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Celebrating Milestones

6 Posts authored by: crazymama_Lori

1,000 days

Posted by crazymama_Lori Oct 21, 2018

I've finally reached my 1,000 days which is approximately 2 years and 9 months. I say to all of you starting or struggling, stick with it. Those swirling thoughts of smoking don't stick with you forever. Yes, they will pop up from time to time; but before long you'll find yourself saying, boy, I'm sure glad I don't do that anymore. And trust in me when I tell you that, because I'm living proof. I fought this quitting thing tooth and nail and was screaming all the way. I wasn't going to let this thing beat me, not again.


I'll give you a little tip on really learning a lot about this journey and the go-to places to hit when you find yourself just obsessing about smoking. When I first quit, I spent a lot of my time the first few months or so going back on people's profiles and reading their blogs from when they first joined. I learned most from those who have slipped up or relapsed and came back. They gave me insight to what may be those potholes to watch out for. To simply go back into someone's earliest posts, blogs, simply click on their name, content and sort (filter) by date created: oldest first. That will bring up their earliest posts/blogs. Read what they expressed in written words what was swirling around in their brain. Blogging is so important not only for yourself, but for others to learn from.


After about 6 months, you'll think this will finally be over and think that you can only have one just to test drive it a little. When you're feeling quite anxious, go to relapse prevention and read many blogs there. Read on what made people slip up or why they are thinking about smoking. This is a roller coaster ride and buckle yourself in. You will have good days and bad days. You'll be mad at everything and thankful for everyone. No one can definitively say that when you go back to smoking, it's easier to quit the second time around. Are you willing to test that theory? I know I'm not. I didn't enjoy the first 6 months and I sure as heck don't ever want to go through that again.


Don't give yourself the illusion that you'll never ever think of smoking again once you're quit for a year or two. We're impulsive individuals. Sometimes we were lighting up one after the other. At certain times you'll try the bargaining game or hide and seek. Oh, I can sneak one when they're all gone and nobody will know the difference, but we're unique beings. There are people that only smoke when they drink or when there's a social gathering a few times a year. They are able to indulge for that one night and never think about it again until the next time. OR maybe they do but they are able to fight the urge. I ACCEPT the fact that I'm not that kind of a person. I can't stop at one. One will lead to 20 to a full-blown smoker in less than a week's time. So I choose not to even test that theory or even give myself that permission.


You really aren't missing much when you quit smoking. You'll find you have more time on your hands and see that you're completing things quicker. The fogginess doesn't last forever, that lack of concentration. Remember your brain is trying to figure out where all those dopamine hits went to. You recharged that battery at least 20 to 40 or more times a day. If you find yourself watching smokers and saying you miss it, what are you truly missing, smoking or the gathering of people, the socialization? There are other ways of socializing. We just always did it with a cigarette in hand.


Just give your brain time to recharge and rejuvenate. That's the glorious thing about the body. It will heal itself in time. Make note of when smoking thoughts surface most often and develop a shield to feign those off. We're trainable creatures. Slowly introduce yourself into new habits and routines. Before too long, you'll be finding yourself no longer coughing, wheezing, fighting leg cramps and headaches. You will find food tastes great and the world smells wonderful. You'll also find how salty things tastes and the things you loved really taste awful now.


Stick with it. It's a whole new life you're embarking on. Don't be afraid to take the plunge. It won't be as bad as you think it will be and it will only be as bad as you make it to be. Trust in the process and be aware of what's happening inside of you, both mentally and physically. Remember, your better self is awaiting to yet be discovered. Take the plunge, you won't regret it.


07.13.18 - 900 days

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jul 14, 2018

900 days equates to around 2 years and 5 months. I've been with this site for that entire time. I was lurking in the background for about 2 years prior to quitting doing the sputter dance, starting and then stopping, putting it off and putting it off.  And actually another 2 years prior to that. So we've been together actually for over 6 years.


Back in my early days before I quit, I'd read their articles in the beginning when you're first starting the program. I'd track my cigarettes for about a half a day and then forget about it. The thought of quitting terrified me. I couldn't remember myself without a cigarette in hand. I started smoking when I was 12. I wanted to be one of the cool kids and really got hooked when I turned 16. I'd forge notes back when I was 14 to get a pack at $0.25 or take one of my dad's packs. Back in the '70s you could buy cigarettes when you were 16. Well, that opened the flood gates and I was off and running.


I'd roll my eyes when I'd see the warnings on the cigarette packs. Change the channel on TV when “those” commercials came on. They can't take this away from me. It's a habit. I can quit anytime I want to. I remember getting the patch back in the '80s giving me an 800 number to call for support while using it. What for? It's only a habit. But what they didn't tell you is that something you've been doing for so many years was beginning to be associated with certain coping skills that we bypassed along the way. There is a psychological part to quitting, let it be smoking, alcohol, overeating, etc. With time, we taught ourselves that those things would make everything better again. If we don't relearn new coping skills, we will simply fall back into our old habits which will lead us back into our full-blown addictions.


I'm thankful that I took the time to track my cigarettes before I quit to see when and why I smoked. I took the time to find alternative ways, different ways to replace the when and understand the whys. There are happenings in our lives which we may never see come around again. We may only experience that once in a lifetime. Could be subtle things, could be catastrophic things. Could be a hurricane, flood, death of a parent, a child. Subtle things like returning to your job, starting a new job or having your spouse return to his old shift. These may spark smoking thoughts because that's how we coped with things or we're returning back to a time where we smoked our way through to get through.


Take the time you need to educate yourself about how nicotine works in the brain. Research on this site what nicotine receptors are. School yourself about the chemistry changes that are going on within your body. Search for terms that you are curious about, dizziness, crying, tiredness, whatever. Go through the steps of identifying your triggers, tracking when you smoke the most, take special note of filling out the section about how I plan to separate. Pick a different way for each trigger. Teach yourself to cope with life differently.


This plan works if you work with it. Go to a member that you connect with or visit ELDER'S LIST and poke around on some of their profiles. Read their content, look at their bookmarks, filter their content by date created: oldest first. See how they were early in their quit, what they wrote about, the responses they received. Send a private message if you need to if you need help. Post a blog stating you're on the edge or start a conversation (discussion) stating HELP !!! That's how I got to 900-plus days. I wrote my little heart out on a daily basis. It helps, it works. When you feel weak, you have something to refer back to. I still refer back to mine every now and again. After the first 30 days, never give yourself permission to smoke ever again. Smoking is a choice. Choose wisely. You can do this and you will succeed. A quitter is a winner in my book and should be in yours !!!!



As another page turns

Posted by crazymama_Lori Jan 25, 2018

Wow, 2 years already.  I distinctly remember 2 years and 1 day ago.  I sat in my office lamenting losing my dog the year prior, wallowing in pity and sitting here chain smoking.  All that month of January I tried and tried to cut down.  I quit cold turkey for 7 days and just went back to it again.  I remember distinctly my husband coming in the door from work that day and just saying, you just couldn't hold out, could you?  The disappointment in his eyes.  I've quit many, many times before.  Nothing that lasted any length of time. 


I was the record on the record player with a skip in it.  Just replaying over and over again.  Ex was the finger on the arm to place slight pressure to dig into the groove to make it over that skip.  The first year was consuming for me.  I wanted this to be the last time and I was still learning and relearning how to live my life as a nonsmoking person.  My second year is now moving much more smoother.  Why?  Because I'm replacing more and more of my smoking memories with ones that don't revolve around smoking any longer.  I think of myself as a resurfaced record now, playing flawlessly due to the knowledge, the love, the push everyone has given me here.  Thanks again for everything you do............



Footprints in the sand

Posted by crazymama_Lori Nov 19, 2017

Two years is inching up on me for being quit. Another few months and it has finally arrived. A lot of people ask me why I am even active on the site at this point. I should be past that by now. I shouldn't be needing support any longer. After all, it's been almost two years. You don't get paid for doing this.  Why do you go on there every single morning and sometimes many times during the day?


The simple answer to that is because I need to give back. If I can write one thing that rings true with someone or helps them in this journey, that's my goal. I need to follow in the footsteps of all of those that have helped me along the way. Many have still remained that helped me move forward. Some have disappeared from the site. Some have gone back to smoking. Some have started and stopped and started back on their quits. I wonder to myself if that's because they thought there was a badge that you earned, a course you completed and you're done. You're cured.


I think when it finally got easier for me is when I realized that this is a lifestyle change I had to make. This is something I will have to live with and comes to terms with. It doesn't go away in a week or a month. It doesn't go away by only taking a pill. It's something I will deal with for the rest of my life. I'm just one of those people in America that has a problem with nicotine, the ultimate rush. Some have problems with gambling, drugs, alcohol, but really does it come down to simply replacing something in our lives that we need to change or hide? Or is it simply that we are impulsive, craving to be one of the crowd or we're just looking for something to make us feel good, that hit of dopamine?


I don't have to consume massive quantities of caffeine any longer to get going in the morning chain smoking one cigarette after the other. I've discovered many personality traits that smoking covered up, some good and some bad. Once the smoke finally cleared, the dust settled, and everything fell into place, this new life has been a very interesting ride. It's nice not to be tied to a lighter any longer, always searched to see if I have enough to last the day because I didn't want to go the store and blow money again.


It's always a beautiful sunrise as well as a beautiful sunset. Hang in there, stick with it. Be selfish and learn about yourself. Discover what you used smoking for. Take the initiative to find something to replace it with. Make a commitment, dig your heels in. For some people visiting Celebrations & Events every day and pledging in the morning not to smoke and yelling out your days of freedom on the Freedom Train every night helps. Give it a try. Find what works for you. The important thing is to never give up and never give in. You never know what you may find....


Tomorrow is 500 days – 6/8/17 Caution – another very long read, but I think worth it.


As I sit at my desk in my office watching as the sun goes down on another day, I often think how wonderful it is that I don't have the burden of smoking any longer. The ever aching need to light up and perform that motion for ten minutes only to light another one back up. Oh, such a chain smoker I was. I did most of my smoking when I was tired or extremely upset about something. I'd be like a steam engine puffing away thinking that I had absolutely no problem with this thing they call nicotine dependency, addiction, whatever word you want to use to describe it. I could quit at any time, I would tell the nonsmokers. It's no big deal.


Then I tried cold turkey a few times. Wow, that certainly was not my cup of tea. Those cravings came hard and they came fast. At times it felt as though I was drowning, grasping for that lifeline to just pull me up. You see, I gave those little white sticks all the power. They solved the day's problems, you know. They have that magic, you know. I say pffft to that today, only because I know better. Only because I took the time to figure out my triggers, find my own personal reasons why I smoked, what I used smoking to replace, why I kept thinking it was saving me from something when I had the ability to save myself. I took the time to find another way to replace that “something” that I thought I was missing, what I thought smoking solved. A lot of “I” in the above statement, but that's what quitting is, your own personalized journey and why it can be so frustrating at times.


I've often wondered why people went back to smoking after a substantial quit. To me a substantial quit is a year or more. You're moving into your second round of things. You're going through the same motions again. May not be the same scenarios or same exact circumstances, but the same motions. As humans, we have a tendency to have our own personal tendencies to deal with stress, traumatic events in our lives, but why was that white tube always your savior? Your cure all, end all solution to life's problems. You know what is in them or at least you should by now know how many chemicals and toxins are in them. You get dizzy when smoking because:

Nicotine and other compounds in cigarette smoke are stimulants and may cause a brief feeling of light-headedness. A main component of smoke is carbon monoxide. When inhaled, this gas binds to your red blood cells faster than oxygen, depriving your body of the oxygen it needs. 


So knowing this, where is your justification for going back? Where does the magic power lie?


They say it's the dopamine fix. We're pleasure junkies. We're looking for the next joy jolt. After a month, all physical symptoms are gone. It's all psychological. Your brain, your memory center, can be your worst enemy. I remember back at about day 60 and then it showed up again around day 150 or so that I wanted to test drive just one cigarette. One cigarette isn't going to hurt me. I've been quit now for 2 to 5 months. I'd be good to go, no worries. Every single time those thoughts would pop in my mind early into my quit, I'd come to this site and go right to Relapse Prevention. I'd read the stories of members from back in the beginning of time and see they were thinking the exact same as I was. Strange how we all go through it but just at different times. There's some wonderful resources on this site. Use them. Search for them.


Now when those thoughts come upon me at 500 days, the first thought that comes to mind is now what is bothering you..... what is bringing up this thought of smoking that you feel you need to do to take care of something for you? I take a personal inventory, figure it out, take care of it, and go about my day. It doesn't take long. Usually I'm tired or hungry. Sometimes it's the simple change of seasons. It could be a reward for a task finally accomplished. If I'm getting frustrated or angry about something (one huge trigger for me that always brought me back to smoking), I sit back, take a few minutes to look at the problem objectively, find a solution and move on. Isn't that what nonsmokers do? Isn't that what most people do? That dependent behavior is gone. I'm in charge now.


When you first start the journey, the seas are rough. There's many storms that are brewing. You start with the physical and then move on to the psychological. The crashing waves are the physical. The occasional typhoons and hurricanes and sometimes tornadoes that rock your sea is the psychological. They always told me that after a year or so, everything seems to kind of level off, become calmer, peaceful, tranquil. I by far have more calmer seas now. I'm so grateful to have stuck with it. I'm glad I dug my heels in and for once my stubbornness has triumphed. This is one thing that I will not fail at. I will prove to all the naysayers that I will do this. I will not let a piece of paper with tobacco control me. I will be in control.


We all have mantras, nope, nope, nope. Develop your own, something you repeat to yourself when a craving hits or the thought of smoking pops in your head. If you need a stress ball, grab one. You need a hair tie or a rubberband on your wrist to snap, get one. Read as much as you can. Use the search tool on this site or Google things that you are curious about. Go on other sites, ask questions. Get your playbook ready. Develop a strategy. If this happens, I will ….......... instead of smoke. You don't need those things. You really don't. Once you have a few months under your belt, you will notice how much time you truly wasted smoking, how much money you spent, how many things you missed out on. Make a journal of what you're going through in the beginning. If you don't want to do it here, then make your personal journal at home.


Trust me, you'll be referring back to it from time to time. And you should be, that's what it's there for, because that reinforces your quit, reinforces your willpower, your strength. When I have weak moments from time to time, and I've noticed they come up around certain milestones in my life, anniversaries of some hurtful memories or a death of a loved one, I'll go back to my very early blogs and read them over again to see how much I've grown, that it's okay to feel pain, disappointment, hurt. That's part of living life, isn't it? The only difference for me is that I'm doing it as a former smoker, smoke free. So stick with it. You're going to discover so much about yourself. Give this gift to yourself.... You won't regret it !!!! Hopefully some of what I wrote resonated with some of you. Blessings to all.........

Well, tomorrow I have finally made it to 400 days.  A year and a month and a half, give or take.  I have to thank each and every one of you on here for helping me get here and helping me stay quit.  I'm on the fence at this point of whether I'm going to stick around.  It has nothing to do with the site or most of the people on here.  There's just a certain atmosphere as of late that I don't agree with.  


We came from a very small narrowly focused platform/program/site which basically allowed you to blog and write on message boards, but that's how we kept in touch with each other so closely.  Then we were unleashed out in a huge space where we can organize our writings into specific categories to help people find what they want more information about.  For instance, Thomas's blogs about COPD can now be organized by the subject matter, but yet still shown on his profile under content as still his blog.  As more and more people get the hang of this site, more of the group sections on here will be populated with a plethora of articles to read which we can learn from.  We can still see everyone's blogs and discussions from the home page by clicking on the Latest Updates.  We can sort (filter) by date created: newest first or latest activity newest first, whichever you prefer.  We can still comment on something that interests us.  We can read the item and use our back button on the toolbar and go back to where we were.  We no longer have timed out sessions, losing things that we spent hours typing out, editing, revamping.  We can now write really big or in different colors.  Posting pictures is so much easier now.  


We lost a few things but gained quite a bit.  We can find new members by sorting by date joined, newest first as we did on the old site.  I know every time I moved to a new house, it took a while for me to set settled in and get things all into their right spots, where I wanted them to be.  Eventually I got settled in and it became my home again.  I'm starting to settle in here.  Yes, I too miss the old site and the old ways and the close knit community we had.  But that platform was archaic and probably wouldn't have survived.  I was reading some old blogs from back in about 2011 when there must have been an upgrade then and how much adjusting had to go on at that time too.  There was a lot of tension and uneasiness.  Sometimes by not understanding something fully makes one jump to hasty decisions or reactions. 


So in closing, take a deep breath, find your rhythm again. There's so many people that are finding their way around and discovering new things every single day.  I learned the most by using Community Help.  Just snooping around and reading.  Playing with what does what and where does it land.  The EX team and Mark have been working very hard to get tutorials up.  If you need help with something and you can't seem to make heads or tails out of it, then post a question or feel free to contact me.  If I can't get you to where you need to be, I'll ship you off to someone else that can.  Just remember we're all in this together.  Together we shall rise !!!!!