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2016

I came across this article yesterday and couldn't believe my eyes!

Debunking Myths About Smokers with Behavioral Health Conditions By Gary Tedeschi, Ph.D., Clinical Director, California Smokers’ Helpline, UCSD Moores Cancer Center

People with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit smoking and can quit successfully. And mental health professionals can help. Until a few years ago, it was not common for people with mental illness or substance use disorders to be treated for their tobacco dependence. People with behavioral health conditions have only recently been identified by tobacco control and cessation professionals as a priority, even though their smoking rates are 2-4 times higher than in the general population (Lasser et al., 2000).

The 2006 Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness report issued by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors, found that persons with serious mental illness die, on average, 25 years earlier and suffer increased medical co-morbidity. They often die from tobacco related diseases and are more likely to die from these diseases than from alcohol use.

The need to help this clientele quit tobacco is clear. Some strongly held myths have stood in the way of progress in this area. Fortunately, a growing body of research is debunking these myths, making way for new interventions.

The first myth is that persons with mental illness and substance use disorders do not want to quit. Research argues that the majority of persons with mental illness and substance use disorders want to quit smoking and want information on cessation services and resources. For example, one study examined depressed smokers’ readiness to quit and the applicability of the Stages of Change framework to a psychiatric sample. The majority (79%) reported intention to quit smoking with 24% ready to take action in the next 30 days (compared to 16% in the general smoking population) (Prochaska et al., 2004). Among hospitalize psychiatric patients who smoke, another study found that 79% were not only interested in quitting, but agreed to participate in a clinical study to help them quit (Prochaska, Hall, & Hall, 2009). And for smokers in substance use facilities, a review of clinical trials found that 50 to 77% of smokers in substance use facilities were interested in quitting (Joseph, Willenbring, & Nugent, 2004).

Myth number two is that persons with mental illness and substance use disorders are unable to quit smoking. In a review of 24 studies, the recorded quit rates of patients with mental illness or addictive disorders were similar to those of the general population (el-Guebaly, Cathcart, Currie, Brown, & Gloster, 2002). For depressed smokers, a stepped-care intervention tailored to their readiness to quit had a 25% abstinent rate at 18-month follow-up (Prochaska, Hall & Hall, 2009). Another example is among smokers with schizophrenia, a meta-analysis of several randomized trials using bupropion for smokers with schizophrenia had a 3-fold increase in abstinence rates 6 months after treatment. (Tsoi, Porwal, Webster, 2010).

The third myth is that smoking cessation worsens psychiatric symptoms. On the contrary, smoking cessation can actually improve psychiatric symptoms. This myth has historical ties to the tobacco industry, which has directly funded, or monitored, research supporting the idea that individuals with schizophrenia were less susceptible to the harms of tobacco and that they needed tobacco as selfmedication. Unfortunately the bias behind the research was not commonly known, and therefore was believed for years (Prochaska, Hall, & Bero, 2008). Fortunately new research is emerging to debunk this myth. In a study with smokers with schizophrenia who quit, there was no worsening of attention, verbal learning or memory, working memory, executive function or inhibition, or clinical symptoms of schizophrenia (Evins et al., 2005). Another randomized trial found that actively depressed smokers who quit reported a significant decline in depression symptoms and a reduction in alcohol use compared with participants who continued smoking (Prochaska et al., 2008).

Finally, there are often questions about whether smoking cessation threatens recovery for persons with substance use disorders. Not only is this a myth, but smoking cessation can actually enhance long-term recovery for persons with substance use disorders. A systematic review of 17 studies found that concurrent tobacco cessation treatment with individuals in addictions treatment was associated with 25% increased abstinence from alcohol and illicit drugs six months or longer after treatment (Prochaska, Delucchi, & Hall, 2004). There is one caveat. One study looked at concurrent vs. delayed tobacco cessation treatment and found comparable quit rates at 18 months, but there were lower prolonged alcohol abstinence rates for the concurrent treatment group at 6 months. This simply means concurrent treatment is not right for everyone, but it does open the door for discussion.

Persons with serious mental illnesses die up to 25 years earlier, often from tobacco related diseases. Their desire to quit and ability to do so may be stronger than you may think. Clinicians are encouraged to talk with their patients and offer them assistance in quitting. Many of the treatment strategies that work for smokers without behavioral health issues (e.g., cessation pharmacotherapy and behavioral counseling) can work for this clientele as well.

http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.naswca.org/resource/resmgr/imported/debunking_smoking_myths.pdf

LIFE IS PRECIOUS! DON'T SMOKE IT UP!

Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe. - Gail Devers

O.K. So your New Year’s Resolution didn’t go so smooth after all!  You made it so many hours or so many days and then.... failure!

 So you convinced yourself that you will probably die a Smoker! Well, you might! But only if you DECIDE to! You certainly don't "have to!"

 So put that thought behind you! It comes from your Addictive Mind (often referred to here as the NicoDemon!) Your Addictive Mind is part of YOU and knows you intimately! LOL! But what it doesn't know is that you CAN change! You CAN LIVE ADDICTION FREE!!!

But you can't just do what you've done before and expect different results! So ask yourself, seriously, what are you going to do differently!

 One of the main things I did was to admit that I need help! So I came here and read what the folks here were saying!

 I listened to the people who had established a good solid quit as well as people right in front of me and those who like me, were in their earliest stages!

The Elders told me to read about Nicotine Addiction so I READ!

 They told me to talk about my quit, don't keep it a secret! SO I TOLD EVERYBODY - EVEN STRANGERS!

 They told me to take it one day at a time - SO I PLEDGED on a daily basis I, Thomas, promise myself that NO MATTER WHAT I will not smoke for this day! Just for today I will LIVE Smoke FREE! If something comes up that I have to face I won't ask "Can I smoke, now?" I'll ask, "What can I do instead?" I’ll repeat the same statement “I don’t smoke anymore!” And I will not smoke even one little puff! I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR my DECISION for the next 24 hours under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! If I need help thinking with my determined Quitter's mind then I'll come here and BLOG before I blow my Quit but I won't give up or give in!

Today I CELEBRATE 2143 Smoke FREE Days! It was no "easier" for me than for you! I have had many challenges, especially at first! I was diagnosed with COPD, got laid off at age 52 during the height of the recession, found a new job in a career field I had never tried before, and lost my beloved GodMother!

 But I NEVER GAVE UP! I Believe in ME! I work hard at my Quit! And that means giving myself permission to make ME my First Priority at all times! I can't do anything for anybody if I can't take care of ME FIRST! LOVE YOURSELF! You deserve to LIVE Smoke FREE!

Don’t let this be YOU!

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Thomas3.20.2010

Yes, You ARE Special!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 29, 2016

"You don't understand! I'm not like you, it's harder for me, I relapsed too many times, I never "tried' to quit before, I smoked more years than you, I'm a closet smoker, I'm a chain smoker,..........I'm different!" 

We hear it quite often! And Yes, you ARE Special!

I know that each of us is an individual with our own personal quit history but it doesn't change the Law of Addiction! The Law of Addiction doesn't even know or care who you are! It's an equal opportunity law, like the Law of Gravity!

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

It applies whether you've been hooked for 2 weeks or 50 years and everything in between!

It applies to the social smoker just as it does the closet smoker and the chain smoker.

It applies to the 15 year old and the 60 year old.

It applies to the healthy and the ill, to men and women, straight and gay, religious and atheist, all of us equally!

Bottom line - the only way to quit smoking is to Not take One Puff Ever!!!! N.O.P.E.!

N.O.P.E. is not just a mantra - although it is, it's not just a slogan, although it is.

N.O.P.E. is a way of LIFE! LIFE is what we're all about - your LIFE! No less! LIFE free from Addiction! LIFE healthy and happy and unhooked from a deadly, albeit legal, EXtremely Addictive Drug! 

YOU ARE SPECIAL!

That is the very reason I believe in you and I'll continue to prove it to you! Because, maybe, just maybe, one of these days you'll stop making EXcuses and actually honor yourself by Living your Quit!

Never Quit the Quit! I won't quit believing in YOU!

Isn't it time to believe in Yourself?

Thomas3.20.2010

The POWER of Choice!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 29, 2016

We didn't get addicted with the first cigarette that we smoked so which one was it? The 100th, the 243rd? Who knows - at some point we crossed the line and forfeited our right to choose to smoke or not to smoke - it became an addict's necessity.

That's why the quit has everything to do with reclaiming my choice. Did I choose to smoke that last cigarette or was I compelled to feed my addiction? Obviously, I had NO CHOICE AT ALL! I DID make a choice on March 20, 2010 that I would not smoke that day NO MATTER WHAT! On March 21st I made an equally binding choice. Today, the 2141st day of my quit I chose N.O.P.E.(Not One Puff Ever), S.I.N.A.O. (Smoking Is Not An Option)  and N.E.F. (Never Ever Forget)

By recognizing my choice about smoking or living FREE - Nicotine Addiction FREE, I honor the POWER of CHOICE. I have made other important choices, too, such as changing careers, nutrition and exercise. I have a saying that if you think you don't have a choice - well then, YOU DON'T! Making that life changing choice to live Smoke FREE helped me see those other choices that benefit my Health and Happiness because I learned something fundamental from my quit journey! Namely, I have the Right and the Responsibility to CHOOSE MY ATTITUDE, to choose my words, even my thoughts and feelings, and especially my ACTIONS!!!

I've heard folks argue that "This is me!" when they carry on with negative attitude and behavior. "I am respecting who I am." Well, I say, I have a choice to make. I can honor who I was yesterday and yet CHOOSE to feel better about myself, the world, and life in general TODAY!!! If I was disgruntled and resentful or depressed and pessimistic yesterday - fine, that was me yesterday! But it doesn't have to continue to be me TODAY! I DO have a choice!

I choose to LIVE LIFE ABUNDANTLY! I choose to see all the beauty and ugliness but to FOCUS on the Beauty! I choose to feel sad, angry, lonely, happy, playful, fascination, etc... but embrace the Happy! I choose to spend my energy on folks who wish to see me flourish and grow and accept my wish that they do the same. I choose to be constructive not destructive when I deal with challenges. I choose to count my blessings not dwell on my losses. I have that CHOICE because I am FREE - FREE of my Addiction - FREE to be ME - the ME that I believe my Creator expects me to be - THRIVING, GROWING, JOYOUS, APPRECIATIVE of this Gift of Life!

So with this 21412nd cigarette not smoked I CHOOSE TODAY to Pledge N.O.P.E., S.I.N.A.O. and N.E.F. and I will RESPECT myself enough to HONOR that decision NO MATTER WHAT! I CHOOSE to PROTECT my ability to CHOOSE! I hope you do the same!

UH OH! Time for another Not-Cig! 

HA!!! I LOVE MY CHOICE!

21413 and counting...

Thomas3.20.2010

The Only Way!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 27, 2016

N.O.P.E. isn't just a "good idea!"

It's the only way to get where you want to be!

This isn't a rule of the Community or something one member dreamt up with a following. 

It IS the Science of Addiction Recovery!

There's a Law of Nature as true as the Law of Gravity. It doesn't discriminate among those who "believe" in it and those who don't! It's simply how things work!

The Law is The Law of Addiction! You can ignore it, be oblivious to it or you can learn it and use it in your Recovery.No matter what the Law always EXists!

The Law of Addiction

 

 "Administration of a drug to an addict will cause

re-establishment 
of chemical dependence

upon the addictive substance."

 

N.O.P.E. deals with this Law in the simplest of ways:

NOT ONE PUFF EVER!

A smoker is addicted to nicotine because his/her brain is so used to the presence of nicotine in the blood stream that it becomes “necessary” for survival. So when you quit smoking the sudden absence of nicotine can make the brain go into a panic, creating a strong sense of survival fear within, and it takes a few weeks of conscious abstinence before the brain can readjust to the absence of nicotine. 

The brain gets so used to a certain pattern of dopamine release that when you start dis-identifying with it, there is a period of withdrawal. Compounding that is a series of subconscious thought patterns built up over Years of Nicotine Abuse – myths about the ability of Nicotine to make things right or at least better!

So even after the Nicotine is out of our system we still have these thought patterns. If we aren’t aware of this because we haven’t educated ourselves it can be quite a shock! That’s why Education on Nicotine Withdrawal and Recovery is so urgent! Just when our bodies are returning to normal our subconscious minds are going bonkers! You have now officially entered No Man’s Land! Lucky you! So what can we do about it?

Actually, the subconscious mind is nothing but the “neural pathways” that have been established in your brain as result of your past beliefs and conditioning. During your unconscious existence, when you weren’t aware enough, you ended up imbibing a lot of limiting beliefs, negative conditioning and misguided perceptions about smoking, that you took to be “true” and hence believed in them enough to create strong neural pathways in your brain about them – causing these patterns of thought to become “subconscious”. Neural pathways are physical links, they are real and they are no different from a strong rope made from interweaving several layers of strings. Once you consciously see through a smoking–related belief, within you, the neural pathway associated with that smoke belief will take time to come down, even when you are no longer supporting it consciously – it could well take a few months for a neural pathway, associated with a pattern of thought, to come down fully.

A lot of people who realize certain truths, and gain clarity, feel frustrated that their brain is not able to sync up with this understanding. The basic deal is that your conscious mind has gained the understanding, but your subconscious mind is yet to get programmed in it – it still has strong neural pathways associated with the old beliefs, conditioning and thought pattern. The conscious mind can get it immediately, and you can feel a sense of relief and elation on getting the clarity, but the very next day you can come up against the subconscious mind that starts churning out the old patterns. When you lack an understanding of how the subconscious mind works, you can easily start beating yourself up for being “slow”, or for regressing back to addictive thinking after a day of being enlightened/clear about it – and of course this behavior of feeling bad about yourself just reinforces the old patterns of addiction.

So what’s a Quitter to do?

To program your subconscious mind, with the present “conscious” understanding that you’ve gained, will take time, and you need to make an allowance for it, understanding that it’s a physical process of bringing down the old neural pathways in your brain. In fact these neural pathways are constantly reinforced by your current reality, because your present reality is by itself a web that you’ve interwoven through your thought patterns, so for a while you would need to create a rift in this unconscious reinforcement by consciously dis-identifying with the smoking triggers in your present external reality. The word “dis-identification” is confusing to a lot of people, but all it really means is that you stop buying into the addictive thought system – stop showering it with your belief, stop finding identity in it and stop defending it.

Staying in a space of relaxed awareness works at bringing down patterns of addictive thinking because:

1. You stay consciously relaxed instead of reacting/panicking to your brain’s addictive cycle, this ensures that your inherent vibration is one of being “fearless”, or open, which ensures that you are not fueling addiction (through your fear of it), thus breaking the cycle.

2. You are not trying hard to sort out the brain’s noise, instead you are just allowing it. This ensures that you are not buying into the loop of trying to solve the mind’s problem with the same pattern of thinking that created it. This state of allowing causes you to connect with the space of being, or space of your life-stream (or your inner being, whatever you want to call it) that allows for true solutions/understanding to come through to bring a lasting transformation to your mind and reality.

3. You develop the ability to consciously hold a space between your brain’s reactive movement and your awareness. This ability, as it grows, is what allows you the feeling of “freedom” from being a prisoner to the mind’s pull.

4. As you develop a stability in this space of awareness, you start understanding that the mind is not a “big deal”, it’s just a machine which can be worked with, instead of being fearful of it. You realize that you need to understand your mind, get to know its natural makeup and align with it, while letting go of negativity/resistance that keeps you from living your expression, or which resists the unfolding of your desired reality.

Staying in relaxed awareness automatically re-programs your subconscious mind to align with your conscious understanding. This is because, your awareness holds your conscious understanding and thus just staying in a space of awareness allows you to not only let go of reinforcing addictive patterns but also allows you to register this conscious understanding into your subconscious (to build new neural pathways that contain this new understanding).

The gap between Realization and Successful Smoke FREE Lifestyle

Realization, or a moment of awakening, can happen as soon as you have a conscious understanding/insight about smoking. However, a realization does not automatically ensure that you start living it immediately. For EXample, you can realize that you don’t have to fight with your triggers, and that all you need to do is align within yourself to attract the Smoke FREE reality of your choice, but your past behavior may be of struggling against triggers and this behavior is present at a “subconscious” level, and thus your realization may not immediately create a shift in your behavior – you are not yet living your realization. You can only truly live your realization (at a 100%) when it gets programmed into your subconscious. This is the reason why people who have a low awareness may have a moment of realization but fall back into unconsciously reinforcing their old patterns quite soon – this is because they lack a stability in their awareness to sustain a gap between their mind’s subconscious pull and their conscious understanding.

Developing a stability in awareness is the pre-requisite, for anyone who has a low awareness of their mind, before they can re-program their subconscious patterns. By “low awareness” I just mean the tendency to be lost in the mind’s conditioned pull without ever having the space to question it, or observe it – a lack of self-awareness.

Some people naturally have a high awareness, where they are observant of their mind, and have a tendency to question its conditioned movement. Other people need to develop their power of awareness – the best way to do this would be to spend time just observing your mind as a “detached witness”, as if you were watching a movie or listening to a radio station, you can do it as a practice for 20-30 minutes a day or you could just do it every time you are self aware. All of us can learn this skill!

It’s one thing to understand that Sickerettes don’t solve anything, and that believing they will is just a mindset, while it’s a totally different thing to really live this understanding, so that you life is an EXample of it. The mindset of escape into addiction  is so ingrained in our “subconscious” that it almost feels like a sacrilege to question it.

 A lot of smoking cessation resources, still enforce the mindset of struggle by asking the quitters to keep working on willpower -  of living a “regimental” life of forced discipline, instead of allowing them the freedom to align with their natural EXpression. Self-discipline when enforced becomes a force of suppression, however when you start aligning with yourself by letting go of the mindset of struggle you notice a natural discipline coming up on its own (because now you are aligned with the inspiration coming from your life-stream’s intelligence) – this discipline is not “rigid”, but has a leeway based on wisdom of the moment and hence ensures that you don’t end up “over working” yourself or do unnecessary/unproductive/counter-productive work.

If these understandings don’t take you towards a struggle free recovery, then there is no real point to it. Experiencing a struggle free recovery, in this physical realm you are existing in presently, is the bottom-line of becoming an EX, and if your realizations are not taking you towards this mindset, you could well be holding on to your subconscious patterns of struggle through your fear of letting go of it – maybe you are yet to gain a clear understanding of the abundant Smoke FREE lifestyle inherent to your life-stream (thus you don’t trust it), or you are not staying true to your understanding and succumbing to your mind’s fear-based pull. Unless you stand true to your understanding, consciously, you would not be able to deconstruct the subconscious patterns of addiction operating in your mind.

Bottom line, without this subconscious shift which takes time and awareness sooner or later you will relapse! Willpower and enforced self discipline can’t be sustained permanently!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7Z980ITCvk

Thomas3.20.2010

Early Morning Smoker?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 26, 2016

If you grab for that first cigarette of the day sooner rather than later, it may be a sign of depression.

 A CDC survey suggests depressed people are more likely to smoke and less likely to quit. The findings don't prove that depression causes smoking or that smoking causes depression. But the data, from nationwide surveys of adults conducted from 2005 through 2008, show there's a strong link between depression and cigarette smoking.

Depressed people are much more likely to smoke than people who aren't depressed, the CDC finds. And the number of cigarettes people smoke increases as their depression deepens.

Moreover, smokers suffering depression grab for that first cigarette of the day sooner than smokers who aren't depressed.

Among people who aren't depressed, women are less likely to smoke than men are. But depressed women smoke as much as depressed men.

Here are some other key findings for adults age 20 and older from the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 2005-2008:

·         48% of women and 40% of men with severe depression are smokers. Among people who are not depressed, 17% of women and 25% of men are smokers.

      
  • More than half of depressed smokers light up within five minutes of waking. Only 30% of smokers who aren't depressed do this.

 

      
  • Nearly twice as many depressed smokers as non-depressed smokers average more than a pack a of cigarettes each day (28% vs. 15%).

 

      
  • In every age group, depressed people were less likely to have quit smoking than people who weren't depressed.

 

      
  • Depressed people are more likely to have tried smoking than non-depressed people.

·         Overall, some 7% of Americans in the CDC surveys reported some degree of depression.

For those who smoke, there's good news: People with depression can successfully quit smoking if enrolled in intensive cessation programs. Depressed smokers are as capable as nondepressed smokers of quitting smoking, and at least one-quarter of depressed smokers is willing to try. In fact, depression severity and history of depression recurrence are not related to willingness to try to quit smoking among depressed outpatients.

 Sustained abstinence may even lead to improvement in depressive disorders. Current clinical evidence suggests more resiliency among depressed smokers than common clinical wisdom would dictate. Actually, smokers with depressive disorders are able to quit smoking at the same rates as nondepressed smokers.

Yes, depressed smokers who quit smoking are more likely to relapse to depression than depressed smokers who keep smoking; but only a minority of depressed smokers will get depressed. One study found that 24 of 34 smokers, more than two-thirds the sample with a prior diagnosis of major depression, did not have a recurrence of major depression after quitting smoking, even without antidepressant medication or other apparent intervention. Two of the subjects who did have a recurrence of depression, experienced depressive symptoms for only two days before restarting effective antidepressant therapy.

Is there any evidence that stopping smoking actually improves depression? A study in 2002 found that continuous abstinence was associated with short- and long-term reductions in depressive symptoms. Improved mood with sustained abstinence from cigarettes may be related to brain serotonin levels. Another potential explanation for improved mood with smoking cessation is a decrease in hypercholinergic neurotransmission at the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

 Highly nicotine dependent smokers are potentially at higher risk for depression and relapse, but also more responsive to bupropion. Preliminary evidence supports the development of specific smoking cessation treatments tailored for depression, over standard smoking cessation therapies.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2655079/

Thomas:

If you have a history of depression as I do then you may be reluctant to Quit Smoking out of fear of deepening depression. But with proper treatment with a therapist who is on board with your Quit Plans, YOU CAN SUCCEED!

I was also told not to Quit Smoking and I listened until I was diagnosed with COPD! Guess what! My therapist doesn’t have to live with my illness! I DO! Do you know what a prime comorbidity of COPD is? Depression!

Don’t wait until you have a chronic, incurable, progressive illness to quit smoking! Work at your Quit with good psychological supervision and don’t give up!

Thomas3.20.2010

THANK YOU, MARK!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 25, 2016

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Today is Community Manager Appreciation Day! 

Let's ALL Thank Our Community Manager, Mark, who has changed so much in so little time! 

We truly appreciate you, Mark!

Thomas3.20.2010

Don't be Fooled!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 25, 2016

BIG TOBACCO wants you to believe....

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But if you believe that....

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All of your Dreams will go up in Smoke!

Break the Illusion!

Live Smoke FREE - Just One Day at a Time!

  Do you ever think that you would have a better Quititude IF life were only a little less full of unfortunate events and a little more full of positive experiences? That's what I have fallen into from time to time. I "lost" my Quititude and didn't know where to look for it! I looked for it at home, with friends, at work, in my car, everywhere and I just couldn't find it! I even looked for it in my dreams turning over every corner of every room in my mind. Not over there! Not under there! It didn't fall out of my pocket! Oh well, maybe it will turn up! It couldn't have gotten too far! 
   
  I went for long walks, EXercised, followed my nutrition plan, meditated and worked my mindfulness program. All were undoubtedly helpful but nada! I EXpected quititude to be returned to me for doing the right things!
   
  So I reflected on how I had obtained Quititude in the first place - the BLOGS! Maybe I could find a new Quititude - a sort of replacement. I read the BLOGS and I read and read the most inspirational BLOGS I could find! I knew where to look because when I had Quititude, I would often read there, not from desperation but because it was HOME! Now, I felt like a visitor, not a family member, on my best behavior, stiff, polite, but not relaxed and at HOME! 
   
  Now, if you ask yourself what Thomas does when he gets stuck, what do you suppose? I researched! That's my go to action on just about any subject that's bothering me any time! Here's what I found that was helpful to me:
   
  Attitude and Experience By Ralph Marston
   
  Perhaps you think that your attitude on any particular day depends on the things you experience that day. But actually it is the other way around.
   
  The things you experience do not cause you to have a particular attitude. Instead , the quality and substance of your experiences are what reveal your attitude.
   
  Your attitude is yours to choose. And by choosing your attitude, you can choose the kind of life you live.
   
  
   Yes, there will be plenty of events coming along that are completely beyond the control of you or your attitude. Yet your attitude will most definitely determine how you experience each of those events. 
  
     
  
   If your attitude is negative and destructive, you’ll find pain, disappointment and dismay in even the most wonderful circumstances. Yet when your attitude is positive, creative, thankful and joyful, you’ll find real hope and valuable possibilities in even the most unfortunate events. 
  
     
  
   Rather than assuming that your attitude is dictated by events, choose to maintain a positive attitude no matter what may come along. By so doing, you’ll be choosing a life of real value and meaning. 
  
     
  
     
  
   There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. 
  
     
  
   The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. 
  
     
  
   W. Clement Stone 
  
     
  
     
  
   
    The attitude you bring  
   
       
   
    Imagine how great it would be if you could go through this day doing only what you wanted to do. Though it might sound too good to be true, it’s completely possible and available to you.  
   
       
   
    Just stop fighting against what you have to do, and turn it into what you want to do. You know it must be done, so why make it worse by letting it bring you down?  
   
       
   
    Who decides what makes you miserable and what makes you happy? You do, of course. Stop dreading those things you know you must get done, and start looking forward to them. The attitude you bring to them can change them completely.  
   
       
   
    Do you ever find that you know full well what needs to be done, yet you just cannot bring yourself to do it? Change it in your mind from something that has to be done into something you want to do, and you’ll have no trouble at all getting to it.  
   
       
   
    It is truly as easy as it sounds, and it can make an enormous difference. Decide you want it, and you’ll get it done.  
   
       
   
    — Ralph Marston  
   
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     Just like Dorothy's way home was a available to her all the time, so was my Quititude! It hadn't fallen off or out - I gave it up! And it was within me all along - not outside! Quititude isn't based on events or circumstances. It's all right there in your mind (and mine!) We get to/have to DECIDE how we'll approach our Quit Journey! And there's a certain momentum to our thought processes.    
    
         
    
     If we decide to look at our quit as sacrifice, giving something up, deprivation, martyrdom then we'll blow it out of proportion in a negative way, making the effort so much larger than it has to be! We'll build up our minds to feel like Sisyphus pushing a giant boulder up a hill day in and day out! Sooner or later we'll just get too tired and give up! We'll relapse!   
    
         
    
     We can decide to become a "Happy Quitter" not because our quit journey is easy or simple. Not because our support system is perfect, not because we chose a propitious moment to quit and all the circumstances in our lives are perfectly aligned with successful enterprise but because you and I DECIDE our Quititude and "by choosing your attitude, you can choose the kind of life you live."   
    
     TODAY I DECIDE to live my day with QUITITUDE! I choose to be a "Happy Quitter!"   
    
         
    
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Thomas3.20.2010

BIG $$$$

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 23, 2016

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If you thought lung cancer, rotting teeth and bad breath were reason enough to quit smoking, add another compelling reason to the mix –BIG $$$$. 

That's right - smoking not only ruins your health, it has the potential to ruin your financial health, too. 

WalletHub.com, a personal financial web site, estimates the potential monetary losses brought on by smoking runs well over $1.5 million over the course of a lifetime. 

The report breaks the total lifetime cost of smoking-linked spending as follows: 

- Out-of-Pocket Cost per Smoker - $120,309.00 
- Financial Opportunity Cost per Smoker - $1,137,650.00 
- Health-Care Cost per Smoker - $163,282.00 
- Income Loss per Smoker - $216,709.00 
- Other Costs per Smoker - $9,513.00 

Total Cost Over a Lifetime Per Smoker In Pennsylvania = $1,647,463 

[This hypothetical person lives in Pennsylvania. Smokers in states like Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Alaska, and Hawaii can expect to pay over $2 million for their nicotine habit over the course of their lifetimes!]

What about your employer? He/she gets to pay BIG $$$$, too! Besides the smelly clothes, breath and hair, one study of 646 smokers show companies lose 64 minutes of productivity per day from them. Assuming 50 week year, at eight hours per day, that's 33 days in lost productivity per year.

If you were your boss, who would you wish to hire?

Thomas3.20.2010

Nicotine VS Dopamine

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 22, 2016
  Every smoker and ex-smoker knows that nicotine is the major culprit of the smoking addiction. In addition, they may even know that cigarette manufacturers use ammonia  to free-base nicotine in order to boost it's addictive hook up to 35 times. Yet, scarce is the man or woman who understands how nicotine functions like a dopamine imposter, raising levels of this "feel good" chemical in the body artificially.
   
  Nicotine also acts as an enabler, widening capillaries, allowing for the rush of the 4,000 plus chemicals in a commercial cigarette to penetrate cells and foster anxiety, nervousness, and sickness. Dopamine can also raise levels of awareness and general pleasure, but the problem is that as dopamine levels increase from the use of cigarettes, natural chemical reactions in the body like dopamine and serotonin decrease  their natural production. When a smoker tries to quit cold turkey, they experience days, weeks, and sometimes months of depression and anxiety, mainly because their dopamine production levels cannot recover quickly enough. Ever hear of people getting very "cranky" after they quit? The central nervous system is so accustomed to being nurtured with nicotine, it's almost like a border-line diabetic's body, which barely produces insulin because it's so accustomed to a high sugar diet.
   
  Replenish with a natural supplement which boosts dopamine levels and ends the cravings
  Put simply, nicotine damages dopamine production for smokers, so to supplement the production of dopamine is the ultimate way to help a smoker quit, and quit for good. Even though the smoking habit is also a behavior addiction, the "feel good" drug aspect is stronger and is the driving force for smokers to return to the habit when something stressful comes along, unless they know how to supplement.
   
  
   The highly under-estimated issue for smokers is that commercial tobacco is "free-based" with ammonia and has been for about 50 years. Marlboro got busted in the 1990's and admitted to it, and then paid off Blue Cross and Blue Shield over 4 billion dollars to "let it rest," basically so they could keep doing it. Then all the other major brands learned the news of the "hook trick" and starting doing it as well. Ammonia cooked with tobacco makes the nicotine up to 35 times as strong. The function of ammonia in commercial cigarette manufacturing is to turn the nicotine into a vapor ready form by converting bound molecules into free molecules. If you are smoking commercial cigarettes, you're getting up to 100mg of potency in one cigarette. This alone wrecks the body's ability to properly regulate dopamine and serotonin levels, balancing the entire process on three fulcrums: the potency of the brand being smoked, how many cigarettes are smoked per day, and when the cigarettes are being smoked. This is why so many smokers grab a cigarette and light it up before or after something stressful, or a situation which requires energy and motivation. 
  
     
  
   Visualize the war that's going on inside a smoker's brain: Nicotine versus Dopamine. Natural fight or flight reactions are now becoming nervous disorders. Organic feelings and emotions about life in general become exaggerated problems which seem insurmountable at times. After long term use of high-potency cigarettes (about 15 to 20 years), a person can permanently cripple the dopamine system, and ruin the ability to feel pleasure at all without first smoking a cigarette. 
  
     
  
   Understanding and addressing the chemistry of it all is the cure. Dopamine functions in your brain to help you deal with stress, anxiety, and relaxation, and should occur naturally, instead of being chemically induced. This is what cigarette manufacturers realized 50 years ago and this is the hook which keeps smokers addicted and pulls them "back in" when they quit. 
  
     
  
   
    The brain neurotransmitter dopamine activates the metabolism helping the body establish a healthy weight. Additionally, dopamine helps the brain generate sufficient energy to run the body. It stimulates the heart, regulates the flow of information through our brains, controls movement, and allows humans to experience feelings of passion and pleasure, according to the Health News Standwebsite. Dopamine production is boosted by the consumption of certain foods, especially those containing the amino acid tyrosine. Eating these special foods adds to our ability to respond optimally to our lives both physically and emotionally. All foods eaten should ideally be organic to avoid the effects of pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.  
   
       
   
       
   
     Proteins 
   
    Protein are high in amino acids, which are necessary for dopamine production. Include foods such as fish, eggs, chicken, turkey and red meat to supply your body with adequate amino acids. Fermented soy products such as tempeh and miso and other legumes are considered incomplete proteins; however, form complete proteins when eaten in combination with grains, becoming excellent sources for dopamine-related amino acids.  
   
       
   
       
   
     Vegetables 
   
    Certain vegetables in particular are excellent sources of amino acids that stimulate dopamine production. For example, beets supply the amino acid called betaine, that aids in the regulation neurotransmitters like dopamine. Artichokes and avocados have also been found to increase dopamine levels.  
   
       
   
    
      Fruits  
    
     Ripe bananas are a major source of tyrosine, explains MedHelp.com; and as they continue to ripen and become sweeter, their tyrosine component becomes more potent. Tyrosine helps regulate and stimulate dopamine levels, increasing memory and alertness. Apples are recommended for being high in quercetin, a potent antioxidant, according to MedHelp.com, and shown to aid in the prevention of neurodegenerative diseases by triggering the production of dopamine in the brain. Remember to eat strawberries, blueberries and prunes to round out the best fruits supplying nutrients that trigger dopamine release.   
    
         
    
         
    
      Nuts and Seeds  
    
     Raw almonds, sesame and pumpkin seeds make a great snack and help regulate dopamine levels. Almond butter or tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds, are excellent sources for the amino acids needed for dopamine production.   
    
         
    
         
    
      Wheat Germ  
    
     Wheat germ supplies the essential amino acid phenylalanine, that's converted to tyrosine, which then stimulates additional dopamine release. Do not use wheat germ if you are gluten intolerant or allergic to wheat.   
    
         
    
         
    
      Herbs  
    
     Several common herbs are known for helping to regulate dopamine levels. These include nettles fenugreek, ginseng, milk thistle, red clover, and peppermint. They are best consumed as herbal teas.   
    
         
    
     
       Supplements   
     
      Adding supplements to your diet to increase dopamine levels may be helpful if you're unable to get those nutrients from foods. Tyrosine, plus several vitamins such as B, C and E as well as iron, folic acid and niacin all help to trigger dopamine release. Check with your health care practitioner before including additional iron in your diet.    
     
           
     
           
     
           
     
       EXercise regularly   
     
      Exercise increases blood calcium, which stimulates dopamine production and uptake in your brain. Try 30 to 60 minutes of walking, swimming or jogging to jump-start your dopamine levels.    
     
      It also ups your endorphins. A genuine laugh or a stretch gets your endorphins going, which is similar to a dopamine high. Except for if you were actually on an endorphin high it'd be seriously dangerous -- it's a pain inhibitor.    
     
           
     
       Practice Mindfulness   
     
      Mindfulness has been described as “paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgementally.” The objective is to help individuals learn, at times, to become aware of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations rather than trying to modify them or acting on them.  This suggests that mindfulness  might not only decrease relapse in depression and addiction but also prevent the onset of the first episode of depression in susceptible people.     
     
           
     
      Another reason mindfulness is helpful in terms of recovery is that it yields The Now Effect, that “aha” moment of clarity where we enter into a choice point, a moment where we access possibilities and opportunities we didn’t know were there before. This is crucial when it comes to our addictive behaviors to take a step back, “think through that just one smoke” and recognize the various options that lie before us. We can learn to step into the pause, notice the sensation of the urge that’s there and as the late Alan Marlatt, PhD says, “Surf the Urge” as it peaks, crests and falls back down like a wave in the ocean.    
     
           
     
      
       Just because our brains have been altered by addiction, doesn’t mean we’re destined to fall into the same habits. With the right skills, community and support we can learn how to break out of routine and into a life worth living.     
      
             
      
             
      
        Get plenty of sleep    
      
       One of the best ways to feel energized and ready to tackle the day is to get plenty of sleep. Dopamine has been tied to feelings of wakefulness, so in order to get that wakeful feeling, get 7 to 8 hour of sleep a night.     
      
       Or...don't get any. If you're actually looking to up your dopamine levels as opposed  to feeling good, dopamine levels skyrocket with sleep deprivation. You'll feel fatigued, groggy, and irritable, but your dopamine levels will be through the roof.      
      
             
      
        Reach a new goal    
      
       Dopamine is all about pleasure; it's one hedonistic brain chemical, that's for sure. Luckily, all you have to do is train your brain. Whether it's important to you to get to work on time or finally get that PhD, reaching a new goal will put your pleasure centers into party mode.      
      
             
      
       It doesn't have to be big. Start thinking of your little daily activities as goals. Did you make it through the morning without checking Facebook?! FANTASTIC. Reward time, because that goal has been achieved! Keep in mind that celebrations of our little goals – per week, month, 50 day increments or simply FREEDOM Train and Bonfire Parties all serve a very important purpose! We all need to find natural ways to replace natural dopamine and serotonin in our systems when we quit smoking!     
     
    
   
  
Thomas3.20.2010

Addiction Recovery

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 22, 2016

When we realize that we are dealing with an addiction, we have opened our eyes to the quit journey!

Quitting is more than just not smoking - it is recovery from addiction! Recovery means the process of reclaiming something lost! So what did we lose when we got hooked on nicotine? I would surmise that we lost our true God-given Selves!

No pill, patch, e-cig, or other device can give that back to us! Only we can get that back by going to the source of our being - Our Creator! We must forgive ourselves and ask HIS forgiveness for the sacrifices we have made for the sake of our drug - Nicotine!

I sacrificed my body, my mind, my spirit, my soul to a dried up dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in thousands of deadly chemicals! One by one, I have to reclaim each of these!

That takes time! I didn't just wake up one day and say, "I think I'll forfeit all that makes me special to an addictive substance!" NO! It took time - little by little giving up more and more of myself! And I won't get all of that back overnight, either!

I need to be diligent, careful, focused, determined! And I need to be PATIENT! In the end, I will be recovering/reclaiming LIFE ITSELF!

So what if I'm grumpy for a few days! What's at stake is ME! And my Family and True Friends can only want that for me and more than willingly put up with my rascibility!

The GIFT is Abundantly Truthful Living! I can't let myself settle for anything less!

Thomas3.20.2010

Ready for Change?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 21, 2016

We don't have to be ready to make a change to actually make a change. Think of all the ways you have used this as an excuse to procrastinate on one thing or another.

For example, I'm just not ready to clean my closets.  First, I don't have the boxes and bags needed to accomplish this task (and, yes, I am aware that these are available in a variety of stores, large and small, for a small price, so no need to remind me).  Second, I just don't feel mentally ready to deal with the chaos, the mess, the sorting and deciding what to keep and what to toss and, frankly, until I am, there's just no point in doing it.

 Is this working at all? My Wife says it's nonsense!

Whenever we talk about making a lifestyle change, there's an implication that you have to be Ready to Change  or maybe that you should be READY TO CHANGE. I guess I've always believed that, that we're supposed to be ready to make a change in order to quit smoking, but what scientists have discovered is that your willingness doesn't always predict how successful you’ll be in getting started or even how well you'll stick to a program.

In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, EXperts spent some time debunking myths about obesity, one presumption being that we must be ready to change. But, after looking at five weight loss trials with almost 4,000 participants, they found that people lost weight regardless of readiness.

They make an interesting point, suggesting that, "...people voluntarily choosing to enter weight-loss programs are, by definition, at least minimally ready to engage in the behaviors required to lose weight."  And if you are reading this, then you are minimally aware that smoking doesn’t fit into your lifestyle as well as it used to and are ready to engage in behaviors required to free yourself from Nicotine Addiction.

I think a lot of us use this as an EXcuse to procrastinate. “I’ll quit some day, I’m just not ready to go on that diet or start exercising or quit smoking. I just don't feel ready to organize the closets and take out the garbage.

The fact is, we can start exercising or changing our diet or planning our quit smoking program or...ahem...clean out the closets whether we're ready or not. We'll get the same results and, often, the action comes before the desire. In fact, just taking a small action - Taking that walk, eating that apple,  logging into BecomeanEX, buying those boxes and trash bags is an act of willingness, isn't it?

What do you think? Do you use 'readiness to change' as an EXcuse to procrastinate a change you need to make or a task you should do?

An addict’s road to recovery causes pain and anguish along the way. Just the simple realisation that the addiction is no longer their friend rather the complete opposite is very disappointing feeling. The reality is that you must overcome your trials and in accomplishing this become accountable for your recovery in your daily life.

Recovery is a lot about being accountable. Accountability for everything that happened in your life of active addiction, accountability for what you think, feel and act. Being accountable is a choice. If you make this important choice and hold yourself accountable for where your life ended up as well as holding yourself accountable for your recovery progress then you have taken a gigantic step towards securing your recovery goals.

Not only will you be able to continue on the road to recovery carrying a lot less extra baggage around you, but you would have realised that your addiction did you no favours.  In fact, it did more harm than good, to you and to those around you. For that reason alone, you need to be accountable for yourself, and the consequences cause to self and others, because of your addiction.  Only you can accept this responsibility, no one else can do that for you.

Use the following procedures as a guide to help you become accountable. The procedure involves the following: 

Stop Playing the Blame Game

 “I am accountable for my life and actions”- repeat this phrase in your mind and aloud several times every day. This is very essential because many people in recovery tend to blame others for their mishaps and failures, when in truth they failed themselves. Reality is they are responsible for and accountable for their thoughts, actions, attitudes, emotions and behaviour.  When playing the “blame game” many may go back in the past and blame their mother or father for not setting them a ‘good’ example, while others point fingers at their friends. However, what they fail to realise is that every person has the power to make their own decisions and choices. When they realise that any choice made in the past whether good or bad was their decision, alone, indicates accountability.

I Am Accountable For My Concepts of My Addiction

You can look at the addiction as something positive to learn from and never to return or constantly anger yourself for having the addiction. It is possible to have a positive outlook and overcome the challenge. Try laughing in the face of a problem rather than feeling overwhelmed by it.

I Am Accountable For My Way Forward

You can choose to look back, reminisce and fall again or you can try to move forward. The laughter in the previous stage will help lead the way for this current stage. Set goals that you always wanted to achieve but were unable to because of your addiction.  Perhaps your goal is to finish college, get married, or work in your favourite firm. As you walking ahead in your recovery journey, keep your head straight; in other words, keep focused on the goal, and don’t allow yourself to be diverted from your primary goals. 

I Am My Own Motivator

You have to push yourself to overcome the addiction. While you push though remember to reward yourself. For every week you overcome the addiction treat yourself. Maybe it is your favorite ice-cream, movie, game and more. Then again, if you failed for the week, make a note of it and encourage yourself to do better the next week.

I Will Not Pity Myself

The easiest thing to do is feel sorry for ‘you’ and wallow in self-pity along with its friends, guilt and shame. Many people in recovery from their addiction reach this stage along the way, and then decide to turn back. But, you’re not to give-up. To avoid falling into the feeling sorry for yourself trap, it is all right to be firm with yourself and constantly remind yourself of your primary goal. Become your own coach and train yourself to remain focused, committed and determined to succeed in your recovery goals.

I Will Take Care of My Health And Well-Being  

You need to be mindful how your addiction destroyed your body, mind and emotions.  And make a ongoing decision that,

“I will not harm myself…I will take care of my health- and well being. I will eat nutritional food, drink at least 8 glasses of water each day, and engage in some form of physical exercises and organise a exercise regime, which includes stretching of my body, every day.”

http://newliferecoveryprogram.com/

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Knowledge is POWER!

READ READ READ! Your Quit will Thank You!

Thomas3.20.2010

Baby News!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 20, 2016

First, last and most important - Mother and Baby are doing fine!

Miss Penelope decided to make an appearance at 7:22 P.M. Yesterday. She's beautiful beyond words!

"Penny" has lots of hair, very long fingers, and I think I saw her smile!

She weighs 6 lbs 11 oz and is 18 1/2 in long.

Bedside Mom had her CNA Husband, a new Doctor Friend of the Mother, an RN Expert in births (another friend) and a Massage Therapist Sister. The baby was caught by the RN since the hospital Doctor didn't get there on time! Papa T stayed in the waiting room pacing! Not one of us are smokers! YEA!

Who do you have on your Quit Smoking Team? A great support team can lead to a successful Quit Journey! Pick your best qualified Friends, keep your Family informed and up-to-date, and leave the smokers on the periphery! Soon you will have your very own baby Quit going!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Thomas3.20.2010

Today's the Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 19, 2016

Today is a BIG DAY in our Family! Our first Grandbaby will be born in a few hours from now! To say I;m EXcited is to say that it's a little cool outside here in Colorado! It's da%$ cold! And I'm OVER THE MOON! 

I have practiced in my mind a thousand times how to cross this bridge. What kind of relationship will I have with the little one and with her parents? What impression will she have of her Papa T? How long will I be a part of her life? My imagination runs endless. There's an anxious apprehension that I might not measure up somehow!

When I Quit Smoking it was with a nervous EXcitement, too! I couldn't begin to grasp so many Wonderful changes in my Life! I was scared, too. But take the plunge I did and although like new Grandparenthood it wasn't always a smoothe ride - actually pretty challenging in the beginning - it was 100% worth it! 

In 5 Years I may inwardly smile at my Grandparent apprehensions just as 5 Years out I can joke about my first awkward EXer days! 

That's what I imagine anyway!

Quit and protect your Quit! You won't regret it!

Thomas3.20.2010

I Have a Dream!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 18, 2016

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"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." 

As we Celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we celebrate the BEST of ourselves. We reach out for our potential BEST just as he had in his short, enlightened inspiring life! Dr. King was intelligent, yes and he was charismatic but more than that he had Faith in his fellow human being and the dream that dwelled in his mind!

While we were smoking, we had a dream that seemed so far fetched - a dream for FREEDOM! We had an inkling of our potential selves, a memory of the FREEDOM we relinquished by taking that first puff and that ever since, most of us for decades, was being puffed away with addiction.

That simple little thought made us strive for FREEDOM - the FREEDOM to be as Our Creator wishes we would be and knows we can be! Many of us have looked under every crook and cranny our our minds for the means to gain our FREEDOM until we found the PRIZE!

A few others were able to find the way more directly. And most of us are still searching but refuse to give up! We each had our own motivations for this quest for FREEDOM but what we had in common is the goal! We were motivated by the fact that "a lie cannot live" and we knew on some level (some more conscious than others) that we were living a lie. 

 To reach that goal takes a lot of human fortitude.  As MLK said, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our FREEDOM."

Too many people see quitting as an event, just as today's celebration is an event and back to "business as usual" tomorrow! But quitting brings change and change is not inevitable! We must straighten our backs and work our quit journey each and every day. That's a BIG ticket so it can only be done one day at a time, giving just for today commitment, focus, and determination - keeping always our eyes on the prize - FREEDOM and remember these words, "I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars."

Many of us have EXperienced the very personal loss of one or more family member, friend, loved one due to the wicked consequences of smoking related illness. It's absolutely devastating! And some of us have been struck down, debilitated, even left disabled, by smoking related illness. I happen to be one of them. If at times, our voices are shrill, it's because we wish to spare you!

We want you to see past the Addictive lie that "smoking is a harmless vice", to know that smoking related illness is very real! But life isn't about not dying - it's about living well! Again, MLK said, "Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!" he said those famous words on April 3, 1963. On the next day, he was assassinated.

I won't begin to speak for the other elders who continue to visit this site - I speak for myself alone, but these words perfectly EXpress my thoughts when I come here again and again and do my best to share my DREAM of FREEDOM for all of you, for all people caught up in the lie of Nicotine Addiction!

Yes, folks, this struggle we are in is just as life and death, just as critical to the dignity of living as MLK's! And yes, I gladly give the BEST of myself when I come here and ask, "Wouldn't you like to live in FREEDOM? I, Thomas, have seen the Promised Land and believe that we, as a Community, will get there!

Join me! I will walk beside you and together we will go up the mountain called FREEDOM!"

Confidence on the outside begins by living with  integrity on  the inside.          

Brian  Tracy

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Just in case you're new here today and haven't heard, we are JUNKIES! I am and YOU ARE, Too! Here's the difference between us and those guys jonesing for a fix!

When you have QUIT SMOKING you break the cycle of dishonesty that says anything to "justify"  my next hit! You know, "Oh I don't smoke much, everybody deserves a vice!", or "just one won't hurt!", or (I love this one!)" I can quit any time I want!" (and here's the other half!) "I can't quit - I've tried a dozen times!"

There are an infinite number of LIES that we tell ourselves in order to give in to that next craving and keep the Monster happy!

 Now, once you stay quit for a good while,that smoke cloud rises and you are left standing there in all your natural beauty! The REAL YOU! The Rose with thorns!

You have to learn to live with yourself just as God intends for you to be! You have to become INTEGRATED!

You can't run for a cig and hide behind the smoke any more! This is YOU! And it's a Great Opportunity to look at yourself - really take a good look! - and say "I like what I see!"

There's a person with so much courage (s)he kicked the addiction for LIFE! There's a person who had FOCUS, who had DETERMINATION, who RESPECTS themself, who HONORS their DECISIONS!

That's a darn AWESOME PERSON!

You set a Goal and made it happen even though you were afraid, anxious, upset, disoriented! You made it happen! YOU DID THAT! WOW!

If you could do that you can do all kinds of things! You have EXcellent reason to be CONFIDENT because you have INTEGRITY!

Now, seriously, folks, how many people do you know who can say that? Feel PROUD of YOURSELF! 

Did your fowl smoking habit linger into the New Year? Well, there’s always time to make a resolution. It’s no surprise to anyone but just a reminder — smoking cigarettes could lead to diseases such as lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and cardiovascular complications. As compiled from, TodayMen’s Health and Live Science, this plan will help you kick the ash for good and live a restored, longer and nicotine-free life.

Clock in workouts

Want to quit for good? Lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement. People who exercise when they crave cigarettes are more likely to overcome the urge to smoke, finds a report published in the journalAddiction. Researchers suggest exercise could distract you from thinking about taking a puff, and breaking a sweat may boost your mood and encourage your feelings of self-control, reducing impulsiveness. “If you sit in a chair and wait for the craving to go away, that’s going to make it much harder,” says Glen Morgan, Behavioural Research Programme director at the Tobacco Control Research Branch of the National Cancer Institute, US. Instead, he recommended taking a short walk. “Exercise may help reduce the craving because it helps reduce stress,” he adds. It’s also useful for minor anxiety or depression — both of which can influence people to smoke.

Start sharing (your story)

So, literally, you could quit smoking in 140 characters or less. According to research conducted by the University of Georgia, smokers who share their struggles via social media are more successful at quitting and staying clean than those who seek support offline. Flocking to Facebook can help you link up with like-minded others over a common goal, and the more connected you feel, the more you believe you can curb your cravings. Also, writing about quitting struggles could in fact, motivate you to keep trying.

Load up on fruits, veggies

If you wish to never light a smoke again, it’s time to go do groceries and pick up some fresh produce. Eating more fruits and vegetables could help you quit smoking and stay tobacco-free for much longer, according to a 2012 University at Buffalo study. Yearnings for cigarettes and foods are closely linked and confused with one another, it concludes. With a diet that’s chock-full of fiber and necessary vitamins and minerals, you’ll feel fuller and avoid craving confusion.

Got milk?

If you don’t like milk, it’s a shame because the calcium-packed moo-juice lends a funky taste to cigarettes — making them all the less desirable. Researchers at the Duke University found that smokers were less likely to smoke with the aftertaste of milk in their mouth. And, honestly, what do you have to lose, just add more dairy to your diet — it’s not only brimming full with protein, but also builds strong bones and joints — all while quitting the nasty habit. Get a milk moustache and win at quitting!

Double up on serene music

Get your headphones to work — but with calming tunes only. The mind reacts to soft melodies in the same way as it does while practicing “mindful meditation”; this may be your chance to turn up the volume on quitting. An extended research study of long-time smokers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health found more than half of the participants (56%) stopped smoking after eight group sessions teaching meditation with the help of unruffled music. Those who spent an average of 45 minutes a day listening to tranquil music or meditating, did better than those who didn’t.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2016.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1028060/5-proven-strategies-to-help-quit-smoking/

Thomas:

I've used all of these strategies and as you saw this morning Barry used the music tip successfully this morning! Good job, Barry!

Please share other strategies you find successful!

My favorite: N.O.P.E.! It works!

The Good Parts of Nicotine Addiction

The reason people stick with addiction is that addictions aren’t all bad at least in the beginning before we have forfeited our desire to choose. Sickerettes  helped me escape from the boredom of everyday life. They helped me to feel 'cool',' rebelious', 'independent'. They gave me a sense of belonging to a social group of edgy 'in your face' friends. They often remind me of happy times in the past and relationships I’ve formed with friends and family over the years. I joined my smoking friends so that I could be included. Over time, I got used to enjoying these pleasant qualities. Then I wound up spending a lot of time with my smoking buddies when all I really shared with some of these folks was Addiction! But instead of using sickerettes to enjoy life, I used them to escape from it and that's the EXact point where Nicotine Addiction became destructive.

The Cycle of Escapism

Everyone feels the desire to escape. No matter how good you have it, there are times when, instead of dealing with problems, you’d rather pretend they don’t exist. I turned to sickerettes because they allowed me to postpone, to numb, even to forget. They gave me a pleasurable sensation that seemed to push problems out of my mind and I related this escapism with "stress relief." The downfall of this solution is that it’s only temporary. The feeling wears off and the problems remain, often made worse by my indulgence and avoidance of real solutions to my problems. Once again faced with those problems, the natural reaction was to escape again.This is the cycle of escapism. I felt pain each time I faced reality, so I used Nicotine to escape, which only increased my pain, making me more desperate to escape. Each time around it took more sickerettes to escape, increasing my dependency on Addiction. Once I got caught in the whirlpool of escapism, it  felt impossible to get out.

Developing Positive Beliefs

The only way I could permanently break the cycle of escapism was to develop a positive perception of reality. When I associated reality with pain, I constantly wanted to escape. It was essential to find happiness in reality that outweighed the suffering caused by its problems. I had to find the things in life that gave me true joy rather than temporary pleasure. These are the actions that built up my belief in a positive reality.Changing my attitude towards reality was easier said than done. When I was accustomed to the cycle of pain and escape, reality felt hopeless. The truth is that reality is neither bad or good, but an equal mix of the two. My attitude is a reflection of the parts that I choose to focus on, hence "The Happy Quitter!"  By fixing my attention on sources of hope and joy, I created positive beliefs and reduced the desire to escape.

Breaking Free of the Past

Perhaps the two most powerful factors influencing my behavior were my actions in the past and my expectations of the people around me. This creates resistance to change. My friends and family members could only judge me by my actions in the past -  my family reluctantly accepted that I would continue to smoke in spite of how they felt about my Addiction and frequently some of my friends had a stake in my addiction as well - take my smoking buddies, for EXample.  They shared my Addiction and we acted as mutual enablers. Many were afraid of losing me–that I'd  start to consider myself superior and decide to abandon them or find that we actually had nothing in common beyond our destructive mutual behavior. By simply quitting I was bringing to their attention the fact of their own Addiction.  These relationships made Addicion Recovery  more difficult because we all need love and acceptance from the people around us. When I was  trying to break out of the old pattern and the people around me weren’t, it might have been  likely that I'd  eventually give up and return to my old ways because of my need for belonging. The best way for me to permanently change my lifestyle  was to surround myself with people I wanted to emulate who  naturally pulled me up to their level - enter BecomeanEX elders! That’s not to say that I  ditched all of my old friends in search of new opportunities but I did sort out those whose companionship was based on more than sickerettes and those who only wanted to share the fix. The truth is that change involved difficult choices. I couldn't remain bound by the past and change for the better at the same time. I certainly couldn’t force other people to change with me. Ultimately, I had to decide which is greater, the fear of loss and the unknown, or the fear of stagnation and perpetual mediocrity as a person and forfeiture of quality and quantity of LIFE!

Creating the Future in the Present

Another mistake I once made was to wait for the future. I had a picture of the “ideal life” I would have liked to live. I invisioned  an “ideal Thomas” I wanted to become. I lived based on the past, waiting for a revelation to make me who I wanted to be. It didn’t work this way. My actions in the present determine my future. The only way to create the future I want is to start living it right now.I have a favorite saying, "The future is simply a series of NOWS!" Once I started living according to the future I want to create, it became easy to spot the behaviors that detracted from it. When I realized that giving up Nicotine Addiction and all it's fantasies was a necessary and inevitable part of creating the life I desire, addiction began to lose it’s power over me. Temporary pleasure and escape didn’t have the same appeal.The more progress I make towards my ideal future, the weaker my desire to escape from reality. Just like the cycle of escapism, the pattern is self-reinforcing. Over time, I have become able to delight in lifestyle choices that are congruent with my vision — that strengthen a positive reality instead of numbing pain. Eventually there was no need or desire to rely on addictions for relief.  Pleasure can be enjoyed for its own sake. Problems can be concretely permanently resolved rather than postponed or avoided. Reality became an EXtraordinary place to BE!

 

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Thomas3.20.2010

Shout Out!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 15, 2016

Hey, Elders!

How many of us love Quitting?

Tell us how long you've been quit and what you like the most!

My name is Thomas and I've been quit 5 Years 9 Months 3 Weeks 5 Days, ie 2127 Days!

I love BREATHING!

Thomas3.20.2010

Mindful Quitting!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 15, 2016

Mindfulness teachers will tell you that stress is caused by craving. If you can let go of that craving, then your stress will dissolve, and practicing mindfulness is the way to do that.

People with addictions understand craving better than most of us. For them, craving is a very concrete, immediate problem that’s causing havoc in their lives, and they’re looking for a solution. So it makes sense that Mindfulness might help you become a successful EX.

But how do you get started? Try using the acronym RAIN.

·         Recognize the craving that is arising, and relax into it.

·         Accept this moment. Don’t ignore it, distract yourself, or try to do something about it.

·         Investigate the experience as it builds. Ask yourself, “What is happening in my body right now?”

·         Note what is happening. As you note pressure, dullness, tightness, or whatever, it becomes clear that these are nothing more than body sensations. You don’t have to act on them. You can simply ride out the sensations until they subside.

Each time you ride out a craving, it gets weaker. Think of your craving as a screaming child in the grocery store. You could give your child a lollipop, but that’s only a temporary solution; he’ll start screaming again as soon as the lollipop is gone. You could clap your hand over your child’s mouth, but he’ll scream louder than ever as soon as you move your hand. In the same way, feeding a craving or trying to suppress it never works for long.

So what can you do instead? You can lovingly and patiently hold your child until the screaming stops. It might be uncomfortable for a while, but eventually your child will get tired and quit screaming. The next time your child screams, it won’t be as loud or as long. And the time after that, it will be less intense and shorter still, until eventually your child gives up screaming altogether. That’s how you train children—and how you tame cravings.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/minding-the-body/201204/can-mindfulness-help-you-quit-smoking

Facing your cravings and the fear of it will bring you confidence and relieve the stress of initial stress of Quitting Smoking. But does it actually work?

That’s what happened in a study of mindfulness for smoking cessation. The study, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence in 2011, included 88 adults who smoked at least half a pack per day and wanted to quit. Participants were randomly assigned to eight sessions of either mindfulness training or a standard quit-smoking program. The standard program focused on strategies such as avoiding smoking triggers and making lifestyle changes.

The mindfulness group showed a greater reduction rate in smoking, which lasted after the treatment was over. Four months later, 31% of those in the mindfulness group were smoke-free, compared to only 6% in the standard treatment group. This was the first randomized clinical trial to look at mindfulness training as a stand-alone approach for quitting smoking.

Give it a try and tell us your results! It sure helped me to becomeanEX!

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.

Thomas3.20.2010

Response-ability

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 14, 2016

The devil didn't make you smoke!

Nico-Demon didn't do it!

The alcohol didn't force that cig into your mouth!

Your job, wife (or husband), friend, .Life didn't make that decision!

YOU DID!

Until we accept responsibility we will be victims of ourselves!

HOPE comes in knowing that I get to decide my future feelings, thoughts and behaviors!

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When I found out that I had to Quit Smoking I dreaded the whole process. I thought that I would be miserable for – well, forever! But it had to be done! So I began the work of changing my perspective and focusing on the Positive.

Our feelings generate our thoughts that motivate our actions. Consequences of our actions generate the feelings that re-enter the cycle. We can jump into and break that cycle at any point.

For example, we can have a thought of smoking but decide that no matter what we will not act on that compulsion NO MATTER WHAT!

Another place to break into the cycle is to change the way we feel by certain proactive actions we take. Here are some examples of how I changed my feelings, thoughts and actions about Smoking Cessation:

(1)    I thought hard about what I could gain by Quitting Smoking and wrote a list to keep handy in moments of weakness.

 

(2)    I started collecting Positive Affirmations around Smoking Cessation but also around Life in general.

 

 

(3)    I screened my thoughts for negativity, learned to recognize them and decided to release them from my narrative.

 

(4)    I convinced myself of my SUCCESS! Dale often reminds us that we can talk ourselves into quitting or we can talk ourselves into smoking. I chose the prior.

 

 

(5)    I minimized my time around naysayers. If Folks didn’t believe that I could do it or even worse, did their best to sabotage my quit, I walked away and distanced myself from them, some of these “friends” permanently.

 

(6)    I enriched my environment from walks in the park to exercise in a gym. Both release natural feel good endorphins not fake dopamine hits.

 

 

(7)    I rewarded myself for small accomplishments during my quit process from taking time for myself to spending money saved on me!

 

(8)    I took full responsibility for my Quit Journey. Nobody and nothing can take away my quit! If I stay Smoke FREE it will be because of me! If I relapse it will also be solely because of me!

 

Having been diagnosed with COPD my belief was that I had to quit and I had to quit now and for good! I poured everything I have into this Quit Journey and it has given back more blessings than I could begin to imagine. Learning to take responsibility for my feelings, thoughts and most important, my actions has made the journey SUCCESSFUL!

You make your own SUCCESS!

Interesting enough, Smoking Cessation has led me to another simultaneous journey – Self Acceptance. By that I mean a Life of Harmony and seeking Inner Peace. When I aligned myself with my Values by quitting “the little suicide” I was already on the road to healing ME! I found the Inner Peace is what my heart really yearns for.

But where do you begin? It sounds so ominous, so lofty, most likely unachievable! ….Or is it? Smoking Cessation is Life Affirming! It begs for reclamation – for true and total recovery! And it teaches us how to begin. I discovered Positive Affirmations, Breathing, Self Compassion and Self Respect, Serenity and Acceptance of the World around me, and Self Expansion.

My perspective changed – radically. Working 80 – 100 hours a week no longer made sense to me. Family time does. The cycle of stress and stress relief seemed like a squirrel in a cage - meaningless. Fortifying what is with infinite excuses gave way to chosen change through well defined goals – step by step by step!

Nothing changed overnight! What changed was the trajectory of my Life. Setting very small doable goals day by day showed amazing results 30 days later, 60, 365….the unachievable became achievable! The limit of possibility became unlimited.

Did I believe those Positive Affirmations I began posting  5 Years ago? Not really but I was willing to give it all a chance. You know that saying Fake it till you Make it? Do I believe them now? Well, most of them, anyway! I’m still a work in progress! The key word there is progress – I am Happy with that.

I learned breathing because of COPD. I could have beat myself up for acquiring this smoking related illness but I chose to manage it instead. And central to COPD is breathing technique. Little did I know that breathing is the foundation of Mindfulness Meditation, that it relieves Anxiety, that it keeps you centered and that it can provide you with opportunity to constantly refocus on priority.

Smoking Cessation brought me to Self Compassion. I discovered Kristen Neff. I became my own Best Buddy!  I no longer let others define my Self Worth. I know I am priceless especially to my good old Buddy – ME!

And interesting enough by accepting my own value, it helped me to accept others so much better – in all their messy humanity! I even came to admire their flaws as characteristics that make them unique! Perfect is boring!

I also learned to let go of guilt and shame. Guilt for smoking isn’t going to cure my COPD. Shame for not quitting sooner isn’t going to help me stay quit! Guilt and shame are in the past – not useful and unnecessary!

Since quitting smoking I have changed careers, moved into a better home, launched a nutrition plan with all home cooked meals (yes, Ladies, I do my own cooking!), began exercising for the first time in my Life, and addressed Depression and Anxiety head on! Those are just the BIG things. Just as important are minute by minute little things, as well!

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Smoking Cessation was the BEST decision I have ever made toward Self Growth and Reclamation! How can a dead leaf wrapped in paper and dipped in thousands of chemicals compete with that?

hafiz-astonishing-light

Thomas3.20.2010

Today is the Day!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 5, 2016

TODAY is the day when I will love myself first!

Sound narcissistic?

Well, I promise you it isn't!

All love flows from God and the ability to accept His Love and then the ability to love and care for me first. The more I love me the more capacity for love I have for others! 

So I will listen to and respect my Body, Mind and Soul! I will listen to my needs and assure that they are fulfilled. Then I will reach out to others and share the warmth of knowing and feeling LOVE!

When I sincerely love myself not smoking is a no-brainer! Smoking damages all that's good in me. Recovery reclaims those wonderful properties. 

 

Remember that old saying:

Today is the first day of the rest of your LIFE?

What small step will you take to care for you today? If you were you own best friend (and hopefully YOU ARE), what would you recommend?

I invite you to join our group:

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/thread/3533-love-yourself

Love yourself! Don't smoke it up!

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Thomas3.20.2010

Back to "Normal"

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jan 4, 2016

My Family returned from Mexico late last night. My Christmas present to them was to take them to their roots and show them all the wonders of Amecameca. It was magical! If I could I would meld these two very different parts of me together. But now it's time for "normal."

There are events in our lives and decisions we make that change just about everything. I anticipate that becoming a grandparent will be one of those changes and I'll have to search for my New Normal.I can only guess how that will go but soon I will actually know what it means to me.

When we quit smoking it's very much the same way. One thing we're certain of is that many aspects of our lives will change forever. What we can't begin to guess accurately is what that looks like! Well, for me, it has been a life altering in the BEST of ways!

Yes, I was lost, confused, challenged. I had to keep plugging along not knowing when things would return to normal. Well, they didn't! They didn't return to the old normal, anyway! No more spending $$$ whether I had it or not. No more coughing while puffing away. No more escaping from nonsmoking folks so I could feed my Addiction. No more hanging out with people I barely liked just because they also smoked. No more antciness to get to my precious sickerettes!

With blind trust and time I soon began forming a New Normal!

And I like it! My New Normal is so much better than my old normal. The FREEDOM from Addiction  is even more amazing than any vision I could have conjured up in my mind while still addicted. 

If you are still addicted then you will most likely have to just trust the process for a few weeks. But the day will come when you realize that you have found your own New Normal - and it's incredible! That's when you realize that it was all worth it! It won't be day 5 or day 10 but it will happen if you give yourself a real chance! 

EXsmokers don't want to sink back into Addiction but Nicotine Addicts want to be FREE! This can be the Year that you make it happen for you!