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susan.m Blog

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Hi all!!  


Wanted to pop in and say hello to the EX community and  those that made such a profound difference in my quit. 


Yesterday, I earned my comma!  I can’t tell you how much I love life as a non-smoker, nor can I adequately thank you all for helping me get here. 


For any of you just starting your journey, don’t give up - the rewards are so worth it. 


Peace and love from the quad club!




Two years!   

Posted by susan.m Dec 3, 2018

As I approach my two year anniversary of being smoke-free, I’ve re-read some of my blogs to see if my thoughts/feelings about the process have changed. They haven’t, but I will say that with time comes clarity. 


For any of you that might remember my quit, I analyzed everything in the beginning. Everything.


I had so many questions and I wanted answers to them all; I stayed in my head through my early quit and I wanted to know why I was able to navigate successfully through the crappy moods, the weight gain and more than a few tears.


Despite it all, there was never any going back for me, and I did not understand how I could do it when others that I cared for so deeply on this site failed. 


With clarity came my answers. 


ACCEPTANCE.  I know there are others here that talk about acceptance, and they do so for good reason. In order to truly, successfully break the chains of nicotine, you must accept that you no longer smoke. Some of us accept this immediately, others of us take much longer. Once you stop lying to yourself and accept that you’ve truly quit, the rest is just navigating your new normal. 


That, my friends, is the holy grail of breaking free from addiction. 


I feel like I’m quoting some of the most treasured elders on this site, but this is such a critical point: we fail because we do not truly accept that we have quit smoking. When you accept that you’ve quit, failing is not an option. That was the difference – there is my answer: I accepted my quit at about 8:40 pm on December 4th, 2016.


You cannot go through the motions of quitting – you cannot use a patch, take a pill, submit to hypnosis or go cold turkey and successfully quit until you accept that you no longer smoke. 


Along with my acceptance, a funny thing happened to me this past year.   


FREEDOM.  Now I’m moving from Dale and Julia with “acceptance” to dear Ellen with “permission”. I truly gained my freedom when I realized that if I wanted to smoke I could just go buy a pack and do it. I released the tight grip that I held on myself and gave myself permission to smoke if I truly could not stand it any longer.  I knew that the earth would not open up and swallow me, people were not going to disown me, I was not going to grow a second head – and that if I really wanted to smoke, I could. 


Permission is a powerful thing.


I did not smoke. And that’s when I gained my freedom, and it happened because I’d already accepted that I quit smoking.


Words.  That’s a lot of words that likely sound like gibberish to any of you who are trying to quit, contemplating a quit or are working on another attempt to quit.  They are not words, they are the truth – read them, re-read them, accept your quit.  Cry, scream, kick something – celebrate.  Do whatever feels right, but ACCEPT that you no longer smoke.  Then navigate through the changes of going from a smoking to a non-smoking life.  DO IT - the rewards are endless.


Finally, I wanted to reprint some of my one year blog, because it perfectly sums up how I feel about BecomeanEx:



Pati made me laugh at myself and reminded me to stop being so uptight.  Nancy, Ellen and Marilyn were like constant hugs, and I felt their love every day. Terrie was so consistently present, and Mike greeted me every morning with the cheerfulness of the morning sun.  Seriously, you need sunglasses to read his posts... and how cool is that?  Giulia was my cut to the chase get-real reality check, and Dale made me think, really think about the quitting process. Nancy reminded me every Friday to be careful around alcohol, and yet I still wanted to sit down with Crazy Mama Lori and have a beer. Thomas regularly provided data to reinforce my decision to quit, and Larry made me want to ride a camel.


Oddly, I loved quitting because of them. These were my people; this was my tribe.


I was allowed to openly share what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing, thereby providing me with the creative outlet that I didn't know I'd need.  In turn, you read my blogs, had conversations with me, offered advice when I needed it and a shoulder when I needed that. 

You gave me the precious gift of your time. You shared your own personal stories (Ellen and Daniella, just to name a few of you) that kept my perspective in check. I was often humbled and frequently moved by sheer kindness and selflessness exhibited here.


There are many reasons to quit, many ways to quit, and many resources to tap into to support your quit. Many people attribute their quit success to books they've read, NRT aids, hypnosis, etc.  Not me. I used you. You were my therapy.


I thank God for each and every one of you on this site.  While the quit was mine, the journey was bearable and inexplicably enjoyable thanks to you.


You may not remember the lives you've touched, but I promise that those lives will always remember you.



1 Year and 364 Days Strong


Hi from beautiful SC! 

Posted by susan.m Jun 4, 2018

Hello my EX community!  Hope you are all doing well and enjoying the early days of almost-summer.  For those of you who remember, we've moved back to my home state and we are settling in to the new house.  Work is fine (read REALLY busy!) and the new puppy is doing well, too.  

I hate that I missed my 500 day anniversary, but at the same time am happy to report that it passed without being noted in my world.  For those of you who are just starting your journey, you really DO stop counting the days, hours and minutes since you quit.  It will seem to take forever, but you will get there.  

I have decided that if I can move a family of four across the country - along with transferring my mom from a nursing home in Indiana to a nursing home in SC - while my daughter is graduating from college and while my youngest is getting braces without smoking, I'll likely never smoke again.  I don't ever let my guard down, though, and know that people far stronger than me have slipped.  Having said that, there's so much satisfaction in knowing that I am 500+ days free. 

What's new with all of you?

Love, Susan


Not Smokin' Over It

Posted by susan.m Mar 28, 2018

Wow, it's been a while since I've logged in.  I'll fill you all in with some of our goings-on, please fill me in on what's been happening here!


Did I tell you we got a puppy?  Those of you who told me that it's like having another child weren't kidding!  Duke has stolen our hearts and I am convinced that he is the best puppy EVER.  I would have enjoyed taking the dog outside to use the bathroom while I was still smoking. What a perfect smoke break!  I've thought more than once that I could have house trained him in a week while I was still smoking, LOL. I wouldn't give up my quit, but still... the thought occurs to me every now and then.  Not smokin' over it, though.  


Lots going on at our house....



My middle daughter graduates from college in just a few weeks.  Where has the time gone?!  It seems like we dropped her off at her dorm for her freshman year just yesterday.  Her younger sister starts high school this fall, and with that one, it seems like yesterday when my husband I and were shell-shocked to learn that we were expecting her.  Actually, it seems like just yesterday when I stood over each of their cribs marveling at the fact that these amazing children were ours.  Time passes so quickly.  Not smokin' over it, though.


I have accepted a new position with my company and we are moving to Charleston (my hometown!).  It is not lost on me that I am going to finish my accidental career in the city where it started.  Very emotional for me, and for all of us.  This has been my home for 23 years, and my husband's for his entire life.  It is also the only home my children have known.  We have mixed emotions about the move, along with the obligatory higher than normal stress levels.  So much to do!  Not smokin' over it, though.   


In just a few short weeks, we will say goodbye to the Hoosier state and return to my beloved home-state of SC.  And (you guessed it), no matter how emotional, how stressed I become, I'M NOT SMOKIN' OVER IT!


What's new with all of you?


The Tie That Binds Us

Posted by susan.m Dec 19, 2017

In 2011, the CDC conducted a study and found that almost 70 percent of American smokers want to quit. While more than half of those try to quit each year, only 6 percent succeed.  

Of those 6 percent, there are so many variances in the methods used to quit, so many differences in the way we quit, and very different reactions to the withdrawal that accompanies a quit.  

See Billy over there?  He used  Chantix.  Nancy used Wellbutrin.  Dave and Jim?  They went cold turkey. Samantha used lozenges, and her husband Tim used the patch, when he remembered to put it on, that is.  As for John, he followed the step-down process of the patch religiously. Tiffany was hypnotized, but had to use nicotine gum as well because it was just too hard to fight the cravings. Andrew, well, Andrew used the patch, then he used gum, then he used Zyban, then he finally just put them down. 

They all quit smoking. 

Which method was right?  All of them. Which method was best?  All of them.  Which method is fool-proof?  None of them.

What made the difference?  Billy, Nancy, Dave, Jim, Samantha, Tim, John, Tiffany and Andrew all accepted the fact that they were addicts.  Well, Andrew finally accepted it after three failed attempts. They all used the tools that worked for them to help support their decision to beat the addiction.  

There are many who try and try and try again to quit, but never fully understand that smoking is an addiction.  When you accept the addiction for what it is and stop fooling yourself into thinking that you can beat this "if you want", you'll gain control of your addiction and win back the freedom of your life. 

Here was my moment of acceptance; it came months after I quit:  The Biggest Lie.  Had I not reached this moment, I may not have made it to the 6 percent club.  

Our addiction is not the tie that binds us, but rather it is the acceptance of that addiction.


Acceptance is the most powerful tool in your arsenal, but for many, denial keeps it out of reach. 


Denial is your addiction's most powerful tool, and you are the only one who can beat it. 

If you're struggling with your quit, if you're relapsing, or if you're just here lurking around while you think about quitting, break through the denial to the honesty of your addiction and you've taken the first real step toward freedom.  

Acceptance.  That is the tie that binds us.  



The Three YOUs

Posted by susan.m Dec 6, 2017

There’s been a bit of buzz lately about The Three Yous, and it’s interesting to think about it from the perspective of quitting smoking.


There’s the YOU that the world sees, the YOU that your family and close friends see, and then there’s the YOU in your head…. The one that you share with no one.  These are your public, your private and personal YOUs.


The public YOU is like a suit of armor that shields your private and personal YOUs.  This is the YOU that you let the world see.  This is the YOU that generally projects success, and this is the YOU that you can easily identify as a non-smoker. 


The private YOU is the one that drops the armor, but still has a protective layer – an outer shell that protects the personal YOU.  This is the YOU that talks almost obsessively about quitting.  This is the YOU that truly wants to quit, but it can be a little harder to identify this YOU as a non-smoker.  Doubts can plague this YOU, and this YOU will second guess itself. 



The personal YOU has no protective barrier.  There are no half-truths, there are no glossy smiles – there’s only you.  This is the YOU that’s in your head, and it’s your best friend, or your worst enemy. This is the YOU that controls your impulses, your thoughts, your reactions.  These are your morals, your emotions, your decisions, choices, secrets and your memories. This is where it gets real.


The personal YOU controls the public and private YOU.  The personal YOU gives you peace. It gives you strength, and it provides you comfort.  The personal YOU reacts to fight or flight.  It is your past, it is your present, and it determines your future.  That you – the one that only you know – is the single most important factor in your quit.  The personal YOU is your truth.   



So, what if we take what we know and turn it around?  What if you let the personal YOU project success?  What if you let the personal YOU laugh about the challenges of quitting?  What if you let the personal YOU identify as a non-smoker?  What if we just let everything else go, and in our private moments truly accept that we no longer smoke?  Could it be that simple? 


When every YOU accepts that you no longer smoke, the battle is won.   


Day 75 - No Man's Land Update

Posted by susan.m Feb 17, 2017

Hi all....sending an update at the 75 day mark in my travels through No Man's Land.


I seem to have lost my camel; I don't think he transitioned with me to the new site. I have also lost sight of the Caravan Master and have not seen an outpost, camp or caravan update of any kind.  It makes things quiet and a bit lonely. Finally, if anyone gets word that Sarah has started pubishing again, please let me know. Larry and Sarah are missed!  Sarah's weekly publication managed to get to each of us who are trekking our way through the desert, but we haven't seen anything in a long time. Luckily, we are able to view her older publications. 


TerrieQuit and I are hanging in there and take each day as it comes. She's a few days behind me and keeps me on my toes. She tries really hard to catch me but always remains 3 days behind.   There are many ahead of us who shine their lanterns to lead the way, and we are grateful for them!  In turn, Terrie and I shine our lanterns to help insure that no one behind us is lost. We have all worked hard for our quits and protect them every day. 


My quit kit is full. I still have cravings occasionally, and some are so strong that I can almost feel my chest tightening with the urge to smoke. I treat the craving like the annoyance that it is and move on.  I refuse to give cigarettes and my addiction control of my life again.


If you see Sarah or Larry, please send our regards from NML. I'm off to try and find that damn camel.....




susan_m Archived Profile

Posted by susan.m Jan 23, 2017



Avid Quitter. Happy Quitter. Firm believer in NOPE and in the power of the mind.  

Quit date was Decembre 4th 2016.  FREEDOM!  

"Fortunately, there’s more than one way to quit smoking. . . the catch is you must choose wisely to become smoke-free." - Arthur A. Hawkins II

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Habibi - my NML camel..... He's just here for the party.  


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Brief Description

Do you mind if I don’t smoke?


No website in profile.


originally sc, now smack dab in the middle of the midwest.... indianapolis, in


traveling, cooking, reading, giving back, and riding motorcycles with husband and friends


No skills in profile.


Day 50

Posted by susan.m Jan 23, 2017
  With the help and support of the EX community and my family, I put cigarettes down on December 4th, 2016 and started my cold turkey quit. 50 days later, I am stronger than ever.
  I love being a non-smoker and will never deprive myself of this distinction. I have worked hard for it and earned it; it's my gift to myself and my health, and I protect it fiercely. 
  I have learned so much over these last two months. I've learned about myself and so many of you.  I've seen strong quits crumble, I've seen people get up and try again. I've seen people go through tremendous physical, emotional and psychological challenges and I've seen people triumphantly hit major milestones in their journeys.  It's been an incredible experience to be a part of it, and I'm in awe of the strength that this community gives its members. I also learned that even the strongest need help and support, and that it can be found  here. I cannot stress enough how critical a role Become An Ex played in my quitting process. 
  Thank you to each of you who supported me through the crazy and unpredictable early stages of my quit. You were all so very present, which truly helped make the difference.

Ice, ice, baby.....

Posted by susan.m Jan 13, 2017

Here we storm! It's going to be a long, cold and icy weekend in Indiana. Yay us!  The grocery stores will be fun today, huh?  

One thing that comes to mind is that I don't have to take stock of my cigarette supply because I don't smoke anymore!

Freedom is a beautiful thing!!



Several bloggers wished the EX community a good night's sleep last must have worked. According to my fitbit, I slept for eight and a half hours without interruption. That's rare for me!

The older I get the more I appreciate quality sleep!




30+ Days

Posted by susan.m Jan 8, 2017
Around Thanksgiving, I decided that I was going to quit smoking. It was time to break my 30 year habit. I picked the date strategically so I would be distracted at work, and I even picked the time of day...evening so I would wake up with a number of smoke free hours under my belt. Did those choices help? You bet.....they set the mental stage for me to control my quit from the onset. I go back and read my first seven blogs now and laugh....they really were funny days. Hard? Not as hard as I thought. Fun? No, but exciting because I was actually quitting. I was exhausted that first week, that's my biggest takeaway. That and the fact that I still can't stand the smell of Trident Spearmint gum. It's permanently banned from my home. Much to the delight of my family and friends, the split personality syndrome has ended. My sleep pattern has returned to normal, and the cravings and triggers are rare. The psycological warfare that my addiction played with me has either given up or is just taking a break. Either way is fine with me, because I am in control of this quit and am ready if the warfare resumes. It's been an interesting month reading blogs and getting to know many of you. I've watched and read about other quits...some have been amazing and even stronger than mine, some failed, sadly, before the 72 hour mark. I still wonder what it is that makes the difference. I trust that those in charge of the EX community study our blogs looking for clues. Anything that any of us do or say could help someone else break free....and, how cool is it to give and take at the same time? I came to this site for support during the hard phases of my quit; I did not come here to try and quit. I knew as soon as I hit 24 hours smoke free that I would never smoke again, and that's when I registered as an EX. This site allowed me to work through all of the stages of breaking free of addiction as well as the stages of grief. Yes, I grieved quitting smoking, and thankfully, moved through all of the stages quickly. I initially had a terrible time with cravings in the evenings, and naturally I blogged about it. I figured out that it was because I was relaxed and therefore my guard was, problem solved. I recall Nancy asking what I did to counter the cravings once I figured it out and at the time, could not articulate an intelligent answer. I may as well have said "I dunno" in my foggy brain phase of the quit. Simply being aware of the cause allowed me to mentally control my response to the trigger. I didn't have to change my routine or behavior. I knew the urge to smoke would come, and when it did, I allowed it to pass. I didn't give the urge any power. They stopped a few days later. Proactive vs reactive. I was completely unprepared to hit the wall between the two and three week mark. There were a couple of days there that were by far the hardest of my quit. I've read only one other blog that mentioned this (unfortunately, I read about it after going through it, lol), and I'm happy that it is not the norm. If this was mentioned in any reading material, I missed it because I was so focused on 72 hours. I didn't like getting knocked on my ass unprepared, but got my feet under me again pretty quickly. Any newbies out aware. You'll get through it if it hits, just know it could happen. Key for me was blogging.....every single day until quitting no longer consumed me. I blog now only when I really want to say something, but I made myself blog daily for the first week. If you're just starting, blog. Blog a lot. Become an EX is also critical to maintaining and protecting my precious quit. I start each day by affirming that I will not smoke (Terrie, if you read this, will you link the group in the comments?). I get my coffee and make my pledge. I truly start my day with it. It works for me and for many others. I read blogs on this site all day. I am always logged in. I try to encourage new members and I comment on posts that many of you make. Staying connected continues to give me strength. For anyone who's new that may read this, I have to point out that there are so many people here who have 1, 5, 10+ YEARS of being smoke free under their belts.....but they still log in every day to guide and support those of us who start down this path. That's love. That's generosity. That's giving back. If they give advice, take it. They know that of which they speak, as the saying goes. I loved quitting, even on the hard days. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting me from the beginning and helping to make my quit worth loving. xx Susan (30+DOF)

@Terrie, you asked - heck yeah I have my camel!

The Caravan Master was kind enough to give me a camel with cool props; I have all of my tools to protect my quit packed and within easy access - and I will not let anything get in the way of my quit or anyone else who's with me.

Let's make this trip through NML a party!



Day 29

Posted by susan.m Jan 2, 2017
Day 29 29 days ago, I quit smoking. It's been hard, it's been easy. I've been happy, I've been miserable. I've been through every stage of grief over losing what I thought was my friend (bargaining was the scariest for me), and I've learned that smoking wasn't really my friend. It's been quite a month. I've spent a lot of time thinking about my quit: identifying my triggers, pushing my boundaries, and at times sitting in the corner sucking my thumb. OK, that last part is exaggerated, but you get my point. I've tried to be as analytical and as daring as possible so that I'm prepared for what's next. I don't want to be tripped up by surprises or sneak attacks. No Man's Land, here I come. My bags are packed. I'm bringing the skills I've learned, the advice I received and the results of analyzing my first 30 days smoke free. Throw your worst at me, because I'm well prepared and have a ton of support on and off this site to get me through it. Bring it, NML. I'm ready. I'm grateful for those of you who are ahead of me, and will follow you on the days when it's tough. For anyone who's behind me, I promise you that I will not fail. Follow me and we'll get through it together. I'm heeding the advice of the caravan as it heads through NML, and just in case, I'm bringing the club that Larry recommended so I can beat the hell out of anything that blocks my path. Every day is a new journey, and I'm ready for this one. xx Susan