Sunday, December 30, 2007


non-smoker.jpgYou've said it before, I'm quitting smoking this year.

But, then you didn't. You couldn't. You just . . .

It's freaking hard!

I read this article in Oprah Magazine by Stephanie Losee, titled The Willpower Myth. It was based on a book Change or Die: The Three Keys to Change at Work and in Life.

Change or Die.

When you're a smoker those are literally your choices. You can change and become a non-smoker if you want to live. Or you can choose to keep smoking and live with the consequences: emphysema, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, severely damaging your children. . . oh the list of negatives for smoking just never ends. They keep coming up with more and more reasons to quit smoking.

Let's face it - this is not new information for you. What will be different this time?

Chantix: it's a little blue miracle in pill form. It won't make it exactly easy to quit smoking but it will take you from the depths of hell into simple doable purgatory - which changes everything. Because when it was hell, you couldn't do it. Now that it's only purgatory - well, now you can be a quitter. Go get a prescription - you have nothing to lose.

Relationship: You need support and I'm a been-there -done- that kind of girl. I quit smoking in 2007 and I want to help you quit smoking in 2008. If you think you've got it worse than I did - read I Suck. Feel free to stop by day or night for any support you need.

Repeating: this probably isn't the first time you've quit smoking - so you're going to be better at it this time. All the other times were just practice. And you know what they say about practice.

Reframing: This may be the most important thing you're going to do for yourself. You're going to change your thinking. You're going to do whatever corny thing you have to in order to change your thinking. One thing that worked for me was to write I Am A Non-Smoker on my wrist and my bathroom mirror. I did it for months. Corny? Yes. But, who cares if it's effective?

You can do this. 2008 is your year.

Be a quitter!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Party Holiday

Yes, well we all know Christmas was stressful - but it's a family holiday.

Next Tuesday is New Year's and if it hasn't occurred to you - it's about to occur to you that you might be around more alcohol and ... cigarettes on New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve is a Party Holiday.

Here's the thing. I know that low and mournful feeling of thinking of yourself staying home from the party and missing all that fun and excitement. But. . .

Well. Maybe you've outgrown it.

You're in a very tender period at the moment. Vulnerable to relapse.

Your mind is telling you that perhaps, now that you haven't smoked for a bit, that you could maybe be a social smoker and only smoke on the big holidays or nights out on the town.

Fact: You can not.

IF you were a social smoker you would not need Chantix to quit smoking. IF you were at all capable of socially smoking you would not need support or medical intervention to quit.

ADDICTS need medical intervention and social support to quit smoking. ADDICTS have crossed a line - the line between being capable of controlling a substance or having a substance control them.

See the difference?

Because you have crossed the line you can never, ever go back.

Smoking will never and can never be casual or social for you. You're not like the others who never took it up seriously.

The sooner you accept that - the sooner you can free yourself from the self-made prison of addiction.

If you are one of the blessed Chantix users you may have noticed that other addictive urges have been quelled. You no longer feel the urge to drink alcohol, maybe your desire for coffee is lessened. Maybe you're not wishing you had a Xanex, pain pill or donut. Maybe, just maybe, the Chantix is being more of a dopamine blocking miracle than you thought.

If you're feeling no urge to drink - don't do it.
If you're feeling like you'll smoke if you go to the party - don't go.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

I Told You

I told you you could make it through Christmas without smoking.

Of course you could.

I knew it all along.

As a reward, every Christmas from here on out will be smoke-free. And by free I mean free of thoughts of smoking too. By next Christmas you'll be a full fledged non-smoker who doesn't think about smoking. Cause why would you? Non-smokers don't think about smoking.

Now that you've made it through the stress of the Holidays . . .

You can make it through anything.



Pat yourself on the back please. You did very, very well.

And if you cheated - well, a lapse isn't a relapse. You quit again today. Right?


Monday, December 24, 2007

Downsize the Holidays

Don’t let the Holidays stress you out.

  • Prozac $12
  • Zoloft $86
  • Xanex $4

I actually saw that sign at a pharmacy this year.

That's the way I (we?) USED to do things. Let the stress run my life until I needed pills and smokes and drinks to cope. But, doing things that way resulted in me going to rehab for a Xanex addiction several years ago over Christmas (no kidding) and smoking for 20 years to cope with the stress of life.

Now, I'm learning to eliminate more stress than I can handle. Where I used to spend Christmas buying gifts for everyone on the planet and putting crappy presents no one needs on credit cards that would take me till March 3 years later to pay back - now I simply refuse.

I used to run from the Christmas Eve Communion ceremony from my husband's family does to my Grandma's White Elephant Gift Party to the Playing Santa all night to the Opening Presents on Christmas morning to the In-law Christmas Party for lunch to the Grandma's Christmas Dinner to the falling exhausted into my bed.

No freaking wonder I needed a smoke to keep up the pace!

Yes, I boycotted extended family Christmas giving. I sent out an email far in advance simply stating that we were not participating in gift-giving. Period. I later agreed to participate in a $10 white elephant gift exchange on his side. On my side, my siblings and I agreed to give to one family per year.

I also restructured what I am willing to do as far as party-going. No, I will not go to 3 houses and run myself ragged. Schedule your party on a different day if you'd like us to attend.

Which resulted in a Sunday party at my Grandmother's for a white elephant exchange. A Christmas Eve daytime party at my mother-in-laws for a White Elephant Exchange.

At the last minute my husband wanted to throw in an extra church service.

No, honey, I don't want to attend more events. Too many activities make me cranky and tired and I'm already at my limit.

Christmas is all to ourselves in our new home watching our children play with their new toys. And nearly all of them I bought at garage sales so I need not use a credit card.

I realize it's Christmas Eve and a little too late to be boycotting this year. However, if you're looking at that sign and thinking you'd like a Xanex or a smoke, then after the meals are eaten and the presents opened is a wonderful time to have a chat about downsizing next year's Christmas gifting and events.

Learning to say no is a great way to reduce stress.

I hope you have a lovely smoke-free Holiday.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Foggy Brain

Foggy head is totally normal when you first quit (Nancy and others).

Think of it this way: you're brain is programed to think with a cigarette between your synapses.

Like this thought + smoke = completion of thought. You spent a lot of your time thinking while smoking or holding off decisions until you could smoke or hurrying to do something so you could go smoke. You've trained your brain to use smoking in the process of thinking.

You're entire brain is going to have to be retrained to think and process thought without smoking. And Chantix can't do that for you.

It is very frustrating in the beginning, but a brain retrains itself pretty quickly. In about two months you'll feel like you can think better than before.

In the meantime, avoid major decisions, cut yourself lots of slack, forgive everyone including yourself and realize that this will pass.

You might speed the process of brain building by taking up a new skill that requires learning something new like knitting, sudoku, video games or yoga. This will help your brain build new bridges between thoughts.

Hold on to your ass and distract yourself, in other words.

Friday, December 21, 2007

New Year's Resolution

One top New Year's Resolution for people is to quit smoking. Who hasn't made this resolution and failed? Maybe 2008 should be your year for success.

I have to report - having succeeded at quitting smoking in 2007 - that it was one of the hardest and most painful resolutions I've ever accomplished. I am so thrilled to be free of that monster! I want that for you too.

I'm just saying, with the invention of Chantix in 2007 making it so much easier - maybe you're ready to quit smoking.

One of our quitters, Brandie, says her first day of not smoking will be Christmas Eve. What a wonderful time - she'll be birthing a new self with new habits and new coping strategies.

Call your doctor. Get the prescription. Say good-bye to smoking and hello to freedom from smoking.

This is it for you Phillip Morris. You've tricked teenagers and seduced the young for much too long. It's time we grew up - it's time we took back our lives.

There really is NO good side to smoking. Not a single, solitary benefit.

Quit justifying and just quit. If you haven't done it already - make Jan. 1, 2008 your day of rebirth.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moving Day

We just bought our first home.

It didn't hurt our savings and our ability to put a down payment on a house to quit spending $5-$10 a day on smokes. Duh, what a freaking waste of money that was.

This is a place with no smoking memories. I have never stepped out on the front porch to smoke here. Or hidden an emergency cigarette above the door or in my husband's closet. A fresh start is always nice.

A friend of my husband's came to help us move and had to take multiple smoke breaks. I wasn't even tempted to steal away with him and smuggle drags off his cigarette.


I'm free of that prison of my own making. I never want to chain myself to smoking again. It's a drain on both time and money. It's a drain on my emotional life and my connections to other people. It's a terrible example to my children and frankly, it might actually kill me.

His friend and I had a quitting conversation. You know, the same one you had a million times when you were trying to find any reason to keep your addiction going.

My doctor wouldn't give me the prescription.
Fire him. Get a new doctor.
I can't afford the prescription.
The prescription is cheaper than cigarettes.
I told my insurance I'm a non-smoker, they won't cover it.
Even if you go to a new doctor and pay full price for the visit, and then pay full price for the prescription for 3 months, it is still cheaper than the never-ending drain on your financial life that continuing to smoke is.
But, then I'd have to have the money all at once instead of $5 at a time.
Well, perhaps one day you'll be ready.

Thank God I was finally ready. Are you ready to be a quitter?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas - You Can Deal

Did you ever see a Norman Rockwell Painting where Santa was smoking? How about A Wonderful Life where Jimmy kept taking a break from his soul searching to take a drag? Do the kids ever complain that you had to postpone opening Santa's gifts because you had to have a smoke first?

Thank God all that is over this year. You will suck it up. You will. Even if you just barely quit smoking and you really want a cigarette first thing Christmas morning, vow now that you're not going to do it. You're going to have that Norman Rockwell painting - the one with happiness and no smoking. You're going to build the bike or put the Barbie Dream House together without a smoke break.

You're going to think only of Christmas PAST with a smoke, not Christmas present or future.

Why? Because you care enough about yourself and your family to do the hard things for them. Not just the easy thing. The really, really hard things - like quitting smoking. You deserve a Christmas future. Think of all the Christmases over a lifetime. There is only one - this one - where you have to suck it up and quit smoking. The rest of the Christmases left to you will be free if you pay the price today.

You're worth the price. Remember to take your deep breaths. If you want something to do with your hands - grab a camera. Don't drink the whistle tea or the egg nog if it's going to make you want to smoke. You deserve this kindness. You do.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Cough Medicine

Strange what things I now connect to smoking. Being sick and taking cough medicine.

You know how you would go to the doctor and tells you to stop smoking while you are sick. And you would think "right."

Of course I smoked when I was sick.

I'm finding my cravings are virtually gone until something associates me to smoking again.

Today it's being sick. Taking cough medication. It's making me want to smoke. Which was stupid the first time and even more stupid this time.

But, smoking has no more power over me. I don't smoke. I'll resist this left-over association and I will not feel the craving next time. That seems to be the way it's working - craving the first time, but then it's over. Sigh.