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Happy but Sad!

Posted by Sandy-9-17-17 Jul 30, 2018

I had a heads up phone call last night, and it made me feel rather sad, but still happy to be heading off to Florida for a trip I earned from not smoking and saving over $1,600 this coming weekend.

My ex sister in law, let's just call her my sister, as she was so much more my sister then my brother who mistreated her when they were together....called me to give me the heads up on her now spouse!  Here I am bragging to her that I quit smoking, and she calls to tell me that he has been struggling and has now taken up smoking!  She was calling to give me the heads up as she doesn't want me to be in shock when I get there.  And I would have been, because I have never known him to smoke.  Well, I learned that he is like me when I was a smoker, he is considerate, and walks away as he doesn't want anyone who does not smoke to have to smell it.  I know that I will be fine, smoking is not an option for me, not now or ever!  But I feel for him, and will always hope he finds his way back to being a non smoker!  


Newbie Advice

Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Jul 5, 2018

We have a saying here that I first heard from my friend indingrl.01.06.2011

Take what you like

And leave the rest...

to be helpful is our only goal!


We don't all agree, In fact we agreeably disagree on many, many things.

For example: once an addict always an addict.

Or you have to want to quit for it to work. 

Or NRTs vs. Cold Turkey vs. Smart Turkey.

Take your time to learn before you quit

vs. Quit Today! And fill your quit time with knowledge.

Commiserate with a relapser vs. Tough Love.


Well, this is just a small sample of how we each have our own opinions. And I can understand how this might be confusing to a newbie but in actuality, it's this diversity that makes our Community so dynamic!


The final word is yours! It's your Quit Journey. It's your LIFE! It's your Recovery - which means reclaiming yourself and starts out by not following anybody else's opinion more than your Own! By listening to various points of view you know what your options are. I have a saying - if you don't know that you have a choice - well, you don't! This diversity gives you choices!


Own your Quit! 


Talk the Talk

Posted by JACKIE1-25-15 Jun 4, 2018

The constant #1 question in our mind when we first quit is how long will the thought of smoking last. Sometimes the thoughts can be so strong you can actually see and feel that little man on the shoulder.  I know I did.  I had to knock him off a couple of times.  Literally.   When is this going to end?  Some sooner than others but the constant pull can be agonizing.  I was amazed how the addictive brain can really pull to make you think you have to have a cigarette.  I use to tell myself that every day 10 times a day for over 40 years, so that thought was ingrained until I learned to reprogram it.  I learned to debunk that thought by using self-talk.  Often I would tell myself  "no I do not need or have to have a cigarette".  Committing and making a vow to not touch another cigarette will help.  When you take the option to smoke off the table you obligate yourself to do something other than smoke when the urge comes.  It is not easy but it can be done if you plan and prepare to protect your quit. 

You will often hear "this too shall pass".  In order for it to pass you have to be willing to get through it  by any means necessary.  If you have to scream...SCREAM!!!   We are no different from any other drug addict going through withdrawal.  Say NO! out loud. Holler if you have to get through it.   Are you going to talk the talk so you can walk the walk.   Create your own mantra that you can relate to.  Mine was "not in my hands, not on my lips, not on my tongue, not in my lungs, not in my throat, I will not choke".  I had my mind made up. I was not turning back. Tell yourself Yes I can, Stop saying and thinking I can't.  If necessary change the people, places, and things. 

A wise elder once told me not to be "too" confident in the quit.  It is great to be confident but don’t become complacent and think that you are not vulnerable.  Stay connected.  If you have a problem, come here first.  Be willing to take some advice before you relapse.  Be persistent, determined to persevere, no matter what NOPE. Not one puff ever.  Don’t be tricked by that little guy on the shoulder telling you that "just one" is okay.  One puff will do you IN and END a perfect quit.  Quitting is the easy part.  Staying quit is the work.  Use self-talk, it works.  

I copied this in the early days of my quit and thought it might be helpful to the newbies on the site.  The document was noted as written by Nancy Smith.

Nicotine's chemical properties are addictive. If you take that nicotine away from your body, it will miss it and you will experience physical and mental withdrawal symptoms.

These symptoms surface after three-five days of quitting smoking and linger for approximately two weeks. We list out some of these symptoms to help you prepare for these side-effects to smoking cessation. Rest assured that these symptoms, while some are unpleasant, will only be transitory and once you're rid of them, will leave you feeling much better after quitting smoking.

Emotional withdrawal
Depression: You may feel low, sad and hopeless. Hence,  it is important to surround yourself with people, preferably non smokers and friends who support your decision to quit smoking.
Anger: Emotional upheaval can make you angry. Others may not be aware of it, but you know what's happening to your body. The age-old remedy of counting to10 isn't such a bad idea. Stop, think, regain your calm and composure before losing your cool.
Boredom: You may have noticed that when you were bored, tired or depressed you tend to smoke. Now that you are on your way to a smoke free life replace these voids with hobbies or get involved with people around you. Pay more attention to your loved ones.
Loneliness: Withdrawal of smoking can make you feel lonely, impatient and irritable. If your friends are busy, take up a dance class or cooking class. It is important to expect these feelings of loneliness, so stay prepared.
Mood swing: Tempers will flare and tantrums will increase. These are not exactly PMS symptoms. Nicotine was once your evil friend but now you have to bear with the loss of the addiction. This will throw your emotional reactions to daily happenings into a tizzy. Most quitters will need help with these mood swings. Replace the smoking placebo with something else. Invest in some great music and strong coffee, maybe?

Physical withdrawal
Nicotine obstructs the flow of oxygen and nutrients to various parts of the body. Now that you have quit smoking, your body has to hit the reverse button to detox.
Bowel discomfort: It's time to change your diet and fitness once you quit smoking. Quitting smoking can cause cramps nausea, flatulence and constipation, therefore it is important to increase roughage and exercise your body.
Nasal and throat problems: When you stop smoking, your nose and throat will try to clear the mucous that has accumulated over the years. You may experience coughing, dry throat and mouth. Fluids are the key to clearing this process.
Increase in appetite: Craving for cigarettes can be confused with hunger cravings. The best way to stay healthy is to consume fluids and low calorie snacks.

Headaches: Lack of nicotine can lead to headaches, the way out of it is with massages, plenty of water and rest. Gently massage your temple, drink water, take a hot shower and take a deep breath.

Lack of sleep: You may experience insomnia after you quit smoking. Take a hot shower before you hit the sack, do breathing exercises too and most importantly avoid caffeine close to bed-time

Restlessness/lack of concentration: You feel like there is energy bursting in you; transfer this energy into something constructive. In these situations smokes would calm your nerves, but now switch off that thought and cultivate a new habit. You may feel you can't concentrate too; try listening to music or take a break from your routine life.
Weight gain: Increase in craving can lead to weight gain, especially if you indulge in unhealthy food. But don't be dejected, you can cut it out with exercise and the right diet.

Sweating and shaky hands and feet: You will feel that your hands and feet tremble. It is a passing phase that will stop. If you experience these withdrawals you know your body is simply shedding an addiction and leading you to a much healthier life.
Skin trouble: While quitting smoking is associated with healthier skin, the period of withdrawal will cause some skin trouble. Some people with sensitive skin might break out into a fresh acne case or suffer from some ulcers in the inner-cheeks, tongue and mouth. The reason is simply that your body is letting go of the toxins and leveling up.

Instead of losing motivation after reading these withdrawal symptoms, the one thought any quitter must focus on is this: The fact that your body is changing so much when quitting, simply showcases how much it is continuously changed and affected while you still smoke. Avoid poor health and dangerous diseases - stay quit!


I've said it before but it needs said again

You put holes in your armor each time you give in.

Don't Burn it! Don't Do It!

Come Here And Let Us

Talk You Through It.

*we'll get an email and normally get right with you.


There was once a time when I was beyond being a smoker. When I was beyond ever finding a way out of my addiction. A time when I was totally confident in the lies that I told myself. I was more hooked than any other person in the world was!


LOL. I think we all thought that when we first decided it was time to quit. But the bottom line is that so many have found their way through the cloud of addiction to the freedom that lies on the other side. Really, it’s hard to believe that so many of us who quit so long ago could ever have been as addicted as you.


But we were. We all believed the lies of addiction, mostly because we wanted to. It was just so much easier than the alternative of quitting, right? I mean, why would we want to take away what has become the most important facet of our lives? Why would we want to feel the tension and confusion that comes with a quit if we don’t have to?


But then comes that day when we look on the other side of the coin. The day that we understand that the thing we love most is killing us. For me, the fear that I felt the moment I thought I might actually quit was incredibly strong. I was shaking and had sweats just from thinking that I might actually quit.


But once I got over that, I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to spend every waking moment preparing to succeed. But what to do? How to start? I really was confused and the addict within had no intention of making this easy.


But over time, I found ways to ignore the fear so that I could learn about what I decided was my number one enemy in this fight. My number one enemy was myself and my own addicted thoughts. I had to get past all of the years of lying to myself. I had to get past the fact that my addiction had woven itself into the very fabric of my being. I had to get past the fear of change and I had to find a way to convince myself that I wanted freedom more than I wanted a slow, agonizing death.


It takes time to get the mind where it needs to be. It takes time to learn all about how we interact with the addiction. But it’s time well spent.


All I can say is that the happiest day of my life was the day I put out the last cigarette well over six years ago. The day that I peered through the cloud of addiction and saw the world the way it really was for the first time in a long time. And I never looked back!


My point is that though the fight may seem hard, it’s still a fight that’s doable. The hard part is that it takes time. And it takes commitment. And it takes a love for life and freedom! Always look ahead to the freedom that awaits you!


Learn all you can about yourself and seek the advice of others because one thing’s certain. It’s a fight that’s better fought with others, even if those others are on line, for when it comes to the heart there really is no distance. That’s one of the things that makes EX so wonderful. We can come here with our fears and share them to perhaps make them a little easier. We can learn all that others had to learn on their own journeys. We can feel like the world is collapsing around us because we feel so strange when we start the quit. But that’s OK. We’ve all been there and understand.


So never think you have to be alone. Never believe for even a moment that you cannot take your life back. It’s within you, just like it was within all of us. It starts out as a single thought and with a little nurturing becomes a full fledged quit.


Go for it!! There’s so much waiting for you, if you can just take that first step. The freedom awaits you and it’s worth every bit of discomfort that it takes to get there. Stay true to yourself and before long you’ll be smiling a smile like you've never smiled before, for you will be smiling a smile that can only come from freedom!!







Posted by Thomas3.20.2010 Sep 30, 2017

The name of this Website is BecomeanEX. At first I didn't get it. I thought it was just another name because nobody could think of a better one. 

Now, I believe there was a ton of science behind this name: Become an EX!

Becoming is a process!

It doesn't happen in one day or with one decision. It happens with perseverance, persistence, and willingness to become but also a vision. In order to become we make a clear image of what we are aiming to become - giving us a direction, a goal and end game. Otherwise how do you know where you're going?

This may be confusing to a Nicotine Addict - because they still look at what they're giving up - they sometimes don't see where they're going but it's vital to your success to envision where you're going and what it will look like once you get there! Your vision may not be perfect or play out exactly the way you expect but it is your Road Map!

Now that you know what you think EX-Smoker looks like - how it feels, how it lives - the next step is to Fake-it-till-you-make-it! It's uncomfortable, it feels dishonest, it's foreign - outside of my comfort zone! Even professionals who get a promotion go through this stage of becoming. They feel like a fraud, a phony, an imposter and hold their breath that they aren't discovered! But this is the transition of becoming! So when you're in No-Man's-Land expect to feel uncomfortable, recognize that it is normal, and just keep going!

Now comes the next stage, believe! You don't just wake up one day and think, "I believe I'm an EXer!" It's hard work! You may or may not experience belief as a light bulb moment. Or you may just slowly realize that you're not faking anymore - you really are that person you created in your mind all those days ago. Well, maybe not exactly - in some ways you're even better than that image! But you have definitely arrived! Belief is taking a step into the unknown. There will be questions: "How do I know I will like the person I am becoming?" There comes a time when you mentally shift  your thinking knowing that I am the Master of my own Destiny! The decisions I make every single moment of every single day define who I am - and Our Creator gave us mere humans the right and FREE will to decide! Decision is one of the many things we willingly gave away to our Addiction. Now we reclaim it for ourselves! Decision is the ultimate Personal Power! 

You have become!

It all sounds so linear but it isn't!  Every single day of Recovery, every shift in our mentality creates a new vision, a new process of adjusting our fake-it-till-you-make-it, a new illumination of, "I get it!", a new belief in the possible! A new reaching out to fulfill our God given potential - to become the best me I can imagine. That's the process and it gloriously never ends! Becoming is such a powerful word! Subtly it's loaded with all of these messages and even more. This just represents what - so far - I have been able to capture after 7 1/2 Years of Becoming an EX! I look forward with enthusiasm to discovering even more secrets to becoming! I pray that this process will last a lifetime! In fact, I believe it will! I wouldn't have it any other way!

Become anEX!


A Slip is not a Fall

Posted by rollercoaster831 Champion Sep 20, 2017

This for anyone who may be struggling with one smoke on a great quit.


There once was a man.  He walked for 90 days.  He walked hills and valleys. He crossed oceans and deserts.  He helped many people and many people helped him.  As he was trudging along, he was collecting stones.  He planned on using these stones to build a house.  He found a lot of stones.  He knew exactly how many stones he needed to build his house.  


After walking for 80 days this man came upon a bridge. Under this bridge there lived an evil troll.  The troll did everything he could to make the man fall into the water.  The man held on to the railings with all his might and didn't fall in!  But the troll did manage to cause the man to slip.  When he slipped, he lost a stone.  Just one, mind you.  It fell in to the water.  Lost forever.  The man was frantic.  He was so upset with himself!  How on earth could he build his house without that stone?  He just didn't think the other 4,074 stones mattered without the one he lost!


He started walking again, despondent and alone.  For 10 more days, the man walked.  Ten days.  During that time he considered dropping all the stones, one at a time.  But something made the man hold on.  Those stones had cost him too much to accumulate.  He thought of those first days when the hills were steepest and the oceans widest.  He had worked so hard to accomplish this gathering of stones.  But still, the loss of that one stone caused him so much despair that he couldn't see the amazing thing he had accomplished!


90 days after the man first set out, he came across a group of his friends.  These friends helped him to see many things about his stones.  Each stone had its own value. Each one was important in its own right.  If he had had to pay for these stone, they would have cost him $869...the one he lost was less than 22 cents.  That meant he was 99.9876% successful!!


Do you know what that man did?  He set to work trying to figure out how he could make his house without that one stone!  He decided to just leave it out of one of the walls!  The absence of that one stone meant the man had a window to see through!  Oh, and the things he could see!  The opportunities he now has!


If you look carefully, you can see him now leaning out his window and talking to his friends. Without one stone, you can still build a pretty strong damn house and sometimes it even let's you see things you never would have noticed.

I would have chosen a walk in the park instead of a smoke

I would have ignored my bullying smoking Uni colleagues instead of picking one up so I can fit in

I would have chosen to dip my feet in the waves instead of looking for a hidden place at the beach

I would have ignored my smoking family when I first quit instead of giving in to their making fun of me

I would have looked up to my non-smoking parents instead of judging them as the “old generation”

I would not have started instead of having to quit

I would have not picked one up after 6 months of being sober and had to smoke 15 more years before I quit

But now I know, if I want to remain an Ex, Ex thought me it is as simple as…








Dear Cigarettes -

Posted by stephanie1067 May 27, 2017

Dear Cigarettes - 


You were my first love when I was 17.  Very quickly after our first couple of dates, I became addicted to you.  I actually, as a young girl, felt sexy with you and loved having you by my side and in my company.  You gave me confidence at first and and made me feel mature.  I loved how you felt between my fingers and the rush you would give me after being apart for a short time.  It seemed like so many of my friends and family were in similar relationships and they were all fine.  What was good for my grandparents and my father and my best friends was certainly good for me also. So I became more and more attached as we spend more time together.  I had to have you the minute I woke up, every time I got in the car or on the phone, we spent time together after meals and enjoyed each others company during the relaxing quiet of the evening.  We became the best of lovers, or so I thought......


Fairly quickly into this relationship, I must say, I began to feel that you were not right for me.  I'm not sure why it has taken me 30 plus years to be honest with you about this.  I have hung on for so long but felt more and more like an outcast for being with you as time went on.  Having to sneak away to be with you when others have the freedom of just staying put.  Having to rush out on a dinner or a visit or meaningful time spent with my kids. You have taken over my mind and I can't enjoy a movie or a vacation or a trip to the zoo or the park or anything wonderful without wondering when we can be together again and how long I can last without you.  I feel like my mental health suffers from being with you because I am in a constant state of worry each time we're together.  Will I have a heart attack?  Will I develop cancer?  Will I end up on oxygen not being able to breath?  What color are my lungs?  What is that little pain I have today in my back or yesterday in my chest?  I have seen you take the life a my aunt and my best friends sister.  I have realized that my kids viewing me in hospice on my death bed is NOT something I am willing to put up with for being in a relationship with you. 


It has been very hard the past 13 days that we have been separated.  I have mourned you and felt alone and quiet and nervous and anxious.  I have cried and complained and become depressed.  But then I have also caught myself smiling at something and realizing I will be happy again.  It's like being reborn and learning happiness will still exist without you.  Life will go on and be better with out you and be a lot longer without you.  I have felt jealous of seeing others get to be with you until I realized you are just easy and will go with anyone and I bet my lungs are looking a lot healthier than theirs.  So I am here to tell you I am taking this separation to the next level and dumping you for good and forever!


This is where I say good bye!




This is simply a link to the free pdf of his book which is talked about and recommended all over this site.  Wanted to make it easy to find.  What a better place than in Best of EX.



So it is Sunday night.  I am sitting on the swing.  Not really swinging, but just sitting, moving back and forth a little.  Sunday nights are like this on the playground.  The weekend is coming to an end.  People are getting ready for school or work.  Families are doing family things, and well, some of us are kinda stuffed from a big Sunday dinner. Sunday night is always a laid back kind of time.


But that is okay, because that also makes it good thinking time.


A light breeze is blowing, and with it getting only up to the mid 60’s today, well, it is a bit cool.  A few kids are on the merry go round, talking, but not going real fast.  Others are in the sandbox.  I also see some new people, hanging around the entrance.  They want to come in, but like I was, they are fearful of what being nicotine free might mean.  They are wondering if they will just fail again.  Or if coming to this playground will really help.  I remember so many things going through my head when I first entered the playground.  It seems like just yesterday.  And it also seems like years ago.


So as I sit on the swing, I think of all the differences of all of us on the playground.  We all have one thing in common.  We are addicted to nicotine.  That is where the similarities end.  We all have different reasons for wanting to quit.  We all have different things that make us want to smoke (watch out for pineapple upside down cake).  We all need different things that will help us stay on our quit.


And that is what I find to be so wonderful about this playground.  When someone comes in, everyone comes together to help.  But they all come in offering different advice.  They are all coming from different places.  The person who came in looking for help takes what they need, and leaves the rest.


And everyone is okay with that.


Let me say that again.


Everyone is okay with that.


There is no competition.  There is no concern that someone used Sally’s advice and not Rob’s.  No one cares who helped get someone through the rough times.  Everyone comes together to celebrate it regardless.


This is what makes our playground so great.  There are no egos.  It is only about helping.  I only wish the world I am normally in was as wonderful. 


And that is why, on a slow Sunday night, I am sitting on the swing.  Not really swinging, but just sitting, moving back and forth a little.

I have been working on this recipe for 764 days.  You would think by now it is perfect but I truly beg to differ.  From my experience quit smoking recipes require occasional tweaking in order to remain forever quit.Image result for cooking utensils

 Disclaimer:  Please be aware there are other recipes but this is one that has worked for me. It is general to avoid a lengthy blog some obvious steps may not be included.  Please note that some ingredients are main and others optional.


My recipe is divided into parts: I call them the P’s and not “peas”. Planning,   Preparing,  Practicing,  Perseverance,  and  Protection.

 Planning- Main ingredient Join a support group Set a date, follow the site guidelines Create your own quit kit (sample below)  NRT’s   Meds etc. (optional)


Preparing- Main ingredient

Education is the key to a successful quit. 

Learn about nicotine addiction.    

Suggested reading material is VERY important for preparation.

Read-Study-Research Relentlessly.   and

Read   Allen Carr’s book, “Easy Way to Quit Smoking”.       


Practice- Main ingredient

            Practice reprogramming your mind that you do not have to smoke.  

            Unwash the brain washing. That you have not loss a thing. Relearn your thinking about smoking. 

            Self-Talk, can take you very far in making a forever quit.  Tell yourself that

            “You don’t do that anymore”. 

            Every time the thought of smoking comes say to yourself “I am non-smoker” and   
            Start “believing it!”

            Develop your own mantras  

            Change the lies your addictive brain has been taught.

            Stay close to the site as much as possible.

            Bookend your days here.

Perseverance- Main ingredient

Willingness to do whatever it takes not to smoke.  No Matter What!  When! Where! Who! or How difficult it may be. NOPE (Not One Puff Ever) Neither Life, Death, Divorce, Sickness, Hunger, Lonely, Tired, Angry Weight gain

NO EXcuses.                        

 Add:  Ingredients that can only come from you. 

Commitment, Determination, a Made up Mind.  Believe with all your Heart, Mind, Body, Soul and Might that YES you can do this because this is your recipe for a forever quit.


Protecting- Main Ingredient.

Now this is where the real work begins, protecting.  Do not become complacent and not guard your quit. Take all the tools and skills you have learned and keep them on the forefront to “use” whenever necessary.   Have a network of friends that you can talk to about smoking. Even though it is a choice, for me, I never allow smoking to be an option.  SINAO smoking is not an option.  Do something else. Choose freedom. Come here, blog ask for help BEFORE you smoke. Hang tough, Stay close, be mindful of what is going on around you and with you.  Don’t ever give up and never give in.


Example of quit kit

A list of why you quit

Book to read

Chrystal light

Cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon toothpicks you can find these on

Coloring Books

Deep breathing

Emails of people that are supportive

Exercise videos

Fresh Fruit

Frozen grapes



Hobby have a hobby to keep you distracted

Ice chips

Lemon bit into it  (I think this one is from Dale what he tells people to do)

Links to a funny video to get you into a good mood




NRT gum

Other web sites you can find your friends at for support

Phone numbers of someone supportive

Puzzle book

Raw Vegetables

Red hots


Sunflower seeds

Tic tac

Tooth picks

Vicks vapor rub put a little bit under your nose during craves

Water bottle to keep with you all times



Today marks six years since I put out my last cigarette! My, how time flies and sometimes in an incredibly wonderful way. I still remember the moment I put out that last cigarette and there’s a reason for this. You see, remembering that moment in a positive way just helps to keep the resolve for year after year after year.


It’s not so much the moment that’s important but how I got there. The fighting with myself and the endless doubt that addiction can create within a person. The longing to be free while fearing the very freedom that I longed for. The days of wondering if I really had it in me to beat a monster that in itself lived within me.


In the end I realized that the monster within me was of my own creation. That the beast was given strength by the very mind that wanted to be ridded of it. So to find my own strength to beat myself, I had to find my heart. I had to find my love for life and for all that might be in the future of that life if I could just get past my own stupid mind.


I looked inward and felt fear. I looked at what would be my changing in my life and found fear. I looked to my current life of smoking and somehow found peace. It was crazy! How could I be my own worst enemy? And how could I beat something that lived totally within myself. Something that without realizing it, I had spent so many sad years creating? My God! How could I beat myself?


I was angry with the things I’d already done. I couldn’t believe that so long ago I’d started building what would surely be a future of misery, where my health would steadily fade as I continued to believe in my own invincibility. When I convinced myself that bad things only happened to others and that somehow I was immune from the risks of the life I had enslaved myself with.


Soon I actually lost my resolve. Soon I surrendered to a life of a misery of my own creation and I ignored the realities of what I was doing, somehow finding sanctuary in what would surely be the death of me. I was totally convinced of a lie that could not be!


So long as I didn’t think about quitting, I was calm. So long as I never thought about my future, and lit another cigarette, I was calm.


But then one day, a crack appeared within the almost impenetrable wall that I had created for myself. I have to admit, it was a very small crack at first but for the first time, I embraced it. For the first time, I took a moment to see how things could be different. For the first time I allowed myself to see things as they could be, rather than how they are.


I thought about the future of the ones I loved and the way my life of addiction was going, that future didn’t look good. Then I took a moment and saw that same future in a new light. One where I’d beaten myself. One where I could look back at the decisions I’d made and be content that though I’d lived in fear of freedom for so long, that if I could win the war within my own mind that the future would be smiles instead of sadness. That I still had a chance to enjoy those that I loved and not bring them misery.


The crack began opening, very slowly at first until one day I believed that I could beat the enemy within. The addict within that I had created. Still, there was so much fear. But I took a step to make myself accountable to myself. A step where I could almost believe that yes, I could win this!


I picked up the phone and called the Colorado Quitline. I remember a voice that sounded like it was smiling on the other end and guess what? I hung up! I was shaking and sweating. My mind was reeling! How could I even have entertained the idea that I wanted freedom more than I wanted the peace that my addiction fed me with each new cigarette.


I lit a cigarette and walked into the other room, convinced that I’d thrown this insane thought away. I mean after all, smoking was a part of me. But then the light came through the crack in my wall again, and for some reason, this time I grabbed hold of that light. It suddenly seemed like the light of a lighthouse stabbing through on a dark and foggy night, showing me that if I could just reach that shore, then I would see the greater light.


I lit a cigarette and it slid through my sweaty fingers, falling to the floor. I looked at it for a moment and realized that this was where that cigarette belonged. Far, far away from me. I picked up the phone again and called that quitline. Again, a friendly voice answered and asked if they could help me. This time I said “yes!”


We talked for awhile, my voice trembling and when I was done with that phone call, I had ordered nicotine patches and agreed to do something to actually start the quit. I wouldn’t smoke a cigarette for the first half hour after I woke up. The thought terrified me, but that next morning, I did it!


And then with a renewed confidence, I waited an hour the next day and the next. I was feeding the crack in the wall of my addiction. I was feeding the light of my future. And you know what? I was starting to feel really good about it!


I found on the quitline website and went there, introducing myself and getting set up. Turns out, that was one of the best moves I’d ever made. To find others just as scared as I was and yet still doing it. Still choosing every day to continue the fight! There was understanding for all the thoughts that I thought were so alien to me. There were others that felt just like me but more importantly, there were others who were grabbing that light of the future! A place where people really understood what I was going through.


I came here daily, preparing myself for the final day of freedom. I did a lot of prep work, until one day I believed in myself and my heart enough that I knew I could do it. That I could bring myself from the darkness and into the light of the day that suddenly seemed so attainable.


And six years ago today, I put out that last cigarette. I found the light that was calling to me for so long. I dreamed of climbing a mountain that I named Mt. Freedom. In my mind I carried what I called the addict within up that mountain with me, understanding that if I could keep my enemy close, then not only could I fight it but in the end, I could understand it. That I could see it for what it really was. The old ball and chain.


It’s always good to remember where it all started, I think. Always good to remember the battles that were fought so long ago. To see that we really can take our futures into our own hands. And now, six years later, to feel the fruits of labor that started so long ago.


There is peace in that future my friends. There’s so much peace and you know what? That peace comes from the light of freedom. That peace comes from knowing that though once enslaved, I know longer am.


There’s so much waiting for all of you no matter what stage of your quit you’re in. There’s a future that is as bright as you can imagine it now.


I hope that all of you keep climbing the slopes of Mt. Freedom as I did and so many others have as well. It’s a beautiful summit filled with peace and there’s a banner up there waiting for you. The banner of freedom! I hope to see all of you up there, waving that banner high over your head as I did, confident in the fact that now the future’s looking brighter.

That the peace and freedom really is there. We all deserve it. All we have to do is take that first step, just as I did seemingly so long ago. Your future awaits you!! Go for it!!!





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