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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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By now, most all of us know the dangers of smoking and vaping. But are you aware of the dangers of Nicotine Replacement Products?

Take Nicotine gum: Some of the side effects associated with nicotine chewing gum includes nausea, hiccups, hypersalivation and increased gastric acidity.


How about Nicotine patches? Some of the side effects when using the nicotine transdermal patch include an itchy rash, dizziness, sleep disturbances and even nightmares.


Then there's Nicotine Nasal Spray:  Some of the the side effects on a nicotine nasal spray include, watery, red eyes, nasal irritation like nasal congestion, a runny/leaky nose, sneezing and aggravation of pre-existing upper respiratory conditions, cough, itchy throat and disturbances of smell.


Nicotine Inhalers: Some of the possible side effects associated with Nicotine Inhalers include coughing, gagging, itchy throat and abnormal breathing sounds when used by a person with a pre-existing respiratory disease..

* Nicotine inhalers should not be used by a person with any form of respiratory disease.

Nicotine Sublingual Tablets: Some of the side effects include increased gastric acid, hiccups and nausea.

Nicotine Lozenges? The side effects of nicotine lozenges are similar to nicotine chewing gum and sublingual tablets, including increased gastric acid, hiccups, and nausea in addition to increased salivation (hypersalivation).

Does this mean I should not use NRTs? Not necessarily but Knowledge is Power and knowing the possible side effects of various Nicotine products can prevent a failure which may lead back into smoking and/or vaping. 

Other NRT Information and Facts

  • Most NRT products can be purchased without a prescription unless the person is below 18 years of age, but it is advisable to seek the advice of your doctor first.
  • Combining two NRTs should only be done under a doctor’s guidance.
  • NRT should not be stopped suddenly because it can cause the same type of nicotine withdrawal symptoms that are seen when a person quits smoking suddenly.
  • Addiction to NRT is rare.
  • Tea, coffee, beer and soft drinks may reduce nicotine absorption and should not be used at the same time as a NRT product.
  • NRT should be continued for at 6 to 12 weeks after quitting smoking altogether. Recent evidence suggests that using nicotine transdermal patches for 6 months, instead of the prescribed 2 months, is more effective.

Source: Nicotine Replacement Therapy NRT Products, Dangers, Side Effects | 


Best advice: Ask your Doctor even about Over the Counter NRTs! 


You Can quit successfully! More people have quit smoking than currently smoke. There's no reason at all you can't be one of us!


Well, Thomas! Aren't you blowing things out of proportion? Things, I get that. Obviously I can't keep my favorite lighters, ashtrays, vape pens. But places......even, people? I have to change them too? They're only cigarettes!


I hear you. Now think about this. Smoking will kill one out of every two (yes, 50%) of those who don't quit! How do you like those odds? Each year, smoking kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined.


2) Nicotine is more addictive than heroin or cocaine. 


3) Nicotine robs us of our values, our natural enjoyment, our - selves!


It's no joking matter 


Get serious! Cigarettes (and now it appears to be vaping as well) are deadly! They hollow us out from the inside of our brains to every single speck of DNA. 


 Need I say: heart disease, cancer, lung disease  - Killers #1. #2. and #3. You know it and I know it but don't believe you're the lucky half. Today is a Great day to live smoke free!


People, places and things have to change. You won't be hanging out with your quit buddies and relatives. You won't be hanging around the smoke-break gang! You won't be keeping that memorabilia ashtray or Harley Davidson lighter. They go in the trash! Otherwise don't bother!


You can make it hard to quit or you can make it hard to smoke.  Which is the better option?

No half hearted quit "attempts" - get real! Be real! Become your best, blessed Self! 

You can do it but not if you sabotage yourself out the gate!


Please don't be dumb like me! Unless I get hit by a Mack Truck I'll probably die of smoking-related illness. But you know what's worse than dying because of Nicotine Addiction? Living as an Addict! I refuse to die an Addict to Nicotine! 


You can always tell when I have a bad COPD Day - I get emphatic. What do you think it is like to not! Hold your breath for awhile and multiply it by 150 times. That's close!

Smoking Cessation challenges our very sense of self. We have wrapped so much of ourselves into that paper filled with dead leaves and poison. Unwrapping is more complicated than getting through the physical addiction. In fact, if you choose smart turkey (or cold turkey) in just 3 days the physical addiction has been broken. 


So why so many relapses after the physical withdrawal? Nicotine robbed us of the ability to experience natural dopamine. So we have to relearn the reward of dopamine from the little things in life: a clean home, a delicious meal, a sweet moment with the family, a hug and lick from the family dog, - all the little pleasures of life. 


I use the gratitude list. Here's the challenge.. keep a gratitude diary with 3 things you're grateful for today. There's only one trick - you can't use the same gratitude twice. Before long you come to appreciate the Earth below your feet and the air you breathe, the rain that washes the skies and the grass in your lawn. Stretch - stretch - stretch your gratitudes! There really are enough to go around day after day after day - black days as well as clear days! 


The more grateful we are, the more filled with Love of our Higher Power the more we absolutely conclude that Addiction Free Life is gloriously beautiful! We have the God given strength to live Life on Life's terms no matter what! We are blessed because we recognize our blessings. And out of that abundance we share these blessings with each and every person we touch. The World is a beautiful place to be no matter what our circumstances. 


Many blessings upon each of you! LLAP!


Surf the Waves!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Oct 2, 2019

Did you watch Morning Joe? Pull it up and listen to the vaping discussion after the 16th reported vaping death. Half a million people will die of smoking related illness vs. 70,000 of opioid overdose. Think about it! We're all freaked out about oxycontin but look at tobacco products!


Dale points out that the physical withdrawal is the small mountain and the psychological mountain is the Mount Everest of Nicotine Addiction! So true! So how do we handle the cravings? Ride the wave!


Resistance is futile - so stop fighting yourself! YOU are the NicoDemon! Jon Kabat-Zinn said "you can't stop the waves but you can learn to surf."  Give the feelings space to crest and fall while you surf on the top and pay attention to the shining sun, the cool breeze, the beauty of the day! 


It's a Win-Win! You enjoy your day beyond the cravings and you do the right thing for yourself! Pure Self-Love.... a gift from your Higher Power! There are hundreds of things you can focus on rather than the withdrawal! That doesn't mean that you ignore the cravings - you can't! You acknowledge them and then focus on the activity of your choice! Don't ignore and don't feed the cravings! 


Today is a wonderful day to live Addiction Free!



Early Days

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 24, 2019

My beginners story has to start on the day I was diagnosed with COPD - a beautiful Sunday morning on March 14. For me, nothing was beautiful. I had a severely high fever - my teeth were chattering and I was covered in blankets - one minute freezing and the next sweating with heat. Off to the E.R. and I heard a Nurse say, "inflated lungs." Little did I know that what she meant was Emphysema. Hours later, upon release I sat in my car and - yes, smoked a sickerette! The stress - you know!


I knew nothing about COPD. I knew that a beloved grandmother had passed away from Emphysema but she was old - I was 52 with a healthy past. I thought and thought and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I would have to quit! My addictive thoughts went bonkers! I so wanted to smoke because I had to quit! Now there's no other person on Earth, even Doctors and Nurses, even family and friends, even spouses and significant others, who can make a person quit! Only me! It came down to me!


I faithfully counted my last sickerettes - 10 and picked my quit day, March 20 - the first day of Spring! Then I solemnly promised myself that I would no longer beg, borrow, steal, or purchase any more coffin nails - I couldn't stand the idea of suffocating from Oxygen deprivation while I choked down another sickerette. 


I began by delaying as much as I could - just 15 minutes more, and 15 minutes more than that. And when I smoked I puffed one or two times and put the precious sickerette out for next time. And yes, those 10 sickerettes lasted me 5 days. On the sixth day I quit! 


Meanwhile I searched the internet for answers. I was a serial quitter, after all! I had quit every stretch from a few hours to over a Year and each time I relapsed. I knew how to withdraw - I'd done it dozens of time. But I needed more. Then I discovered BecomeanEX and remembered the funny commercials on TV. I read and then read some more...IT was still challenging and again and again I was tempted to give in and buy another pack - but I didn't. I came here and read and wrote instead. I went for walks, drank cranberry juice like a fish, allowed myself to break down, whatever it takes so I wouldn't lose this quit - this had to be my for reals quit! No more cheating and lying, sneaking and covering up, giving up and frustration at failure again!


No, it wasn't at all easy! But it was and is pretty simple. No matter what - don't smoke and eventually those days of misery become days of victory and then you forget to want to smoke. My forget day happened somewhere around 2 Months (we're all different  on this.) After 20 Years on smoking I actually forgot to want a sickerette!


But I was still very much in No Man's Land when most relapses happen (2-4 Months quit.) Some days I would have a guerrilla attack - like the sunny Spring day I was driving my car and BAM! Full blown desire to smoke right now! I went home and exercised like crazy! Or the time I walked into a convenience store and said without thought, "Marlbor - no, never mind! Give me this pack of gum!" Close one! Another time I sat in front of a discount sickerette store and stared at all of the offers in the window. Then, I drove away and got some chocolate instead. 


But I made it - because of Dale and Gulia, Rick and Mike @ Atlanta, Christine - Legend and Sheri, and so many more. But mostly I made it because of ME! I decided each day to pledge that I would not smoke and I honored that decision - just for today. I celebrated my milestones and took James' advice to become a Happy Quitter and Live4thedash's advice to Never Ever Forget! That's what BecomeanEX is all about! Find your superheros and most importantly, become your own Superhero! You can do this!



By the way that was 2010! LLAP!



Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 16, 2019

In case some of you may have heard and as to not worry about me, the Fort Collins Call Center is closing. The good news is I will not get laid off. I am going virtual and will be working from home. Hooray! It's good for me due to my health and I expect to work much more now that I don't have to drive to work and expose myself to everybody's germs. I will not have to commute except once a Month but we plan to car pool to enjoy the friendship and share the gas money. What looked bleak turned into a blessing!


That is what it's like when you quit smoking. Deprivation seems like all you have to look forward to. The truth is just the opposite, Smoking Cessation is full of blessings and more abundant living! But the only way to get there is through! 




The Real Enemy

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 9, 2019

So many of us think of cigarettes but the real enemy is Nicotine.

Ask Tony Gwynn or Sean Marsee.

You can't they passed away from chewing tobacco.

Ask the 5 people who have died from vaping Nicotine.

Nicotine is insect poison. No joke. 

If you got high, would you spray raid down your throat? Of course not.

Nicotine kills.......slowly!

Nicotine - The Nerve Poison

Sean Marsee was 19 years old. 

Just stop it! You can!



Heart and Mind

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 6, 2019

The mind is the seed of creativity but the heart is the soil. That seed cannot grow without an open heart.

Shah Rukh Khan - Actor-Producer

Image result for open heart quotes


Change is hard! We often don't change until we have no choice in that not change is obviously more painful than change. We often speak as a Community of the Fears that are a part of Nicotine Recovery..."I'll get too grumpy!," "I'll fail!," "I won't like myself!," "I'll be miserable forever!" None of these are true given an open heart joined by an open mind!

Love is simply another description of our Higher Power. Love always conquers Fear so it's true that I have to admit that I am powerless over Addiction. My life as a Nicotine Addict has become unmanageable. I have come to believe that only a Power Higher than myself can restore me to sanity (health of mind, body, soul, heart.) "For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and he knows everything!" 1 John 3:20

Image result for open heart quotes from the Bible

Open your heart and your mind will open. Your willfulness will become willingness and your path will be made straight. Not easy but straight one day at a time, one minute at a time, until you EXperience the abundance of  Addiction Freedom  that awaits you on the other side of smobriety.


We tend to think of anger as a wild, negative emotion, but research finds that anger also has its positive side. When we quit smoking we can feel what seems like extreme anger until our physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects find balance. For those of us who learned that anger is an inappropriate emotion it can become a deal breaker.....

...Or we can put anger to use for our Nicotine Recovery!

 Anger is a motivating force like all emotions. (Emotion literally means to put in motion.) Anger can make us push on towards our goals in the face of problems and barriers. Who doesn't need that during their Recovery? When we see something as beneficial, we want it more when we’re angry. So, when used right, constructive anger can make you feel strong and powerful and help push you on to get what you want.

 It may sound like an odd thing to say, but angry people have something in common with happy people. That’s because both tend to be more optimistic. Anger is empowering!

What about our loved ones, you say? I know I was concerned that my anger would be too much for them. Anger expressed appropriately is actually good for relationships! When you hide your anger, your loved one doesn’t know they’ve done something wrong. And so they keep doing it. And that doesn’t do your relationships any good. The expression of anger, if justifiable and aimed at finding a solution rather than just venting, can actually benefit and strengthen relationships.

Expressing anger when loved ones smoke around you or even just leave their pack of sickerettes on the counter in front of you knowing that you're withdrawing from the strongest addiction of all, is a good example. Don't you want the support of your family member or friend by keeping their smokes to themselves? Speak up or it probably won't change. They may not even realize that this is extremely annoying, at best!

Anger can also provide insight into our own faults, if we allow it. We can examine and choose our values and boundaries only when we're in touch with our anger. Then we

to do to improve our lives. Anger can motivate self-change.

Anger can be a legitimate way to get what you want. Anger is likely to work best when it’s

justified, if you appear powerful and when the other side’s options are limited. In the right circumstances, then, it’s possible to both get mad and get even.

So how do we do anger safely when we (I know I did) smoked our anger down inside us for years? 

The likely features of constructive anger are:

  • that the person who caused the anger is present,
  • that it is justified and proportionate to the wrongdoing,
  • and it is expressed as the first step in trying to solve a problem rather than just venting bad feeling.

Used right, anger can be a handy tool. But use with caution as people find anger the most difficult of all the emotions to control, especially when they're used to smoking it away!

[Source: The Upside of Anger: 6 Psychological Benefits of Getting Mad - PsyBlog ]

Image result for anger






Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 24, 2019

Continuous effort, not strength or intelligence, is the key to unlocking our potential.

Winston Churchill - 1874-1965 - Former British Prime Minister

People often come here with a fight to win attitude. I know I did! But I learned from the blogs that when we take this strategy we are fighting ourselves and who can beat themself without beating themself up? So it may seem like an enigma but strength is not the skill. Intelligence doesn't really matter either as smoking cessation is not rocket science. Yes, it helps to understand addiction and especially Nicotine Addiction  but it's not very complicated. 

Essentially there's only one rule, The Law of Addiction:

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

It's simple not easy. It takes perseverance not intelligence or strength. Don't struggle with your quit self - remember that in this instance you made a decision. Now honor that decision no matter what! When you get tempted just remind yourself, "I don't do that anymore." Then turn away to something else. 

You CAN do This!




Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 20, 2019

Words are important. They have not just meaning - they color our existence. The study of words about addiction is a branch of Neuro-linguistics.

Neurolinguistics is based on concepts and models developed by some of the greatest minds in the world of psychotherapy like Milton Erickson, Gregory Bateson, and Virginia Satir. This method examines the fundamental dynamics between the mind (neuro) and language (linguistic); as well as, how their interaction affects the body and behavior (programming). It targets how people:

  1. communicate externally and internally
  2. process, store, and recall information
  3. alter their communication to achieve the results and goals they want

Addicts who have not entered Nicotine Recovery may enter into mistaken beliefs and mistaken neurolinguistics alongside it. I know, sounds weird but true. Here is a list of common errors:

  • Distortions such as focusing on the perceived benefits and ignoring the negative side effects of smoking
  • Generalizations - for example thinking that everybody I know smokes or vapes
  • ModalitiesWords which dictate or imply what is possible, right or necessary; such as, “must”, “should”, or “can’t.” For example, a person thinks he shouldn’t be smoking or another person says she can’t stop smoking.

This process explains how people get stuck in a language both internal and external that supports their addiction. In recovery we can confront the truth of these beliefs and can also choose language that supports our successful quit journey. 

Using phrases like "sickerettes", "quit journey", "day WON!", "I don't do that anymore", among many others, all promote recovery and/or deny addiction errors. 

This alone is reason enough to spend time day and evening at BecomeanEX. You will be retraining your vocabulary for success!

Here is just one EXample: Become 

Stick around here We have both overt and subtle ways of helping your recovery from nicotine in all of it's forms.

Image result for black eye


Remember the Tareyton Commercials? They had it backwards...

Image result for i'd rather fight than quit


Those people may be just like me - fighting not to cough in public, fighting for each breath of air, living with CO2 trapped in my lungs poisoning me each and every day for the rest of my life, 


Today is a Great Day to quit! 



Make Love Not War!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 14, 2019

When we first quit smoking we feel so much like we have to prepare for the battle of and for our lives. Honestly, what we have to prepare for is the battle for our hearts and minds.

So it's not about weapons to fight with. It's about tools to build new lives with.

It's not about making the Nico-Demon our Enemy.

Nicotine is the real enemy and Nico-Demon is the little addicted two year old that we need to love with all our hearts and minds. That's because Nico-Demon is ME! I choose not hate a part of myself. I love even that poor addicted brain that got hooked without intention. 

Nicotine came into my life and changed me forever. Now I know. Now I love me and love life and choose to stay very far away from all nicotine in all of it's forms.

Nicotine - The Nerve Poison

Image result for i love me


Who am I?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 13, 2019

I was born with a certain genetic coding that began my definition of me. After birth, and even in the womb, my parents began their input into defining me until I could define myself. Later, siblings, family members, playmates, and my community added their clarifications on the given definition. Very quickly, as a toddler I began to make choices and those choices - whether I was an astronaut or a caveman today, whether I played with GI Joe or lincoln logs, all shaped me in ways I didn't consciously set out to become - yet that is the process....

And along came sickerettes stolen out of my Mother's purse when she was busy with chores. Smoking changed me - it  would later make me an Addict. I thought it would help me break the secret code of "adult." It didn't - I still couldn't understand adult choices. So I went back to playing and studying and watching and choosing who I want to be and become. I never once decided to become an Addict. 

At 30, I chose to smoke. I wanted to share in the camaraderie of my buddies. I thought I could stay free from the addictive part by smoking less than the other guys and abstaining from time to time. But I was hooked and I changed - not by choice but many of my decisions were robbed by sickerettes. 

Nicotine controlled people I hung around (fewer nonsmokers - more addicts), places (full of smoke clouds), and things such as my special Santana lighter and my ever present Marlboro hard red pack. I was literally defining myself within the confines of my addiction. It became a part of virtually every thought - consciously and unconsciously. 

Now I have 9 1/2 years quit and a smoking related illness - COPD. COPD is now a part of every decision I make - where I work, who I'm with, what I do each day. I carry my oxygen concentrator and related cords everywhere I go. I limit my activity to what I can tolerate. My disability puts parameters around my decisions and thus, my definition of Thomas. I didn't choose it but I did choose to smoke that first sickerette. 

But my Recovery also defines Thomas. Without recovery I would most likely not be writing this blog - for example. I might have smoked myself into a grave by now. Who knows?

Only one entity knows - not me - my Higher Power. He knows. He leads me down the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He leads me to write this blog and to hope that one addict can relate and decide to choose freedom before they get a smoking related illness. I hope that person is you!

Take what is useful and leave the rest. I speak only for myself - this is my journey on the way to Thomas today. I don't know what tomorrow will look like.



Unity is Our Strength

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 10, 2019

Some folks come here for advice and then rebel at the advice they get. For me, that's very confusing. If you are here to somehow justify your Nicotine Addiction - I'm sorry but your in the wrong place. The goal we have in common - all we have in common - is our Nicotine Addiction Recovery. 

When you hear that it can't be done by cutting down and staying at a level of say "only 4-5 a day" feel free to give it your best. We know that this is a failed effort because we tried that. 

When you hear that you will change and you decide that you don't need to change to quit give it a shot! With true Recovery you will change. We know we tried to not change. 

When you hear that it's better to accept becoming an EX than to fight, you have every right to fight all you want. But fighting leads to relapse or acceptance; we were there, believe me or not.

The advice always comes with the caveat of "take what you need and leave the rest!" 

So we are so diverse, so individual, why does this work?

Because addiction is addiction is addiction. That is what we have in common  whether you're from Hays, Ks. or New Delhi, India. 

So listen and learn or hear and resist. Just know that we're here to support your journey into Addiction Freedom which isn't about deprivation but abundance!

We provide an abundance of comfort, support, knowledge, experience, advice, information, and love.

"Come together, right now, over me!" - John Lennon

LLAP! No matter what!

Re: Rant: Didn't You Come Here Asking for Help?

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