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2015
Thomas3.20.2010

Honest Recovery

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 29, 2015

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.

Friedrich Nietzsche

 



 

As Nicotine Addicts we are no different from any other Addicts in our deception and lack of honesty. It may be easier to see how a Drug Addict or an Alcoholic lies to his Family and Friends  and most important HIMSELF but a Nicotine Addict is no less guilty!

I only really understood this once I was already on the road to Recovery. I was in such a habit of lying to myself that I couldn’t see what I was doing! I lied with sins of commission and also sins of omission Dishonesty had become a way of Life. I can hear myself right now proclaiming, “I don’t smoke much so it’s not all that bad!” “A little mouthwash and they’ll never know I smoke!” “I don’t spend much money on cigarettes.” “I’m not addicted – I can stop anytime.” Yadayadayada…….

The road to Recovery is the Road of TRUTH! Only when we come out into the light of Truth and admit our Addiction for the whole world to see can we obtain the true support of those who will be there for our Quit Journey. At the same time, those folks who are not supportive of our Quit will become obvious and we know where now to turn!

We will have to come to terms with some really challenging concepts:  I am not self sustaining; I need help; I must learn how to handle my emotions, thoughts, and actions more maturely; I have sold myself short by trusting in a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped into thousands of chemicals; I even went so far as to believe that this inanimate object was in some way my “friend”; I shortchanged my real life friends, my family, and most important, myself!

There are a number of reasons why I was dishonest:

* I was afraid of the consequences of my actions and so I lied to protect myself.

* Lying is a habit. The more I did it the more I was likely to do it again. It is easy to slip into the habit of lying until dishonestly just becomes an almost automatic response.
* Being dishonest convinced me that I could secretly smoke and nobody would know. The problem is that the long-term consequences of dishonesty are almost always negative.
* I lied without even realizing it. This is because I was so self-deluded that I was unable to see the truth. Even though I have given up Sickerettes I can still become self-deluded again in the future.


Denying that you are a Smoker is not harmless or believable! Only after you quit smoking does the stench of Sickerettes become obvious. No amount of mouthwash, chewing gum or perfume is going to cover it up! No amount of denial is going to lessen the damage done to body, mind and spirit!

Dishonesty in recovery is dangerous because:

* It is a common relapse trigger. It means that the individual is returning to old ineffective coping strategies for dealing with life.
* The most common reason why people relapse after a period of smobriety is that they become stuck in recovery. This often happens because they have stopped being honest with themselves and other people. They feel unwilling to face a challenge on the path before them so they try to hide from it in denial. No further progress can occur until the individual can clearly acknowledge what the problem is and be willing to take action to remedy the situation.
* If friends and family find out about this dishonesty it can destroy any progress that has been made in rebuilding relationships.
* Dishonesty can lead to feelings of guilt afterwards. The individual who is dealing with too much guilt in recovery can find it hard to discover real happiness.

* It was the failure of the individual to be honest with themselves that kept them trapped in addiction. If they allow self deception to once again take hold of their life then they are likely to question the value of smobriety and the need to refrain from smoking.
* Honesty allows for healing of the individual and those close to them. If people continue to be dishonest then it means that this healing will not take place.
 

Honesty and openness must start from Day 1. I was a closet smoker but I had to tell everybody that I was truly a Secret Nicotine Addict who had decided to Recover. Much to my amazement and chagrin nobody was surprised by that - they already knew! Their noses told them!

Then things got harder! I had to be brutally honest with myself! I had to admit that I indeed need help! I brought myself to BecomeanEx and heard truths I didn’t want to hear – but I still listened! For Example, one puff sets you back to the beginning! Sneaking – which is a form of dishonesty – will not be tolerated! That’s not because of some hardcore policy. It’s because of the Law of Addiction:

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

This is a natural Law just as much as the Law of Gravity!

I had to admit that I had been completely out of touch with my emotions. I had to relearn all of the reactions I had with the World and people which up to withdrawal I had hidden under a smoke cloud! I learned how I used smoking as an escape from dealing with my problems. I had to learn to live my Life on Life's terms!

Hard truths to swallow! But you know what? I value and have always valued Truth and Honesty! Now I can live clean of deception – neither fooling myself or others. I can be my authentic Self! That is, in my opinion, the Biggest Blessing of Recovery! The FREEDOM!

I no longer carry that unacknowledged shame and guilt of knowing that I’m doing wrong by my Creator, myself, and my loved ones! I have chosen to live in the Light of Truth! I live my Values, now! I act true to my beliefs!

Abundant Addiction FREE Life!

The greatest Gift I ever received from God! He always offers – I just had to say YES!

You may think I'm writing this for you but I'm actually writing it for me! Not that I am fighting the NicoDemon today But a rathe Personal Demon thhat is driving me crazy! ANXIETY!

So I was looking at this old Blog and it occurred to me that I can use the same principles to fight this Demon, too! I'll let you know how that works out...

_______________________________________________________________________

  Your Addictive Self is a part of   YOU! That being said there is another part of you that is being dragged down with it - the part that knows that what you're doing is wrong and contradictory to your every moral value!   Your Addictive Self  won’t stop smoking, and you can’t stop forking over the time and money that make the sickerettes possible.
   
  Of course you can easily see the problem from the outside. Why would an Addict stop smoking when they can squeeze thousands of dollars a month out of you and keep right on doing what they’ve done their whole lives? And how can you say no when your Addiction seems impossible to break? Besides, it’s a disease, isn’t it? How can you deny your sick addiction?
   
  You probably already know that that’s how the daily cycle continues for years and years, and how it’s apt to go on until you get very, very sick or  die or the money runs out. The Addict within will continue to manipulate you, and you will continue to feel guilty and wonder what you did to cause your decision to smoke that first sickerette and go down the Addict road.
   
   Nicotine Addiction  is a Choice, not a Disease
   
  Of course you've always known that the promise of tobacco never really came to fruition. You weren't really cooler, more rebellious, more popular, sexier, calmer and whatever else the commercials depicted just because you smoked your cancer sticks. Even when your childhood quest for those things played a role, it doesn’t excuse ongoing childishness. Searching for the current problems’ beginnings, even finding them, does nothing to fix the mess. As you’ve probably noticed, everyone just stays trapped in the swirl of emotions, habit, myth, and despair.
  
    There is an Alternative
  
     
  
    This time I have a different  suggestion. Instead of pouring on battles and willpower, I recommend a carefully planned disengagement. No threats, no expectation that your addictive self  will change - just a gradual change in the personal dynamics that will, over the course of a year, result in your Addictive Self being isolated. 
  
     
  
   
    Concentrate on YOU! What values do you have? What activities would you like to do if you "had the time." Imagine your perfect self in line with your values and then decide on one activity that brings you closer to becoming that person and do it. You are the part of yourself who wants things to change - so ignore your Addictive Self who obviously has a vested interest in things staying the same.  
   
       
   
    It works because you are focusing on that part of you who wants to change rather than to force change onto your Addictive Self. Success means working with the part of you that is motivated; skipping labels and self-justifying EXcuses; focusing on the present and future, not the past; and actively instituting new behaviors.  
   
       
   
    
      The Temper Tantrum  
    
         
    
     Your Addictive Self will certainly protest, especially if it got it's fix by carrying on loud enough or long enough! But just as you wouldn't given in to a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, that's obviously not the solution here either.   
    
         
    
     But you can defuse the tantrum using similar methods as good parenting skills. You can acknowledge that your Addictive Self is frustrated. You can let it know you feel it's pain, too! Even just saying "I know you're upset," you're telling it you're there to help it feel better. That might be enough to calm it down so you can add, "I wish we could have a cigarette, too. It's too bad we can't right now."   
    
         
    
     Be silly. Laughter can be a great tantrum buster. If your Addictive Self starts to pitch a fit about walking past a temptation, try singing a goofy song  -- anything to make yourself giggle.   
    
     
      Try a distraction. Give yourself something else to think about. There are several lists of 100 things to do instead. Get busy and if it's an activity for which you're passionate, like art or music, even better!     
     
      
       
        
                 
        
         Ignore it. Sometimes, tantrums escalate because your Addictive Self  thinks it will get what it wants if it screams loud enough. If you don't react, it will give up.       
        
                 
        
         
          Leave the scene. When all else fails, get out of public and let yourself have the meltdown, tears and all - just keep those sickerettes away from your face! But do it without making a fuss  -- you'll be proving to yourself that even when you don't feel calm you can display calm behavior. It may be inconvenient, but it shows who's in control:         
         
           YOU!       
         
                   
         
           ____________________________________________________________________       
         
                   
         
                   
         
          So what do you all think? Could this detachment work for free floating anxiety? I'm open to suggestion.....        
        
       
      
     
    
   
  
Thomas3.20.2010

SACRED

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 26, 2015

"We inhabit ourselves without valuing ourselves, unable to see that here, now, this very moment is sacred, but once it's gone it's value is uncontestable!"  - Joyce Carol Oates

Hello, fellow Exers!

When was the last time you thought about that Breath that you're taking right now and remembered to Thank your Creator that you were given that chance?

Now is a Good Time!

Take a nice long breath all the way down into your belly, purse your lips and very sloooowly exhale! As you exhale just think in your mind Thank You Father for this Breath of Life!  

We are so fortunate to have the Gift of LIFE! It's our responsibility to guard and Protect that Gift!

We do that each and every day that we DECIDE to live Smoke FREE!!!

We honor Our Creator by choosing to live the way He intends for us to be - Addiction FREE!

 That's how Valuable YOU and I are to Him!

Choose Breath not Death! Just for today live Smoke FREE with GRATITUDE!

Thomas3.20.2010

DISCIPLINE

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 23, 2015

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

James Clavell, in  his novel "Shogun"

We often talk about Positive Mental Attitude and celebrate folks who demonstrate their positivity while some folks wonder how to get it and where it comes from, especially in their earliest days of the quit when what they feel is anxiety, exhaustion, loss, deprivation, frustration,etc. We all know those feelings.

Occassionally somebody asks, "When will my feeelings change?" Answer: 'Tuesday, the Tuesday that you DECIDE to let them change!"

Our entire Society is based on the idea that Happiness is a Right (as in the Constitution) or Gift (They're So LUCKY! They're always Happy!)  

The TRUTH is the Constitution calls for Responsibilty - the PURSUIT of Happiness!

You see, rights come with the responsibility to protect those rights not just for myself but for all my fellow citizens!

As for gifts - yes, that gift has been given from our Creator to each and every single one of us including YOU and ME! But did I open  my heart to receive that gift, or was I afraid I'd be too vulnerable?

Many of us are scared of true Happiness, as ironic as that sounds. And it doesn't just come to us - it is a Discipline!

As James Clavell (a very awesome writer BTW) points out, it requires EFFORT! It requires you to put the brakes on that downward spiral of negativity where our minds often tend to go and replace it with LIFE AFFIRMING thought processes!

That's where Affirmations come in! This isn't just feel good lefty hocus-pocus it is an entire Discipline that has been highly studied! It's called Neuroplasticity - how your brain actually changes when you put the brakes on negative thoughts and replace them with affirmations! Anybody can do this!

Have you seen poor people, sick people, people who are grieving, people who have suffered tornadoes or other disasters, unemployed, homeless, who are happy? I have! And we ask ourselves, "How can they be so HAPPY?!" They're happy because they CHOSE to change their perspective and it didn't happen overnight - it happened one day at a time! DISCIPLINE!

The Good News is that YOU and I can do this too! Happiness can be learned! The Choice is OURS!

I chose to become a Happy Quitter! I choose to be a happy person! 

Life is what you make it! The Quit Journey is a part of Life! Why not enjoy it?

Thomas3.20.2010

I need your Help!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 22, 2015

Please welcome our new member from Wales:

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/people/maggsie

Maggsie

Thomas3.20.2010

Need a Lift?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 22, 2015

Drop in on our Group!

image

We'd love to give you a boost!

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

Thomas3.20.2010

WHO ARE YOU TODAY?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 22, 2015

We are shaped by our thought, we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves! -Buddha

Just which YOU is in control of your day?

Is that the part that FEARS the quit when fear is nothing more than False Evidence Appearing Real?

Is it the addictive part which fantasizes every imaginably fabulous event about smoking when smoking is no more than purposefully killing yourself one puff at a time?

Is it the curious part of you who wants to know "Why do these people keep talking as though quitting is HAPPY???

Is it the intellect who will read, read, read some more because it wants to know the FACTS about nicotine addiction?

Is it the Determined part that refuses to let irrational thoughts to be in the driver's seat?

Is it the Rebel that is sick to death of being controlled by a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in over 4000 deadly chemicals?

You get to choose! You can actually shape your thoughts and thus, your SELF!

The future is no more than a series of todays!!!! So the only thing that matters about who I want to be is who I am TODAY!

When the mind is pure from addictions, then joy will certainly follow like a shadow that never leaves - as long as you say N.O.P.E. (not one puff ever!)

Nicotine's chemical properties are addictive. If you take that nicotine away from your body, it will miss it and you will experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms surface after three-five days of quitting smoking and linger for approximately two weeks. We list out some of these symptoms to help you prepare for these side-effects to smoking cessation. Rest assured that these symptoms, while some are unpleasant, will only be transitionary and once you're rid of them, will leave you feeling much better after quitting smoking.

Emotional withdrawal

Some of the most common symptoms are...

Depression: You may feel low, sad and hopeless. Hence it is important to surround yourself with people, preferably non smokers and friends who will support your decision to quit smoking.

Angry: Emotional upheaval can make you angry. Others may not be aware of it, but you know what's happening to your body. The age-old remedy of counting till 10 isn't such a bad idea. Stop, think, regain your calm and composure before losing your cool.

Bored: You may have noticed that when you were bored, tired or depressed you tend to smoke. Now that you are on your way to a smoke free life replace these voids with hobbies or get involved with people around you. Pay more attention to your loved ones.

Lonely: Withdrawal of smoking can make you feel lonely, impatient and irritable. If your friends are busy, take up a dance class or cooking class. It is important to expect these feelings of loneliness, so stay prepared.

Mood swing: Tempers will flare and tantrums will increase. These are not exactly PMSsymptoms. Nicotine was once your evil friend but now you have to bear with the loss of the addiction. This will throw your emotional reactions to daily happenings into a tizzy. Most quitters will need help with these mood swings. Replace the smoking placebo with something else. Invest in some great music and strong coffee, maybe?

Physical withdrawal

Nicotine obstructs the flow of oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. Now that you have quit smoking, your body has to hit the reverse button to detox.

Bowel discomfort: It's time to change your diet and fitness once you quit smoking. Quitting smoking can cause cramps, nausea, flatulence and constipation, therefore it is important to increase roughage and exercise your body.

Nasal and throat problems: When you stop smoking, your nose and throat will try to clear the mucous that has accumulated over the years. You may experience coughing, dry throat and mouth. Fluids are the key to clearing this process.

Increase in appetite: Craving for cigarettes can be confused with hunger cravings. The best way to stay healthy is to consume fluids and low calorie snacks.

Headaches: Lack of nicotine can lead to headaches, the way out of it is with massages, plenty of water and rest. Gently massage your temple, drink water, take a hot shower and take a deep breathe.

Lack of sleep: You may experience insomnia after you quit smoking. Take a hot shower before you hit the sack, do breathing exercises too and most importantly avoid coffee closer to bed-time.

Restlessness/lack of concentration: You feel like there is energy bursting in you, transfer this energy into something constructive. In these situations smokes would calm your nerves, but now switch off that thought and cultivate a new habit. You may feel you can't concentrate too; try listening to music or take a break from your routine life.

Weight gain: Increase in craving can lead to weight gain, especially if you indulge in unhealthy food. But don't be dejected, you can cut it out with exercise and the right diet.

Sweating and shaky hands and feet: You will feel that your hands and feet tremble. It is a passing phase that will stop. If you experience these withdrawals you know your body is simply shedding an addiction and leading you to a much healthier life.

Skin trouble: While quitting smoking is associated with healthier skin, the period of withdrawal will cause some skin trouble. Some people with sensitive skin might break out into a fresh acne case or suffer from some ulcers in the inner-cheeks, tongue and mouth. The reason is simply that your body is letting go of the toxins and levelling up.

Instead of losing motivation, after reading these withdrawal symptoms, the one thought any quitter must focus on is this: The fact that your body is changing so much when quitting, simply showcases how much it is continuously changed and affected while you still smoke. Avoid poor health and dangerous diseases - quit smoking today.

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Thomas3.20.2010

Emotions

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 20, 2015

The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what's there: all of it.  Richard Rohr

When you are at the beginning of your quit, you often feel emotions that seem overwhelming! Anger, Fear, Anxiety, even Joy, Happiness, Excitement! All those years we hid our feelings under a Smoke Cloud - we couldn't feel either really good or really bad - just a numbing blah!

Now, all of a sudden, you feel intensely - you're out of your comfort zone! I've heard many people say that they didn't think it was "fair" to their families to be so emotional, when in fact what they are feeling is the REAL ME for the first time in many, many years!

Folks say that they perceive this emotional intensity as "immaturity" when, in fact, it's more immature to squash your feelings with poisonous substances rather than learn to cope with and live with the true Creator-given YOU!

How are you going to deal with substance- caused chronic illness if you can't live with true natural feelings? Yes, your family will have to go through this learning transition with you and you will be modeling extraordinarily important living skills because, truthfully, life is a whole series of stepping out of our comfort zones! Knowing how is what living is all about!

Feelings have been given to human beings for a reason! Life with feelings of all kinds is abundantly rich and fruitful! LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY -Smoke FREE!

Thomas3.20.2010

PEACE BE WITH YOU!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 19, 2015

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

Did your cigarette always make you feel at peace? Did you see it as the solution to escape from strife? If you've quit for a few days now then you will recognize that these are nico-lies!

But also, your quit isn't guilty of all that has gone wrong since you quit, be it physical, mental, or emotional!

So many people ask me if the quit caused them to have headaches, to overreact at work, or to become forgetful! The fact is this stuff happens whether we quit or not!

But our addict mind is always searching for a "reason" why it's better to smoke than to quit: "I'm a nicer person when I smoke; I sleep better (or don't sleep as much) when I smoke; I'm more alert when I smoke; etc, etc, etc,...."

Some of these phenomenon are temporary adjustments to becoming an Addiction FREE Person but no reason AT ALL to give in to the voices whose real purpose is simply to get my next fix!!!

With time some will clear up as your body adjusts to the NEW non-smoking YOU! Others have absolutely nothing to do with the process - they just get generalized into the whole time line of how I experienced my quit! In other words, LIFE HAPPENS!

But our junkie minds will twist anything to bring us back to our comfort zone! You have to basically find another solution to your problems than smoking!

So the next time you hear that voice - redirect the question - I don't ask to smoke or not to smoke! The REAL Question is what can I do instead???

Look inside of you and find that inner Peace which doesn't rely on anyone or anything - especially not a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in over 4000 chemicals!

The Peace is in you and you can carry it anywhere you go under any circumstances!

LLAP

Thomas3.20.2010

I Like Smoking!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 18, 2015

Do you really? Right now, as you smoke that cigarette, do you really like the smoke hitting the back of your throat? Do you like the feeling of the deep inhale as smoke travels into your lungs? Do you like the rush back up the airway and out through your nose?

OR are you like 99% of people who smoke everyday and entirely unconscious of what they are doing –

The pleasure, those ‘warm, relaxing pleasurable’ feelings that we experience from cigarette smoking do NOT come from the cigarette. It is YOU by your mental intention of smoking cigarettes that causes the release of the ’happy’, ’pleasurable’ brain chemicals – not the cigarette. But because you believe it is the cigarette you now believe you MUST smoke to get those feelings.

But even more importantly, you believe that if you quit smoking cigarettes, you will NEVER experience those feelings again.

To enjoy that feeling – that sensation!

…Of calm.

…Of peace.

…Of security.

…Of relaxation.

 

We smoke because we want to experience

those pleasant feelings that we have

unconsciously linked to smoking cigarettes.

We believe it can……

§  Relieve our boredom

§  Relax us if we are nervous or tense

§  Help us to think and concentrate.

§  And, dangerously, we even believe it can help us stay slim.

 

We feel relief and a great pleasure that that empty feeling is gone.

When we smoke that cigarette and satisfy our craving, we F-E-E-L a great sense of relief and

we unconsciously DECIDE TO ENJOY THE MOMENT. This is why is smoking so addictive.

For those few minutes……you ALLOW yourself time to think, FREE of all your worries and concerns. And as time goes on, these pleasant, relaxed FEELINGS become interlinked – totally linked with smoking and certain parts of your day.

Every time you have a cigarette you mentally and emotionally ALLOW yourself ( even if you are unconscious of this happening ) to have a break  FROM your work or worries and for THAT moment you feel…….



 

Happy…

 

Safe……. 

 

And Secure.

And as you begin to enjoy these brief periods of peace, safety and relaxation snatched during the day, you do not realize it but you become …..SLOWLY convinced that these PLEASURABLE FEELINGS are totally linked - in fact, most of us falsely conclude that they must be in some way INHERENT in the cigarette itself.

 

We have set up a neurological association in our bodies between the act of smoking and these feelings.

We have unconsciously transferred pleasurable feelings of peace, relaxation and safety that we allowed ourselves to experience to the daily act of smoking. This is why smoking cessation can be difficult if this point is not understood.

 

The simple truth is……

We find it difficult to quit smoking, not because it is enjoyable, or because it helps us to relax, but because WE BELIEVE that it does all these things for us!

 

There are two things that keep us addicted to nicotine……..

 

1.       Our absolute belief (our mental conditioning) that we NEED them – that we MUST have them to be happy, to enjoy ourselves.

 

2.       And…..our chemical addiction to nicotine.

 

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms are Mild.

In fact, giving up smoking is 90% mental and only 10% physical.

The actual physical discomfort you will experience will be less than that of a head cold.

Millions and millions of us have ALREADY made the journey and we have

already made the great discovery:



 If you approach the journey in the right way, there is nothing ahead of you

but success, joy and freedom as you reach the land where non-smokers

flourish.



In fact, if in quitting smoking, all we had to deal with was the

chemical addiction, the process would, indeed, be easy.



 Today thousands of people who genuinely and totally believed that they NEEDED to smoke to enjoy certain parts of the day have realized it is a TOTAL ILLUSION.

 

85 % of the general population can get through their day and enjoy it fully without needing to inhale filthy smoke into their lungs through a cigarette.

 

 

The only thing between you and that reality is a core belief that says that quitting 

smoking must be agony and should be avoided.

 

Your fight is not with the cigarette ………..

………..but  with your belief programming that YOU NEED TO SMOKE TO BE HAPPY and to ENJOY different parts of the day.

 

My name is Thomas and I am celebrating 1977 Days of Authentic Happiness and FREEDOM from Addiction to Nicotine! You can, too! Read more at: quitsmokingonline.com.

 

You deserve Authentic Calm, Peace, Security, Relaxation and Happiness!

Thomas3.20.2010

TRUTH!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 16, 2015

Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it's not
going to go away. Elvis Presley

Approximately 480,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke each year in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014:

80,000 people died of alcohol

6,955 died of AIDS

35,369 died of car accidents

66,452 died of drug use — legal and illegal

16,121 died of murder

and 41,149 died of suicide

 

 

Smoking kills - quitting doesn't!

Thomas3.20.2010

My Bargain

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 15, 2015

The psychological recovery process is very similar to the grief cycle, how someone feels when a loved one dies. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross found that anytime we experience a major change in life, we grieve for the old in order to make room for the new.

 One of the Stages of Grief is bargaining. This is the stage where participants feel tempted to postpone the inevitable. You might try to switch brands, smoke only at home or only at work. You might also try to make deals and empty promises. 

This is my story!

Over the 20 years that I smoked  I never smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day and I often quit for periods of several months to even years.  My idea wasn't to quit for all time! I was thoroughly convinced that I LIKED smoking so much that I was willing to bargain. "I’ll clean out my lungs from time to time" so I won't have to give up my "friend" or my health! I kept saying "look at George Burns! - I hardly smoke at all and not all the time.”

Well, Sickerettes didn’t keep their end of the bargain! (They never do!) On March 14, 2010 I was diagnosed with COPD after going to the hospital for an upper respiratory infection! ME! The guy who had bargained with his Sickerettes to smoke just once in awhile and quit from time to time! COPD is incurable and will get worse over time!

Here I am 5 Years later. I’ve done everything I can think of to protect what lung health I have left but it isn’t easy! And it’s very Expensive! I miss around a day a Month from lung related illness. I have the best insurance because I use it a lot! And it takes up a good chunk of my check.I always hit my maximum copay.  I have a gym membership because lack of exercise is a sure ticket into quick decline into disability.

Timewise I spend 2 to 3 hours working out. There are times I miss Family and Friend gatherings because I just don’t have the energy. I have to take into consideration my breathing every single minute of every single day. I can't eat at the same rate as others because I can't eat and breathe at the same time!

I take 8 medications a day, some of which will eat my bones away and others will damage internal organs. My Doctor knows this and I know this but there is no other option! It’s a trade-off.

Today it’s 92 degrees outside and here I am with the windows closed because the neighbors are having a barbeque. I can’t tolerate your perfume, her air freshener, their colds and flus. There are times when I just can’t talk anymore because I get winded from shortness of breath.

Living with COPD can mean becoming frustrated and impatient because I can't do the things I used to do. Feeling resentful when others tell me, "You don't look sick"  or ask me, “How long did you smoke?” as if I somehow deserve this!  It can cause me to be panicky and tense, and become dependent and demanding because it's frightening when I can't breathe.

Anxiety is another thing that goes hand in hand with my COPD. I’m anxious about my day ( What triggers will I face today?), anxious about my work ( Will I get fired for missing so much work?), anxious about my Family (Will they abandon me when I get really sick?), anxious about my future ( How will I cope when I get physically helpless and on 24/7 Oxygen?), just plain anxious! Studies have shown that this isn’t just a lack of coping well.  It’s caused by physiological changes in our brains when we are deprived of Oxygen from time to time. My brain is different from yours!

I’m not complaining here. It is what it is and I do pretty da%# well adjusting to it most of the time. I’m doing my best to draw a true picture of what Living with COPD is like for me so that you’ll get it! YOU do not want this disease! YET 40-50% of our Community already have it! About half of those know it and the other half don’t even suspect it!

That dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in thousands of deadly chemicals doesn’t care! Neither do the Tobacco Companies who manufacture them. They will gladly take your money so that you can sloooowly kill yourself!

Don’t bargain! You can’t get a fair deal!

Thomas3.20.2010

WHEN?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 9, 2015

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.

 - Ivan Turgenev

O.K. you lurkers! You think we don’t know you’re out there but we do!

The question is: Why are you still out there instead of in here where it’s nice and cozy and you get all the wonderful support you’ve seen on a daily basis?

Are you shy, perhaps? Introvert as they like to call it these days?

Well, so are a lot of us but we came in from the cold anyway!

Afraid of being judged or misunderstood?

 Try to remember that every single one of us was Exactly where you are now! So what’s to judge? I hid my Addiction from the people around me, too! I was a serial quitter, too! I loved/hated my Sickerettes, too! And so did most of us! We were just like you!

Afraid of Success?

Well, that does mean you will become Smoke FREE, of course! But that nagging voice inside you that brought you here to this point – to this quit smoking site – knows that even with all these Years of Romancing the Fix you really do want to be FREE!

Come on in - the water is fine!

 

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Image result for right between your ears

You can use it any time, anywhere, no matter what is going on!

Behavioral training such as mindfulness meditation may be effective at enhancing self-control toward quitting smoking - even for people who have no desire to give up, say experts.

The review of addiction research, published in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences, says a smoker's intention to quit smoking is not always needed to reduce cigarette cravings.

A will to stop, however, is often seen as a requirement for enrolling into smoking cessation treatment programs.

"Early evidence suggests that exercises aimed at increasing self-control, such as mindfulness meditation, can decrease the unconscious influences that motivate a person to smoke," say the experts, including senior study author Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Recent brain scanning studies have shown that smokers have less activity in areas associated with self-control. Could targeting these neurobiological circuits be a way to treat addiction?

"We are interested in trying to probe how repeated use of drugs ultimately influences our ability to control our desires," says Dr. Volkow.

"We are starting to work through how drugs affect areas of the brain that normally enable us to self-regulate," she adds, "to create goals and to be able to achieve them, and how those changes influence the behavior of the person addicted."

Subconscious smoking reduction

In one study cited by the review, an "integrative body-mind training program that included relaxation training techniques" was examined to see how improving self-control could help smokers with their cravings.

Texas Tech University and University of Oregon researchers recruited 60 undergraduate students (27 cigarette smokers and 33 non-smokers) to the training program.

Each of the students came into the program expecting to learn meditation and relaxation techniques for stress reduction and cognitive improvement.

Half of them received mindfulness meditation training (becoming self-aware of one's experience) and half received a relaxation technique.

Over 2 weeks, the participants had a total of 5 hours of 30-minute sessions. Before and at the end, their brains were scanned and self-report questionnaires were completed. Each student also had their smoking objectively measured with carbon monoxide testing.

Even though many of the students said they had smoked the same number of cigarettes before and after the training, for those who had received mindfulness meditation, an objective measure of carbon dioxide percentage in their lungs showed a 60% reduction in smoking in the 2 weeks after the study.

Lead study author Yi-Yuan Tang, a professor of psychological sciences at Texas Tech in Lubbock, explains:

"The students changed their smoking behavior but were not aware of it. When we showed the data to a participant who said they had smoked 20 cigarettes, this person checked their pocket immediately and was shocked to find 10 left."

"We then measured intention to see if it correlated with smoking changes and found there was no correlation," adds Prof. Tang. "But if you improve the self-control network in the brain and moderate stress-reactivity, then it's possible to reduce smoking."

Other studies reviewed by the authors showed how integrative body-mind training such as mindfulness meditation could reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as increase immune reactivity. Specific changes in the brain have also been identified, showing stronger connectivity between regions linked to self-control.

Not all questions are answered, however, and more research is needed.

"Mindfulness meditation, as well as other strategies that are aimed at strengthening self-control, are likely to be useful for the management of addiction, but not necessarily for everybody," Dr. Volkow says, adding:

"However, understanding how our brain works when we do interventions that strengthen self-control can also have multiple implications that relate to behaviors that are necessary for health and wellbeing."

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When I first came here way back in March, 2010 I was just like you in that I kept asking myself, If I can’t quit for a Week, how will I ever be able to quit forever? I could get through a few hours, especially if I was busy or asleep but to look down that forever tunnel I sure couldn’t see any light!

Yet that’s what I had to do. The alternative of smoking while on Oxygen Therapy was absolutely intolerable! I know some people do that but not this guy, not Thomas! So how….

…..how did the Elders here stack all of those YEARS together without a single puff?

…..how did they get past the constant nagging of the Addictive Voice?

…..how did they handle all of the stress and other difficult emotions that I smoked away?

….how did they find their New Normal, comfortable in their own ex-smoking skin?

There didn’t seem to be anything uniquely different about them and they even stated that there wasn’t.

So I had to really pay attention to their message. They had been EXactly where I was. And they had come to where I wanted – No, needed to be!

I READ and READ and READ! I wrote – a lot of pathetic Blogs it felt like, very EXposing, but nevertheless I wrote. I listened and practiced and tried the quit journey vocabulary and message on for size…..

…..And it worked!

Not One Puff Ever!

I don’t do that anymore!

So what can I do instead?

Nothing profound but effective in it’s simplicity!

Honestly, some of the comments hurt a bit – like when I was told to give up on the ol’ “wish me luck” or “I hope I can do this!” But I didn’t pick up my ball and bat and slink off the playing field. I took it, examined it, tested it, and came to the conclusion that there’s something to be said for changing a person’s perspective!

Meanwhile, the Elders kept saying, “Don’t white knuckle your quit! It doesn’t, can’t work in the long run!” Now, I found that really confusing! Isn’t Cold Turkey all about white knuckles and willpower?

And they kindly, generously showed me another way – not Cold Turkey but Smart Turkey ( as my Friend SkyGirl refers to it.) It’s again, all a matter of perspective. Like Pilates, it’s a question of getting the heck out of your own way!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/SkyGirl-blog/2013/07/20/a-smart-turkey

There’s an Executive Control part of your Brain that doesn’t belong to the Addicted Brain. It has the ability to DECIDE and that’s what you have to channel. You simply make up your mind that

Just for TODAY I will not smoke for any “reason” under any circumstances NO MATTER WHAT!

That sounds so doable – and IT IS! You honor that DECISION at all times for just the next 24 hours! I can do that!

For some of us it helps to make a public pledge. For others it’s enough to pledge to oneself. The main thing is to make the pledge unbreakable.

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/thread/1876-ashless-august-pledge

Now, obviously, like any journey there’s a lot more to the whole quit journey. You will go on adventures of all sorts – both good and not so good. Mine during the first Year  included my Son quitting smoking because of me, being laid off my job, finding an even better job!, losing my GodMother, and any number of self discoveries that had been hidden under a smoke cloud for decades! It’s a Roller Coaster of unimaginable chaos and change!

But with the simple, subtle POWER of N.O.P.E. and the Ultimate POWER of DECISION all those changes made me a much better person in all aspects of my Life!

I look back on that man, Thomas, the Smoker, and Thank the Lord every day that I no longer have to be like Him! This New Thomas is so much more authentic!

And I did it one single day with one single DECISION at a time for 1966 days in a row!

How do you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time, of course!

MYTH: Smoking helps me stay thin and fit

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FACT: It is true that most people put on weight when they stop smoking. Smoking is more damaging to your health than being slightly overweight.

You would have a BMI of 35 or more to have the same risks as smoking.

Smoking certainly does not keep you fit, it reduces physical fitness and endurance by cutting down the amount of oxygen available in the body and forcing the heart to work harder.

It also increases fatigue during and after exercise.

http://www.irishmirror.ie/lifestyle/health/cigarette-myths-go-up-smoke-6197481

All it takes is a few minutes – not years – of puffing on a cigarette to cause genetic damage linked to cancer, 

A lead researcher, Dr. Stephen Hecht from the University of Minnesota, and his colleagues followed 12 volunteers and tracked certain pollutants known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are a group of chemicals that are formed during the burning of coal, oil, gas, wood or other substances such as tobacco and charred meats.

Hecht zeroed-in on one pollutant in particular called phenanthrene, and found that it quickly formed a toxic substance in the blood that is known to “trash DNA, causing mutations that can cause cancer."

"The smokers developed maximum levels of the substance in a time frame that surprised even the researchers: just 15-30 minutes after the volunteers finished smoking," the study said. "These results are significant because PAH diol epoxides react readily with DNA, induce mutations, and are considered to be ultimate carcinogens of multiple PAH in cigarette smoke."

The study was founded by the National cancer Institute.

YES, cheating matters! They don't call them Cancer Sticks for nothing!

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From patches to hypnosis to pills and even gum, there are many ways to quit smoking. But is there a downside to these common treatments?

We received this question from reader: 

Dear Dr. Manny,
What are the long-term effects of using nicotine gum?

Thanks, 

Theresa 

There's no doubt about it that chewing nicotine gum is better than smoking cigarettes. But it still contains small amounts of nicotine - which is what helps reduce withdrawal symptoms in people when they quit smoking.

   

According to the American Lung Association, people should not chew more than 24 pieces of nicotine gum a day and they shouldn't use it for more than three months.

Long-term use of nicotine gum has been linked with certain health problems like:

      
  • Hair loss;
  •   
  • Skin irritation;
  •   
  • Elevated blood pressure;
  •   
  • Irregular heartbeat;
  •   
  • Insulin resistance;
  •   
  • And gastrointestinal issues.

You should talk to your doctor about what you can do to get off the gum if you're having trouble.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/07/29/long-term-health-effects-nicotine-gum/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quitting is less stressful than smoking!

Got EXtra time now that you don't smoke anymore?

Here's a challenge you can do for yourself: 

Go to the Forums and read all the Intros: Count how many times you read about try, the cig my friend, stress, cravings, slipping, relapse, etc....

Now, pick some of the successful quitters from the Blogs and read about renewal, new life, freedom, happiness, peace, health, etc...

Now ask yourself who you want to be like! 

I didn't start out thinking that way, I started out TALKING that way! The belief came later! I think AA calls it "fake it till you make it!" - whatever it is called - it works! Change your LANGUAGE and you can change your PERSPECTIVE and then Your LIFE!!!!

There is nothing special about successful quitters - they just talk differently until they think differently! You CAN, Too!

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