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On the road to 500

Posted by crazymama_Lori May 2, 2017

It's been a wild ride, this whole quit smoking train. The ups and the downs and the twists and turns. We can only go off of what other people have experienced and reported to somewhat understand what is going on and the similarities we all go through. The main theme throughout and what everyone agrees on is you have to educate yourself on the quitting process and put together what I call your game plan.


The first couple of months when you begin your quit is when some white knuckle it. You are hanging onto that cigarette with all of your might and just don't want to let go of it. But then again, my friends, we have clung on to that magical thing to solve our problems of the day. We looked to it for comfort, reward, calming device. It's a personal thing that we use smoking for. Everyone has their own reasons for continuing and also for going back.


You finally reach the plateau of around 130 to 190 days and you look around thinking so where do I go from here? There, the ride is over and I'll somehow be over it. That is so far from the truth. So many that I've seen on here panic at the thought of when the crave or urge to smoke suddenly comes over them out of nowhere. My goodness, I should be done with this already. The truth is, is that it never does go away. The psychological hold is something that will linger for quite awhile.


Do you notice that certain songs or smells will spark a memory, something from your past that made you feel good or made you smile? The brain is a facinating thing. It stores things. It's a virtual file cabinet of information, unique to each individual. Hence why smoking is not a one-size-fits-all “habit.” You have periods during the first year where you will smell smoke clear out of the blue or sometimes even see it. You will find yourself reaching for the phantom pack or performing the hand motion almost subconsciously. Have you ever while daydreaming while driving finding yourself traveling on autopilot to a familiar destination or a place where you've been going for years? Welcome to the filing cabinet.


Another thing that I've noticed in my year plus quit is somewhere around 400 to 430 days the cycling finally ended. The crying jags, bouts of depression, bouts of anger, extreme frustration. I'm wondering if it's because I find myself now saying I'm just really irritated right now instead of saying I'm having a nicotine fit or I could really go for a cigarette right now and that's WHY I'm irritated. It doesn't pop in my head anymore. I just found myself the other day saying, well, that's not true. It has nothing to do with smoking at all. It's not part of who I am any longer.


I'm on my second go-around of milestones in my life, experiencing birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and such for the second time as a nonsmoker. I can tell you all that it's much easier this time. The first time was the anticipation of the event which made dealing with it so much harder. Now it's just a birthday, holiday, anniversary. It has no association with smoking. Nothing in my life has an association with smoking. I removed the association. I stopped putting two and two together. That is just something that I used to do. It's not part of who I am any longer. It no longer has to define me. It no longer has to label me. It no longer has to control me.


So for you newbies out there, use the search box on this site and look up things, arm yourself with knowledge, gather your arsenal to fight this for the next 6 months. Take the time to figure out what you've used smoking for. Go through the steps they have outlined on the site, especially tracking your cigarettes. Understand what you use smoking to replace and develop a game plan to substitute something in its place. Create a permanent file in that filing cabinet. You can do this, really you can.

Back in 2015, in November, I vowed I would quit smoking when my last child left the nest.  She was my drama queen, my stressor.  She's always had troubles with anxiety ever since she was small.  She finally went on anti-depressants and began to calm down when she reached 18.  It was a long road for that girl.  Back in 2015 I had the alcohol licked and didn't use that as an excuse anymore for dealing with my stress.  The only thing left was my cigarettes.  I clung on to those with all of my might.  In my mind at the time, that was keeping my sanity.


I began cold turkey and was crawling the walls.  Just too much going on all at one time.  I knew if I wanted this to stick I needed to concentrate on one thing and work on the reasons first why I smoked.  During most of the month in January I tracked those cigarettes.  It gave me a summary at the end when I was most likely to smoke, what was triggering me the most.  One thing I never filled out at that time was how I planned to separate from them.  I was of the thought that 3 to 4 weeks this will all be gone.  Make it through NML and it will all be gone.  Somehow someway this will all disappear.  It's only smoking.........


The emotional ties and ritualistic behavior is what makes quitting smoking so difficult.  My life at one time evolved around smoking.  For most of my time so far here on earth, since I was 12, I used smoking to replace "things" for me.  The biggest "replacement" was a stress reliever.  When I was angry, frustrated, worried, I thought smoking calmed me down. How many times I've said, OMG, I need a cigarette right now, I have to have a cigarette to calm down.  I think I realized that more clearly one day about 2 or so months into my quit and my youngest called me because she was fighting with her fiance.  Stressed to the max.  I got frustrated, got off the phone and the first thought was I need a cigarette.  I got up and did something else and the thought passed.  That was elation for me later.  I thought to myself, see you can do this.  Those things never did anything for you.


So in closing, listen to the elders when they tell you this gets easier.  This will never go away; it just gets easier.  I remember writing to you all last year around this time, A flick of the wrist, the slightest of hand, it's all an illusion.  Life pretty well stayed the same but I just look at it differently now.  My daughter moved back home but it's only temporary until she gets back on her feet.  She's grown, I've grown, we've both grown.  It's calmer here now.  I used to use this time every single year to mourn my mother's death.  I changed things last year and planted a tree in her honor.  Her body is gone but her soul lives forever.  Whenever spring arrives, it will bloom again.  That one red cardinal will come back and land on that tree every single morning until the snow flies again.  We can't stop life; we can only appreciate what it teaches us......   

So many new members joining again. It amazes me how many join the site and then just stop. I think they don't last because they don't take the time to read and learn. I researched all different types of programs for quitting smoking. There was the herbal method, the hypnosis, the e-cigarette, the drops. I can't even begin to tell you how much money I've spent over the years just to quit smoking. But you see, that's what I did wrong. I was quitting a habit. Something I was doing every single day sometimes without even thinking about it or even needing it. Years ago they would pound into your head it was the tar that was killing people. So they made these funky air filters and created these ultra light cigarettes. Basically smoking air, but with a few thousand chemicals and the drug thrown in there for good measure.




I mean, think about it, the patch wasn't available to the consumer until the early '80s. I remember trying that back then. It was marketed for “kicking the habit”. Did absolutely nothing for me, but then I didn't have any knowledge about addiction. How nicotine works in the brain. How we use smoking to replace things. Why it is so difficult to stop. No one gave me any reading materials or even directed me to any resources. Back then the internet was pretty sketchy and very slow. I called the 1-800 line that they gave in the little trial box they gave me at the doctor's office and it was a recorded message. I failed and I failed until finally in the '90s they decided to have more and more information about this thing called addiction. Pfft, that can't be me, I only smoked. That's for alcoholics and for drug addicts. That can't apply to me at all.




I researched and researched and found this site and read the materials they had on here while I was still smoking and failing on quitting and smoking and failing. Well, you know what, I never faithfully tracked my cigarettes AND completed the section about beating my triggers. My triggers would show up and boom, I was right back to smoking again. I can't tell you how many times I started and stopped in the month of December and most of January until I finally got the hang of it. They've got steps listed on here for a reason. You can't just magically decide one day, I'm joining this site and magically I'll quit smoking. There's work to be done here.




There's the first 30 days where you're crawling the walls, don't want to go anywhere, isolating yourself. The next 30 days you're angry, you're sad, you're sadgry (angry and sad all at once). You're tired and can't seem to sleep. You're pacing the floors. When is this ever going to end !!!!!! Then the lightbulb comes on and you start to reflect inside. You figure out some of your personal demons or issues. You start helping people. You still ponder in this time, and we've all done it and I have no clue why, if I try just one, it won't stick. I won't go back. Ah, yes, that happens before the first year. Well, that's just our addictive brains giving it that one last shot, one last time. We've all been there. The smart ones just smile and grumble nice try and go about their day. The unsure ones will obssess about it and remain having a stranglehold on that fleeting thought. The uncommitted ones will give in.




You see you have to commit to never ever smoke again because it will always be there. They stare at you in grocery stores, liquor stores, gas stations. They do that little can-can dance when you're checking out. I remember in those first 30 days just simply staring at those things. I would purposely go to another checkout lane so that I didn't have to look at them. I remember the first time they threw a carton in front of me thinking that was what I was in there for. It was like hot lava. Oh, no, I quit. Ah, the look in their eyes like yeah, right. 40 days later, hey, Lori, how's the no smoking going? Absolutely great, have almost a month and a half in. Instead of the tobacco section loving me, the bakery section became my best friend for a few months.




But to wrap up here, I remember when they would tell me it would get easier. I would roll my eyes and not believe them. I would grumble to myself, yeah, when. They would tell me to make it through NML (130 days or so), it will get easier. I'm a late bloomer. It took me until day 195 to finally feel normal, back to my old self. This you cannot rush. This you cannot take a pill and it will be gone in 10 days. This you have to take your time and learn from it, experience it, nuture it, beat the heck out of it. You have to learn that you are driving this bus. You are in control. You are your worst enemy. You are the one who will make or break this. If you really want this, you are willing to commit, you are going to stick by it no matter what it takes, you, my friend, will be an EX-smoker. It's just something you used to do.......

Ready....... here, let's go over to this side over here.  The success to quitting is  YOU.  Only you can make you quit.  Not a patch, not a pill, not a lozenge, not gum.  If you believe that those things will make you quit and keep you quit, I'll guarantee you that you will go back to smoking the minute something frustrates you, angers you, upsets you, depresses you.


Just this morning the dogs were not cooperating with me.  Barking their full head off.  I don't need that over these next couple days because I'm tied to my computer doing daily copy for my job.  I have a specified time period I have to get work completed.  I don't have time to screw around with them today.  


Now, I can take the easy way out, run to the store and buy a pack of cigarettes because I'm frustrated, but I know that that's not going to make them stop barking.  That will not make me calm for the rest of the day so I can concentrate on my time sensitive material.  A Xanax might, but a cigarette won't.  There was my trigger, frustration, anger.  But you know what, it doesn't bother me now.  I've proven to myself that that cigarette doesn't make this all magically go away.  I, me, myself, makes this easier, makes this go away.


Do me a favor, will you?   Instead of impulsively running to go get a cigarette because you're bored, depressed, angry, upset, etc., STOP, deep breath in for 8 seconds, hold for 5, deep breath out for 6 to 8 seconds, rinse and repeat.  Now, get up and do something else.  YOU can do this......... psst, it's all YOU

I've seen this time and time again.  Granted I have not researched smokers for 10 or 15 years.  I am not a psychologist, doctor, research analyst.  I am simply a nonsmoker trying to help others with their quit and stay quit.  There is no right or wrong way to do this.  I will tell you that I have spent a huge part of 3 years reading everything I can to understand why the brain works the way it does in the addictive mind.  Why people are drawn back, what causes them to relapse.  There's so much information out there on the web that can be found about why the brain works the way it does.  Going to the library or reading the encyclopedia to find information is slowly drifting away.  We're in the electronic age.  Everything is on Kindle or PDF, downloaded in an electronic format.


There so much information that can be found on this site by using the magnifying glass, the search feature.  Wonderful articles written by Dale and Giulia who have spent an enormous amount of time sharing their wisdom with you.  Nobody wants to read the scientific articles with using words that most do not understand without at least some level of medical knowledge.  Again, there is no right or wrong way to quit smoking.  There are websites out there you can join that only believe in cold turkey.  You slip up, you are kicked out.  That would have never worked for me because I am the type of person that doesn't like the do it my way or the highway type of attitude.  For some that's the only way to do it.  For me, it would have never worked.  I tried to quit cold turkey.  The longest I made it was 10 days, My 10-day fail, but boy did I ever change that.  


You see, there are the happy quitters and the "other" quitters.  I never found that I had increased energy.  My sleeping never went back to normal.  I'm not elated that I quit.  I just simply conquered something that was controlling me.  Telling me it was my way or the highway.  I'll admit, I like the smell of smoke.  I don't like the smell of smoke on a person.  I like the smell of a freshly lit match.  I don't like the smell of an ashtray.  But you see with me, I see these statements of I like the smell of a lilac tree.  I don't like the smell of those old Avon sachets that they used to have in the liliac scent.  To me those things are saying the same thing.  They are only statements of my likes and dislikes.  I don't see me saying I like the smell of smoke is going to have me running out and lighting up again.  I just like the smell.  It reminds me of my father when he was alive.  When I first quit, I panicked at the thought of enjoying the smell.  But I've learned it's only a thought; it's not an action.  You get my drift, right?  


I'm not a super calm, happy person by nature.  I'm in awe of those people that finds good in everything.  I am a Type A personality all the way.  I have to excel at what I do.  I'm a workaholic.  I don't have a lot of patience sometimes.  I see a wrong or something I find offensive, I speak up about it.  I'm the bull in the china shop.  I have a very strong personality.  I have very strong morals.  That's probably why smoking worked for me.  My little addictive self told me it was calming me, consoling me, telling me I'll fight the fight with you.  Stop the Ride, I want to get off !!!!!!!!!  or I'm tired 


I think I actually saw the nicotine addiction/dependence more clearly when I was researching addiction in general.  I read blogs of people addicted to heroin and oxycodone and trying to get clean.  All the advice, some good, some really crazy.  But I saw a similarity of what they thought that drug was doing for them and what drew them back.  For oxycodone, it's physically out of your system in three days.  From then on is all the understanding of what made them go there in the first place.  Conversely, alcohol is out of your system in two to four days when you're an alcoholic.  Again from then on is the understanding of what made them go there in the first place.  For nicotine dependence, nicotine is out of your system in two weeks.  From then on is the understanding of what made them go there in the first place.  Do you see a pattern forming here?


Think about it, if you weren't addicted, then tell me why it's so hard to quit and for some to stay quit for a length of time.  Isn't this food for thought.  Plain and simple, a cigarette, that little white stick, is your habit.  The hand to mouth action that you perform every single day for almost 20 to 40 times a day.  We have the capacity to relearn a habit and break it.  If not break it, replace it with something else.  Oh, there's some naysayers that will say, well, then I'll just buy an e-cig with 0 percent nicotine and I'll beat this.  But aren't you reinforcing the hand to mouth habit?  Here is an article by the American Lung Association concerning this latest fix-all solution, E-cigarettes and Lung Health | American Lung Association.  I don't know if any of you have tried those, but they're just plain old nasty.  By taking that route, you are still performing the hand to mouth motion and thus retaining the association with smoking.  So how is the habit being broken?  Another interesting article from Harvard University E-cigarettes: Good news, bad news - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health Publications.  Further into the article is a study they performed using different testing groups:  

Studies about e-cigarettes and smoking behavior show conflicting results. E-cigarettes were mildly helpful in kicking the habit in one clinical trial. In other studies, e-cigarette use did not increase quit rates, or was even associated with a higher risk of continuing to smoke. A recent review concluded that real-world use of e-cigarettes is associated with lower quit rates.


Nicotine by nature is in tobacco that's put into that white tube along with all those wonderful chemicals thrown in for good measure that you are addicted to.  It's the nicotine that makes you warm and fuzzy.  Not the cigarette; it's what is in it that does.  It's the nicotine that gives you the rush, the hit of dopamine, the good feeling.  There's other ways of doing that, 10 Ways to Increase Dopamine to Boost Your Productivity - Endless Events.  Expand your mind to find other outlets.  Believe it or not, you don't need that cigarette to do anything for you.  You're just allowing it to make you think that it does.........


The Easy Way

Posted by crazymama_Lori Feb 21, 2017

Just your local PITA looking for answers and solutions.  I'll share with you all what I do every single morning.


Here's what I have my preferences set at.  This eliminates many, many notifications.   under notification preferences, I have yes, and yes.  under inbox notifications I only have email and have it set at daily summary


My personal landing is set at News.  When I click on My Ex Feed, there it gives me News and Updates.  There it shows me questions, blogs, latest posts, etc.  If I click on latest blogs, it shows me all of the blogs whether they're by you or stuck in conversations or daily pledge or wherever.  if it's a blog, it's shown here no matter where it's stuck in.  If I want to see documents, discussions and everything else, I just click on the headings above and view them individually under each of their categories or I can click on ALL on the right and it will show everything in one spot.  Here you use the pull down menu on Filter by tag.  You can sort them by date created newest first, oldest first.  By default, it sorts them by latest activity first (when comments are made).


Now, the fun part, the magical bell.......  Most of you are seeing this as an in-box, one that is used in an e-mail program.  It's not.  It's a notification center.  It lets you know of someone mentioning you, giving you badge, private messaging you, responding to something you may be following (which we'll cover later).


When you first open up your "inbox," first thing to do is check this box:  Unread Only.  As time goes on, you will notice that this will greatly reduce once you have tweaked certain things.

If you want to clear out your inbox, hit mark all read and, poof these will disappear.  To view them all again, uncheck the unread only.  Here you can use the filter pull down menu to sort by messages, notifications, mentions (the fun @ symbol).


Now we move on to Following which is causing all of those appearing in your inbox.  Have you ever noticed that when you comment on the freedom train or the daily pledge, you're getting a gazillon notifications?  Well, it's because you're following that blog or discussion.  To correct that problem, double click on the blog to open up the original discussion/blog.  Over on the right-hand side, click on actions and unclick the following in.  As you see here, the inbox is checked and that's why you're receiving all of those notifications.


This new site has grown on me over the month.  It's a different way of thinking.  If you want to have more interactions or just be more personable, you can use the status update and tag your certain someone or just post a general update about yourself........ Now, Mr. Mark, Mark, is there a way to place a Status Update tab next to Events under All content so that everyone can see all the status updates?  I think that just might alleviate some concerns



Hope this helps some of you.  Sometimes seeing things instead of typing them out are easier.  I like the easy way


Back in 2015

Posted by crazymama_Lori Feb 18, 2017

I joined and rejoined this site I don't know how many times starting in 2015.  I'd sign up with one e-mail address and then rejoin with another.  I'd peek in and then decided I wasn't ready yet.  Reminds me of someone on the diving board for the first time waiting to jump in.  It's there, you're at the edge, but to take the last step takes forever.


I must have researched different ways of quitting smoking for at least 3 years before actually jumping off that spring board.  I read and read and read.  I came here and read the blogs.  Read the articles.  Had absolutely no clue how to get around the site back then.  Didn't want to blog in the beginning even before I actually committed myself to quit because I didn't want to admit to failure.  Because prior to January of last year, I failed a lot.


It was like learning to drive stick all over again.  I'd start, pop the clutch and I'd die out.  I think what really made sense to me and what really got me to finally stick with it is that I went back on the Elders' blogs and went back to the very beginning of when they started.  Read what they wrote and then moved on to someone else.  Read what they wrote and move on again.  Funny how similar everyone was in the beginning.  I was so thankful that I had those to read at that time because that really gave me the glimmer of hope to continue, to stick with it.


Even at this stage, nearing 400 days in 10 days, I still go back to my older blogs.  I refer back to them to reassure myself how far I have come, to enforce the fight and strength.  I too have weak moments from time to time.  My biggest trigger has always been and will always be anger and frustration.  Every single time I went back to smoking was because of that.  Every single time.  I have learned to simply see it for what it is and just let it pass.  Let it be.  Let it go.  I've taught myself that.  I had to teach myself that because otherwise I'd be puffing away right now.  I accept that as part of my personality.  I don't see it as a fault or something I have to change.  I see it as something I have to adapt to.


I'm surprised to not see as many bloggers, discussion writers on here.  I hope you feel comfortable enough someday to write about yourself, tell us about your journey.  We have cheerleaders on here.  We have people that will give you research articles to read about either your smoking-related illness or something you're going through.  We have a whole boatload of people here that just simply want to help you, move you towards your goal.  But we can't help you if you don't speak up and speak out.  But hey, my name is Lori, I smoked for 43 years before I quit on 1/25/2016.  The longest I ever went without a cigarette before then was a whole whopping 7 days.  Every single time I failed.  So there must be something to this site that made it stick.  Let us help you find that for you.............

Ever remember seeing that when buying a hat or gloves and you put them on and they're either too large or too small. Quitting smoking is just like that.  One way does not fit all.


We all have different theories about big tobacco has increased the nicotine content in cigarettes and that's why they are so addicting.  It's the drug companies are behind the push for NRTs.  Some believe that you are to simply put them down and never pick them up again and quit cold turkey.  Some swear by the latest things out there on the market, let it be strips, nasal sprays, whatever.


Well, I'm going to tell you that this is not fun.  It's not a pleasant experience, but it will not last forever.  Opiates take 3 days to be removed from your body.  Nicotine takes anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks.  A great article that I always referred to when I was physically battling this was :  Smoking Withdrawal & Relapse - Cessation Treatment - Partnership For A Tobacco-Free Maine.  I kept the link on my computer way back then because I'd refer back to it to make me stop and think.


Some people believe that overthinking your triggers is not necessary.  I say in the beginning of your quit, it's imperative.  It only takes about three seconds.  Wham, craving hits you, STOP, am I hungry, tired, lonely, angry?  Am I doing something that I've always associated smoking with or I've always smoked doing it?  Write it down.  Later on in the day, look at that list.  Now, think to yourself, what can I do instead.  There two great articles on here, 101 Things to Do Instead of Smoke and Additions to The List of 100 Things to Do Instead of Smoke a Cigarette.  Some really good suggestions in there.  


Now, in my case, I woke up, stuck a cigarette in my mouth and that continued for the rest of the day.  The first two weeks when I quit, I chewed gum like it was going out of style.  I changed my morning routine.  You see we all have rituals that we perform every single day.  We drive a certain way to work.  We brew our coffee first thing after getting up or taking a shower the first thing upon arising.  It's like autopilot that we perform these things.  We don't even think about them.  Now when you quit smoking, you associate some of those rituals with a cigarette.  I'd say for about a month you have to retrain yourself to perform different rituals to remove the smoking memory (association) with the thing that you are doing.


It just takes a little willpower and a lot of conscious effort to change things up.  You can make this quit your last quit.  Do some research.  Learn about what's going to and is happening to your body.  Learn about what nicotine does.  Just plain take the time to learn of nicotine dependence if addiction is too strong of a word.  If the substance wasn't addicting, it wouldn't be so hard to stop............ 

You feel quite apprehensive as you near your quit date.  The panic sets in.  You think to yourself, am I going to be able to do it this time?  Your mind swirls in all different directions.  What if this happens, what if that happens, what will I do then......  Take a breath.  Take your time and move through the steps under the My Quit Plan.  Arm yourself with knowledge instead of taking the plunge not knowing what's coming next.  Move through those steps that are laid out as in Relearn the Habit, Relearn Addiction, Relearn Support.  Print the steps if you need to.  Here's a cute little video to watch that shows that you're not alone:  Quitting Smoking is a Journey - YouTube.  All those apprehensive feelings are perfectly normal, but it's okay.  We got you..........



I've decided that I will just blog because that way I know where it's going to land.  When I use the discussion feature, it asks me where to post it to and the only real choice is conversations, but yet it tells me it has only 25 followers.  I'm on the fence if I want to stay here or find somewhere else to go where it's more personable, more intimate, easier to navigate.  I look for the new members to help them along and there's no one out there.  With the old site you were directed to one place and one place only and that was to blog.  I can see where newer members or even those less computer savvy try to post a discussion and it asks where to post it and they get lost and just cancel it.  We're defeating the purpose here of a support site. Too many things are getting lost in the shuffle.  Too many people are waiting in the wings.


If you are new here, just post a blog and you will get all kinds of responses.  leave it as your personal blog because you will be referring back to it from time to time and you'll be sharing it with everyone.  When I am having a rough day or just a down period, I go back to my earlier blogs and reread how I was then and how I am now.  Blogs are such a useful tool when you are feeling insecure or having doubt in the strength of your quit.  When you hit NML (No man's land), you'll have so many ups and downs, twists and turns.  If you find yourself frustrated about why something isn't posting, why am I getting this and not getting that, ask, use the search feature on here by using the magnifying glass.


Believe me, we're here for you.  It's just that we're scattered all over the place.........


Ah, yes, the beginning, way back to when I started this journey. That is etched into my mind as a tab of remembrance. Something to refer back to when I'm feeling weak and vulnerable. Information that I can flip back to easily when it all gets to be too much.


One thing I have learned is that I need to slow down and not pile so much on my plate. I need to learn to walk instead of running full steam ahead into things I'm trying to accomplish or things I'm trying to attain. A year ago I was going in circles chasing my tail. When is this going to end, when is this ever going to stop, why is this taking so long. I was basically treating quitting smoking as something that can be cured. Here are these pills for 10 days. Take them all and this will go away. I read and read and read and it seemed as though nothing was sinking in, but I stuck with it. There's got to be something to what they're saying.


I think around 2 months into it is when the relearning process began. I really starting thinking about the when, wheres and whys. You see, what makes this site great is that we all have different theories, different methods, different ways to the quitting process. We all agree that not one puff ever is the way to go. You and I are not the occasional smoker; otherwise we wouldn't be on this site. Smoking would never be a problem for us. We're not the kind of smoker that enjoys a smoke with their evening cocktail and then that's all they ever have. There are people out there that are just like that; we're just not one of them.


I do not see things as black and white. It's this way and it's the best way and the only way. I welcome other opinions and theories, other ways of attacking this crazy thing we call smoking addiction. Some believe it's only the hand to mouth ritual that we perform coupled with the nicotine that is the problem. I believe that it's more far-reaching than that, but that's my theory, my belief and I'm entitled to that. I believe that we use smoking as a crutch, a security blanket, a protector. Some believe I'm over thinking the whole process and advocating and making this harder than it should be. But there are people out there that read this and say, yes, exactly, you're right.


So wherever you are in the process, poke around the site and visit other people's profiles and click on content. That's where you will find their blogs and any information they have shared with the community at large. Read over some of the things they have written. Click on activity and see what they have posted on other people's posts. You can use your browser's back button to go back and forth between the pages. I learned most of my encouragement and really enlightenment from those posts. There were some that I came across that I didn't agree with, but that's okay. You take what you need and you leave the rest. Simply ignore it and move on. This journey you are taking is a very personal thing. We can teach you the basics but it's up to you to develop the plan. So get going and start relearning your life. This is just the beginning.

Good morning, fellow Ex'ers. Just my Saturday blog to check out a few sites on here for you newbies and for us oldies but goodies on here. Sometimes a little reminder doesn't hurt. I think of the beginning of any quit as learning how to ride a bike. We were scared to have someone let go of that bike as we were pedaling along. I'll fall. I'll hurt myself. Let's compare that to smoking. We're scared to quit smoking. We've done it for X many years. How could I even imagine myself going through a whole day without smoking. I know I'll fail. I have failed in the past. Then we eventually got the hang of riding that bike, maintaining our balance as we pedaled along. Sure we fell down once or twice but we got right back on it again. As time went on, we became pros at riding a bike and celebrating as we did it with no hands. Weeeeeeeee.


This reminds me of a few of you that have quit and then smoked. Quit again and then smoked. Rest assured that one day a light comes on and it stretches to 30 days to 60 days to 200 days. I personally think that light that comes on is our determination finally kicking in. Our firm resolve that that's it. I'm done with this. Why am I giving this stupid white stick of poison the power and not myself having the power. Finally, unbelievable, we're doing this. Look, Mom, no hands, Weeeeeeeeeeee. This recovery as with any recovery from addition can be obtained by staying committed, having acceptance, stay the course, ride out the rough waves and stick with it, you'll do just fine. Just resolve yourself to accept that that's just something that you don't do anymore. It's always going to be there, but you just don't do that anymore.


Give yourself a break once in a while. Be gentle with yourself. We all know life is full of stress, frustration, but you know what, that's just the way it is. It's important to learn how to react differently to the actions that we did for so many years, light up and puff our problems away. 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. Just click this link 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!


Sometimes we just need a laugh to get our minds back on track. Be sure to visit to bring a smile to your face daily or just a pleasant distraction. Sometimes that little hit of dopamine from laughter is the trick.


At times it helps to reaffirm our quit by pledging with others to not smoke for that day. Be sure to join others by going to: to virtually hold hands with other members and pledge not to smoke for that day. That day adds up to 30 days, 60 days, for the rest of your life days.


We'd love to have you join us!

I remember the days when I was on "GO" and was proceeding around the board hoping to make it to Boardwark, all around the bends and turns people kept telling me give it time, it will get easier, just hang in there.  I'll be honest, I just rolled my eyes and said, yeah, but when.  I'm sure nobody is having as rough of a time as I am.  This is way too hard.


Well, I welcome you to go to anyone's profile who is an elder (has one year of being a nonsmoker), go to their content, filter by date created: oldest first.  There you will see their beginnings.  There you will see how similar we all are, that we really know what we're talking about.  Look and see at what stage they were at when things were getting better, 100 days, 130 days.  Be an investigator and see that you are no longer the only one that's going through this.  Blog about how hard quitting smoking is, how miserable, how great you are.  


I can't tell you how many times I've went back and read over my first few blogs to reassure myself that taking the easy road and just simply going back to smoking because it would take everything away just won't work for me anymore.  That's not who I am anymore.  I don't need them anymore.  They do not dictate my life anymore.  They don't have the hold they once had.  I remember talking to people who said well, I just quit one day and haven't picked one up since.  No other information, tips, tricks.  Just quit.  Well, it can't be that bad then.  Then began my off again/on again romance with Mr. Whitestick.


Well, we have now been broke up for 374 days, one year and 9 days, and I don't miss it one bit.  I occassionally say well, a cigarette would go good right now but to me now that's the same of saying well, a nice big bowl of ice cream would be good right now.  It's just a thought.  Just something that popped in my head at the time.  It goes away just as soon as it arrived.  You will get here.  You will relearn all the rituals you created over the years.  Instead of lighting up when you first wake up, have some mints by your bed and pop one.  Instead of drinking coffee sitting down and having a cigarette, stand up. Do the same thing every single day for a period of a few weeks.  Trust me, after that time, you'll find yourself not even thinking about it.  Think of when the date changes, some of us (me included) have a heck of a time in the first month of the year writing the new year down.  After we've done it quite a few times, it becomes second nature.  Trust me, quitting smoking is just like that.  You can do this.  It is possible.  It is obtainable.  It is possible.  So you go get 'em, tiger.  I know you will do just fine 

Well, good morning everyone.  It's a blustery day here in the Midwest.  I'm excited to see the groundhog tomorrow.  that only means we have 6 more weeks of winter.  Whether it's going to be harsh or mild, I leave it up to the powers that be.


We have a combination of different theories, opinions and thoughts about the quitting process. We all agree on one thing and that is not one puff ever. Not one cigarette, not a half a cigarette, not one puff ever. Very early in my quit, if I would have taken just that one puff, in the first 2 weeks to a month, I would have been a full-fledged smoker again. Now I just know that I cannot ever have another cigarette again. Plain and simple. Earlier in my quit, I just made it as simple as possible, I'm not smoking today. That went on every single day until I reached about 150 days, 5 months. I've been quit for a year now and there are times, very seldom, that the thought enters my mind. I've learned that it's only a thought and nothing to be afraid of, to panic about and most importantly to act upon.


I feel that once you go through the physical withdrawal, the grief stage, come to terms that you've basically taught yourself through the years to react to bad things in your life by reaching for a cigarette instead of developing new ways to deal with the situation, you run the risk of returning back to smoking. I'm not going to use the word “addictive behavior.” Some don't associate smoking with an addiction or have a hard time grasping that concept. If that's the case, then so be it. But realize that that action of smoking was a learned behavior that you used to compensate for bad feelings, bad things that happened in your life, ways that you dealt with stress or even used as a reward. If it helps you to associate smoking with a behavior, behaviors can be unlearned and replaced with a positive one. That's the purpose of identifying your triggers and using a plan to counteract that and use those throughout your quit.


Over this year, I've identified many things that I personally know are my triggers, returning bad behaviors, returning habits that always drew me back to smoking. Slipping back into old ways of doing things. I think it's important to see those, to recognize those before things escalate. I've printed mine out and keep them stashed to refer to when I need them. I firmly believe as time ticks on, as new memories are made, as a conscious checklist is being performed and filed for future use, we go about life as all the nonsmokers of the world. The thought never enters our mind, but only because we have unlearned the behavior. We have taught ourselves new ways of dealing with life in general. We are our most influential teacher. Only you can develop your own plan for success, because this is your own playlist. You are the rising star.................

Please don't feel overwhelmed when you log on for the first time.  They have recently changed the format and we're still trying to get used to it.  Reminds me of when you get a change in your eyeglasses prescription.  It takes a few days to get everything in focus, but then you see so much clearer.  Or when you finally get a new position and your first day is looming ahead, you are in the guarded stage because you don't know what's to come.


And, ya know, quitting smoking is just like that.  I remember back a year or more ago when I finally came to the decision to quit.  I've had enough.  I can't breathe.  I don't like these daily headaches and dizzy spells.  I said over and over for months before that, "I've got to cut down.  I should really quit smoking."  I too was the road warrior.  They're not taking my cigarettes away from me.  Why I felt the need to cling on to them, I have no clue.  I didn't need them to make me look cool anymore.  For Pete's sake, I was 56 years old at the time.  I think the cool stage has left the building.


Most people ask me if I'm still quit and they just say, I can't quit right now.  I'm under too much stress.  My response back is always, but isn't life always stressful or is it just the way you perceive it to be that way.  I mean really, does that cigarette really take the stress away?  Does it really truly relax you?  Have you noticed that no more than 10 minutes later you're stressed out again?


Take the time on here and go through the steps of tracking your cigarettes, understanding what nicotine is and what is does to your brain.  I know you've heard about what it does to your body constantly on TV and social media, news print.  But really zone in on what it does in your brain, what makes you keep coming back for more, what makes it so hard to quit.  Once you get the grasp on that, it all falls into place.  Sure you're going to go through being super crabby, really tired, foggy, loss of concentration, really gassy, some have restless leg, sleep patterns that won't seem to get back on track.  But trust me, it doesn't last forever.  The physical symptoms are gone within 2 to 4 weeks and the fog lifts after about 4 months.  Compare that to how many years you've been smoking, that short of time is doable.


If you have to take a drive in your car those first few weeks and scream your full head off, then do it.  Take lots of walks, clean your house/apartment, wash your windows, ceiling fans, walls.  Just keep repeating to yourself, nope, nope, nope.  Hold off for ten minutes, distract yourself for ten minutes, betcha that craving went away.  Trust me, it doesn't last forever.  This isn't your final sentence.  This is the beginning of your life.  You'll be amazed how many things you've been missing out on.  In my case I've lived in my house for 28 years and there was a lilac tree across the street.  I never smelled it.  This summer was the first time and it was heaven.  


Be sure to reach out to members if you're having problems.  Be sure to type in the word HELP or I'm struggling.  Trust me someone will be there to help you along the way because we've all been there/done that.  Let's help you get there