We each have our own history: we set ourselves free from many things and felt the joy of breaking the chains.
For as long as I remember, I wanted to break free: from an overwhelming family dynamic, where abuse and love made one; from an oppressing society in which telling a joke could have been the ticket to a life in prison; from a social order which placed me, the newest member, on the lowest level with no respect for my education or enthusiasm for working hard and be accepted; from yet another social order which while providing the bare minimum, kept me frozen in place, with no opportunities to grow and integrate. I finally settled in a place which gave me a chance, gave my son plenty of opportunities, and for that I am EXTREMELY grateful! And I stayed, it is where I am.
Smoking, I thought, helped me deal with any major crisis in adult life: obstacles, challenges, drastic moves, crushed hopes, getting myself together and starting over, smoking was my "friend".
It took many years, and a phase in my life where everything seemed to finally fall into place, to start thinking about what smoking was doing to me.
Of course for almost 40 years I was on autopilot when it came to smoking. Several attempts to quit, like many of us, but none of them really reached my conscience. It took the intervention of my conscience to take me where I am today.
EX made me think about smoking, look at it from all its faceted angles and its impact on my life, health, freedom. I needed guidance for this one, more than for many other changes in my life. But I found it here and for that I also am EXTREMELY grateful! I learned to use my mind, and to change my thoughts and consequently, my emotions. I learned to look at smoking for what it is, a terrible addiction, so breaking away from it did not seem as hard as I always thought. Quitting set me free, one more time!
Since we are in the last week's count down for Christmas, why not spending it with a smile?
After all we know Happy Quitters have it much easier than Sad Quitters ("I lost my best friend" said me in the 1st month of my quit...so wrong...in fact I lost my worse enemy...should have been so happy instead of "watering my cheeks" over it).
So here goes, enjoy this time, if anything running shopping will make us lose some pounds we intend to put back eating all the cookies:
And this is for you elvan, who knows what strappy high heels you were wearing yesterday while shopping...
Happy Baking everyone!
Get both hands in the dough, you won't have another one to hold a cigarette, unless you learned to use other body parts for that!
Life got in the way and I have not stopped by to say hello, to see my old friends' comments, and to meet the new quitters for a little while now.
Having spent some time here over the week-end did more than reinforce what I already knew: I came home, to share hugs and love with my family, to learn some more about our quit journey, to enjoy "seeing" everyone, and meet the newer family members.
Thank you all for being home and prove all over again what a strong community, with wonderful people EX is!
Meeting all of you long time quitters, learning what it takes, adjusting the tools to fight the craves at the beginning, and learning how to surf them later, learn to know myself and when to come here for help, as well as helping others, brought me where I am today, 442 days of freedom, and counting.
For all of you over there not believing you can do it, please listen to someone who was one of yours a little over 1 year ago: You can do it.
This community is going to be your lifeline anytime you need one, and will guide you through hard times, just learn to stay close and you won half of the battle. The rest is up to you, and you will get there with an open mind and desire to learn, and to re-gain your self-respect. You are going to change, but it is all for the better and you and your dear ones will be the beneficiary!
I wanted to talk about it, soon after it happened.
No one here says it is easy to quit; and life has all kind of stuff in store for all of us.
For a while we think we miss our fix to make everything better, but then we start recognizing all things that are getting better when you become an EX. There are many blogs that have been written about all the positive changes when you are an EX.
But nothing prepared me for the feeling of pride I felt this morning.
I was driving to work, the weather was cooler this week, cool enough that no AC was needed to run this morning (no matter how much I cleaned my car, when I start the AC I still smell a faint smoke, or smoke-like smell; after all for 15 years the driver was smoking in this car).
No AC this morning, and all of a sudden I can smell the wonderful perfume I used this morning. I used to say smoking was my only addiction, where in fact perfume is another one. And since I do not smoke, I gained weight and I am now on WW, I “absolutely had to” treat myself somehow: so I purchased a new perfume, and used it today.
Of course I smelled it before, but today, while driving, I felt overwhelmed by the sense of pride that I no longer tarnish the air around me, my clothes, my car, my hair, my body.
I was so proud to be an EX, prouder maybe than any other time before today.
So for all of us, newbies or not, being an EX is such a huge accomplishment, that all the cravings in the world should not move our resolve: being an EX, staying an EX!
PS I will look at my new avatar pic forever, the little smile appeared on my face while being proud to be an EX!!!
I used to be a happy quitter; during months 2-4 or 5 I was so filled with the joy of freedom that no crave was strong enough to shake my resolve. Quite the opposite: I was happy to get the crave, I called it my proof I am a non-smoker.
Then life brought my share of suffering: being lost for many months, not knowing what was going on in my body, taking many totally un-necessary tests, and for which I have payment plans stretching for months ahead, to eventually being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s (Hypothyroidism). One would think “thank God, we have a diagnosis, we have drugs to treat it, we are good”. Well, not so fast! Yes, I am feeling way better than I did in January before the diagnosis, however, my energy never came back. I still can’t walk, get up in the morning and sit on the edge of my bed for long minutes before I am even able to go make a cup of coffee.
For the last week, my lower back pain came back too; almost like my body is having a pain party at my expense; the week passed in a haze, I am working, fixing dinner, taking pain killers so I can function somehow, doing stretching exercises, massaging the spastic muscles in my back, I have yet to wake up feeling relieved.
And I can’t stop but remember, in my past life, I’d step out on the patio, counting my miseries, and having a couple, or 3 or 4 cigarettes, and for that short time(15-20 minutes), all pains and suffering were forgotten.
Do you know I find myself making the choice not too smoke way too many times/day lately?
But I know well, there are so many of us out there, going through heavier stuff than mine, dealing with more pain and suffering than mine, and making the right choice every day. They are too many to list here, but they are my guiding mentors. If nothing else, but my respect for them is helping me making the right choice every hour of every day.
Thank you for being here for me every day, thank you for your answers to people in need of guidance. The same answers are helping all of us, newbies or elders!
So here is the answer to my own question: how do we stay EX? We come here every day, read and understand what it takes, and get inspired by our peers, and make the right choice, every day, every hour of every day!
Not too worry, but our son's in-laws are visiting starting tomorrow through Tuesday! We will be busy cooking and baking (as Romanians always do when they have guests), entertaining and showing around! It is their first time in AZ, we want to make it memorable for them.
You all take care, stay smoke free, and enjoy the weekend!
Strength: to make a hard decision, even though supported by the experience, studies, common sense, you go against a strong, iron strong enemy: NICOTINE
Commitment: you stay quit amongst family, friends, acquaintances who are still smoking, and it is not easy to stay tall against all temptations
Sacrifice: at the beginning you are staying home on weekends, staying away from triggers, even if they represent fun; you are not taking long trips for a while, in order to make sure you can use some of your tools you have at home to protect your quit (walking crazy form a room to another, doing deep breathing exercises, doing activities to keep your hands occupied, meditating)
Flexibility: learn life without cigarettes, how to respond to the same situations without involving the old crutch
Adaptability: re-think friends, activities, family gatherings, in order to minimize exposure to re-lapse risks, while enjoying new interactions
Humility: keep our own unhappiness under control when facing family, health, life’s challenges when we know what our friends’ challenges are, bow our heads filled with negative thoughts, and extend our most positive support to those in bigger needs than ours
Self-control: not only teach ourselves to not react to temptations around us, but also to limit our negative ranting in time of constant fight with craves
Constant positive attitude: talk ourselves into being happy against the feeling of loss, seeing the bright side of getting healthy, and being free, despite being borderline depressed
Learn to love ourselves, while still hating us for waiting so long to do what is right for our health
And we all have it what it takes, we all made it here, somehow what we might miss naturally, we learn it from each other. The support system this group represents has given us everything we need to become this strong person against the adversity of Nicotine.
And for that I am profoundly thankful for all my EX friends!
Our friend Trudy tjanddj is sending her love, as she has not been on EX much lately. As most of us know, her son is awaiting to start a new round of therapy with a promising result. But there are a lot of tests that have to be had, and he has not feeling his best lately. They are going through some difficult times and can use all our love, and prayers...