Giulia

WISE WORDS (that helped me when I first quit)

Blog Post created by Giulia Champion on Oct 12, 2008


I'm going to add a little bit to this blog every once in a while. These were all the things I copied from other sites I was involved with when I was first quitting. They helped me. Maybe they'll help you. If I can I will cite the name of the person who wrote the piece. (Who knows, one of them may be you.)

****************************************************************************

 

I always tried to figure out why I smoked. I smoked to relieve stress, to feel better, to deal with problems. I smoked at people, places, and things. If only the world was a better place to live in, I could relax and not smoke or not smoke so much.. If life was only little bit fairer for me or if I could just get some lucky breaks, I wouldn't be smoking my brains out. Them damm drivers on the freeways always drove me to light up. I felt like a rat in cage and I had to smoke to calm down or I will go nuts.

Somehow I have to break this habit. They say it takes 30 days to break a habit and God only knows how many times I have tried to break this " smoking habit." I could break a lot of other habits if I set my mind to it , but I couldn't break this "smoking habit". It
had me by the *****……..! I was out of control with it and the insane part of this "habit" is that I thought it was normal thinking for a smoker to be like this.

The truth of the matter is that it isn't a habit or a smoking problem. The truth is that I am a drug addict addicted to the drug of nicotine. I smoked because I was addicted. Not because I was sad, happy, angry , joyful, lonely, contented………but because I was and am
addicted to nicotine, a deadly drug. That is why I smoked.

All the emotional reasons I smoked or psychological reasons I smoked didn't mean didly squat as to why I smoked. It had no bearing whatsoever as to why I smoked. I smoked because my body said "gimmee my fix dummy" And I did. It made me a slave

Here is the crux of the problem. I smoked because I am angry. Well I will work on my anger problems. I smoked because I am stressed out. So I will take stress management courses. I smoked because of my self worth so I read self help books. So guess what! I still smoked after working on my other problems. Nothing changed.

Recognizing that it is a addiction and not a habit or problem is the first step. Why I took the 2nd through the millionth cigarette is because I am addicted to nicotine. Once I quit and go through the physical withdrawal , then nicotine is out of my system. Now the
psychological reasons to smoke come into play for that 1st cigarette. After the 1st cigarette the body takes over for the 2nd cigarette and the physical addiction takes hold once again

I am not addicted to smoking cigarettes. Cigarettes is only a delivery system for nicotine. You get nicotine from cigars, pipe smoking, Patches, Nicotine Gum, Nicotine lozenges, chewing tobacco, snuffing it or inhalers. These are all delivery systems for nicotine.

I smoked cigarettes so therefore smoking was not an option for me anymore. If it was still an option and I quit for the better of my health or for someone else ,as soon as the pain got too much; then I take the option of smoking again. Human beings can not tolerate pain forever. You have to change in order to combat this addiction. If
smoking is still an option then you will not change and you will go back to smoking.
If smoking is not an option, then you will be willing to go to any lengths not to light up.

So there your are
Gary
  

*****************************************************************************


There seemed to be endless obstacles preventing me from living with my eyes open, but as I gradually followed up clue after clue it seemed that the root cause of them all was fear.” --Joanna Field

"How often have we complained that we would be able to do something if only another thing weren't preventing us. I can't is our answer when we look around us and see only potential obstacles to accomplishing something. We need to realize, however, that I can't is just another way of saying I fear.

If we took away our fearfulness, think of all we could do. There would be nothing to prevent us from taking risks, trying new things, going new places, becoming more intimate, changing careers, going back to school.....

We can change our response of I can't to I'll try. We can take the first step away from our fear toward trying something new. There are no obstacles in our path only the ones we put there to protect us from things we fear. "

You are reading from the book: Night Light by Amy E. Dean

*****************************************************************************
(This was taken from a very wise soul at Unofficial Nicanon July 2006)


--------------------------------------------------------Powerlessness-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The utter frustration of trying to quit is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I have
tried many ways of quitting only to fall flat on my face. There was that place where they electrocuted you every time you smoked. Well I didn't try that one, that was stupid. Who in their right mind would take a shock treatment to quit smoking. Then there was that way of sticking needles in you to make you quit. That was kind of stupid too. Then there was the hypnotist who hypnotized me when I think in all reality I was looking at hanging out *****. Well if they are there , I am going to look at them. That cost me 85.00 and my therapist recommend me to try her again. He said she was good, well she was good looking but not for $85 am I going for a look.

I tried more saner things like sticking my head in a caged off box until my eyes burned and I was choking too death. Now any dumb fool would know to take your head out of the box and breathe fresh air and then smoke. So that didn't work. Went to a program where they stuck a needle in my neck to numb me and my wife had to drive me home and they gave me a bunch of pills to take in the morning and they told me I would lose the desire to smoke. Bullsh*t! I woke up and wanted a cigarette right out of the gate. That cost me $600 or should I say my insurance company. I went to a 7 day Adventist church program and as I walked in I had to throw my cigs in a trash can. Ouch! There were a lot of cigarettes in there. Well I listened to the talk and looked at all the scary pictures and left and went to a liquor store and bought another pack. So much for fear.

I went to smokenders program and I like that one. You didn't have to quit right away. You could smoke for 4 weeks I think before you hit the final day. And if you failed the program you could go back for half price. So I went back 2 more times and was going to go for the 4th time and found out they weren't around my area anymore. I went cold turkey and I won't do that anymore. I tried patches and got nowhere fast. I tried the gum and it tasted so horrible I threw the whole box away. And went back to smoking.

I went to another smoking cessation program my insurance company had and I thought that sucked. It was stupid. Wasn't dealing with issues about smoking. I tried pills that I ordered in the mail that was guaranteed to make me quit in 7 days or my money back. I tried praying and that didn't work, I was prayed over and that didn't work. So I decided I would just cut back , well that worked for a few hours. I put my cigs a far distance from me and would have to walk a block to get one, that was short lived too, too much work to quit….screw it.

Through all this process of trying to quit I am coughing my guts out, can't breathe, Checking my phlegm for blood.., Burning chest ready to explode any moment and I am swearing off the cigs on a nightly basis, month in and month out. I would climb into bed and cough like mad for about 45 minutes and sleep on 3-4 pillows and waking up through out the night and wanting it to be morning so I could go smoke a cigarette. Now was that insane or what! On top of all that I have my wife raising living hell with me about my smoking. Sh*t, I got enough to deal without listening to her!
I told myself once or twice when I get ready to quit, I will quit. Well that time came and I found out real quick that I couldn't quit so I rationalized that whole process into believing I really didn't want to quit. So therefore when I get ready to quit, I will quit………sure thing.

So I went to a few hospitals to get some advice on my health issues…….I was in for pleurisy, stress, possible heart attack, more stress, damaged lungs, bronchitis, you name it. And I still wanted a cigarette. Everyone of them damm doctors and nurses were on my case about quitting. I am not here to quit, I am in here to get better so I can go home……You might say I had a slight case of powerlessness over this smoking crap.

So I come to Nicotine Anonymous for the first time and everyone is laughing and having a good ole time. I sure the hell wasn't having a good time. I wanted to quit real bad and I wanted to smoke real bad. I was in a bad place in a bad way. I was so insane I thought I could quit without quitting smoking. I don't think I was thinking right. Hell I wasn't thinking right for a long, long time. I was a real frigging mess when I got here. I was told "Gary you got to get better before you can die" I literally had a few members taking bets on me I was going to die before I quit. I was powerless and I was whipped and I had no place to go and all I wanted was to be able to smoke my cigarette in peace…. insanity………And my life was unmanageable. How unmanageable? Take my cigarettes a way and I will kill you and I will go to jail but I will have my cigs. …insanity….

So I am powerless and defeated, so what do I have to do now? Well, don't smoke for starters. No sh*t Sherlock! How in the hell do you do that, I ask? Its easy for you to say that but I can't quit, its impossible to do so. And I am dying right in front of everyone and I feel doomed. So I am told, just don't smoke for now and don't take that any further. Drink water, cut back on coffee and go to meetings. And in time work the steps. Well I made a day. I was so happy that I haven't smoked for the day and thought, gee this is really doable. Until I woke up the next morning and thought to myself" What did I let myself in for?" Then it got tough. Went to a meeting the next night and heard a member said she slept the day thru just to get the day over with. I thought to myself., what a wimp! So I slept the next day through. Day three was a mother but I had 2 days already and it got me to hang on. I hung on to the group and the people there and watching them to make sure they didn't go back out and smoke again. They didn't. I wasn't sure if these people were telling me the straight skinny or not. They were. And I stayed. Thank God! I found this was the only place in the world I felt safe and actually for the first time found people who understood what I was going through and feeling. I felt like I belonged. They shared their hope, strength and experience with me and that encouraged me to keep on trying. When I had some time going for me like 30 days I started sharing with the new person and I felt I was returning what I have received.

Did the cravings go away right away? Oh no! It was probably about 6 months before I began to like the idea of being a non smoker and it was over a year when I could say I lost the obsession to smoke. From day one until that year It just got easier one day at a time. I found I could handle things one day at a time and not smoke one day at a time no matter what. Its here if you want it but you got to want it more than any thing else. All you have to do is hit your own bottom wherever that is for you. For me I didn't like the coffin that was being made for me……~Gary~


**************************************************

 

 

Mourn Not
Several times now, I have read that once one gives up smoking one must go through a period of mourning. A mourning defined by the loss of no longer being able to smoke; of losing a kind of companion who has been with me for almost all of my life through thick and thin. Cravings are the grieving process of that state of mourning; that emptiness of
the loss of not being able to smoke.

I have thought about that a great deal and I have come to a conclusion.

The way we speak and write affects the formation of how we think.

I refuse to mourn my friends. I absolutely deny myself or give any credence to such a notion.

I understand the signals my brain sends out as sensations of craving or emptiness but they are not valid. These are not true signals of biological need or desire. They are the signals of a sick mind. They are the signals of addiction and they come from a tiny minority of cells in my body that do not represent the vast majority of me as a living being.

I am in a period of liberation and I turn now to listen to the billions of cells in my body who proclaim their joy and independence from this terrible onslaught of poisoning I have brought upon them for the last 27 years. They sing out "hallelulia and amen" to each breath of fresh and smoke-free air that I breathe in and they don't miss smoking one bit. I have nothing to be sad about and the confused signals that a minority of my cells send out shall from now on be answered by the vast majority of cells who sing forth, "Free at last!"

I love my body and I will take care of it from now on and listen to the true signals it sends to me; not the confused and false ones.

I refuse to mourn my new liberation and road to recovery and balance. I refuse to wish for or miss or pine and sigh for the shackles of my former addiction.

Instead I will listen closely to the regeneration of my lung tissue and to the beating of my heart as I run up the mountain and with tear filled eyes rejoice that I am still alive and am very blessed to have stopped smoking.

With love and hope to all,
~~ David Callahan.


.............................................................Acceptance............................................................................

 

 

"I simply accept. I accept pain. I accept sadness. I accept cravings. I accept lonliness. I accept unexpected misfortune. I accept many of my own shortcomings and I accept that self change is a slow process. I accept that in order to become free of nicotine addiction, I must go through a long time of "not feeling very well". I just....accept it.

Now, it doesn`t frighten or anger me like it once did. Now I don't resist it or desire for things to be another way. It is not my place nor is it very wise for me to desire a change over that which I have no control over. I accept the way of the world. I am but a very small part of it and since I am blessed to be alive, I accept the terms of this world as I live in it
.
" ~~ David Callahan

****************************

I relate acceptance to love, and see them as the same thing. Love attracts. Acceptance is 'allowing to enter'. From what I can see they are both about 'non' resistance. I find myself resisting reality many times throughout the day. I can always spot it easily now. When there is pain in my life, there I must be resisting.

The paradox is that I am 'allowing' the resistance, I 'accept' the resistance, I 'love' this resistance to reality. So I am practicing acceptance. It is just a matter of how I wish to express acceptance. In pain, or in joy.

I would like to have that joyful companionship with acceptance more and more and leave behind bit by bit the painful resistance to reality which must, as you wrote, come from an unwise desire for a change over that which I have no control.
~~ Brenda

******************************

"TO AVOID PAIN AT ALL COSTS FORCES US TO REJECT HALF THE LESSONS LIFE CAN TEACH." Jan Pishok

******************************

"If we could remember that every experience we'll ever have is unique and offers us a lesson we will grow from, we'd accept them all with far greater ease. What's there to be afraid of anyway?" ~~ "A Woman's Spirit" James Jennings, Karen Casey

******************************

"Redefine 'depressed.' Your body is trying to get healthy again that's all. Feeling run down and mentally "blah" is the body's way of protecting itself so that it can conserve energy and repair. It wants you to rest and get more sleep. That's what makes the healing process happen much more effectively and efficiently.

Quitting smoking has given the body a shock to your system, no different than being introduced to a new flu strain. Your body is working hard right now, don't downsize what you are feeling to a negative like being depressed. The way you are feeling will get better on its own the more days you do not smoke, period.

Keep drinking lots of water, get all the rest you can over the next several weeks, get some fresh air too. Your mind and body may feel a little weak right now, but that is part of the process, it WILL PASS. And as far as life goes right now, stay with the program and just get through today. As you have mentioned before, everything will fall into place and happen when it happens. As the days go by you will be in a better position mentally, emotionally and physically to conquer so much more. Just let it all happen in God's time and remember to express and feel love as much as possible to balance things out, especially with your child.

So, consider this, you are not depressed, you are healing! Let it happen! Be good to yourself! Stay positive about what is happening. It's ALL good! Believe me! You are doing great!!!"
~~ Carole


*********************************

 


"Triggers-cravings 9-19-05

Now that I have taken a monumental step in quitting smoking and haven't smoked for several days. When in the hell are these cravings going to go away? I was told the withdrawal is about 3 days so why am I wanting a cigarette say 30 days later ? Am I being lied to or what? Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of my life? I can't handle the thought of wanting a cigarette every time I turn around. I'd rather smoke and die than put up with all of these emotional thoughts. Its not worth it. These and other thoughts plague the crap out of me with a full force like I never experienced before. Let me assure, though, these are very normal feelings that all of us have gone through.

You have to go through the craving process to get to the other side. I was actually grieving the loss of my cigarettes and it was very painful. I had lost my mistress as I spent more time with the cigarette than my wife. It was a companion so to speak even though its aim was to kill me. It gave me solace when I needed it, gave me joy, and it let me hide big time from all my feelings. It was my mediator , my great guru, and it was the only thing I could hang on to when life just sucked!

So yes when we quit the cravings are enormous but we have to learn to accept them as something we have no control over. Its stupid to think I shouldn't have these cravings. I had to learn to accept them and move on. In the beginning drink a lot of water as water is nicotine soluble and is the best thing you can drink. Yes after about 3 days nicotine is out of the physical system but that devious mind works overtime like a true obsession that it is. The obsession does leave but not overnight.

Why don't the cravings go away after we quit for a few days or weeks. If it was all that easy to quit, I would of done that a long time ago. However that isn't the case. I smoked for 49 years and just because I am making another great attempt to quit I expect the cravings to go away. If everything I did during the day was preempted with a cigarette, 3-4 packs a day while I was in my hay day, it becomes presumptuous to think desires would go away automatically. My brain has been wired for 49 years to function a certain way.

When I quit, my brain didn't know what the hell to do. It went wacko, berserk and malfunctioned for some time before it got used to the idea there is no more nicotine for me. After it got over the shock affect it began saying to me .."feed me or change me" do one or the other. As an addict I cannot stay in pain forever. I have to move in one direction or the other. Either change my lifestyle or give in to the addiction I am trying to get recovery from.

The thought of a cigarette comes so subtly you really a lot of times don't know where it came from. It could be the wind whistling in your ear. Something your eyes seen, a gentle thought, an idea, walking on the beach, pain, joy, sadness, happiness. Drinking coffee, driving, working, talking, going to the bathroom, taking a shower. Everything but everything triggered a thought of a cigarette to me. It was hard to overcome but I did.

The craving goes away whether we smoke or don't smoke. O.K. I have a craving ,ok, I accept that but I just won't smoke for now. I have to change routine behaviors for new habit patterns that do not have triggers associated with them. Like driving a different direction to work, don't drink coffee or at best cut way back, don't drink alcohol as alcohol will let your guard down big time.

Eat out more often, go to a show in the middle of the afternoon, eat in a different restaurant that you haven't eaten before. Always try to do different things on a ongoing basis.

Always carry a water bottle with you. The hard thing to do is what in the hell do I do with my hands now? I am use to seeing them go to my mouth. You want a smoke, drink water instead.

That helps the hand to mouth problem. Replace the cigarette to the mouth with the water bottle to the mouth. Substitute one thing for another. In due course time the anxiety level will begin to decrease. And believe it or not the day will come and you will look back on it and think to yourself., My God I haven't thought of a cigarette today.!.

I had to do this one day at a time and even that was hard at times. So it became a moment at a time. As long as you don't light up, then whatever works, works. I had to not promise myself anything except for right now I won't smoke. I didn't commit myself to anything. I just didn't smoke for right now. And the nows became days and the days became weeks and before I knew it I was doing this one day at a time. Never play the forever game. It always has disastrous results.

Remember this. Cravings are a thought process that you have no control over coming into your brain. What you can do is reject the thought and not fantasize on it. Don't feel guilty because you think of a cigarette. That's a very normal thing to do for a smoker to think of. Its very abnormal for me not to think of a cigarette but I don't think of them anymore. It takes time. Time is your best friend. As time goes on you learn to trust in a higher power of your own understanding to help you along on this journey and that is what this is. A new journey, a new life, a new freedom.

I've been on this journey now for over 7 years and let me tell you, it feels damn good!
~~Gary


*******************************************************************


Aug. 4, 2006 (“We” can do what “I” cannot)

I will admit that the anticipation and anxiety each time I said "this next cig is the last one" or "tomorrow is it, no more smoking" always got me. It made me manic, emotionally ship-wrecked, physically hyped. I smoked like a fiend just before numerous quits. The last "hoo-rah," I threw myself a lot of "final suicide parties."

Even on this last quit, I had one burning in the convenient cigarette holder slot of the ashtray, one lit in my hand, and the end of a crushed butt still smoldering and trying to catch fire again amongst the other crushed filters and ashes crammed in such a small circle of hard plastic that once was my ashtray.

What I remember most about each quit was the fear. The Addiction Grip. I can't do this, I thought. It's going to be so hard, I thought. I don't have what these other people have to quit, do I? I'm so addicted! How will I function without a cigarette, I questioned. How can I get passed the cravings?! I'm going to be a wreck! I'm going to miss them, I'm going to need them, I'm going to want them. It is so easy to buy them. I'm going to lose it, I just know it! I need something to get me through this! Maybe I should talk to my doctor about some psychiatric drugs???????

Oh my God! Hello! Insanity? Hell yes...What a Mind F***! Sorry, sometimes certain words just fit the occasion. This is one that does for me when I describe this addiction.

Scary stuff if you ask me now. I cannot believe I ever allowed myself to get that screwed up. Sorry, but that's how I feel about it. Drugs will do that. Addiction will do that. I was not functioning on any level that can be considered "right" or "normal" for my mind or my body...especially knowing what I know now.

Well, here's the thing. Everyday I just got to want to stay quit and get through that day. And keep adding onto those days. As time passes, it is 1,000 times easier. I am sitting at 87 days right now. Evolving, emerging, maturing emotionally, and physically feeling the best I have in years.

I still have my moments and my days, but I quickly realize that it is simply habit as well as emotional and spiritual immaturity that sends me 'thinking for a cigarette.' Does that make getting through life not doable? No.

A toddler learns to walk, a toddler learns to talk, a toddler learns to express emotions in a healthy and more mature way, a toddler learns to think for themselves. I'm learning to do all four, as an adult. I am gratefully being given a second chance. That child goes to bed at the end of the day having made a little more progress. A child wakes up and starts it all over again. A child does not worry about the problems of tomorrow. No, a child lives for today. I am doing the same.

Now that I have started this journey, I can't stop walking, I can't stop talking, I can't stop learning. Nor do I want to, I am enjoying the emotional maturity, the better physical health, and the continual spiritual growth. Far cry from the smoldering "internal" life I used to have, that's for sure.

To arrive here I had to do one very important thing. Forget "I". "I" tried to quit for nine months on my own, it didn't work. Once "I" joined this group, "I" became "we." "We" can do a lot if you allow it, if you truly embrace "we."

"We" can do what "I" cannot. Try putting that on a big piece of paper taped to your refrigerator or some place that you will see it often. It helped. When the cravings are tough, read it, and surrender to those words. When the cravings are tough, DO something that supports that "we" can DO something about it. Call somebody, post, scream up to God if you must, call your quit buddy, get a sponsor, whatever it takes, make it a "we" situation instead of an "I." Because in the beginning, "I" was a using addict. "I" needed help beyond myself. That means one or more people.

There are no excuses in the Universe worth using nicotine. It's a chemical killer for the addict as well as his/her family and friends subjected to it, it's yet another toxic pollutant for the environment. Nope, no excuse at all. It has absolutely no benefits whatsoever, not one.

"We" can quit, as a matter of fact, "I" know "we" can.
~~Carole


**************************************************


Today's thought is:

"Depressions are transition times for me," an older fellow stated. "I look at my lows as a preparation period, an inner time to grow and change even though I'm not consciously aware of what's going on inside me. But I didn't always think this way.

"I used to get terrified when I got into one of those low periods. Every time I did, I questioned everything I ever believed in. I doubted myself and my abilities, my opinions and values, my friends and my boss. Nothing escaped my painful questioning. I thought for sure I was going insane. The pain was so unbearable I wanted to drink, work harder, anything, to distract me from my anguish.

"Now when I get low, I take it more in stride. I think of my depression as part of a natural cycle. Just as nature has its fall, winter, and spring, I, too, have a period of shedding old growth for new growth. I just endure my grey days knowing the sun will shine again just as the trees will bloom after winter. As part of the natural world around me, I, too, have my seasons of joy and sorrow."

Today I will remember that my lows are as natural as my highs. I will not become overwhelmed and exaggerate the significance of my depressions. I will endure patiently, knowing that whatever faces me will pass in time."
~~Alford~~


**************************************************************


"As I continue to explore and practice self hypnosis, I have developed a dialectical relationship with my body and I have come to see any cravings as that of a small baby crying out or whining because he can't have his toy. My job is not to ignore my baby rather to console him and lovingly make him understand that he will be ok even if he can't have the toy. I love him. I hear him crying but I don't indulge his every whim. I must teach him with patience a new an better way to live our lives together. I must also forgive myself for not having cared for him better during all these years. Day by day.

Those are some of my thoughts. With love and hope,
~David callahan~

*******************************************************************

 

Feb. 12, 2006

"I quit smoking in 1992 with the help of the patch. I'm not going go say it was easy because it wasn't. One thing that bothered me was I never lost the cravings (thoughts)for that next cigarette. This kept going for 7 years.

Every time a stressful incident happened, I would say, "I want a cigarette". I didn't realize back then that we can speak things into existence and one day I asked a coworker for a cigarette with the idea it would be "just one". Well that one went to two and then a
pack and later a carton. They were always the cheap ones so I didn't think it was "that bad". I also remember lying to my husband when he said he smelled smoke in the house or on the porch. Eventually I was honest with him when he started to blame my youngest son.

I smoked another 7 years. I tried to quit once in that time when I was waking up at night coughing my insides out and not being able to breathe. It reminded me of my father who died when he was 49 of emphysema and congestive heart failure. Unfortunately once I went to the doctor and received medicine and could breathe again, I started smoking again.

Then this past August I got sick again and decided I was going to stop when I was still sick a month later. But I remembered how hard it was to stop in 1992 and didn't want to go thru that again. I did some studying about cigarettes and discovered for the first time WHY they were bad for me. I knew before - but yet - I didn't know - or it never hit home before what was really going on.

I had my last cigarette September 4th 2005 and I decided I wasn't going to use the patch this time. I didn't like the idea of withdrawals more than once and that's what I saw happen before. Each decrease in nicotine brought withdrawals. I didn't want to be alone this time so I went online to find a nicotine group - I found this one and then found a meeting close to my home and I started attending. It really helped knowing I wasn't alone.

My work schedule kept me from attending it as much as I'd like but when I craved a cigarette, I would visualize the group. That got me over the cravings each time.

It's now been 5 months and sometimes I wonder what is it all for? I'm 55 and am going to die eventually anyway. But I want to enjoy my days before that happens - I want to live life finally - not in an oxygen tent or with an oxygen tank next to me. And I can have many many more years ahead of me - according to my Quit date I have already added more days to my life and the longer I don't smoke, the more days I add.

I hope I haven't rambled. All I am doing is taking one day and sometimes even one minute or second at a time cuz that's all my HP the Lord has given me..
" ~~Dee~~

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

(Unfortunately I don't remember the source of this one, but it's a great one.)

CAN DO IT STREET

I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."

I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I got my baggage, which I could not check. I chose to carry it myself all the way. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the Regret City International Airport. I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

As I checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion. Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

First, there would be the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Then came the I Had family. You probably know ol' Wish and his clan. Of course, the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are far too many of them to count, but each one would have a very sad story to share.

Then Shattered Dreams would surely make an appearance. And It's Their Fault would regale us with stories (excuses) about how things had failed in his life, and each story would be loudly applauded by Don't Blame Me and I Couldn't Help It.

Well, to make a long story short, I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. And, as usual, I became very depressed. But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past, it occurred to me that all of this trip and subsequent "pity party" could be canceled by ME! I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there. I didn't have to be depressed.

One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. I can be happy, joyous, fulfilled, encouraged, as well as encouraging. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address. Am I sorry for mistakes I've made in the past? YES! But there is no physical way to undo them.

So, if you're planning a trip back to the City of Regret, please cancel all your reservations now. Instead, take a trip to a place called, Starting Again. I liked it so much that I have now taken up permanent residence there. My neighbors, the I Forgive Myself and the New Starts are so very helpful. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. GOD BLESS you in finding this great place. If you can find it -- it's in your own heart -- please look me up. I live on I Can Do It Street.


------------------------------------------------------


May 2006

Yet I have to say this. Please, please be vigilant. Some time ago I played the major part in mediating in a difficult family conflict, with some success as it turned out. I wasn't smoking. I felt contented and grateful to my HP. Quite soon after the thought came to me, 'If I can handle something like this without smoking surely I can take a wee puff or two, just to celebrate, just to feel 'normal' again, and no stress now, I will easily stop again, since I've done one of the hardest things without smoking.' And I smoked. I was hooked again and am still trying to get free.

We smoke when distressed, we smoke when bored, we smoke when elated. We smoke because we smoke. We're addicts. For life. Unless we maintain our vigilance and the help offered on a daily basis. Nicotine addiction is cunning, baffling, powerful and very patient. It always lies in wait once it's had us in it's grasp.

You may know this and not need to hear it. But I do. Sure I do.

Yet it's great, really great, what you've achieved and I trust it will be the true milestone you feel it to be. Never forget it. Always remind yourself of what you achieved today.
~~Lionel.
-----------------------------------------------------

ONE DAY AT A TIME - THAT'S ALL YOU HAVE TO DO

 


First of all , its not God"s will that you smoke. It was God's will that you never picked up in the first place but He allowed it as you do have a free will.

"If you do the crime, you do the time". That saying goes with criminal acts but can apply here. We reap what we sow. We took up the cig and smoked for years and got addicted to it and now we have to pay the price to get off the smokes.

The symptoms of quitting are irritability, restlessness, lack of sleep, muddled thinking or a feeling of disorientation, lack of energy etc. These are all short lived in time they will go the other way. Sharper thinking, more energy, feeling more rested and so on.

When one quits the body absolutely goes on a terror strike. You are feeling like this because you are in the withdrawal stage and is quite normal. Just don’t smoke just for today and don’t listen to your head as the thoughts are lying to you.

Grit your teeth and say no , I will not smoke for right now! Drink a lot of water as it is nicotine soluble and will help flush the system out of all the toxins that you put in by smoking. Post messages and stay close to the support to this program.

If you have a belief in God or a HP, pray to him for help and He will give it to you.

Yes this is a ***** of a thing to do and you will find out it will be the hardest thing you have ever done but it also has the greatest rewards as time goes on. One day at a time. That’s all you have to do.

You can do it if you keep it simple and not think down the road as to what will happen when such and such happen. That’s not reality. WHAT IS REAL IS THE FACT YOU ARE NOT SMOKING THIS VERY MOMENT. Keep it there and all things will work out. WE don’t do this forever. ~~
Gary


-------------------------------------------------------------------------

KEEP IT SIMPLE



Aug. 2006 Re: I'm Getting Nervous About Quitting


Yeah, it is very scary to quit, especially when a quit date is made. The reality is there that you have to quit that date and it scares the hell of out you. You know first hand what your going to go thru and now your mind is putting up a mental block against quitting.

When that date comes, just try and not smoke for the moment and go moment by moment. You know its hard but try and accept it as being so and that will help make it easier. You can do this! The night before get rid of all ashtrays, hidden reserves, lighters and anything related to smoking. That will help in the resolve to quit.

I smoked for 49 years, 3-4 packs a day. I was in the hospital several times by me calling 9-11 and all smoking related problems. Everyone was telling me it was going to kill me and all I wanted was another damm cigarette. I cant tell you how many times I was flat on the floor unable to breathe and wanting a cigarette at the same time. I have emphysema, lower right lung destroyed, asthma, and been in the hospital for plurosy, heart pains, blood vein collapsed, unable to breathe and acute bronchitis was very normal to me......I did not know what life without pain from smoking meant. I was a dead man walking when I came to NicA....... As I have said meany times my motto is: I smoke, I die......... pure and simple. Your choice. Do you want to live or die. That will be the motivating choice in your decision to stop smoking one day at a time.

Its ok to be scared. Just go ahead in spite of your fears and find a trust in a power greater than yourself as this is something you cannot do on your own. If you keep trying to do it on your own, you will continue to fail. That was my problem. I spent 15 years trying to quit on my own and nothing but nothing worked until I came to believe in a power greater than myself would restore me to sanity. And this is an insane thing we do over and over again every time we light up full well knowing what it is doing to us.

Just tell yourself I can do this just for the moment. That’s all you have to do. Do not try and do it forever or for a week and see where your at that time. It will not work. Keep it as simple as you can.

You can do this. You are not alone, you are not unique.

You are addicted to nicotine and that is why you smoke. If you want to quit smoking you have to quit smoking. There is no easy way out but there is another side. The side of freedom and that is so awesome but you have to quit and go thru the wild ride to find
it.

I hope you can.
~~Gary


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Feb. 2006


I have been right where you are now! Believe me, I have even said those same words that you are speaking right now! I had burned so much energy in trying to quit smoking - getting myself all psyched up only to watch it all go up into smoke anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 months. Yes, it does take lots of energy to quit smoking and it is hard work. My sponsor in another program told me I needed to quit quitting, as it was making me all kinds of crazy and producing all kinds of negative effects. And it was. I absolutely had to go back into quitting under a different attitude. Each of my quits that I had, I had to take a look true, I had to look in a way that was not demoralizing or an attack on myself for being bad, but just as a learning tool to develop skills in coping. We are talking about a huge life style change that is being under taken. It can be done, but please know that you can do it, and no matter what - you are loved if you smoke or not smoke.

I am going to give you some suggestions that I used that help me the most. Take it easy on yourself, forgive yourself for being human and doing human things. Look at this thing as experiment in what works and what does not work. Even if that means you only make it for two hours - what did you do right during those two hours? When you find something wrong, look at ways that you might be able to correct it. See what you think that the smokes are doing for you. Is there something else that might work better? This is not about conforming, but about a life style change.

I decided to tell myself that it was okay to smoke and that I would smoke if I really needed too but I had only one special area that I did that in. At first, this area was very broad, and then I finally decided it would be outside only in one spot and that was not a pretty place. It was on my door steps that had a bad view on it. As I modified my smoking, I did some journaling on what I was feeling, wrote about some positive things and some troubling things that were coming up for me. I also talked to others who were trying to recover and I did a lot of researching on quitting smoking - just to give me some ideas. The day came when I found the courage and strength I needed to quit and stay quit. I have over 8 years today. The tools and coping skills each of us develops to use in recovery are very different from one and another. The way we deal with withdrawal is a very personal issue.

I don't know if this helps you are not. It is just my experience and what I have found to be true through my journey in recovery.
~~ Carol

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 


12/08 - Just discovered this old blog. Thought it might be of interest:

Kelly Soudachanh's blog
Hey, Pass Me a Light Please
Submitted by Kelly Soudachanh on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:46am.

* Biology 103

What Causes Smoking Addiction: Nicotine or Dopamine?

Growing up, I have always been told that smoking is bad. Smoking is hazardous. Smoking costs money. Smoking looks unappealing. Smoking kills. Yet, despite all of these warnings and lessons, that surely most people have heard before, millions of people still light up. Why, why do people continue to participate in an activity that is commonly associated with health risks such as cancer? The most frequently used answer is an addiction to nicotine. And this notion that nicotine causes addiction was continuously lectured to me in past mandatory health classes. Yet, at the same time nicotine was used as an explanation, it was an incomplete reason. What role does the substance play to result in this need for a cigarette? Nicotine stimulates dopamine, a chemical in the brain that affects learning, motivation and pleasure [1]. Scientists have further explored the role of dopamine on addiction and are now suggesting theories that dopamine is the cause of addiction. So, perhaps it is not nicotine that causes the addiction, but the role dopamine plays that causes the need to smoke.

Although cigarettes are the size of a finger and look like they are composed of paper and chopped up leaves, the composition of the sticks is complex. Cigarettes contain tobacco that is made of a blend of two leaf types. {Additives and flavoring are put into the blend to sweeten the taste of cigarette smoke.} Nicotine is found in the moisture that emits from the leaves when they burn. This moisture is taken in by the smoker because it attaches itself to the tobacco smoke that gets inhaled. It only takes a few seconds before nicotine reaches the brain. [2] Cigarettes contain 1.2-2.9 mg of nicotine, the amount varying by brand. About 3 mg of nicotine is inhaled from a single cigarette. For someone who smokes a pack in a single day, their nicotine retention is anywhere between 20-40 mgs. [3]

Depending on the dosage of nicotine, the effects vary as well. Short doses cause alertness and reduce fatigue. Long doses result in a sedation and euphoria. In this way, nicotine acts as a stimulant and a depressant. A person’s heart rate speeds up as their blood vessels constrict. When the drug goes straight to the brain, it impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and then affects the endocrine system. Through the system, it pumps up the level of endorphins and several other chemicals that affect stress. [3]
In a sense, the brain is told by nicotine to give ‘rewards’ and place the smoker in a relaxed state.

Nicotine also affects dopamine levels. When nicotine attaches it to nerve cells, the nerve cells affect glutamate. In turn, glutamate, a chemical signal, is stimulated. Neurons connected to the glutamate are told to release dopamine. The more the dopamine, the better sense of a good feeling ensures. [4]

As a neurotransmitter, dopamine affects processes in the brain. The transmitter is most commonly related to pleasure and desire but it is also involved in movement, memory and learning. [1]

Using illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine result in a massive release of dopamine. Because of this, it was believed that dopamine was just the pleasure switch. It has recently been discovered that dopamine has more than one role. Being the pleasure switch is one of its lesser roles; its main niche is to tell the brain and the body to acknowledge and remember certain chemicals that are important for survival. This is the salience theory- the release of dopamine happens during an important event whether or not it is good or bad. [1] Dopamine highlights the occurrence, helps the brain and body in recognizing what happens to oneself in this occasion and how it affects survival.

With the induction of nicotine or any other drug, dopamine levels skyrocket anywhere from five to ten times as much as a regular release. In drug users, the brain adjusts to this flood of dopamine by dulling the system through decreasing its number of dopamine receptors in the areas of the brain involved in motivation and pleasure. At the same time, the areas of the brain that control behavior (judgment and inhibitory) are weakened because of the dampening of the dopamine system. [1] This decreased amount of dopamine receptors coupled with the desensitization of the brain’s control of behavior leads to more use of the drug- an addict. Less pleasure is received, because of the depression of dopamine receptors, and to compensate for that lost, addicts need more of the drug.

What causes an addiction to cigarettes? Perhaps the first aspect that needed to be tackled is what an addiction is. According to Ann Marlowe, a former drug user and memoir writer, her continual use of heroin was chasing the memory of her first time with the drug. This chase, in my opinion, was an addiction to her initial experience with heroin. An addiction is the search of an experience that made a lasting impression. From my belief then, it would make sense that dopamine, not nicotine, is the cause of smoking addiction since dopamine tells the brain to remember this feeling of nicotine in the body. This lasting impression can be affected by anything, however. The issue raised then is whether or not this ‘outside’ factor on an impression also has an effect on dopamine levels.

And perhaps the smoker has a mental addiction to smoking. ‘Finding relief in the motions of smoking a cigarette’ was what one girl in my health class said. However, I am skeptical as to whether it is just the motions that she is addicted to. And what about those who have smoked a cigarette once and have never smoked another one again? Was their reaction to smoking not strong enough for dopamine to register the act as something needed for survival? Does knowledge of possible addiction affect chemicals like dopamine and tell the brain that smoking is not needed for absolute survival?

What causes an addiction to cigarettes- nicotine or dopamine? The answer may be an addiction to nicotine, but dopamine causes the actual addiction to occur. Nicotine is what affects the release of dopamine. And dopamine is what results in the craving for nicotine. But then, what about all the other factors, internal and external that may have a role in addiction or a role that affects nicotine or dopamine? When looking for a clear cut answer, I discovered that there is none. The problem in answering this question lies in the question itself. There does not seem to be a black and white answer, a simple explanation for what seemed to be a simple question.

[1] http://groups.msn.com/FreedomFromTobaccoQuitSmokingNow/addiction.msnw?action=get_message&mview=0&ID_Message=256152&LastModified=4675572759122348559
[2] http://www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets/html/fact12.html
[3] http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic1642.htm
[4] http://chronicle.uchicago.edu/020328/nicotine.shtml

Outcomes