Thursday, November 29, 2007

Itty Bitty Habit

Did you see that Oprah where the woman, Nancy, lost 530 pounds?

How? Support on the Internet. Genius.

David, the guy who lost 300 pounds said he did it by changing two habits - night eating and drinking soda.

Two itty-bitty habits. He changed those seemingly small things and bam "I feel like I've been freed from a prison of my own making," he reported.

When you decide to quit smoking you think you'll be changing one little thing. But, you can't because it effects your whole entire life.

Not only does that one little habit touch everything in your life, but when you achieve the goal of say, "Making it one whole day." (Which by the way is not a little goal but a massive goal.) You'll realize that one week is in your reach. Then a month.

Then you'll think, Hey, maybe I'll start going to the gym. You know, now that I can breath again.

And you'll be surprised that you can lose 10 pounds. Then you'll start drinking more water and less beer. You just don't feel like drinking as much anymore.

Maybe you'll start hanging out with your churchy Grandma more, because now you don't smell like shameful cigarettes.

Then one day you realize you're not thinking about smoking every day. You'll feel like you've been freed from a prison of your own making too. You'll wonder how you never realized you had the key the whole time.

You're thinking about what you're going to accomplish next. And now you know you can do anything because you quit smoking.

Be a Quitter!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday Stress

Perhaps you're one of those people who gets stressed out around the holidays. Gee, I don't know why you would. . .

The big family gathering where the sister-in-law who ruined your kid's birthday party is going to be. The reunion with the brother who told your kid to shut up because the adults are talking last year. Or the very, very long drive you took with your three kids fighting in the back seat so they could hang out with the extended fam-damily for two lousy days before you got back in the car again.

Then there's Black Friday, where the retailers go into the black and you simultaneously go into the black hole of credit card debt.

God, you need a cigarette.

Except, no you don't.

Here's the thing about holiday stress . . . smoking doesn't cure it. Having that cigarette won't make it any easier to see your sister-in-law or forgive your brother.

The smoke isn't going to make the kids stop fighting during the long drive. It's not going to wipe away the tears you get when you say goodbye to your aging parents and you wonder if your grandmother will live long enough for you to visit again.

Smoking certainly won't make it easier to face the black hole of Christmas expenses - in fact, it only digs you deeper into that financial oblivion at $5-$7 a pack.

You could break down and have a cigarette because "you have to."

OR. . .

You could muster up the courage and pray that God will help you face family members you don't really want to see. You could spend your time talking with someone else. You could opt out of the gathering this year.

You could decide to skip the malls and stores and announce a low-key Christmas, enhanced by stress-free shopping on the Internet.

You could stop and buy each kid a hand-held video game to stop the fighting or stop at a park to let them play.

You could just feel the ache of saying good-bye and say everything you're afraid you won't have a chance to say if you wait too long. I love you, I miss you, I think about you all the time, I'll come again as soon as I can.

There never will be life without stress. If you keep doing the same thing - smoking - and expecting an impossible result (stress relief) you're perpetually disappointed and stressed out.

Try doing something different to see if you can get a different result. Hold fast to your quit and realize that while this year may feel harder, by next year you'll have new coping strategies that will make things easier.

The only way out is through.

You can totally do this. I know you can.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankful to be Free

This is the first Thanksgiving where I didn't have to sneak off to smoke. Didn't have to creep out the back door and around the house like a fugitive.

Didn't have to lurk around finding a gas station that was open so I could buy enough to last the day.

I am go grateful that I'm not chained to any addictions anymore.

So grateful that they invented Chantix so I could finally be free of Philip Morris's hold on my life. I feel richer, healthier, more competent and blessed.

My life is one of optimism and freedom now.

Success not failure.

I love Thanksgiving.

I hope you felt as great as I did. And if you're still struggling - remember these feelings are just around the corner from the anger, remorse and grief you're going through now. There is light at the end of the tunnel and the air over here is worth the struggle.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Declare Your Quit Here

Today is the Great American Smoke Out. Hopefully, you're browsing around looking for a reason to quit. You already have a million of them.

Maybe now you just have to decide. Decide you're going to be a non-smoker and declare yourself a non-smoker.

Do that here. Please post how long you've been smoking and what's the reason you're deciding not to do it anymore.

Tell us what your quitting strategy is. I've been known to personally encourage people who want to quit smoking, so it's likely I'll respond.

You can totally do this. I know it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Trashed Patches

I threw away the left over patches I had in my cabinet. I was saving them for the next time I failed at quitting smoking.

I finally believe I'm not going to be a failure now. I've had drinks and not smoked. I've been to bars and parties. I've had visits with my family. I've had stress and marital problems and friend dramas.

When I started the Chantix I had half a box of patches left. Those are expensive so I saved them - just in case the Chantix didn't work.

I truly believe I'm free of that horrible, terrible habit that somehow kept me trapped in all sorts of screwy thinking and addictive behaviors.

Good riddance to the nicotine patch and all other attachments to smoking.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Good Example

Are you really going to wear a helmet while riding your bike? my husband asked.

Of course, I am. I am a good example to my children. I don't smoke and I wear a helmet on my bike, I told him.

It is such a relief to know that I'm a good example to my children now. Their odds are so much better since I quit smoking.

No more guilt. What a relief for my soul.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Family Visit and Maturity

One of the stupidest excuses I ever used to keep smoking was that dealing with my family was too stressful.

It's only stupid in retrospect, while it was happening it seems like a legitimate, justifiable reason to quit quitting and keep smoking. Dealing with my family was "too much stress."

My coping strategies used to include smoking. Period. Without it, I would fall apart and not be able to communicate with people.

Smoking was really an excuse not to do any emotional work. Yeah, people are stressful. But, they are also delightful.

What did I miss all those years by having to step out of the room? The healing, the laughter, the reconciliation, learning to let stuff roll off my back, the understanding of another's position?


My family is in town and I don't know if it's because I no longer have to shamefully excuse myself to go smoke, or if quitting smoking forced me to create better emotional coping strategies, or if quitting smoking allowed me to let go of some kind of adolescent idea of my parents being nerdy weird burdens - but this isn't stressful. This is delightful.

In some way, continuing to smoke kept me in the same place I was when I started smoking - rebellious and childish. Now, I'm 34 years old and can see them in a different, more mature light.

This feels good. I'm so glad I let go of my teenage self by quitting smoking.

Anyone else experiencing this kind of freedom?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Addicted Forever?

Over on BlogFabulous my friend and fellow quitter Tara writes:

I just thought I would chime in on the mentioning of still craving a cigarette. My father, who smoked for 20 years and then quit cold turkey when I was young, once told me that he STILL wants a cigarette EVERY day. So, I think this will just be what it is like for us from now on. Only thing, I KNOW what that ONE will do to me…………it will turn into several and then into my whole pack a day again. I know we can all do it, and congrats to everyone!

Every freaking day! Dear Me, say it ain't true! Man, I feel sorry for that guy.

There is a version of hell that I recall from my youth. It's an argument against using addictive substances.

If you die addicted to something, you will spend eternity addicted to that very thing - only there won't be any of that thing in the afterlife.

Smoker - you die addicted to smoking, then for eternity you constantly crave cigarettes, but they don't exist in the afterlife.
Alcoholic - you die addicted to alcohol, then for eternity you always and forever want a drink, only that's a physical craving and you no longer have a physical body.

This applies to all addictions.

Now, whether this is actually true or not is debatable. But, what if it is? What if that's the addict's own personal hell created for themselves on earth, that they have to suffer with cravings that can never be satisfied for eternity? EE Gads!

It's an argument both for abstaining from all addictive substances in the first place. And an argument for conquering all addictions while we still have a physical self to overcome addiction. It's an argument for deciding NOT to die a smoker.

I find it slightly motivating. What about you? Do you think you might be able to find it motivating as well?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

End of Party

So, I've been off Chantix and smoke-free for quite a few months now.

When I turn at the gas station by my house - where I used to stop every day to buy the single cigarillos I allowed myself to cheat with, amidst the begging from my child to "please don't go buy any cigarettes Mommy!" I feel no temptation to stop. In fact, I don't ever want to buy gas or a drink there ever again. It's a source of shame.

But, after the 4th round at Wing Stop with good company last night - well, I wanted a cigarette then. I even contemplated picking up a butt off the ground. (Please, like you were above smoking a strangers butt in a pinch. Smoking is a humiliating addiction.)

But, I thought of going back to the nightmare of having to smoke and thought of how I hate feeling like a total failure all the time and how I hate being a negative influence on my children and all the real pain smoking causes.

I took a deep breath and chose not to smoke. Maybe at the end of the a great evening out I'll always want one. I hope eventually that will go away.

But, at the end of an evening seems to be when the tempting lie - you can have just one right now, no harm - rears it's deceptive head.

But, I don't believe those lies anymore. Do you?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Real Sorrow and Real Strength

A friend on Blog Fabulous reported her sorrow when one of her students committed suicide. Can she really not smoke to get through it?

Another friend reported on the same day that her husband was diagnosed with leukemia. Can she really not smoke through that?

She can. Both of them.

Real strength is realizing that smoking never solved a single problem. It never made you think more clearly, it never helped you cope with stress. Smoking now will have a detrimental effect on someone who has leukemia, it will harm both the self and the husband. Smoking now will not bring a student back to life or heal the pain of one lost.

Those are very real stressors. It takes more maturity to deal with now that the crutch of smoking has vanished.

You can alldo this. I know you can. Now that you no longer believe the smoking lie, you can find the strength and resources to cope with these problems in a real and mature way.

I know you can.