Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Nothing to lose? Try Tapping

Okay all those out there who are desperate to quit feeling desperate for a smoke . . .

Now, I realize my next bit of advice might sound a bit kooky - but, hear me out.

If you really want relief from cravings you can try tapping on pressure points while focusing on the feelings to release them from your body.

How does it work?

I haven't the slightest idea. But, I don't know how addiction really works either but my lack of knowledge didn't stop me from becoming addicted.

One of the worst things about addiction is that we can't control our feelings about it.

And when other negative feelings come up our first coping response is to smoke. Which only makes our feelings worse.

Try this instead. It's a video at tapping.com and it's F-R-E-E. So seriously, you don't have anything to lose.

Yes, I've tried it after hearing how it works from several people. Yes, I feel a bit kooky considering what a cynic I've been most of my life. Yes, I think it worked. Afterwards, I felt like I'd done yoga for an hour and meditated and I've been trying to resurrect those negative feelings, but I can't. I don't know where they've gone, but the feelings I wanted to be rid of have seemingly disappeared.

You're a smoker. Which means, you've probably tried a LOT of things. Try this. Won't kill you. Isn't dangerous, Isn't addictive. Doesn't cost any money. What do you really have to lose?


Come back and tell us if it works.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Collective Prayer

I've been growing in my spirituality since beginning my journey of recovery. Recovery from many things really - anxiety medication, depression and anxiety and smoking.

Here's what I know - you have to pray. Whatever form that takes for you, "God, get me through this craving" is a simple utterance that is so effective it would be foolish not to do it.

Now, smokers meditate a lot. We go out and reflect and have an internal conversation.

Talking to so many smokers I hearing the same thing over and over again: I've been praying for something like Chantix for 10 years.

Well, it worked!

For me it seems obvious that while we created our own addiction prisons - most of us were only children who didn't understand the implications until it was too late.

But, by the same token, perhaps through collectively praying for a cure, something to help us quit effectively, we created our own cure.

We gave God the motivation to inspire whatever doctor and whatever financing it took to create our own blue miracle.

So fellow smokers - Thank You!

God, Thank You for listening to our collective prayers for freedom.

Be proud. Be grateful. Give thanks.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dr. Oz Talks Smoking

Go to your DVR right now and program Oprah on Tuesday. America's favorite Dr. is going to talk about quiting smoking. He's going to discuss the new medications, like Chantix and how to quit this addiction that's as difficult as quitting Heroin.

DVR. Now. Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Last Carnival of All Substances

Therapy Doc is throwing in the towel on the Carnival of All Substances so you better hurry and read the last one.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lapse or Relapse?

One of my quitters, Susie, says she had a "major relapse."

Lets define a major relapse:

Relapse is when you give up. You say - screw this I'm a smoker, I'll always be a smoker, I'll smoke forever, I'm adding the smokes back into my budget, I don't care what anyone thinks, I don't care if it kills me, I'm quitting the Chantix - I'm SMOKING.

If that describes you today then Okay. So, you're not ready for this. Maybe you should give it a rest and see if you can be happy in your life as a smoker. We'll be here when you decide to give quitting another go.

I don't think that describes Susie.

Her comment reads like this: Major relapse. Feels like 3 months down the drain. Anger. Guilt. Can't get my head around it all. 35 years of smoking and I feel like it OWNS me. Back on Chantix and will try again. My husband and boys so sweet and understanding...makes it worse, I think! Thanks for listening, Tracee. Susie

Susie describes anger and guilt and disappointment. A major relapse would be if she said To Hell with it!

Maybe Susie smoked a pack of cigarettes. Oh no! Not that! It's all undone. She'll have to start her counter over at day 1!

While I understand that addiction psychology I don't necessarily subscribe to it. I'm not a day counter recovering addict myself. I never found counting days and starting over to be a helpful tool for me.

I cheated after starting Chantix. Many, many people cheated. It's okay. No one is perfect and you're an addict for heaven's sake. Smoking does OWN you and it is hard work to get possession of your own self again.

I would define what Susie experienced as a Lapse.

A temporary lapse in strength and judgement. A slight weakness in her quit. Surely nothing insurmountable.

Actually, I think a lapse can be a very positive thing for someone who is quitting smoking or any other addiction. When we quit something we keep thinking "If only I could smoke I could be happy." We feel denied. We want what we had, freedom to smoke, back.

But, when you have a lapse and you cheat your realize a major truth. You can never have that back. Every time you smoke, from here on out, you will feel guilt and anger and disappointment. The rush or kick-back will never be yours again.

The only way to make the pain stop now is to quit smoking and never do it again. Every single time you cheat you will have the same gut-wrenching anger, guilt and disappointment. Who wants to live life like that - especially 20 times a day?

Susie, don't beat yourself up over this. It happens. It's part of quitting for millions of people just like you.

I recommend this: write down what you expected to get out of smoking. Then right down what you actually got out of it.

Did you want to feel relaxed? Were you looking for a relief from pressure? Were you trying to avoid anger or anxiety? Were you trying to hide from something?

Did smoking help you achieve that goal? If the smoking produced anger, disappointment and pain instead of what you wanted it to do, then it's time to make some changes.

Decide how you can get relief from stress. Maybe you need to take a yoga class. Decide how you can deal with anger or anxiety. Maybe a run will help with these emotions. Decide what you need to do in the relationship that's causing tension or stress. Maybe you have to let some toxic people go. I'm saying smoking can't be a solution for you. But, you owe it to yourself to find a healthy solution.

It's just a lapse. You can still do this. Of course you can!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Master Your Mind

If you are quitting smoking, especially with Chantix, you've realized that while your body has a physical addiction the real challenge is to change your mind.

The nature of addiction is that your mind and thoughts are obsessive about one substance or activity - in this case smoking - and unless you regain control of it, you'll be tied to the addiction forever.

Pre-Chantix I literally thought about smoking in an obsessive, distracting and relentless way. Talk about being controlled by smoking. I did not even have autonomous control over my own thoughts.

Every thought was connected to smoking in some way. I'll finish this task after I smoke. I'll deal with my husband after I smoke. When I finish smoking I'll finish writing. I'll be happy if I just have a smoke. I can't be happy unless I'm smoking. Do I have enough money for smokes?

When all my thoughts were consumed with the desperate and uncontrollable need to smoke I was very, very unhappy!

Once the Chantix helped me eliminate my need for smoking, I had nothing to think about. Does that make any sense? All the sudden I had all this free brain power. I found my mind was ready and willing to go into negativity.

It's like a habit, even a hobby my brain had. I'd replay arguments with my husband, I'd go over negative conversations with friends. I'd go back to bad experiences and events and relive them.

Fact One in life is that reliving or replaying negative events can't change them. You can't rewrite the past. So what good is it to revisit it? It doesn't help us get anywhere.

Negative thinking felt like as much a habit as the smoking did, only now that I wasn't thinking about smoking, I had more time for negative thinking.

This isn't a harmless hobby or habit. Have you heard of the law of attraction, which simply states that our reality is the product of our thoughts? If there is even limited truth in this statement, then negative thinking has direct negative consequences on our realities.

I've dedicated the last few months of retraining my thoughts. I've used various techniques to break my nasty negative thinking habit.

I've been experimenting with the law of attraction by listening to a program called The Law of Attraction Action Pack presented by Master Mind Mentor that I won (attracted) on a radio show.

It takes effort to master ones' own mind. But, if you can't even control your own thoughts, what on earth can you control?

With my smoking, I also gave up a little cynicism. I realized that I couldn't quit smoking alone - I needed Chantix, God, moral support from other quitters and help to retrain my thinking. You've started the Chantix, maybe your praying for help with your quit, and you're coming here for moral support.

I invite you to add to that, tools that will help you have better control over your own mind with Law of Attraction Action Pack presented by Master Mind Mentor. It's a 7 day audio program that will take you through meditation and some brain training to help you put more focus on what you DO want instead of what you DON'T want.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Irrational Fury

Perhaps, like me, you have connected your smoking to the emotion of anger.

Maybe you've heard that there is medical and scientific evidence connecting back pain to unresolved anger.

I would not be surprised if they connected smoking and other addictions to unresolved anger as well.

It feels like for the last 20 years I've been smoking a symbolic stick of anger that it's time for me to resolve.

I find I experience anger immediately following frustration if the frustration isn't immediately resolved.

Irrationally, I admit, I am in a fury when dealing with simple, everyday frustrations.

Looking in a box of cords for the specific cord that connects my MP3 player to the computer is likely to make me livid in seconds. I avoid all frustrating activities that involve technology.

Completely irrationally I direct this anger at my husband.

In my mind, he is responsible for organizing all technology.

Looking further into my anger it's really at the freaking idiots who invent technology and make different cords. Anyone in their right might would have made a freaking universal cord to attach ALL electronic devices to the same outlet in the computer. DUH!

See all that anger? See how worked up I can get over something seemingly mundane and completely out of my control?

Perhaps I connect this to smoking because right after giving up looking for the cord and calling my husband to make him responsible for looking for it, I would have previously smoked to calm myself down.

Now, I take some deep breaths and drink a tall glass of water or maybe heat myself some tea.

Don't get me started on the plethora of passwords we're expected to memorize and the asinine and arbitrary rules that vary between websites making some of them impossible to remember.

Or the rankling I feel when Yahoo changes the way I have to organize my bookmarks without warning or consent.