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2013
   Don't Drink Alcohol
  I probably don't need to tell you that alcohol and tobacco go hand-in-hand. New quitters are tender. Putting yourself into a social setting where you're tempted to drink alcohol too soon after quitting can be dangerous. Don't rush it. The time will come when you can have a drink without it triggering the urge to smoke, but don't expect that to be within the first month, or perhaps even the first few months.
  We're all a little different in how we move through the process of kicking nicotine addiction, so relax any preconceived notions you might have about how long recovery should take. Instead, focus on your own situation. If there is an engagement coming up that involves alcohol and you feel nervous about that, take it as a signal to proceed with caution. Consider postponing until you're feeling stronger. And if that's not an option, work out a plan ahead of time for how you'll manage the event smoke-free.
   
  It's no exaggeration that you are working hard to save your life by quitting smoking, so give cessation the attention it deserves. Keep your quit program in the top slot of your list of priorities for as long as it takes. You should do whatever you need to do to maintain your smobriety -- period.
   
   Tips to Manage Holiday Drinking Smoke-Free
   
   Don't Drink
   
  The obvious first choice is simple: Avoid alcohol entirely. Drink cranberry juice with seltzer water or another non-alcoholic beverage of choice. No one but you and the bartender will know the difference.
   
   Know Your Limits
   
  If you do drink alcohol, be careful. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume and don't overdo it. Substitute every other drink with a glass of spring water and lemon. It will dilute the alcohol you've consumed, keep you hydrated, and will give you something to sip on while socializing.
   
   Plan an Escape Route
   
  If people are smoking close by and it begins to bother you, have a plan of action in mind. Can you explain that you've recently quit smoking and ask them to refrain? If not, excuse yourself for a few minutes and go to the bathroom or step outside for some fresh air. When cravings to smoke hit, the key is to quickly change your focus. Interrupt your thoughts and you'll snap yourself out of junkie thinking.
   
   Don't Go
   
  If you're worried about maintaining your quit program at the holiday party this year, consider simply not going. No, I'm not advocating avoiding life, I'm encouraging you to remember your priorities. Think of it this way...early on, smoking cessation takes a lot of effort and focus for most people. In order to succeed, your quit program must be in the top slot of your priority list for as long as it takes.
   
  If you fear the temptation to drink will be more than you can handle, don't push yourself. There will be more parties next year. Give yourself the time you need to heal from this addiction. Do the work now to change your relationship to smoking, and the day will come when drinking alcohol no longer triggers the urge to smoke.
  Count Your Blessings and Keep Your Perspective
   
  Quitting smoking is not a sacrifice, it's a gift. You're moving toward a better life, one that is free of addiction and all of the strife that goes with it. Smoking cessation is your path to a healthier and happier you, and the benefits awaiting you are beyond what you can imagine.
   
   The Bottom Line
   
  Alcohol and early smoking cessation are not a good mix. It's important to maintain control of our senses when we're learning how to live a smoke-free life, and alcohol puts us at risk.
  Provide yourself with the best possible environment for success that you can as you move through the holiday season. Keep your quit progam in focus and do whatever you need to do to protect and nurture it. Period!
   
  Before the end of this weekend, somebody will probably come here and tell us that they lost their quit to alcohol. Somebody else won't tell us but they will have lost their quit! Will you be one of them? OR will you be the one who comes here Tuesday proudly celebrating their smobriety???
   
  Have a great, smoke-free holiday!
Thomas3.20.2010

Let FREEDOM Ring!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 28, 2013

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Thomas3.20.2010

I Have a Dream!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 28, 2013
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  As we Celebrate Martin Luther King's 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, we celebrate the BEST of ourselves. We reach out for our potential BEST just as he had in his short, enlightened inspiring life! Dr. King was intelligent, yes and he was charismatic but more than that he had Faith in his fellow human being and the dream that dwelled in his mind! While we were smoking, we had a dream that seemed so far fetched - a dream for FREEDOM! We had an inkling of our potential selves, a memory of the FREEDOM we relinquished by taking that first puff and that ever since, most of us for decades, was being puffed away with addiction. That simple little thought made us strive for FREEDOM - the FREEDOM to be as Our Creator wishes we would be and knows we can be! As MLK states,  "If we are to go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control." "Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see."
   
   Many of us have looked under every crook and cranny of our own minds for the means to gain our FREEDOM until we found the PRIZE! A few others were able to find the way more directly. there are those of us who are still fearful of what we might be giving up but as MLK said,   "We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear." And most of us are still searching but refuse to give up! MLK proclaimed,  "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." We each had our own motivations for this quest for FREEDOM but what we had in common is the goal or as MLK said,  "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now." We were motivated by the fact that  "a lie cannot live" and we knew on some level (some more conscious than others) that we were living a lie. 
   
  
    To reach that goal takes a lot of human fortitude.  As MLK said,   "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our FREEDOM." He tells us,    "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals." Too many people see quitting as an event, just as today's celebration is an event and back to "business as usual" tomorrow! But quitting brings change and change is not inevitable! We must straighten our backs and work our quit journey each and every day. Still,    "All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem." That's a BIG ticket so it can only be done one day at a time, giving just for today commitment, focus, and determination - keeping always our eyes on the prize - FREEDOM and remember these words,    "I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars."
  
     
  
   Many of us have EXperienced the very personal loss of one or more family member, friend, loved one due to the wicked consequences of smoking related illness. It's absolutely devastating! And some of us have been struck down, debilitated, even left disabled, by smoking related illness. I happen to be one of them. If at times, our voices are shrill, it's because we wish to spare you! We want you to see past the Addictive lie that "smoking is a harmless vice", to know that smoking related illness is very real! But life isn't about not dying - it's about living well! Again, MLK said   ,"The quality, not the longevity, of one's life is what is important."Also,   "There is nothing more tragic than to find an individual bogged down in the length of life, devoid of breadth." "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!" He said those famous words on April 3, 1963. On the next day, he was assassinated. I won't begin to speak for the other elders who continue to visit this site - I speak for myself alone, but these words perfectly EXpress my thoughts when I come here again and again and do my best to share my DREAM of FREEDOM for all of you, for all people caught up in the lie of Nicotine Addiction! 
  
     
  
   Yes, folks, this struggle we are in is just as life and death, just as critical to the dignity of living as MLK's! And yes, I gladly give the BEST of myself when I come here and ask, "Wouldn't you like to live in FREEDOM? MLK challenges me with these words,   "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." He urges me on saying,   "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." I, Thomas, have seen the Promised Land and believe that we, as a Community, will get there! Join me! I will walk beside you and together we will go up the mountain called FREEDOM! 
  
     
  
    "The time is always right to do what is right."

You can learn how to change a habit, change your life. Now that’s a bold, somewhat bizarre statement. Nonetheless, it holds the key to the power each of us can wield over the health of our brain and therefore the quality of our life. Nicotine Addiction actually changes the chemistry of your brain. Read more at:

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Thomas3.20.2010-blog/2013/07/19/smoking-as-a-brain-dis-ease

It is not easy to retrain your brain to be sure. It will depend on how long your brain map has been in use, how many other maps it connects with, your conscious awareness of the map(s) and your untiring dedication to doing whatever it will take to change the map(s). 

1.  Understand how your brain map went together.

2.  Appreciate the importance of cues. Cues are a sound, sight, touch, smell, memory  – the “something” that triggers the start of the map in the very first place. It could be the time of day, a person, a place, a song, stress…. 

3.  Do the key things you can do immediately to restore or bolster brain health – yes – the things I cite next are now scientifically understood to change the “infrastructure” of the brain. Neurotransmitters, for example, are made of amino acids, vitamins and minerals – thus eating a nutritiously healthy diet improves the health of one’s neurotransmitters. These things include:

(1) nutrition 

(2)aerobic exercise

(3) sleep 

(4)mindfulness and meditation

4.  Remember you’re changing an embedded brain map – rewiring your brain. This takes unfailing dedication and a commitment to try something else if what you’ve tried did not work. It also takes practicing the new behavior (habit) in order to embed the new brain map. It takes tie so be patient with yourself and Keep your Eyes on the Prize - FREEDOM!

  Hello! I hope you're having a breathe easy day! 
   
  Yesterday, I was slapped in the face by a stranger and made to feel like the disrespectful guilty party. Yesterday, I was marginalized and discriminated against. Yesterday, I felt the weight of an uninformed opinion. Although it was just one ignorant person, I know there are more of the same out there, and something must be done.
   
   "My fear now is that I am going to turn into those people who couch and hack when they see a smoker. I used to hate those people. Matter of fact, if someone made those noises while I was smoking, I sometimes blew a little their way to shut them up. I know, I know.Stupid and immature."
   
   Not only stupid and immature - discriminatory and stigmatizing! Aside from the utter absurdity and complete ignorance of this comment (at the very place where smoking related illness is bound to happen) it’s flat-out bigotry with no apology. And it hurt.
   
  Although other marginalized populations have made strides in civil rights and public opinion polls, discrimination (not just stigma) against those with smoking related illnesses still flourishes.
   
  On the flip side, there has also been research indicating that contact with people with personal recovery stories produces an anti-stigma effect. So if the people you know are open about their COPD, actively working on Nicotine Recovery, and behaving in ways that help you understand, there is a favorable impression.
   
  Here's a repeat of Our Heroe's Video on TV, JoJo from New York!
   
   
  So I went searching for help on the internet. That led me to this article:
   
  It’s a dilemma: 
   
  (  1) Stigma prevents some from seeking care. According to a COPD patient survey fielded by KRC Research and sponsored by EFFORTS — Emphysema Foundation for Our Rights to Survive — in partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Pfizer Inc., the very people who need and could benefit most from long term treatment are the less likely to seek it:
   
   Living with COPD Can Be a Very Emotional Experience:
   
  ·         Almost 90 percent of COPD patients surveyed thought about their condition daily.  Nearly nine in 10 were concerned about experiencing an exacerbation of their lung condition – a worsening of their symptoms that may require a physician or hospital visit.  An overwhelming number also felt that others believe that COPD patients brought on their lung condition themselves, reinforcing the stigma and guilt that many patients feel.
   
  ·         More than half of patients (56 percent) reported a severe emotional burden associated with their disease, saying they “very frequently” or “always” felt burdened, overwhelmed, depressed, isolated, defeated, embarrassed or ashamed.  Women and younger patients (40-64) were more likely to report frequently suffering these emotions.
   
  ·         Overall, nearly one in five patients said their feelings made them uncomfortable and reluctant to get treatment.  Women and younger patients, 40-64, were more likely to feel this way, as were patients suffering most frequently and those very concerned about their condition worsening – groups that normally would be expected to seek help. Severe emotional sufferers, those who responded “very frequently” or “always” feeling these emotions, were more likely than less emotional sufferers to be very concerned about their condition worsening, think there is nothing they can do to control their breathing problems, and feel uncomfortable or reluctant to get treatment.  In addition, severe emotional sufferers were more likely to use short-term medications, often called rescue medications, at least once-a-day, and consider immediate symptom relief important instead of long-term treatments.
   
   (2) Stigma causes COPD research and development to be a low priority in government budgets:
   
  #1 Heart Disease
  $1,286,000,000
   
  #2 Cancer
  $5,671,000,000
   
  #3 COPD
  $102,000,000
   
  But stigma is then perpetuated by dealing with those with untreated symptoms (the smoker with the O2 tank.) Stigma also leads to discrimination, which is hurtful and unfair to those who do seek help.
   
   
  As important as it is to tell people to talk and be nice to each other, it’s even more important to confront and educate people  like the one I encountered yesterday. Comments like this  remain all too common, and are still accepted by many. We need to protect our most vulnerable Community Members!
   
  One of the biggest human rights issues of our time is the right of those with smoking related illnesses and disabilities. It starts with effective treatment, and includes support and respectfulness that enable access to care. Without that care, stigma will never really go away. 
   
  When you see somebody with COPD, please don't turn a blind eye and pretend that they are invisible. We prefer the innocent child who stares at us directly and even asks us direct questions. When you see somebody stigmatizing a COPDer, stand up to the person who's out of line!   You, after all, have been a smoker, too and may if you're very lucky avoid getting COPD in your lifetime - or not! 
   
  And just for clarification - not all COPDers have smoked! 10% have never had a sickerette in their mouth! 
   
   
Thomas3.20.2010

1250 and Counting....

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 21, 2013

I remember clearly when 12 days seemed improbable! 125 seemed impossible! Yet, here I am at 1250! It wasn't because my quit was easy and smooth. From Day 1 I knew that I had COPD. On Day 100 I had been laid off from my job at the height of the recession. The following January, I lost my lifetime anchor, my Godmother. My Son suffered from pleurisy which looks like a heart attack but is actually a lung disease. That and so much more... 

I thought about smoking at stressful times, I imagined myself being relieved by smoking, I even thought I wanted to smoke. But I didn't smoke. What did I do instead?

- I used my life lines

- I blogged

- I let myself imagine not just the smoking part but the after smoking part - the shame, disgust, frustration, futility, self-recrimination,,,,,

But there's more to it than that! My quit is strong because every day I came here and read, read, read. I posted some rather ridiculous blogs which I never deleted no matter how much I disliked them the next day. I celebrated milestones. I made friends, joined groups, commented, participated. I grew my Quititude!

Think of it as a bank account:

stinking smokey thinking takes out a withdrawal but Quititude makes a deposit! Make sure that you don't overdraw your account! Make those deposits of Quititude for the rainy day of cravings, thoughts, memories, temptations. You may struggle like heck and have a miserable day but you'll go to bed that night Smoke FREE and continue to stack up those Days!

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Thomas3.20.2010

Events and Processes

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 21, 2013

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The day you quit smoking is an extraordinary personal event that you are likely to remember and cherish! But the true meaning of your quit is the day to day process - the decision you make today, the decision you'll make tomorrow, each event that adds to the continuation of the process which is a new way of living! Living Life ADDICTION FREE! That's what this is all about! You are choosing to live life abundantly, believing in yourself, seeing that you deserve to be Happy and Healthy! You are making a life affirming decision that you know will affect not just yourself but will send a clear and unmistakeable message to your loved ones - I care enough not only about you but about myself to care for myself, knowing that caring for myself is primary to caring for you, the people I love! Self esteem! Self worth! Integrity! This is Abundant Living! This is what it means to be the person that my Creator intends for me to be! My name is Thomas and what you see is what you get - a fella who values his own life enough to decide to be ADDICTION FREE! I want to be honest with you but more importantly I will be honest with myself! That's impossible under the smoke cloud! Know thyself! To thy own self be TRUE! Make each event of Today a part of the larger process of valuing yourself because yes, YOU ARE WORTH IT!

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Good Morning, EX Community! Every Monday morning I publish this Blog with a series of links to the most up-to-date info from news. I do this because I discovered that knowing my enemy - NO! NOT THE NICO-DEMON (who is me!) - Nicotine has helped me to find and keep my Quititude! I hope that reading these articles will help you do the same! I want you to be smarter than me and quit before you come down with a smoking related illness! So God Bless, read and learn, and Protect your Quit as if your LIFE depends on it because - IT DOES!

  What did you think when you read last week, "Smokers have a poor ability to delay satisfaction despite negative long-term consequences. In other words,it’s their poor self control.” Were you offended as I was? Or did you agree with the findings? Please comment on your point of view because now it has spurred a huge nationwide debate. 
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
   
  I'M QUITTING SMOKING AND PEOPLE KEEP SAYING THINGS THAT MAKE ME WANT TO MURDER THEM
   
  Debate stirs following controversial article on why smokers can't quit
   
  Your Nicotine Monster Deal With Him and Quit Smoking – Part 1
   
  New Smoking Cessation Campaign in Denver Offers Support for the “Quitter in You”
   
  SMOKING CESSATION AND HEALTH
   
  Staying Smoke-Free
   
  Psychiatric Patients Given Smoking-Cessation Treatment Less Likely to Be Rehospitalized
   
  Smoking cessation a priority in schizophrenia
   
  Study Shows Counseling via Cell Phone Helps Smokers with HIV/AIDS Quit
   
  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
   
  Combination therapy helps in smoking cessation
   
  Your experts: Advice for when you are ready to quit smoking
   
  Quitters not in the hunt when smokes get all the billing
   
  Workplace Wellness: Comparison Reveals Least Expensive Smoking Cessation Method
   
  E CIGARETTES
   
  Smoking Cessation Experts Weigh in On E-Cigarettes
   
  Vaping May Be Hazardous to Your Health
   
  Tobacco country begins warming to e-cigarettes
   
  E-cigarettes could significantly cut tobacco use: Study
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
   
  Study: If parents ever smoked, teens may be more likely to light up
   
  In All Flavors, Cigars Draw In Young Smokers
   
  FDA To Address Flavored Cigars, Tobacco Products That Appeal To Children
   
  SMOKING AND THE LAW
   
  Smoking banned on cruise balconies
   
  Breathalyser tests to stop smoking in pregnancy
   
  Scoppe: The myth of business-busting no-smoking laws
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR JOB
   
  Local business offers employees money to quit smoking
   
  BIG TOBACCO
   
  Rolly: Utah lawmakers’ affair with big tobacco
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
   
  Passive smoking danger
   

Here's a piece of good news for smokers looking to quit: Weight gain doesn't have to come with smoking cessation! Many would-be ex-smokers are afraid to quit for good, and up to 90 percent of them cite worries about weight gain as the reason. Luckily, understanding why weight gain follows from smoking cessation can often prevent it from happening! Nicotine is a stimulant, and may interfere with the body's release of the hormone insulin. Insulin is vital because it controls the release of glucose, the body's main source of energy. When insulin is blocked and less glucose is released, your body responds by slowing down the hormones that trigger the feelings of hunger. In this way, nicotine works as an appetite-suppressant. When you stop smoking, the appetite-suppressing action of nicotine stops too, and you will often end up consuming more calories. In addition, many smokers smoke when non-smokers might eat, like during the second course of a meal. Once you eliminate cigarettes however, you may find yourself reaching for that extra helping to help fill the time where you once smoked. It IS heartening to note that most smokers who give up the habit tend to gain just 5 to 8 poundsa small amount compared to the great benefits of quitting! Luckily, avoiding even this miniscule weight gain is possible with some proactive steps! One of the best ways to avoid putting on weight is to take up regular exercise. If you're a long-time smoker, you may have trouble with highly aerobic work-outs, and that's okay. Just a half hour of exercise three days a week is a great startand brisk walking counts! Because smoking cessation takes so much time and effort, it may be best to begin a regular exercise program a month or two before you quit. Certainly, a healthy diet is an important part of avoiding weight gain. Recognize that you may be unable to curb the urge to snack, and have healthy options available to you. Vegetable sticks, apple slices, sunflower seeds and popcorn are all low-fat, crunchy options. And keep sugarless gum, mints, or candy on hand for when you're out-and-about. What you drink also matters. As much as possible, avoid alcoholic beverages. Not only do they provide hundreds of empty calories, for many smokers, alcohol is a huge trigger to light up.It's also helpful to drink plenty of calorie-free liquids throughout the day. They fill you up and can help you burn those extra calories. Finally, prepare for moments when you'll be tempted to eat too much, like at BBQ or at an all-you-can eat buffet, and avoid them if you can. Quitting smoking is hard, and many people worry about their weight. However, preparing for the possibility that you'll gain a pound or two can help you ensure that you don't!

Thomas3.20.2010

Good Grief!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 16, 2013

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

Denial & Isolation

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

 Have you ever said any of these statements?

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

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

- I can quit anytime I want to. 

- I’m not addicted. 

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

- Cigarettes haven’t been proven harmful. 

- My parents both smoked and they’re fine. 

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

Anger 

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

Some typical feelings or statements made during this phase include:

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

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

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

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

Bargaining

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

Some typical comments made during the bargaining phase are:

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

- I’ll just smoke on vacation. 

- I’ll just light your cigarette. 

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

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

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

Depression

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

 Some typical comments during the depression stage are:

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

- I feel so deprived. 

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

- Life without cigarettes is awful. 

- I feel lonely. 

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

Acceptance 

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

Some typical comments during the acceptance phase are:

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

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

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

- I am living a smokefree life. 

- I am an EX-smoker! 

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

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

Thomas3.20.2010

It's a Pleasure!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 15, 2013

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  ReClaim your Brain! Reclaim your Pleasure!
   
  The natural function of the reward circuit is to provide a reward and associated pleasurable feelings in response to life sustaining functions, such as eating, sex, exercise and laughter to encourage repetition of that function. The reward circuit functions through the use of neurotransmitters, mainly dopamine. Nicotine use  stimulates this same response, in many cases to a greater degree than the natural response causing a spike in dopamine levels. It  can block dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. After being released, if the receptors are blocked, dopamine has nowhere to go and it remains in the synapse where it was originally released causing a build up of dopamine. The use of Nicotine to influence the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass survival activities and repeat use, because it is being rewarded over other activities such as eating.
   A "negative state" of dopamine level can be produced, since the natural level has been elevated, causing a need for Nicotine by the user to restore normalcy. Changes that take place in the brain also affect behavior. Circuits are altered in the brain change the way the neurons in the system work. Dopamine's production, how its message is received, and how it is inactivated are all affected. 
   
   If this is true, how do people overcome their own brains to recover from addiction? Could it be that the brain changes back to its normal state in turn allowing the addict to recover or could it be the addict forcing his brain to change back to its normal state, causing recovery?
   
  You have to recapture your Brain and relearn natural pleasure! That takes a lot of self talk and retraining! Mindfulness allows you to see the simple pleasures of the senses in a whole new light.
  Gratitude helps readjust your thinking about natural pleasures that occur in your life every day (but you couldn't see them because of Addiction Hijacking!)
  Meditation helps you to recapture your reward circuit.
  Eating, sex, exercise and laughter  stimulate your dopamine production in a healthy way! 
   
  You literally relearn Pleasure the way that our Creator intends for us to EXperience it!
   
  It's a GOD Given Pleasure!

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!

Thomas3.20.2010

Quitting is not about:

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 15, 2013
   
  -NRTs
   
  -Prescriptions
   
  -E cigs
   
  -Hypnosis
   
  -Cold Turkey 
   
  or even 
  Wiilpower!
   
  It's about Retraining your Brain!
   
  KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! 
   
  Everything you need to know is right here:
   
   
  So use your quit smoking tools if you think they help but use the most important one of all...
   
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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!!!!!!

Thomas3.20.2010

Under the Weather!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 13, 2013

...with a tooth infection so I won't be around much for a little while! I'm going to put my Health first! I learned to do that from my Quit Journey! That among so many important lessons are just some of the wonderful unEXpected benefits of defeating Nicotine Addiction! All you new people, hang in there! The benefits of Addiction FREE Living are so much GRANDER than just not smoking! Keep them away from your face!

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Good Morning, Ex Community! I hope everybody is protecting their quits today! I'm working a split shift so without further ado...

  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
  Living Free Nicotine Replacement Therapy
   
  Nicotine inhaler trial sees smokers quit
   
  Meditation Could Help Smokers Cut Down, Study Hints
   
  SMOKING AND BIG TOBACCO
  Smoking: The endgame
   
  TOBACCO KILLS: DON’T BE DUPED
   
  Making an economic case for ending tobacco use
   
  SMOKING AND THE LAW
  Letter: Harm-reduction not best public policy for tobacco
   
  Study says smoking bans beneficial to state
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  Secondhand Smoke, Asthma Link Remains
   
  Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 worldwide annually
   
  Outdoor smoking bans increase, with some experts arguing 'there's no risk-free level of secondhand smoke'
   
  Study confirms link between passive smoking and lung cancer
   
  Passive smoking may compromise fertility in women
   
  E CIGARETTES
  E-Cig Companies Will Never Promise To Help You Quit Smoking
   
  Why Tobacco Companies Are Turning to E-Cigarettes
   
  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  What a price to pay for chain smoking
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
  Most youth who use smokeless tobacco are smokers, too
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  Exercise Could Be The Key To Achieving Smoking Cessation Success
   
  Anti-smoking cuts hurt
   
  Smoking cessation – keep trying!
   
  People will listen to their doctors on smoking cessation
   

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Be a Weeble! 

  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.  
Thomas3.20.2010

Best Benefits!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 9, 2013

What's your favorite benefit from smoking cessation?

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Mine: Living as I believe my Creator intends

Thomas3.20.2010

Too Old to Quit?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 9, 2013
   
   
  As of 2008, Nine percent of Americans over 65 years of age currently smoked.
   
  Quitting smoking has proven health benefits, even at a late age. When an older person quits smoking, circulation improves immediately, and the lungs begin to repair damage. In one year, the added risk of heart disease is cut almost in half, and risk of stroke, lung disease, and cancer diminish.
   
  Life expectancy among smokers who quit at age 35 exceeded that of continuing smokers by 6.9 to 8.5 years for men and 6.1 to 7.7 years for women. Smokers who quit at younger ages realized greater life extensions. However, even those who quit much later in life gained some benefits: among smokers who quit at age 65 years, men gained 1.4 to 2.0 years of life, and women gained 2.7 to 3.7 years.
   
   Stopping smoking as early as possible is important, but cessation at any age provides meaningful life extensions. 
   
   
  There is evidence to suggest that health is improved and mortality reduced among those who stop smoking after the age of 65 years. Stopping smoking not only adds years to life, but life to years, by preventing or reducing disability caused by smoking-related chronic illness  that include cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease, circulatory problems and cerebrovascular disease (stroke).
   
  Former smokers
   
  •The main reasons that the former smokers stopped smoking were health related.
   •Most of the former smokers had received little help and support from health professionals when attempting to stop smoking. The use of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) was limited.
   •There were both positive and negative associations with previous cessation attempts. 
  •Most of the former smokers believed that stopping smoking had been beneficial to their health. A few of the former smokers had had serious health problems after stopping smoking. They appeared to feel that this was ‘unfair’ as they had stopped smoking to improve their health or prevent health problems developing. 
  •When asked to discuss any negative sides to stopping smoking, just less than half of the former smokers reported that they had gained weight.
   •A small number of the former smokers believed that older people need more support than younger people to help them stop smoking.
   
  COPD
  A study found that middle-aged smokers and former smokers with mild or moderate chronic obstructive pulmonary disease breathed easier after quitting. After one year the women who quit smoking had 2 times more improvement in lung function compared with the men who quit.
   
  Among participants who quit smoking in the first year, mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV(1)) expressed as a percentage of the predicted value of FEV(1 )given the person's age, height, gender, and race (FEV(1)%) increased more in women (3.7% of predicted) than in men (1.6% of predicted) (p < 0.001). Across the 5-year follow-up period, among sustained quitters, women gained more in FEV(1)% of predicted than did men.
   
   Weight Gain
  The benefits to cardiovascular health that are associated with quitting smoking aren’t blunted by the modest weight gain, according to a new study.
   
  About 80% of smokers who quit gain weight. Obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, so health professionals have wondered whether this weight gain might counter the health benefits of quitting. A team of researchers that included Dr. James B. Meigs of Harvard Medical School, Dr. Carole Clair—now at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland—and Dr. Caroline S. Fox of NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) set out to investigate.
   
  Among participants without diabetes, those who quit smoking had about half the risk of cardiovascular problems as those who smoked. A similar benefit was found among those with diabetes, but the number of participants with diabetes wasn’t large enough to ensure this result wasn’t due to chance.
  “Our findings suggest that a modest weight gain, around 5-10 pounds, has a negligible effect on the net benefit of quitting smoking,” Fox says. “Being able to quantify to some degree the relationship between the benefits and side effects of smoking cessation can help in counseling those who have quit or are thinking about quitting.”
   
   
  NOT SO! 
  I don't care if you're a Teenager! You are definitely not too young! Have you heard of   Beurger's Disease
  Buerger's disease (thromboangiitis obliterans) is a rare disease of the arteries and veins in the arms and legs. In Buerger's disease, your blood vessels become inflamed, swell and can become blocked with blood clots (thrombi). This eventually damages or destroys skin tissues and may lead to infection and gangrene. Buerger's disease usually first shows in the hands and feet and may eventually affect larger areas of your arms and legs.
   
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  Buerger's disease is rare in the United States, but is more common in the Middle East and Far East. Buerger's disease usually affects men younger than 40 years of age, though it's becoming more common in women.
   
  Virtually everyone diagnosed with Buerger's disease smokes cigarettes or uses other forms of tobacco, such as chewing tobacco. Quitting all forms of tobacco is the only way to stop Buerger's disease. For those who don't quit, amputation of all or part of a limb may be necessary.
   
   
  Did you know that one sickerette predisposes ou to   Cancer?
  According to a study by U.S. scientists, all it takes is a few minutes – not years – of puffing on a cigarette to cause genetic damage linked to cancer, The Daily Mail reported.
   
  "The effect is so fast that it's equivalent to injecting the substance directly into the bloodstream," the researchers said in findings described as a "stark warning" to the millions of people who smoke out there.
   
  The lead researcher, Dr. Stephen Hecht from the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues followed 12 volunteers and tracked certain pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of chemicals that are formed during the burning of coal, oil, gas, wood or other substances such as tobacco and charred meats.
   
  Hecht zeroed-in on one pollutant in particular called phenanthrene, and found that it quickly formed a toxic substance in the blood that is known to “trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer."
   
  "The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking," the study said. "These results are significant because PAH diol epoxides react readily with DNA, induce mutations, and are considered to be ultimate carcinogens of multiple PAH in cigarette smoke."
   
  The study, which appears in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology, was funded by the National Cancer Institute.
   
  Did you know that you can get   COPD as young as 25?
   
   In 2000, 3.9% of the U.S. population between the ages of 25–44 were living with COPD.
   
   
  If you're in your 20s or 30s
  A diagnosis of COPD is rare at this age. “Although we don’t see COPD in children, we do realize now that children who have asthma may be at risk of COPD later in life because of the [lung changes] that result from asthma,” explains Dr. Schachter. Whether you think you're at risk or not, people under 40 can reduce their risk of COPD by avoiding cigarette smoke, dust, and pollution.
   
  At this age, there is one especially vulnerable group—those with a rare genetic disorder called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. Only about 100,000 people in the United States have it, but it makes the lungs (and liver) incredibly sensitive to damage and can result in an under-30 diagnosis of COPD (even in otherwise healthy nonsmokers).
   
  The problem is that many people don't know they have the gene until COPD has been diagnosed. However, if you have family members with COPD, you are at greater risk of being a gene carrier.
   
  Whether you have a genetic predisposition or not, experts agree that the best way to prevent COPD is to avoid smoking, which can set the stage for a COPD diagnosis in your 40s and 50s. Smoking is responsible for about 75% of COPD deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
   
  Even young smokers risk suffering   heart damage. Damage to the cardiovascular system does not discriminate with age.
   
  While most people equate smoking deaths to cancer and lung disease, in fact many more people will die from circulatory conditions from smoking than die from cancer or other lung diseases.  Also, in general, they will die at much younger ages from these problems.  We would have many more lung cancers than we do if smokers could live long enough to get them.  When many people with fatal heart attacks or strokes are autopsied, there are often precancerous lesions found that indicate that if these people had a few more years to live they would have eventually succumbed to these smoking induced diseases.
   
  Increased    Stroke Risks Seen in Young People
   
  Until recently, it was thought that teens and young adults accounted for 5-10 percent of all strokes. But a 2011 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that this proportion is increasing.
   
  Researchers analyzed data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample of the Healthcare and Utilization Project to find people hospitalized for stroke. Between 1995 and 2008, they found that the number of young adults ages 15-44 hospitalized for stroke increased by more than 33 percent.
   
  The researchers also found that young stroke victims had high rates of traditional risk factors for stroke. Among ischemic stroke patients, nearly one in three of those ages 15-34 had high blood pressure as did more than half of those ages 35-44. One in four women ages 15-34 were smokers and so were one in three men ages 15-44. 
   
   Guess what the top 3 killers are in the USA?
   (1) Heart disease
   (2) Cancer
   (3)  COPD
   What do all 3 of these have in common? Smoking related illness!
   
   
   Protect your Quit as if your LIFE depends on it - because IT DOES! TODAY is a Great Day to Live Smoke FREE!
Thomas3.20.2010

Self Love

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 9, 2013

The greatest gift you will ever receive is the gift of loving and
believingin yourself. Guard this gift with your life. It is the only
thing that will ever truly be yours. Tiffany Loren Rowe

So many people associate the concept of self-love with narcissism which actually is a lack of self-love! But truly loving ourselves as God loves us is a compassionate place to be in our lives. Our love of self provides the passion to be with that other person in a loving way! So today I give myself permission to love myself as I would love my neighbor! LOL! That truly is a gift from the Almighty!

When I Love Myself, it gives me strength, courage, focus, and determination that I so much need in order to Break FREE of Addiction for LIFE! This is especially true during NML when we aren't living the challenge minute by minute but are blindsided by our Addictive Minds out of nowhere, or after a tragedy or great misfortune such as losing a job, or even, yes, after an extraordinary Victory when we think that we "deserve a sickerette!" What I deserve my FREEDOM! I deserve to live LIFE Abundantly as My Creator intends - Smoke FREE for LIFE! And I LOVE Myself enough to recognize the paradox and make the Correct DECISION! So just for TODAY I will LOVE Myself as I would Love my neighbor! Who would wish Addiction on ANYBODY? Surely we DESERVE Addiction FREEDOM!

Confidence on the outside begins by living with  integrity on  the

inside.          Brian  Tracy

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 darm 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! 

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Thomas3.20.2010

PEACE BE WITH YOU!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 7, 2013

Peace: It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble
or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm
in your heart. - Author unknown

Did your cigarette always make you feel at peace? Did you see it as the solution to escape from strife? If you've quit for a few days now then you will recognize that these are nico-lies! But also, your quit isn't guilty of all that has gone wrong since you quit, be it physical, mental, or emotional! So many people ask me if the quit caused them to have headaches, to overreact at work, or to become forgetful! The fact is this stuff happens whether we quit or not! But our addict mind is always searching for a "reason" why it's better to smoke than to quit: "I'm a nicer person when I smoke; I sleep better (or don't sleep as much) when I smoke; I'm more alert when I smoke; etc, etc, etc,...." Some of these phenomenon are temporary adjustments to becoming an Addiction FREE Person but no reason AT ALL to give in to the voices whose real purpose is simply to get my next fix!!! With time some will clear up as your body adjusts to the NEW non-smoking YOU! Others have absolutely nothing to do with the process - they just get generalized into the whole time line of how I experienced my quit! In other words, LIFE HAPPENS! But our junkie minds will twist anything to bring us back to our comfort zone! You have to basically find another solution to your problems than smoking! So the next time you hear that voice - redirect the question - I don't ask to smoke or not to smoke! The REAL Question is what can I do instead??? Look inside of you and find that inner Peace which doesn't rely on anyone or anything - especially not a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in over 4000 chemicals! The Peace is in you and you can carry it anywhere you go under any circumstances!

Thomas3.20.2010

DISCIPLINE

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 6, 2013

To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If
you  leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever
increasing  unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires
effort. This is one of  the things that discipline - training -  is
about.         James Clavell, in  his novel "Shogun"

 

We often talk about Positive Mental Attitude and celebrate folks who demonstrate their positivity while some folks wonder how to get it and where it comes from, especially in their earliest days of the quit when what they feel is anxiety, exhaustion, loss, deprivation, frustration,etc. We all know those feelings. Occassionally somebody asks, "When will my feeelings change?" Answer: 'Tuseday, the Tuesday that you DECIDE to let them change!" Our entire Society is based on the idea that Happiness is a Right (as in the Constitution) or Gift (They're So LUCKY! They're always Happy!)  The TRUTH is the Constitution calls for Responsibilty - the PURSUIT of Happiness! You see, rights come with the responsibility to protect those rights not just for myself but for all my fellow citizens! As for gifts - yes, that gift has been given from our Creator to each and every single one of us including YOU and ME! But did I open  my heart to receive that gift, or was I afraid I'd be too vulnerable? Many of us are scared of true Happiness, as ironic as that sounds. And it doesn't just come to us - it is a Discipline! As James Clavell (a very awesome writer BTW) points out, it requires EFFORT! It requires you to put the brakes on that downward spiral of negativity where our minds often tend to go and replace it with LIFE AFFIRMING thought processes! That's where Affirmations come in! This isn't just feel good lefty hocus-pocus it is an entire Discipline that has been highly studied! It's called Neuro-Linguistics, how your brain actually changes when you put the brakes on negative thoughts and replace them with affirmations! Anybody can do this! Have you seen poor people, sick people, people who are grieving, people who have suffered tornadoes or other disasters, unemployed, homeless, who are happy? I have! 

And we ask ourselves, "How can they be so HAPPY?!" They're happy because theyCHOSE to change their perspective and it didn't happen overnight - it happened one day at a time! DISCIPLINE! The Good News is that YOU and I can do this too! Happiness can be learned! The Choice is OURS!

  Thoughts and feelings can be pleasant enough, but everyone has experienced thoughts and feelings that cause them unhappiness or stress.
   
  When we are stressed we often have a million and one things happening at once and a chattering mind is one of the last things we need. Therefore, it’s very important to be able to spend some time to relax, put things in context and to let go.
   
   image
   
  Here are some methods that can help letting go, explore why we hold onto thoughts and feelings in the first place and some tips to add to your toolbox.
   
  (1) Focus and pay attention to what is going on and what you are doing. When the mind chatters away in the background, focus on it and recognize that there is a thought chain happening - often significant parts of the mind aren't actually aware of what's happening, as its just part of the background. You can say "I am currently feeling this" or "I am thinking of such and such" This can help focus the mind on what’s happening so it doesn't go off to the next thing. Quite often the thoughts stop just by focusing on them because they are suddenly exposed to scrutiny.
   
  If you look at a calming image, the mind can relax and let go, but it only happens when you stop trying and expecting it to happen.
   
  (2) Observe what's going on to develop an insight and an understanding of how thoughts and feelings control you. By watching the thoughts, it doesn't take too long to see there is two distinct things happening - a theme and a process. The process is the thinking or expressing feelings.
   
  The mind doesn't always need a theme to think, that's when the mind chatters away over what seems an illogical and fairly wild stream of thought. The mind is using thought just like a pacifier or a distraction and often does it when there is physical pain, when it is afraid or trying to protect itself from something. If you watch the mind like a machine, you can sometimes see the mind just grabbing whatever it can find or sense to use as a theme or topic of thought.
   
  Theme based thinking is much more obvious, you might be angry, worried or have a particular feeling over an issue and you think about that issue. These thoughts tend to be repetitive and focused just on the theme at hand.
   
  Be kind to yourself as this is a key way to train the mind that letting go of unhappiness does have benefits.
   
  (3) Recognise that judging yourself is not beneficial. By judging yourself on the theme of those thoughts it can actually make the problem harder to deal with. You might have been thinking about how much you don't like someone then feel guilty or angry for it.
   
  Practically speaking, letting go is not about rights and wrongs and you have to aim not to let this act of classification anywhere near your problems. If you start to consider it is "wrong" to be depressed or worried, or to hate, be angry (etc), or to think its wrong that these emotions should exist or afflict us, then whenever these new thoughts of judgement occur more problems start to happen. This then trains the mind to become habitual or ingrained as a cause and effect process and it becomes harder in future to be in control.
   
  By accepting and letting that feeling go as well is the first step forward as being judgmental can start more thoughts and feelings easily. If your mind is trying to force-feed you thought chains or emotions, judgements are another tool it can use to dominate you. It is wise to remember that our mind is the source of all our manipulative skills so the mind knows more tricks than we are often aware of.  It does this as the parts of the mind that crave and are addicted to things want to stay wild with our desires running and controlling us. By and large it is our addictions that drive us all.
   
  (4) Consider your relationship with the thought or feeling. Thoughts usually run out of habit so will pop up again, when you stop being aware. Resolve to let those go as well as not only do you have to stop the chain, you have to prevent new ones.
   
  The difficulty is that there is a pretty central problem: essentially the mind has to be disinterested or disenchanted with the theme & process of thinking or emotionally feeling. Often this is helped greatly by recognizing that the theme and the feeling or thought process at hand is not helping us at the moment. There are a lot of feelings & thought subjects we don't want to let go of or view as being stressful because we often want to explore the themes and issues they represent (such as when being angry, or being anxious etc, we want to think about the who, where, what, why etc).
   
  This specific "wanting to think about" or just "wanting to think", is more powerful than our desire to let go - letting go is really hard when it is simply outweighed by a stronger desire. When we aren't careful or being aware, we just start fighting ourselves which is also part of the trick if you are thinking for the sake of thinking.  Fighting becomes another distraction from the issue the mind is running away from - the mind is still in complete control, even though it doesn't look like it. You have to counter the strong "wanting to think about" with a gentle but very persistent "OK, it's time to move on and let go" until eventually the desire to let go is stronger than the desire to think about the issue.
   
  The other problem is feelings are something we see as part of our identity or part of us. We have no desire to recognise that part of us can cause us pain or misery, or that they are able to make us unhappy. People are often trained to think that "all" feelings are precious when they are "me" or "mine". Some feelings cause stress, but some don't. This explains the whole method, you have to observe the thought and feeling long enough to decide - without condemning yourself - if the feeling is worth keeping, or worth letting go of.
   
  (5) Compare this theory to your own experience. If you have a theme based thought you want to let go of think about, try some of these experiments:
   
  Try as hard as you can to avoid thinking about a polar bear, or (more unusual) a purple polka-dot flamingo drinking a cup of coffee. This experiment is quite an old one but still a good one to show the dynamics of thought. The simple fact of the matter is to be able to maintain an effort not to think about polar bears, or when we experience an unhappy thought, we struggle against it, both trying to suppress a thought and struggling against a thought both require applied and sustained effort and the theme (such as the polar bear) as an object. If you keep trying or fighting not to think about it, the bear stays put.
   
  Say you are holding a pen in your hand and want to let go of it.
   
  In order to put the pen down, you have to be holding it.
   
  When you continue to want to put it down, you have to "continue" to hold it.
   
  Logically you can't put it down when you are still holding it.
   
  The more effort and intention applied in "wanting" to put it down, the more grip is applied on the pen.
   
  (6)  Learn to let go by relaxing your fight against the feelings and thoughts. These same physics apply in the mind. Because we are trying to force the thoughts away, the more we hold on to them to be able to apply the force of forcing it to go. The harder we try and force it, the more we are tensing and crushing the mind. The mind however responds as though it is being attacked.
   
  The way out is instead of forcing it, just relax the grip. The pen falls out your hand all on its own the same as thoughts and feelings. You may need a little time - if you were using force it may be imprinted on the mind for a short while, because the mind is so used to fighting it so it has become almost ingrained as a mental occupation.
   
  This is so much like the mind really. When we clamp on to thoughts and feelings by exploring them, or trying to destroy them - they are going nowhere - they are locked in tight. We have to relax the grip in order to be able to let them go.
   
  (7) Develop some skills to use when the thought or feeling arises. There is a host of things you can try or ask yourself when there is a thought or feeling that just keeps repeating. Here are some good things to consider or try:
   
  Have you ever read a book, seen a movie or done anything so many times you know everything about it and it just seems uninteresting and boring? If you do the same and watch the thought and be uninterested with it, there is no more attachment to it so its easier to let go.
   
  If the thought didn't leave, manipulate the thought. Run it backwards, twist it, bend it, change it - eventually you can see that you are running the show. By substituting an unpleasant thought with a more soothing thought chain, is a temporary fix, but still a good one in times of need. You can let go of the issue easier when you feel you have more safer ground to stand on.
   
  Make a point of reference. This is important as it gives two things - firstly you can tell far quicker when a series of unpleasant thoughts are occurring and secondly it provides a mechanism to let go of them.
   
  For feelings, ask yourself - “What benefit is this particular thought/feeling?" or “Is this actually helping?" or even "Would I give myself this feeling?". If you find the feeling doesn't actually provide any benefit, that can help you get over them and win back confidence by being less controlled by them.
   
  Practice mindfulness or meditation. Mindfulness is an excellent way to keep awareness and focus on what you are doing here and now. This it separates you gently from the thought or feeling, so you can be more distinct and less controlled.
   
  Practice visualization. If you are a busy person with little time to relax, visualising can help greatly. One example to consider is this image:
   
  Imagine a pleasant, beautiful and empty field dotted with flowers and other scenic aspects. Take a minute exploring the open space, open blue sky and clean air. Then imagine a city built on the field with towers and buildings, streets and vehicles. Now let the city slowly disappear again, leaving the empty, beautiful field.
   
  The relevance of this image is that the field represents that our mind is primarily empty and peaceful, but we have built a city of thoughts and feelings on top of it. Over time we get used to the city and forget that underneath it, the empty field is actually still there. When you let go of them, the buildings go and the field (peace and quiet) returns. Understand that unpleasant thoughts and feelings are just another building that can be demolished to return to a more happier and peaceful place. Accept the stress is really there and that its time to stop.
   

In your quiet moments, what do you think about? How far you've come, or how far you have to go? Your strengths, or your weaknesses? The best that might happen, or the worse that might come to be? In your quiet moments, do pay attention to your thoughts. Because maybe, just maybe,the only thing that needs to shift in order for you to experience more happiness, more love, and more vitality, is your way of thinking.

I choose Quititude! I will embrace my quit journey today, enjoy the FREEDOM of time, energy, focus, and money that I have gained, and Thank God for the Breath of Life 

"as long as my breath is in me,

    and the spirit of God is in my nostrils," Job 27:3

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

Andre  Gide

 

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

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

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

 

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

I just came across a website (I won't post it's name and give it the benefit of spreading their message!)

These idiots actually teach teens how to become addicted to Nicotine!

Mission:

      
  • To educate and provide practical information on the pleasures of smoking.
  •   
  • Provide an online community for those who love to smoke.
  •   
  • Thwart the anti-pleasure establishment by showing that people really do enjoy smoking.
Thomas3.20.2010

60 Seconds!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 5, 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

 

On average, 435,000 people in the United States die prematurely from smoking-related diseases each year; overall, smoking causes 1 in 5 deaths. The chance that a lifelong smoker will die prematurely from a complication of smoking is approximately 50%.

 

One-third of adolescents who become addicted to tobacco will eventually die from a smoking-related disease.

 

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

Good Morning, EX Community! 

This week I'm on vacation. I'm a Health Care Provider so I'm caring for my health first! I've been taking long hikes, working out and meditating. It feels good and makes me more able to care for others! No matter what our circumstances, it's very important that we take care of ourselves first and that begins by Protecting our Quits! 

Do you remember when you tried to convince yourself that you "liked smoking?" Well, there's an article from the Huffington Post that reports only 12 percent of smokers have never tried to quit. That means that almost everybody who smokes wants what we have! So when the quit gets tough, remember that! And this is EXactly why I take the time every Monday to report the most up-to-date smoking related news - it fortifies my Quititude! Hopefully, it will do the same for you!

  SMOKING AND YOUR HEALTH
  Smoking ‘Thins The Brain’
   
  SMOKING AND YOUTH
  Smoking Study Focuses On Children
  Kids Who Chew Tobacco Often Smoke Too
  Children most affected by tobacco use, say officials
   
  SMOKING AND SCIENCE
  'Smokers motivated by instant gratification, not just risk taking'
   
  SMOKING AND THE LAW
  POLL: Smoker can no longer afford costly habit
  New York Hospitals Grounds Are Now Smoke-Free
  Smartcard licence scheme proposed for smokers
  R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company Loses $37.5 Million Battle Over Lung Cancer Victim
   
  SMOKING CESSATION
  Most Smokers Have Tried To Quit Smoking Before, Survey Shows
  Slowest of suicides
  Betty Russell gave up smoking and put the money she saved towards renovating her home
  They adopted their loved ones and helped them quit smoking
  More smokers trying to quit
  Want to Heal Faster? Quit Smoking
  More self-aware people quit smoking easier
  Inpatient smoking cessation counseling reduces mortality
   
  NICOTINE REPLACEMENT THERAPY
  Nicotine inhaler trial sees smokers quit
  Cutting back is not the way to beat tobacco
   
  E-CIGARETTES
  Very little is known about the health effects of e-cigarettes
  LOGIC's New President: E-Cigs 'Incredible Opportunity'
  Smoke and mirrors
  Contrasting perspectives on e-cigarettes from smoking cessation experts
   
  SECOND HAND SMOKE
  Passive smoking and hearing loss in teenagers
  Second-hand smoke even a danger on open-air patios, study says
  Still fighting against secondhand smoke
  Further Evidence Of The Dangers Of Secondhand Smoke Uncovered
  Passive smoking in childhood increases lung cancer risk
  InventHelp® Client Designs a Device that Solves the Problem of Second-Hand Cigarette Smoke for Non-Smoking Gamers (AVZ-663)
  Smoking Could Cause Harm To Your Pets
  Effects of passive smoking underestimated
   
   
   
   The Short and Long Term Effects of Nicotine on the Brain.
   
   Smoking Causes Chemical Dependency to Nicotine.
  When you smoke, nicotine enters the blood stream and reaches the brain within ten to twenty seconds. Nicotine then binds to neural receptors and activates neural activity in the brain. (Neurons become active and pass on messages that will activate other neurons.)
   
  The neurons triggered by nicotine are all connected to larger neural networks, such as those contained within the primal area of the brain known as the Basal Ganglia. One such network of neurons within the Basal Ganglia is of particular importance when it comes to understanding nicotine addiction, the human brain’s motivational reward system.
   
  Once triggered into action, the reward center releases into the brain, the chemical dopamine. A chemical that causes us to feel pleasure and satisfaction. The reward center of the brain influences our behaviors and is typically called into action whenever we perform basic survival functions like eating, drinking or having sex.
   
  Each time nicotine is received, the brain’s reward center is activated and the behavior of smoking is again reinforced as being a positive experience. After a few cigarettes, stronger neural pathways which expect the delivery of nicotine begin to develop throughout the brain. Over time, the brain begins to treat nicotine as necessary for our survival, not unlike food and water.
   
  Given that nicotine leaves the body quickly, the brain needs access to a constant supply of nicotine in order to fill the receptors that keep the dopamine pathways active. As nicotine levels drop, so do dopamine levels. The outcome of this is the physical sensation we refer to as cravings for nicotine and the cigarettes that provide it.
   
  To make matters worse, a process called up-regulation occurs the moment you start smoking. Up-regulation is when the number of receptors on a neurons dendrites increase. This means that more nicotine is required for a neuron to trigger the pathways that lead to the reward centre of the brain and release dopamine. The more you smoke, the more often you will need to smoke in order to maintain a satisfied feeling.
   
   The Long Term Effect of Nicotine Addiction.
  Once a smoker is chemically dependent on nicotine, the addiction progressively worsens. As time goes on, neural pathways begin to link cigarettes to more and more behaviors or actions that occur in the outside world.
   
  Not only do these pathways grow in number, they are continuously reinforced and grow in strength. Eventually, the brain develops an incredibly strong and complex web of neural pathways that form connections to almost every emotion and external scenario imaginable.
   
  A packet a day, twenty year smoker, has advanced chronic brain disease. Giving up the smokes is a lot more complicated than simply choosing to not light up. Thankfully, as with any treatable disease, a choice to seek treatment and undergo a healing process can lead to recovery.
   
   The Path To Nicotine Addiction Recovery.
  Fortunately, there is an absolute certainty that smokers can regain the health of their brain. The very same physiological processes that allow smokers to become addicted, also allow smokers to successfully recover. What’s more, these processes can be invoked and practiced by the user through progressive treatments.
   
  The first of these processes is down-regulation, the reverse effect of up-regulation.
   
   Down Regulation.
   While up-regulation increases the number of nicotine receptors in the brain, down-regulation decreases it. This means the chemical dependency  to nicotine weakens as it receives less of it. Down-regulation begins as soon as you stop smoking, or even cut down the number of cigarettes you consume.
   
  The process is also fundamental to Nicotine Replacement Therapy, which progressively weakens the chemical dependency over time.
   
   
  Once the chemical dependency to nicotine is broken, the addict can begin to invoke the second and most influential process to long term healing, brain plasticity.
   
   Brain Plasticity.
   For a longtime, it was accepted by the scientific community the brain ceased development at a certain point in an individuals childhood or youth. It was also believed we had a fixed number of brain cells.
   
  Developments in neuroscience over the last thirty years has debunked this idea and proven the human brain, is in fact, capable of neural development throughout adulthood. This neural development is referred to as a brain’s “plasticity.”
   
   
  Over time, the neurons physically metabolize (break down) and allow new neurons and neural pathways to develop. Unlike down regulation and chemical dependency, this process takes a lot longer to play out and requires a commitment to long term treatment. (There are billions of neurons in your brain.)
   
  If a smoker can commit to the healing process, the individual will stop desiring cigarettes and return to a state of normality.
   
  So there we are! Hopefully you have a clearer understanding of nicotine addiction and can now believe with confidence, if you quit smoking and seek treatment for your disease, a time will come that YOU DO NOT MISS cigarettes!
   
   
   
  Most of us have had quit attempts that we thought of as an event; a task that we could complete within a few weeks - a month at most. Then, when the urge to smoke persisted beyond what we felt was reasonable, we despaired of ever breaking free of nicotine addiction. While the worst of nicotine withdrawal is over within a matter of weeks, release from the habit of smoking comes more slowly.
   
  Smoking cessation is a process, not an event.
   
  Let's look at some common misconceptions about quitting tobacco that can hinder your chances for success.
   
   Myth: It's too late for me to quit smoking. The damage is done.
   Fact: It's never too late to quit smoking.
  Bluntly put, the only time it's too late to quit smoking is when you're six feet under. When you quit smoking, the benefits begin with 20 minutes of your last cigarette, and continue to grow for years. The human body is incredibly resilient, and while not all smoking-related damage is repairable, much healing can and will occur.
   
  Psychologically, you're in for a treat when you quit smoking. Nicotine addiction gradually beats us down. Most of us spend years tied to a habit we desperately wish we could rid ourselves of. We feel weak and powerless and that leads to a slow destruction of self-esteem, usually so gradual we don't realize what's happening. It's no wonder that so many long-term smokers suffer from anxiety and depression.
   
  Quitting tobacco will empower you much more than you can imagine, and once grasped, most people refuse to let go of the freedom that comes from taking back the control that addiction stole.
   
   Myth: I can smoke one cigarette and maintain my quit program.
   Fact: There is no such thing as just one cigarette.
  For the vast majority of smokers, re-introducing nicotine after quitting leads back to full-time smoking. There is no such thing as just one cigarette for a nicotine addict. Smoking, even as little as a few puffs on a cigarette is enough to awaken the beast within. I've seen it time and again, and sadly, people who relapse often spend years trying to find their way back to quitting again.
  If you want to boot nicotine addiction out of your life for good, live the philosophy of N.O.P.E. - Not One Puff Ever.
   
   Myth: Relapse can happen without warning.
   Fact: Relapse never happens without warning.
  The road to relapse always starts in our minds. Unhealthy thoughts of smoking are normal as we move through recovery from nicotine addiction, but left unchecked, they can spell trouble. It's been said that humans have upwards of 60,000 thoughts on a daily basis. Much of what we tell ourselves is negative and self-defeating. We're often our own worst critics.
   
  Listen to your thoughts. Correct those that are counterproductive immediately, rather than giving them a chance to fester and gain momentum. It's a sure-fire way to keep yourself in the driver's seat with your quit program.
   
   Myth: I'll always miss smoking.
   Fact: True freedom is a state of mind.
  We all have the ability to make changes in our thinking that will bring lasting freedom from nicotine addiction.
   
  People who miss smoking years later have not let go of the associations they had with their habit, and usually think of smoking in a romantic light. They might even tell themselves subconsciously ( or conciously!) that quitting was a sacrifice. They quit smoking because they needed to, but they loved smoking. That kind of faulty thinking will keep the chains of addiction in place. But make no mistake, it is their thoughts that hold them prisoner, not cigarettes.
   
  Have you ever had a relationship go sour because of a change in attitude on your part? A shift occurs in your perception, and once your mind turns that corner, there's no going back. It is similar with addiction. Once we get clear of the physical need for cigarettes, what is left is a mental relationship with smoking, much of which is based on ritual. The habit of smoking is powerful, but reprogrammable. Add some education about nicotine addiction and support from people who are going through what you are, and you'll find your way out of the maze.
   
  Keep yourself in the present moments of today, and be grateful for each and every smoke free day you complete. Be patient with yourself and think of time as one of your quit buddies. The more of it you put between yourself and that last cigarette you smoked, the stronger you'll become.
   
  The benefits of cessation far outweigh the discomforts of recovery! Stay with it and find your freedom. Once you do, you'll never let it go.

There is no scientific evidence that these products work to help stop smoking and little is known about their safety.

      
  • Products claiming to deter smoking. This includes products that change the taste of tobacco, special diets to curb nicotine cravings and vitamin combinations marketed as smoking cessation aids.
  •   
  • Herbs and supplements. Homeopathic aids and herbal supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so they don't need to prove their effectiveness or safety.
  •   
  • Nicotine lollipops and balms. Products containing nicotine salicylate are not approved by the FDA, and these products pose a risk for accidental use by children.
  •   
  • Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Flavored mist containing nicotine that looks like smoke is puffed through a system that looks like a cigarette. Questions exist about the safety of e-cigarette vapor and the amount of nicotine provided.
  •   
  • Hypnosis. Although no evidence supports the use of hypnosis in smoking cessation, some people say they find it helpful. If you choose to pursue hypnosis, talk to your doctor about finding a reputable hypnotherapist.

Support that can help:

      
  • Internet-based programs. Several websites offer support and strategies for people who want to stop smoking. BecomeAnEX is free and provides information and techniques as well as blogs, community forums, ask the expert and many other features. Text messaging services, including personalized reminders about a quit-smoking plan, also may prove helpful.

We have the answers to SUCCESS! YOU get to/have to do the work!

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!

Bzzzzzz

Bzzzzzz
 

Bzzzzzz 

Thomas is not available right now, and if you leave a message he won't get back to you!!!!

I'm too busy counting my Blessings because I'm an Exer!!!

Fill your mind with Positive Thoughts and there won't be time to listen to those lying whispers!

If I can do it you can too!

It isn't a bit harder for you than it is for any one of us, we just changed our perspective!!!

   
  Do you ever think that you would have a better Quititude IF life were only a little less full of unfortunate events and a little more full of positive experiences? That's what I have fallen into these last few weeks. I "lost" my Quititude and didn't know where to look for it! I looked for it at home, with friends, at work, in my car, everywhere and I just couldn't find it! I even looked for it in my dreams turning over every corner of every room in my mind. Not over there! Not under there! It didn't fall out of my pocket! Oh well, maybe it will turn up! It couldn't have gotten too far! 
   
  I went for long walks, EXercised, followed my nutrition plan, meditated and worked my mindfulness program. All were undoubtedly helpful but nada! I EXpected quititude to be returned to me for doing the right things!
   
  So I reflected on how I had obtained Quititude in the first place - the BLOGS! Maybe I could find a new Quititude - a sort of replacement. I read the BLOGS and I read and read the most inspirational BLOGS I could find! I knew where to look because when I had Quititude, I would often read there, not from desperation but because it was HOME! Now, I felt like a visitor, not a family member, on my best behavior, stiff, polite, but not relaxed and at HOME! 
   
  Now, if you ask yourself what Thomas does when he gets stuck, what do you suppose? I researched! That's my go to action on just about any subject that's bothering me any time! Here's what I found that was helpful to me:
   
  Attitude and Experience By Ralph Marston
   
  Perhaps you think that your attitude on any particular day depends on the things you experience that day. But actually it is the other way around.
   
  The things you experience do not cause you to have a particular attitude. Instead , the quality and substance of your experiences are what reveal your attitude.
   
  Your attitude is yours to choose. And by choosing your attitude, you can choose the kind of life you live.
   
  Yes, there will be plenty of events coming along that are completely beyond the control of you or your attitude. Yet your attitude will most definitely determine how you experience each of those events.
   
  If your attitude is negative and destructive, you’ll find pain, disappointment and dismay in even the most wonderful circumstances. Yet when your attitude is positive, creative, thankful and joyful, you’ll find real hope and valuable possibilities in even the most unfortunate events.
   
  Rather than assuming that your attitude is dictated by events, choose to maintain a positive attitude no matter what may come along. By so doing, you’ll be choosing a life of real value and meaning.
   
   
  There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude.
   
  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
   
  W. Clement Stone
   
   
   
   
   
  The attitude you bring
   
  Imagine how great it would be if you could go through this day doing only what you wanted to do. Though it might sound too good to be true, it’s completely possible and available to you.
   
  Just stop fighting against what you have to do, and turn it into what you want to do. You know it must be done, so why make it worse by letting it bring you down?
   
  Who decides what makes you miserable and what makes you happy? You do, of course. Stop dreading those things you know you must get done, and start looking forward to them. The attitude you bring to them can change them completely.
   
  Do you ever find that you know full well what needs to be done, yet you just cannot bring yourself to do it? Change it in your mind from something that has to be done into something you want to do, and you’ll have no trouble at all getting to it.
   
  It is truly as easy as it sounds, and it can make an enormous difference. Decide you want it, and you’ll get it done.
   
  — Ralph Marston
   
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  Just like Dorothy's way home was a available to her all the time, so was my Quititude! It hadn't fallen off or out - I gave it up! And it was within me all along - not outside! Quititude isn't based on events or circumstances. It's all right there in your mind (and mine!) We get to/have to DECIDE how we'll approach our Quit Journey! And there's a certain momentum to our thought processes. 
   
  If we decide to look at our quit as sacrifice, giving something up, deprivation, martyrdom then we'll blow it out of proportion in a negative way, making the effort so much larger than it has to be! We'll build up our minds to feel like Sisyphus pushing a giant boulder up a hill day in and day out! Sooner or later we'll just get too tired and give up! We'll relapse!
   
  We can decide to become a "Happy Quitter" not because our quit journey is easy or simple. Not because our support system is perfect, not because we chose a propitious moment to quit and all the circumstances in our lives are perfectly aligned with successful enterprise but because you and I DECIDE our Quititude and "by choosing your attitude, you can choose the kind of life you live."
  TODAY I DECIDE to live my day with QUITITUDE! I choose to be a "Happy Quitter!"
   
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Thomas3.20.2010

SUCCESS

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 2, 2013
  

You've been given the innate power to shape your life...but you cannot just speak change, you have to LIVE change. Intent paired with action builds the bridge to success. You can't just want it; you have to do it, live it...BE it! Success isn't something you have, it's something you DO! 

  
  
                                    

— Steve Maraboli

 

  
  

Don't worry about yesterday - you can't change it! Don't worry about the future - it's simply a series of nows stuck together! Take care of yourself TODAY! The rest will happen in it's own time!

  

 

  

I, Thomas, pledge for today that I will not smoke even so much as one little puff for any reason under any circumstance! I will respect myself enough to honor this pledge NO MATTER WHAT just for TODAY!

  

 

  

TODAY I Celebrate 1231 Smoke FREE Days and I got here from there one day at a time! TODAY is the Most Important Day of my Recovery!!!!

   

According to a study, many people with emphysema and bronchitis continue to smoke despite the risks.

Smoking plays a huge role in chronic lung disease and is the major cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Clearly, quitting smoking is a key part of managing this disabling condition. But this message is not being acted upon, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They surveyed over 11,000 patients and found that more than 36 per cent are current smokers, compared to 22 per cent of the general population.

Around half of the COPD patients had tried to quit smoking and 14.6 of them succeeded – mostly without any help. Of the smokers with COPD, around a quarter said that they had not received any advice on smoking cessation. Given that counseling and medication can help people quit smoking, more should be done to offer this support to people with COPD.

If you have COPD then please know that there is help and that you are in the right place to learn how to stop smoking for LIFE and BREATH! Please contact me and I will add your name to my mailing list for important up-to-date news information posted to your PM right here every Friday! I'll be happy to forward this info! Also, read more about COPD & Smoking in my more than 50 informative and supportive BLOGS.

Choose BREATH not DEATH!