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This is the Biggest Nico-Truth of all!

We all already know that Nicotine is inherently bad for us.

We know that smoking damages our bodies, minds, spirits, property, pets, family, friends, and acquaintances with second and thrid hand smoke.

We know that smoking increases anxiety, depression and stress.

But do we really know - as in believe - that Nicotine has never helped us in our entire lives?

When you believe then you have gained the key to freedom!

It may take awhile. It may take a very long time. We may have to continuously remind ourselves of this truth! But when we have this truth we have our Freedom!

May 2017 bring all of us this NicoTruth!


[Thank You, Terrie, for putting this out there so clearly!]


A New Year!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 30, 2016


The guy on the left here is Janus (like January) Who looks into the past and into the future!

That's how we can launch a successful Quit Journey!

Look to your past at all of the motives for smoking and quitting and then look into the future and imagine your smoke FREE Life!

Now make it happen right now this minute!

The future is nothing more than a series of nows!

So I won't judge but I will observe! And I will use my executive ability to neither be hooked by my thoughts or by my feelings! 

I won't ignore them but I won't focus on them either!

I'll just give them space to dissipate while remembering that beautiful Smoke Free Future I decided to make for myself!

(the beauty on the right!)

Happy Janu - ary everybody! Happy New Year!

Happy Smoke FREE Life!

I finally made it home after feeling chest pains on Tuesday at work. I left the Assisted Living Facility at 7 pm and spent the next 5 hours in the emergency room. Then I was admitted and just got discharged an hour ago!

I missed a laser surgery for my left eye plus work. I was diagnosed with pneumonia and COPD exacerbation. So I had 2 major problems - low oxygen and racing heart. It seems that the tight chest was the only symptom of pneumonia I had. No fever, aches, cough, noticeable shortness of breath, nada! But that was because it was all knotted up in the middle of my chest. And that scared me which made my heart race!

The good news is that end of the story my heart is fine! Now that I've been treated I am coughing up a storm and my body is starting to ache! Irony!

But I am thoroughly pumped with antibiotics, steroids, and albuterol! I have had maybe 5 hours sleep this whole time and not continuous!

I sure would like some ZZZZs!

Now that I'm home at least I won't have staff to deal with! My wife made me some chicken noodle soup and I can have some any time I want!

I have my computer instead of my phone to talk to you Folks and I can wish the best to Sharon and Sharon, Terrie, Marilyn, Daniela, Larry and all of you who are facing some major challenges leaving 2016 behind!

As Dale says onward and upward!

Don't smoke! Your lungs will Thank You for it!


Christmas Morning!

What a beautiful Holiday! I hope you are all celebrating with your Loved Ones and enjoying every minute of it!

I am here on the farm with my Sons, their Wives and Miss Penelope who is the Queen of the Castle!

I can't get enough photos and videos of our Little Angel!

May you all be wrapped in LOVE which is the true Reason for the Season!

No gift is greater!

Nicotine Addiction can be triggered by good times as well as bad and by Family members who smoke, high expectations which sometimes don't seem met, by stress to meet others' needs and wants.... 

Just take good care of yourselves today! If you need a break, please take one! We can't be there for others when we don't care for us first! Most important, remember that no matter what  - smoking is not required! 

The best gift for all our Loved Ones and for ourselves - N.O.P.E.! We serve the Lord when we care for our bodies, minds and spirits Addiction FREE!


Addiction Fiction

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 22, 2016

So many lies! Where to begin?

Nico-lies all have one thing in common - they are constructs of your mind designed to motivate you to smoke one more! Just one little puff because .....X,Y, Z.

The becauses don't deserve your focus - they're all lies!

What does merit your attention is a Fact:

Feelings and Thoughts do not have to be obeyed! Yes, they motivate - but you still get to decide! And with Addiction you can lead with the decision!

No Matter What I will not smoke! No matter what feelings, what thoughts, what internal or external earthquake I have decided to deal with all of this Smoke FREE!

We can (and have) given you dozens of ways to deal with those earthquakes while assuring you that smoking is not required!

Practice and time make it all more doable each day!

Where to begin? Begin with the Decision! N.O.P.E.! The feelings and thoughts will follow!


Smoke FREE Christmas

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 21, 2016

As much as we like the Holidays, most of us experience a mixed package of delight, stress, and high expectations that are often deflated.

It can be a tough time to protect your Quit!

A Big part of Smoking Cessation is finding out what to do instead.

Here's an article about Christmas stress and how to deal with it - 

Sickerettes are not required!


Handling the Holiday Stress and Finding Inner Peace



“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart!”
Eskimo proverb


The holidays are upon us.

A time of needed relaxation and more time with the people closest to us.

A time of stress and worries. A time of not all the joy you may have hoped for or been promised by upbeat advertising and movies.

It can be a time of mixed feelings.

So today I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make these holidays a more joyful and peaceful time.

1. Slow down.

“For fast-acting relief, try slowing down.”

Lily Tomlin


First, slow down. Even if it may feel silly and if you have to force it a bit. Slow down your body, move and walk slowly.

Breathe slower and more deeply with your belly (and focus on doing just that for two minutes and see what happens).

Slow down your eating (this will not only help you to relax, it will also help you to not eat too much during the holidays since it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are full).

Slow it all down and pay attention to what you are doing. Be here now and focus on doing just one thing at a time. By slowing down, by being here now, by not having your focus split between many things you – your body and your mind – start to relax.

2. Appreciate the little things instead of focusing on perfection.

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”
Winnie the Pooh


Daily happiness is to a large part about appreciating the small things. If you just allow yourself to be happy when accomplishing a big goal or when everything lines up just perfectly then you are making life harder than it needs to be.

Instead, focus on appreciating things that you may take for granted.

Take two minutes and find things in your life you can appreciate now. If you want a handful of suggestions, here are a few of the things that I like to appreciate around the holidays:

§  All the tasty food.

§  My health.

§  My family and friends.

§  That I have a roof and a warm home as the snow is falling and the cold winds are blowing.

§  The beautiful wintery landscapes.


3. Give a bit of joy to someone else.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”
Eleanor Roosevelt


This may sound like an empty cliché but it surely works. One of the best ways to become happier is simply to make others happier.

When you make someone else happy you can sense, see, feel and hear it. And that happy feeling flows back to you.

And since the Law of Reciprocity is strong there is another upside. People will feel like giving back to you. Or like paying it forward to someone else.

And so the two (or more) of you keep building an upward spiral of for example positivity, of helping out, of cheering up and of lending a listening ear and support.

4. Focus on what is most valuable.

“You can never get enough of what you don’t need to make you happy.”
Eric Hoffer


“Joy is not in things; it is in us.”
Benjamin Franklin


Instead of focusing on a lot of things focus on what is most important and valuable to you.

If you still have Christmas gifts to buy then instead of giving away a lot of expensive stuff it may be better to give one thing that the person you are giving it to will truly appreciate.

Or maybe you could skip giving a physical thing altogether. And instead give away an experience that will become a special day and cherished memory for him or her or for the two of you.

However you choose to go about things over the holidays make it YOUR choices as best you can and not a bunch of should that mostly make you feel deflated.


5. Just accept how you feel right now.

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”
Carl Jung


Maybe you try some of the tips above. And they still can’t help you to shake that negativity, worries or stress you are carrying around. I would then suggest that you just accept that the feeling is there.

Tell yourself: This is how I feel right now and I accept it.

This might sound counter-intuitive and like you are giving up. However, by accepting how you feel instead of resisting it you reduce the emotional energy that you are feeding into this conflict or problem.

And it then tends to lose speed like a car that runs out of fuel. Sometimes the problem or conflict will then become so weak that it just moves out of your mind.

By accepting what is you have now freed up energy and your attention so your mind can become more level-headed, open and constructive once again. And you can see more clearly and take focused action towards a solution.


Let's all take this one Day, one Hour, one Minute at a Time and enter 2017 Smoke FREE!

We can do it

When I first joined becomeanEX almost 7 Years ago, one of my biggest supports was Aztec!

If you haven't visited her page, then perhaps you can do it today. Aztec has shared a wealth of information for all of her Friends here. 

This is one of my favorites:

6 D.s



dial a friend

deep breathe

do exercise

do something different


When you stop by Aztec's page be sure  to say Hi! 


What Works for Me

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 17, 2016

September, 2015 I published this Blog about Driving. It comes to mind today because the Weather is frightful especially for driving for most of us right now!


Hi, Folks!

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

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

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

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

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

-What if I’m late?

-Will I get fired?

-Will I lose my job?

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

-Will my Sons avoid their ‘loser Dad’?

- Will I become sick, alone and homeless?

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

That’s ANXIETY for you!

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

So how do I relax into the tension?

First, I can hold my position.

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

Then I can focus on my breathing.

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

-Next apply Progressive Muscle Relaxation.

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

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

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

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

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

Why  not try relaxing into your stress?

Remember the 3 Steps.

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


- And Relax your Muscles from Head to Toe!

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


Update: Anxiety is barely existent in my Life today. It makes it's appearance but it's not so overwhelming and doesn't last long. Even in the midst of a Panic Attack I know that I am more powerful than the imagined threat!

Even driving home last night was not a Big Deal!


Howdy Lurker!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 15, 2016

Yesterday I spent the day with my Children and Granddaughter celebrating my 59th Birthday. The entire time I thought about how glad I am that their Abuelo doesn't stink from Sickerettes! I can hug and kiss my Loved Ones knowing my breath is fresh, my skin is clean, my clothes are free of stench! 

But it's not just the stink of Second and Third Hand Smoke! Smoking pollutes our houses, cars, clothes, everything we touch with deadly toxins! We endanger our little ones and small pets the most!

In fact, second hand smoke causes 41,000 deaths/Year in the USA - that we know about! Some slip under the radar for sure! This figure only includes lung cancer and heart disease. SHS causes low birth weight, sudden nfant death syndrome, cognitive impairment, behavioral problems, respiratory tract infection, asthma and who knows what else!

Just yesterday, a report of non-smoking COPD prevalance came out that reflects this reality. Among non-smoking African-American women it's as high as 7% of their demographic!

Pets are also at very high risk of illness including dogs, cats, birds, fish, and guinea pigs. They have increased risk of developing, cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

“Like children, dogs and cats spend a lot of time on or near the floor, where tobacco smoke residue concentrates in house dust, carpets and rugs. Then, it gets on their fur. Dogs, cats and children not only breathe in these harmful substances, but pets can also ingest them by licking their owner’s hair, skin and clothes,” said Carmela Stamper, an FDA veterinarian

So if you are struggling with your Quit and reasons to quit or stay quit, add these benefits to your list! You are protecting your loved ones, especially your innocent babies and furbabies!

Celebrate your Quit Gift to your entire Household and Enjoy the Holidays!


Smoking Blues!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 14, 2016


So you want to Quit Smoking! Or you launched your Quit Journey but are on the point of forfeiting the whole plan because you also suffer from Depression, Anxiety, and Stress. You, like most smokers with and without Depression, believe that Smoking alleviates emotional problems and feelings of Depression and Anxiety, stabilizes Mood, provides Relaxation as well as Stress Relief.

You may even know that people with mental health disorders have a life expectancy eight years less than the general population, and much of this difference could be because of smoking but you’re still willing to pay the price if smoking relieves your Depression!

But what if the whole relaxation and alleviation narrative we tell ourselves is one BIG Nico-Lie?

Although smokers think that smoking offers mental health benefits, there is a strong association between smoking and poor mental health, and smokers with mental health disorders tend to be heavier smokers and more dependent.

 Three explanations for these associations:

(1)  Smoking and poor mental health might have common causes

(2)   People with poor mental health smoke to regulate feelings such as low mood and anxiety

(3)  Smoking might cause or exacerbate mental health problems.

 Although smokers with and without mental disorders think that smoking provides mental health benefits, they might be misattributing the ability of cigarettes to abolish nicotine withdrawal as a beneficial effect on mental health. Smokers experience irritability, anxiety, and depression when they have not smoked for a while and when they first launch their Quit Journey and these feelings are reliably relieved by smoking thus creating the perception that smoking has psychological benefits, while in fact it is smoking that caused these psychological disturbances in the first place.

Contrary to the perception of cigarettes as a stress reliever, smokers are 70 percent more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression overall compared with non-smokers, 

 Long-term ex-smokers (those who have kicked the habit for more than a year) have anxiety and depression profiles similar to participants who have never smoked.

Quitting smoking actually boosts mental health! How much? The effect is equal or larger to those of antidepressant treatment for mood disorders! Yes! Smoking Cessation has as much effect as your Zoloft or Prozac!


Unsurprisingly, views about smoking predict whether or not people attempt to quit and whether or not they are successful.

So here’s the evidence you need to make that Daily Pledge – No Matter What – even through the initial Smoking Cessation Depression knowing that you will soon feel better than ever!

I have nearly 7 Years quit now and suffered from severe Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD. Now while I still occasionally have mental health episodes, they are less frequent, less intense, and easier to recover.

I attribute this to 3 reasons:

(1)  I quit smoking! I recovered my natural healing processes because I no longer artificially stimulate dopamine and serotonin.

(2)  I have, by learning how to quit, also learned many, many coping skills for Life! I Live Life on Life’s Terms!

(3)  I have much higher Self Esteem because I have reclaimed my Decision-Making Power! Decision is the Ultimate Power!

If you suffer from Mental Illness, please know that you are not alone! Up to 50% of this Community also suffers from some kind of Mental Illness. We came, we conquered, we thrive – as EX-Smokers!

You CAN, too!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 10, 2016



Home Post Surgery

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 9, 2016

I just got home and as far as I know everything went fine!

I felt no pain and only an itchiness now. I'll take some Ibuprophen for that and tomorrow I get the patch and bandages taken off. 

Thanks for your prayers!


Risky Business!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 9, 2016

One “reason” I chose to smoke was to prove to myself that I don’t let other people tell me what to do!


Looking back on this in writing shows it to be really immature and childish!

But that’s what Addiction does – even Nicotine Addiction – it freezes our personal development!

[Yes, I know a lot of folks aren’t going to like what I’m saying so if that person is you – take what you need and leave the rest!]

Addictive Personality includes impulsive behavior and bad decision-making! Otherwise, why would I purposely put my very Life at risk on a daily basis to smoke?

For everybody except me, I saw such impulsivity as immaturity. I, of course, was exceptional!

Suppose, just for an analogy that Yoga is deadly and you know that! Would you faithfully practice Yoga daily, even multiple times a day, simply because it temporarily relieves your stress? Sounds pretty risky, doesn’t it? Did you ever think that Yogis that walk on hot coals are making bad decisions?

But I as a smoker have been willing to pick up a Sickerette, a known killer, 10 or even more times every single day to relieve stress or control weight or to fit in! Look at it from outside and it seems extremely risky for the potential benefit!

So one of the Values I had to sacrifice for the sake of my Addiction was risk/benefit decision-making. I became impulsive, giving up my right to decide how to react to stress – I mindlessly picked up a Sickerette! Being uncomfortable in any way made me smoke! What happened to not being dictated to? My Addiction dictated to me non-stop.

It makes sense that one of the first skills I had to learn in Nicotine Recovery is the ability to take responsibility for my actions and make better decisions. In recovery I learned to only take calculated risks, to weigh the pros and cons of my actions or inactions and make choices on the basis of how the benefits outweigh the risks.

We take hundreds of actions a day, many of them mindlessly following our patterns of behavior. So the first step in making calculated decisions is becoming aware of what we’re doing.

How many times have you driven from point A to point B with little awareness of how you got there especially when you’re having a thought pile-up?

Meditation helps me to recognize the decision I’m making in this moment, to stop the old patterns of behavior and measure the risks of such behavior and then to move forward.

I’m not dictated to by habit!

-        I get to decide to road rage – or not!

-        I get to decide to listen to and believe my negative thoughts – or not!

-        I get to decide to apologize to my Wife or Coworker – or not!

All of those actions that I used to take automatically I now have the personal power to change!  I can measure the risks and benefits and I can decide!

So what did I decide? And why?

-       I decided to not drink, even though I’ve never been much of a drinker!

-       I decided to not hang out in my old smoking places

-       I decided to make my home, my car, my environment Smoke Free!

-       I decided to speak up about second hand smoke – every time!

-       I decided to pledge N.O.P.E. every single day

-       I decided to be brutally honest with and about myself with you here at BecomeanEX

I decided that no matter what I will not put my Quit at risk! And no nobody, nothing, no statistic, no theory can take that away from me!

I have the Power to protect my Quit and to Live my Life with the Values I cherish! Self Awareness, Growth, Health and Faith are among those Values!

Now I can listen to advice and make the decision for myself rather than reject it outright because I don’t let other people tell me what to do!  Most often they were only trying to help me!

Decision is the Ultimate Power!


Eye Surgery!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 8, 2016

Please remember me tomorrow afternoon in your prayers. I will have the second cataract surgery - this one in my right eye. The good Doctor Apple will be the surgeon again. 

I'm nervous still! I watched cataract surgery on YouTube  because I really wanted to know but now I wish I hadn't! 

Instead of calming me down - it made my anxiety worse! 

I have to work this evening and am hoping that staying busy and thinking of others will help the time pass quicker! Plus it's below zero cold here and I'm scared my COPD willo flare and screw everything up!

I need this surgery before the end of the Ye3ar for insurance deductible and also before I can take the physical for my new job. That makes me nervous. too!

No matter how whacked out I feel - I won't smoke! But I am scared!


Misperceptions about the dangers associated with inhaling cigarette smoke into the lungs are common among adults and teens in the United States, according to findings from three nationally representative surveys.

Many survey respondents were not aware that inhaled chemicals in the the smoke from burning cigarettes are the main source of smoking's harm and they commonly believed that most of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke come from additives routinely found in cigarettes.

The findings have important implications for public health smoking cessation efforts in light of the introduction of cigarettes without additives labeled "natural" or "additive-free," which are widely, but wrongly, perceived to be safer alternatives to traditional cigarettes, said Noel Brewer, PhD, of the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill.


The study was published in the BMJ journal Tobacco Control.

Also, in the same issue of the journal, researchers from the tobacco control group Truth Initiative led by Jennifer Pearson, PhD, reported that smokers of the Natural American Spirit cigarette brand were 22 times more likely than smokers of other brands to inaccurately perceive their cigarette choice as being less harmful.

The analysis of data from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health study revealed that 64% of Natural American Spirit smokers believed their brand to be less harmful than other cigarette brands, compared to 8.3% of smokers of other brands.

In August of 2015 the FDA issued a warning letter to Natural American Spirit producer Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company and the manufacturers of two other cigarette brands contending that their use of the terms "natural" and "additive-free" on the cigarette packaging constitutes a claim of reduced harm.

"Additive-free has been promoted heavily by these manufacturers, and it's no accident that smokers perceive these brands to be less harmful," Brewer told MedPage Today. "It's sort of like the 'low-tar' lie. Smokers of low-tar cigarettes believed these products were safer, but they weren't."


Brewer noted that the 2009 Tobacco Control Act requires cigarette manufacturers to identify all chemical additives in their brands, but it is not yet clear how to best communicate this information to the public.

"We did this study to better understand what people knew about the chemicals in the cigarettes and whether certain chemicals might discourage people from smoking."

Brewer and colleagues conducted telephone surveys with 1,125 adolescents and 5,014 adults plus an internet survey with a convenience sample of 4,137 adults.

The surveys were conducted to assess respondents understanding of cigarette smoke constituents in general, and 24 specific constituents.

Among the main findings:

·        Between 43% and 72% of participants incorrectly believed that harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke mostly come from additives introduced by cigarette manufacturers (43% adolescents, 61% of adults surveyed by phone, and 72% of adults surveyed via internet)

·        Almost all participants had heard that nicotine is in cigarette smoke (89%-95%), and many had also heard about carbon monoxide (59%-70%), ammonia (39%-53%), arsenic (42%-66%), and formaldehyde (41%-68%)

·        Fewer than one-quarter had heard of most other listed constituents commonly found in cigarette smoke

·        Constituents most likely to discourage respondents from wanting to smoke were ammonia, arsenic, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, lead, and uranium


Most adults surveyed (61% and 73%) wrongly believed that most of the harmful chemicals in cigarettes come from the additives rather than from the burning cigarettes.


Asked if cigarette filters trap all harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, 22% of adults surveyed via the internet and 33% surveyed by phone, as well as 27% of adolescents, said they believed they did. Adult smokers believed that cigarette filters remove more harmful chemicals from cigarette smoke than non-smokers (weighted means: 1.81, SE 0.02 versus 1.90, SE 0.04; P=0.04).

"The widespread misunderstanding that constituents come from tobacco additives highlights the importance of banning the use of 'additive-free' and similar terms that falsely suggest healthfulness and risk reduction; however, educational campaigns may more effectively improve understanding of constituents that dispel myths about additives," the researchers wrote.

Brewer said while there is still disagreement about whether additives like ammonia, arsenic, and formaldehyde make cigarettes more dangerous, the focus on additives largely misses the point.


"Additives don't change tobacco and make it dangerous. Tobacco is inherently dangerous when you burn it and smoke it," he said. "If you burned and inhaled pretty much anything that would be dangerous. Cigarettes are an inherently flawed product that is designed to kill people."

[Thomas:  Have you been thinking that some cigarettes are "safe?"

The truth is ALL cigarettes are Sickerettes!} 


What's Happening?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 7, 2016

Why the Relapse Contagion? 

We've been having way more frequent relapses -

I don't understand......


A New Opportunity!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 6, 2016


I waited almost a Year to hear those words from an organization who was willing to take on a guy pushing 60 in a different career!

At times, I'll be honest, I wanted to give up! It would be so much easier just to stay put! After all, I do like my job in Assisted Living and I'm not bragging but I'm very good at it! 

But I knew it was time to move on! I always promised myself that when the time to move on comes I will let go of my comfort zone and forge ahead learning new skills and new ideas.

Yesterday I got my "dream" job offer. Now is the time that I start detaching from the job I've had for the last 7 Years!

I'm uncomfortable, apprehensive, nervous.

But I will face my fears and take it one day at a time. I will create my new comfort zone!

This job is working in the University, CSU, Monday - Friday, lots of perks, with young enthusiastic students and world famous faculty. 

Smoking was my comfort zone. It was so hard to let go - especially when folks said "forever!" I was uncomfortable, apprehensive, nervous.

But I also was an active Addict!

I stepped into this new Smoke Free World not knowing who I am in this context. But I learned!

Step by step with as much enthusiasm and positive attitude as I could muster, with a willingness to create my New Normal, with a combination, as Dale pointed out yesterday, of owning it and faking it till you make it - I became an EX!

That was 6 1/2 Years ago and I don't miss it! 

I was leaving the most deadly of all Addictions for a Life of Freedom! 

Starting a new career can't be half that challenging!

I can do it!

You can do it!

A New Life is waiting for you to embrace! It will embrace you back with thousands of Blessings you can't even envision at this point!

Jobs, even Careers, come and go but this is the only Life you get!


Thought Pile-up!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 4, 2016

Does Quitting sound overwhelmingly difficult?

Perhaps you’re trying to take it all in at once, get snowballed with smoking thoughts, become uncontrollably agitated and feel like you have to relieve the discomfort! You relapse because you can't stand the edginess!

You could be experiencing a thought pile up!

When you start guilting yourself for not quitting sooner or worrying about failure, how bad it will get, when, if ever, it will get easier, and build that picture in your mind – you have now changed a thought into a narrative and the human mind tends to live up to it’s own narrative!

But you can write your own narrative! Imagine yourself successfully smoke FREE! Actually as long as there isn’t a Sickerette dangling from your lip this moment – you are successfully Smoke FREE now!

Don’t let your thoughts run away from you like cars on a highway that run out of control into each other! We all know what happens on a highway – a car pile-up!


The same thing happens in your Addictive Brain – a thought pile-up!

There is an alternative that will allow those thoughts to run their course without overwhelming you!

We all know that denying thoughts doesn’t work!

However, we can ignore them! There’s a BIG Difference!

Just let the thoughts run by and soon they will take the off-ramp – as long as you don’t dwell on them!

Keep your focus on the thoughts that positively lift you up and encourage you to get through this moment! Thoughts will drift but gently nonjudgmentally bring them back to positivity now and those troublesome thoughts will move along out of your way!

The positive thought for the moment will remind you that quitting is about abundant smoke free Life!

You won’t wait for the day that it gets easier – you will be creating it right now!

Keep the traffic flowing! You can do this!



Public Policy

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Dec 3, 2016

We rarely speak here about public policy but having read this article today, I was literally blown away!

It's appalling to me that folks from this camp don't recognize the Addictive nature of Nicotine or the societal cost of Nicotine Addiction!

Supposing that I'm a libertarian and think that you and I have the right to do whatever we want no matter how personally destructive, there is still the protection of the rights of other citizens and the hidden costs to society as a whole!

I'm thinking of the friends of teenagers who have not yet formed the decision making ability of an adult or to understand the true consequences of the decisions that they make - neurologically speaking.

I'm also thinking 10 Years down the road after the teen has become addicted and is no longer capable of realizing what they now young adults are doing to their children.

And I'm thinking of their neighbors and other complete victims of their second hand smoke! We all know that a hard core Addict is likely to expose innocent victims to their smoke. It happens to me every time I  am in a public parking lot, for example.

Then there is the cost that the individual doesn't pay for their own smoke related health problems - from medicaid and medicare to increased insurance costs and employer costs - we all pay!

I'm sure there's plenty more to be said about this subject that I can't think of right now but I want to open it up to the Community to think about and contribute.

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

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