Eugene

Date With Destiny
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2005-06-22 22:01:50 (UTC)

Process in Stopping Smoking!


From seamie on 2/20/2004 10:32:04 AM

~ I try to show others, not my way, but my passion and
instill that passion in their way. ~


The process of smoking is much like a very difficult math
problem.
My college math professor always graded more on how we got
to our answer instead of just getting the correct answer.
Math is a process and the more you understand the process
the better you would do in math.
Quitting smoking is also a process and I think it’s very
important that I learn how the process can lead me to the
correct answer. The correct answers being to never smoke
again.

I started smoking when I was 16, for all the same reasons
everyone else did. My cool friend did and I wanted to be
cool like her. Also, my parents smoked so I got hooked from
the first drag. Maybe I was hooked before the first drag.
It was the associations that I made with smoking, from that
first cigarette, which kept me smoking.

16 years, and 116,800 cigarettes later her I am. Let’s see…
10 drags per cigarette multiplied by 116,800 equals one
million one hundred and sixty eight thousand times I tried
to suffocate myself. Other than breathing I can’t think of
anything else I did that many times. No wonder I associate
it with just about everything.

I found this site in November of 2000. I set my quit date
for November 18. I made it 47 days and then I smoked. It
was a couple of drags off my cousins’ cigarette. I felt
very bad, mostly because I was starting to sound like a
broken record. I’ve been quitting and falling for two
years. I couldn’t stand it one more time. I knew I didn’t
want to smoke so why did I keep falling? This was the fall
that changed everything. A friend I had made here on the Q
told me about the book `Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop
Smoking.` Even though the title sounded like an infomercial
I was desperate to get some answers. I respected him and he
said it changed his life, so I read it.
It changed my life also.

Smokers spend their whole life trying to satisfy the
constant cravings for nicotine. When you begin to mix the
act of satisfying the cravings with strong emotions and/or
daily habits you get powerful associations. Associations
that become very difficult to break.
One of the best examples I can think of is the morning
coffee. I hear a lot of people say they had to give up
coffee in the morning because the cravings would be so bad.
Why? Well it’s because you just went all night without a
cigarette and your body is really craving and you are tired
and would like to wake up with a cup of coffee. So you
drink your coffee and smoke your cigarettes and all is
well. BIG ASSOCIATION MADE HERE. Look closely you will see
they are two totally different acts that became one in your
mind. The cigarette is satisfying the nicotine craving
only. The coffee smells good, tastes good and is starting
to wake you up. All good. The smoking is only to satisfy
the nicotine craving. So here is what you get: All the good
things that go along with drinking coffee with the ever so
brief moment when the nicotine beast inside you is not
yelling, because it’s being fed. The cravings go away and
you can really enjoy your coffee now. So if you don’t have
any nicotine cravings is it still possible to enjoy your
morning coffee? Absolutely! Separate the two and you will
begin to see some very positive changes in your thinking.

Nicotine is a drug. When the drug starts to leave your,
body you crave it. When you satisfy your craving, you
become physically and mentally calm for a brief time. That
is until the next craving starts to creep up. This happens
over and over all day for as long as you smoke. No wander
people get CRS syndrome (can’t remember **** syndrome) when
they quit. All those hours everyday thinking about the next
cigarette. Now what is your mind going to do? It has to
think about something so it wonders around like an
insomniac. I think I replaced the smoking thought with sex
thoughts. Not a bad trade if I say so myself.

I hear a lot of smokers say that they like the act of
smoking. From ritual of opening the pack to the smoke rings
and all the stuff in between. It’s all silly if you think
about it. What you really want is to make the urge go away
so all that other stuff seems great because it is
associated to quitting the beast. Everyone loves foreplay,
but ultimately we want the orgasm. Foreplay teases and
entices us and makes the finale even better.

Opening the pack, pulling a cigarette out, packing it on
the table, lighting the match, smelling the sulfur,
sticking the cigarette in your mouth, all these acts are
all foreplay. Satisfying the nicotine urge is the orgasm.
So don’t use `I really like the way it feels when I inhale
the smoke.` Excuse, because, as Allen Carr puts it, is only
suffocation. I have never heard anyone say, `I love it when
I get a pillow placed over my face.` It’s the same thing,
only one takes longer to kill you.

So, now that you can’t use all that stuff for excuses let’s
move on to other excuses; the emotions. I’m not going to go
through all of them because the idea is the same with each
emotion.

The more something has an impact on your life the more
likely you are to remember it. The emotions most remembered
are usually on extreme ends, from depression and sadness to
joy and happiness. Ask a non-smoker what they remember the
most from last year. It will most likely be a really bad
thing or a really good thing. I’ll never forget my freshman
year of college when my mother called me to tell me my
father died. Get this, my next memory after that call was
when I was on the plane home. It was the first time I had
ever flown and I remember how disappointed I was that I
couldn’t smoke. I seemed more pissed about not being able
to smoke than my father’s death. I wanted the cigarettes
because I was feeling two strong things, sadness and
cravings. I was sure that a cigarette would make me feel
better, less sad. At the time I never saw these two things
as separate issues, only as one. I remember the first one I
had when I got off the plane.
Big association made here. I thought I would feel less sad
if I was smoking. No way hose! I would be just as sad, it’s
just that I was quieting the urge and it created the
illusion that I was feeling a little better.

Happy times are simple. The happy times I remember were
usually accompanied with smoking. Anytime I had an excuse
to chain smoke I would take it. Guilt free chain smoking
times with friends were the best. Smoking somewhere where I
don’t feel guilty doing it while having fun with friends
was the hardest for me after I quit.

Smokers are in a constant state of withdrawal. The moment
you put out your cigarette your body starts craving
another. The times that you got away with smoking as many
as you wanted, relatively guilt free are the times that
will be the hardest to overcome after you quit.

I encourage people that quit smoking to confront their
urges. Think about why you are having a strong urge. Find
the association and break it.
If you are having trouble finding the association, drop me
a qmail, I can help you figure it out. If I’m not here post
a message on the quitstop board. Get others to help you
figure out why the urge is so strong.
Trust me, this works. I am living (and I mean LIVING) proof
that it works.

Also, on last bit of advice. This is very, very good advice.
STAY POSITIVE! Do not focus on the negative or you will
only start feeling deprived. In the beginning you have to
focus on all the good things about quitting. A positive
attitude will be your best weapon.

My liberation day was January 11, 2001.


I found this to be very helpful:

************ Breaking Out of the Victim Trap
*****************

Does your anger turn to yourself? Do you beat yourself up?
Make a firm commitment to stop being a victim by breaking
into the victim talk to take responsibility for your
thoughts and actions. Monitor your language to catch and
interrupt yourself during pity parties. Change your victim
talk (I can`t..., I never could..., I`m no good at.....
etc.) to language that affirms positive thinking. Decide
what you want and the type of person you want to become.
Tap into your longing to be whole. Decide what you will
have to do to get it. Break it down in small steps and
start to work on the first step.

Place yourself around positive people who are committed to
growth and well being. Invite your friends to confront you
lovingly when you get in the victim role. Learn to confront
the critical voice within that tells you that you are not
worthy. This is the technique of thought stoppage--you
simply interrupt any negative inner message. Discount the
thought, yell `No!` at it and distract yourself by getting
into some other thought pattern. Tell yourself that
negative self-talk is only old programming. You can be very
rude and interrupt these self- condemning voices but be
gentle with yourself.

Hold an inner dialogue to determine how being a victim pays
off for you. Examine victim patterns in your parents and
relatives. Learn what hidden messages lie within about your
not deserving to be successful, healthy or have a loving
relationship. Explore these messages that sabotage your
well being with a process oriented therapist. Make a pact
with yourself to be responsible for choices that you make
that affect your healing.

I am responsible for the victim thoughts which stay in my
mind.
I am responsible for denying what I know to be true about
myself.
I am responsible for the people with whom I surround myself.
I am responsible for remaining in victim beliefs.

I let my victim thoughts go.
I affirm that I am healthy and whole.

Say these affirmations ten times daily. Write your own
affirmations and post them on your mirror, your car
steering wheel, your computer, sink, etc. Carry the
affirmations in your pockets to take out and read when you
have a moment. Speak them out loud with authority. Practice
seeing yourself in a different light.

Turn your life over to your Higher Power. Catch any beating
yourself up thoughts. Practice daily surrender on small
things. Learn to let go of that which you no longer need.
Work your anger to let it go.

Do It Differently!

Do Your Life Differently

Whatever it is that takes you down into victim thinking,
change it!

Change your life style to one that promotes physical,
mental and spiritual health.

Angry At Yourself?
Breaking Out of the Victim Trap
Lynne Namka, Ed. D. © 1997


************************************************************
`If you want to be somebody else,
If you`re tired of fighting battles with yourself
If you want to be somebody else
Change your mind...`
-Sister Hazel
************************************************************
*

Throughout my quit I have written inspirational advice for
people who are quitting.
Here are the titles of several things I have written
following are the actual writings. I do hope this helps
someone. Maybe just read one a day for 13 days.

1) Around one month
2) Going out for a drink
3) A crazy Kona Thought
4) Split path
5) Willpower
6) Make Life Matter
7) Smell Memories
8) Less Can Be Worse
9) Body,Mind and Soul (six-month ramble)
10) True Inspiration (200-day ramble)
11) The Hike (7-month ramble)
12) Higher sense of self (300-day ramble)
13) It’s YOU doing it, not the NRT

~~~~~~~~~~~~ Around one month ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The reason it seems like it`s getting harder, after the
first couple of weeks, is because you are starting to
battle the real bad part of this addiction, the
brainwashing.

In the beginning of a quit the quitter is revved up about
the quit and is overly strong to battle the physical urges.
I think after a week or two the quitter starts to come down
from the rush of quitting and reality sinks in. There is a
small sense of relief knowing the physical withdrawals are
over. Maybe the quitter gets a little too comfortable.
Suddenly the quitter wants a smoke when they get in the car
or when they drink a cup of coffee. They think, this is
strange, the urge wasn`t this bad in the beginning why is
it hitting so hard now?
It`s the brainwashing from years of smoking on top of
letting your guard down. This is the best time to look the
addiction right in the eyes and say no.
This is a crucial period. You must begin to reprogram your
brain. Each time you get an urge, think about why you are
getting it. Are you bored, sad, stressed or happy? Then
separate the emotion from the smoking. Ride out the emotion
and don`t smoke. Then when the urge passes you must tell
yourself that you made it through and didn`t smoke.
WONDERFUL. Now you are beginning to retrain your brain to
know that smoking has nothing to do with the emotion you
are experiencing. The more powerful the emotion the more we
smoked or the more we thought smoking helped. The fact of
the matter is smoking has nothing to do with the emotion.
We remember the strong emotion so we will also remember the
smoking. You are only smoking to relieve the nicotine urge,
not to relieve the emotion. Get it?

Try walking down steps without holding the handrail or
looking down. It`s not easy. It can be done though. The
more you practice the better you get. In the beginning as
you practice you really have to pay attention to what you
are doing. As you get better there is less thought
involved. To make the quit stick you have to start
practicing. Pay close attention at first. Show yourself
that you can get through a crisis without smoking. Each
time it will get easier. I promise.

Quitting won`t happen overnight. Work at it and be positive.
Also praise yourself each and every time you make it
through an urge and don`t smoke.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Going out for a drink ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Why is not smoking during certain fun times so difficult?

So, I want to go to the bar with my friend Meg (who smokes)
and have a few drinks and catch up on things.
I think I can do this, I won’t smoke. (Two beers later)… a
cigarette would be good. It kind of smells good. I think
I’ll sneak one of Meg’s cigarettes when she heads off to
the bathroom.
Why hasn’t she gone to the bathroom yet? She has GOT to go
soon.
Maybe I’ll just come clean and ask for one. But what if she
says no. Then I’ll have to tell her ` just one and it won’t
get me started again.` But what if I want another one.
Pleeeeease use the bathroom! You have had 3 beers for God
sake! If you don’t go soon I will explode, cause I have to
go.
But I can’t go because when will I be able to smoke the
cigarette I steal from you when you go to the bathroom. If
I go now then she will need to go when I get back and then
I’ll grab that cigarette I wanted. But, then what do I do?
Tell her I have to go again. I think she will think I’m
sick or strange or something.

**** it, I’ll tell her I am dying and just go get a pack.
Then I will feel better and we can have a good time.
Damn I feel bad.
All I want to do is hide in my car with this pack and smoke
and cry cause I’m smoking. Meg is not having fun now
either. All I talk about is how bad I feel that I smoked
and how much I don’t want to. Why did I buy a pack? ****
now I have to do all that stupid psyching out stuff to get
me ready for another quit. I hate that part. I’ll have to
figure out a good day to quit. Too many stressful things
coming up. And then there is that party next weekend. I
have to go to it because I promised that I would. Plus I
like those people. Well I will wait until after the party…
and then after the monthly meeting at work. Things will be
better in two weeks, except for that Friday I promised
lunch with my friend at work who still smokes. She knows I
quit. Maybe I’ll just tell her so I can go to that lunch.
She won’t care. Man, I‘ll care though. I want her to think
I’m strong for staying quit. ****, I’ll just cancel
everything and stay locked up in my house until the sadness
ends. I’ll do that in 3 days. I just need three days of
smoking till I can say how much I hate it. Then I’ll do the
house lock in.

So, I go to the bar with Meg to have a few drinks. I say to
myself `smoking is not an option.` The only reason you want
to smoke is because you have associated these occasions
with smoking for so long.
NEWS FLASH!!! You will not be missing a thing. All of those
other times you went drinking and smoking with Meg you
would chain smoke, guilt free. It was one of the few times
as a smoker you weren’t craving because you were feeding
the beast so fast.
Aside from having a great conversation with your best
friend and drinking a tasty Guinness you are not having
pangs for nicotine. That is why you think it is fun to
smoke at the bar with Meg.

Smokers are constantly in search of the nonsmokers’ calm.
We are riddled with constant urges all day and every once
and a while we do something that we can smoke a lot during,
guilt free, and it will quiet the beast. A FALSE non-
smokers calm.
These will be the hardest times to fight urges. The times
that we didn’t feel guilty about smoking our little hearts
out (no pun intended).

So break the connection between smoking and those fun
times. They will still be fun, but this time, as a
nonsmoker, you will have the non-smoker’s calm. It’s a hell
of a lot cheaper and healthier than the false non-smoker`s
calm.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A Crazy Kona Thought ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This concept called an Inner Child has been a part of the
world for a very long time. Carl Jung called it the `Divine
Child` and Emmet Fox called it the `Wonder Child.` Some
psychotherapist called it the True Self. And Charles
Whitfield called it the Child Within.

The Inner Child refers to that part of each of us which is
ultimately alive, energetic, creative and fulfilled: in is
our Genuine Authentic Self, who we know deep within us, our
Real Self.

When a real child is not getting the attention they need
they often act up. They do things like smoke, drink or
drugs as a cry for help.

Here is my crazy thought. Maybe for some of us that inner
child was the part of us that smoked. Maybe this inner
person was crying out for attention. Maybe he or she wasn’t
allowed to be energetic or creative or fulfilled in some
way and the child continued to smoke as a way of acting up.

This thought came to mind after I was talking to someone
about how he still felt a need to do something `bad` after
he quit smoking. I started to wonder if maybe the reason
was because the child was not only still being ignored, but
also punished. The cigarettes were taken away. Also I
remember someone else telling me that they got a
PlayStation 2 and it helped him quit smoking. His inner
child was finally getting some fun.
Then I started to look at my quit and myself and if I was
giving that child any attention. I realized that I was, all
the time. I am having so much fun now. I take my dog to
this remote park almost every day and often dance in the
middle of the woods. I read more. I go to movies more. I’ve
also been taking more chances and find that I am less
scared, like a crazy teenager. In general I am happier and
feel more fulfilled. Maybe when I took the cigarettes away
from the child I started to listen at the same time.

My suggestion to anyone who is quitting: Do things that are
fun and fulfilling. Replace smoking with things that the
inner child might want to do. My friend Mark (who quit) and
his wife take dance lessons now. Try it, you have nothing
to lose and maybe a lot to gain.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Split Path ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

100 days ago I saw the path split, like it has so many
other times. This time was different. On January 11, 2001 I
started my process of recovery.

Recovery – A regaining of something lost or stolen. A
return to health, consciousness. A regaining of balance,
control, composure.

Webster said it best. In all of my other non-successful
attempts to quit smoking I never realized something was
missing from my life. In fact quite opposite, I made myself
think I was loosing something. This time I had to shift my
perspective. I know that thinking about what I didn`t want
was powerless to give me what I do want, so it was
important for me to shift my thoughts toward what I want.
My goal shifted from `I don’t want to smoke` to `I want to
take care of myself… I want to be healthy.` The former
focuses on sickness while the latter focuses on health. I
started, on that day, back in January, to take conscious
control of my self-talk.

All day, everyday, we talk to ourselves. Sometimes we even
talk to ourselves out loud. When we talk to ourselves what
we are really doing is giving commands to our subconscious
mind. The subconscious mind is a very powerful tool. It
carries out its orders efficiently and effectively. It does
not know the difference between right or wrong and caries
no judgment. It just does what it is told.

I told myself that I was I was sorry for all the hurting
for 16 years. Then I forgave myself and moved on. Punishing
myself was just holding me back. My focus then switched to
`now.`

I saw the split path again, a fork in the road. I chose the
same path as I have chosen in the past, but this time I see
the path. I don’t think about the other road. It just
simply is not an option. When you stop thinking about the
other road a wonderful thing happens, you see the road your
on. The path I’m on is beautiful. It smells good. It tastes
good. It’s wide and lush. It’s the perfect path.
On this path I am `regaining something lost or stolen.`
I am regaining my self-respect. Smoking stole it.
I am balanced. I am controlled. I am composed. I am happy.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Willpower ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Willpower is essentially when a part of you overpowers
another part of you to win a struggle. It is a struggle
between the conscious and subconscious. The conscious
overpowering the subconscious. To suggest that we can
consciously override the subconscious for a long period of
time is ridiculous. The subconscious mind is far and away
the dominant force and must be reckoned with for any
achievement to occur. Conversely, without subconscious
concurrence, you will not be able to do it. Not for very
long, anyway. So to willpower smoking from your life is
just not going to work.

In the beginning the willpower is necessary while you
create an even better way to deal with not smoking. Let me
explain:

Your unconscious sees the facts. Part of our built-in
evolutionary survival `programme`, as an animal is the
reduction of pain and discomfort. Smoking satisfied the
discomfort felt from the lack of nicotine when you were not
smoking for a period of time. Therefor after years of
smoking the unconscious concludes that a cigarette will
make the discomfort go away. Cravings.

Both parts of your brain were deceived by the addiction.
Now all of the sudden for what ever reason, you want to
quit.
Consciously you begin to see why smoking is so bad. So now
your conscious is starting to disagree with your
subconscious. The battle of quitting begins. You must now
use your conscious thoughts to reprogram the unconscious.

Picture the smoking dilemma in your unconscious as a
balance scale. Before the day that your conscious rang a
bell in your head and told you that you need to quit, the
scale didn’t exist. After that day the scale came about.
One side of the scale is our built-in evolutionary survival
to reduce discomfort. The other side of the scale is for
you to fill to outweigh the evolutionary survival instinct.
I’m just using the scale as a metaphor for reprogramming.

So how do you tip the scale so not smoking is no longer a
problem? Many ways.
You have to consciously notice things that favor your quit.
Each thing when it is consciously noticed will drop into
the side of the scale that you are trying to fill. The more
you notice and the faster you begin to notice things the
quicker the scale begins to tip.

This is why I always say to people that you need to be
proud of each little step. Say out loud when ever possible
that you are proud of yourself for not smoking. This works
best when you have passed a `test.` Big scale tipper!

Scale tippers:

Celebrating one hour, one day, one week, one month, etc of
not smoking
Noticing the money saved
Noticing good smells
Noticing breathing without chest pain
Noticing more energy
Noticing the taste of food
Noticing more time with the family
Noticing that you are less hungover after a night of
drinking
Noticing that you have stopped hurting yourself
Noticing less guilt
Noticing the pride you feel for your accomplishment
Noticing that the discomfort is lessening
Noticing the size of your gadget
Noticing that a kiss is better

Now go out today and tip that scale!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Make Life Matter ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My dear friend Mark’s father just died on Sunday. He has
gone through a whirlwind of emotions this week. Through it
all, the emotion that stood out the most was gratitude.
Gratitude for what he had and what he still has.

He sent me a note yesterday telling me that through this
whole powerful experience he got a message that told him to
`Make Life Matter.` He said he believes that when I quit
smoking I got the same message. He’s right, I did. I
haven’t been able to get those three words out of my brain
since I read them… Make Life Matter.

Make Life Matter, `what a big job that must be` I thought
to myself.
But on a closer look I realized that on a basic level I do,
everyday. I make life matter.
It all started when I said enough is enough, no more
hurting myself. The quality of life I had while I smoked
was pathetic. I wasn’t making my life matter while I
continued to choke it. So the day I stopped was the day I
started making life matter.

When I quit smoking I started taking a closer look at
things. It started small, like how much better food tasted
or how wonderful clean laundry smelled. I guess I started
getting hooked on noticing how not smoking improved my
life. I began to hunt for things. I noticed the huge
reduction of stress in my life. I noticed the guilt
dissolve. I noticed more quality time with my family. I
noticed the rebirth of my self-respect. I don’t have to
hunt for reasons anymore. They jump out in front of me
everyday.

Addiction desensitizes people. The removal of addiction can
make the mind, heart and soul tingle if you let it. When
your mind, heart and soul tingle, life begins to matter.

I would like to say how proud I am of all of my friends
here. I have been touched on so many levels by so many of
you. I owe my ` life mattering` to you. It was you that
lead me to this path I’m on. A path full of beauty. A path
where Life Matters. Thank you.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Smell Memories ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I will never smoke again. Why am I so golden?
Well, the secret to my success is simple: Everyday I take
note of how great I feel and how quitting has improved my
life.

Let’s take a closer look a smelling.

Fact: The nose contains specialized sensory nerve cells, or
neurons, with hairlike fibers called cilia on one end. Each
neuron sends a nerve fiber called an axon to the olfactory
bulb, a brain structure just above the nose.

Fact: Smoking damages the nerve endings and stuns the cilia.

Fact: The nose connects to the olfactory bulb, the only
place in the human body where the central nervous system is
exposed directly to the environment. The cells of the
olfactory membrane are literally brain cells. Fragrant
substances pass on to the limbic system without being
registered by the cerebral cortex. Even before we become
aware of an aroma, our subconscious reacts to it.

Fact: The limbic system belongs to the oldest portion of
our brain. The sense of smell is one of our earliest senses
and functions on a very deep and profound level. It is not
surprising that as one of our earliest senses, smell has
some of the most profound effects on us.

Fact: 80% of taste is smell.

Fact: Smelling is one of the best ways to evoke a memory.
Scientists call this the `Proustian effect.`

Fact: Aromas do seem to be more closely connected to
agreeable recollections. (Dr. Metzger, of UTC`s odor center)

Fact: When you quit smoking the nerve endings regrow and
the cilia revitalizes.

Fact: When you quit smoking your sense of smell returns and
with it fond memories from the past.

SteverinoF was telling me in an email how the smell of
spring on his run the other morning evoked so many fond
memories, like last day of school and late nights playing
kick the can. He got his smelling back and with it those
precious memories.

I was standing my living room the other night right in
front of the window just as a storm hit. The smell evoked a
memory I had of my father and I biking home from the park
in a driving rainstorm. I can still hear his laugh. All
this from a smell.

Why on earth would we want to trap those fond memories,
memories that are very much a part of us? A virtual
scrapbook in our heads.

Want to wake up your inner child? Go to a toy store and
open up a can of Play-Doh and get a good whiff. Now be
prepared to play.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Less Can Be Worse ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I hear a lot of people on the Q that are getting ready to
quit say they are going to cut down until their quit date.

It sounds like a good idea at first, but there are problems
with this thinking.

First you begin to make each cigarette more precious. The
less you smoke the more precious each cigarette becomes.
Each one is anticipated more and it feels more rewording.
In stead of working to reject nicotine you are making it
more desirable without even realizing it.
Second, it causes pre-quit feelings of deprivation.
Focusing on what you feel that you have been deprived of
creates anxiety. Why build up your anxiety level before you
even quit.

There’s a much better way to spend your last few days or
weeks of smoking to prepare you for your quit.

Continue to smoke as you always have, but this time observe
your behavior and all the negative that follows you as a
smoker each day. Like a storm cloud over your head.

Keep a journal of:
The times when a drag sends you into a coughing fit.
When you have to scrape money together for a pack or go out
of your way to get money for a pack.
The way your mouth tastes all day. The way your hands smell.
The deep belly laugh that turns to a deep lung cough.
The times you avoid being close to someone because you are
ashamed of how you smell.
The 3:00 am nicotine wake up call that interrupts your
sleep.
The lies you make to others because of the hold nicotine
has on you.
The general and constant aggravation that being a smoker
causes.

Look closely you will see just how inconvenienced you are
to maintain your addiction.

If you notice these things and write then down you will
begin to look forward to quitting. It will let you see the
true nature of this horrible addiction and it will give you
the push you need into freedom from it forever.

When your quit day arrives you will be excited to stop and
not mournful for a loss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Body, Mind and Soul ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Smoking hurts the body confuses the mind and bruises the
soul.

The intention of healing one can often lead to some healing
of all three. In fact, I believe you must begin to heal all
three in order to defeat addiction.

I got a tattoo on the small of my back on March 20th of
this year, on my 100-day anniversary. It’s of a Triskel.
The Triskel is a Celtic symbol used to represent continual
life. It is made up of three identical elements
representing birth, death and re-birth. Each element is
joined to the next in such a way there is no start or end,
just a continual line representing the cycle of life.

I really believe that smoking, all of those years, stunted
not only my physical growth, but also my growth mentally
and spiritually. Simply because the addiction almost always
came before me. Now I come first. My health and wellbeing
comes first. I make choices based on my needs, not the
needs of my addiction

In a sense I am reborn. I honestly never thought I could be
this happy.
Six months of healing my body.
Six months of spiritual awaking.
Six months of untangling my mind.
Six months of feeling whole.

People ask me all the time how my quit is going. I tell
them I’m golden. It means I’m there, finished, quit and
never going back. I have reached a quality of life that I
never knew was attainable and I don’t ever want to go back.

My advice to newbies... look at the big picture. Avoid the
tunnel vision. Don’t loose your way by getting lost in the
intensity of a bad crave. Step back and see the big
picture. It’s just a craving for something that was taking
life away from you. Your decision to not smoke is so much
bigger than the craving. Keep your focus. If you do that
you will see some remarkable changes in your health...

...the health of your body, mind and soul.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ True Inspiration ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s 89 degrees with zero wind and the air is so thick you
can cut it. There is only one way this kite is going to fly
and that is by sheer manpower. In other words fast sprints
across the field by me. Yes naked sprinting!

I prop the kite up on the car and walk the string across
the field a bit. I take one last deep breath and I’m off.
The kite flies as long as I’m running... I run in a wide
circle around the field. The orange and red kite is breath
taking against the blue sky. So alive!
I stop... the kite crashes to the ground. Without the air
under its wings it won’t fly. It’s that simple.

People can live for weeks without food and days without
water but only minutes without oxygen. Breathing is the
reminder of our mortality. It is through breathing that we
receive the basic energy of life.

Smokers are shallow chest breathers. They really only use
the top 1/3 of their lungs to breath. Smoking reinforces
that behavior. So not only are they taking sips of air, but
when they smoke it’s sips of toxic air. As much as 70
percent of our body’s filtered poisons are released through
exhalation. By lowering our oxygen levels through shallow
breathing we decrease the bodies ability to detoxify at a
cellular level.

Smoking is slow suffocation.

The second you start to feel like you are depriving
yourself of something by not smoking think about this...
smoking is depriving you of the very thing that gives you
life.

Smoking IS deprivation.

Our bodies will improve dramatically when we replace
shallow breathing with a habit of relaxed, full, rhythmic
breathing. Practicing good breathing directly improves our
health. Slow, full breaths decrease heart and metabolic
rates, while lowering blood sugar levels, pulmonary stress
and fatigue. The increased lymphatic flow and oxygen
transfer to tissues also stabilizes blood pressure,
decreasing the risk of strokes. It also aids in digestion.
The benefit list goes on and on.

The word `inspiration`, which means literally `to breathe
in`, also defines the rush that one feels when over taken
by spiritual energy. Inspiration is the force that impels
one forward into life with enthusiasm and it is the divine
influence that brings forth creativity and vitality. The
breath is a powerful link to the most profound medicine
that we carry within us physically, mentally and even
spiritually.

The next time you have a bad craving and your fellow qsters
rush in with the advice `TAKE DEEP BREATHS` listen to
them... that my friends is true inspiration!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Hike ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I got up early this morning, made coffee, ate breakfast and
then packed the dogs and a few things in the car and drove
an hour and a half south to Hawn State Park near St.
Genevieve Missouri. I went to this park once several years
ago and I remembered it as being so beautiful. Rolling
hills, rock formations and a strong rushing creek
throughout. I choose the 6-mile trail to hike. It’s a
challenging hike up and down several steep grades and a
couple of different times you have to take off your shoes
to wade through the rushing creek. It’s worth every step
because of its beauty.

I only saw 6 people the entire day and the first two I saw
were these two ladies at the first spot where you need to
wade through water. They looked like mother and daughter.
They were sitting on rocks taking off their shoes. I sat
down by them and started taking my shoes off too and
thought it might be nice to just chitchat with these ladies
before heading across. I asked them if they come out here
often, and the younger woman replied, `Yes, it’s our
favorite hide-a-way.` I agreed that it was a great place to
get away from it all. Then the older woman said that they
were there today to celebrate her 63rd birthday. I wished
her a happy birthday and thought in my mind how cool it was
that she was still out hiking on a trail this challenging.
I then told them that I was kind of celebrating too. I was
celebrating the fact that I had quit smoking 7-months ago.
The older woman turned to me with big eyes and said she
used to smoke but quit when she was 49. She said she was
dreading turning 50 and to be smoking on top of it made her
sad, so she quit. She started walking for exercise the day
she quit and has made that a life long habit. She was all
smiles when she looked me right in the eyes and said `I
feel more alive today then I did 14 years ago on the day
before I quit.` I gave her a big smile, wished her a happy
birthday and headed down the trail.

I thought to myself about how I have always dreaded
birthdays. They were like huge reminders that I was getting
older. And then I thought as a smoker, birthdays are very
much a count down. The odds of living a full active life
while continuing to smoke are slim. Everyone knows smoking
kills so birthdays are very much a reminder of how little
is left if you are a smoker.

I don’t smoke anymore and I by ending this addiction I have
increased the odds that I too will be all smiles and hiking
in Hawn State Park at age 63.

I’m not so scared of birthdays anymore.


********************** Higher sense of self
**************************

We all form a concept of ourselves starting at an early
age. We acquire a certain sense of self, which is the
cumulative product of the kind of choices and decisions we
have made.

Although our sense of self is established at a very young
age it changes over time do in part because our choices and
decisions seem to have greater impact in life. For example:
We have all thrown trash out our car window at one point in
time when we were younger. We didn’t care too much nor did
we understand the impact of all trash on the environment.
Yesterday I was driving down my street with the windows
down and a plastic grocery bag flew out of my car window. I
stopped got out and picked it up. I consciously wasn’t able
to just litter and move one. When I was younger I didn’t
care.
As we age our morals and values become more established
thus impacting our sense of self more. Our conscious is
much louder.

We all started smoking when we were young. You don’t hear
about many people who start smoking when they are older.
Why do you think that is? They know what smoking will do to
them and because of their better-established sense of self
they choose to not be so destructive. At 11 and 12 or even
19 and 20, we don’t fully understand the impact of the
addiction.

It doesn’t say on the pack of cigarettes:

WARNING: Smoking will cause severe self-loathing and will
deflate your self-respect.
Or…
WARNING: You ain’t gonna feel to good about yourself when
you try and quit this over and over and it doesn’t work.
Or…
WARNING: Smoking causes unbelievable mind games and there
isn’t a rulebook for these games.

We’re a bit older now and we know all to well what smoking
is doing to our bodies and our minds. We know that we have
to leave the company of loved ones to give attention to the
addiction. We know that is not a good thing. We know the
money could be spent on other important things. We’re
ashamed of that. We know throwing that butt out the car
window is harming the environment. Yet despite all that we
know as we continue to suck down cigarette after cigarette.

Do you understand the implications of repeating an action
that goes against our better judgement, our morals and our
values over and over all day everyday?

If we behave in ways that are contrary to our knowledge of
reality, self-destructive, and/or in violation of our moral
principles, we experience negative consequences. We feel
inappropriate to life. We feel that we don`t deserve to be
happy.

However, if we habitually behave in ways that we know to be
consistent with reality, life enhancing, and true to our
moral principles, we expect that the consequences of our
actions will be positive. We feel worthy. We then feel
deserving of happiness.


The above stuff how I worked myself through my recovery.

Conscious living means taking responsibility for your own
choices. It begins with making those choices conscious. It
proceeds with learning alternative behaviors to solve the
problems that serve to reinforce your bad choices. You can
learn to make good choices. You can learn to live
consciously.
I became conscious of my smoking and conscious of its
effects on me but the most important thing I did was to
become conscious of my worthiness when I quit.

For me, I needed to believe that I am worthy of happiness.
This is what is meant by self-respect. The number one gain
form quitting!


********************* It’s YOU doing it, not the NRT
*****************

My knees have been hurting me a lot lately. I dislocated my
right knee when I was 16 and over the years the added
stress on my left knee has started to show. I have been
jogging faithfully since I quit smoking. Some days just a
mile other days four. I really enjoy it. But lately I have
been feeling a lot of pain. My mother just had her knee
replaced and her doctor told me these things tend to be
hereditary. I know I need to stop jogging and start finding
an alternative exercise routine.

This morning I laced up my running shoes and I headed out
for a jog to celebrate my 15-month anniversary and I
thought about a lot of stuff including the post I made last
night about NRT (nicotine replacement therapy).

I should have made the header THIS POST IS ONLY FOR THOSE
OF YOU WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT USING NRT FOR YOUR QUIT.

It was not a post to make people who are using NRT to feel
bad. However I’m glad it got heated and I’m glad for every
reply I got. This is why:

I realized something that needs to be emphasized more. NRT
is like the Dr. Scholl’s in your shoes. Just an added
cousin for your step. It can soften the edges for someone
who is scared and frankly not ready to jump in headfirst. I
think it’s a great way to lure the leery into the world of
quitting. It makes what feels like the impossible, possible
for many. This is good.

The danger comes when the quitter gives too much credit to
the NRT.

Think about this for a second. When you get in your car
after a long stressful day of work and you are craving a
cigarette but you drive all the way home passing numerous
gas stations and 7-11s and pull into your drive way without
a new pack of cigarettes who did that? Did the patch drive
you home without stopping? Did the gum say no to buying a
pack of cigarettes? No way! It was you. All you.

Maybe your NRT helps you cry a little less or keeps you
from crossing the line and actually killing your spouse,
but it is YOU that chooses each time to not light that
cigarette.

YOU YOU YOU.

This is how you become empowered to stay free. Throw all of
those `No`s YOU said to smoking into a tub and soak in it.
It was your choice to smoke and now it ‘s YOUR choice not
to. The patch and gum didn’t choose a thing. You did. Do
not forget that. Do not give credit to your NRT that should
be going to you. For anyone who felt discouraged by my
post, don’t. You are still the one who is making your quit
happen. I think you need to give yourself more credit, a
lot more credit.

So here I am jogging down the street, feeling proud of all
the times I said no and realized that I was running. I was
going very fast and taking long smooth strides. I felt that
runner’s high. My lungs were pumping away and working
exactly the way they were suppose to and they felt SO good.
My knees were basically giving me the finger, but my lungs
were smiling. There are alternatives to my exercise
routine, but there are NOT alternatives to breathing. Today
I am beaming with pride because of those zillions of `No`s
I said to smoking. They were MY `No`s and I’m very proud of
that.


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