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constanceclum Blog

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Hello Everyone

Posted by constanceclum Feb 12, 2020

I know it's been awhile since I checked in. My computer bit the dust, and all I have is this cheap tablet, and it's a real challenge to type on.

I have been free from smoking for 6 months and 15 days. $960.00 saved. My husband has been quite for over 3 months.


In case you're wondering what it's like for a 61 year old women who smoked for 47 years and free for 6 months, I experience the urge for a puff 3-4 times a day. Before the thought fully formulates in my brain, I am already taking a deep breath, and by the time I fully exhale, the urge is gone.


Me, I never imagined that I could quit smoking. Now I can't imagine ever taking even 1 puff!


So, to my old friends, I hope you are all doing well! To the newbies believe in yourself, you got this!


5 months today

Posted by constanceclum Dec 29, 2019

And I'm looking for the word to describe where I'm at because I'm definitely not "nicotine recovered", but nothing fits. Occassionally I miss smoking. Back to those pre-copd days when I could have a cigarette without giving it a second thought. Those times are very rare now, but I still have ?. Like being halfway in the car and my brain realizes that this is when I'm supposed to light up. Then an automatic NOPE and on with my day. But there is a "feeling"  associated with that realization that I can't place.I guess urge is the only word that feels somewhat appropriate but it really isn't quite that strong. Anyway, I can have several of "those" a day, and I'm wondering if this is my new normal because I really wish they'd go away.


I'm having a copd flare-up so I'm not breathing well and not feeling well. I called my lung Drs office and told them how I was feeling and that I didn't want to go to the ER because it's full of flu people so they sent me for a chest-ray and called in some prednisone. 


I'm meeting with a surgeon on thurs. about putting in a "port". I've had monthly IV's of antibodies for immune deficiency and will have them the rest of my life so we decided a port would be more convenient and comfortable for me. I also have my lung CT scan in Jan. to check on the nodule and see if I'll need to go to Duke or not.


For the most part I try to just turn things over to God and stay stress free, but sometimes it gets to me. Thank God for all of you that without fail, helps me stay calm.




Hey All

Posted by constanceclum Dec 14, 2019

Just checking in to let all of  you know I'm still here and have 138 DOF. I never thought I would skip even 1 day of being here, reading blogs and sharing my experience, strength and hope for the newcomers. When I first quit. I talked about being off my bipolar depression meds. I didn't go into why and I'm not going to now because it's too long and involved, but it really wasn't my choice. Somehow, even though I was very depressed and highly anxious, I managed to quit smoking. I "went" someplace mentally with this quit that, even though I can't quite explain it, I was able to quit in spite of that and going through 1 crisis after the other. My other big symptom is chronic insomnia. Well, a few weeks ago, it all caught up with me, and I stopped functioning well. I am waiting to get in to see a psychiatrist (after the 1st of the year was the best they could do-isn't 2019 healthcare grand?), and my primary Dr. prescribed 1 of the 2 meds I need so I am feeling somewhat better but still sleeping poorly.


The important thing is I didn't feel it was necessary to smoke. Smoking wouldn't have helped anything. My husband celebrated 1 month free this past week. I'm a little peeved because it was so much easier for him lol. Not really, I'm grateful that we are both free from smoking. The money saved when 2 people quit is a car payment lol-not that we're in the market-but it's very noticeable every week.


God bless,




I forgot to be grateful

Posted by constanceclum Nov 29, 2019

I was EXtra grateful for all the things I'm grateful for on a daily basis: God, my family, my cats etc..., but I forgot to be grateful for my first thanksgiving without smoking. That's because it was my 1st day I didn't think about smoking! Dale said it would come eventually. And it did at day 123. And the reason I'm EXtra grateful is because I was coming close to losing my NOPE lol. The past 2-3 weeks have, in some ways, been worse than the first few weeks but, thank God, I was prepared!!!  My addiction kept telling my I really wanted to smoke. Every one of those old triggers were like a fire alarm going off in my head. I actually told my husband I didn't think I could go on much longer which really upset him. He quit smoking 3 weeks ago, used the patch for a couple of weeks and barely has had a craving.


Well, as I've said before, I don't know anyone, have never heard anyone on here, say they regretted a cigarette not smoked, and that's how I feel today. So grateful to be a nonsmoker, and so grateful to be coming to the end of this NML..


There are so many wonderful blogs to read here on an ongoing basis. All newbies should stay close to every word printed by out elders. But I would advise every newbie to read Marilyn's blogs every morning. She has got me through many tough mornings which has always been my toughest times. 


God bless,




My NML Adventures

Posted by constanceclum Nov 24, 2019

I do not know, when people that quit smoking without an educational, supportive site such as EX, if they're even aware of NML. I can say that without the preparation, knowledge and support I have here, I doubt if I would have made it.


I can't quit explain it, but I got through the 1st 7 weeks of this quit by keeping my hands and mind completely (busy) That nagging nicodemon was back there, but I was able to stay "detached" from it. I have no idea how to explain to someone how I did it. I had huge, very rough cravings throughout the day-I was a heavy smoker for 48 yrs-and that BIG YOU CAN HAVE JUST ONE beat down on me constantly, but I ran the tape all the way through. How that cigarette would feel on my lips and the inhale hitting my lung and then, for me, the immediate chest tightness and shortness of breath and I said NOPE not today and then to the back burner of my brain it went.


I had no idea how NML would work for me since I was using the patch. After a coupld of months, I cut down to 14mg and after a couple of weeks of that, I cut down to 7 weeks. Did that for about a week, and then stopped all nicotine and went through some of the digestion issues probably not as bad though. Well I have spent the past couple of weeks wanting a cigarette with every trigger that I thought I had overcome. After meals, driving, being on the phone and that reward cigarette for completing a task. These urges were strong and left me with that whole in my chest that I have from nicotine withdrawal, but there's been no nicotine. It's all in my head. Well I promised myself 4 months like Dale suggested, but I have been more scared of relapse over the past couple of weeks than any other time during this quit. One major thing that has kept me going is my husband quit a couple of weeks ago and I was not going to be the reason he started. But also, The one thing every single one of you have been consistent about is "it gets better" And it is. This is the 1st morning I have not had a strong urge in a few weeks. In face I feel totally detached from smoking which is how I like it. And I'm at 118 DOF!!


Today is a great day to be a nonsmoker, and it's thanks to you!! God bless all of you and keep you safe!



That's a horrific amount of cigarettes in 3 months and 21 days! I wonder what I would have thought if I was still smoking and someone told me that I had smoked that amount in a little over 3&1/2 months. I wonder if it would have mattered to me. That's about $510.00 I have saved but I can't help but wonder what the impact would have been had I realized that when I was still smoking. It seems so unbelievable to me.


I would suggest to anyone who is still smoking to figure out the # of cigs you would smoke and the cost over a 3 month period. How does it make you feel? Does it increase your desire to quit? It certainly seems like it should, but I really don't think I ever completely faced these stats while I smoked.


I'm having a good day in NML today. The last couple of weeks have been difficult-not near as difficult as the 1st few weeks so I certainly don't want to scare anyone away but, as Marilyn always says, "we do have to stay vigilant" because it tends to pop up just when we think we are over it. For me it was mostly milder urges during times when I "missed" smoking like driving or after a meal or, the biggest one-the reward cigarette after finishing a task. I'm just now letting yself think do I want a cigarette and the only answer I can come up with is "who has time for that" lol so I've come a long way. And all of you newbies can too. Just give yourselves that 4 months of in big red letters NOPE!! In AA we say "It works if you work it"


God bless,



I'm celebrating 109 DOF and,, if nothing else, it's a wierd journey! I am so grateful for this freedom and to this site for making this freedom possible. For the elders who had me well prepared for everything I would go through to get where I am today. That "you have to go through it to get out of it".


I am still in NML and I was prepared for it so I have not found it necessary to smoke. The 1st 7 weeks were pretty tough for me, but I had made that NOPE commitment and I did not find it necessary to smoke as the elders and other newbies supported and encouraged me each day. And I want to stress how important it is to read blogs of other newbies struggling and support and encourage them.. I can't even tell you how many times that my words of encouragement to someone else wound up getting me through a difficult time.


Things got better at about 7 weeks. I used the 21mg patch for a couple more weeks than stepped down to the 14 mg patch with very little fan-fare. I really felt like a nonsmoker and didn't even think about them except when I was here. The same thing happened when I stepped down to the 3mg patch. Now For the past couple of weeks, NML has been rearing it's ugly head. Triggers are acting up and I just "want" a cigarette. I miss some of those times I would smoke like after a meal. But you know what? I did my homework here. Because of Dale and others, I knew all about this NML and how tricky it could be.. In my early days in AA, I learned addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. It is the same with nicotine. Am I frustrated that after 3 &1/2 months, I'm still dealing with this? A big, fat, YES!!! But the knowledge I have is way more powerful than the last ditch efforts of my nicotine addiction  to "smoke just 1" because this addiction wants to kill me, so I do not find it necessary to smoke over it.




Good Morning Friends

Posted by constanceclum Nov 12, 2019

Well, NML has not been kind to me the past couple of weeks. That's also when I stopped using the 7mg patch. It's mostly the return of the triggers. After a meal, getting in the car, answering the phone, finishing a task, I have this strong "thought" which turns into an urge for a cigarette. I'm not worried about smoking, it's just getting old and boring to keep dealing with it. I'm at 106 DOF so I have a few weeks left of NML, but I thought I should come here and vent and get my peeps to assure me it's all going to be ok.


My husband finally quit. He has 10 DOF and it seems to be going much easier for him than I would have expected. Of course, I prayed for him continuously. He is also dieting as he is very obese. He's lost 7# and is dealing with his sleep apnea much better. He quit smoking pot and only drinks a couple of beers after work. All of this is certainly helping both of our health as well as our marriage. Saving quite a bit of money as well.


Newbie's, don't allow yourselves to keep smoking by telling yourself you still have time. That's just 1 of this addictions lies. People are getting both lung cancer and copd at earlier ages. Plus it slowly ruins the quality of your life, and 1 day you just wake up and can't do the things you used to do. The best time to quit is right now, and the only reason not to quit is an excuse!


God Bless this EX family!



I love feeling a "part of something". I guess because for so long I really wasn't a part of!. But I'm especially proud to be part of this club! I never, ever thought I'd be in the triple digit club. In fact, it surprised the hell out of me when I made double digits.


For the most part, after the 1st 7 weeks, it has been pretty easy, in spite of a huge amount of hardships. Now things are going better. Life is pretty smooth. And I'm craving and missing cigarettes in the worse way! I'm off the patches for over a week but have had a lozenge here and there. A total of 3 in a week. I have to remind myself that I'm still in NML.  And, things are going well, and I have a history of self-sabatoging when things are going well. I'm glad I'm recognizing it for what it is because there is no way in hell that I'm smoking and losing my place in the Triple Digit Club!!!


Connie 100 DOF


An AHA moment

Posted by constanceclum Oct 29, 2019

Which might seem so simple to you. I have had a tougher time getting off the 7mg patch than I did stepping down from 21mg and 14 mg. Of course I'm also in NML. In my previous attempts to quit, when I relapsed, it was because the cravings were so harsh, and all my mind would think of, in BIG HUGE RED LETTERS, was SMOKE. Well I haven't had a cigarette in 3 months today, and what I'm realizing is I need nicotine which is just 1 of a thousand additives in tobacco. What a relief to know that all I have to do is put a 4 or 2mg nicotine lozenge in my mouth and it will calm the crave down. I took 1 yesterday and, if I feel Like I need to, I will take 1 today. A lozenge is so much better than a cigarette because all that's in it is nicotine. How many quits I ruined because my brain said "I need a cigarette" instead of I need nicotine.




90 DOF!!!

Posted by constanceclum Oct 27, 2019

That truly amazed me! Growing up with the attitude that, once you start smoking, you can never quit! That was a hard "nut to crack". Once something is firmly implanted from childhood, it's hard to "undo" that. But finally I was able too. It took many "failed" attempts, reading hundreds of blogs from  people just like me who had successfully quit. We have a concept in AA called "terminal uniqueness" that addicts have to squash before we can break the addiction.


2,709 cigarettes not smoked! $390.00 saved!


I have not had a difficult time (so far) in NML or stepping down from patches. The 1st 7 weeks were hard for me. But with God's strength and the help from all of you, I persevered. Then a few difficult (moderately) days as I stepped down with patches. Now I am off the patches as of yesterday so I expect I might have a day or two that aren't pleasant this week. And whatever NML wants to throw my way, if anything, then on to triple digits.


To the newcomer: I am 61, I had smoked for 48 yrs. 30-40 cigarettes/day, I have been through a massive amount of stress, I have bipolar depression/anxiety and have not been on medication for 5 months for reasons I won't go into here. There is no excuse to keep smoking. I am thoroughly convinced if I can do this, anyone can quit. SMOKING HELPS NOTHING!!! SMOKING KILLS AND SEVERELY IMPACTS THE QUALITY OF LIFE!!!





Hey Everybody!!!

Posted by constanceclum Oct 22, 2019

I'm still here and 85 DOF!!! I'm just way too busy, and I guess that's a good thing, but I haven't been able to get on here as often as I'd like. Don't get me wrong-I come here everyday and take the pledge and read as many blogs as I can, but I'm usually in a rush. I thought I would have so much EXtra time when I quit but other things are taking it's place.


I have horrible, chronic insomnia and sometimes I'm just too exhausted to blog. Also, most weekdays, I'm getting up at 3:30 to take Scott to Charlotte to work so I can have the car. Also,he hasn't got his cpap yet, so most times he needs me to drive him because he isn't safe. But if I haven't slept, then I'm not safe either. I've taken trazodone for many yrs for sleep, but I'm at the max. dose ant I think I've built up a tolerance too it. So I'm working with my Dr. for her to prescribe something else.


Finances are getting more and more difficult. Cars back in the transmission shop but is still under warranty but we're having to rent a car again, and the money I'm spending on that is the money I was going to use toward Scott's cpap. Scott's job is still taking $250.00 out of his checkes til we pay back the money they lent us for the original transmission overhaul. Thank God for my faith that he will make good out of bad. One thing for sure, we will get a 2nd used, cheap car so we won't have to rent cars in the future. But I do refuse to have a car payment.


So now for my quit journey. I am now on the 3rd step down patch-7 mg. Stepping down to the 14 mg patch in the past has always caused me to relapse. This time, I've only had 1 day that was a little difficult when I've stepped down. In fact just a few harsh cravings that I'm not even sure was from stepping down or NML. Anyway, next Sun. I will remove the patch for the last time, and I'm ecstatic about that!


I pray that God releases blessings for each and everyone of you and that all of you continue to stay smoke-free!





Posted by constanceclum Oct 13, 2019

My husband is finally getting help with his sleep apnea. It's been horrible watching him go through this. He has broken down a few times. Most times, he wakes up every few seconds to couple of minutes. There's those few occassions when he'll stay asleep for 20 minutes. Everyone wants to minimize this, but sleep deprivation like this is used as a torture technique on POW's. I've been getting up at 3:30 to take him to Charlotte to work and then pick him up at 1. 2 hours in the car each day. I can't believe how long he has had to wait for help, and the only reason he got in this soon is because I called the sleep clinic bawling my eyes out and told them, even with my nursing history, I have never seen anything so inhumane in my life. He falls asleep at work and he's fallen down. I'm so frustrated at this administration not doing anything and refusing to vote on bills to help people with healthcare.


Anyway, I fell apart a couple of weeks ago and told him I was moving to my son's in Tennessee. I was so sick of being so heartbroken over watching him suffer and struggle to breath while he was steady drinking, smoking pot and cigarettes. He's quit drinking and pot and smoking very minimally (5/day) but saying daily he hast to quit. I believe he will. It's like without the beer and pot in his system, he's realizing how sick he is with copd. So of course, I'm not leaving him. I really do love him! Once I realized he was spending over $400.00/mo on beer, pot and cigs, yet we can't afford his health insurance, and frankly, I'm sick of facing everything alone and keeping everything together while he's having a good old time getting high and not facing anything.


So it's working out for now. I hope we have his cpap by the end of the week. Please join me in prayer that he will be able to tolerate it. Many can't.




75 DOFe!!!

Posted by constanceclum Oct 12, 2019

2,263 cigarettes not smoked. $330.00 saved! I really don't want anyone to think I'm patting myself on the back, but I know, if I can do this with all the ongoing stress, depression and anxiety I've been through, and being 61 with a 48 yr. history of smoking, then ANYONE that truly wants it, can. I'm in my 2nd week of 14 mg step down patch so I'm having cravings again, but they're milder for the most part. I'm having a tougher morning (I'm also in NML) so I'm taking a nicotine lozenge for the 1st time since hell week, but I want everyone to know, since I've already experienced what true freedom feels like, I certainly will not give in now!




Doing Great

Posted by constanceclum Oct 4, 2019

24 hours on the 14mg patch, and I've just had a few minor craves. I was so worried about stepping down and here I am rockin' it lol!