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2016

Make the Leap to Addiction FREE Living!

Happy Leap Day!

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Foxhound Dogs Jumping Barb-Wire Fence

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Twin Yorkies Jumping

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Growing up, I wasn’t the guy that tried out for all of the sports – I didn’t try out for any of them actually! I resented that they gave the football team extra money while cutting out things like debate and art club! You know the type – NERD!

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When I became an adult, one of my motivations for becoming a smoker was to find a place to belong  -at least in my eyes! It gave me some built-in buddies even if all we had in common was Nicotine Addiction!

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But smoking isn’t cool! It took me some 20 Years to learn that!

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Then I had to find a way to Quit! But I also had Anxiety and Depression. Some of my therapists said that I shouldn’t worry about quitting –“it causes anxiety and depression” they said.

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Well, they didn’t wind up with COPD! I DID! Now, that’s depressing! And it creates anxiety!

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Now I don’t smoke! I was partially able to quit by combining Exercise with CBT and ACT therapy. AND my depression and anxiety are waaaaay better!

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Here’s an article that validates my Experience!

http://www.newswise.com/articles/exercise-helps-adults-with-high-anxiety-sensitivity-quit-smoking

Having depression and anxiety doesn’t preclude you from getting smoking related illnesses! It’s actually a  very common comorbidity!

NO MATTER WHAT – Quit Smoking and Embrace LIFE!

Now, That's Cool!

Thomas3.20.2010

Need a Boost?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 26, 2016

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Please join us at Positive Affirmations for SUCCESS!

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

We're sharing every day at Love Yourself!:

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

(go to the last page for the latest!)

Thomas3.20.2010

Celebrate!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 25, 2016

I just got home from a Health and Wellness Celebration! So many inspiring people telling how they left sickness and confusion behind and found themselves! It reminds me of how Important it is to celebrate each day we wake up, breathe, and if we're really lucky - go to work! 

There's nothing like Smoke FREE Living to renew our sense of purpose in Life! I hope you celebrate each Smoke FREE day whether it's Day One or Day 365 or Day 2168 (me) or Day XXXX or anything in between or beyond! Life just feels good when you are true to yourself - when you love and respect yourself and take care of the one and only body you'll ever have in this World!

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Life's too short to smoke it up!

Thomas3.20.2010

New You!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 25, 2016

We're not talking about a Week or two.

We're not talking about a Month or two.

We're not talking about a Year or two!

We're talking aboout a LIFE change - your Forever Quit!

Nothing less!

That takes time to set up!

It's all here and we're all here for each other! Don't give up and don't give in! Not One Puff Ever!

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Thomas3.20.2010

Embrace Quititude!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 23, 2016

If there’s one thing that drives me crazy it’s when people say, “Don’t do that!” It’s so frustrating because I’m left with a negative! What I really want to know is “What shall I do instead?” It’s like “Don’t imagine a purple Zebra!” Now what? But if I say imagine a green Giraffe then I can do that! And the other image fades away…

It’s the same way with Smoking Cessation! Even the name reminds me of what I want to not think about!  But what if I focus on what I want in LIFE? Yesterday I said, “It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things.” That truly makes all the difference!

We have all kinds of short “instead” lists such as this one Blogged repeatedly over the Years recently by our very own Nancy Young-at-Heart!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Youngatheart.7.4.12-blog/2013/02/25/100-things-to-do-instead-of-smoke

That’s a good starting point where you can add your own ideas. When you choose something near to your heart it’s even better!

Then there’s the long haul! To make it the distance you need what I call Quititude! Quititude doesn’t just come naturally – it’s a learned behavior! That’s good news! If I can learn it, I can acquire it! Some of us learn at different rates or in different ways but we all have the ability to learn!

Actually one of the most Addictive aspects of Smoking is that our Brains learned that we could get a dopamine rush with a Sickerette long after we no longer get the same rush anymore! So relearning Addiction FREE LIFE counteracts those memories!

Here are some suggestions that might help you with your Quititude:

As often as possible throughout your day, take a moment to Celebrate an activity or a thought related to your new smoke FREE status such as, " I love how delicious my food is tasting," "I love how wonderful the air is smelling," "I love the compliments and support I get from the people in my life," or "I love this brand new day of smoke FREE living." These sincere reflections of appreciation immediately will bring you into perfect alignment with the Creator of your Being and enhance your Values.

When you acknowledge these gifts and EXpress your Appreciation for Smoke FREEDOM, you will begin to change energetically, and it will influence every aspect of your Quit Journey. By practicing Quititude, you begin to have a relationship with the true essence of who you are and everyone who is within your sphere will benefit from your appreciation, even the naysayers! As you accept support graciously, more support comes your way!

By living with an awareness of Quititude, you are open to appreciating the element of Love in all things beginning with your Divine Source and yourself. As it touches every area of your Smoke FREE LIFE, it cultivates well-being and happiness, and when expressed around others, it brings about an increased level of peace, optimism, confidence and empathy. Quititude is not only a great virtue for successful Addiction Recovery, but the person who exhibits Quititude will benefit many people around them.

How do you cultivate a sense of appreciation every day? Just by saying the words “Thank You” out loud, you fortify and grow more Quititude! Work at practicing and remembering to give thanks and gratitude as often as possible and even plan it into your daily routine. Every morning, before getting out of bed, Thank God for another Smoke FREE Day! While going about preparations for the day send out an intentional thought of Gratitude for Recovery. Let the Universe know that you are grateful and appreciative for letting you have another opportunity to learn, understand and perhaps influence another person and hopefully change a life for the better.

How can you grow by incorporating Quititude into your daily agenda? First, it enables you to acknowledge the positive aspects of your quit, whether it is clean living, health or even opportunities to view something from a different point of view. It can assist you in putting things in perspective. When you have a negative thought such as "I really wish I could smoke right now," Quititude can spin that thought into "I am happy that I don’t have to smoke in order to deal with life on life’s terms." Whenever you look at quitting as hard and difficult, instead think of it as exciting and challenging. Start to perceive obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow, and change and improve.

When you emanate an attitude of Quititude, it is the same vibration as the energy of Love. When you practice a mindset of appreciation, you will let go of doubt and fear and live in the presence of everything that feels right and good. The act of giving thanks will make you feel good, and this feeling is your soul's way of letting you know that Abundant Smoke FREE Living  is how you really are meant to live. As you live with Quittitude, your view of the World and yourself will completely change and your circumstances, situations and relationships are forever altered.

When you practice Quititude, you see everything in your life as a miracle and you become aware of how many opportunities and possibilities are before you. You look at the things that are rich and positive instead of poor and fearful. It strengthens your body, mind and soul, and you will begin to attract those situations and people into your life that are also positive and soul-enriching.

When we have gratitude for Smoke FREE Living nobody and nothing can convince us to let that go! It is our armor against temptation and the seed of our Success! We don't just Quit Smoking - We live a New Smoke FREE LIFE abundantly! It's not about what I don't have - it's about what I want more of in my LIFE!

Thomas3.20.2010

The Power of Recovery!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 22, 2016

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Our Creator gave us incredibly complex and beautiful bodies! The human body is more than bones and muscles. Actually there are 9 different systems all of which are under the direction of the Central Nervous System which collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions.

 

The brain incorporates 100 billion neurons. Out of these 16 billion are located in the cerebral cortex, 69 billion (or 80% of all brain neurons) are in the cerebellum, and fewer than 1% of all brain neurons are located in the rest of the brain.

Does that just blow you away the way it does me?

Addiction which means “enslaved” exerts a long and powerful influence on the brain that manifests in three distinct ways: craving for Sickerettes, loss of control over smoking, and continuing to smoke despite adverse consequences.

Nobody starts out intending to develop an addiction, but many people get caught in its snare. Addiction is a chronic disorder that changes both brain structure and function, i.e., addiction hijacks the Brain!

Nicotine provides a shortcut to the brain’s reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. The hippocampus lays down memories of this rapid sense of satisfaction, and the amygdala creates a conditioned response to addictive stimuli. Dopamine not only contributes to the experience of pleasure, but also plays a role in learning and memory—two key elements in the transition from liking something to becoming addicted to it.

People who develop an addiction typically find that, in time, smoking no longer gives them as much pleasure. They have to smoke more to obtain the same dopamine “high” because their brains have adapted—an effect known as tolerance. At this point, compulsion takes over. The pleasure associated with smoking subsides—and yet the memory of the desired effect and the need to recreate it (the wanting) persists. It’s as though the normal machinery of motivation is no longer functioning. Conditioned learning helps explain why people who develop an addiction risk relapse even after years of abstinence.

It is not enough to “just say no”—as the 1980s slogan suggested. Instead, you can protect (and heal) yourself from addiction by saying “yes” to other things. Cultivate diverse interests that provide meaning to your life.

We used to think that the brain, once damaged, could not repair itself. Breakthroughs in neuroscience have shown that this is not true.  Though individual neurons might be damaged beyond repair, the brain attempts to heal itself when damaged by making new connections or new neural pathways as work-arounds for the damage. This is called neuroplasticity.

We can retrain the brain, that is develop a new pathway that supports recovery. We can do it by  strengthening the new “recovery” loop within the brain. The brain then learns to enjoy recovery, those things that give us pleasure in our smober lives – family, work, interpersonal interactions. We retrain the brain and thus change our lives. If you don’t feel that way now, fake it ‘til you make it! Things will turn around within a few Months!

BUT, the old neuropathways, the old links between addiction and pleasure are still there! Recovery doesn’t remove the addictive thought process; it just gives us an opportunity to use the recovery thought processes but the choice is always ours! We must continue to strengthen those new brain pathways and confront our addictive pleasure and reward tendencies. Whereas before we thought we solved problems with a Sickerette all we did was feed our addiction rather than solve anything! Problems usually are transient, and  life is not always supposed to be pleasurable. We can learn to deal with Life on Life’s terms and Re-claim our magnificent, fabulous, incredible, God created SELVES!

Thomas3.20.2010

CATmageddon!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 19, 2016

Cat with Cigar

If you light up, consider those around you; your spouse or children might be able to walk away, but your family pet is stuck in a sauna of tar and nicotine, exposed to second- and third-hand smoke.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLtschJxRy8

"Sometimes people don't care enough about themselves. They do care about their pets," Sherry Emery, the director of the University of Illinois, Chicago's Health Media Collaboratory, told NPR. "And cat videos, of course!"

According to a study by researchers at Tuft's University, cats in a smoking household are almost four times more likely to develop cancer than those living in a smoke-free environment. "Results from our case-control study suggest that pet cats exposed to household ETS have a significantly increased risk of malignant lymphoma. Risk was positively associated with both duration and quantity of ETS exposure."

[ETS=Environmental Tobacco Smoke]

"Cats living with smokers are also twice as likely to develop malignant lymphoma, a cancer that occurs in the lymph nodes and that is fatal to three out of four cats within 12 months of developing it," according to LiveScience.

Another study found that a cat exposed to as little as one cigarette up to 19 cigarettes a day have a doubled risk of developing the most aggressive form of oral cancer in cats, squamous cell carcinoma.

Even if your cat isn't in the house when you actively smoke, objects in your home and food - particularly wet food - absorbs toxins that your pet will later eat. Carcinogens also get trapped in your pet's fur. When a cat grooms himself, he is licking the cancer-causing chemicals and increasing his risk of mouth cancers. Snout length between cats and dogs tends to change the location of the primary cancer, but for cats and dogs, the risk is the same.

"There have been a number of scientific papers recently that have reported the significant health threat secondhand smoke poses to pets," veterinarian Carolynn MacAllister of Oklahoma State University told LiveScience. "Secondhand smoke has been associated with oral cancer and lymphoma in cats, lung and nasal cancer in dogs, as well as lung cancer in birds."

So, if you aren't ready to quit yet and are part of the one-fifth of pet owners who smoke, consider doing it for them...

...and the proliferation of adorable cat videos for generations to come.

http://www.hngn.com/articles/180642/20160219/smoking-kills-cats-second-hand-smoke-kill-kitties-study-videos.htm

[Thomas: Whatever it takes! Quit for LIFE!]

Researchers with Georgetown University Medical Center and Truth Initiative recently reported that graphic anti-smoking images on cigarette packs produced brain activity in areas involved in memory, emotion, and decision-making, and may motivate people looking at them to consider the health consequences of cigarettes.

The study, “Young adult smokers’ neural response to graphic cigarette warning labels”, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors Reports, is the first conducted in young adult smokers using brain scanning to capture reactions to negative images of smoking’s potential effects.

“What we found in this study reinforces findings from previous research where scientists have asked participants to report how they think and feel in response to graphic warnings on cigarettes,” Darren Mays, PhD, MPH, assistant professor of Oncology at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. and a co-lead author of the study, said in a news release. “This study offers us new insights on the biological underpinnings for those responses, bolstering evidence for how these warnings can work to motivate a change in behavior.”

In total, the research team analyzed 19 young adult smokers using self-reported measures of demographics, cigarette smoking behavior, nicotine dependence, and through an fMRI scanning session. During the scanning session,  participants viewed cigarette pack images based on the warning label, and branded or plain pack branding.

Participants reported motivation to quit in response to each image using a push-button control. During the task, the team gathered whole-brain blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) functional images.

When the participants were exposed to images including an open mouth, showing a rotted teeth and a tumor on the lower lip, with the text: “WARNING: Cigarettes cause cancer,” key brain areas showed notable responses, said Dr. Adam Green, a cognitive neuroscientist, assistant professor in the department of psychology at Georgetown and the study’s other co-lead researcher. The amygdala and the medial prefrontal region were the areas where responses were more evident.

“The amygdala responds to emotionally powerful stimuli, especially fear and disgust. And experiences that have a strong emotional impact tend to impact our decision-making,” Dr. Green said. “The medial prefrontal region that responded to graphic warning labels in this study has been previously associated with self-relevant processing. When we find information to be self-relevant, that may increase how impactful it is for our life decisions.”

Previous studies have shown that activation in the amygdala and in the medial prefrontal cortex might influence health-related attitudes and decisions.

“Regulators can and should use this research to craft more effective warning labels and messages to smokers that both deliver facts about the negative effects of smoking, and trigger thoughts and actions that move smokers toward quitting,” said Dr. Raymond S. Niaura, senior study author, and director of Science at the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies at Truth Initiative. “Tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and the growing body of research showing the effectiveness of warning labels should energize policymaking.”

The research team found that the self-reported motivation to quit smoking was superior for graphic warning images compared with control warnings, with results confirmed by the brain images. Researchers also found that plain packaging did not change participants’ responses.

According to the authors, the findings complement other recent neuroimaging studies conducted with older adult smokers and adolescents by demonstrating similar patterns of neural activation in response to graphic warning labels.

“As more evidence like this is published, the case grows stronger that graphic warnings are important and can make a difference in terms of motivating smokers to take steps to quit,” concluded Dr. Mays.

Cigarette smoking is a well-known cause of several lung diseases, especially lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In fact, smoking is thought to be directly responsible for almost 90 percent of lung cancer and COPD deaths.

http://lungdiseasenews.com/2016/02/17/graphic-cigarette-warnings-seen-trigger-decision-making-brain-areas/

[Thomas: Many of us have reported that we would if anything respond more rebelliously to attempts to remind us of the life threatening consequences to smoking. I'm not so sure! I think if I had to look at cancerous lesions on my pack of Sickerettes I may have been more motivated to quit.This article explains for me the science of how that could work.]

People with Nicotine Addiction need to move past their guilt and shame in order to move into a healthier Smoke FREE Lifestyle. People feel guilty if they think they did something wrong, but feel shame when instead of believing that they did wrong they come to the conclusion that they are wrong. When people feel guilty they will often be worried about how their actions affected other people. When we feel shame we are focused on our own sense of being damaged. Often, we cannot move past our shame until we forgive ourselves.

Addiction drives people to act in ways they never thought they were capable of. Because of addiction’s influence on the brain, many smokers do not feel shame until they enter Recovery. Looking at your past you may not believe how you treated yourself and the people around you. Once in Recovery, you may begin to shoulder all the blame of your past. There is no need to drown yourself in self-blame. You must remember that many things factored into your addiction, many things that you could not control.

Guilt

There are many possible reasons why people will experience guilt in Recovery including:

* Things we did or said while under the influence of Nicotine
* The impact of our addiction on family, friends, and work colleagues
* The years wasted on addiction
* The damage to our health
* The damage to our finances
* Irrational guilt for things that were beyond our control
* Failure to live up to expectations
* Low self esteem
* We fear the stigma associated with our history as a smoker
* Guilt about thoughts of Relapse

 

Guilt can come from others blaming us, or from blaming ourselves. Perhaps someone makes you feel guilty for things you did while smoking. Maybe, you feel guilty about thinking about smoking again. In any case, it is not a good motivator for you to stay in Recovery. Like shame, guilt makes your past influence your present actions. Unlike shame, guilt can be used to grow into a better person.

Guilt as a Relapse Trigger

Guilt is a common relapse trigger. You may be feeling bad about things that happened in the past. Your feeling of guilt means that you experience plenty of mental discomfort. This may lead you to thoughts of how you can escape this pain. In the past you would have smoked as a way to escape guilt. Nicotine will have numbed your brain so that you could forget about such uncomfortable feelings. If you have no better way of dealing with your guilt you will be tempted to return to your addiction.

How to Deal with Guilt in Recovery

·     Seek Forgiveness from others or yourself. Figure out how best to make amends, and do it as soon as you are able to.

·     Acknowledge your acts as wrong, then move forward. Just as important as seeing your mistakes is to see them as in the past.

·     Learn from your actions. We all make mistakes- use them as a way to grow.

Only when you stop living in the past can you see the present. From there, anything is possible. Recognize yourself as a human- mistakes were made, and you will make more. But as a human, you can change for the better. Let go of your past shame and guilt. Life in Recovery is about finding out who you really are, and how you can live a better, more productive life. Find strength in your New Smoke FREE Life and take joy in its possibilities.

Chronic Shame in Addiction

Whereas guilt is a right or wrong judgment about your behavior, shame is a feeling about yourself. Guilt motivates you to want to correct or repair the error whereas shame is an intense global feeling of inadequacy, inferiority, or self-loathing. You want to hide or disappear.

The worst part of it is a profound sense of separation — from yourself and from others. It’s disintegrating, meaning that you lose touch with all the other parts of yourself, and you also feel disconnected from everyone else.

As with all emotions, shame passes. But for addicts it hangs around, often beneath consciousness, and leads to other painful feelings and problematic behaviors. You’re ashamed of who you are. You don’t believe that you matter or are worthy of love, respect, success, or happiness. When shame becomes all-pervasive, it paralyzes spontaneity. A chronic sense of unworthiness and inferiority can result in depression, hopelessness, and despair, until you become numb, feeling disconnected from life and everyone else.

Healing Shame

Shame of your past can paralyze your present Recovery. Fear of failure is natural, but if it is preventing you from taking the next steps in Recovery, you should remember this:

 

·         Your past actions have no sway in your present outlook or character. You’re always capable of making a positive change in your life.

·         No one is perfect, so don’t hold yourself up to impossibly high standards. Life is about the long game and you can come back from a terrible first quarter.

·         Asking for help is a sign of self-awareness and strength, not weakness. Sometimes just having this Community can make all the difference between Success and failure.

Healing requires a safe environment where you can begin to be vulnerable, express yourself, and receive acceptance and empathy. Then you’re able to internalize a new experience and begin to revise your beliefs about yourself. Sometimes it takes an empathic therapist or counselor to create that space so that you can slowly tolerate self-loathing and the pain of shame enough to self-reflect upon it until it dissipates.

Whatever it takes leave your guilt and shame behind! Become an EX and you will never regret it! Success not only means not smoking. It helps you reclaim your integrity, self confidence, and zeal for Life! It shows you that you can do anything that you set your mind to.

Life’s too short! Don’t smoke it up!

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! 

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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!!!!!

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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...

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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?

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KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE! FREEDOM!

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 ...so tiny! So worthless! 

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AND YOU WIN!

Thomas3.20.2010

Sadness

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 15, 2016

Folks in this Community wake up to another day of mourning. We miss our Friend, Fannie, and feel so much sadness the tears run down our faces. And that's O.K.

The only thing that isn't O.K. is smoking!

How about a Group Hug?

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We'll grieve but we will have a Smoke FREE Day Today!

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In the beginning Smoking Cessation can impact not just how tired you feel, but even your dreams, your breathing during sleep, and your body’s internal clock.

For a few weeks after we Quit, Some of us sleep much more than normal, while others find themselves unable to fall asleep or waking up frequently throughout the night. Here’s the catch – We don’t know what our Normal is! Normal s what was prior to being a Smoker with age differences thrown in for good measure!

This phase usually lasts for about two weeks before sleeping patterns stabilize again. In some people, it can last up to a few months. Sleep will eventually settle in to a normal pattern for you as an EX-Smoker. Then aging will exert its normal adjustments. Whether it turns out to be more sleep or less, you will sleep a lot sounder knowing that you are no longer under the control of Nicotine thus risking your health and artificially stimulating your Brain and Body.

As I said Nicotine is a stimulant, and withdrawal often causes a temporary state of depression. See my Blog entitled Good Grief for more about this:

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Thomas3.20.2010-blog/2013/08/16/good-grief

The absence of Nicotine in the Brain also leads to various other Mental and Emotional symptoms such as irritability and Anxiety, which can leave you feeling drained, exhausted and sleeping more than usual. If you’re feeling tired after you stop smoking, allow yourself plenty of rest to help your body get through the withdrawal period. It’s O.K. and won’t last for more than a couple of Weeks.

Conversely, some people find themselves unable to sleep during Nicotine Withdrawal. That was me! I was sleeping 4-6 hours each night at most! Anxiety, cravings, headaches and other symptoms kept me up at night, causing daytime fatigue and irritability. If you have trouble sleeping after you quit smoking, you can try some of these strategies:

      
  • Take a warm bath before bedtime to relax and unwind
  •   
  • Reduce your caffeine intake by  half for a few weeks
  •   
  • Avoid napping during the day
  •   
  • Listen to relaxing music in bed
  •   
  • Try Meditation, Deep Breathing Exercises or Self-Hypnosis
  •   
  • Take long walks or get more exercise during the day
  •   
  • Have a cup of warm milk – it contains a sleep-inducing amino acid called tryptophan
  •   
  • Enjoy a cup of Chamomile Tea or try a special nighttime blend of relaxing herbs such as Valerian, Passionflower and Lemongrass

Smokemares

Nicotine affects brain wave function, and the withdrawal period is often marked by recurring dreams about smoking.   One study showed that about one-third of recent EX-smokers reported having at least one dream about smoking in the four weeks following their last cigarette.  These extremely vivid dreams often caused Quitters to feel panic and guilt because they dreamed that they had relapsed. The dreams appeared to be withdrawal-related, as they were absent while the participants were still smoking. After one year, 63% of the Quitters studied reported experiencing at least five dreams about smoking. Occasionally even some of us with more than a Year quit report a Smokemare!

These dreams about smoking are completely normal and seem to correlate with an increased likelihood of long-term abstinence. They are generally reported as more frequent and more vivid by individuals who use a nicotine patch as a smoking cessation aid.

Use these dreams to your advantage. The panic you feel as you wake up can strengthen your resolve as you remind yourself why you quit smoking. The dreams are an indication that your lungs are healing and your sense of smell is returning. Celebrate them as a Victory!

Circadian Rhythms

Research also suggests that Quitting Smoking can undo the impact of Smoking on your body’s regulation of your sleep.

A study conducted by the University of Rochester discovered that smoking generally leads to an altered circadian rhythm, the “internal body clock” system that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Scientists found that exposure to cigarette smoke creates sedentary behavior due to the decrease of a specific molecule involved in the regulation of sleep patterns. This behavior is characteristic of sleep deprivation caused by a disrupted internal clock.

The study also concluded that the effects of Nicotine on Circadian Rhythm and sleeping patterns can be reversed if the smoker abstains from Nicotine. After Quitting Smoking, try to maintain a regular sleeping schedule to re-train your body’s internal clock.

N.O.P.E.!

In the long term, Quitting Smoking has many beneficial effects on your Health, including better sleep! During withdrawal, you may sometimes feel tempted to start smoking again to deal with unpleasant symptoms. If that’s the case, remind yourself that these symptoms are only temporary. After you quit smoking, sleep disturbances can last for a few months, after which your sleeping patterns will have stabilized. Allow yourself plenty of time to adjust to your New Smoke-FREE Lifestyle, and remember that temporary sleep disturbances are part of the process.

 

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....I will protect my Quit Journey! 

Yes, I will have 10 Years under my belt! But that doesn't mean my Quit Journey is finished and I can kick back and quit quitting!

I will still be Daily Pledging.

I will still be an active member of BecomeanEx.

I will still be vigilant of triggers.

I will still avoid smokers and second hand smoke.

Does that sound like a lot of work?

Well, in my mind, it isn't! Finding money to pay to kill myself is a lot of work!

Finding time and a discreet place to light up is a lot of work! 

Making excuses to Family and Friends for still smoking is a lot of work!

Carrying around an Oxygen tank and struggling to breathe is a lot of work!

Being admitted to the Hospital every 6 Months (or more) is a lot of work!

Planning my early disability and early funeral arrangements is a lot of work!

Protecting my Quit is a walk in the park compared to all of that!

What will you do for your Quit in 2020?

Thomas3.20.2010

Community Support

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 8, 2016

What I love about this Community the most is their love for sharing! I appreciate the Friendships that grow with time and become like EXtended Family! So many folks have lifted me up when I was down and hopefully I have done the same as well. 

Whether through education, honest tough love, daily reminders of the beauty of LIFE, or just plain hugs whenever I needed some help lots of people have stepped up for me! And just as important they have Celebrated with me my little Victories whether milestones or cornerstones on my Quit Journey!

All I can say is Thank YOU for bringing me along -Thanks for being here for me as much on Day 2152 as you were on Day One!

I admire every single one of you! Quitting ain't for Sissies!

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Thomas3.20.2010

What is this?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 7, 2016

It's one thing to edit a multiple f bomb and yes, to avoid name calling at all costs

It's another thing to worry about an occasional h-e-double toothpick!

So what happened and more important, why?

Thomas3.20.2010

What's in a Year?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 4, 2016

Scientists argue that time itself is simply a man-made illusion. Intriguing but whether time is real or a figment of cultural imagination it’s a helpful means of measuring change in our lives! Change seems to be the theme of the day so to speak so I’ll share some changes that happened to me - or rather – that I introduced into my own life in 2015 and what changes I’m initiating for 2016.

2015 for me was the Rubicon Year. I examined my social, physical, and mental aspects of my life and determined what things I like and what I would like my life to become. I saw room for improvement in my health management and mental health management. I made those improvements.

I contracted a personal nutritionist and studied my eating (and significantly shopping) habits. Now I don’t ever eat in restaurants, I avoid trans and saturated fats, stay away from red meats and pork, head for the fiber and fruit and veggies, and eat 7 – 8 times a day instead of 2 -3.

I changed my hit and miss exercise program to a consistent 5 days a week cardio and 3 times a week resistance training along with Yoga and/or Pilates for balance and flexibility. The trickiest was cardio because raising heart rate while not getting short of breath is an art. I learned that art at Pulmonary Rehab. It was worth every minute of it! A recent evaluation showed that I increased all of these areas from 25 – 50% in this one Year.

I challenged my beliefs around depression/anxiety. Instead of accepting my constant companions as inevitable, I took intensive Neurofeedback, practiced CBT and ACT therapy, utilized mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and guided visualization as well as supplementing magnesium and probiotics so I could become free of my nemesis. Just last week I had an EEG evaluation that showed 90% permanent brain healing directly related to depression/anxiety. My brain now looks like somebody who never had symptoms of either!

Having a healthy brain makes everything better! My work relationships, social relationships, and personal relationships have improved substantially! Happiness begets happiness! And happiness is a decision!

So what does any of this have to do with Smoking Cessation? In my humble opinion – EVERYTHING!

Only when I began my Quit Journey did it occur to me that any of this was within my control! Nicotine Addicts are literally out-of-controll! They relinquish decision-making to their Sickerettes and then are lured into believing that the stress in their lives just happens to them!

Yes, wonderful and terrible things happen to people every day! I had absolutely no control over becoming a grandparent or the snow storm that overwhelmed our city this last Monday. What I can decide is how I will react to these events.

As Nicotine Addicts we reacted to just about everything good, bad and neutral with, “I need a smoke!” Only when we break FREE of Nicotine Addiction do we realize what FREEDOM means! We have the opportunity to learn about our true Selves and to recognize what Self Determination is all about!

As Barry said today, “Each new day is another chance to change your life.” You can miss the opportunity altogether or you can change things for the better or for the worse! Change happens in a trajectory. Good choices lead to good choices and poor choices lead to even worse choices!

I am a Believer! I believe that my Creator does have a plan for me and that plan is for prosperity and not harm! Jer 29:11 BUT I also believe that God preserves FREE WILL! We have to be partners in our Recovery and our Lives! We have a responsibility for the choices that we make. I don’t pray that God change me! I pray that the Lord give me strength and clear thinking to change my own Life through Him!

This Year many of my decisions will be determined by my relationships. I will make my Family even more of a priority! Becoming a Grandfather does that for you! I’m reevaluating my work life and my social life based on this priority. Life is Very Good! I with God’s help am becoming the Thomas that I wish to be – one day at a time!

And it all began the day I quit smoking! March 20, 2010

Thomas3.20.2010

Love Yourself!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Feb 1, 2016

Smorgy brought up a good comment earlier today:

" I need to love myself enough to stop making those kind of excuses and to believe that I DESERVE to be FREE! And in doing that I'm able to love myself even more."

But what if you don't love yourself? Some of us may not even know how to love ourselves! If we didn't get that unconditional love from our parents we may have struggled with Self Love all of our lives!

Well, we don't have to give up! Now more than ever there are resources that teach us how to love ourselves unconditionally!

One of my favorite resources is Dr. Kristen Neff who teaches us the principles of Self Compassion. Her site is http://self-compassion.org. You can see her Ted Talks on You Tube such as the Space between Self Esteem and Self Compassion; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvtZBUSplr4

Self Love can be taught through CBT and ACT Therapies and through Affirmations!

I started a Group over 4 Years ago called Positive Affirmations for Success. This Group has over 200 members who contribute and share Positive Affirmations.

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

9 Months ago Sharon (Smorgy) started a discussion within our Group called Love Yourself and this discussion has really taken off! 

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

I am a true believer that Smoking Cessation can be a lot more complicated than not smoking and that we need to learn as Dale said today Integrity, Self Respect and Self Love! That's not an EXcuse to not Quit! It's more of a "Whatever it Takes!"

 If you think that you can benefit from our Group, I hope you will join and remember, as with most Groups, you get out of it in proportion to what you contribute! Let your Self Love, Self Esteem, Self Respect and Self Compassion grow along with your Quit Journey and you'll find both Indomitable!

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