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2016

This is what I decided six years ago, five years ago and every year thereafter until I started noticing increasing dizzy spells or what I so fondly call them head rushes. I started noticing heart palpations. I'm a woman. We don't have the classic signs of heart attacks.

 

I remember the old saying, well, if you gotta die of something, it might as well be something I enjoy doing. I swore I was never going to give up the two things left that I enjoy doing, drinking and smoking. By god, I clung to those two things with all my might. Then the minor health problems started creeping up, the shortness of breath, the wheezing and the list goes on.

 

Ever wonder why you waited so long? Why does it take a debilitating illness or even a hint of one to make us want to finally quit smoking? Some believe we have emotional ties to smoking. Some think it's a physical thing, something in our brains. Some even think it's genetics. My father was a heavy smoker. My mother was. Back in the '60s, everyone smoked. Watch an old movie sometime, you're bound to see a smoker somewhere at sometime.

 

What brings us to the mighty white cancer stick? We know it's bad for us. We've read enough and seen enough on media to convince us. What do we see that that white stick can do for us that we can't do for ourselves? Only you and you alone can answer that question. I don't buy the excuse of I don't know why I went back to smoking. I don't know why. Oh, yes, you do. You're just not looking hard enough. Habits can be broken. Addictions can be overcome. Only you can finally make that decision of I'm done. I'm just not doing this anymore. If you can't figure it out, then at the time you're craving a cigarette, think to yourself, am I angry, frustrated, what is driving me to that cigarette that I can't solve myself? Put some effort into this!!!!

 

Only you can make the commitment of I'm never picking up another cigarette. If you can't do the words, and they are only words, you know, of NEVER, then just simply think of it I'm not picking up another cigarette for today. I'm more of a long range planner type of gal. I'm one of those 5-year plan type of people. I see far down the road. I like to think of myself on top of a crest of hill and getting ready to sail down. But only YOU can make that determination for yourself. If it's easier to take it one day at a time, do it. But do come to the decision of I'M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE...........

crazymama_Lori

8 glorious months

Posted by crazymama_Lori Sep 26, 2016

I actually pinched myself this morning and realized it was true.  For those of you struggling, just get through the first 30 days.  Just give it a month.  Buy yourself a cheap little notebook and jot down things that you've noticed are improving or going away; i.e., I have more energy, my coughing went away, etc.  Keep that in the area where you think you are most likely to smoke when you think you have a weak moment.  When you think of giving it all in, just read that list and tell me that this is not worth it.  I don't think you will.......... 

I was just like you when I first quit or even when I was thinking about quitting. I think the difference between a success quit and a “try” or what I like to call a test drive is knowledge. Take the time before you quit to look up nicotine addiction, cigarettes and stress, dopamine receptors. The biggest hit on the internet you'll find is when you search for “why is it so hard to quit.” Years back it was always “kick the habit.” I'm going to tell you that the more you read about it and do your research, you'll find that there's so much more to it.

 

I saw a good friend of mine this morning while doing my grocery shopping. We haven't seen each other in almost a year. She asked what was new, what was going on. We filled each other in on the latest news. I know in the first 60 days I let everyone know that I quit smoking. I wanted the world to know that I did this. Now, it's just part of my everyday life that sometimes I forget to even mention that I quit. She noticed that there was something different about me. I just blurted out that I gained a lot of weight. No, that's not it. You just seem more happier now, more content. Hmmm, well, the only thing really new is I quit drinking and I quit smoking. Her eyes lit up. Tell me more, tell me more. Well, out came those little cards from this website and I began to tell my story. I'm hopeful she'll come on this site. I'm hopeful she'll quit. My door is always open.

 

She was just as surprised to hear that I haven't drank in almost a year. I simply told her that was my biggest trigger. The more I drank, the more I smoked. That was THE biggest trigger I had; so I just had to give it up if I was serious about quitting smoking. I told her just remember, those triggers are everywhere and will pop up from time to time. It's called life and life doesn't stop when you stop smoking. Life is full of stress, frustration. It's important to learn how to act differently to the reactions that we did for so many years. It's also important to look on the positive side instead of the negative. Check out Positive Affirmations for Success: You can take what you want and leave the rest. And you can always find and contribute your own. 

 

When you click the Group Button just to the right of the Blog button and when that window comes up look for the featured group button we are the first group listed   Also for awhile we are on the Home Page under Featured Groups. OR just click this link

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/positive-affirmations-and-support

 

 But don't miss the Daily interactive Discussion called Love Yourself. Whether you're dropping in to say Hello, offer Love and Support to your Friends or need a place where you will truly feel listened to, we are there - every single Day! Take a Look and feel Free to join us! ALL are Welcome!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/thread/3533-love-yourself

 

We'd love to have you join us!

Anyone who is an addict can go back to their old ways very easily, score some herion, buy a bottle of jack daniels, buy a pack of cigarettes, find some oxycodone.  Anyone could just say screw it, I'm not doing this anymore, why do I even bother.  Well, I know why I bother.  I'm not quitting smoking for anyone, but they are happy that I am.  For a few months it seems like they were just trying to drag me back in, but really ask yourself, is that fact or is that just your perception?  Did they come right out to you and say I wish you would go back to using/smoking again, you're just too difficult right now?  My come back to that would be, I need you to support me, I'm having difficulty breathing here lately or I'm getting sick too often now.  This is my decision that I know I have to make.  But is that really a fact that they believe that it's easier if you'd just go back, I think not.

When it gets difficult, sure I could just take the easy way and just go back to what I did for 40 some years and just puff away, solving nothing, resolving nothing, not making anything in my life better than just puffing away.  It's that easy.  Do I want the cost of those things again?  heck no.  Do I want to wheeze again when I lay down?  heck no.  Do I want to miss the smell of the lilacs that drift over on a breezy day from a tree that I've been living across the street from for the last 28 years and I just never noticed it because I had no sense of smell?  heck no.  Do I want to go back to the daily headaches, backaches, neckaches, everything aches?  heck no. 

Perhaps it would be a good idea after you have two solid weeks in to start a list of things that you've noticed are better or that went away.  Start that list and keep adding to it.  Buy yourself a cheapy little notebook and start jotting things down.  You can give me two weeks.  Keep that list with you.  When you feel the need to take the easy road, pull that list out.  Remind yourself if you have to on a daily basis for the next six months of the good things that are going on, the things you've been missing out on for that time.  Keep that list with you.  

You can do this.  You feel angry, fine.  You feel sad, fine.  You feel tired, fine.  You feel antsy, fine.  You feel scattered, fine.  It's all part of that hike up the smoke-free mountain.  You're going to trudging hard for the first few weeks.  then you plauteau.  you trudge up again.  you plauteau.  Give your mind and your body a chance to repair the damage that your easy way caused.  Pull out those lists.  Remind yourself that this is DOABLE !!!!!!!!!

crazymama_Lori

If it only had a name

Posted by crazymama_Lori Sep 19, 2016

I've been seeing many new members and even some members in NML and beyond struggling with NOPE (Not One Puff Ever). Sometimes the finality of that saying puts a big red sign in front of some. The final end to something that we've been really doing for most of our lives.

 

As some of you notice I have periods where I'll post every single day rather than every third or so day. That is my time where I'm struggling with something, trying to find answers to something, why I'm reacting the way that I am. I like to gather my thoughts, do my research, and then post some observations I'm made of myself and what I've found.

 

I remember in January of this year panicking thinking I'm not going to be able to do this. How could I ever imagine myself without a cigarette. The first 30 days I yelled, grumbled, slept, on at least 10 times a day saying gawd, I could really go for a cigarette right now. Saying it out loud and at times rather loudly helped me validate that yes, I wanted one, but I really don't need one. I wanted one so badly because my brain was telling me that I had to have one. I don't need one to survive, live my life. It's not necessary to thrive.

 

Then periodically we do the bargaining game every once in a while. Oh, one won't hurt you. All I need is a few hits off of that and I can show myself that I have it under control. Well, you know what, I reflected back on when I was trying to cut back on my smoking back in December. That would last for 3 days and I'd find anything and everything to get me frustrated or angry (the two evil twins) and I'd be right back to smoking at least a half a pack a day. Because believe it or not by that time, I couldn't smoke any more than that. That seemed to satisfy my need. In the beginning of January, I was down to 3 to 4 cigarettes a day, very seldom 5 and it was just becoming a chore. That got me to thinking why.

 

You see many of you do not take the time to read the articles on here or even go to the internet and find articles that are straightforward that explain nicotine addiction. I know, I know. There's so many articles out there that cite percentages and statistics and cryptic messages and jargon that someone with no medical background could understand. They do have quite a few articles on here that are pretty straightforward, short and to the point. Smoking is that addiction that gives you the dopamine fix. We are the pleasure junkies. We're looking for something to make us feel good or relax us, to calm us. I wish they had a name for it, like nicoholic or something. Those things are everywhere, the grocery stores, the gas stations just as alcohol is. Years back alcohol was only available in liquor stores and bars.

 

When people think of addiction, they think of drug addicts and alcoholics. Well, the two major contributors to that is alcohol and nicotine. They've got a term for someone addicted to alcohol and all kinds of studies for why you become addicted and why it's so hard to quit. I've been searching for a few days to find a study using PET scans to understand the workings of the brain of a nonsmoker and a smoker. Here's the only study that I found that was, I thought, informative:

 

From Promises Treatment Program: In January 2012, research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine showed evidence that pleasure associated with drinking alcohol is caused by endorphins being released to areas of the brain called the nucleus accumbens and the orbitofrontal cortex. Endorphins are small proteins with opiate-like effects that are produced naturally in the brain.

 

Using PET imaging, researchers at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) studied 25 subjects. Thirteen individuals drank heavily and 12 drank moderately. Regardless of the amount the study subjects drank, researchers detected endorphins being released in the brain in response to alcohol consumption. However, there was a more pronounced effect in heavy drinkers. The amount of endorphins being released in the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex was linked to a higher degree of feeling intoxicated. “This indicates that the brains of heavy or problem drinkers are changed in a way that makes them more likely to find alcohol pleasant, and may be a clue to how problem drinking develops in the first place,” said Jennifer Mitchell, PhD, clinical project director at the Gallo Center and an adjunct assistant professor of neurology at UCSF.

 

Endorphins and dopamine are neurotransmitters. According to Sam Moss, BA neuroscience: Dopamine and the endorphins tend to be found in different areas of the brain, and tend to be associated with different behaviors and functions. The common conception of Dopamine and Endorphins as 'feel good' chemicals is really more wrong than it is right. Simply (but inaccurately) put: dopamine tends to be involved in reinforcing behavior. So if you do something that your brain is programmed to 'like' like drink some soda in a specific place repeatedly you may get a small release of dopamine when you are near that place. This is not ging to be something that you are going to feel, but rather a signal that is going to subtly influence your behavior in the future like perhaps cause you to spend more time in that place and buy a soda when you are there. But in reality the way these chemicals work is WAY more nuanced and subtle than this, and I only partially understand these things.

 

Now, the reason for this very long drawn out blog is because now I understand my setback of sorts. I had this happen to me when I saw that butt on the porch. That split second of I wonder what that would taste like. I threw it out. But it bothered me for a week afterwards. Why did it stick with me? Again finding a butt on my steps left by a friend which for some unknown reason I picked up and placed in my windowsill. That first instance I was almost obsessing about that cigarette and then no more than two or so months later it comes around again. I purposely didn't throw that cigarette out for a few days. Did I purposely wanted to test myself? Almost had to prove to myself that I did it? Now, is that the addictive behavior? Was I reinforcing my quit? You know how I reinforced my quit? I remember what that cigarette tasted like. It tasted just like an ashtray smells. How in heck did I believe I was enjoying that?

 

So in closing, give yourself that 2 hours or even a half a day. Let those little taste buds rejuvenate themselves. Really concentrate when you light up. Inhale just a little bit. Now, stop for a second, give your taste buds a second to register that. Doesn't that taste like an ashtray smells? How could you even say you enjoy that? Do you feel it burn as it goes down your throat into your lungs? How can you say you want that? Print yourself off a calendar with 30 days on it. Cross off each day when you conquer being smoke-free. If you can't do it cold turkey, get the patch. If the patch doesn't work, call your doctor. They will be thrilled to help you. Keep trying until you find something that works for you. Because what works for you may not work for the next person, but don't stop trying to find it. Sometimes this can be hit and miss. Sometimes you try one thing, it doesn't work. You try another, it doesn't work. BUT you tried this, and you're off and running.

 

This is not hopeless. This is not an insurmountable task. This is doable if you are willing to commit to it. It's individualized. It doesn't magically get better in exactly 130 days. Some it gets better before. Some it gets better after. This is a lifelong task that you've been performing and rewarding yourself for years. Be patient with yourself. Give it 30 days one day at a time. When that's over, give it 30 more days one day at a time and so on. If it's easier for you to give it 2 weeks at a time, then fine. Only you can figure that out. You're going to learn so much about yourself. Some have more emotional ties to smoking that others. I'm a firm believer now that smoking replaces our insecurities in general. Listen I'm too old to be insecure anymore. I am what I am. I made it this far and that's all that counts. So you get out there and get going..............  

crazymama_Lori

Welcome to fall

Posted by crazymama_Lori Sep 17, 2016

September, the start of fall, the crisp autumn air, the changing of the leaves. As for myself, this is the first fall that I'm experiencing as a nonsmoker. I find myself now reminicing about boy, I remember I used to chain smoke over that, I would have been smoking up a storm after going through that, and on and on and on. Of course, I smoked over anything and everything. I lit one of those up from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. There was maybe a few hours in the day that I didn't have one burning somewhere. Sometimes I'd have two or three burning through the house. Must have thought they were candles and were guiding my way. How disillusioned I was. Then I came here and learned about addiction and triggers. Triggers are things that make you feel that you need to smoke, you have to smoke, things you associate with smoking.

 

Just remember, those triggers are everywhere and will pop up from time to time. It's called life and life doesn't stop when you stop smoking. Life is full of stress, frustration, anger, sadness, loneliness. It's important to learn how to act differently to the reactions that we did for so many years. It's also important to look on the positive side instead of the negative. Check out Positive Affirmations for Success: You can take what you want and leave the rest. And you can always find and contribute your own. 

 

When you click the Group Button just to the right of the Blog button and when that window comes up look for the featured group button we are the first group listed   Also for awhile we are on the Home Page under Featured Groups. OR just click this link

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/positive-affirmations-and-support

 

 But don't miss the daily interactive Discussion called Love Yourself. Whether you're dropping in to say hello, offer love and support to your friends or need a place where you will truly feel listened to, we are there - every single day! Take a look and feel free to join us! ALL are Welcome!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/thread/3533-love-yourself

 

We'd love to have you join us!

I wrote this to another member on here because I was asked for advice.  After I typed it out, I thought there's so many more that could benefit from this.  

When I first decided I was going to quit, that thought of the quit date set me into a panic mode.  What I ended up doing is reading, researching, learning more and more about the addiction.  Go to my page and read some of my blogs.  I just woke up one day and said this is it.  I'm not enjoying it anymore.  It's too expensive.  Actually it's too hard to even find places to smoke anymore.  Half the time I can't breathe when I'm doing something.  I'm wheezing when I lay down to go to sleep.  I wake myself up coughing.  

Why do I keep putting the date off?  that's it.  I'm done.  I emptied all ashtrays.  And boy, did I have ashtrays in my house.  I went to walmart and bought step 1 patches and told myself I'm done again.  I tried to cut down.  that didn't work.  I tried to ration.  that didn't work.  I tried cold turkey.  that didn't work.  I tried wellbutrin.  that didn't work.  do you know what really finally worked for me?  My mind and the patches.  I had a lot of emotional ties to smoking and all negative.  I chained smoked when I was nervous, frustrated, sad, angry.  I never smoked when I was happy or enjoying something.  

Fill out that part about your triggers while you're still smoking.  figure out why and when you smoke.  If it was simply a habit like biting your nails, we would have been done with it a long time ago.  We use smoking for things, for emotions.  Are you a stress smoker?  then figure out other ways to relieve your stress.  Deep breathing, exercising, a stress ball.  Are you a depression smoker?  Then talk to your doctor and maybe get on an antidepressant or antianxiety pill.  Are you an anger/frustration smoker?  Instead of taking the five or ten minutes inhaling that smoke, take five or ten minutes to stare out the window and do some relaxation techniques.  quitting smoking can be done.  you just have to be smart about it and use your head.  only you know yourself the best and know what's best for you.  

I wish there was a magic potion.  I wish there was a timeline when you can expect to feel normal again and not even think about smoking.  But think about it, you've done this for how many years?  I think anyone can give it 6 months to unlearn it because it's a lifetime skill.  This takes time.  it's not done overnight.  That's why they count by days here instead of months and years.  it's definitely a day by day thing.  In your first 30 days, you think about it constantly.  The next 30, you have a few days in between there when it doesn't even come to mind.  And every week it just seems to get easier.  it's because you are creating a whole new routine for yourself that doesn't evolve around smoking.  At 6 months or so, you have more days than not that you ever think about smoking anymore.  it's just a faint memory.  You can do this, really you can !!!!

crazymama_Lori

There is no quick fix

Posted by crazymama_Lori Sep 15, 2016

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, there's all kinds of ads for these quit quick schemes.  Years ago there were these get rich quick schemes.  Anything to spark the greediness of society.  Whatever happened to the days of hard work, commitment and intestinal fortitude (I love that word).  As you remember those get rich quick schemes didn't last very long and were the biggest ripoff in history.  They have so many new things on the market now with these strips that you put on your tongue, drops and concoctions that you are supposed to mix.

But I will let you know right here and right now, there is no quick way to quit smoking.  There is no pill on this earth that will take away the urge to smoke.  What will take away your urge to smoke is right between your ears.  Now, I will speak in my experience, cold turkey did not work for me.  I tried it many times and literally crawled the walls.  I knew I needed an aid to help me get over that extremely rough period of about 30 days.  Some it takes 2 to 3 weeks, but the late bloomer that I am, mine was 30.  But I did not see that aid as an answer.  It was simply something I was using to get over the hump.  I knew that the rest of it was just between my ears.  I had to want to quit smoking.  I had to commit to quit smoking.  Nothing on this earth will make me quit smoking.  Mylanta, if there was, I would have bought it a long time ago.

So in conclusion, there is no product out there that will magically take the urge away.  There is nothing out there that will suddenly make you forget why you smoked.  You have to figure out why.   But it doesn't only end there.  You have to figure out the answer to that why, a solution to that why, a replacement for that why.  That quick fix that you're looking for resides in you and you only...............

Food has always been my best friend.  I sometimes wonder if I started smoking way back when because I wanted to lose weight.  One of the many reasons why people put off quitting smoking.  Well, I certainly didn't use my brain when I quit, but that's okay.  I'm pretty comfortable in my quit at this stage so now it's time to treat my other addiction.  It's the only one I have left..........

Image result for dieting

You may ask why it's important to identify your triggers, there's a reason for that. I'll give you an example. I used to have a tendency to do most of my smoking when I'm stressed as I think most smokers do. We never really explored other ways to deal with our stress like nonsmokers do. It was just easier to pick up a cigarette and puff away. We never really did figure out the resolution to the stress, but we thought that was the solution.

 

Funny after 7 ½ months I had to doublecheck myself yesterday. Only took a minute or so, a fleeting thought but I had to do it. Someone stopped over yesterday to check on my husband. He has a host of problems, but he ended up in the hospital with pneumonia which is exacerbating his afib. He's in ICU. I'm stressed. I'm tired. When I left to go the hospital to take him something he needs, I see a half of a cigarette just laying on my steps. This was left unintentionally by this friend because he knows that I no longer allow smoking in my house. I left it there. But when I came back home I picked it up, placed it in the windowsill on the porch and shut the door. Now, mind you, the garbage can is only inches away, but I placed it in the windowsill. After all this time, I still saw that cigarette as a solution. I threw it out.

 

Just remember, those triggers are everywhere and will pop up from time to time. It's called life and life doesn't stop when you stop smoking. Life is full of stress, frustration. It's important to learn how to act differently to the reactions that we did for so many years. It's also important to look on the positive side instead of the negative. Check out Positive Affirmations for Success: You can take what you want and leave the rest. And you can always find and contribute your own. 

 

When you click the Group Button just to the right of the Blog button and when that window comes up look for the featured group button we are the first group listed   Also for awhile we are on the Home Page under Featured Groups. OR just click this link

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/groups/positive-affirmations-and-support

 

 But don't miss the Daily interactive Discussion called Love Yourself. Whether you're dropping in to say Hello, offer Love and Support to your Friends or need a place where you will truly feel listened to, we are there - every single Day! Take a Look and feel Free to join us! ALL are Welcome!

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/thread/3533-love-yourself

 

We'd love to have you join us!

Sunday was a family get together for my granddaughter's birthday.  What beautiful weather.  We were all outside enjoying the children and the day and there were quite a few smokers milling around.  Seven months ago I would be joining in on that, but this time I was just sitting back and enjoying the day.  The smoke didn't bother me one bit except for taking my breath away once in a while.  Today I had a visit from my ex-son-in-law who has battled herion addiction and is doing exceptionally well.  He's been clean now for 8 months and is really staying on track.  He stops by to chat or sometimes just for emotional support.  I enjoy brainstorming with him.  He's such an intelligent soul.  We both hang on to our sobriety, quits, whatever with an iron fist.  He still smokes though.  We were talking about something and it was upsetting for him and the first thing he did was grab for a cigarette.  He's not allowed to smoke in my house.  So I just simply followed him outside to finish up our conversation while he smoked and I gave advice.  The smoking didn't bother me one bit.  What a great feeling, I'm telling ya............