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2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z16vhtjWKL0

by Dr. Mike Evans

Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health

at the University of Toronto, Staff Physician at St. Michael's Hospital

and Director of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing

Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital

   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 Season!   
   
   
       
   
       
  

Opening the cyber newspaper was something of a shock to me! Low and behold, various articles of the libertarian style, i.e. Mr. Rush Limbaugh, have declared that second hand smoke causes neither lung or heart disease. Mr/ Limbaugh actually pulled out a study from 1989 to "prove" his point. 

Quoting Rush, "Again, the lesson here is that you were lied to by a bunch of leftist busybodies. You were lied to in order to be forced to live your life the way they wanted you to.  You were being denied freedom.  You were being lied to and manipulated into believing something that wasn't true so as to impact the way you and everybody else lives, and you were converted into a member of the army of the anti-smoking who would go out and harass anybody else who smoked.  You were lied to, to further the lies of a bunch of zealots."

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/12/19/second_hand_smoke_proven_harmless_again

What is Limbaugh's "scientific" source for making such a statement?  The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, via Jacob Sullum.

Who is Jack Sullum? Another "journalist" with libertarian credentials.  I looked there for the study:http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/05/jnci.djt365.extract I did, however, also find 10 studies confirming the hazards, including lung and heart disease! 

Watch what you read - when you dig a little deeper, you find out that Big Tobacco money and Addictive Thinking are behind the headlines, not "scientific" evidence!

One of two things happens following relapse. Either the user will think they have gotten away with using and, as a result, with the passage of time a "false sense of confidence" will have them using again, or they'll quickly find themselves back using nicotine at their old level of daily intake, or higher. Although it sounds strange, the lucky ones are those who quickly find themselves once again fully hooked.

Why? Because this group stands a far better chance of associating that first puff of nicotine with full and complete relapse. Instead of learning the Law of Addiction from some book, they stand a chance of self-discovering the law through experience and the school of hard-knocks. 

What is the Law of Addiction?

"Administration of a drug to an addict will cause

re-establishment 
of chemical dependence

upon the addictive substance."

While the relapsed addict may feel that their reason for relapse was sufficient, it will not be sufficient to explain the fact that they find themselves still using. They now need a new rationalization to explain why their relapse justification has passed, yet they haven't stopped using.

 

"Well, at least I tried."

"I'm just too weak to stop."

"I know I will stop again."

"I've tried everything to stop and nothing works."

"Maybe I'm different."

"Maybe I can't quit."

More Excuses Coming

As far as relapse excuses are concerned, life will provide an abundant supply for anyone looking for them. We will have friends or loved ones who will get sick, diseased and die. Dying is a normal part of life. If the death of someone close to us is an acceptable reason for relapse then the freedom and healing of nearly a billion now comfortable ex-users is at risk. 

Expect imperfect humans to do the unthinkable. We change, disagree, sometimes break promises, argue, and start and end relationships. 

Expect financial distress as food, medicine, fuel and living costs continue to rise. The loss of a job or inability to work may be an injury, disease or pink slip away.Floods, droughts, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes and hurricanes will happen. People die,vehicles collide, sports teams lose, terrorists attack and wars will be waged, won and lost. 

Life promises loads of excuses to relapse. But freedom's promise is absolute. It is impossible to relapse so long as all nicotine remains on the outside. We each have a 100 percent guarantee of staying free today so long as no nicotine gets inside. 

It's time to put your past quits behind you and start EXamining  some new tools! All of these tools have one thing in common: they work within the Law of Addiction.

Here at BecomeanEX we name them every day from acquiring knowledge about Nicotine Addiction to strategies to beat the cravings, from Day 1 through No Man's Land through long term maintenance! It's all here! But it's up to you o put these tools to work! The more you participate the more you see EXcuses for Nico-Lies and you know that smoking is not an option under any circumstances whatsoever! The true question remains:

What shall I do instead? Eventually smoking will literally not even cross your mind! Now, that's FREEDOM! 

Thomas3.20.2010

The Perfect Christmas

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 16, 2013

When I learned to let go of the "Perfect Christmas" - I found the Perfect Christmas!

Our Family no longer care if we have the wonderfully coordinated home decorations, the fabulously traditional home baked goods and huge meal, the endless gifts for everybody that we can think of so they won't be mad at us! 

We decorate with joy - not stress - if and when we wish to! If we don't decorate elaborately, we know Jesus won't be offended - and after all, it is HIS BIRTHDAY we're celebrating!

If we have a great time cooking, so be it! But the pressure to make it all come out perfectly is gone! Cooking is nurturing our Family, not stressing ourselves out! If it isn't fun, then what's the point?

The best present my Sons can and do give to me is their time! We talk, sing together, laugh and share! We hug and kiss and tell each other how very important they are to us! We share our good times in joy and troubles with empathy. We allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel, not only happy, and smiles, but sad, angry, frustrated, anxious - all of it with the knowledge that we are Family and the Lord wil provide for us IN ALL THINGS! 

We cherish our LOVE which is what the Lord has given and we have learned to receive with the same generosity as given. We live in the Spirit of Christmas and only let the materialism of the Season serve us to the extent that we find love and joy - not serving materialism so as to make the Commercialists happy - but to make US content with the many blessings we have, none greater than the time we share together!

We Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May the Peace, Love, Joy and true meaning of Christmas permeate your each and every Day during this Season of HOPE! 

Thomas3.20.2010

An EXtraordinary Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 14, 2013

Flan devoured!

Movie Incredible!

Hugs ALL Around for each of YOU with a Great Big THANK YOU!

A terrific day for me!

Especially because it's my third Birthday Smoke FREE!

Life just gets BETTER and BETTER when we live Addiction FREE! (Flan not inclluded!)LOL!

Good Night, Everybody!

I doubt that! But I'm sure a year wrinklier! 

That's OK. Life goes on!

My Family will go to Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game. We're all huge fans! My Wife made my favorite dessert - Flan! I hope I can resist until it's time to cut into it!

Baked Flan Recipe

medwireNews: A study has found functional and inflammatory changes in the nasal and lower airways of young, healthy smokers in the absence of pulmonary function decline.

Naomi Nakagawa (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil) and colleagues studied 32 healthy nonsmokers and 40 smokers who were aged between 18 and 35 years.

They found that although the smokers did not have symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), they had early alterations in the upper airways.

For example, smokers had faster nasal mucociliary clearance with a mean nasal saccharine transport time of 5.9 minutes compared with 7.7 minutes in nonsmokers, which the team suggests may be due to increased ciliary beat frequency as a protective response to smoking.

Smokers also had an increased number of cells in nasal lavage fluid (macrophages, ciliated, and goblet cells), and decreased exhaled breath condensate (EBC) pH, which is thought to reflect an inflammatory response of the airways. Meanwhile, smokers with a less than 2.5-pack–year smoking history had significantly higher myeloperoxidase levels in nasal lavage fluid than both healthy nonsmokers and those with greater smoking histories, at 52.4 ng/mL versus 21.5 ng/mL, and 22.8 ng/mL, respectively.

The team showed that EBC pH was related to smoking history in a dose-dependent manner, such that for each additional pack–year, it decreased by 0.05. In particular, among those participants with more than a 10 pack–year history, the mean EBC pH of 7.4 was similar to that previously recorded in COPD patients.

However, as there were no significant differences between smokers and nonsmokers with regard to forced expiratory volume in 1 second or forced vital capacity, Nakagawa and colleagues suggest that spirometry is unable to detect such early physiologic changes in the airways.

“The lower airway EBC pH decrease in these young smokers contrasts with the lack of changes in spirometry suggesting that… there may be inflammation without sufficient air flow limitation to produce COPD,” they write in Chest.

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   Finding Our New Normal
   
  We don't recover from Nicotine Addiction by smoking cessation alone. We recover by creating a   New   Normal where it is easier to maintain our smobriety. If we don't create a new lifestyle, then all the factors that kept us in our addiction will eventually catch up with us again.
   
  We don't have to change everything in our lives. But there are some behaviors that have been getting in our way, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.
   
  Here are the three most common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery. 
   
   Change Our Environment
   
  Thnk in terms of
   
       -   People 
            - People who we smoked with or who are related to our smoking. 
            - People who we have conflicts with, and who make us want to smoke. 
            - People who we celebrated or relaxed with by smoking.
            - People who encouraged us to smoke either directly or indirectly.
   
       -   Places
            - Places where we used to smoke. 
            - Places where we bought our sickerettes.
   
        -   Things
         Things that remind us of our smoking such as:
            - ashtrays.
            - lighters. 
            - other smoking paraphernalia.
             - alcohol use especially in excess.
   
  How can we avoid high-risk situations? Of course, we can't always avoid these situations. But if we're aware of them, they won't catch us off guard, and we can prevent little cravings from turning into major urges.
   
  Little Changes we can make make a BIG difference such as
            - taking better care of ourselves.
            - eating a healthier lunch so we're not as hungry at the end of the day.
            - participating at BecomeanEX so that we don't feel isolated
            - helping others boosts our confidence and our commitment in our own quits.
            - learning how to relax so that we can let go of our anger and resentments. 
            - developing better sleep habits so that we're less tired.
   
  Remember  H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.)
   
  Recovery isn't about one big change. It's about lots of little changes. Avoiding those high-risk situations helps us create our New Normal so that it's easier not to smoke.
   
  Make a list of your high-risk situations. Addiction is sneaky. Sometimes we won't see our high-risk situations until we're right in the middle of one. That's why it's important that we learn to look for them. Make a list of your high-risk situations and to keep it with you. Go over the list with us so that we can spot any situations that you might have missed. Make the list and keep it with you. Some day that list may save your life.
   
   Learn to Relax
   
  There are only a few "reasons" why people smoke: 
            - to escape. 
            - to relax.  
            - to reward ourselves.
   In other words, people smoke to relieve tension or stress.
   
  The first rule of recovery is that we must change our lives. What do you need to change? We need to change the way we relieve tension. Everyone needs to escape, relax, and reward themselves. Those are essential coping skills for a happy life. But smokers don't know how to do those things without smoking.
  If you manage to stop smoking for a while, but don't learn how to relax, your tension will build until you'll have to relapse just to escape again. Tension and the inability to relax are the most common causes of relapse. Relaxation has changed my life. There is only one reason why people don't relax – because they think they're too busy to relax. It goes something like this, "I know it makes sense, but I've got so many other things I have to do."
   
  Ask yourself how much time you spent on smoking. If you add up all the time it takes to buy your sickerettes, smoke them, deal with its consequences, and plan your next relapse, you'll realize that relaxing for twenty to forty minutes a day is a bargain.
   
  Relaxation is not an optional part of recovery. It's essential to recovery. There are many ways to relax. They range from simple techniques like going for a walk, to more structured techniques like meditation. Meditation is an important part of that mix because the simple techniques don't always work. If you're under a lot of stress, you may need something more reliable like meditation. Use any of these techniques, or any combination. But do something everyday to relax, escape, reward yourself, and turn off the chatter in your mind. Numerous studies have proven that relaxation reduces Nicotine Addiction relapse.
   
   Be Honest
   
  An addiction requires lying. Most of us had to lie or deceive about buying our sickerettes, smoking them , hiding its consequences (especially to ourselves) , and planning our next relapse. An addiction is full of lying. By the time we've developed an addiction, lying comes easily to us. After a while we get so good at lying that we end up lying to ourselves. That's why we often don't know who we really are or what we believe in. We have long ago forfeited our values to our addiction.
   
  The other problem with lying is that we couldn't like ourselves when we lied. we couldn't look ourselves in the mirror. Lying traps us in our addiction. The more we lie, the less we like ourselves, which makes us want to escape, which leads to more smoking and more lying.
   
  Nothing changes, if nothing changes. Ask yourself this: will more lying, more isolating, and more of the same make us feel better? Nothing changes if nothing changes. If we don't change our lifestyle, then why would this time be any different? We  need to create a new life where it's easier to not smoke.
   
  Recovery requires complete honesty. We must be one-hundred percent completely honest with the people who are our supports: our Family, our Friends, our doctors, our Community at becomeanEX. If we can't be completely honest with them, we can't do well in recovery.
   
  When we're completely honest we don't give our addiction room to hide. When we lie we leave the door open to relapse. That's why we insist on quit days meaning not one puff ever!
   
  Honesty won't come naturally in the beginning. We've spent so much time learning how to lie that telling the truth, no matter how good it is for us, won't feel natural. We'll have to practice telling the truth a few hundred times before it comes a little easier. In the beginning, you may even have to stop yourself as you're telling a story, and say, "now that I think about it, it was more like this..."
   
   The Chance to Change Our Lives
   
  Our addiction has given us the opportunity to change our lives. Changing our lives is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Recovery is difficult because all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because we get the chance to change our lives any way that we decide to. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don't think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren't happy.
   
  If you use this opportunity for change, you'll look back and think of your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because our addiction helped us find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help us become the person that Our Creator wants us to be.
   
   
Thomas3.20.2010

Evil Did NOT Win!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 12, 2013
   
   
  Every smoker and ex-smoker knows that nicotine is the major culprit of the smoking addiction. In addition, they may even know that cigarette manufacturers use ammonia  to free-base nicotine in order to boost it's addictive hook up to 35 times. Yet, scarce is the man or woman who understands how nicotine functions like a dopamine imposter, raising levels of this "feel good" chemical in the body artificially.
   
  Nicotine also acts as an enabler, widening capillaries, allowing for the rush of the 4,000 plus chemicals in a commercial cigarette to penetrate cells and foster anxiety, nervousness, and sickness. Dopamine can also raise levels of awareness and general pleasure, but the problem is that as dopamine levels increase from the use of cigarettes, natural chemical reactions in the body like dopamine and serotonin decrease  their natural production. When a smoker tries to quit cold turkey, they experience days, weeks, and sometimes months of depression and anxiety, mainly because their dopamine production levels cannot recover quickly enough. Ever hear of people getting very "cranky" after they quit? The central nervous system is so accustomed to being nurtured with nicotine, it's almost like a border-line diabetic's body, which barely produces insulin because it's so accustomed to a high sugar diet.
  Replenish with a natural supplement which boosts dopamine levels and ends the cravings
  Put simply, nicotine damages dopamine production for smokers, so to supplement the production of dopamine is the ultimate way to help a smoker quit, and quit for good. Even though the smoking habit is also a behavior addiction, the "feel good" drug aspect is stronger and is the driving force for smokers to return to the habit when something stressful comes along, unless they know how to supplement.
   
  The highly under-estimated issue for smokers is that commercial tobacco is "free-based" with ammonia and has been for about 50 years. Marlboro got busted in the 1990's and admitted to it, and then paid off Blue Cross and Blue Shield over 4 billion dollars to "let it rest," basically so they could keep doing it. Then all the other major brands learned the news of the "hook trick" and starting doing it as well. Ammonia cooked with tobacco makes the nicotine up to 35 times as strong. The function of ammonia in commercial cigarette manufacturing is to turn the nicotine into a vapor ready form by converting bound molecules into free molecules. If you are smoking commercial cigarettes, you're getting up to 100mg of potency in one cigarette. This alone wrecks the body's ability to properly regulate dopamine and serotonin levels, balancing the entire process on three fulcrums: the potency of the brand being smoked, how many cigarettes are smoked per day, and when the cigarettes are being smoked. This is why so many smokers grab a cigarette and light it up before or after something stressful, or a situation which requires energy and motivation.
  Visualize the war that's going on inside a smoker's brain: Nicotine versus Dopamine. Natural fight or flight reactions are now becoming nervous disorders. Organic feelings and emotions about life in general become exaggerated problems which seem insurmountable at times. After long term use of high-potency cigarettes (about 15 to 20 years), a person can permanently cripple the dopamine system, and ruin the ability to feel pleasure at all without first smoking a cigarette.
   
  Understanding and addressing the chemistry of it all is the cure. Dopamine functions in your brain to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and relaxation, and should occur naturally, instead of being chemically induced. This is what cigarette manufacturers realized 50 years ago and this is the hook which keeps smokers addicted and pulls them "back in" when they quit.
   
  The brain neurotransmitter dopamine activates the metabolism helping the body establish a healthy weight. Additionally, dopamine helps the brain generate sufficient energy to run the body. It stimulates the heart, regulates the flow of information through our brains, controls movement, and allows humans to experience feelings of passion and pleasure, according to the Health News Standwebsite. Dopamine production is boosted by the consumption of certain foods, especially those containing the amino acid tyrosine. Eating these special foods adds to our ability to respond optimally to our lives both physically and emotionally. All foods eaten should ideally be organic to avoid the effects of pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
   
   
   Proteins
   
  Protein are high in amino acids, which are necessary for dopamine production. Include foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and red meat to supply your body with adequate amino acids. Fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso and other legumes are considered incomplete proteins; however, form complete proteins when eaten in combination with grains, becoming excellent sources for dopamine-related amino acids.
   
   
   Vegetables
   
  Certain vegetables in particular are excellent sources of amino acids that stimulate dopamine production. For example, beets supply the amino acid called betaine, that aids in the regulation neurotransmitters like dopamine. Artichokes and avocados have also been found to increase dopamine levels.
   
   Fruits
   
  Ripe bananas are a major source of tyrosine, explains MedHelp.com; and as they continue to ripen and become sweeter, their tyrosine component becomes more potent. Tyrosine helps regulate and stimulate dopamine levels, increasing memory and alertness. Apples are recommended for being high in quercetin, a potent antioxidant, according to MedHelp.com, and shown to aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases by triggering the production of dopamine in the brain. Remember to eat strawberries, blueberries and prunes to round out the best fruits supplying nutrients that trigger dopamine release.
   
   
   Nuts and Seeds
   
  Raw almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds make a great snack and help regulate dopamine levels. Almond butter or tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, are excellent sources for the amino acids needed for dopamine production.
   
   
   Wheat Germ
   
  Wheat germ supplies the essential amino acid phenylalanine, that's converted to tyrosine, which then stimulates additional dopamine release. Do not use wheat germ if you are gluten intolerant or allergic to wheat.
   
   
   Herbs
   
  Several common herbs are known for helping to regulate dopamine levels. These include nettles fenugreek, ginseng, milk thistle, red clover, and peppermint. They are best consumed as herbal teas.
   
   Supplements
   
  Adding supplements to your diet to increase dopamine levels may be helpful if you're unable to get those nutrients from foods. Tyrosine, plus several vitamins such as B, C and E as well as iron, folic acid and niacin all help to trigger dopamine release. Check with your health care practitioner before including additional iron in your diet.
   
   
   
   EXercise regularly
   
  Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates dopamine production and uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your dopamine levels.
  It also ups your endorphins. A genuine laugh or a stretch gets your endorphins going, which is similar to a dopamine high. Except for if you were actually on an endorphin high it'd be seriously dangerous -- it's a pain inhibitor.
   
   Practice Mindfulness
   
  Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” The objective is to help individuals learn, at times, to become aware of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations rather than trying to modify them or acting on them.  This suggests that mindfulness  might not only decrease relapse in depression and addiction but also prevent the onset of the first episode of depression in susceptible people. 
   
  Another reason mindfulness is helpful in terms of recovery is that it yields The Now Effect, that “aha” moment of clarity where we enter into a choice point, a moment where we access possibilities and opportunities we didn’t know were there before. This is crucial when it comes to our addictive behaviors to take a step back, “think through that just one smoke” and recognize the various options that lie before us. We can learn to step into the pause, notice the sensation of the urge that’s there and as the late Alan Marlatt, PhD says, “Surf the Urge” as it peaks, crests and falls back down like a wave in the ocean.
  Just because our brains have been altered by addiction, doesn’t mean we’re destined to fall into the same habits. With the right skills, community and support we can learn how to break out of routine and into a life worth living.
   
   
   Get plenty of sleep
   
  One of the best ways to feel energized and ready to tackle the day is to get plenty of sleep. Dopamine has been tied to feelings of wakefulness, so in order to get that wakeful feeling, get 7 to 8 hour of sleep a night.
  Or...don't get any. If you're actually looking to up your dopamine levels as opposed  to feeling good, dopamine levels skyrocket with sleep deprivation. You'll feel fatigued, groggy, and irritable, but your dopamine levels will be through the roof. 
   
   Reach a new goal
   
  Dopamine is all about pleasure; it's one hedonistic brain chemical, that's for sure. Luckily, all you have to do is train your brain. Whether it's important to you to get to work on time or finally get that PhD, reaching a new goal will put your pleasure centers into party mode. 
   
  It doesn't have to be big. Start thinking of your little daily activities as goals. Did you make it through the morning without checking Facebook?! FANTASTIC. Reward time, because that goal has been achieved! Keep in mind that celebrations of our little goals – per week, month, 50 day increments or simply FREEDOM Train and Bonfire Parties all serve a very important purpose! We all need to find natural ways to replace natural dopamine and serotonin in our systems when we quit smoking!
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Thomas3.20.2010

The Turning Point

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 11, 2013

I can't say what day it happened. Yet I know that there WAS a point where the war between I want a cigarette( IWC) and I don't want a cigarette (IDWC) was over!  Of course the battle had been fierce especially during the first week when the IWC found out that IDWC was life and death serious and not just playing around with an entertaining idea!

 I followed the advice I was given to practice becoming a Happy Quitter and most of the time was able to ignore the war which is probably why I can't point to an AHHH moment!  Thus, the war went on and I went on a semi-Happy Quitter (I'm not as good at it as James - wish I was!)

 Inevitably the war was over and the winner IDWC was declared and I looked up and knew IWC doesn't have a chance! I AM TRULY A HAPPY QUITTER! I decided to QUIT SMOKING and I decided to ignore the battle but most importantly I didn't let a cigarette near my face NO MATTER WHAT! I have said N.O.P.E. each and every morning! And some days several times an hour  - whatever it takes because this was for me the single most important thing I could do for myself to improve my HEALTH and LIFE!

 Then I found that I was changing!  I became a more confident, concerned person!  I'm concerned about LIFE but I'm also concerned about QUALITY OF LIFE!  That means not only not dying but LIVING ABUNDANTLY!  Those of you that know me well have seen these motifs rising one by one to the surface of my blogs and comments and by no means do I think that I am done growing and changing! I feel that at 56 years old that I am in many ways just beginning to LIVE - to LIVE ABUNDANTLY the way my Creator  intended!

This is the gift I want for those of you out there who are just beginning this journey ! Give your QUIT a chance and all that sense of loss, deprivation, sadness, regret, suffering and self sacrifice WILL turn around 360 degrees and it will be the cigarette that is the obvious source of the suffering and you will KNOW in your total being that you have made the absolute BEST DECISION in your entire LIFE!

 Best Wishes! Enjoy the Holidays with the Peace and Love that eminates from true understanding of it’s meaning!

And what can we do about it?

Are there Quit Tools specifically useful to NML?

What do you think?

I have had time to reflect on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have had invaluable time with my Beautiful Wife and Precious Sons. This time of Year brings up many feelings for me. I remember Holidays past with my Mother and Siblings ( all passed into the beyond of Eternal Life.) So the Holidays bring grieving as well as Joy for me. I know that I am not alone in this. My Mother’s and my Brother’s Birthdays were in November and December brings my own and that of my Sister. Many Anniversaries compounded into the 2 Months when I feel Seasonal Depression as well. Now a new Anniversary on my actual Birthday, the Sandy Hook tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut. So many highs and lows. It’s no wonder that I have to take very good care of myself during this Season of Joy and Mourning, of Hope and Despair, of Love and Evil, of all the Best and Worst of Humankind.

I want each of you to know just how marvelous you are for me! Life is so short, so beautiful, so intricate. I choose not to let one more day slide by before I say, THANK YOU! You have given me more than I could ever  begin to return! You have given me the reassurance that I have the right and space – the voice – the growth – the humanity – to Become an Addiction FREE Human! You have answered my calls for help and acknowledged my learning by your side. You have brought me the Love and Hugs whether in Celebration or Comfort, whether in Joy or Sadness, Anger or Victory, Laughter or Tears.And you have shared a part of yourselves with me!  When that Smoke Cloud lifted, I couldn’t believe the person hiding under there for so many Years – unpolished, rough and ragged. By entering into the Light of TRUTH I began to illuminate from the inside outward!

Whether you have been an “Elder” when I got here, a co-quitter, a follower , a newbie, or yes, a wannabe, each of you have contributed to my Quit Journey in so many ways. Quitting is both simple and complex. Quitting means, “Keep them away from your face” but it also means, “What shall I do instead?” Quitting means finding my Addiction FREE Self, learning to live abundantly without the sickerettes, discovering the true meaning of ME the way my Creator wants and Expects me to be. And then becoming that person! I was real fortunate to discover this site when I needed you the most that amazing week in March that set me on a new understanding of myself, my values, and my life. YOU made that possible for and with me. SO Thank YOU! Give your loved ones a hug on my behalf. Remember, every breath we take is a marvelous miraculous event!

May the Peace and Hope of the Season permeate your thoughts, feelings, and emotions as we approach the Savior's Birthday Party and the New Year ahead!

Thomas3.20.2010

Moving Right Along!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 2, 2013

In case you were worried, I'm fine and health-wise pretty good. I'm just taking a semi-blogcation so I can regenerate my worn down batteries! Self Care is something I practice as well as preach! I hope we're getting the message across that self-care is not self-ish! On the contrary, it's necessary to taking care of the caregiver, sets an EXcellent EXample for our Loved Ones, and helps people repair emotions such as anger, guilt and resentment. Put yourselves first - especially when you embark on your Quit Journey! You will be taking the best possible action for your Loved Ones! They need you to be wholely there, not depleted and EXhausted! Self-Care is a relapse-protection and recovery tool that stays at the top of my Quit Tool Box!