by gaining new perspectives on what’s important in life, finding healthy ways to deal with stress, no EXcuses, and the rest. 
   
  Become aware of triggers and avoid them. Remember the acronym HALT – hungry, angry, lonely, tired. Any of those feelings will often lead to relapse. Stay aware of what you’re feeling and take action when you find yourself on dangerous ground.
   
  Romancing our addictions is a sure road to relapse. After all, there were times when smoking worked for us. Bad things didn’t happen every time we smoked. Not at all. In fact, some of my favorite memories come from times when I was smoking. There’s nothing much better than sitting on the  balcony looking out at the mountains and having a gentle buzz going. Too bad the legacy of that behavior is so very lousy. I loved that first cigarette after coming out of a movie. I felt so much better after a smoke break at work when things were really intense.  I’ve got to keep remembering where all that will lead me when I want to romance those things.
   
  Overcome Cravings and Smoking Memories
   
  We can carry it through to the end. When I’m contemplating  lighting that cigarette, I think about where that first puff will take me. Right now, most of the time I’m not thinking about cigarettes, but if I take even a tiny puff, the nicotine will trigger my obsession and I’ll be right back to the misery of nonstop craving. I’ll smoke again. I’ll spend lots of money, stink, and eventually die. If I carry the thought through to the end, chances are I’ll realize that I really don't want all the guilt, shame, and sense of defeat that goes with that  and the obsession will leave me.
   
  Speaking of passing, cravings do that. “This too shall pass,” seems simplistic. It is, but it’s true. When I’m hit with a craving, I’ve learned to take a deep breath, and engage in some self-talk. I tell myself that the craving is temporary. There will come a time when I won’t be thinking that life isn’t worth living without cigarettes. In fact, that time will come in just a few minutes. Soon I’ll focus on something else and those awful feelings will go away. I’m always right. A few minutes later I realize I had stopped thinking about cigarettes. I am again grateful they don’t control my life as they once did.
   
  Attitude Adjustment
   
  Our attitudes about life can go a long way toward preventing relapse. Things that seem bad and make me feel bad are triggers. But, way more often than not things that seem bad turn out for the good. 
  I often refer to that week of my quit in March 2010. I had been diagnosed with COPD, a chronic, progressive, incurable smoking related illness. But I also found my forever quit! So a very bad circumstance led me to many, many Blessings! That's how God works! At 100 days, I was laid off during the height of the recession, but only 3 weeks later I found the job I have currently - one of the best I've ever had! Look for the Blessings and the Miracles - they're always there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!
   
  Gratitude
   
  I've had to learn to deal with life on life’s terms. I don't run away from problems and hide behind a smoke cloud. If a problem is overwhelming, I walk away, take some deep breaths, instead of a smoke break, I take a think break, and come back and deal with it. I no longer worry about the stuff that used to drive me crazy. I don't have to plan how many sickerettes I have for the day, when I can get my smoke breaks, where I can smoke without offending somebody, covering up the smell so people won't think less of me.
  I'm grateful.
   
  Gratitude’s more than that, though. It’s an antidote to depression and anxiety. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong. It takes some effort to notice what’s right. The former drags us down. The latter pulls us up. Here’s the prescription I’ve been given by those who have been successful in avoiding relapse:  get a piece of paper and start making a list. A gratitude list. Don’t spend a lot of time wondering if you should be grateful for something or not. Just write it down. Write down a hundred things. Seems impossible? It isn’t. Just get started. Put the list in your wallet. When you feel down, angry, hurt, or discouraged, pull out your gratitude list and look at it. Add to it. Tell somebody about something on the list. Do that and you’ll feel better. If we feel better, our odds of relapse are greatly diminished.
   
  Most people who quit  smoking will relapse. You don’t have to, though. I’ve shared a sampling of strategies I’ve used to avoid relapse. There are more. Look for them. If you do relapse despite the efforts you make, don’t make that an EXcuse not to try to get better again. I know smokers who relapsed multiple times before getting it. Problem is, I’ve know some who relapsed and didn’t make it back. They died first. You don’t want to do that. If you do relapse, gather yourself quickly, work to recapture the willingness, and try again. 
   

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.

Tired of the same old quitting tips? How will you navigate the up to 72 hours needed to reach peak withdrawal and again reside inside a nicotine free body? The below cold turkey quitting tips are vastly different from the advice rendered by those advocating the use of weeks or months of nicotine replacement products.

1. The Law of Addiction - "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance at the old level of use or greater." Yes, just one powerful puff of nicotine and all your hard work is down the drain. Adherence to just one rule guarantees success to all ... Never Take Another Puff.

Nicotine rewired your brain, growing millions of nicotinic receptors in eleven different regions. Although your mind's nicotine induced dopamine/adrenaline intoxication is an alert high, your chemical dependency is every bit as real and permanent as alcoholism. Treating a true addiction as though it were some nasty little habit is a recipe for relapse. There is no such thing as just one puff. Nicotine dependency recovery truly is an all or nothing proposition.

2. Measuring Victory - Forget about quitting "forever." Like attempting the seemingly impossible task of eating an entire elephant, it's the biggest psychological bite imaginable. Instead, work hard at adopting a realistic and do-able victory yardstick that celebrates freedom an hour, challenge and day at a time. If you insist on seeing success only in terms of quitting forever then on which day will you celebrate?

3. Emotional Phases - Chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine is one of the most intense, repetitive and dependable relationships you've likely ever known. It has infected almost every aspect of your life and thinking. Be prepared to experience a normal sense of emotional loss when quitting that gradually transports you through six very different phases: (1) denial, (2) anger, (3) bargaining, (4) depression, (5) acceptance, and (6) complacency. This emotional journey is normal and a necessary part of recovery.

4. Do Not Skip Meals - Each puff of nicotine was your spoon releasing stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream. It allowed you to skip meals without experiencing wild blood-sugar swing symptoms such as an inability to concentrate or hunger related anxieties. Don't add needless symptoms to withdrawal but instead learn to spread your normal daily calorie intake out more evenly over the entire day. Don't eat more food but less food more often.

Drink plenty of acidic fruit juice the first three days. Cranberry is excellent and a bottle will cost you about the same as a pack of cigarettes. It will help to both accelerate the up to 72 hours needed to remove the alkaloid nicotine from your body and help stabilize blood sugars. Take care beyond three days as juices can be rather fattening.

5. Avoid All Crutches - A crutch is any form of quitting reliance that you lean upon so heavily in supporting recovery that if quickly removed would likely result in relapse (a person, product, service or activity). If you feel the need to lean upon a quitting buddy be sure that your buddy is either a sturdy long-time ex-smoker or a never-smoker.

With the exception of using extreme care with alcohol during early withdrawal, you do not need to give up any activity when quitting except for using nicotine. Likewise, successful long-term quitting is not dependent upon you engaging in any new activity either. Contrary to the junkie-thinking you've likely fed your mind, everything you did as a smoker you'll soon adjust to doing as well or better as an ex-smoker.

6. Crave Coping Techniques - You have conditioned your mind to expect the arrival of nicotine when encountering various times, places, activities, people, events or emotions. The first time you encounter each crave trigger you should expect a short yet possibly powerful anxiety episode lasting up to three minutes.

Don't fear or hide from your triggers but confront and extinguish each of them. You'll find that most are re-conditioned by a single encounter during which the subconscious mind does not receive the expected result - nicotine. Welcome and embrace every episode as each reflects a beautiful moment of subconscious healing, and the reclaiming of another aspect of your life.

One crave coping technique is to practice slow deep breathing while clearing your mind of all needless chatter by focusing on your favorite person, place or thing. Another is to say your ABCs while associating each letter with your favorite food, person or place. For example, "A" is for grandma's hot apple pie, and "B" is for ..." It's doubtful you'll ever reach the challenging letter "Q."

7. Cessation Time Distortion - A recent study found that nicotine cessation causes significant time distortion. Although no subconsciously triggered crave episode will last longer than three minutes, to a quitter the minutes can feel like hours. Keep a clock handy to maintain honest perspective.

8. Caffeine/Nicotine Interaction - Amazingly, nicotine somehow doubles the rate by which the body depletes caffeine. Yes, your blood-serum caffeine level will double if no caffeine intake reduction is made when quitting. Although not a problem for most light to moderate caffeine users, consider cutting caffeine intake by roughly half if troubled by anxieties or experiencing difficulty relaxing or sleeping.

9. The Smoking Dream - Be prepared for an extremely vivid smoking dream as tobacco odors released by horizontal healing lungs are swept up bronchial tubes by rapidly healing cilia and come in contact with a vastly enhanced sense of smell. See it as the wonderful sign of healing it reflects and nothing more.

10. Relapse - Remember that there are only two good reasons to take a puff once you quit. You decide you want to go back to your old level of consumption until smoking cripples and then kills you, or you decide you really enjoy withdrawal and you want to make it last forever. As long as neither of these options appeals to you the solution is as simple as ... no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. - Gail Devers

 

O.K. So you've "tried" to quit several times and you "always" made it so many hours or so many days and then.... failure! So you convinced yourself that you will probably die a Smoker! Well, you might! But only if you DECIDE to! You certainly don't "have to!" So put that thought behind you! It comes from your addictive mind ( often referred to here as the NicoDemon!) Your Addictive Mind is part of YOU and knows you intimately! LOL! But what it doesn't know is that you CAN change! You CAN LIVE ADDICTION FREE!!!

 

But you can't just do what you've done before and expect different results! So ask yourself, seriously, what are you going to do differently! One of the main things I did was to admit that I need help! So I came here and read what the folks here were saying! I listened to the people who had established a good solid quit! They told me to read about Nicotine Addiction so I READ! They told me to talk about my quit, don't keep it a secret! SO I TOLD EVERYBODY - EVEN STRANGERS! They told me to take it one day at a time - SO I PLEDGED on a daily basis I, Thomas, promise myself that NO MATTER WHAT I will not smoke for this day! Just for today I will LIVE Smoke FREE! If something comes up that I have to face I won't ask "Can I smoke, now?" I'll ask, "What can I do instead?" But I will not smoke even one little puff! I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR my DECISION for the next 24 hours under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES!If I need help thinking with my determined Quitter's mind then I'll come here and BLOG before I blow my Quit but I won't give up or give in!

 

Today I CELEBRATE 1176 Smoke FREE Days! It was no "easier" for me than for you! I have had many challenges, especially at first! But I NEVER GIVE UP! I Believe in ME! I work hard at my Quit! And that means giving myself permission to make ME my First Priority at all times! I can't do anything for anybody if I can't take care of ME FIRST! LOVE YOURSELF! You deserve to LIVE Smoke FREE!

Thomas3.20.2010

From my Inbox to You

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 7, 2013

Dear Patients:

You have it very hard, much harder than most people understand.  Having sat for 16 years listening to the stories, seeing the tiredness in your eyes, hearing you try to describe the indescribable, I have come to understand that I too can’t understand what your lives are like.  How do you answer the question, “how do you feel?” when you’ve forgotten what “normal” feels like?  How do you deal with all of the people who think you are exaggerating your pain, your emotions, your fatigue?  How do you decide when to believe them or when to trust your own body?  How do you cope with living a life that won’t let you forget about your frailty, your limits, your mortality?

I can’t imagine.

But I do bring something to the table that you may not know.  I do have information that you can’t really understand because of your unique perspective, your battered world.  There is something that you need to understand that, while it won’t undo your pain, make your fatigue go away, or lift your emotions, it will help you.  It’s information without which you bring yourself more pain than you need suffer; it’s a truth that is a key to getting the help you need much easier than you have in the past.  It may not seem important, but trust me, it is.

You scare doctors.

No, I am not talking about the fear of disease, pain, or death.  I am not talking about doctors being afraid of the limits of their knowledge.  I am talking about your understanding of a fact that everyone else seems to miss, a fact that many doctors hide from: we are normal, fallible people who happen to doctor for a job.  We are not special.  In fact, many of us are very insecure, wanting to feel the affirmation of people who get better, hearing the praise of those we help.  We want to cure disease, to save lives, to be the helping hand, the right person in the right place at the right time.

But chronic unsolvable disease stands square in our way.  You don’t get better, and it makes many of us frustrated, and it makes some of us mad at you.  We don’t want to face things we can’t fix because it shows our limits.  We want the miraculous, and you deny us that chance.

And since this is the perspective you have when you see doctors, your view of them is quite different.  You see us getting frustrated.  You see us when we feel like giving up.  When we take care of you, we have to leave behind the illusion of control, of power over disease.  We get angry, feel insecure, and want to move on to a patient who we can fix, save, or impress.  You are the rock that proves how easily the ship can be sunk.  So your view of doctors is quite different.

Then there is the fact that you also possess something that is usually our domain: knowledge.  You know more about your disease than many of us do – most of us do.  Your MS, rheumatoid arthritis, end-stage kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, bipolar disorder, chronic pain disorder, brittle diabetes, or disabling psychiatric disorder – your defining pain -  is something most of us don’t regularly encounter.  It’s something most of us try to avoid.  So you possess deep understanding of something that many doctors don’t possess.  Even doctors who specialize in your disorder don’t share the kind of knowledge you can only get through living with a disease.  It’s like a parent’s knowledge of their child versus that of a pediatrician.  They may have breadth of knowledge, but you have depth of knowledge that no doctor can possess.

So when you approach a doctor – especially one you’ve never met before – you come with a knowledge of your disease that they don’t have, and a knowledge of the doctor’s limitations that few other patients have.  You see why you scare doctors?  It’s not your fault that you do, but ignoring this fact will limit the help you can only get from them.  I know this because, just like you know your disease better than any doctor, I know what being a doctor feels like more than any patient could ever understand.  You encounter doctors intermittently (more than you wish, perhaps); I live as a doctor continuously.

So let me be so bold as to give you advice on dealing with doctors.  There are some things you can do to make things easier, and others that can sabotage any hope of a good relationship:

      
  1. Don’t come on too strong – yes, you have to advocate for yourself, but remember that doctors are used to being in control.  All of the other patients come into the room with immediate respect, but your understanding has torn down the doctor-god illusion.  That’s a good thing in the long-run, but few doctors want to be greeted with that reality from the start.  Your goal with any doctor is to build a partnership of trust that goes both ways, and coming on too strong at the start can hurt your chances of ever having that.
  2.   
  3. Show respect – I say this one carefully, because there are certainly some doctors who don’t treat patients with respect – especially ones like you with chronic disease.  These doctors should be avoided.  But most of us are not like that; we really want to help people and try to treat them well.  But we have worked very hard to earn our position; it was not bestowed by fiat or family tree.  Just as you want to be listened to, so do we.
  4.   
  5. Keep your eggs in only a few baskets – find a good primary care doctor and a couple of specialists you trust.  Don’t expect a new doctor to figure things out quickly.  It takes me years of repeated visits to really understand many of my chronic disease patients.  The best care happens when a doctor understands the patient and the patient understands the doctor.  This can only happen over time.  Heck, I struggle even seeing the chronically sick patients for other doctors in my practice.  There is something very powerful in having understanding built over time.
  6.   
  7. Use the ER only when absolutely needed – Emergency room physicians will always struggle with you.  Just expect that.  Their job is to decide if you need to be hospitalized, if you need emergency treatment, or if you can go home.  They might not fix your pain, and certainly won’t try to fully understand you.  That’s not their job.  They went into their specialty to fix problems quickly and move on, not manage chronic disease.  The same goes for any doctor you see for a short time: they will try to get done with you as quickly as possible.
  8.   
  9. Don’t avoid doctors – one of the most frustrating things for me is when a complicated patient comes in after a long absence with a huge list of problems they want me to address.  I can’t work that way, and I don’t think many doctors can.  Each visit should address only a few problems at a time, otherwise things get confused and more mistakes are made.  It’s OK to keep a list of your own problems so things don’t get left out – I actually like getting those lists, as long as people don’t expect me to handle all of the problems.  It helps me to prioritize with them.
  10.   
  11. Don’t put up with the jerks – unless you have no choice (in the ER, for example), you should keep looking until you find the right doctor(s) for you.  Some docs are not cut out for chronic disease, while some of us like the long-term relationship.  Don’t feel you have to put up with docs who don’t listen or minimize your problems.  At the minimum, you should be able to find a doctor who doesn’t totally suck.
  12.   
  13. Forgive us – Sometimes I forget about important things in my patients’ lives.  Sometimes I don’t know you’ve had surgery or that your sister comes to see me as well.  Sometimes I avoid people because I don’t want to admit my limitations.  Be patient with me – I usually know when I’ve messed up, and if you know me well I don’t mind being reminded.  Well, maybe I mind it a little.
  14.   
  15. You know better than anyone that we docs are just people – with all the stupidity, inconsistency, and fallibility that goes with that – who happen to doctor for a living.  I hope this helps, and I really hope you get the help you need.  It does suck that you have your problem; I just hope this perhaps decreases that suckishness a little bit.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Rob

..until you have a heart attack or stroke or get that ominous diagnosis of cancer or emphysema! If you haven't YET had a smoke related illness, do you have it firmly in your mind that you are playing Russian Roulette with every single puff??? I for one am not a gambler - I don't even buy lottery tickets - but I gambled away my LIFE until that unbelievable diagnosis COPD applied to ME! Be smarter than that! Not One Puff Ever just for today NO MATTER WHAT! 

On second thought since I really quit I found out that the title phrase is a Nico - Lie!!!

Quitting is less stressful than smoking!

Which are you with your cravings? Do you Battle that craving with all you have? Take That, you nico-demon! Rot in Hell!!! OR Do you let the cravings do their best while you passively go about your business of living, riding out those craves like a surfer facing a wave?

Early in my quit I had the all out WAR attitude! Then I read what JonesCarp and James were saying and it had nothing to do with feistiness! They talked about how you could actually ignore the nicodemon altogether and Voila! he shrinks into virtual nothingness!! WOW! Just ignore that junkie monkey and he'll give up because you're no FUN to play with any more!!! You see, he wants you thinking about Him! It doesn't matter what you think as long as you focus on HIM! He knows that if you keep playing that game he can make you so miserable about your quit that you'll relinquish responsibility and your quit will collapse!!! But if you get on with living LIFE Abundantly and deprive HIM of Energy instead of visa-versa HE is the one to run out of steam!!!

So I thought what the heck - I've "quit" dozens of times and I never even thought of this strategy!!! I'll give it a try and we'll see!!! Believe me, it didn't happen overnight! I was so used to coming to the frey ready to do BATTLE, it was hard to just passively walk away from the competition! Besides, it's a bit counter-intuitive,isn't it? But you know what? I kept practicing and FOCUSING on COLLATERAL KINDNESS and it really DID work!!! 

So all I'm saying is instead of fighting those craves, just change the channel!!! Laugh, Count your Blessings, Help other people, have FUN!!! You'll drive that NicoDemon Bananas and steal back the POWER he stole from you!

Thomas3.20.2010

INDIN GRL Our Friend

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 6, 2013

I want to tell you Newbies about our INDIN GRL who's name is Diane Joy! She is a very Special member of our Community and has helped more people than you can ever imagine! This is the most precious gift she gave to me:

Take what you need and leave the rest - to be helpful is our only goal!

If you think folks are being harsh, I'm not here to argue with you - that's your perspective! But I want you to understand that the folks here who volunteer their untold hours have only one goal - to help YOU save yourself from YOU! In the end it's your DECISION! But if you wish to quit commiting suicide one puff at a time, I suggest you think, really think about the advice you are given and remember that every single one of us has been EXactly where you are today! What's more, we are EXactly where you say you wish to be in the future!

How much do you wish to live?

-Smoking is not an option any more!

-Make a decision to not smoke Today and respect yourself enough to honor that decision for one day!

-READ whyquit.com, quitsmokingonline.com, and successsful long term quitters' blogs here!

-Don't keep secrets! Tell your family and friends that you are quitting!

- Celebrate your milestones!

-Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually!

-BE HAPPY! HAVE FUN! Enjoy and embrace your smoke free lifestyle!

-Never ever forget! Protect your quit!

I listened and they were right! There is nothing special or different about me. My name is Thomas and I am 55 years old and smoked a pack a day for over 20 years! I have 3 Years 2 Months 2 Weeks and 2 Days smoke free today which means I didn't smoke 11735 cigarettes costing $1760.27.  If I can do it you can too! Listen to your BecomeanEx friends! 

Thomas3.20.2010

The Turning Point

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 4, 2013

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 55 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!  

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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! 

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AND YOU WIN!

do you really know what your subconscious mind is thinking?

   
  

 

  
   

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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 mindkept 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!

   
       
  

Hello, all EXers and future EXers! 

As you might have heard I dropped my laptop a couple of weeks ago! :/ So I've missed a couple of installments that were really important! After all, May 31 was World No Tobacco day! So today I'm happily bringing all those interested back up to date on the news related to smoking and smoking cessation. I do my best to publish this Blog of links every Monday in the hopes that it will help somebody to fortify their Quititude. It certainly helps me! For EXample, A Terrorist Called Tobacco,makes my blood boil! Have a Great Week everybody! SMOKE FREE!

  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY__________________________________________________
  Combination nicotine replacement therapy beneficial in pregnancy
   
  Quitting Smoking: Licensed Medications Are Effective
   
  Nicotine most harmful cigarette ingredient, GPs think
   
  There are various ways to quit smoking
   
  e-Cigarettes, Vaping: Worse than Smoking Due to Cancer-Causing Components Found in Brands
   
  SMOKING CESSATION_____________________________________________________________
  Exercise Curbs Nicotine Cravings
   
  5 Natural Ways To Quit Smoking Proven To Work
   
  Heavy smoking found more in people that knew less about health and smoking hazards
  [See the related videos on the right side of the page - Thomas]
   
  New smoking cessation tool: Your doctor
   
  One Monday at a Time, Smokers Can Stay Quit After World No Tobacco Day
   
  ***** to Quit helps LGBT smokers kick the habit
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE_____________________________________________________________
  Kids improve second-hand smoke reports
   
  Secondhand smoke, occasional cigarettes do harm
   
  Secondhand smoke ups kids' antisocial behavior risk
   
  Smoke-free housing is life saver
   
  Third-Hand Smoke
   
  Everyone Knows about Secondhand Smoke--But Thirdhand Smoke?
   
  Secondhand Smoke May Make Children More Aggressive
   
  Exposure to Secondhand Smoke May Lead to Worsening of Pediatric Kidney Disease
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH_______________________________________________________
  Smoking Leads to Five-Fold Increase in Heart Disease and Stroke in Under-50s
   
  Starbucks bans smoking within 25 feet of stores - except in Europe
   
  Meds, smoking cessation reduce heart surgeries in metro area
   
  BIG TOBACCO_____________________________________________________________________
  Tobacco stocks still yield smoking hot returns
   
  Health groups dismayed by news 'big tobacco' funded rightwing thinktanks
   
  State awarded $63 million in tobacco settlement
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH______________________________________________________________
  Nevada outlaws teen smoking
   
  Flavored Tobacco Ban In NY Convenience Stores?
   
  SMOKING AROUND THE WORLD______________________________________________________
  A terrorist called tobacco
   
  UN urges ban on tobacco advertising to reduce global health threat
   
  Russia smoking ban takes effect
   
  Japan taking steps to discourage smoking nationwide
   
  Tanzania: Zanzibar's Tobacco Control Legislation in Offing
   
  Tobacco industry's bet on India & China may lead to surge in lifestyle diseases
   
   
   
  Nicotine from tobacco smoke reaches the brain and muscle tissue soon after being inhaled. When nicotine is present a number of changes occur:
   
  • The heart rate increases. This can be measured as an increase in pulse rate.
   
  • Nicotine also causes an increase in blood pressure and a slowing in circulation in the smaller blood vessels.This slowing in circulation, together with constriction of blood vessels, has the effect of lowering the skin temperature.
   
  • Nicotine can act both as a relaxant, relaxing skeletal muscles, and as a stimulant, increasing tension in other muscles. This can be illustrated by measuring hand tremors before and after a cigarette. Nicotine also increases stomach secretions and changes brain activity.
   
  1.Carbon monoxide levels in the lungs increase. This gas is quickly absorbed into the blood, reducing its capacity to carry oxygen. The changes brought about by carbon monoxide mean that more effort must be made to achieve the same physical results as a non-smoker. In particular, the heart must work harder for the same effect, especially when doing rigorous exercise. How many of us said,  "Yes, I smoke but I also work out!" We actually increased our risk of heart damage!
   
  2. A recent study found that smoking just one cigarette causes arteries to stiffen by 25 percent. The stiffer the artery, the harder the heart has to work--which means there's a greater risk of heart attack or stroke, even in 18 to 25 year olds!  "Tobacco smoke damages almost every organ in your body," says Surgeon General Regina Benjamin. In someone with underlying heart disease, she says, "One cigarette can cause a heart attack."
   
  3. Tobacco smoke also increases resistance in the airways leading to the lungs and reduces lung capacity.  The little finger-like cilia which keep airways clear of phlegm are 'stunned' by chemicals in the smoke and tiny muscles in our airways contract, constricting them.
   
  4. There are also measurable changes in the immune system.
   
  5. One single cigarette will change your DNA. When DNA is damaged, the "instruction manual" gets messed up, and the cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor. 
   
  6. Ever hear of Buerger's disease? http://smokinggotme.com/buergers.html
   
  A recent review of several studies found that light smoking was connected to a host of other illnesses: cataracts, reduced fertility, an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy (where the pregnancy develops outside the uterus) and weak bones.
   
  The average smoker would smoke 365,250 cigarettes, but even your first sickerette might be your killerette!
   5 Reasons Why People With COPD Continue to Smoke
  How many times has your spouse, close family member or best friend nagged you, unsuccessfully, to quit smoking? Chances are, there are too many to count. For reasons not completely understood, smoking cessation and COPD is an complex issue that isn't always forthcoming with well-understood answers.
   
  Perhaps the key to successful smoking cessation lies in understanding the reasons why so may people who have been diagnosed with the disease continue to smoke. Gaining insight into what motivates you to smoke just may pave the way to successful smoking cessation.
   
  Despite overwhelming evidence that smoking contributes to worsening airway obstruction and early death from COPD and/or other chronic health conditions, smoking cessation rates in smokers with COPD are poor. Considering that quitting smoking is the primary intervention in managing the disease, understanding why you don't want to quit, or want to quit but can't, may pave the way to you finally achieving smoking cessation success.
   
   1. Why Quit Now? I Already Have the Disease
  Although the majority of smokers with COPD realize that continuing to smoke contributes to worsening lung function and a decline in overall health, studies suggest that many people falsely believe that, because they've already been diagnosed with the disease, there's no reason to quit. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is always a health benefit to quitting smoking, no matter what stage disease you're in. In fact, lung function decline in COPD can actually normalize in some patients who quit smoking, meaning that once you quit, your lung function will decline at the same rate as anyone else of the same age, sex, height and weight.
   
   2. Lack of Internal Motivation to Quit
  Current research supports that, in order to maintain autonomy, the decision to stop smoking has to come from within. Despite awareness of the consequences of tobacco consumption, all the nagging in the world by well-intentioned loved ones won't help someone quit if they lack the internal motivation to do so. Although some studies suggest that motivation to quit smoking is elicited by worrying about future health problems, other studies show that unpleasant respiratory symptoms are simply not enough to convince a person to jump aboard the quit-smoking bandwagon.
   
   3. It's a Lifelong Habit That's Difficult to Break
  For some people, smoking cigarettes is a lifelong habit that is consequentially, very difficult to break. In fact, studies suggest that smoking initiation at a young age is strongly associated with a lifelong dependence on smoking. What makes quitting so difficult? Smoking is often associated with pleasant events and positive feelings, such as smoking after a meal, during a coffee break at work or when drinking alcoholic beverages. Some people even consider smoking a reward after a long day on the job or doing a good deed. Others revel in the feeling they get from just holding a cigarette between their fingers and will light up even when they don't have a craving to smoke. 
   
   4. Never Finding the Right Time
  If you cite having a hectic, worrisome lifestyle as one of the reasons you still smoke, you're not alone. Many people with COPD attribute their chaotic lifestyles to why they can't quit smoking, even when they don't necessarily long for a cigarette. Additionally, some people associate smoking with comfort and suppression of worries and feel they'll be tossed out of their comfort zone if and when they finally decide to quit. Those who are dealing with chronic illness or death of a loved one often postpone the occasion to quit, feeling justified when they do so because of the stress they're under. Some people experience weight gain after they quit, which weakens their resolve to remain abstinent and eventually compels them to start smoking again. If you're struggling to find the right time to quit smoking, chances are, you'll be struggling forever.   The key to smoking cessation is making the right time, right now. 
   
   5. Smoking Continues to be Pleasurable
  Perhaps the number one reason why people don't quit smoking is because they continue to enjoy it. Even the most hazardous of consequences don't seem to override the pleasure one derives when lighting up and taking a long, extended drag off that first cigarette. Because addiction to nicotine is so strong and is related to sensations of pleasure, smoking eventually becomes a habit that is difficult to break. 
   
   Lung Function Decline in COPD After Smoking Cessation
  Many people with COPD wonder why they should quit smoking after they are diagnosed. After all, since the damage to the lungs from COPD is irreversible, why quit? The truth is, every bit of scientific evidence about smoking cessation and COPD points to the fact that lung function decline (as measured by FEV1) in COPD slows dramatically once you quit. In fact, most research supports that it actually normalizes, meaning it declines at the rate of anyone else of the same age, height, weight and sex.
   
  But like anything else, there are exceptions to the rule, and when it comes to COPD, there are those whose lung function declines much more rapidly than others. These people are sometimes referred to as rapid decliners.
   
   Factors Contributing to Rapid Decline of FEV1
  According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, if your lung function declines more rapidly than others, you may be at an increased risk for hospitalization and death.
  What determines how fast your lung function will decline if you have COPD? These are potential risk factors for being in the rapidly declining group:
   
  Continuing to smoke
  Having frequent respiratory infections
  Having a genetic predisposition to rapid lung function decline
  Having other illnesses that may contribute to worsening lung function
  Having advanced disease
  Being age 50 or older
  Being female
  Being of African American decent
   
   Why Quit Smoking?
  Research published in the European Respiratory Journal suggests that smoking cessation improves COPD symptoms, reduces airway hyper-responsiveness, and "normalizes the excessive FEV1 decline in all stages of the disease." Quitting also improves survival in people with COPD.
   
  Additional research from the Lung Health Study found that in those who quit smoking, there was a significant reduction in lung function decline compared to those who continued to smoke. In fact, those who quit experienced an improvement in lung function in the first year after quitting. In subjects who remained smoke-free, the rate of decline in FEV1 was 31 milliliters per year; half that of the continuing smokers group (62 milliliters per year). These differences increased progressively year after year during the study follow-up period of 11 years. At the 11 year mark, 38% of those who continued to smoke had an FEV1 of less than 60% of the predicted normal value compared to 10% of the sustained quitters.
  Smoking cessation has many other benefits as well. 
   
   How To Prevent a Rapid Decline in Lung Function
  Once you reach a certain age, lung function declines as a result of the natural aging process. When you add smoking to the mix, however, the rate of lung function decline occurs even faster. If research shows that smoking cessation is the single most effective way to slow the progression of COPD, why do so many people continue to smoke?
   
  Smoking is an addiction and, as such, should be treated that way. Using an all-encompassing approach that includes medications, counseling, meditation and relaxation, quit smoking support groups, proper nutrition, and daily exercise works best if you are trying to quit. In addition, many find that the 12 Steps of Nicotine Anonymous, a program based on spiritual principles, helps them succeed when all else fails.
  If you have tried to quit and been unsuccessful the first time, don't give up. In the beginning, many people try in vain to quit and are finally successful after subsequent attempts. How do you begin?   Start by educating yourself!