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All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2013 > February

Every new experience is a learning experience that can build self esteem. When I quit smoking I learned that I can successfully make radical life transforming changes that are for the better!I even learned that I can sometimes make mistakes in the process and nevertheless be successful in the end. I didn't have to choose perfectly in order to be good enough!

Getting out of my comfort zone is, well, uncomfortable. Like most people I know, I feel anxiety whenever I am about to take a chance and try something new. In the past this anxiety and fear, stressed me out to the point that I  avoided trying anything new. I lived by the adage, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" or as my Grandpa used to say, "let sleeping dogs lie." 

Well, my smoking world became broken literally beyond repair the day I was diagnosed with COPD  but not beyond hope! The only hope I had/have is to keep my COPD from getting worse!Failure was not an option - so I did whatever it took to succeed! And the FREEDOM voice in me broke through!

Right at 100 days quit, (you can ask just about anybody who'se been there - an EXtremely vulnerable time in many a quit journey, including mine), at the height of the recession, I like so many other people was laid off! I was 52 years old at the time - a statistic that did not bode well! Did I think of smoking as a 'solution?' - YOU BET! But I didn't smoke - right when everybody around me who were also laid off were smoking like chimneys! My boss even had the indecency to leave her pack of sickerettes right under my nose for an entire shift! But I had learned - Breath or Death and chose N.O.P.E. to smoking and death!

   Surprisingly, I remained EXceedingly calm! I had already successfully made an even bigger change  in my life - I would sail through this one as well! It's amazing when one is faced with their own mortality, what the human being is capable of! Finding another job is a picnic in comparison, right? 
   So for the second time in 25 years I was thrown into the job market! I had learned something about myself, though! When I set my mind to the possible, nothing is impossible! I searched not in the same field of work (which was obviously vulnerable to lay-offs in that economy and compromising to my lung health on top of it) but in entirely new fields that were less vulnerable. I chose health care which I had never in my life even imagined! Within 3 weeks I had been offered 3 jobs and accepted 2, a part time and a full time job in order to decide which if either would fit for me!  
   I soon quit the part time job and took on the full time work in an assisted living facility. Within one year, I was promoted to manager and to this day, work at the same facility. I really enjoy my job and my life! 
   For me, it was not only that I was "successful" in my attempt to find work, it was the act of attempting  which  benefited me most in boosting my self esteem.  
    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
    - Mark Twain
   Amazingly, once I in fact got past my fears and took the chance to quit smoking, change my job choice, learn computer, join a blogging site (yes, BecomeanEX was my first ever blogging site!), become active in exercise programs and workouts, (well, as you see, I could go on and on about the changes I've made in my life!) my initial reaction was - "I wish I had tried that sooner but better now than never!". 
    "Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power."
    - Lao-Tzu
    Life is about taking chances. Everyday we take chances. Sometimes we are blissfully unaware of the chances we are taking. Other times, it is painfully obvious. For me, jumping out of my comfort zone and "waking those sleeping dogs up" all started with my quit journey! Life just gets Better and Better with every step I take down this path of RECOVERY! 
   I wonder what Grandpa would say to that! 

"First thing every morning before you arise say out loud,

"I believe," three times." - Norman Vincent Peale

I got in trouble when I listened to  should statements such as  "You should quit smoking"  even when my gut was telling me the same thing. I (and my Nico-demon self) kept saying, "It's my life! I have a 'right' to smoke!" Yet I was being untrue to myself who deep down knew that I was killing myself one puff at a time!. I lost respect for myself which I covered up by smoking that much more determinedly! "Nobody is going to tell me what I 'should' do!" When I was untrue to myself, I incrementally lowered my self esteem. It can happen gradually. Almost imperceptibly, but can have a far reaching and long lasting impact. I'm still re-claiming myself almost 3 years down this quit journey road!

The first step in freeing myself from social restrictions was the realization that there is no such thing as a "safe" code of conduct - one that would earn everyone's approval. My actions can always be condemned by someone - for being too bold or too apathetic, for being too conformist or too nonconformist, for being too liberal or too conservative, from my nonsmoking family and friends when I was smoking and from my smoking friends and coworkers when I quit.  So it was necessary to decide whose approval was important to me.

"To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."

- William Shakespeare

I had to pay attention to my own needs and wants. I had to listen to what my body, my mind, and my heart were telling me. For instance, if my body was telling me that I have been short of breath for too long, coughing for years not months, feeling tired and anxious, stressed and unconnected to my health, I had to learn to listen past the Nico-noise and hear that Freedom-loving voice that was screaming in the background for attention. If my heart was telling me that I was abusing my God-given gift of LIFE then I had to tune into that message and ponder it with self-love, not run away from it with yet another smoke cloud of denial.


I learned to honor the person I am. I learned to accept myself as human and therefore, imperfect. I had to forgive my mistakes and focus on the prize. i had to learn that I could achieve my goal one day at a time, keeping in mind that smoking cessation is a journey - not an event.  I learn to give myself rewards for the large and small Victories!

I learned to be true to myself and thus be truly me to my Family, Friends and Coworkers. Once they saw this transformation, the "shoulds" stopped both from them and most importantly within ME!





Fear of quitting and facing life without sickerettes is natural. After all, we are Addicts and often we have more years of life smoking than not smoking and those not smoking years were a very long time ago when we were children! Also, although we may not consciously realize it, subconsciously, we know that we have been hiding all kinds of emotions under that smoke cloud - scary emotions like anger, disappointment, and fear of other aspects of our lives. Why would I want to EXpose myself to such EXtreme vulnerability? Because it gives us an opportunity to HEAL - physically but also emotionally! We own our feelings and deal with them in a whole healthy way for the first time in a long, long time! Re-cover means to un-cover those emotions that haven't gone away first. They're still there - lingering under that smoke cloud! But un-covered, we can choose to either EXpress them or to simply forgive - to let them go - either because they are part of the past and presently irrelevant or because they are out in the open and can be repaired from here and now! RECOVERY=reowning ME! Addiction stunts our emotional growth! Recovery allows the real you to bloom!

1. I am learning to understand the importance of forgiving myself for smoking.

Living in a state of being unable to forgive myself requires a lot of energy. I was constantly chewed up by fear of my vulnerability, burning with anger at myself and  with  guilt, and living with the constancy of sadness, hurt, and self-blame. Vulnerabilty terrifies me! But this energy deserves to be put to better use, so that my creativity and abilities are fed, not my negativity. Forgiveness also allows me to live in the present instead of the past, which means that I can move into the future with a renewed sense of purpose focused on change, improvement, and building on experience rather than being held back by past hurts and damage that cannot be healed.

I was afraid to forgive myself because I feared losing my sense of self that has been built on the back of self-anger, resentment, and vulnerability. But I asked  myself if that  angry, easily hurt and reactive person is the identity I choose to show the world and live with. Is the security of this mode of thinking worth the effort and harm it is causing me? I know that it is better to have a small time of insecurity as I find my way again than to continue a lifetime bogged down in self-loathing.

Now I see forgiveness in a positive light. I allow myself to experience strong feelings such as resentment and anger, but I view it as the chance to feel strong positive feelings, such as joy, generosity, and faith in my true self. Switching it to thinking about what I have  gained rather than what I have lost has the benefit of keeping me positive while minimizing the negative emotions.

2. I take into account the challenges raised by not forgiving myself. 

Not only do I allow myself to remain stuck in the past, but not forgiving myself takes a huge toll on my emotional and physical health. Inability to forgive is sourced from anger and resentment, two emotions that can wreak havoc with my health. Isn't that just another way to create more damage with my own behavior and attitudes?

I know that forgiving doesn't equate with forgetting [Thank You, Dash, for coining the phrase Never Ever Forget N.E.F.!] I am  learning by experience and  guided by that experience in all aspects of my life. It's about leaving aside the resentment and self-inflicted berating that comes with remembering - taking away the sting!

3.Accepting  my emotions. 

Part of the struggle is often being unable to accept that I am experiencing such emotions as anger, fear, resentment, and vulnerability. Instead of trying to avoid facing these negative emotions, I accept them as part of what is fueling my lack of self-forgiveness and self-respect. A problem named is a problem ready to be tackled. This is particularly a huge challenge for men in our society. 

4.I reflect on why I'm  trying to hold myself to a higher standard than anyone else around me.

 Perfectionism  causes me to hold too high a standard for my own behavior, a standard that I wouldn't hold anyone else to. And if my perfectionism causes me to be too hard on myself, I am caught in a situation where self-forgiveness is very hard to do because it seems like acceptance of a sub-standard Thomas. But  I can remove myself from this vicious cycle of thinking by  "welcoming imperfection". Welcoming imperfection is the way to accomplish what perfectionism promises but never delivers. It allows me to accept that all human beings are imperfect, and I am human, and imperfect too, and My Creator LOVES me just as I am!

5.I let go of other people's expectations for me. When I get stuck in a spiral of self-hate and never feeling good enough because of things that were once said to me, self-forgiveness is essential. I have no control over what other people do and say, and many things are said and done unconsciously, often motivated by the other person's own shortcomings. But living my life in self-loathing because I don't feel I live up to someone else's expectations is based on making too much of another person's mixed-up feelings. I forgive myself for trying to live a life according to other's expectations and am making the changes needed to follow my own purpose instead.

For every person who has been hard on me,I must remember that someone was hard on them. I am breaking the chain of harshness by being kind to myself, not trying to live up to someone else's expectations for me.

Whenever someone criticizes me unfairly, I realize that they have just made it that much harder for themselves if they make a mistake or fail to fulfill their own perfectionist ideas. I occasionally reflect where I've come from and why I no longer want to live that way.

6.I have  stopped punishing myself.

 I have frequently misunderstood that forgiveness equates with forgetting or condoning. This misunderstanding has at times led me to feel that it is not right to forgive myself because in the process of doing so, it's akin to an act of forgetting or condoning the past wrong. But forgiveness is a process of mindfulness in which I continue to remember what happened and don't condone something that was "wrong" as suddenly "right". It's a process of letting go of the damage that's still being done by holding on to the emotions surrounding the poor choice that was made.

It's perfectly fine to say: "I am not proud of what I've done (or how I've devalued myself) but I'm moving on for the sake of my health, my well-being, and those around me." Affirming this is healthy and allows me to break the cycle of self-harm I've fallen into because I openly acknowledge what was wrong and the intention to set it right from now on.

7. I practice self-acceptance.

 I don't need forgiveness for being me. Forgiving myself is about targeting the specific things that I feel bad about, not about the person that I AM. As a forgiveness technique, self-acceptance allows me to acknowledge that I'm a good person, faults and all. It doesn't mean that I ignore the faults or stop trying to improve myself but it does mean that I value myself above those elements and cease to allow my faults to halt my progression in life.

8. I think about and plan what will improve in my life if I can release myself.

Then I bring my plan into fruition. As part of forgiving myself, it's  not enough to simply resolve to forgive myself. Doing things to confirm the forgiveness process will help me to realize my self-forgiveness and to give me a new sense of purpose. Some of the things I have done include:

Taking up meditation.

 Meditation is an ideal way to find inner quiet, spiritual, self-realization, and physical relaxation. It  allows me to take time out, to tune into and appreciate the moment, and to get in touch with my inner self. Done regularly, meditation  improves my well-being and sense of self.

Affirm my self-worth.

Whenever the negative thoughts reappear, I make the time out signal with my hands and then I remind myself regularly that I am a valued and beautiful person and say simply: "I forgive myself" or "I will no longer let anger eat away at me", 

Keep a journal.

 I write down my journey to forgiveness. Having the writing space to share my thoughts and feelings with, one that nobody else will ever read, is a liberating and self-enlightening way to breaking through negative approaches to my life.


 Draw strength from the  teachings of the Holy Scriptures to support me.

 The Scriptures are full of imperfect people who were close to their Creator - not because of perfection - because of LOVE and Forgiveness. In fact, the only perfect person in the Scriptures is My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

9. I see forgiveness as a journey, not a destination.

Forgiveness is an ongoing process and I recognize  that I'll have my up days and my down days, as with most feelings and experiences in life. I sometimes have felt that I've reached a point of forgiveness, only to have something  - a bad breathing day or a COPD exacerbation -  that causes me to feel it was all a wasted effort and that I'm back to square one, angry and annoyed with myself. So I let the back sliding  happen and see it as a minor setback in an otherwise more forgiving self. In addition, I realize that forgiveness has no timetable; instead, I  do my best to prepare myself for the process once more, drawing on my experience of healing, knowing that by entering the process I will  this time as well,  no matter how big it seems at this moment,  repair and heal  and  begin again.


My name is Thomas and, after being an off and on closet smoker for 20 years, I was diagnosed with COPD and quit 6 days later. I have been happily free for 2 Years, 10 Months, 4 Weeks, 2 Days, 4 hours, 53 minutes and 51 seconds (1,067 days). I have saved $1600.87 by not smoking 10,627 cigarettes. I have saved countless days of my life and unknown suffering. My Quit Date: 3/20/10 and I have promised myself to forgive myself for the damage I have caused me. my family, my friends, my life and to never smoke again no matter what! N.O.P.E.!


Join the “Great American Spit Out” and Quit Chewing Tobacco


102-Year-Old Woman: Fine, I'll Quit Smoking

UCSF-Safeway Pharmacy Alliance Aims to Help Customers Quit Smoking

Going smoke-free has benefits

Efficacy of a smoking cessation program in a population of adolescent smokers

Alcohol Consumption May Be in Response to Smoking Cessation

"Overall, subjects reported higher and more volatile smoking urges on days when alcohol was consumed. "Interestingly, these higher, more volatile smoking urges were reported before the individual actually began drinking, suggesting that alcohol consumption may have been in response to smoking urges rather than vice versa" Businelle said. While smoking urge volatility increased following alcohol consumption, the smoking urge trajectory did not."

What Good Will It Do Me to Quit Smoking Now?

2013 Healthy Heart Resolution Made Easy With Stop Smoking Book

Our self-abuse



Tech Doc: Limiting secondhand smoke pays off by decreasing the incidence of heart attack


Smoking’s Gender Gap Closes


Should ALL smokers over 40 be tested for cancer? 


Portland Fire: 'Smoking materials' likely led to $200K 'couch fire' on Fremont Street

NH woman's oxygen catches fire while she's smoking


Lawmakers consider banning smoking in cars with kids

Why Smoking Bans Are Pro-Life

Maternal smoking impairs lung function and increases bronchial inflammation in young children



Resolved: Help staff quit smoking this year

Good Morning, EXer Family andFriends! Again I have been remiss due to my Aunt's stroke. I ask everybody to pray for her recovery and well being. Aunt Mary is a diabetic on insulin who has continued to eat what she wants until she found herself in the hospital with a right side stroke. She is about to be released after 3 days in the hospital and a Month of rehab so I've been helping her family through the logistics of stroke care. Well, I know many of us are dealing with snow, tornado damage, politics, religion, Mardi Gras and North Korea but we must also keep in the forefront of our busy schedules protecting our quit!  And that brings me to today's Know your Enemy articles. For those who don't know these are articles that were recently written on smoking and quitting related articles. I hope they help you protect your quit!


Smokers help beat addiction with laser therapy

Wellington doctor writes book on self-hypnosis as way to end smoking

Stop Smoking and Live Longer with Online Chemist The Healthcounter

Nicotine While Pregnant Increases Colic

Never too late: Bodies of older smokers who quit begin to repair almost immediately

The VA’s $47,000 ‘Smoking Machine’

Success for three of five smokers who quit the habit a year ago

Exercise can help smokers successfully run from tobacco



Where There's Smoke There's Worse Asthma

Live healthily ever after




St. Joseph casino GM fights smoking ban on gambling floor



Smoking and Bone Healing -- A Risky Surgical Combination


Documents reveal tobacco companies funded their own ‘tea party’ first


Africa: Big Tobacco Has Firm Hold On Africa


What do you think?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 12, 2013

An editorial I chose not to publish with "Know your Enemy" belongs here where folks can give me your 2 cents worth! Can you think of ways that smoking infringes on your rights to life, liberty and property (not to mention the pursuit of happiness!!!!)???? I can think of lots!!!!!

"It’s their own bodies — they can do whatever they want to for their own enjoyment as long as they don’t infringe upon the rights to life, liberty and property due to others." 

Could a zombie help you quit smoking?


Check out this new cool app from the American Cancer Society! Do you have a favorite App? Please share it with the Community! And don't miss the sartirical article "How to enjoy your cigarettes guilt free!" May these articles inspire you to protect your quit whether you're 17 or 71 or everything in between!!!


Ask Well: Long-Term Use of Nicotine Gum

Healthy Living: Nicotine patch and gum effectiveness

Pupils aged just TWELVE given nicotine patches by nurses on visits to schools without telling their parents 

Could a zombie help you quit smoking?

Covenant creates app to help smokers quit

Brainsway Announces Final Results in Clinical Trial for Smoking Cessation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients


 Multigenerational epigenetic effects of nicotine on lung function

A new twist on smoking cessation


Study shows majority of smokers re-ignite their habit following heart attack

People With Mental Illness More Likely to Be Smokers, Study Finds


  A cross-sectional study of secondhand smoke exposure and respiratory symptoms in non-current smokers in the U.S. trucking industry: SHS exposure and respiratory symptoms

Push cancer patients to quit smoking, doctor says


Smoking At Public Places A Denial Of Human Rights

How to enjoy your cigarettes guilt free


Bulgarian tobacco harvest relies on help from children

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. Henry

The first and worst of all frauds is to cheat oneself. - Gamaliel Bailey

Yesterday is not ours to recover,
but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose.
~Lyndon B. Johnson

Folks, I'm sorry to say that it's faulty thinking to think that you can take a "Smoke Vacation" away from your quit for any reason! It sounds really good and one would think that it's reasonable. After all, on holidays and vacation, I can drink a beer or two without turning into an alcoholic! In the past during my months long quits I certainly did this with sickerettes and really convinced myself that it was possible. Therein lies the problem!

Here's one nico-lie I told myself: Now that I've been quit for Months, I "deserve' the reward of letting my hair down and setting a window where I can halt the vigilance, kick back and if I want a smoke, by golly, I'll smoke! Then at such and such a day I'll hop right back on the quit wagon, no problem! Do you see the landmines all over this statement?
-I deserve to kill myself?
-I'm willing to risk my Smobriety for a "Break?"
-Smoking is "kicking back?'
-vigilance is a part-time job?
-I "want" to smoke?
-smoking is "preferable to" non-smoking, given true freedom of action?!?!?

People, quitting isn't about deprivation and doing without! It's not about rolled-up Courage and Strength! It's not a sacrifice you do for whatever reasons! It's not about romance denied! It's not about staying stressed all the time in our vigilance!

Quitting is an Attitude of Gratitude that recognizes that smoking is PRISON - the Prison of ADDICTION! It is a Recognition of the ENEMY - Nicotine - that will do any thing, say any thing, try any trick, to get me to relinquish of my own volition my FREEDOM from ADDICTION! I'm visualizing the hypnotic Count Dracula seducing the beautiful woman into a tryst just to wind up biting her in the throat! KNOW THE ENEMY! Smoking is counter to Life-Affirmation! It denies me my own nature - my own character of courage and strength to face life's challenges with my God-given Spirit! Quitting is an ATTITUDE of SELF-LOVE knowing that each sickerette brings me that much closer to DEATH! It's very possible, even likely, that the sickerette you're holding in your hand RIGHT NOW - is the killerette that will slooooowly get you! Quitting with the right frame of mind - SMOKING IS NOT AN OPTION ANY MORE ( for any reason, under any circumstance) - is totally stressless. I don't make the DECISION every day! That choice was made by me for me a long time ago!!!! When I pledge NOPE I AFFIRM that I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR the DECISION TODAY! No Stress!!! I recognize the decision as Life- Giving, Self Respecting, Self-Loving, JOYOUS FREEDOM! So again, with total freedom of choice, I HAPPILY pledge TODAY, just as I have for 1053 Days, NOT ONE PUFF EVER!


Hello, Friend!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 4, 2013

February brings to mind for me not only Love but also Friendship since I learned St. Valentine's Day as the Day of Love and Friendship. When I joined BecomeanEX, I was looking for support and advice and to my delight, I also found true Friendship - what my Friend Tommy Pir8fan refers to as Collateral Kindness!

 I believe that it is important to allow our friendships, like everything about us, to evolve when we quit an Addiction. The shape and meaning of Friendship becomes clear as I sort my way through the difference between "smoking buddy" and "Friend!" Some of my smoking buddies have moved on as have I but I have also opened the gateway of Friendship to new possibilities and, of course, true Friendship is enduring whether one or both of us smoke or not! 

As long term quitters who visit here, our goals include helping ourselves as we help others quit. You know that saying by Albert Camus:




So as a Friend to each of you, I hope these suggestions which come from the American Lung Association will help you my New Friend, you My Old and Dear Friends, and you my potential Friend learn more about yourself and your relationships as we travel this Quit Journey together!

Can I really help someone who is trying to quit smoking?

Yes. Once a smoker has decided to quit, they are most likely to make it when friends and family give their help and support. If your friend hasn’t decided to quit yet, you can help them think of  reasons for quitting, set a target quit date and offer to help in any way you can.


How do I begin?

First of all, quitting is different for each smoker. So, ask your friend how you can be most helpful. This will show that you care and that you really want to help.

Maybe you've already tried to help someone and they weren't successful. That's okay. Remember you can be a big help, but it's not your fault if they aren’t successful this time.


What kinds of things can I do to help the smoker trying to quit?

Tell your friend that you think she can make it this time - even if she has tried to quit before and failed. In fact, most smokers have to "practice" quitting a few times before they quit for good.

For the first few days after the smoker quits, be ready to help. He may want to talk all the time or he may just want extra help when a tough situation comes up, like a coffee break, a party or after a meal.

Offer to call or visit to check on how she is doing. Ask how she's feeling, not just whether or not she's still not smoking.

No nagging, scolding or preaching - this just does not work. Instead, let him know how much you admire him for trying to quit.


What other things can I do to help?

Give lots of praise and offer rewards for getting through a day, a week, or a month without smoking. Rewards can be simple - flowers, something to eat, a card.

Give rewards right away. Giving rewards right away works better than rewards promised for the future.

Offer to do things together like eating at a restaurant, going to a movie or for a walk.

Try to see it from your friend's side. He's not really sure he wants to quit. Cigarettes have been a steady friend for a long time. These feelings are normal even in smokers who succeed. Let him know you understand his doubts.


My friend is really worried about gaining weight. What can I say?

Some smokers do gain weight when they stop smoking but the average weight gain is 5 to 10 pounds and they are still much better off without smoking. Sometimes when people stop smoking, they really want sweet foods. You can help your friend stay away from sweets. Offer them low-fat snacks like carrots, fresh fruit, plain popcorn or sugarless gum.

Exercise really helps to keep weight down. Offer to do things together where smoking doesn't fit in - swimming, jogging, or brisk walking.


Can I help my friend plan how to handle urges to smoke?

Yes. In fact, those who succeed in quitting plan ahead about how to cope with urges to smoke. Offer to help your friend think up some simple things that they will do when they get an urge to smoke. Here are a few ideas:

Call you when she feels the urge to smoke. Remind her that the urge to smoke will pass in just a few minutes - whether she smokes a cigarette or not!

Leave the place that makes him want to smoke. For example, a party where alcohol is served may make him want a cigarette. Go for a walk around the block, or better yet, stay away from parties and alcohol for the first few weeks.

Do some deep breathing if she is feeling tense. Breathe in and breathe out slowly to bring more air into the lungs, which will help trigger the relaxation response.


What if I get annoyed when my friend is tempted to smoke?

Try to stay with it. You're doing a great job! Your friend is trying to break an addiction to cigarettes that may have started several years ago.

Be prepared for some unfriendly and even nasty behavior from your friend. He is going though a tough time. Remind yourself that you are doing a great thing by helping your friend and that the bad moods will not last long.


Do smokers really have withdrawal symptoms when they quit?

Many smokers do have symptoms during the first few weeks after they quit. Some common ones are:

Trouble sleeping

Lack of concentration

Feeling anxious or restless

These will go away as the body gets rid of the nicotine. Other symptoms may be harder for you to handle. Your friend may be grouchy, irritable, nervous or depressed.

Tell your friend you know that these symptoms are real and that they will not last long. A week or two may seem like a long time, but it will get better.


I quit smoking a long time ago. Should I tell my friend it was pretty easy for me?

Quitting smoking is different for every one. You can be of particular help to your friend since you already went through it. Let your friend know how glad you are that she is trying to quit and praise how well she is doing. Ask how she is feeling and what you can do to help.

Mention all the good things you have felt since quitting. Short-term things are easier to understand -- like fresher breath, more energy and no more smelly clothes, stained teeth or fingers. Many ex-smokers talk about getting control of their lives when they quit.

Forget any talk about how easy it was for you to quit. Most smokers are addicted and it's hard for them to quit. Instead, tell your friend that 45 million Americans have quit smoking and that she can do it too.


What do I do if my friend starts smoking again?

Forget about blame or guilt. He is really learning how to quit -- he is not failing. Remind him about how well he did do. Each time he tries to quit is a step forward. Help him figure out what led to his relapse and plan what he will do next time in that situation. You may feel badly if he doesn't quit. The best thing to say to your friend is, "Good try! I still care about you and will help you next time."

Try to feel good yourself about all your efforts to help. You can prepare together for the next time your friend tries to quit smoking.


How long do I need to help my friend?

The first 7 to 10 days are the toughest and your friend may need extra help then. Most smokers who go back to smoking do so within the first three months. So, you need to keep in close touch for that time.

Ex-smokers may have an urge to smoke for months, even years, after they stop. This is normal. Remind your friend that these urges happen less and less often. You can also help celebrate nonsmoking anniversaries.


You deserve a lot of credit for helping someone stop this addictive habit. Your help can make the difference. Those who are able to stop smoking are the ones who get help and encouragement from friends and family.


Source: The American Lung Association  

Good Morning, EXers and Becomers! As often as my health allows I publish this Blog on Mondays. The purpose is to let you browse the latest news on smking related topics. I have found that knowing about Nicotine by reading Allen Carr's The Easy Way, and as well as the news of the day and Blogs here at BecomeanEX have helped my quit journey stay on solid ground and generally "happy" as my Friend James taught me! So grab a cup of coffee or morning tea and get comfortable and learn about the true enemy (not the Nico-Demon ~ HE IS ME!) Nicotine!



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