Skip navigation
All People > Thomas3.20.2010 > Thomas3.20.2010 Blog > 2015 > September

Early smoking cessation is often a continual mental struggle about whether we should light up today or not.  It comes with the territory when recovering from nicotine addiction, and will pass in time.

I'd like to introduce Carl, who was less than a month smoke-free when he wrote the piece below.  The next time your mind wanders and smoking seems like a good idea, remember the points Carl makes about what else you're giving up besides tobacco when you quit. 

Thanks for sharing, Carl.


From Carl: 

A few things to think about before you give in to that horrible craving to smoke.

Yep, it sucks to quit smoking. We all know it, we have all been there or are there now. You have come this far, and it's tough. Really tough. Having a bad day, the worst you've had in ages. You're not strong enough to do this. Just bum a smoke from a buddy, buy a pack from the store. You're just not ready to do it, maybe when things get better you will have a better chance. Right?  Hmmmmm.

What exactly are you giving in to, and how is it going to benefit you?

1)  In the state of Maryland where I live, a pack a day habit will cost you about 50 dollars a week. Me? I was 2 packs a day. 

That's 100 dollars a week.

Now there's something I'm in a hurry to get back to. Paying money for something stupid that offers zero benefits and is going to kill me. Hey I'm all over that. If you have 50 dollars extra a week, send it to me.  I'll put it to good use, I promise.

2)  If you quit more than 24-48 hours ago, you know this one very well.

Smoking stinks. Every time I smell it, I think to myself, I just wish someone had told me I smelled that bad. Well, now I'm telling you something you already know. I want to go back to smelling like that, don't you?


3)  Before I make point 3, I want to just say I am in no way condoning drinking or drug use in any way shape or form. I'm making a point. Work with me on this one, OK?

What exactly are you going back to if you start smoking again?  What did it do for you? Hey, take a few drinks, at least you get a buzz going. Take drugs, you get high, right? What exactly is smoking going to do for you?  Relax you for 2 minutes, or until the craving hits for the next one? Hey, a useless addiction for something that does nothing whatsoever for you. That's a fantastic idea!

4)  This occurred to me even when I was still smoking, and the thought goes back a ways. Watch someone smoking for a few minutes. Yeah, I know its tough on you right now. If you can't do it, picture it in your mind. If you watch someone smoking, it's almost funny. Looking at it objectively, it's a really, really stupid look. No one looks cool with a 3 inch white stick in their mouth. They look stupid. My personal favorite is watching the white stick bounce up and down while the person tries to talk with it in their mouth.  Now THERE'S a classy look for you.

5)  I remember at some point reading about a study where people were shown photos of people and asked to pick out pictures of the people who smoked. The success rate was shockingly high. Bad skin, and you look like, well, crap. Hey this smoking thing is sounding better and better, isn't it?

6)  I don't even need to talk about all the health issues. We all know them. We all know tobacco is going to kill us if we don't quit. Dying before our time, often painfully and slowly. Most of use have seen someone go that way. Ill bet no one has ever said on their deathbed, "Thank goodness I smoked my entire life and ended it 20 years early."


Think about it. Smoking cessation is hard. It's tough. It may be the toughest thing you have ever done in your life. But what I listed above? Not only are you quitting smoking, you are quitting those 6 points as well. And there's more I didn't list.  I'm sure you could add to the list.

So, scream at the walls. Scream at the dog. Chew your fingernails until they bleed. Take a walk. Take a drink of water. Whatever. Hold onto your quit, and remember EVERYTHING that you are quitting. It's not just the cigarettes, it's all the nastiness that goes with them.


Smoke free since 9/1/2015, 10:30 PM


Time for a Repeat!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 24, 2015


Have you "tried your best to fight the craves and can't seem to win?" Are you sitting there scratching your head about what went wrong and feeling like you can "never win?" I'll tell you something I learned Thanks to the Elders who helped me launch the adventure of my lifetime - Smoke FREE Living! 

I came here like most of us not knowing anything about Nicotine Addiction and was told to read and I did! It really helped but there was this guy who I thought was goofy (Thank Goodness I now know that he was spot on!) His name is James and his moniker is the Happy Quitter! ....Say what? what's there to be happy about? Strong, yes! Determined, yes! Stubborn, fierce, a fighter! But happy??? As I thought about it, something really clicked and the light bulb came on! 


I had been fighting the Nico-Demon with willpower! What could be more effective than that? But I was missing the essential...The Nico-Demon is ME!!!!!


So when I was fighting myself, how could I win without losing??? And guess what, the loser had been the part that wanted to be FREE! You can't be FREE when you're fighting!!!! 

This fellow James had something - something I really, really wanted! he was not just Quit - He was Happy being Quit! 

So how do you handle the craves if you don't fight??? What do you do instead? 

There's a fellow here named Tommy who repeatedly told me to use Focus and Determination. Could I combine these 2 great pieces of advice? Think about Focus for a minute...



When you focus with determination instead of fighting with determination, the whole picture changes! I had changed my perspective! The Nico-demon became more blurry, less important and the object of my Focus increased in POWER - the POWER to WIN! And what was that very important object of my FOCUS?




FREEDOM from the Chains of Addiction! 

FREEDOM to be the ME that my Creator made me to be!

FREEDOM from pain, suffering, illness, devastation!

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize and ignore the Nico-Demon - but don't fight Him because HE IS ME! Just Focus on the Prize! Will He scream for attention? Oh yea! But when you ignore Him long enough, He loses energy - your Energy is on your Prize! And He gets weaker....and weaker...and weaker...and becomes a little bitty gnat that once in a great while bugs you but you easily have the POWER to swat Him back into His place tiny! So worthless! 



Then you would be smart to talk to your Doctor about having a Spirometry Test! This test is a simple breathing test that diagnoses COPD. Folks who have a history of Asthma, pneumonia in the last year, chronic cough that lasts more than a few weeks after quitting smoking, or shortness of breath are really encouraged to talk to their Doctor. Many Personal Care Providers are poorly informed about COPD and underdiagnose this #3 killer by half! That's right! Half of those who have COPD do not know it! And Doctors miss important clues! Read this:


COPD is often not recognized until later in the course of the disease, which ultimately delays treatment. Early diagnosis is important because delaying treatment can have a negative impact on your prognosis. A new study tells us that if we ask questions during the screening process about prior respiratory events, we may be able to identify COPD in its earlier stages, leading to earlier treatment and better patient outcomes.

The study, conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, looked at the medical records of 702 patients. Of these, 356 were women with a mean age of 67.5 years, and 346 were men with a mean age of 66.6. Each patient had an initial diagnosis of COPD during the study period.

The following summarizes the results:

  • Respiratory events that were identified as probable COPD exacerbations were common in the 2 years prior to a COPD diagnosis with a range of 0 to 16 events per individual patient.
  • Pre-diagnostic respiratory events were predictive of similar events in the period following the diagnosis.

What this means is that there are a lot of people experiencing COPD exacerbations who are unaware that they have COPD. If you, or someone you know, has a history of smoking or exposure to other types of airway irritants, and you are experiencing frequent respiratory infections, talk to your doctor about getting a spirometry test.

The Spirometry Test is very affordable, done right in your Doctor's office, noninvasive, and you get the results immediately! Early diagnosis makes all the difference in your Quality of LIFE! COPD is a chronic, incurable, progressive smoking related illness but it can be successfully managed - and moreso with early diagnosis. Unfortunately, most folks are diagnosed in later stages when there are much fewer options - or diagnosed, handed a prescription, and not given the education they need to take the diagnosis seriously so they can make life enhancing lifestyle changes. Be your own advocate - take the test! If you don't have COPD  great! If you do then get educated and most important of all - if you haven't quit smoking, yet - DO IT TODAY! Choose Breath not Death!



The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is a group of health experts that makes recommendations about preventive health care.


Smoking increases the risk for heart disease, lung disease, and some types of cancer. Smoking also increases the risk for bad outcomes of pregnancy, including miscarriage, low birthweight, and early delivery. Helping patients to stop smoking is important for doctors. Providing counseling can help some patients who smoke to quit. For other patients (if they are not pregnant), drugs may be more helpful. Combinations of both counseling and drugs are often most effective. In 2009, the USPSTF recommended that clinicians ask all adult patients about smoking, help those who smoke to quit, and give pregnant patients pregnancy-focused messages about quitting. The USPSTF wanted to see whether new studies would change its recommendations.


The USPSTF reviewed published research on the benefits and harms of treatments to help adults (including pregnant women) quit smoking. They focused on things that could be done in primary care settings, including behavioral interventions (such as in-person behavioral support and counseling, telephone counseling, and self-help materials), drugs (such as NRT, bupropion sustained-release, and varenicline), and electronic nicotine delivery systems (such as electronic cigarettes).


The USPSTF found convincing evidence that both behavioral treatments and drugs for smoking cessation improve cessation rates in nonpregnant adults; combinations of both can help the most. The USPSTF also found convincing evidence that using 2 types of NRT improves cessation rates over using 1 type. Adding NRT to bupropion improved quitting over bupropion alone. In pregnant women, behavioral treatments were found to improve smoking cessation rates, improve infant birthweight, and reduce preterm birth. The USPSTF found inadequate evidence on the benefits of NRT and no evidence on the benefits of bupropion sustained-release or varenicline in pregnant women who smoke or improvement of birth outcomes in infants.


The USPSTF concluded that the harms of behavioral interventions for smoking cessation in nonpregnant or pregnant adults are small to none. The USPSTF found adequate evidence that the harms of NRT, bupropion, or varenicline for smoking cessation in nonpregnant adults are small but did not find enough information on the harms of these drugs during pregnancy.


The USPSTF found inadequate evidence to determine the benefits and harms of electronic nicotine delivery systems on achievement of smoking cessation in either nonpregnant or pregnant adults.


The USPSTF recommends that clinicians ask all nonpregnant adults about smoking and advise them to quit and provide behavioral treatments and approved drugs for quitting if they smoke.


The USPSTF recommends that clinicians ask all pregnant women about smoking and advise them to quit and provide behavioral treatments if they smoke.


Current information is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of pharmacotherapy interventions for smoking cessation in pregnant women.


Current evidence is insufficient to recommend electronic nicotine delivery systems for smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant women.


These recommendations do not apply to children and adolescents.

I see a lot of Folks on this site Celebrating their FREEDOM! WHOOHOO! They're Dancing and Singing their JOY at living Abundantly Smoke FREE!

And I see some Folks who are mourning the loss of their Best Friend - the Serial Killerette - as my Friend JoJo calls it! With Friends like that who needs Enemies????

And I also see a lot of Folks who are fighting the NicoDemon without even realizing that the NicoDemon is just another part of YOU! Now, let me ask you this - how much Harmony and Healing can come from fighting Oneself?

So where did those EXcellent People get that Partying SPIRIT? I'll tell you where! It came from a Fella  who said - when you have a craving - LAUGH!!!!! ROFLMAO!!!! It comes from each and every one of YOU who contribute their time, wisdom, and ENTHUSIASM not only as they Pay Forward the EXpert Advice they received but because it helps them to Protect their Quit because they Never Ever Forget - what it was like to wish you were smoke FREE, what it was like to make it one day, one hour and sometimes, one minute at a time, what it means to Protect Your Quit TODAY NO MATTER WHAT, that Addiction is a Lifetime Condition and QUITTING IS A LIFETIME JOURNEY so kick back and ENJOY the Ride - You're Smoke FREE for LIFE!!!!

 The Quit isn't about giving up anything of importance in the least! It's about what you gain - the REAL YOU the way your Creator intends for you to be -Addiction FREE! It's about healing your Mind, Spirit, and Body from years of abuse and finding your NEW NORMAL! It's about growing into the person you dream of being!

Now, what's not to SMILE about????


Wander into a vape shop in the mall or online, and you can find a smorgasbord of flavors: cotton candy, vanilla custard, even Unicorn Milk or Katy Perry's Cherry.

Flashy flavors have helped e-cigarettes, designed to vaporize a nicotine solution, grow into an industry with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual U.S. sales. Less than a decade after the battery-powered devices were introduced in the United States, an estimated 10 percent of American adults and 13 percent of high school students "vape," according to recent surveys. In Connecticut, 28 percent of the 3,847 teens in a new Yale School of Medicine survey said they use e-cigarettes and almost 19 percent said they have used e-cigarettes to vaporize hash oil, the resin from marijuana plants.

While many users perceive e-cigs as safer than traditional cigarettes, some of the flavorings that make them so enticing may have their own toxic consequences.

A growing number of studies find that some of the liquids used in e-cigarettes contain flavorings whose inhalation has been associated with lung problems, ranging from irritation to a rare but serious lung disease. For example, diacetyl, a butter-flavored chemical, has been linked to dozens of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans, a life-threatening obstructive lung disease.

E-cigarettes are unregulated, but that may change. The Food and Drug Administration is considering a rule to extend its cigarette-regulating authority to e-cig devices. More than 7,700 e-cig flavors are being sold under more than 450 brands, with no labeling or testing requirements.

Jessica Barrington-Trimis, an epidemiologist at the University of Southern California who studies tobacco's health effects, said that flavorings are particularly worrisome because they "have a history of being known respiratory toxins." Barrington-Trimis, who spoke at an FDA panel looking into e-cigs in March, said that because the devices produce an ultrafine aerosol that goes deep into the lungs, their flavorings "are a natural target" for further investigation. "We need to research this more to understand what chemicals are in these things and what these chemicals may be doing to the lungs of the user," she said.

One of the first people to highlight e-cig flavoring concerns was a physician who uses e-cigarettes himself. Konstantinos Farsalinos, a researcher at the Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center in Athens, tested 159 sweet e-cig liquids, such as toffee, chocolate and caramel flavorings, and found that 74 percent of the samples contained diacetyl the chemical associated with bronchiolitis obliterans or a chemically similar substitute, acetyl propionyl. Among the ones that tested positive, nearly half would expose users to levels that exceed recommended workplace limits for breathing the two chemicals, his 2014 study found.

Diacetyl is found naturally in butter, beer and other foods, and it is added to baked goods, candy and snack foods to impart a buttery or creamy taste. Although it is considered safe to eat, breathing it may not be.

In 2002, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, reported that eight workers in a Missouri microwave popcorn plant had developed bronchiolitis obliterans after breathing diacetyl on the job. Half of them needed lung transplants, and five have died of respiratory causes, Kathleen Kreiss, a NIOSH expert in occupational respiratory disease, said in an e-mail. Dozens of cases of bronchiolitis obliterans known in some circles as "popcorn lung" have since been found at other food and flavorings plants.

Farsalinos, who has accepted some funding from the vaping industry, said he believes that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes. Acetyl propionyl and diacetyl are also naturally present in cigarette smoke, Farsalinos said, at levels higher than those he found in e-cigs.

Still, Farsalinos said, "these specific chemicals should be completely removed" from e-cigs. "Why? Because it's a 100 percent avoidable risk."

Some manufacturers avoid diacetyl. For example, Nicoventures, a division of British American Tobacco, does not use diacetyl in its nine e-cigarette flavorings, Sandra Costigan, a company toxicologist said in an e-mail.

The American Vaping Association, an advocacy group for the industry, believes that diacetyl and acetyl propionyl should not be added to e-cigarette flavorings, association president Gregory Conley said.

In 2012 the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association, which represents the U.S. flavorings industry, issued a list of 27 "high-priority" flavoring chemicals that, while safe in food, may pose a risk of respiratory injury and for which it recommends reducing inhalation exposure. The list includes chemicals found in e-cig liquids, such as diacetyl and benzaldehyde, which is used in almond and cherry flavors.

"When we saw flavors were being used in e-cigarettes, we wanted to put the word out right away that it's a possibility that flavors being inhaled through an e-cigarette could also be harmful," John Hallagan, the association's senior adviser and general counsel, said in an interview.

"Flavors are not made to be inhaled," he said. "In the absence of safety information, what we're saying is we really need to pay attention to this from a safety perspective."

A 2013 study found that several cinnamon-flavored e-cig liquids contained a chemical, cinnamaldehyde, that researchers said was highly toxic to human cells in lab tests. A co-author of that study, Prue Talbot, a professor of cell biology at the University of California at Riverside, said the results corroborated online reports by e-cig users of problems related to cinnamon flavors, including swollen throats and mouth sores.

Another study examined 30 e-cigarette liquids and found that many flavors including a cotton candy, a bubble gum and a French vanilla contained aldehydes, a class of chemicals that can cause respiratory irritation, airway constriction and other effects. The 2015 paper described two flavors, a dark chocolate and a wild cherry, that would expose vapers to more than twice the recommended workplace safety limit for the aldehydes vanillin and benzaldehyde. Different brands and even different batches of e-cig liquids can contain different amounts of flavoring chemicals.

"There's no going by the flavor names as to say what's in it," said James Pankow, a chemistry and engineering professor at Oregon's Portland State University, one of the co-authors of the study.

The FDA's proposed rule on e-cigarettes would restrict sales to young people and prohibit unsubstantiated health claims. If e-cigs are brought under the FDA's regulatory authority, the agency would have to go through additional rulemaking to set standards on flavorings, FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in an e-mail. The FDA prohibits adding flavorings, other than menthol, in traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Some e-cig companies are doing their own research on flavorings. Nicoventures, the British company, recently proposed a screening process to avoid liquid flavorings that are classified as respiratory allergens, carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction, among other criteria. The company has rejected diacetyl and acetaldehyde as flavorings and avoided developing a flavor that uses cocoa shell extract because of concerns that it might be a respiratory sensitizer, Costigan said in an e-mail. "We wanted to demonstrate that they 1 / 8flavorings 3 / 8 could be used responsibly even when there are limitations in data," she said.

The company says that flavorings benefit public health by helping smokers transition away from combustible tobacco. However, the science isn't settled yet on whether e-cigs help people quit tobacco cigarettes or get them hooked. A recent study, for instance, found that ninth-graders who used e-cigs were about 2 1 / 2times as likely as their peers to start smoking traditional cigarettes.

Conley, of the American Vaping Association, says e-cigarettes flavored with watermelon helped him stop smoking five years ago, and he will fight to keep flavorings on the market.

"There's a reason why the gum, patch and lozenge have such pitiful success rates," he said, referring to some common approaches to smoking cessation. "We have to avoid medicinalizing these products 1 / 8e-cigarettes 3 / 8 and making them bland and boring," he said.

Even if e-cigarette users are exposed to diacetyl, he asserted, the risk of harm is only a fraction of that from smoking tobacco, which causes 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, according to federal data.

Talbot, who conducted the cinnamon flavoring study, said the problem is that people are now "inhaling a product into their lungs, and we don't currently know what the consequences or long-term health effects of that will be." While it is true, she said, that e-cigs contain fewer chemicals than the brew of 7,000-plus that are in traditional cigarette smoke, "it would only take one bad one."

The latest Vital Signs shows cigarette smoking is a serious problem among adults with mental illness. More needs to be done to help adults with mental illness quit smoking and make mental health facilities tobacco-free.

The latest Vital Signs from CDC notes that many adults with mental illness who smoke want to quit, can quit, and will benefit from proven stop-smoking treatments. It’s true that some people with mental illness face issues that can make it more challenging to quit, such as low income, stressful living conditions, and lack of access to health insurance and health care. All of these factors make it more challenging to quit. But that doesn’t mean that smokers with mental illness can’t benefit from the same proven treatments as anyone else.

Nationally, nearly 1 in 5 adults (or 45.7 million adults) have some form of mental illness, and 36% of these people smoke cigarettes. In comparison, 21% of adults without mental illness smoke cigarettes. (Mental illness is defined here as diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional conditions and does not include developmental and substance use disorders.)

There are other troubling statistics from the report:

·         31% of all cigarettes are smoked by adults with mental illness.

·         40% of men and 34% of women with mental illness smoke.

·         48% of people with mental illness who live below the poverty level smoke, compared with 33% of those with mental illness who live above the poverty level.

PLEASE if you have a mental illness know that the exact same methods presented by the BecomeanEX Community are the ones that can work for you, too!  Listen to the Community and get on board with your Quit Journey! They may not understand or be able to address your mental health concerns – THAT is for your professional therapist – but they know what it takes to Quit Smoking!

 You can either use your illness as an excuse (which won’t prevent you from getting a smoking related illness) OR you can work as hard as it takes to become FREE of Nicotine Addiction – which leads to increased self confidence – which leads to alleviating your mental health symptoms!

TODAY is a GREAT DAY to LIVE Smoke FREE! And YOU are no exception!

I have been praying the Serenity Prayer a lot lately. It helps me to realize that there are some things that as much as I feel like I need to, I just can't control! So I did a personal inventory of what I am doing to help myself with Anxiety and have I covered my bases so to speak. I have to come to the conclusion that - yes, I am helping myself all that I can. 

That actually was the easy part! The much harder part for me is to let go. That requires Trust - not my long suit! But I'm learning how to do it! Dale taught me that all I need to bring to the tablle is willingness, not willpower! He used it in a different context but I find that it applies here, too! So I willingly Trust in God to heal my Anxiety. Willpower just doesn't work because it's still trying to control! Willingness does. 

My days are not so jam packed with busy - ness, now! I am Exercising every day but limit it to one hour a day. I'm still working 2 jobs but I'm also allowing myself permission to meditate every day. And instead of shaming myself for worrying, I'm keeping a worry time - a half hour I can drive myself crazy with worry! Then I lock it up (in my mind) and everything else that I can worry about that pops up throughout the day has to wait till tomorrow's worry time! And most important of all, I give myself permission to kick back with Friends and just Have FUN! 

Life is a lot less stressful these days! Isn't it strange how that works? When I let go of the controls the whole Thomas runs better! 

I have felt all of your prayers working in my Life and I'm so grateful to have Friends that I can Trust to have my back! Thank You ALL for hanging in there with me while I find this new, even better Thomas! My gratitude and admiration for this Community of loving people is unending! 

I may not be completely over the hump but I can tell that I'm on a healthy, fulfilling pathway toward balance and peacefulness. Without all of YOU I can't say that I would have made it this far! THANK YOU!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 18, 2015

Failure has a thousand explanations. Success doesn't need one!

What's your "reason" for smoking today? Fear, nerves, stress, my dog ate my homework? There really is NO EXCUSE i.e. "reason" for smoking!

We've often heard of somebody who started out telling us they had XX Smoke FREE Days - then when we congratulate them on this tremendous feat, they "explained" that in those XX days they had smoked 4 or 5 cigarettes - but in their mind they didn't count - "because I didn't enjoy them and nobody saw me!" My response: Your LUNGS KNOW you smoked! YOU KNOW you smoked!

When you leave that crack in your armor you're asking for BIG TROUBLE!!!

XX Smoke FREE Days, means SMOKE FREE!!!! Not One Puff Ever Whatever It Takes!!!!!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 16, 2015

You have more control over stress than you might think! And there is a virtual library of Stress Management techniques devised to deal with it!  One thing you will never find on any legitimate website is smoking! On the contrary - smoking is a very maladaptive means of dealing with stress because like any Addiction it not only doesn't actually help relieve stress - it makes it's own stress!

If you're not sure how to get started managing your stress in healthy ways, here's a place to start:

OR just come here and Blog to our Wonderful Community and they will give you a wide range of alternatives to smoking! 

Smoking never solved anything! How could it?

That;s us, too!

Addicts who are on the path to self destruction.

And just like those folks we have to separate from our drug addict environemmnt, stay away from alcohol, clean up our act and face our personal demons.

That is true Recovery! Reclaiming ourselves and becoming Addiction FREE!

The only difference is that Nicotine is legal and doesn't look that bad but it kills more people than all those other drugs put together! Folks probably won't do you an Intervention so you have to do your own.

Just  like those guys, the minute the Intervention is over they begin withdrawal. We have to pick a time and come clean! No cutting back, curbing our habit, etc, etc. Just come clean and stay clean and then get out into the World and live life on it's terms! 

We can and do just that here every single day! 

And it's worth every single minute of struggle if you give it just a few Months time!

You can live Addiction FREE!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 12, 2015

Today is not a good day for me. I am tired and weary and find it a challenge to move forward. It’s like swimming through quick sand or walking through molasses. Each move I make seems monumental. I am mentally and physically exhausted.

There are multiple reasons for this feeling, some relevant and some from a lingering past that refuses to let go. A resident died in my arms on Wednesday and I grieve her passing. My children always create a worry for me and a sense of helplessness. Anxiety rules my life and wears me down. Illness constantly stresses me out. Fall is full of triggers of sadness and grief for me. Big and little things are on my plate.


 Lord, grant me grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.


Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.




"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”   - Matthew 11:28

Today I will trust in the Lord and let His arms wrap around me in His perfect and eternal LOVE! Today I will be kind and compassionate to me providing all that is good for my mind, body, and soul! Today I will open my heart to my Loved Ones and receive their care because I deserve to be cared for and about! Today I will heal inside and out! Today I am my priority and that’s OK.

Smoking provides none of that – it simply hides it all under a smoke cloud hoping it will go away! We have to learn new ways of taking care of ourselves. Life is full of challenges and we are up to the task!


Just Do It!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 12, 2015

Will TODAY be the day that you finally say, I'm tired of "trying to quit"? TODAY I am quitting for LIFE! Will you finally stop pretending that you've given it your best shot when all it really takes is keeping those Sickarettes away from your face? It really is that simple ( I didn't say easy!) and it is doable - you are no different from any of us who have begun our quit journey! In fact, more than 46 Million Americans have successfully quit smoking!
On the other hand, Within the last 60 Seconds the following Smoke related Deaths occurred:
All Causes: 107
Tuberculosis: 3
Respiratory Infection: 7
Trachea, Bronchus, and Lung Cancer: 2
Believe me, there is no "reason" you can come up with for not quitting or for not maintaining your quit that we haven't heard! So come here and give us your best case as to why you haven't quit, yet! Challenge us to help you find a way to be SUCCESSFUL! If you want to be one of the 46 Million and not one of the 107 then give us a chance to show you that we KNOW SUCCESS and can help you to have it too! Have Courage and make the leap of trust - in Yourself! LIFE is precious and YOU ARE WORTH IT!

If you have the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.

- David Viscott

My name is Thomas and I have 2002 Smoke FREE Days!
I have saved over $3000 by not smoking more than 20,000 Sickarettes!
There's no telling how much I have prolonged my life because I have Stage II COPD/Emphysema and will probably sooner or later die from it! I'd rather make it later!

When I came here to BecomeanEX, I was a Serial Quitter but now I had to find the Long Haul – the Forever Quit!

 Because of the Folks who had come before me I was able to sort out my Thoughts and Feelings separate from my Actions. Thoughts and Feelings compel Action but they don’t dictate them.  They just are! Executive Control in your Brain decides one’s actions.

YES – I was compelled to smoke during the first weeks – BUT I DIDN’T! I decided that that wasn’t going to happen! YES – I had Addictive Thoughts during the first 4 Months! But I didn’t feed those thoughts with Personal Power! I directed my energy to other places and kept stack those days with Commitment.

YES - I Experienced 2 Full Years of Seasonal Triggers but I always kept in mind that I was in control – not those triggers!

YES – I still get an occasional sabotage thought, even a strong feeling – sometimes situational, sometimes a memory gone rogue, sometimes well, who knows? It just is! – but I refuse to sacrifice my FREEDOM for a dead leaf!

As Life throws it’s Best and Worst at me I have to remain vigilant with the same basic tools I acquired those first days: N.O.P.E. and N.E.F. as well as S.I.N.A.O.

Not One Puff Ever

Never Ever Forget

Smoking is NOT an Option!

Make those tools very strong in your mind! Keep them handy and polished!

And remember you always have a Choice! Time will take care of the rest!

I just want to take a moment here to Thank All of the Elders who brought me to this place! I did the work but they shined the light onto the path in front of me!

Thank You – for literally saving my LIFE!





Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 9, 2015

Some folks may think I hit the Jack Pot!

Will I make it to Triple Zeros?


Not because I'm lucky - Luck has nothing to do with it!

But because TODAY like every day until now

I pledged to myself that I would not smoke NO MATTER WHAT! 

For the Next 24 hours nothing and nobody can make me smoke!

Only I can Decide to keep my quit or throw it away!

And I won't throw it away because

Smokers wish they could quit

But quitters never regret their FREEDOM!

YOU can do it the EXact same way! Day by Day by Day!

Will you CELEBRATE with me tomorrow

my Second round of Quads Please?



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 5, 2015



At first I was afraid

I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
and so you're back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
in that long forgotten place
I should have checked that stupid lock
I should have thrown away the key
If I had known for just one second
you'd be back to bother me

Go on now get tossed on the floor
get trampled on
'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with your lies
Did you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to live free
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive (hey-hey)

It took all the strength I had
not to fall apart
kept trying hard to listen to
the message of my heart
and I spent oh so many nights
just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high
and you see me
somebody new
I'm not that chained up little person
still in love with you
and so you felt like showing up
and just expect me to puff away
and now I'm saving all my loving
for someone who shows me the way

Go on now get tossed on the floor
get trampled on
'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with your lies
Did you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to live free
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive

Over and over again people say, "Get educated, Read, Read, Read!" Some folks take that advice and some don't and yes, those who do their homework do have better success, by far! So why did she read and he just trudge along slogging it out? Why did she read and nothing changed while he read the same material and reported a life-altering WOW! moment? Lots of questions, right?

 But it comes down to a fundamental ATTITUDE that makes the difference! If you believe that smoking cessation is an EVENT then you soon become impatient waiting for things to "get back to normal!"

 Some folks do manage to stay quit for a considerable time but their attitude is brittle - they could still relapse remarkably easily!

 Others can't stand the "not normal" and just give in and relapse back into their comfort zone!

 Then there are those who even before they quit smoking realize that they are choosing a life altering way of life! They are looking at not an event but at a LIFE JOURNEY - the path of abundant addiction FREE living!

 They recognize the quit as a choice that you don't just make once but that you dedicate yourself to each and every day! They are open to a NEW NORMAL! There is no going back - ever!

They welcome these changes and collateral changes that come with it - whatever they might be! They know that they will evolve and mature in ways they could never have anticipated! And they say, YES! That's where I want to go! I don't see the entire staircase, but I accept the direction as life affirming! I will take the next step up - the simple decision that I won't smoke TODAY !

Just for today I pledge N.O.P.E. no matter what and  I'll do whatever it takes to maintain my quit because I respect myself! Tomorrow is another day! The key to SUCCESS is within you but you must realize that you will change! Your relationships will change! Your PERSPECTIVE will change! Your future choices will change! And it's all for the BEST!


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

Inside and Out!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 4, 2015

Think you don't care about all the Health Issues of smoking

Well, take a look at this!

Thanks, Dr Hays!



Hi, Folks!

Those who follow me know that I am on a quest to lower my Anxiety. Although not there yet I came across a very helpful technique. I call it relaxing into tension.

Today I was doing a shoulder bridge exercise which is a core builder (Pilates.) My Pilates Instructor, Ali, taught me that once I got into position that I could actually maintain the position and relax at the same time! So I’m holding this shoulder bridge for 5 minutes which would be impossible if I tensed up! But relaxed I feel like I could do it forever! I imagine myself floating in position, focus on relaxed deep breathing and do a muscle relaxation starting with my head and working down to my feet never changing or letting go of the position – just the tension.

This is something that I intend to apply with Anxiety. Here’s how I envision it:

One thing I find stressful is traffic. If you’re like me back in the day when I smoked, the worse the traffic the more I was compelled to smoke a Sickerette! Even in inclement weather I’d be white knuckling down a rainy or snowy road but with the window cracked and only one hand on the steering wheel – the other had a Sickerette going and instead of both eyes on the road, I’d be attending to my burning Sickerette so I could take another puff or light up another Death Stick. Distracted driving when you least need it!

5 Smoke FREE Years later, I still find traffic a stressful event. I get anxious about such things as “Will I make it to work on time?” and in true Anxiety Disorder fashion I start with the “What ifs…….”

-What if I’m late?

-Will I get fired?

-Will I lose my job?

-Will my Wife divorce me because I’m unemployed?

-Will my Sons avoid their ‘loser Dad’?

- Will I become sick, alone and homeless?

Yadayadayada – all because I might be late once to work!

That’s ANXIETY for you!

Not the best way to drive a car in challenging circumstances!

So how do I relax into the tension?

First, I can hold my position.

-Eyes on the road, both hands on the steering wheel, foot on the gas but ready to switch to the break if necessary, etc….

Then I can focus on my breathing.

- Slow it down and deepen it up, breathing all the way down to my belly, holding for a count of 4 and exhaling for as long as possible with pursed lips.

-Next apply Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

 Once I have that mastered, I can relax into the tension of my head, neck, chest, arms, fingers, belly, legs and feet.

I haven’t changed my position of readiness but I have changed my physiology. I can now address my tension with alert readiness instead hypervigilance!

By jumping into the stress cycle from a physiological point my mind can follow. I can then see more clearly that I can be ready without excessive tension! And if I do have to react to a car sliding or debris in the road or whatever, I can do it more calmly and efficiently than hypervigilance allows.

And by focusing on the moment I don’t have space in my head to play the “What if” tapes!

When we quit smoking, some of us find it very stressful! Those of us who suffer from Anxiety and/or Depression may cognitively know that Nicotine Recovery eventually relieves stress but how do we get from here to there?

Why  not try relaxing into your stress?

Remember the 3 Steps.

- Maintain your position – Keep ‘em away from your Face!


- And Relax your Muscles from Head to Toe!

It has worked for me and it might work for you!

Filter Blog

By date: By tag: