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World No Tobacco Day 2015 logo

Slave to nicotine? Tired of living from fix to fix? Freedom is vastly more do-able and infinitely more wonderful than your wanting for that next mandatory nicotine feeding will suggest.

What sense does it make to fear or delay a temporary journey of re-adjustment which leads to entire days where you never once think about wanting to smoke, dip, chew or vape nicotine? Why postpone the rich and deep sense of calm and quiet that arrives once your addiction's never-ending chatter goes silent?

If needing to fear, fear nicotine. A prospective study published on May 15, 2015 involved more than 34,000 participants. It found that "regular nicotine use predicted onset of anxiety, depressive, and bipolar disorders."

The problem is that you've yet to discover the key to success.

Whether ready to quit yet or not, World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is a golden opportunity to master successful quitting's only rule. It's called the Law of Addiction and it states:

   "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause re-establishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance." 

Lapse/relapse studies suggest that the distinction isn't necessary, that as with the recovering alcoholic trying to get away with taking a sip, that one equals all, that lapse equals relapse, that one puff will always be too many, while thousands never enough.

In fact, brain scans show that just one puff of nicotine when quitting and up to half of dopamine pathway receptors become occupied by nicotine.

While most who attempt cheating when quitting walk away feeling like they've gotten away with it, the nicotine addict cannot cheat the design of brain circuitry whose job is to make activating events nearly impossible to forget in the short term, the time needed for recovery.

And it isn't long before they find their brain wanting, plotting to obtain or even begging for more.

Nicotine addiction is real drug addiction in every sense, enslaving the same brain dopamine pathways as heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. In fact, the wanting they feel for their drug flows from same brain circuitry as the nicotine addict's.

Treating quitting as though ending some nasty little habit is a recipe for relapse. Appreciate that nicotine compromised dopamine pathways see nicotine the same as they see food (wanting for food, wanting for nicotine) -- that there's no such thing as just one or just once -- and nothing can stand in your way.

Still, while one equals all, take heart in the fact that it's impossible to fail so long as all nicotine remains on the outside. Yes, there was always only one rule, no nicotine today, to never take another puff, dip, chew or vape!


The harms of cigarette smoking are well-reported, but those of cigar smoking are discussed less often. Here Cindy M. Chang of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), tells us more about her systematic review on cigar smoking and mortality risk, recently published in BMC Public Health.


In 2012, an estimated 10.1 billion cigars were sold in the U.S. An analysis of the 2012-2013 National Adult Tobacco Survey  found that more than one in 20 U.S. adults smoke cigars every day, some days, or rarely. The National Youth Tobacco Survey found that while the overall prevalence of cigar smoking declined from 2011 to 2014 (11.6% to 8.2%) among high school students, cigars continued to be the most frequently used tobacco product among U.S. African American high school students, with one in eleven reporting using cigars in the past 30 days.

There are many harmful chemicals present in both cigar and cigarette smoke, including nitrosamines, that cause cancers such as lung and oral cancer. A 2014 study estimated that regular cigar smoking causes 9,000 premature deaths annually in the U.S.

Given the public health harm caused by smoking, we conducted a systematic review of information currently available on the mortality risks of cigar smokers compared to those who had never smoked tobacco or used any form of tobacco. We reviewed 22 studies and found that regular cigar smoking increases the risk of dying from many of the same diseases caused by cigarette smoking, including cancer and heart disease.

We also found that when cigar smokers reported not inhaling cigar smoke, they were still three to ten times more likely to die from oral, laryngeal, or esophageal cancer than someone who never used tobacco.  Research has shown that whether cigar smokers realize it, they are likely to inhale some tobacco smoke. Cigar smokers also absorb nicotine and harmful substances from cigar smoke through their mouths. Our study reinforces the fact that cigar smoking poses significant health risks to users.

The findings are not surprising, given that cigar smokers are exposed to the same harmful chemicals as cigarette smokers, because both cigars and cigarettes are burned tobacco products. A 2014 study found that nitrosamine levels as measured in the urine of daily cigar smokers were comparable with those in daily cigarette smokers.

There is a strong body of evidence that clearly demonstrates the health risks of cigar smoking. Because the cigar marketplace has changed over time with different sizes, flavors, and packaging, as well as changes in patterns of cigar smoking, additional studies would help inform our scientific knowledge of this changing product.

In order to add to the scientific evidence base, future studies could examine the risks associated with cigar smoking in a range of populations that use the various types of cigars (e.g. cigarillos, little cigars). Incorporating biomarkers of tobacco exposure and potential harm could serve as short-term markers that reflect long-term disease outcomes.

The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and National Institute of Health’s Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study,  is a large, nationally representative, cohort study of tobacco use, exposure and health. This will be able to address some of the questions above.

The PATH Study, along with other research supported by FDA, will contribute to the evidence base on the public health impacts of cigar use. It is clear that, given the harmful impacts of their use, cigars continue to be a public health concern.


Need to be lifted up?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 30, 2015

Feeling vs. Doing

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 29, 2015

"You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings."
     ~ Pearl S. Buck ~

So maybe you're not "The Happy Quitter!" When I first heard this term from James I thought it was totally nuts! I was very early in my quit and anything but "happy!" So I had to set that thought on the back burner and just work my quit - one challenging day after the other!

What I allowed to happen is to give fertile ground for the possibility that maybe, one day I might become a Happy Quitter! And of course, live N.O.P.E. every single moment of every single day!

If you think this positive talk about the quit journey sounds out of your reach, think about this: So today Smoke FREE Happiness is out of my reach but that doesn't mean I can't do the right thing! And it doesn't mean that by reaching anyway, tomorrow it will be that much closer, and the tomorrow after that, until I wake up one morning and there it is, not just in my reach, it's in my heart, mind and soul! I have become a Happy Quitter! You don't obtain what you don't reach for!

Thoughts and feelings don't have to blindly be followed. YOU have executive control! YOU get to decide your actions no matter what!


When we examine our Values, they can be found within 3 categories:

-          What we wish to experience while we’re still on this planet

-          How we wish to grow while we are still breathing

-          What we wish to contribute to our World


Nicotine like all Addictions compromises those goals! It can’t not! Nicotine sucks away valuable Time. It demands our Focus. It depletes our Energy. It squanders our Money.

                                              ALL for a dopamine hit!

Once we live smoke FREE all that wonderful dopamine is actually pretty easy to replace! There are lots of ways to get dopamine. For EXample:

-          Tyrosine rich foods such as bananas, almonds, apples, watermelons, cherries, yogurt, beans, eggs and meats.

-          Increase your intake of antioxidants. Dopamine is easy to oxidize, and antioxidants may reduce free radical damage to the brain cells that produce dopamine. Many fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, including

          -      Beta-carotene and carotenoids: Greens, orange vegetables and fruits, asparagus, broccoli

·        -      Vitamin C: Peppers, oranges, strawberries, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts

·        -      Vitamin E: Nuts and sunflower seeds, greens, broccoli, carrots[4]


-          Proper sleep

-          Exercise

-          Reach a new goal. Dopamine is all about pleasure. Luckily, all you have to do is train your brain. Whether it's important to you to walk the dog 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!   

Recovery is all about reclaiming ourselves and with that – our Values! We get all that Time, Focus, Energy and Money back to us, for us to spend on what we decide not what we’re forced to use them on!

Getting from here to there isn’t all that easy ( Sorry Allen Carr!) BUT it is sooooo worth it! We just have to keep in mind that Smoking is no longer an option. I just listed a whole bunch of other options and smoking is nowhere on that list! So what will YOU decide to do instead?


Compelled to Share...

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 27, 2015
   Master, how can I, your servant, talk with you? My strength is gone, and it is hard for me to breath, "He said, "Daniel, don't be afraid. God loves you very much. Peace  be with you. Be strong now: be courageous."
   When he spoke to me, I became stronger and said, "Master, speak, since you have given me strength."
   Daniel 10:17,19
   I am sad and tired. Make me strong again as you have promised.
   Psalm 119:28
   Dear Lord please console all of your children who are suffering right now. So many disasters at this time flooding, earthquakes death and destruction in all directions. We need you Lord more than ever at this time. Keep our Family's and friends safe protected from the tribulations at this time. This I ask in Jesus name Amen.
   Peace be with you!

You may not think you’re a smoker. But when you apply for life insurance, you may be surprised to learn that insurers disagree.

First of all, even if you quit smoking, insurance companies generally won’t consider you a nonsmoker until you’ve been tobacco and nicotine free for at least a year. Even then, you won’t get a company’s best rates without several more years in the clear.

The average life insurance rate for a 35-year-old smoker in the “standard” risk class for a $500,000 20-year term life policy is $747 a year, more than double the nonsmoker rate of $312. That said, if you still use tobacco or nicotine, the impact on life insurance rates depends on how you do it. Here’s how some major insurance companies treat various products.


This one’s easy. If you smoke cigarettes at all, expect to be considered a smoker, and pay higher rates.

Cigars, pipes and chewing tobacco

Insurer AIG will consider cigars a “non-factor” if you smoke no more than one a week, have no nicotine in your urine when tested and have used no other tobacco products for at least five years. Transamerica has similar rules, but allows just one cigar a month.

MetLife gives its best rates to people who have had no tobacco or nicotine use in any form in the past five years and test negative for nicotine in the life insurance medical exam. But people who smoke up to four “celebratory cigars” a year can qualify for “elite nonsmoker” rates, while people who currently smoke cigars or a pipe, or chew tobacco can get “preferred nonsmoker” rates if they test negative for nicotine. Prudential will give “nonsmoker plus” rates to people who smoke cigars or a pipe, or chew tobacco.

Nicotine patches and gum

Prudential also will give nonsmoker plus rates to people who use nicotine patches or gum. But most other companies lump these in with cigarettes.

Electronic cigarettes

Companies that include electronic cigarettes in their guidelines, such as AIG and MetLife, generally classify them with old-fashioned cigarettes.

survey last year by Munich American Reassurance Co. found just 41% of insurers had underwriting guidelines in place for e-cigarettes, with 82% of those classifying them as tobacco products. Meanwhile, 76% of underwriters working for companies without an underwriting policy believed e-cigarettes should be considered tobacco products.

“At the moment, there is no way to distinguish an e-cigarette user from a tobacco smoker via cotinine screening, a routine test for most insurance applicants,” Bill Moore, vice president of Underwriting and Medical for Munich American, said in a news release. “While the long-term health risks associated with e-cigarettes remain unclear, most insurers are erring on the side of caution in order to appropriately price and manage risk.”

The upshot is that life insurance companies don’t treat all smokers equally, although your best strategy to get the best rates, and live longer, is still to quit altogether.

NerdWallet’s life insurance estimator tool can show you the difference between smoker and nonsmoker rates.


Do You Want to LIVE?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 25, 2015

88,000 people die of alcoholism each year.

20,000 people die of illegal drugs.

another 20,000 die of prescription drug abuse.

443,000 people die from smoking!

Life is too short! Don't smoke it up!



Sunday is the Day

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 22, 2015

We'll be holding Kenny's funeral on Sunday and then his brothers will take him with them back to Pueblo, CO where he's from. Although Kenny lived here for many years, it's the right thing to do. If there's any good in any of this we know that Kenny is finally at peace with his demons and in a much better place. I'm doing OK. for now...Next week I had planned a vacation with my Wife but we've changed our plans to a staycation - a chance to nest and grieve and heal. 

I just want to Thank each of you for your many kind notes of support here. Just knowing that your thoughts and prayers are with mine makes the bruden lighter. You deserve individual responses  - it's just I don;t have the energy to even move - as if my whole body were weighted down in quick sand. 

Take good care of yourselves and find and maintain your FREEDOM from Addiction no matter what! Life's too precious! Don't smoke it away!


Need a Refresher?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 22, 2015

Funeral Arrangements

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 20, 2015

Yes, the time has come to bid my Friend Kenny goodbye! I am surprised how stunned I am since I knew this day would come! But there you are! 

Why does the World seem to be so normal when my world has come to a stop? How dare people keep about ther daily business as if nothing has happened? Don't they know that with Kenny's death so goes the possibility of a cure for him? Was I really that blind to the finality of his demise? I thought I was prepared. 

Well, I'm not! But I will find a way to move forward and help Kenny's brothers with the funeral arrangements and the last goodbye..

Thank God my Wife is here to support me! Thank You, EX Community for allowing me to lean on you from time to time as I went through/ am going through this process. 

One thing's for certain! I won't even think about smoking as an option! The thought of allowing Addiction to take one more person's life appalls me! I hate alcohol! I hate Nicotine! I hate the slavery and deprivation that is ADDICTION! I will guard my life from the torment of Addiction at all costs! 

It's just not worth it!


Need a Pick-Me-Up?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 19, 2015

Some electronic cigarette companies say that their products help people quit smoking, but the evidence to back up this claim is lacking, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed information from more than 1,000 people who took part in four previous studies that looked at whether e-cigarettes can improve quitting rates.

After one month, a greater percentage of people who used e-cigarettes had quit smoking, compared with the percentage of people who used a placebo or a nicotine patch. However, after three to six months, there was no difference in the quitting rates among people who smoked e-cigarettes, compared with those who took a placebo or used a nicotine patch.

"Although e-cigarettes are widely promoted and used as a smoking cessation tool, we found no data supporting their long-term efficacy," study researcher Dr. Riyad Al-Lehebi, of the University of Toronto, said in a statement.

E-cigarettes do not burn tobacco. Instead, they vaporize nicotine, and the user then inhales the vapor.

The new findings agree with a 2014 study that found that people who used e-cigarettes in addition to regular cigarettes were no more likely to quit smoking a year later than those who did not use the electronic devices.

A review of 18 studies on e-cigarette safety also found that users sometimes experience side effects, such as a dry cough, throat irritation and shortness of breath. Use of e-cigarettes was also linked with a greater risk of serious problems such as lung inflammation and irregular heart beat — compared with using a nicotine patch while trying to quit smoking.

"Given the potential health risks of using these unproven and unregulated devices, individuals seeking help with smoking cessation should consider other, more well-established options until more research is performed," Al-Lehebi said.

The researchers noted that more robust, long-term studies of the safety and effectiveness of e-cigarettes are needed to see whether or not the devices really may help people quit smoking.

The study was presented this week at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver.

New research suggests that menthol combined with nicotine in cigarettes inhibits the body’s ability to signal irritation from smoking.

Researchers at Georgetown University discovered that the menthol used in cigarettes acts as a painkiller on the nerves that transmit the effects of cigarette smoke to the brain.

"In addition to desensitizing the receptors in the lung and airways, menthol appears to slow or prevent the recovery of sensitivity after the first insult," the researchers say.

"The issue may be that menthol in the presence of nicotine may reduce the irritation enough that a smoker can inhale more deeply, bringing not just nicotine but toxic smoke products farther into the lungs," Ahern said in a press release. "While beyond the scope of this study, it is possible that such deeper inhalation of menthol cigarettes, to the extent it occurs, increases the already substantial health harms from smoking."

Read more;

Oftentimes, money speaks louder than words. Apparently, that aphorism applies to cigarettes too. A new study finds that money incentives work better than behavioral therapy and nicotine patches in getting people to quit smoking.

A closer look at the study offers detailed insight into what rewards system works best. The bottom line? If you're willing to bet money on your quitting, that offers you the best chance. Even if you're not willing to lose greenbacks, overall, monetary rewards proved more effective than typical quit programs 12 months after people's self-selected quit dates—and six months after researchers stopped rewarding people for quitting.

The study included 2,538 smokers recruited among CVS employees and their family and friends. Researchers assigned the study volunteers to one of four money-based programs. Volunteers also had the option of undergoing whatever typical quit program their insurance offered, which would include information pamphlets, behavioral therapy, and nicotine therapy. Below are summaries of the four money programs. (These program names are all ours; don't blame the researchers.)


In this program, researchers checked study volunteers' saliva for signs of smoking 14 days, 30 days, and six months after their quit dates. Those who tested clear at each benchmark received money, with the possibility of earning $800 altogether.


This program had the same payout as the one described above. Volunteers, however, had to leave a $150 deposit up front, which they would only get back if they stopped smoking for six months.


People got assigned to groups of six. This program rewarded members based on group performance; individuals earned more when more group members quit.


People were assigned to groups of six that shared a collective pot of money. Successful quitters split the pot equally between them. This program also required people to pay a $150 deposit.

The results painted an interesting picture. Ninety percent of people assigned to "More Time, More Money" and "the Co-Op" agreed to join the programs. (Those who didn't agree could use a traditional program instead.) These programs' popularity is important—you want people to want to join after all. In contrast, only 14 percent of people agreed to join "Like an Apartment Deposit" and the "Cut-Throat." Among those who accepted the latter two programs, however, the success rates were much higher: After six months, 52 percent tested clean for nicotine, compared to 17 percent of people in pure rewards programs. All four programs were more effective than typical quit programs.


Based on the results, CVS plans to offer a new quitting program for its employees, where workers deposit $50 to enter, and if they test negative for nicotine after 12 months, earn back their deposit, plus $700. That's a lot of money, but such programs could well be cost-saving. One recent study estimated smokers cost companies $5,816 more per year to employ because of additional health care costs, lost work days because of health problems, and lost time from smoke breaks.


Addictive Thoughts

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 13, 2015

As Addicts we all have them. I very rarely still have an addictive thought but I still have them. Being able to recognize them is very important especially at the beginning of our quit journey! That can be challenging because we have 60,000 thoughts a day and because we don’t necessarily recognize them when they pass through our minds.

Some folks personify addictive thoughts and refer to the Nico-Demon! I have no problem with that as long as you know that the Nico-Demon is YOU! You are generating these thoughts! Nobody knows what motivates you like you and most addictive thoughts are motivational.  What do they want you to do?

“I need my next FIX!”

That’s it! These thoughts may look very different from that but that is their motivation! Here are some Examples:

-          I need my sickerettes!

-          I’ll never be happy as an Exer!

-          Sickerettes are my best friend!

-          Sickerettes calm me down!

-          Life is too stressful to quit!

-          I’ll quit someday just not today!

-          I don’t smoke that much!

-          I’m a social smoker!

-          I’ve smoked too much for too long! I can’t quit!

-          Just one won’t hurt!

-          I’ve failed at quitting so many times, I can’t imagine success!

-          I like smoking! It smells good! It tastes good!

-          Smoking is my only vice!

-          At least I don’t XXX [drink, do drugs, etc…]

-          Some people smoke their entire lives and are healthy!

  Smoking is hereditary! Everybody in my ancestry smoked!

I could keep going indefinitely! But it really comes down to one concept! If this thought gives you a “reason”, i.e. Excuse to smoke even one more sickerette – it is an addictive thought!

Here’s the empowering part! YOU get to decide! You don’t have to follow that thought! Imagine thoughts as cars on a highway – they rush by and you can focus on only red cars or you can focus on just blue cars or you can decide to put your focus elsewhere! Not all thoughts are addictive thoughts, are they? It may seem like that at first but you had enough Freedom loving thoughts to find this website and sign up! Let go of your addictive thoughts! They will happen! That’s the nature of addiction. But you don’t have to latch onto them! That’s what we call romancing the sickerette! Call it out and then focus on the Freedom loving thoughts!

READ, READ, READ! When you read you are stimulating many more Freedom loving thoughts! Think of those cars on the highway! The more you read the more the traffic on the highway in your mind has helpful cars! Distract yourself with other stuff! Then you are filling that highway with even another kind of car! Then decide! Take control of those thoughts by choosing your focus! Participate! We know how to do this and we can show you how!

When you stop paying attention to addictive thoughts, at first they pout, and then they scream, wave their hands, flail around, and throw a tantrum! That’s a good sign, actually as long as you continue to focus elsewhere! It means they're scared that you are serious about FREEDOM! They will say this is too scary, stressful, ugly, whatever! They will bring out every temptation they can muster so you will give in! BUT You still have the choice! YOU DECIDE!

 Eventually these thoughts become less frequent and only once in a very blue moon will they show up! You will go hours, then days, then Months, even years without these thoughts! And by then when they do show up, it’s a little whisper you can easily choose to dismiss! It gets better very soon so don’t be discouraged! What’s 4 Months compared to a lifetime of Freedom?


DECISION is the Ultimate POWER!


Need a Lift?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 13, 2015

Noah's Ark

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 11, 2015

We virtually all know the story. The story of humans was going pretty crooked and God in His Wisdom decided to straighten the whole mess out so he flooded the World and only spared one small Family (Noah's) and a pair of each animal. God knew He couldn't just flood the World every single time it all went awry so He sent the rainbow as a promise that He wouldn't do that again!

The Rainbow was God's solemn promise to honor His own commitment to preserve and protect mankind, to reveal  another way, Salvation, rather than to detroy it when people make humongously poor choices.



As Addicts we can feel our lives going awry! So we have to make a plan to set things back by salvaging the good and letting go of the things in our lives that aren't working! This includes Sickerettes of course. But it also includes bad habits associated with our Drug of choice. That may include places we used to hang out to smoke, paraphernalia, even Friends we buddied around with sharing our Addiction. It all has to become a thing of the past.

Then we have to set a Rainbow over our new lifestyle choice! The rainbow of our quit journey means we will find another way than to detroy ourselves with Nicotine when life gets difficult. We will honor our commitment to preserve and protect this one and only body that God gave us in Thanksgiving for His Mercy!

Evey day set your eyes on the Rainbow of your Recovery just as God set His eyes on the Rainbow of His Salvation Plan. We have the opportunity to receive His Blessing and Mercy and to become the person that He intends for us to Become!



The minute we decide to quit smoking our Addictive Minds crank up into full gear. They have one simple objective – OUR NEXT FIX! They may look very different but the goal is always the same. How long they pester your quit journey depends on YOU!

Some folks refer to Addictive Minds as Nicodemons but they’re really only speaking of a part of themselves.

 Addictive Thoughts are often referred to as cravings. I personally like to reframe the word craving as Addictive Thought because it has less power over me. Craving seems somehow relentless, irresistible, undeniable.

Addictive thought sounds like what it is – just a thought and I get to decide to obey the thought or diss it – kick it to the curb!

Fusion is a blending or melding together of a thought and the thing it refers to –the story and the event. For Example, “I want a cigarette” or “I’m going to relapse.”

In a state of fusion, it seems as if:

*Thoughts are reality

*Thoughts are the truth

*Thoughts are important

*Thoughts are orders

*Thoughts are wise

*Thoughts can be threats

Defusion allows us to relate to thoughts in a new way, so they have much less impact and influence.

Become the witness to your thoughts. Examine them with kindness and curiosity.

Here are some ways to defuse your thoughts:

1)    Take the statement “ I want a cigarette.” Now say it this way out loud, “I’m having the thought that I want a cigarette.”

Now make the statement, “I notice that I’m having the thought that I want a cigarette.”

It feels a lot less loaded, doesn’t it?


(2)    Now take the same thought and sing it to the tune of Happy Birthday.

“I want a cigarette right now!

I want a cigarette right now!

I want a cigarette, I want a cigarette!

I want a cigarette right now!”

That one always makes me laugh out loud!


(3)    Give your craving a name:  “Here comes the ol’” I gotta have a cigarette” story, again!"

You’ll begin to recognize that your thoughts are just that – a story!


(4)    Rename the object or event: “I want a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped into 7000 deadly chemicals.”

I like the short version: “I want a sickerette.” Sounds pretty ridiculous, right?


(5)    Thank your Mind: “Thank You, Mind, for reminding me how much I want to be Free from Addiction.

Addictive Thoughts (cravings, remember?) remind us that we’re in the healing process of a very challenging Addiction.


(6)    The Funny Voice Technique:  Pick an animated cartoon character such as Mickey Mouse, Shrek, or Homer Simpson. Hear the character say the thought that’s bothering you.

My favorite is Daffy Duck!


Notice that you haven’t tried to change the thought, get rid of it, argue with it, push it away, debate with it , distract from it or replace it.

You have merely seen it for what it is: a string of words passing through your head. When you defuse your Addictive Thoughts, you recognize that:

*Thoughts are merely sounds, words, stories, or bits of language.

*Thoughts may or may not be true; we don’t have to automatically believe them.

*Thoughts may or may not be important. We can choose to pay attention only if they’re helpful.

*Thoughts are definitely not orders; we certainly don’t have to obey them.

*Thoughts may or may not be wise.

*Thoughts are never threats – they can’t make me smoke!


So how can you tell whether a thought is an Addictive Thought? If you’re not sure, you can ask yourself:

*Does it help me to become the person I want to be?

*Does it help me to build the sort of relationships I’d like in my life?

*Does it help me to connect with what I truly value?

*Does it help me, in the long term, to create a rich, full, and meaningful life?


Does it lead me right back into the Addiction I’ve been trying so hard to let go of?

Defuse from your Addictive Thoughts and you’ll have more of an opportunity for Freedom from being driven by them. You’ll get control of your own steering wheel for a change!

[Resource: The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris]


It's Your Choice!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 10, 2015


Simply make the decision and honor your choice ~ One Day at a Time!


At a Loss???

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 9, 2015

OR Feeling inspired?

Come join us at Positive Affirmations for Success where you will find 47 pages of uplifting messages from all schools of spirituality and motivation.

With over 150 members, many of us have contributed our best affirmations and uplifting messages just for you. Our help is there for you no matter what your circumstances day or night. 

Take what you want and if you have a contribution, feel free to leave one as well. 

Affirmations do lead to success!

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there."

     ~ Will Rogers ~

First, the good news. The risk of relapse declines with the passage of time! While roughly

  95% of uneducated smokers who attempt to stop smoking relapse within a year, the relapse 
  rate declines to just 2 to 4% per year from years 2 to 10, and then falls to less than 1% after 
  10 years.
  Keep in mind that those rates were generated by ex-users who generally had little 
  understanding of nicotine dependency and no formal respect for the Law of Addiction. If 
  obedient to Law our risk of failure remains zero.
  But just one powerful hit of nicotine and the addict is back. 
  While ignorance of the Law is no excuse, the vast, vast most ex-users do not remain exusers because of understanding or respect for the Law, or because of "one puff" relapse rates
  seen in studies.They do so because once home they discover that life without using is vastly better than using. 
  While the relapse rate for years 2 though 10 may seem small, when added together the risk 
  becomes significant. One recent study suggests that as many as 17% who succeed for 1 
  year may eventually relapse.These ex-users don't relapse because they dislike being home. They do so because they lose sight of how they got there, who they are, and the captivity they escaped. 
  Among educated ex-users there appear to be three primary factors associated with relapse: 
  (1) a natural suppression of memories of recovery's early challenges,
  (2) they rewrite, amend or decide to test the Law and 
  (3) they pretend that they have a legitimate excuse to break or ignore it. 
  Should these factors combine with an offer of a free cigar, alcohol use around those still 
  using or occur in an impulsive-type person, the risk of relapse gets magnified. 
    Recovery Memory Suppression
   It's normal to slowly grow complacent during the months and years after ending nicotine  
   use. Complacency is fueled by failing memories of daily captivity and the factors that  
   compelled us to seek freedom.It's also fueled by an inability to recall the intensity of early withdrawal anxieties, the powerof cue triggered crave episodes or the duration of conscious fixation. Most of us failed to keep a detailed record of why we commenced recovery or what those  
   first two weeks were like.  
   Without a record to remind us, we're forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and  
   vividly preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But now, the memory  
   in which we placed our trust has failed us. It isn't that our memory is bad, faulty or doing anything wrong. In fact, it's working as designed to preserve in as much detail as possible life's joyful events, while suppressing and helping us forget life's stressful events, anxieties, trauma and pain.  
   To do otherwise would make life inside these minds unbearable. In fact, post-traumatic  
   stress disorder (PTSD) is believed to reflect a breakdown in the mind's ability to forget. 
   If women were forced to remember the agony and pain of childbirth, most would likely  
   have only one child. We are each blessed with the ability to forget.  
   So how does the recovered nicotine addict who failed to record their journey home revive  
   their passion for freedom and recall liberty's price? If we forget the past are we destined to  
   repeat it? Not necessarily.  
   But just as any loving relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we should not take our  
   recovery for granted or the flame could eventually die, and the fire go out.  
   It's my goal to protect my freedom until I draw my last breath.  
   If you feel the same, then we need to nourish our desires. If we do, we win. If not, we risk  
   complacency allowing nicotine back into our bloodstream. We risk dying as slaves.  
   Whether daily, monthly or just once a year, our recovery benefits from care. But where do we turn if our recovery memories have been suppressed and we've kept no record?  
   Our best resource is probably our brothers and sisters still in bondage. Why not enlist their  
   help in revitalizing our own memories of active dependency?  
    Talk to them. Let them know what you seek. Encourage them to be as candid and truthful   
    as possible.   
    Although it may look like they're enjoying their addiction, their primary objective is to stay   
    one step ahead of insula driven urges and craves. Tell them the truth about where you now find yourself. Although not always the case, with most you'll find their responses inspiring. Be kind and sincere. It wasn't long ago that thosewere our shoes.   
    Try hard to recall those first two weeks without nicotine. Think about earlier uneducated   
    attempts. What were they like? Can you recall your mind begging to be fed? Feel the   
    anxieties. Were you able to concentrate? How was your sleep?   
    Did you feel depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated, restless or anxious? Were there rapidly   
    cycling emotions, irrational thinking or emotional outbursts?   
    Do you remember these things? Do you remember the price you paid? Do you recall the   
    reasons you willingly paid it?   
    If you have access to a computer, go online and visit any of the scores of smoking cessation   
    support groups. There we'll find thousands of battles being fought, hear a multitude of cries   
    and watch hundreds struggling for survival as they dream of the calmness and quiet you   
    now call home.   
     The newbies you'll see cannot begin to imagine traveling so far that remembering the    
     turmoil they now feel will someday soon become their greatest challenge of all.   
     If permitted, send a message to those in need. The most important thing you can tell them is   
     the truth about why you came. If still in the first few days they may be facing significant    
     anxieties. Their mind may have them convinced that their emotional storm will never end.    
     Don't pretend that you can feel their anxiety. Instead give them what they need, the truth.    
      Let them know that you've traveled so far that it's now difficult to relate.     
      Tell them how comfortable and complacent you've grown. Describe last week and how     
      many seconds, if any, that you devoted to thinking about using.    
      Fear of the unknown is frightening. Teach them what life on Easy Street is like. By aiding     
      them we aid ourselves.    
      It may be that complacency has you at a point where thoughts of wanting are again taking     
      root. But think back. How long had you gone without wanting?     
      If it is happening, rekindling pride in the amazing journey you once made may silence such     
      If occurring, I suspect that you've either developed a romantic fixation with using, or failed to let go of one during recovery.     
        Amending the Law of Addiction    
       The second complacency factor working against us is a strong, natural desire to want to believe that we've been fully cured, that we can now handle "just one," "just once."      
       But just one puff, dip or chew and "do not pass go, do not collect $200." Go directly to the addict's prison and surrender your freedom.  It isn't that we don't believe the Law. It's probably more a matter of growing to believe that we're the exception to it.     
       We convince ourselves that we're stronger, smarter or wiser than all addicts who came before us.  We amend the law. We put ourselves above it. "Just once, it'll be ok, I can     
       handle it." "I'm stronger than them." "A little reward, it's been a while, I've earned it."      
       Such thoughts infect the mind and feed on themselves. Unless interrupted by reason and      
       truth, our period of healing and freedom may be nearing an end.     
       If allowed to fester, all our dreams and hard work risk being flushed like a toilet.      
       Instead of pretending we can handle" just one," such encounters demand truth. Before      
       reaching the point of throwing it all away we need to be honest about what's about to      
       If this moment should ever arrive, try telling yourself this before bringing nicotine back into     
       your body:     
        "My freedom will now end!" "I'm going back." "I can handle all of them, give them       
        all back to me, my entire addiction, all the trips to the store, the buys, the money, and      
        the empties." "I want it all back." "Go ahead, slowly harden my arteries and eat my       
        If a smoker, "fill my world with ash, cover me in that old familiar stench, and let       
        morning again be for coughing." If an oral user, "take my hair, destroy my teeth, and      
        put sores back into my mouth."      
        "Put me back behind bars, make me an outcast, throw away the key and let me die       
        with my master still circulating in my veins." "I accept my fate" "I'm ready to       
         It's far easier for the junkie mind to create a one puff, dip or chew exception to the "law"        
         than to admit the truth. Instead of picturing just one or once, picture all of them. Try to imagine fitting them into your mouth all at once. Because day after day, month after month, year after year after year that's exactly where they'll be going.       
         "To thine own self be true." You navigated recovery. You paid the price, if any. You        
         deserve the truth!       
         If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the Law, stop, think, remember, reflect, read,        
         revisit, revive and give to others, but most important, be honest with you!        
          The Perfect Excuse      
         The final ingredient is an excuse. For many, any excuse will do, even joy! It could be a        
         reunion with an old buddy who uses, one too many drinks with friends, a wedding, a        
         graduation, or even a baby's birth and someone handing you a cigar.        
         Imagine being curious about the new electronic or e-cigarette with its atomization chamber,        
         smart chip, lithium battery, and cartridge filled with apple, cherry, strawberry, chocolate,        
         vanilla, coffee, mint or tobacco flavored nicotine.       
         Imagine watching an e-cigarette instantly vaporize nicotine when sucked and seeing a little        
         light at the end imitate a real cigarette's heat. What about a chance encounter with a self service display offering two pieces of Nicorette's new Cinnamon Surge," "Fruit Chill" or       
         "Cappuccino" flavors of nicotine gum for one penny!  What about being tempted to       
         try one of the other new nicotine delivery devices now hitting the streets? It's exactly what those selling them are hoping will happen.        
         Imagine being offered the new fully dissolvable tobacco/nicotine toothpicks, sticks, film or        
         candy flavored orbs.But joyful or even stupid nicotine relapse is harder to explain to ourselves and to those we love.        
          The smart addict waits for the great excuse, the one that will be easy to sell to both         
          themselves and others. As sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell is probably the death of a         
          loved one. Although everyone we love is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for the         
          reformed addict it's the perfect excuse for relapse. I mean, who can blame us for ingesting         
          highly addictive drugs upon the death of our mother.         
          Anyone who does would have to be extremely insensitive or totally heartless! Right?         
          Wrong!           There is no legitimate excuse for relapse.       
          Losing a job, the end of a relationship, a serious illness, disease, a terrorist attack, financial         
          problems, a flood, earthquake, hurricane, an auto accident, are all great excuses too - it's         
          drug time again! The addict is back!         
          Utterly terrible events will happen in each of our lives. Such is life. Adding full-blown         
          nicotine relapse to any situation won't fix, correct or undo our underlying concern.         
          Take a moment now and picture yourself fully navigating the worst nightmare your mind         
          can imagine. Sooner or later it will happen. When it does, staying clean and free may be the most         
          positive factor during this period of darkness.         
          Remember, we've only traded places with our chemical dependency and the key to the cell         
          is that one hit of nicotine that will force your brain's survival instincts teacher to teach a         
          false lesson, and make that lesson nearly impossible in the short term to forget.        
          As long as we stay on freedom's side of the bars, we are the jailers and our dependency the         
                There are only two choices. We can complete this temporary period of adjustment and enjoy              
                comfortable probation for life, or introduce nicotine back into our bloodstream, relapse, and               
                intentionally inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon these innocent bodies for the               
                remainder of their time on earth.               
                If the first choice sounds better - lifetime probation - then we each need only follow one               
                simple rule ... no nicotine today!              









Complacency and Relapse - Caring for Our Recovery


Like tobacco, e-cigarettes affect a smoker's lungs and long-term exposure could lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – more commonly known as COPD or emphysema – according to the latest research by Central Michigan University College of Medicine's Neeraj Vij, an associate professor of molecular and cell biology.


Vij, working with research fellow Prashanth Shivalingappa and CMU seniors Colin Westphal of Linden and Rachel Hole of Oakland, examined how e-cigarette vapor compared to tobacco smoke by testing how the vapor affects cells. The team found even minimal exposure of e-cigarette vapor for one hour, disrupted the protein processes in cells. It is the same pathcigarette smoke and second-hand smoke takes in our bodies.

The team's e-cigarette findings were published as an abstract in the April edition of the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

"COPD/emphysema is not a genetic disorder," Vij said. "We have described the role of overall protein processing in this and in previous research, which has been confirmed by studies from other groups.

"What we are talking about is how these proteins are made and how they are degraded. This process of proteostasis in our cells has to be very – in layman's terms – tightly regulated, because if it goes off-balance, it's a big problem."

Vij, Shivalingappa, Hole and Westphal exposed human bronchial epithelial cells to e-cigarette vapor from one to six hours and saw "significant disruptions" of the protein processing in the cells. Further tests verified that even minimal exposure of one-hour created harmful changes. The team also confirmed its findings with tests on laboratory mice exposed to acute e-cigarette vapors.

Vij joined the College of Medicine faculty last year from Johns Hopkins University, where he was an assistant professor and his research into inflammation and specific proteins led to a better understanding of possible treatments for cystic fibrosis and COPD. He brought his ongoing research program on molecular pathways that lead to chronic diseases to CMU. His work was initiated by funding from National Institute of Health, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute.

Vij's recent research into first- and second-hand smoke exposure related to COPD was published in The American Journal of Respiratory Cell Molecular Biology, Apoptosis and PlosOne and abstracts related to smoke-induced emphysema were published earlier this year by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. He also presented April 1 at the Experimental Biology Conference in Boston.

For me it's living in line with my VALUES! In other words, being my authentic SELF!


Self Respect

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 5, 2015

Self Respect is the root of discipline: the sense of dignity grows with the abiility to say no to oneself.

- Abraham Joshua Heschel  1907-1972

If you had asked me if I respect myself back in those days when I was smoking, I would have said "Sure! I am a self-confident positive fellow!"

Yet, at the same time, I continued to light up those death sticks several times a day! Committing the little suicide! Thinking in some screwball junkie thinking that by "being a rebel" that I was "standing up for myself - for my "right to choose' - for my individuality"! What a bunch of Balogna!!!

But I believed it! That's what ADDICTION can do to your thinking! It can turn it into a pretzel! Anything to get my next FIX!

Junkie Thinking is incredibly insidious because it's a part of me! It knows me like nobody else on the planet and it uses that knowledge against the God-given part of me that wished every single day to break out of the addiction and find my TRUE SELF!

ADDICTION! It changes not just your brain, it changes your whole body and how it works, and by doing so it can completely take over your thought processes and make the most logical, rational person on the planet twist their self esteem and self-respect into this sick individual who craves with all their body and mind that next FIX!

Here's the good part! Our Creator, who truly LOVES us even when we don't know how to love and respect ourselves will use any means possible to urge us to come back to our TRUE GOD GIVEN SELVES!

He nudges us constantly! He swarms our conscience and if that doesn't work, He allows our bodies to react to the poison we've been feeding our Temples so that we finally come to KNOW that we have NO OPTION!

Smoking is not an OPTION any more UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!

Then He brings people like YOU into our lives that lift us up and support us as we struggle to throw off the junkie twisted thinking and see the LIGHT OF TRUTH!

TRUTH is right here each and every day for any of us, even the most hard-core junkie to feed on! TRUTH WILL SET US FREE! All we have to do is to say YES!

I will at least listen to the TRUTH! I will give myself a chance to see beyond my ADDICTIVE THINKING and find out what's beyond!

I really DO respect myself, LOVE myself, wish to affirm LIFE and LIVE ABUNDANTLY as My Creator intends!

YES TO LIFE! YES TO FREEDOM! YES TO MY TRUE SELF! God bless each and every one of YOU and ME, too!

We were all lost in the sea of ADDICTION and He is calling us back to OURSELVES! ALLELUJAH!

Thank God I'm FREE at Last!




Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 5, 2015

So, folks, please share your number one reason that you actually did quit and include how long you have lived N.O.P.E. 

My number one reason for quitting: COPD

I have been quit for 5 Years 1 Month and 2 Weeks


Leave One - Take One

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 4, 2015

Hi, Folks!

I've had a Group for some time called Positive Affirmations for Success. Unfortunately I haven't nurtured it sufficiently but with Spring revival I'd like to invite all of you to leave an affirmation and take one with you (or 2 0r 10....) 

Affirmations help quitters of all stages remember what's important and how to keep a positive frame of mind about quitting, yes, but also about Life and Self! And they enhance your Recovery Journey reminding us of our Values and Priorities. 

Please contribute your little piece of inspiration for your Fellow Quitter and get a boost from somebody else!

152 members

Everybody is WELCOME!

It's never too late to stop smoking, experts say. They’ve found that even quitting after your 60th birthday can help add years to your life.

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center reviewed info from 25 different studies involving 503,905 people from Europe and the U.S. age 60 and over. Of these people, 37,952 died from heart disease.

The researchers found that smokers are twice as likely to die from heart disease as people who've never smoked. The risk of dying depended on the number of cigarettes smoked over a lifetime. But after a person kicks the habit, that risk begins to fall. On average, former smokers are just 1.37 times more likely to die from heart disease than those who've never smoked.

The good news for the over-60 crowd is that within the first 5 years of quitting, the risk of getting cardiovascular disease drops a lot. And the risk continues to fall as long as they stay smoke-free.

The researchers found that the age of smokers who die from heart disease is, on average, 5 and a half years younger than people who have never smoked. By contrast, the age for former smokers drops to just over 2 years younger than people who’ve never lit up.


"The evidence that smoking causes significant harm to your heart is overwhelming. This study further emphasizes just how important it is that we do everything in our power to quit,” says Christopher Allen, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation.

"Giving up can potentially add years to your life and, as this research suggests, the benefits can be felt at any age so it’s never too late to kick the habit.”


For Linda

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 May 3, 2015


Giving you a BIG HUG because you are Special!

The Mindful Geek: A Radically New Way to Quit Smoking

Smoking kills. We all know it.

The last 50 years have seen an explosion of anti-smoking campaigns as public health officials realize that smoking is a chief cause of cancer, cardiovascular illness and a host of other diseases.

To some extent these campaigns have worked: We are seeing a dramatic reduction in smoking among younger generations. In 2013 the smoking rate among young people (about 19 percent)1 was nearly 25 percent lower than in 20051 and approaching 50 percent lower than in 1995.2 That is great progress, but frankly it isn't enough. Smoking remains the No. 1 cause of preventable disease and death in the United States; 42 million adults in this country are smokers 1 and tobacco use accounts for 1 out of every 5 deaths in the nation. 3

The biggest problem that anti-smoking advocates face is that quitting.

But now there is a new way forward.

An innovative researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has been testing a set of technologically based forms of an acceptance and mindfulness-based therapy. The studies he's done to date are so exciting that he is a candidate for Geekwire's Geek of the Year Award.

This man happens to be a good friend and colleague of mine. His name is Jonathan Bricker. He is bravely challenging the very foundation of existing smoking-cessation programs and getting dramatically better results while doing it.

A Revolutionary Approach to Smoking Cessation

I first met Jonathan at an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) workshop I was giving back in 2004. Elizabeth Gifford had just published an exciting new trial on ACT for smoking 3 and Jonathan saw the enormous possibilities. He was interested in part because it was such a radically different approach to virtually every other program out there.

Most smoking cessation programs -- including the popular government-funded, Internet-based -- provide motivational counseling to help people quit and encourage them to avoid situations that trigger cravings. When urges do strike, smokers are typically advised to distract themselves from these urges.

If you have followed my work, you know that these kinds of techniques can be inert or even counterproductive. Sometimes they only intensify the thought, feeling or urge. For more details about why, you can check out my other blogs.

Jonathan became interested in applying the psychological flexibility concepts of acceptance, defusion, and values-based living that are inside ACT using more technologically advanced methods of smoking cessation. He saw immediately that if smokers could be taught to accept their urges, mindfully get some psychological distance from them, and to focus instead on their values, a real step forward in public health was possible. But doing this one at a time or even in small groups (as had been done in the Gifford trial) was way too cumbersome and hard to disseminate.

Jonathan is a geek. He thought there was a leap forward that could happen from ACT-based apps, websites, and telephone-based smoking cessation programs.

Jonathan fought against the skeptics who raised their eyebrows. His first break came when Dr. Ross Prentice at Hutch's Public Health Sciences Division took a chance on Bricker's ideas and awarded him a small grant to conduct a pilot study.

The study was a success and not long after Jonathan won a grant from NIH for $3.2 million to create a website to provide ACT-based intervention to smokers. He has since landed several additional major grants to build out the work.

To date, there are seven randomized controlled trials of ACT for smoking with nearly 1000 participants. 3-10 Jonathan is senior author on all of them that are using technologically-based interventions. ACT has been compared to pharmacotherapy, traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy, and the main US government-created phone lines, websites, and apps including, and QuitGuide. The existing methods had an average quit rate of 14% at the end of follow up, but across those six studies ACT was over twice as effective (odds ratio of 2.2; p < .001). And because it is technology based now thanks to Jonathan, ACT is ready to be deployed to help thousands upon thousands of smokers at a low cost.

Enormous funded trials are now underway with literally thousands of participants but if these exciting early results continue to hold it will mean that some people will see their grandchildren grow up who otherwise would not; some people will see sunsets that otherwise they would never see; some people will know the love of their partner who otherwise would have passed.

How cool is that?

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