Skip navigation
All People > susan.m > susan.m Blog
1 2 Previous Next

susan.m Blog

25 posts

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. 


Terrie_Quit 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

Image result for i am in control


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


Image result for i control me



Image result for it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought

Image result for mind over matter quotes

Image result for NOPE


Image result for keep the main thing the main thing

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

Starting 2017 off right!

Posted by susan.m Dec 31, 2016

Happy New Year everyone!


It takes time.....

Posted by susan.m Dec 24, 2016

"It takes substantial time to disconnect fully but it happens."

I read the above comment by Dale on one of Lori's blogs, and it hit home.

Let me just say the emotional connection and the pull I'm experiencing toward smoking is ridiculously strong. Dear God on heaven, I'd like to break this cycle of psychological warfare that addiction is playing with me. 

I dreamed I smoked a cigarette and I liked it (Katy Perry is now singing I kissed a girl and I liked it in my head. Ugh.).  More than that, in my dream I was content to smoke in secret so no one knew that I'd lapsed. That, ladies and gentlemen, is addiction talking. I'm now up with a cup of coffee and will start making food for our drop in shortly. There's a nap in my future. 

I'm almost at 3 weeks quit.  I've been very strong in my quit, but have to admit that I don't look forward to the next few months. I won't smoke, I truly hate cigarettes now, but I miss smoking terribly. Don't know if that makes sense or not, but I really miss smoking. If I could find the equivalent without the cigarette, I'd be all about it. The first person who comments that I should substitute exercise for smoking is gonna get it, haha.

The last 2 or 3 days have been the hardest of my quit. Worse than the first 72 hours. I think it's because I'm trying to cope emotionally, and back to dear Dale, it's going to take time. And that sucks. It just does. 

I won't smoke, but I'm still going to be pretty miserable as I navigate through it. NML is going to be a blast, I can just tell. 

Thanks for letting me whine a bit. This isn't a cry for help (or is it? Who knows), but it's where I knew I had to turn to vent. 




Day 16

Posted by susan.m Dec 20, 2016
The split personality disorder syndrome continues.....I can't believe it's been 16 days since I smoked, yet I can't believe that I was actually a smoker 16 days ago. I trust that these conflicting thoughts and feelings will go away in time. Until then, I just smile and shake my head. As many of you told me, cravings have diminished greatly, but when they hit, they can be ferocious! They're no match for my willpower, though. Deep breathing and distractions work well. I finally figured out why evenings were so hard for me. It's because it was the time of day when I was the most relaxed, and my guard wasn't as strong. Once I was aware of that, I was better prepared and no longer miserable. I'm not too proud to admit that....I was miserable each evening because the cravings were so strong! I'm glad I figured it out and took control back from my addiction. If I've learned anything from my young quit it's that you have to control it. Control your Quit. Those words could not be truer for me. So many things have changed in such a short period. I cannot believe how much smokers stink. It's really nasty. I can't believe how much free time I have now that I don't plan my life around smoking (the ridiculousness of that statement isn't lost on me), and I can't get over how much better I feel. Finally, I've heard many of you talk about how much better food tastes once your senses recover. I can attest to that.....we ordered pizza last night and it was the best thing I've ever eaten. Ever. I've gained 3 pounds (hey, don't judge, lol) and that pizza likely didn't help, but man was it worth it! I'm trying not to think about how many days it's been since I smoked; I had to check the calendar before starting this blog! I'm working on simply being a non-smoker. That seems to work better for me, but it may not for others. To quote Stephen Covey, "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing"......don't smoke. xx Susan

Image result for hungry all the time meme