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Thomas3.20.2010 Blog

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Self Soothing

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 9, 2019

When I feel overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, depression, and recently anger, I have learned to self-sooth. I'm actually taking a class called dialectical behavior therapy to learn even more skills that will help me take control of my thoughts and feelings. 

Use your 5 Senses:

Name 5 things you see (perhaps all the color blue, for example.)

Name 4 things you hear

Name 3 things you touch

Name 2 things you smell

Name 1 things you taste


You can add a bright color. I have a little security blanket about 4 inches square that is bright purple.

You can add music.

You can add a token and stroke it

You can add essential oils to smell

You can add an altoid or clove or anything that is intensely tasteful.


I follow up with capturing the rest of this moment.

Worry and fear are generally about what might happen but right now is not happening.(Remember, it might not, also!)

Right now I am physically fine! My thoughts focus on this fact and relax and then my feelings calm.


This minute I'm just fine! ....And this minute....and this minute. Hey, I'm fine for now! Why ruin this moment with worries that might not happen? I know I will cross each bridge as I come to it - one at a time - not a flood of demands at once. 

My senses stop the flood. My mindfulness releases the waters. The flood becomes a trickle that I can decide to pay attention to when I have time - not now.


I choose a time I call my "worry time." I bring up the worst case scenario and then find alternatives to each one that are just as likely or doable. When the alarm goes off - the worry has to stop. With practice it works. 


Yesterday I had my toenail removed. Soothing helped me get through it! ICK! The skills you use will benefit you for a lifetime in many situations!

Smoking cessation is doable. It's worth it because you're worth it! 



When Does It Stop?

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 8, 2019

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.

Maya Angelou - 1928-2014 - Poet-Singer-Memorist-Civil Rights Activist

While the rest of the nation was grieving for Dayton and El Paso, running with fear in Times' Square and Valley Fair Mall, Utah in ubiquitous anxiety over mass shooters, and praying for divine intervention, ICE teams raided a Koch Brothers' food processing plant in the tiny town of Morton, Mississippi (pop. 3423) and ripped out 680 undocumented workers on the first day of school! Surely, we think, the government made plans for the innocent children who were in school and just lost access to their parents - NYET! The United States Government wants to treat these entire families with maximum cruelty while giving the Koch Brothers a free pass for having immigrants working for them!


I have judiciously avoided politics on this website but I am literally screaming, my blood boiling over, at the hypocrisy! Who will raid the Koch Brothers and rip them from their families? Nobody! I don't know how much more of this hatred I can take but I know this, I will not smoke!




Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 7, 2019

Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us more effectively. Look for the learning. 

Louisa May Alcott

In times of grieving many of us think that this is a reason for giving up on our quit.

May I suggest that it's the time to use that catalyst of change, which all grief has, to propel oneself into recovery?

There is a fundamental difference between smobriety and recovery. Both entail quitting smoking but nicotine recovery is so much more than putting down the sickerettes. It's that journey that we speak so often here as the best thing that ever happened to us. 

So how do you get onto the road of recovery? Willingness. Just allow yourself to EX!

It's like floating on the surface of water. You let go and trust the process and just float. 

But how do you float in the midst of the waves of life? Surf the waves - don't resist, don't struggle, just surf.

The Push and Pull

John Lennon said it best - Let It be!

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be


And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be


And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an answer
Let it be


For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be


And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine until tomorrow
Let it be


I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
There will be an answer
Let it be


Let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom
Let it be


These are troubled - even violent times, not so different from the 60s in the social turmoil. Let Love win!

Sometimes I can feel the hatred and anger for my very existence. Let Love win!

I often feel unsafe in so many ways and fear for my family. Let Love win!


If you love yourself you will decide not to smoke no matter what! Let Love win!

Give yourself a hug today and stay Smoke FREE! Love is the way!

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments."  John 14:15


Be Safe!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 4, 2019

The United States is being attacked from the inside out! 

I pray for each and every one of you that you have a safe and blessed Sunday!

Love not hate!


Brought to Tears

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 3, 2019

When I feel that we're losing somebody in the struggle to gain smobriety and nicotine recovery I am brought to tears!

Here I sit on 24/7 oxygen (I should be at work but no dice!) I just finished my nebulizer treatment that takes 10 minutes out of my day every four hours. I took my steroids that are eating up my bones and making me so jittery I need more medicine just to be able to type this. I suffer every day from COPD Stage III knowing what waits for me is COPD Stage IV when III is bad enough! 

I have anxiety, depression and lifelong ptsd. I know about mental illness. If you search in the window above you will inevitably find my articles like this one:

25 YEARS! What a Waste!

I mourn the lost ones and trust in God that seeds are planted along the way!

Image result for planting seeds


The water is my tears!


The Attic of my Mind

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Aug 3, 2019

In this attic - memories - lots of memories. Some are sad, or angering or even frightful. Others, most, are happy, joyful, nostalgic. It may seem like junk for you but to me they are treasures and I try not to think about what will happen to all of this stuff when I pass on.

After getting over the unpleasantness of the first few disgusting sickerettes, I began to enjoy smoking. I often have good memories and associations with the times when I smoked. This pine cone reminds me of  times smoking with friends while sitting on the grass at the park, this Farrah Faucet poster brings back  hanging out with friends chatting about girls over some Kools, this cracked cup  makes me reminisce about coffee with my God Mother rounding off her famous mexican guisados or flan with a  "natural" Camel. Memories everywhere in this attic- too many to see at once.

Each memory robbed of the beauty of the moment because of the ever present pack of smokes. I see this stuff and the beautiful, exquisite details of memories and then I see - the smoke rings, the heaping ashtrays, the pack with it's personalized lighter. 

Researchers say nicotine, the addictive component in cigarettes, "tricks" the brain into creating memory associations between environmental cues and smoking behavior. All of those memories bring back the "memory" of smoking. I can see the pack in my mind's eye, then the coughin' nail itself, I remember that lighter with the fondest of flashbacks. It's human nature.

But the treasure isn't in the green "fresh" Kools of my youth or the hard red "practical" Marlboro's. I refuse to let sickerettes rob me of my nostalgia, The treasures are the moments of sharing - connecting heart-to-heart with others. 

Did you notice that my "smoking memories" are all associated with people - with places - and things? If I hadn't changed those 3 very important stimulants of memory, strung like beads on my favorite Mardi Gras decor, and purposefully, one by one, lifted the smoke cloud off of the treasures, they might have been broken forever in my need to live addiction free. 

I didn't do this hard work of cleaning and organizing this attic of memories in the beginning or even after the first year or the second. I established myself firmly in the "never again" category first! Just like we can't go back to those times we are so fond of, we can't recapture those connections with people, places, and things,by continuing to light up! What we can do eventually is to conjure up the walks in the park, the buddy times, the best food in the world from the brightest light of our childhoods and neutralize the power of the smokes. 

Sickerettes didn't make those connections - we did! I take each item in my memory out, examine it, laugh a little, cry a little, polish it off and find a special place in this attic to restore it. I think of my youth, midlife, and loss of innocence and I see the sickerettes but I don't allow them to tarnish my memories - mine!

What counts are the connections - the love, friendship, kinship, sense of belonging! Smoking is not required. It was there then but I just don't do that any more and I can put those dead leaves in their place - the past forever separate from what really counts!

What a marvelous, adventurous journey into recovery!


Step 1. Let a friend hook up jumper cables to your good car. Crosswise!

Step 2. When all goes whacko, disconnect cables and leave - that's right! Just drive off without consulting a mechanic.

Step. 3. Call Thomas to help you sort it out! He's got nothing but time and energy. 



But  I didn't smoke over it! I didn't even think of smoking! Because I am FREE of Addiction!

Life Goes On! 


PS: yes, this is my "new normal" - living life on life's terms! Don't try this at home!

You made it through H*!! Week!

You made it through Heck Week!

You made it through Hallelujah Week! 


So you're finished quitting, right? No more craving, no more, BecomeanEx, no more Recovery - you're recovered

- I wish!

Now the mind game of recovery changes. In some ways it gets easier (yes!) but in other ways it gets much harder! In fact, people who think of quitting as an event are more likely to relapse between 30-130 days approximately which is why jonescarp.aka.dale.Jan_2007 , OldBones-Larry, and others want you to know

Be Prepared!


These are must read articles!

Then search by putting in no man's land or NML to find lots more info on what to do about it!

Don't let that first Month's hard work go down the drain because you weren't aware!

Nobody wants to repeat Day 1. 

Keep stacking those Days WON No Matter What!



Because I need it...

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 26, 2019

Security is mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.

Helen Keller - 1880-1968 - Author-Political Activist

Helen Keller is one of few people who I would listen to this message. I want security! But I'll settle for one single moment at a time - Smoke FREE!

I just got out of the hospital yesterday after a 5  day stay - no vacation! My last hospitalization was the first week of June. This is getting old and I am feeling old along with it! 

If you care at all about your health - If you care at all about your LIFE - 

- if you quit smoking -  protect your quit with all you have!

- if you haven't quit - do so today - don't wait - just get it done!

4 out of 10 of the people who see this site will get COPD in their lifetime.

What makes you think you won't be one of these 4?

COPD is the disease that keeps on taking....and taking...and taking...

until you don't have a single breath to take!


But don't sit back waiting for him/her to deliver your quit recovery into your lap! 

Do not ask God to guide your footsteps if you’re not willing to move your feet. – Unknown

I am speaking of my spiritual journey into recovery only. So take what you need and leave the rest - to be helpful is my only goal!

I believe that prayer is much more than reciting or even improvising words. My prayer exists within my thoughts, feelings and actions. When I worked in restaurants I learned a lot about believers who parked their Christian charity at the church door. Folks would go to Sunday services and then visit a restaurant, enjoy a wonderful meal with their families, and then verbally, written, or both scold the servers for working on the sabbath - often in lieu of not leaving a tip! This behavior taught me that my faith doesn't stay in the church pew - it travels with me in thought word and deed!

Occasionally we see new quitters come and declare that they are leaving their recovery in God's hands. And then they relapse. Why? Did they not pray fervently enough? Did they pray to the wrong Higher Power? 

OR did they think that God would do all of the work for them? 

I testify that I would have not been able to sustain my quit recovery without my Higher Power. However, I also declare that my Higher Power would not have given me recovery without my efforts! (S)he doesn't work like that!)  Not that (s)he can't but that (s)he respects me enough to respect my free will. Therefore, I came willfully/willingly to this Recovery Journey - moving my feet and holding God's hand. 





Image result for live long and prosper


Never Give Up!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 27, 2019

After a relapse it can be very difficult to get on track again but the sooner you do it the better because you aren't caught up as much in the twisted thinking of Addiction. You can do this! Just come back and start again ASAP.

Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.

George Eliot - 1819-1880 - English Novelist

Not One Puff Ever - starting Today!

Addiction is full of lies.

Lies we tell ourselves - "umm, smells good!"

Lies we tell others - "I don't smoke that much."

Lies we tell God - "Let me smoke and I promise to behave in every other way!"


But one of the biggest lies is that smoking calms my anxiety!


Smoking causes the very anxiety it purports to relieve - and the Nicotine Industry knows it!

Do you?


There are a thousand ways to really relieve anxiety and stress - smoking is not one of them!

My favorite is mindfulness - What's yours?


Drop the Rope!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 20, 2019

I learned this phrase from Al-Anon by several sources. It means that when you're in a tug-of-war with somebody else or even yourself you have the right and choice to just drop the rope and walk away!!!

I find that very helpful for Nicotine Recovery as well. It doesn't mean that I give up! It means I choose not to engage with my Nicotine thoughts. I have better things to do with my brain. 

Hopefully somebody else will find this simple idea useful as well!



You're This Close!

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jun 20, 2019

You are simply this minute away from Success! Every minute you keep from smoking you are finding your Recovery. So if this is Day One - Congratulations. If this is Day 100 Congratulations!. You have succeeded in giving your mind, body, spirit another chance to break Free from Addiction. Keep up the Great Job and watch those Days add up to weeks, Months, and yes, even Years! You will get so much more than you can imagine - you'll grow and mature in ways you can't believe. It will be hard but everything worth doing really is hard - but it is also simple: Not One Puff Ever!

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

Image result for Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison


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