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2016

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   smoking 8/2012
  
     Smoking has been my life, my everyday wake-up call.  This is my milestone in life.  I never knew what to do without a cigarette.  I've always had one.  So this will be my blog when I quit in about two and half days......  so bear with me people.  I need support and my rantings will probably be a little irate, but it will help me and you can track my success..... I have to do this because I want to see my grandbaby and future great grandbabies...... how much inspiration do we need, right?   
    

 

    

3/19/13

    

 

    

wow, in August I typed the above....... I've got four more packs of cigarettes and we're going cold turkey.  They say it only takes 3 days for the nicotine to get out of your system.  I need to do it that way to feel the waves of craving, to remember how this has taken over my life.  I lay down to sleep to only wheeze myself to sleep.  I had a father that had emphyzema and died of bladder cancer.  I had a mother who died of lympoma.  I had a paternal aunt who had breast cancer.  I had a maternal uncle who died of prostate cancer.  Wake up call.  I was brought up as a very strict Catholic.  Went to mass every day for 5 years (back then it was in Latin).  I sometimes wonder if this is God's reminder of the evils of the world.  Enjoyable things that can kill you, i.e. alcohol, smoking, drugs.  It just makes you think sometimes why we do the things we do sometimes..........  So bear with me, my friends.  There will be ramblings, rants and carry ons in the future week or so.  But I need to try to do this cold turkey to only experience what this terrible addiction has done to me to not make me want to go back...........

    

 

    

4/18/13

    

 

    

Well, tomorrow is the day.  Not spending $6.55 a pack and not spending $61 or so for a carton any longer.  Going to try the e-cig for awhile and then we'll be tobacco free.  I've got V2 e-cigs here and really like them.  Just have to stick with it for the last time.  Actually kind of excited for this.  I'm sure I'll feel a hellofa lot better........ wish me luck!!!

    

 

    

Well, to finish the story, it took me until 1/25/2016 to finally find my way and you can too!!!!!!!

   
  

When I first started thinking about quitting smoking, I asked coworkers and acquaintances who were former smokers how they did it.  I'm sure you have too.  We all wanted to but yet were afraid to take that plunge.  The stories I got was I just quit one day and never went back.  Oh, I cut down gradually and then just stopped.  Now keep in mind that was 30 years ago and the patch wasn't even thought of then.  It was invented in 1984.  

 

I remember when I first got my sample from the doctor's office back in the late '80s and did try it then.  But back then, I just assumed it would take all the symptoms away and I would feel just fine and not smoke anymore.  I didn't know anything about addiction.  I never read anything about addiction.  I was just told that they would help me quit.  This will make you stop smoking.  True, it helped with making the cravings more tolerable.  But it didn't make me stop.  I made me stop. 

 

Quitting smoking is an individual thing.  You need to find which one will work for you.  You don't magically quit overnight.  It take knowledge, willpower, determination, and the willingness to fight through it no matter what it takes.  Some people are serial quitters.  They will go for 30 to 6 months and go right back to it for as many times as it takes until they finally sit back and realize what made them go back.  Could it be a death, a life event, i.e. anniversary, birthday, holiday.  Could be a season.  Some type of memory or emotion that triggers them every single time to reach out to something that they convinced themselves was the eternal Band-Aid that made everything all right in the universe again.

 

Please don't keep searching for your individuality in this life changing task.  My old motto used to be, well, I have to die of something it might as well be this or I only have one vice in this world so let me alone.  Craziness.... I'm telling ya crazinesss.  Why in the heck I chose to have something that was taking my breathe away, giving me daily headaches, robbing me of the sweet smells of the earth that god gave me is unfathonable, unbelieveable.

 

Again, read up on nicotine and your body.  Read up on No Man's Land.  Read up on Relapse Traps.  Read up on Why People Smoke.  Read up on What is your biggest trigger.  We all started smoking for a reason. We all kept smoking for a reason.  We are now quitting for a reason.  There really is no right or wrong way to do this.  You just simply have to find YOUR way.

Well, Wisconsin can be interesting at times with strange weather patterns.  We used to have 4 seasons and really have come down to only 2, the rainy season and the cold season.  Last night lost power for most of the night due to severe thunderstorms in 95 percent humidity at around 72 degrees at midnight.  5 months ago I would have been chain smoking through the evening watching the lightening and the rain coming down sideways.  Last night all I kept thinking was those poor people who don't have fans or air conditioning ever or rely on oxygen machines to breathe.  Power finally came back on at around 5:00 a.m. this morning after being out since midnight.  Enjoy your Sunday.  I'm just thankful to just have power again

crazymama_Lori

I'm tired

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jun 24, 2016

I'm writing this in hopes that those that are struggling, bouncing back and forth on that line of sticking with it or throwing it in.

 

I'm tired of being the strong one all the time. I want to throw my cares away and just give in.

 

I'm tired of denying myself every day. Why can't I be like the other people and just have one once in a while.

 

I'm tired of these damn mood swings. When I smoked, I was fine. I never was depressed over anything.

 

I'm tired of feeling so tense all the time. I feel like I'm wound up constantly. Why can't I seem to relax.

 

I'm tired of not sleeping. Waking up every hour on the hour. I'm tired of being tired.

 

Now, does any of that ring a bell with any of you? Every single of those have went through my head for the past week. What has kept me from not giving in?

 

It's so nice not to have to worry about where is the money going to come from to buy those smokes. Boy, have those gone up in price in 5 months.

 

It's so nice not to hear myself say, boy, I wish I could quit smoking. I'd feel so much better.

 

It's so nice not to have Charlie horses in the middle of the night.

 

It's so nice not to wake up coughing for no reason and hear myself wheeze myself to sleep.

 

It's so nice not to have intense cravings that could bring you to your knees anymore. They come once in a while but it's only because you're experiencing something from the past that you haven't done not smoking through it.

 

It's so nice not to feel the panic of knowing there's no cigarettes or a working lighter or thinking OMG how could I ever imagine not smoking ever again. Funny how it seems like such a silly thought now.

 

It's so nice not to wake up to extremely stiff joints and being unable to stand up straight until I stretched my back out.

 

It's so nice to feel the urge to just give in and then wait it out and feel the calm rush over when you deny that thought access.

 

As you see there's many more “it's so nice” than there is “I'm tired.” You know, there's times hither and yon where I think, why am I really bothering with this anyway? What is the point? But then I stop myself and think, then exactly why would you even think of going back? You're just going to have to go through this all over again. I keep thinking maybe I'll just get the gum. The mood swings will go away then. I never had those before when I was on the patch. Well, read this and tell me what you think now https://www.ucanquit2.org/HowToQuit/ResourceLibrary/HealthandFitness/EffectsNicotine.aspx?p=1

My addictive thoughts dredge up some interesting information, doesn't it? I'll be okay, you'll be okay, everyone will be okay. Deep breathe, get up and stretch, take a hot/cold shower, go buy yourself some flowers, burn your favorite incense, listen to your favorite songs, drive to your favorite scenic route, sit outside and enjoy the day. Think of all the blessings you have and all the blessings to come. We're here. We all have bad days. We all have some pretty awesome days too. You hang in there, sunshine, I gotcha...............

Five months have finally arrived.  I've made it through two death anniversaries, two family debacles, Mother's Day, Father's Day and life in general

 

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I cannot stress enough that you need to do your homework before you even think about doing something this difficult. If you're here and looking for support, you are not the occassional smoker. If you've tried before and failed, you don't have a habit. If you find yourself crawling the walls after 2 hours of not having a cigarette, trust me, you're addicted.

 

Now, a very simple analogy here. Cigarettes contain nicotine. Nicotine is what you are addicted to. Nicotine is what makes you run to the grocery store to buy a pack in unbelievable weather and unreasonable hours of the day. Nicotine is what makes you dig through garbage cans, ashtrays to find butts until you can make it to the store, gas station. Nicotine is what makes you panic when you're halfway to your destination, you have no money and you have to travel back home because you left those things at home.

 

I gave up the smoking habit back in January. I had to relearn different things I did when I automatically smoked. I reached for that imaginary pack for 2 months unconsciously. I had to retrain myself not to grab for one at certain times of the day. We don't just smoke to smoke. We just don't do that because they're there. If that was true, then that's why we grab a soda or a piece of candy if it was sitting there. That doesn't make sense to me at all. Again, homework is the key. Read up on nicotine and the brain. Then read up on alcohol and the brain, drugs and the brain. You will find some similarities. It's the nicotine we crave. It's not the cigarette. It's just a carrier of the drug. And this drug is doing nasty things to your body and your mind.

 

There are different theories about nicotine. Yes, it's addictive, but is it really carcinogenic? The carrier of nicotine, e-cigs, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, etc. all have carcinogenics in them or may very well lead to cancer and have many, many chemicals. We inhale that on a daily basis. We say to meth heads, I can't believe you smoke all of those chemicals, for what? A short high that will last for 5 to 10 minutes? Then they have to continue smoking to maintain their high. They're addicts. Don't they know it rots your teeth out and blah, blah. The list goes on. Well, aren't we hypocritical souls. Don't we do that every time we light up a cigarette? What makes us any different than that meth head down the street?

 

Let's face it here folks, we are all addicts. We all crave the same thing. You have to have willpower. You have to have knowledge of what you're quitting and why. Your why is a personal one and differs from person to person. What makes this hard is that it's not a cut and dry process. It varies from person to person. Some have an easy time of it and some fight it for months. Then comes the task of understanding what it takes to stay quit. To finally come to the realization that it will always be there. To finally come to an acceptance that it's just simply something we no longer do. Because some used it as an escape, a motivational tool, a calming force, our 10 minutes of thought.

 

Bottom line is don't panic over quitting. Educate yourself. Don't convince yourself you can't do this. Tell yourself to take one day at a time. If you can't do it cold turkey, try nicotine patches, gum, lozenges, spray. Talk to your doctor about a prescription. Don't give up trying. My motto has been we will always want to smoke, but we choose not to. If you really want this, then just do it. It's really that simple.

 

Blog the heck out of your feelings, your frustrations, your crazy thoughts. Trust me you're going to feel much better in the end. Then stick with it because it will help you as you encounter rough patches. Look back over your blogs in 30 days and read them over and think, boy, I'm so glad I stuck with it. It's so nice not to feel that way anymore. Then you'll start to do self-inflection and blog about that. 90 days will go by and you'll read those over and those will reinforce your quit. The comments people leave will reinforce your quit. You're going to reach 150 days and think I've come a long way baby and I'm never going back. I'll tell ya, you're going to have days hither and yon where you'd kill for one, but go back in your blogs and read what you wrote in those first few months. Now, do you really want to start back there again?

 

That's what this site is all about. Think about it, educate yourself about it, participate here, get involved. Seriously if I smoked for 43 years at 2 packs a day, have absolutely no memories of not having a cigarette in my hand and I'm at 149 days, one day short of 5 months, if I can do it, if I can inspire one single person to take the plunge, help someone hang on for just one more day, that's what it's all about. 

crazymama_Lori

Looking into the pond

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jun 18, 2016

Well, another first rears its head, Father's Day. It's amazing how I spent most of the holidays, anniversaries drinking and smoking. Could be why the depression suddenly showed back up again for a while there and then disappeared. Interesting how it's becoming a pattern over significant days/events.

 

See before I quit, I would not even bother with self-reflection to understand my feelings because I had the cigarette to do it for me or the alcohol. If I ever woke up cranky, in one of those don't look at me sideways type of days (like today), that was a for sure 2 to 3 pack day. I have no clue how I even believed that took away the feeling besides giving myself a headache. For years I dreaded Mother's Day and Father's Day and Christmas Day. Those were the holidays that were most celebrated with my parents who have both passed on. They lived in another town about 45 minutes away and we'd pack the kids up and travel to suburbia and celebrate every year. That was over 20 years ago.

 

I think the depression comes from masking that grief in a smoke filled haze. That powerful little white stick, that magic wand. Days like this I would be chain smoking and eventually buying alcohol some time during the day. That little white stick...... Somehow in the depths of our minds we have convinced ourselves that it cures loneliness, sadness, anger, frustration. Well, okay, for 5 minutes. We have told ourselves it relaxes us, calms us, takes the jitters away. Well, okay, for 5 minutes.

 

If you are on the ledge hanging on thinking about chucking all this in, think back of before you quit. The panic you felt when you were down to your last few cigarettes and it's pouring rain, no one is around to pick up a pack, someone borrowed your car. OMG what am I going to do? I'll admit it, I've gone through garbage cans and ashtrays that haven't been emptied yet. We all had those overflowing throughout the house or garage or wherever you smoke. By god, we'd find at least 7 butts to make up one cigarette if it's the last thing we were going to do. But just remember, you give in, you go back, you're just going to have to go through this all over again and really what for? What is so bad about not doing this anymore?

 

Now, step back and see that in third person. How sad is that? How all-consuming, controlling, ball and chain, monkey on your back feeling. OMG my lighter died. Ever light one off an electric stove? It takes real talent and a quick response to get that sucker going. I still smell cigarette smoke. I have a business next door to my house and a lot of people use the parking lot that divides the two buildings as a thoroughfare. I can tell you exactly when a smoker comes through. I'll smell that in a heartbeat. Now that smell is comforting to me because it reminds me of my dad. Before almost 5 months ago, it would have made me crawl the walls and had me chanting NOPE, NOPE, NOPE and frantically trying to find something to do. Now, I breathe deep, smile, and move on with my day.... how cool is that?

crazymama_Lori

We're on an upswing

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jun 16, 2016

End the day with a positive thought:

There are certain roads where I live that have massive inclines and declines. You go up anticipating that a deer or a car will be suddenly coming out at the top and you feel the release as you're going down. My ride with this quit has been exactly that from day 109 to 142 (present).

 

When I first started back in January, that's all I ever thought about. I have to have a cigarette. I just need one and then I'll be fine. That's all I thought about for the first 30 days, that little white stick.

 

The next 30 days was the realization of this tastes great, this smells great, I feel great. I was light on my feet. Now, keep in mind I was still using the patch. I was still receiving nicotine.

 

The next 30 days was when I was weaning off the nicotine, that's when the emotional problems developed. The anger, the sadness, the frustration, the isolation, the loneliness. Hmmmm, all of those were my reasons for smoking. Well, they were back and they were back twofold.

 

The next 30 days was trying to self-analyze myself. There's got to be a reason why this is not subsiding or letting go. Then I started thinking back on when I started smoking and what it was replacing. I must admit that I have still isolated myself. I have good days where I can be around people and enjoy my time with them and there are other days where I want no one around me and the doom and gloom just stick around. I have absolutely no desire to smoke a cigarette. Absolutely none. They actually smell awful to me. The vision of me lighting up and inhaling doesn't even enter my mind.

 

Could it be the lack of sleep? I've been having some really disturbing dreams as of late. Is it my subconscious trying to work out personal conflicts I'm having? Or is it this addiction that's pulling me in? I've had fleeting thoughts of maybe I'll just buy some nicotine gum or the lowest patch and slap that on. I never had any of this emotional garbage when I was on that. That was yesterday's thinking. That was the addict thinking yesterday. This morning I got up and needed to find some validation for this craziness. I ran across an interesting article https://quitsmokingcommunity.org/nicotine-cause-cancer/ and thought to myself, well, okay, you'll feel better but you'll have to eventually come off of this. It's a drug, you're addicted to it and it causes health effects. You will just have to go through this all over again.

 

So I guess the bottom line for those of you out there that are having a rough patch, that are struggling, that are on that ledge, always remember that if you stick to this, if you really commit yourself, the need for a cigarette will go away. The thoughts of smoking will go away. Do some reflection. See this as an addiction all rolled up in a little white stick.

 

I'd like to know from the elders how long this crazy emotional roller coaster lasts. I've read in some articles that it can hang on for 6 months. I'm not talking about the craves. I can deal with those. Those don't bother me. It's just this overwhelming sadness that comes over me for about 10 to 15 minutes and then just disappears. If it was lasting or hanging on for weeks at a time all day every day, then I'd be going to the doctor and getting some meds. I was just wondering if anyone out there has had this craziness happen to them and how long it lasted for them. Any guidance would be appreciated.

Sunday was a cook-out at my estranged daughter's house. I would have done anything not to go, but I wanted to see my granddaughters. That oldest daughter disrespected me and I'm not happy about it. Talking to her is almost an impossibility because she becomes defensive. In the past I would have had at least a 6-pack in me and a pack of cigarettes before going. But that has always been my arsenal before doing anything I didn't want to do. I used that to relax myself.

 

But let's think of this realistically. I took the 5 mintues after my 3 hour nap today to think about it. They always said you have to go through 2 seasons to really feel secure (if that's even the word for it). This was the first cook-out I've been to that didn't involve myself chain smoking and drinking. So all I was seeing all day was drinking and smoking. I handled it but was extremely quiet in doing so. I didn't want to come there and I didn't want to stay there. Now I find myself just simply removing myself from the situation, take a few seconds or minutes and go back to it. I think the problem yesterday is that I didn't have five minutes. I just simply left.

 

Now, I know tomorrow this mood will be gone and I'll be back to my fighting self. When these blues come, I want to just stuff it away. I hate feeling this way. My youngest daughter is telling me I'm overly sensitive. Yeah, I probably am but you just caught me on a bad day. You need some happy pills. Maybe I do or maybe it's this damn addiction that's pulling me in. It's only been 145 days or 4 and a half months. It doesn't help that I've ballooned out almost 30 pounds. It's time to tackle that problem and start a diet now that I'm more comfortable in my quit. Time to become proactive. Time to forgive. Time to forgive myself and others in my life. It's time to let go. It's time to stop treading water and start swimming to the shore. It's just damn time. Like another member said quitting can be a BIG thing in caps or a big thing in small letters. I'm thinking the small letters would work for me.

 

You see, I'm just like you. I have good days and I have bad days. It's not always peachy on the other side of the fence. And this, my friends, is one of my very bad days. I sometimes wonder if us smokers are just chronic depressive souls that look for other means to make it all better. But we do have to make the effort to replace sad thoughts with happy ones. We do have to accept the things we cannot change. Grant us courage to change the things we can. Just dust ourselves off and take on another day. Look for that light. Embrace that laugh. Look for the good. Give yourself that little pep talk as I am doing now in this blog to myself. When I close this out and save it on my computer to post probably later on or tomorrow, I feel better finally. The mood has passed. I know it has to do with not sleeping well the night before. I think it was my subconscious trying to categorize my feelings from yesterday and filing them, dealing with them, making sense of them. The standard of “I had too much on my mind” yesterday. Or it's simply I didn't sleep well, I'm an emotional wreck, tomorrow will be better. Time to sit my back side down on the ride and just ride the damn thing out. Instead of clutching the railing, throw your hands up in the air like you just don't care (hmmmmm, reminds me of a song).......

When a crave hits, when the addiction tries to pull you in, just remember............

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Well, I'm proud to announce that my daughter's ex-boyfriend has found a counselor, has reunited with his church and is finally reaching out to people for support and guidance.  He was addicted to heroin for 3 years and has been through rehab three times.

 

Him and I have been having short conversations about addiction.  I wrote a blog a while ago about how similiar we all are.  How we're so afraid to quit, we panic at the thought of quitting.  It's very hard to reach out for help because the thought of being without is just so terrifying.  We all thought that smoking relieved stress, anxiety.  But just remember back when you didn't have cigarettes left, you had no way to get to the store, you start digging through the ashtrays and the garbage for a few butts just to get you through.  Now, explain to me how that relieved your stress and anxiety.

 

In the beginning I wrote blogs to express my feelings, my physical withdrawals because I didn't understand them.  I didn't know how to put them in their right slots.  How to categorize them.  I obsessed for a very long time about "I've got to have a cigarette".  I just couldn't let it go.  Only when I finally got the mind-set of that's just something I used to do;  it's not part of me anymore;  it's not who I am was I finally free of the obsession.

 

Now I write blogs to make people think and have people react to what I'm saying.  I'm not looking for praise, although it's always nice to have.  I'm looking for collaboration, a gathering of thoughts and wisdom from others.  If I can spark one person to sit back and really think and go, you know, she's got a point there or yeah, I felt that, then my mission is accomplished.  They always tell you it gets easier.  Give it time.  We are all impatient souls.  We want it and want it NOW.  Be patient, take one day at a time, learn from yesterday because you'll be using it today and reflecting on it the next day.  It's a process.  It's worth it.  The peace, the freedom, it's there at the end.  Trust me, it's there..................

Did you ever feel like a wind-up toy that was just wound too tight? Ever find yourself just simply clenching your hands for no reason? Your muscles in your neck are so tight, it feels like your head is going to pop off? Well, yeah, me too.

 

Four months ago, I would have lit up in a heartbeat because that would take the stress away. AND then no more than 5 to 10 minutes later, whoops, feeling that again, better light up. Now, let's take another scenario. Take that 5 minutes and close your eyes and simply do some deep breathing exercises. Inhale for 6 seconds, exhale for 6 seconds. If you are able to find a comfy chair to do it in with a hot pack on your neck, go for it. Okay. Now, tell me how long that lasted for you..... a heck of a lot more than 5 to 10 minutes, didn't it?

 

Challenge your mind. If you have to stare out the window and simply not think about a single thing but stare up at the clouds, do it. If you have to close your eyes and imagine a beach and hear the waves gently ebb and flow and the birds in the background, do it. If you have to bend over and just stretch or reach above your head, do it. Now, tell me how long that lasted for you........ a heck of a lot more than 5 to 10 minutes, didn't it?

 

I think you see the point I'm making. It's a thought process after the physical symtoms are gone after a few weeks. I spent the first 30 days crawling the walls, sleeping, yelling, screaming, OMG, I would kill for a smoke right now. But if you put your mind to it, if you stick by your guns, if you commit yourself to the thought of that's just something I used to do, it's not part of me anymore, welcome to my side of the world.

 

Yes, I still have friends that smoke. Yes, I find myself sometimes mentioning to them in a off-handed way of I remember when I used to smoke after....... whatever. I do catch myself, though, because I don't want to become those people that harp and harp on smoking is bad for you, you'll die from this, you must quit now. Yes, all of that is true. I think you will never become successful until and when you are ready to commit, devote, and come to some type of firm resolve to never ever smoke again. Spend the time to work up a game plan of replacing all those actions, reactions, emotions that are tied to smoking with something positive. Until you are willing to finally commit, you will never be successful because you're only seeing this as a “habit”.

 

I like the taste of tobacco, I will always like the taste. I don't really feel the need to understand why. I just ACCEPT the fact I do. I will always want to smoke. I don't have the NEED to anymore. It's a thought. Back in January, yes, I needed to smoke. That top was winding up. Isn't it break time yet? When is this ever going to end so I can go smoke. It is no nice that I can go anywhere and do anything without worrying about those damn cigarettes. Where did my lighter go? Why didn't I bring more than just a pack? Now, I have to go get some. Where is the smoking area? What do you mean I have to go over there. I'm not staying here that long then. To me, now, that just sounds so foreign. How I allowed that to run my life. How much stress and anxiety it created. When I was in it, when I had the stranglehold of that white little stick, it never occurred to me how ridiculous that sounds. Let it go, let yourself feel again, take charge of your life again, it really isn't so bad..........

I think the most that I liked about this site is the anonymity.  Some of us use our real names.  Others use fictitious names.  We can tell our stories and our fears and our hopes without ever seeing the other person.  Little by little we share a personal tidbit and get to know one another.  We rejoice over our accomplishments, lend a helping hand when needed, send our condolances over sorrow.

 

Another thing that drew me to the site was it was smokers helping smokers to become ex-smokers.   I've only been here for 5 months.  Watching from the sidelines for a half a month and dove straight in after that.  It helps to blog about your feelings.  I've been journaling for most of my life.  It always helps to put to paper what you are feeling when it's difficult to express it in words out loud.  This site has the same concept, but you have these wonderful people that pop up and give you encouragement, a kick in the pants, a cyber hug when you need it most.  They give you their insight, their experience, their advice on how to handle the situation.  Some is the same and some is vastly different.  We all respect each other's opinion.

 

So bottom point is don't ever feel apprehensive about blogging.  Seriously, what do you have to lose except that feeling in the moment that you're trying to work through and don't know how............

crazymama_Lori

The Ying to the Yang

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jun 5, 2016

Us smokers are strange animals. In life there is smokers and nonsmokers. You do have the ocassional binge smoker, weekend smoker, social smoker. Strange how you can replace that word with alcohol, isn't it, or pot or just drugs in general. Is this really a genetic trait? Are we hard wired to this tendency?

 

Back to when this all began for myself, it was my father smoking. My mother did also but she quit when I was quite young. When? I have no clue. But I always remember the feeling of comfort in that smell. I was the daddy's girl. He was a master plumber and worked very long hours. It was the smell that linked me to him perhaps.

 

Back to when I was 12 years old or so, it was sneaking cigarettes. I loved the taste. I liked the feeling of the lightheadedness. If I would have stuck with just spinning in circles, we wouldn't be in this mess. It made me look cool. I was the fat kid with the glasses since third grade. That little white stick made me into a cool kid. Interesting how that could bring confidence to myself.

 

Back to when I was 16 years old, old enough to buy cigarettes now. Boy, I sure thought I was hot stuff. I was standing close to 5'9 now. So I was basically passed as 16 at 14. Brought up as a strict catholic, I was drinking and smoking and thinking I was getting away with something. Back in the late '60s, that made you a cool. Self-acceptance wasn't even thought of then.

 

That was the end of the “back to when” because that addiction grabbed hold and ran with me. All my friends smoked. You could smoke anywhere and everywhere. Even hospitals allowed smoking for pete's sake. I know, I worked in one and I smoked at my desk.

 

I don't think I really noticed any effects of smoking because it's a sneaky thing. I could run and do just about any physical activity with no problems. It wasn't until my late 40's that I started noticing small little things. Every once in a while I would have a coughing fit that would wake me up in the middle of the night. Ah, I must have smoked too much today. Began having more cramps in my legs and hands. Ah, must be lacking in vitamin C or should start taking some antioxidants. Why is my chest feeling so tight and I'm getting headaches daily?

 

Reached my 50's and now suddenly my friends are dying off or having lungs removed. I knew of very few people that were nonsmokers. I was starting to have dizzy spells, hard to catch my breath, hands were always cold, I had the yellow ET finger, but wasn't phoning home. I became disenchanted with smoking. It wasn't cool anymore. It was expensive and becoming a burden.

 

After quitting, I noticed I could walk longer distances. I never got cramps in my extremities any longer. I love food, the taste of food, the smell of food. The smell of things brought back so many memories. The smell of the first lawn mowed, the lilacs, someone cooking bacon or cinamon rolls.

 

Do you remember what a cigarette tasted like when you first started? I love that taste. But ever notice that after a couple of drags, you can't taste that anymore? It's like taking a flamethrower to your mouth. Ever notice your esophogus feels hot and burning? You're torching your body's little defense mechanism in filtering out the pollution and crud in the air from your lungs. Seriously why, oh, why do we keep doing this? Yes, it's an addiction, but why do we keep doing this?

 

If you have set your quit date, please track your cigarettes closely for two weeks and follow the steps that they have on this site. It makes you THINK about the emotion you're satisfying in lighting up and how you are going to overcome that emotion by doing something other than smoking. That emotion is only fed for a whole whopping 5 minutes by lighting up; whereas you can learn a new skill to satisfy that emotion and it lasts a lifetime. Some use meditation. Some use pressure points. Some use clickers. Some use a stress ball. Do some research. There's a boatload of information out there on relaxation techniques. Find one that works for you. Check out a book from the library. Educate yourself. The more knowledge you have, the more you will be sucessful. Think of this as learning a new job, a new skill. You will become an expert in no time...............

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Okay, on the outside chance that I'm going to be getting that message of “site is having problems, can't post this or whatever, don't smoke over it”, the font is going to look funky because I'm doing this on other program.

 

So........ I'm proud to announce that NML's door is shut and we are skipping down the road. Well, in my head. Physically if I would have done that, I'd probably hurt myself. 130 days have arrived. It's hard to believe that 5 months will be later this month and so on. I am in such a better place now than I've ever been. I am so excited to come on to the site now and see all the other behind me at 10 days, 20 days helping all those people just coming onto the site beginning their quit. It really does encourage the newcomers but yet strenghthens the adviser. Thumbs up to you all.

 

Now, for those of you that are new to this, the first 30 days are crucial. Remember back in the days when you were learning to ride a bike. You were wobbly. You were scared that you'd fall off. You never thought you'd get the hang of it. You'd get frustrated and go try something else. OR think of this as going on a diet. I've been a serial dieter my whole life. I've always chalked it up to being genetics, who knows. Sounds better, anyways. But the minute someone said you can't eat cake, cookies, etc., you craved it even more. Now, I'm now saying this to make you think oh, I can ration my cigarettes and quit. But sometimes we cut out the things we love or enjoy when we quit because we do them while we smoked.

 

If you have friends that smoke, all you have to do is tell them that you're quitting smoking. If I ask for a cigarette, please do not give them to me. Most establishments only allow smoking outside, simply don't go out with them. They're going to be back in in about five or ten minutes anyway. You're basically the dieter standing in front of a bakery. If you see it, smell it, you're going to want it even more. If they ride in the car with you, please do not smoke in my car. If you need to smoke, I'll be more than happy to pull over and let you have one. If you smoke while enjoying coffee, as they tell you on here all the time, simply drink with the other hand. It's not the coffee itself, it's usually where you drink it. If you drink it sitting down, do it standing up. Kitchen table, stand on your porch. I would make a list of the things you do when you smoke. They offer this on this site, but sometimes when you have it in front of your face all the time, it makes you think about it more.

 

Tracking your cigarettes on this site, I think, is very, very important. It helps you to understand your habits and also your emotions at the time. I had a previous blog about the main reasons why I smoked and it was my negative, dark emotions; sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, boredom, etc. Think of yours and add the question of “when I feel sadness, I will …......... I'll share one of mine. When I feel boredom, I will play one of my oldies. I'll search on YouTube for songs of the '60s and scroll through.

 

But for most of you, yeah, you're going to gain weight. That can always be taken off. Yeah, you're going to go through some emotional changes. It's the see-saw of my angry, I'm sad. Oh, wait, no, I'm sad and then angry. I'm not going to lie to you. I don't ever want to go through that again. That has stuck in my mind through all of these days. But you will make it through to the other side. You won't think you will. You will think this is never going to end, why bother, this is a waste of time. BUT it does get easier. Instead of focusing on that moment and how bad it is, just sit back, go with the moment, and experience the aftermath. It does pass. And then you're on even ground again. I thought that rollercoaster ride was a PITA, but I decided to have fun with it after awhile. Like Dale always says, laugh at it. It does go away. Force yourself to think of something else. Close your eyes and imagine something else. Your brain can do miraculous things. Give it a shot.

 

And you know what, you'll always have that fleeting thought of boy, I could go for a cigarette right now, it's no biggy. It's only a thought and it passes. Boy, could I go for a rootbeer float right now. Same diff. I think in my case once I got off of the stranglehold of that I quit smoking, that imaginary white stick, and began having the mindset of that's just something I used to do, that's not part of who I am anymore, the chains were broken. At 130 days, yeah, I think about having a smoke. But it's just that, a thought; not an action anymore

I had a visit from my daughter's ex boyfriend last night and the father to my grandchildren.  He has had a very difficult life, spending time in prison, family alienation, alcoholic/drug addict father, narcissistic mother, a whole hot mess all rolled up in one.  He went through rehab three times for a heroin addiction.  Was arrested on Christmas eve for a DUI due to being high on heroin.  Spent 5 months in jail.  Is no longer living with my daughter and is now living in a rooming house.  I'm still trying to get him to see a counselor.  He's never going to make it if he doesn't.

 

As we were talking, me listening as he was sobbing because of everything he lost due to this addiction, I thought to myself how similar we are in using whatever drug of choice it is to replace something in our lives.  I always used alcohol to make me happy, to have fun as I did drugs a long, long time ago.  It was never to replace negative feelings or bad feelings.  I used smoking for that.  That realization didn't really come to me until about a month or so ago.  Before then, I was dealing with the depression, anger, frustration of not smoking.  I didn't have the loneliness because I was so focused on the other three.  Hmmmmm, sound familiar to anyone?

 

Now that I'm through NML (No Man's Land, acronyms drove me crazy when I first came to this site), it's interesting to see how addiction brings up all these emotions two-fold during the withdrawal and the transition to everyday living just to bring you back in to either using, drinking or smoking.  I believe it's very important to have your toolbox, things you use to replace those negative responses.  If you haven't created one as of yet, then you better get your thinking cap on and think about when someone angers me, I will  .........  months ago, my answer would first thing be SMOKING.  Now, I've replaced that answer with something else.  Think about the main reasons why you smoke.  We just don't smoke just because it's there.  

 

I think when we were children we smoked because we wanted acceptance or just to be at the cool kids' table.  I think as adults we use it as a calming device, stress reliever, anger management.  Funny thing is we are fooled by that philosophy because it only gives that to us for a whole whopping 5 to 10 minutes and poof it's right back again.  So really what is that little white stick doing for us anyhow?  For those of you on the fence or struggling during your quit, keeping your quit, starting your quit, think long and hard before and during this journey about the reasons why you smoke.  Think about the negative reasons why you light up.  We can all talk ourselves into thinking that we enjoy it, I like the taste, I like the way it smells.  But really, is that the true reason why you smoke and spend hundreds of dollars every month and do damage to yourself because you enjoy it?  Think again and think realistically..........