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PastTense

Keep what works   52/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 24, 2020

I realize that I have written a lot about tools for quitting and what is working for me.

The operative phrase here is “what is working for me”. I would like to spend some time on that thought because I keep forgetting to apply it.

Sometimes I get annoyed at posts that offer advice when I haven’t asked for it and frankly don’t want it. For the moment, let’s set aside the probably correct assumption that whether I want it or not; I definitely need it. Getting advice I don’t want makes me cranky. Cranky and sullen and surly and even a little hostile. In a word, I react like a spoiled brat.

I don’t need no stinkin’ help. I can do this all by myself. Yes, I am a full-grown toddler.

So here is a thought. Maybe that piece of advice wasn’t directed at me. Maybe somebody else needs to hear it. OR, maybe it is directed at me and I’m not ready to hear it. It might take hearing it multiple times before I am ready for it. OR, maybe it isn’t applicable to me in any way and I can just leave it be.

If it isn’t for me, then it isn’t for me.

On the other hand, I have gotten terrific insights from many of the posts here that weren’t even directed at me. Ideas like; “You have to quit smoking to be a non-smoker”. I kid you not; that was a revelation.

You never know what someone else needs to hear during their quit. There are all kinds of ideas and approaches and opinions on this site. Take what you need and leave the rest.

Keep the quit

PT

PastTense

The Great Pretender  51/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 24, 2020

Quitting is hard. That sentence is the entirety of my blog distilled into one thought. It’s just stinking hard and it’s hard for a long time.

It’s hard because we are fighting addiction.

It’s hard because we are fighting habit.

It’s hard because we have adjusted our entire lives around smoking – whether or not we realize we are doing it.

Sometimes it takes several attempts before your quit sticks. Let me be completely honest here: it took many several many dozen attempts for MY quit to stick.

This blog is for all my fellow quitters who are having a tough time sticking. You may just be lurking here on the forum, but staying hidden. Maybe you started taking the pledge but stopped because you broke your quit and after the first couple of times were just too embarrassed to come back.   Maybe you plan on making yourself known when you have some solid time to boast. Maybe you were (are) a closet smoker and can’t reach out for help and support because that would blow your cover.

I feel your pain and frustration and embarrassment. I feel you because I am you.

I started my quit in March of 2019. I just stopped posting my quit date because it moved so often. I didn’t want to admit to slipping. I didn’t want to hear the advice and wise counsel of the long-time quitters here. This was an error of hubris.

We all get to our quit by different routes. I took the long way to find the right way. It took me 6 months to admit that the way I was trying to quit wasn’t working. It took me another 3 months to figure out something different to try. The entire time I knew I was searching for a way to quit but I felt like an imposter through the whole process.

You know what would have worked from the get-go if I had done it? Posting every day. Yep. Posting. Every. Day. It takes courage and humility to post your DOF every single day. Food for thought for the serial quitters.

For as long as it takes you

For as often as you need to start over

Keep quitting until you are quit

Keep the quit.

PT

12 DOF

PastTense

90/90 update at 50/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 23, 2020

The fiftieth blog seems like a good time to step back and review my plan to write 90 posts in 90 days. I’m over halfway through the blogs and a little surprised by the whole process, to be honest.

I decided to try 90 in 90 because my quit was broken. I started this quit in March of 2019. Nearly a year ago.   I would quit for 5, 6, up to 7 or 8 days at a time and then break down and by a pack, swearing to myself I would have “just one”. Very often I did have just one. More often I would have 3 or 4 and throw the pack away only to buy another pack the next day. This is basically the story of 2019. During this time, my sister passed away at 58 years old. She was a smoker. And STILL, I could not go for more than a week without breaking my quit. I didn’t post my DOF, because I was embarrassed about constantly resetting back to 0.

Nevertheless, I was committed to quitting. Obviously, what I was doing wasn’t working. If you quit smoking and you’re still smoking; you’re doing it wrong. Right? So I had to find something that would work better.

In a moment of either genius or desperation (possibly both); I challenged myself to 90 posts in 90 days. I recalled a TV show I had seen 20 years ago about a doctor who had gone through rehab and then relapsed. He was told to attend 90 AA meetings in 90 days. I decided I was going to do the same thing.

I was hoping that hanging out here would help remind me of why I want to quit smoking. I thought that I would anchor my quit and really dedicate some time into being quit. I seriously underestimated how hard it is to post a blog every day, especially when each blog is essentially about the same thing. I spend a significant portion of my day thinking about quitting.

So far, it is working. After a rocky start where I regretted this decision, it seems to be working. I don’t have 50 days quit, but I do have more than I ever had before. I don’t feel like a non-smoker, but I don’t feel like a pretender, either. I have another 40 blogs to go and no earthly idea what I am going to write about. I am committed to the next 40 blogs. I am committed to

keep the quit.

PT

PastTense

Let's make a deal   49/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 23, 2020

I talk a lot about quitting being a journey and not an event. I realize that for some of you; that is not a true statement. You made a decision, put out the cigarette and never looked back. I applaud you and am in awe.

That has not been my experience. My experience with quitting is not clean cut. I have been “quitting” for well over 16 years, since breaking a successful quit with just one smoke. I put quitting in quotation marks for a reason; because what I called “quitting” was really just a series of deals I made with myself to enable me to pretend I’m quitting when I’m really smoking.

Some of you may be familiar with the deals.

I’ve been quit a week so I can buy a pack and smoke just one to celebrate and I’ll get right back on track

My spouse is out of town this weekend, so I can smoke and it doesn’t count. If I smoke now I’ll get right back on track

                I can smoke when I am out of town and it doesn’t count. I’ll never smoke at home.

I want to have 90 days smoke free by my birthday. This is the last cigarette until then. Make that 60 days.   Make it 30 days.

I have made those deals and many more just like them for years. I am done making deals.

Keep the quit

PT

Every single smoker eventually quits smoking. Some quit smoking at the same time they quit breathing.

Others of us have chosen to quit now. At whatever point in our lives we are, we chose to stop ingesting poison and not wait until we are dead. From the outside, this doesn’t seem like a difficult decision to make.

For some of us (like me), the decision was easy and made years ago; the actually quitting part was hard.

Others of us had real wake up calls in their health or maybe an ill friend that galvanized them into quitting.

I’ve also heard stories here of people who had a hard time making that call and felt like they were giving up their friend.

And some here don’t really want to quit; but they know they HAVE to quit. For health or a spouse, it’s been thrust upon them.

And here we all are, at a crossroad where we make the decision to become smoke free. We make the turn and we are on the Non Smoking Highway. Like every highway, there are slow downs. There are opportunities to exit the highway every 5 miles. There are irritating traffic jams and irritating people on the road. There are the drivers that exit and enter the highway multiple times, hoping to bypass the slower traffic, but it never works that way.

I was late for work today because of some traffic snarl and everything I see makes me think of quitting smoking. Quitting is a journey not an event.

We’ll all get there

Keep the Quit

PT

PastTense

Order  47/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 22, 2020

I spent yesterday on an emergency visit to a vendor who is having some…”difficulties”. I got in to the office at 7:15, was told I need to pay the vendor a visit at 7:35 and was out the door by 7:45.

I feel badly for the vendor. I am not a pleasant person when my routine is upset. I am an even less pleasant person when I don’t have a chance to plan for a trip. Planning gives me a sense of control over the uncontrollable. Or at least a sense that I have done what I can to know what comes next.

I like order. I like knowing where I am going to be and what kind of shoes I need to wear. I love to travel, and when I do, I make spreadsheets outlining what activities are planned, what the weather is predicted to do, what I am going to wear, and which shoes. Not even kidding about this. My husband laughs at me, but I tell him it’s all part of my charm.

Quitting smoking as a great, giant, leap into the unknown and unplanned. It is safe to say that quitting is more than just unknown – it is unknowable. At least in advance. All the planning and reading about the effects of withdrawal aren’t going to help you when you get hit with an unusual symptom. I will say from personal experience that even withdrawal symptoms you are expecting can be quite shocking in their intensity or extent. Like a headache that won’t go away or constipation. You know it can happen, but WOW – did not see that coming.

Not having control or the illusion of control over the direction and dimension of my quit has been agitating, at best. I hate being out of my comfort zone. I detest it. Even with my written quit plan and several spreadsheets to track my progress, it is completely out of my control and I have no idea when things will get better. OCD? Not clinically, but, heck yeah – and some ADHD thrown in for when I get bored! And I know many of us are dealing with some level of mental health issue that is exacerbated by quitting. Anxiety, depression, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, at all levels of the spectrum.

We are all battling our demons along with fighting nicotine. My hat is off to every single one of you who fighting the good fight. I know that our efforts will eventually pay off.

Keep the faith

Keep the quit.

PT

brittneyd.rice

Just passed day 11

Posted by brittneyd.rice Jan 21, 2020

I'm still not smoking... Yay! I won't pretend it has been easy the past few days but I am still truckin along. I drove my smelly car for the first time a few days ago... Had to roll the windows down in the snow because the smell was so bad. They have these smelly bomb things you can set off in the car... Did that and now the pina colada smell is a bit too overwhelming. Smells have been very hard for me. Also, my throat feels raw although I havent been coughing (which I also find strange).  I ate peanut butter and it burned my throat a bit. Anyone know why I havent been coughing? I was looking forward to it almost because I wanted a physical sign that my lungs were healing.  Probably sounds crazy that I want to cough but I guess I just need a reward for all my hard work lol! Maybe I just need more time. Anywho... 2 weeks, here I come!

PastTense

Real Addiction    46/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 20, 2020

I have thought a lot about addiction over the past few months. My husband’s family live in Ohio in the epicenter of an opioid drug problem. We know people who know people who have been darkly affected by the drugs. We are related to people who have gone through rehab.

Even in our small town we have billboards encouraging addicts to reach out for help.

The only difference between me and the stereotype of a drug addict is the drug of choice.

I have made some of the dumbest decisions I have ever made because of smoking. I have been late to a job interview because I wanted one more cigarette. I have set fire to countless trash cans. I have destroyed thousands of dollars’ worth of car interiors and clothes from burning embers. I have almost wrecked my car from smoke getting in my eyes. All those things before even mentioning the toll on my health and finances.

It is humbling to consider how close to the edge I have stood and relieved to see a way out of this addiction.

Keep it real

Keep the quit

PT

Many of us Exers in the US are celebrating the holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. I read the entire text of his “I Have a Dream” speech, which is quite magnificent. I read it twice because the language, the imagery, the rhetoric, and the message are all so powerful. WOW.

I digress.

I was thinking about the reasons each of us has to quit smoking. Our health, our looks, and/or our pocketbooks are prominent reasons stated for wanting to quit smoking. Underlying all of these reasons, though, is the idea that we are NOT FREE. We are chained to nicotine by a powerful addiction. We are so chained to nicotine, in fact, that we have to be powerfully motivated by our other concerns to even attempt to give it up.

If we were free, we wouldn’t need reasons to quit. If we were free, we would just think to selves, “I don’t want to smoke” and we wouldn’t smoke. In fact, if we were truly free, we wouldn’t even think about smoking. Right? How much time does the non-smoker-never-has-smoked think about smoking? NEVER. They spend zero seconds of every day thinking about, planning for, or avoiding smoking. None.

Smokers are not free. We are not free and we did it to ourselves.

Break the chains

Keep the quit

PT

PastTense

The hardest quit   44/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 20, 2020

All of us here have committed to doing something extraordinarily difficult. We have decided to break our addiction to nicotine and quit smoking. That is no small task. I was pondering on my way to work about which of us has the hardest addiction to break.

Pack-a-day smokers: Heavy smokers have inhaled a constant stream of nicotine. The act of smoking is embedded in their daily lives. Every internal system is accustomed to operating with nicotine.

Closet smokers: Secret smokers are always on the lookout for opportunity to sneak a smoke. Smoking never retreats to the back of their mind because they never know when their next chance is to smoke. Closet smokers have been going through withdrawal almost as long as they have been smoking.

Vapers: Vaping creates a near-perfect delivery system of addictive nicotine into the system. Vapers don’t worry about the stench and mess of cigarette smoke and ash; which means they can get their nicotine at any time.

Serial quitters:  Serial quitters have made the decision to quit a thousand and one times.  They have made it to day three or four a thousand times.  They may have made it out of Hell Week 500 times.  It's very had to be optimistic about a quit when you have gone through it so many times only to relaps.

Every category of smoking has inherent challenges to quitting. But the hardest quit is the one you are rocking right now.

Keep the quit

PT

indingrl.01.06.2011

3:45am- TIME 

Posted by indingrl.01.06.2011 Jan 19, 2020

TODAY - only by God's grace -  I am given - 3300 DAYS OF FREEDOM - I try to go back to sleep -  yet here I am BLOGGING - awe -  the memories of having two cigs - to comfort ME and then go back to sleep - MY PAST ADDICTION LIFESTYLE  - OH boy -  do I remember -  smoking like a chimmey -  while Bible reading and studying in the early morning - I remember -  the many many TIMES -  I REALLY tried to QUIT SMOKING -  on MY OWN - MANY attempts since 1988 to November 5th 2011 - I tried over and over to -  stop smoking - STOP SUCKING ON DEATH STICKS -  to live in MY OWN skin without using MY DRUG NICOTINE and I remember thinking -  smoking calmed ME down - I believed smoking - HELP ME - to think and to do better with MY coping with people - places - things - situations - circumstances - MY emergencies - in MY LIFE - SMOKING -  before and after and in between -  a funeral to COPE with loss of MY loved one  OR smoking while taking a relaxing bath - OR THINKING - I really NEED a cigarette -  RIGHT NOW - just so I could deal with MY DAY of having to deal with PEOPLE  -  I made the emotional thinking DECISION to - stop so MANY TIMES - I REMEMBER - I just bought a full pack of red Marlboro - cost ME $6.50 - sucked on two DEATH STICKS - real quick - then I said. - that's it - I quit and I REALLY meant it - EACH TIME I tried to QUIT - I made MY many many many - attempts to - QUIT smoking -  I took them out of pack and I wet them down and I also ran water all over MY cigarette butts in MY ashtray - then threw ALL in the garbage - cigs and ashtray with wet butts and lighters and went to bed - VERY confident - very PROUD - I quit smoking on MY OWN!!!!  I got up early the next morning  - I went straight for the garbage - took out ALL the cigs I could save and laid them out on papertowels - they were covered in coffee grounds and the garbage remnants of garbage - I blew them DRY with MY blowdryer and smoked them ALL -  didn't think twice about it and asked MY husband to go buy ME 2 packs of smokes BEFORE he left for work and he did - I did NOT BELIEVE -  I would EVER quit smoking -- hmmmm - MY memories of the lengths I went to get MY fix - I am so GRATEFUL - in MY God's perfect timing HE blessed ME with HIS grace TODAY - to choose to blog BEFORE - I take that FIRST puff over ME - saying to MYSELF - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF EVER - SELF DISCIPLINE for ME takes prayer - I ask MY God -  to STAY NICOTINE FREE TODAY  - thanks for letting ME share MY experience strength and H.O.P.E. - oh MY and yesterday - I saw a driver with her window rolled down smoking- it is so cold here in MY neck of the woods  - and then I remembered - but for the grace of God go I - I remember to PRAY - for the smokers that I see TODAY and I thank MY God for HIS love and grace and tender mercies - I am NICOTINE FREE 3300 DAYS TODAY

PastTense

Find your house 43/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 18, 2020

My daughter and I were talking about which house we would be in at Hogwarts.  She’s very smart so, Ravenclaw all the way.  I thought about all of us Exers; hanging out here in cyber-Hogwarts.  Here is my take on how to spot the Houses here.

Hufflepuff: Listens with empathy to all whining and withdrawal agony.  Offers recipes for excellent chocolate chip cookies. 

Ravenclaw:  Explains the physical component of your withdrawal.  Suggests healthy snacks.  Always remembers your quit date

Slytherin: Exposes the excuses you tell yourself.  Won’t accept defeat and challenges you to maintain your quit

Gryffindor: Always ready to cheer your success.  First to pledge every morning.  May have many years of quit but keeps coming back

 

We need all of us and I'm glad you're here

PT

brittneyd.rice

Almost done with day 8

Posted by brittneyd.rice Jan 18, 2020

Its a strange feeling to know you never want to smoke again, yet your body and mind think you do. I belong to a Facebook group for people quitting and I constantly see people saying "quitting again" and I do not ever want to have to do this again. My old habit of smoking wont seem to let me go.  I even dreamt of smoking last night. I basically lay here all day because everything I do reminds me of smoking and I just dont want to feel terrible. Please understand I am fully determined to continue my new lifestyle, I just really need to figure out how to continue living my life while being a non smoker. I made it through hell week and I was really hoping things would be much better but instead they are just slightly better. I fear this is going to take much much longer than i'd hoped.

green1611

NOPE saved

Posted by green1611 Jan 18, 2020

My friend and me use to meet, once a while, like once in year or so,  over cup of tea/coffee and cigarettes. The meetings used to go for couple of hours. (in between couple of cigarettes are smoked) 

 

I met him after long time yesterday, and he asked me do you want to have one cigarette? (our earlier way of meeting?) I said no, he urged, nothing happens by one cigarette, I had also quit smoking, but let's have today, and enjoy our olden golden days with tea/coffee and cigarette. 

 

I asked my self quickly..

Do you want to restart smoking? 

Do you want to get into same slavery you had earlier before quit?

Do you feel you will be better off after smoking couple of cigarettes, and then back to quit again?

Do you want risks associated with smoking "sword of the Damocles?

 

The answers to above questions were no..no and no.

 

Few quitters  like to taste the cigarette after long quit, only because they want to know how it tastes now? they have curiosity if it tastes same? and secondly they are confident, that they have gone through quit once, so they can quit again, hence does not matter couple of cigarettes today, "I can overcome future urge" overconfidence though.

 

If it is clear that I do not want to smoke again, then why go for couple of puffs now? is not that going back to addiction?

 

Hence NOPE..

 

My understanding of NOPE !

 

note:

I stayed away from one puff and also convinced my friend to be away. We had multiple cups of tea and coffee, and had good meeting.

PastTense

Still mulling  42/90

Posted by PastTense Jan 17, 2020

I’m still mulling over the significance of accountability.

I took a walk at lunch and it was 25 degrees with wind blowing at 20 miles an hour. It was so cold, my ears hurt. Why on earth didn’t I stay indoors like I had some common sense? Simple; my daughter just invited me to join her step challenge group through Fitbit. There are now 6 of us in the group and I, through some fluke of luck, am in the lead. There is just no way I could cancel my walk if other people could see it.

I suppose a grown-up should be accountable to themselves. I know that I am not. I need the peer pressure (or perceived peer pressure) of other people to help boost me to action. Either that, or a really clever excuse. Maybe I’m just a spoiled, entitled brat. Maybe I’m about average and most folks could use a nudge in the right direction.

I will say this; the more visible I am, the more accountable I feel. Challenging myself to write 90 blogs has increased my visibility substantially – and also my determination to crush this addiction once and for all.

Thank you for keep me accountable

PT

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